Review & Giveaway: Execution in E by Alexia Gordon

EXECUTION IN E
A Gethsemane Brown Mystery, Volume 5 
by
Alexia Gordon
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: March 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 252

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Romance is in the air. Or on the ‘gram, anyway.
 
When an influencer-turned-bridezilla shows up at the lighthouse to capture Insta-perfect wedding photos designed to entice sponsors to fund her lavish wedding, Gethsemane has her hands full trying to keep Eamon from blasting the entire wedding party over the edge of the cliff.
 
Wedding bells become funeral bells when members of the bride’s entourage start turning up dead. Frankie’s girlfriend, Verna, is pegged as maid-of-honor on the suspect list when the Garda discover the not-so-dearly departed groom was her ex and Gethsemane catches her standing over a body.
 

Gethsemane uncovers devilish dealings as she fights to clear Verna, for Frankie’s sake. Will she find the killer in time to save Frankie from another heartbreak? Or will the photos in her social media feed be post-mortem?

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Review

Execution in E is my first Alexia Gordon novel, but it most certainly will not be my last. Thanks to my Southern Baptist upbringing, I knew how to pronounce the heroine’s name, Gethsemane, without asking Google. Another thing that I did not have to research was backstory from the series’ first four books since Gordon gives us just the right amount of exposition. What’s the right amount? Why that’s when her explanations sprinkled here and there answer a question that begins to loom in your mind, but don’t satisfy it completely. Genius so that you will make a mental note to read the other books as soon as you are done with this one!

At first glance, the cover looked a bit old timey and didn’t prepare me for the influencer bits that the American character Sunny stomps in with to the picturesque Ireland. But given the amount that Gethsemane quotes the bard with her friends, I’m guessing that the artistic choice starts back from the beginning of the series. (See there? Now I really have to read the other books.) At any rate, I’m sure that some Instagram-esque cover would probably look a bit cheesy, not match books A through D, and not have that cozy mystery appeal on the shelf.

I don’t know that I’ve read many cozy paranormal mysteries (cozy and paranormal separately, but not usually together), but I love how Execution in E lets you know that you have come to the right place from page one: beautiful descriptions of the quaint little town and an introduction to Gethsemane’s “spectral roommate”. I could read about Eamon for days. You’ve gotta love a feisty ghost that will sort out your Irish curse words, spy on people without you having to ask, and be able to touch things – most notably, coffee pots and musical instruments.

I really enjoyed how much music is another character in this book. I’m ashamed to admit that although I have played classical music for years, I had to look up Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique on YouTube. There was a very calm movement that I have played in the past on the piano, but somehow I don’t think that it the same movement that Gethsemane hears in her head when danger is afoot.

The human characters are just as captivating as the invisible ones. The multiple car pile up of human beings that make up the wedding party is too intriguing to look away from. As despicable as Ty and Sunny (Mr. and Mrs. Instagram-to-be) are, you can’t help but hang onto their every word. I dare you to have a long conversation with someone like them in real life. Do it without so much as a smirk on your face that someone could be so self-involved. And what would be even more fascinating would be to dissect their “friends” if they were normal, non-vapid people. Which is pretty much what Gethsemane does in the book, and it is so satisfying.

The twists and turns, the shocking reveals, and the ominous ending were so much more than I expected from a cozy mystery. Cups of comforting tea aside, this story made my heart pound and I hated to have to put it down to sleep. If it weren’t wasteful to order the other four books one by one, I would. Because let’s face it, when I get them all at once, I probably won’t sleep for about a week so that I can devour them immediately.

 A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon won her first writing prize in the 6th grade. She continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. She established her medical career then returned to writing fiction. Raised in the southeast, schooled in the northeast, she relocated to the west where she completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program. She admits Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. She practices medicine in North Chicago, IL. She enjoys the symphony, art collecting, embroidery, and ghost stories.

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Review & Giveaway: Blue Skies by Anne Bustard

 

BLUE SKIES
by
Anne Bustard
Middle Grade / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Number of Pages: 224

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Ten-year-old Glory Bea Bennett believes in miracles. After all, her grandmother—the best matchmaker in the whole county—is responsible for thirty-nine of them so far.

Now, Glory Bea wants a miracle of her own—her daddy’s return.

The war ended three years ago, but Glory Bea’s father never returned from the front in France. She believes Daddy is still out there.

When reports that the Texas boxcar from the Merci Train—a train filled with gifts of gratitude from the people of France—will be stopping in Gladiola, Glory Bea just knows Daddy will be its surprise cargo.

But miracles, like people, are always changing, until at last they find their way home.

PRAISE FOR BLUE SKIES:

“I loved Blue Skies so much I couldn’t bear for it to end.” –Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor author of Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods

“A heart-warming (and occasionally heart-wrenching) delight of a book . . .” –Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore

“A tender story of grief and the gentle comfort of loved ones.” Kirkus Reviews

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Review

Acting out of character, I had read the synopsis of Blue Skies by Anne Bustard before deciding to read the book. The bit about a boxcar caught my eye because there are a few stories that I have read involving boxcars that I hold very dear in my heart. There were no orphans living or being transported to a new life in this boxcar, but I think that it served as a representation of hope much like those other stories.

The cover of Blue Skies is lovely to look at. The blue is the exact shade of what you think of on a perfect day, with fluffy white clouds and white birds flying across the cover. A young girl in a pretty dress looks hopeful as she faces the same direction that the birds are flying to with eyes closed and hands clasped in front of her. Now that I have read the book, the choice of cover has the same flavor of those used for the Anne of Green Gables series. They are beautiful covers but they don’t hint at the firecracker of a girl contained within their pages.

Glory Bea Bennett takes her place among my favorite heroines with big hearts and spirit: Laura Ingalls, Anne Shirley, Jo March, etc. Much like Jo, Glory Bea is “hopelessly flawed,” but that’s what makes you love her even more. She is fiercely loyal to the ones she loves to the point that she might miss the cues that something other than the plans she has for them might be best in the end. Aren’t we all like that at one time or another? Ten-year-old and adult readers alike can use a reminder here or there that we can help the people we love up to a point, and then we are only there to support them in the end.

Bustard has created a wonderful community around such a vibrant character. I have always had a soft spot for the small town where everyone not only knows your name but they know all about your business. I was tickled by the moments when eavesdroppers would get caught listening in on the party line. And with all the cynicism in our world today, it was relaxing to read a story where the conflict arises from inner turmoil rather than a place of evil intentions.

To be completely honest, girls will probably gravitate to this book much like they do to Little House, Green Gables, and Little Women, but boys would also get something out of it if they’re willing to try. While the male characters are secondary, they are strong and not afraid of strong women. I could see this book being used in the classroom when discussing the aftermath of war or perhaps as an introduction to the French language. I wish I had read this book before my trip to Austin so that I could have seen the real life inspiration in person. I have put that on my list of things to do, along with reading other books by Anne Bustard.

Anne Bustard is the former co-owner of Toad Hall Children’s Bookstore in Austin, Texas, and an MFA graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the middle grade novel, Anywhere But Paradise, as well as two picture books, RAD! and Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly, which was an IRA Children’s Book Award Notable and a Bank Street Book of the Year. Hawaii-born, she divides her time between Texas and Canada.

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Review & Giveaway: Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot

 

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

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Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.


At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Review

Let me begin by saying that I adore Amanda Cabot books and was so excited to receive this copy of Out of the Embers. When I got my first glance at the cover, I sighed in deep appreciation of the soothing colors, the lovely girl, and the beautiful expanse of bluebonnets on either side of a wagon-worn road. The picturesque cover promised me a happy ending to the bleak beginning of a young woman and small girl’s escape from a devastating fire.

On the surface, Cabot’s writing can sometimes seem formulaic like many romance novelists. The man doesn’t want to settle down, the woman is happy to be free of the chains of marriage, and then there is competition for someone’s heart. But much like Nicholas Sparks’ ability to write so many different stories of star-crossed lovers, Cabot is able to paint the portraits of reluctant lovers with varying brushes and strokes that transport you to a town that feels familiar but new at the same time. While her affinity towards portraying non-competitive female friendships forms another bridge between this series and the Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Cabot treats us to heartfelt relationships and individuals who are unique in the best possible ways. And to be quite honest, it is a relief to read about women who support each other rather than to tear each other down.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the men in this book. And now that I think of it, I do believe that the men in Cimarron Creek also got quite competitive when trying to win the heart of a particular fair lady. At times, I found the alpha competition to be a bit overwhelming, but Cabot would sprinkle tidbits here and there to connect the dots. And it’s by those connections that the reader is able to care about even the most seemingly despicable characters.

My favorite aspect of this book is the level of suspense that Cabot created. There were mysteries to be solved in Cimarron Creek, but the sense of foreboding in Mesquite Springs was on a whole other level. I made my predictions and was proved wrong time and time again. Cabot’s books are never terribly violent but there was a particular scene that made me gasp. There was definitely more of an edge in this book than the other series. Couple that with the teaser for the next romantic pairing, and I am fully committed to finishing the rest of this series. If you’re impatient like me, go pick up the Cimarron Creek Trilogy to keep you company until book 2 of Mesquite Springs comes out!

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Review & Giveaway: Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal

 

CHASING THE WHITE LION
(Talia Inger, Book Two)
by
JAMES R. HANNIBAL
  
Genre: Contemporary Christian / Thriller / Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 384

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Young CIA officer Talia Inger has reconciled with the man who assassinated her father, but that doesn’t mean she wants him hovering over her every move and unearthing the painful past she’s trying to put behind her. Still, she’ll need him–and the help of his star grifter, Valkyrie–if she hopes to infiltrate the Jungle, the first ever crowdsourced crime syndicate, to rescue a group of kidnapped refugee children.

But as Talia and her elite team of thieves con their way into the heart of the Jungle, inching ever closer to syndicate boss the White Lion, she’ll run right up against the ragged edge of her family’s dark past. In this game of cat and mouse, it’s win . . . or die. And in times like that, it’s always good to have someone watching your back.

Former tactical deception officer and stealth pilot James Hannibal takes you deep undercover into the criminal underworld where everyone has an angle, and no one escapes unscathed.

WANT TO BE A REAL HERO?

Want to be a real hero? Compassion International, a real organization fighting child poverty, stars in Chasing the White Lion. By giving hope and a sense of identity to these kids, they’re helping families slam the door on human traffickers. A portion of every book sold will go to support Compassion’s work. You can join the fight simply by buying a copy of Chasing the White Lion.
CLICK TO PURCHASE

Review

I don’t like to read the synopsis or blurb before I review a book because I don’t want them to color my opinions at all. So when I picked up this copy of Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal I immediately thought, “Ah, a thriller.” What tipped me off? The first thing was the font choice with distress on the stark white letters. The second thing was the city backdrop with glowing red lights that takes up the bottom third of the cover. And lastly, the lion emblem that is sort of cloaked in a smoky black and red backdrop across the top. It is a gorgeous cover that doesn’t even begin to hint at the exciting story that it contains.

 

Within the first few paragraphs, I already knew that Talia Inger was someone that I wanted to be like when I grow up. She’s cool, collected, and brilliant for starters; a certified badass when the bullets start flying. But it’s her interactions with her ragtag Oceans 11-esque team that really did something for me. It takes a heck of a person to not only forgive the man who killed your father, and quite another to be friends with said person and trust them with your life. While Talia is the central character and thus fleshed out more completely than the others, the reader is still able to explore the depths of the book’s secondary characters; specifically Tyler, Finn, and Valkyrie.

 

With the book starting off in Russia, I was surprised when the story jumped over to Thailand in chapter three. Following two small children as they chase a butterfly through the foliage is the calm before the storm – men in military garb are not usually a good sign when you’re in the third world. Particularly, if these men are militias not soldiers. As their storyline progressed via alternating chapters of Talia’s journey, it dawned on me that this book was heading into human trafficking territory and it made my stomach hurt.

Hannibal does a wonderful job of storytelling without gratuitous details. To be honest, I thought I needed it when it came to the action sequences. But as I read on, I realized that I got more from the planning sessions and the need for improvisation when a plan goes awry than my need to know how far the blood sprayed across the room. Perhaps the lack of gore had more to do with the Contemporary Christian label than anything else. At any rate, it gave me a deeper appreciation for the technical aspect of a good thriller book.

Buy this book so that you can help Compassion International. (I love that they are real and doing amazing work!) Read this book because you want to immerse yourself in an exciting and complex story. Share this book with people who love movies like the Oceans and Mission Impossible series, or TV shows like Burn Notice.

 

Former stealth pilot James R. Hannibal is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his Section 13 mysteries for kids and a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series for adults. James is a rare multi-sense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells and hears flashes of light. He lives in Houston, Texas.

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Book Blitz: Bayou City Burning by D. B. Borton

BAYOU CITY BURNING
Harry & Dizzy Lark, Book 1
by
D.B. BORTON
Mystery / Detective / Humor / Historical
Publisher: Boomerang Books
Date of Publication: May 30, 2019
Number of Pages: 390

Houston, 1961: comedy meets mystery and history. It’s hard to be hard-boiled when your biggest fan and worst critic is your twelve-year-old daughter, especially when she’s cracking your case for you and defending you from the bad guys, along with sidekicks human and feline.

Houston is still a cowboy backwater, but Texas politicians dream big. P.I. Harry Lark is out to save the city for President Kennedy’s moon mission. Dizzy Lark is out to save Harry.

Jani Brooks of Romance Reviews Today calls Bayou City Burning “a terrific mystery loaded with humor, lots of excitement, and fascinating, well written characters” and rates it “a Perfect 10 book.”






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Visit D.B. Borton’s website to read the Prologue, Chapter One, and Chapter Two of Bayou City Burning! 
 
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D. B. Borton is the author of two mystery series—the Cat Caliban series (Berkley, Hilliard and Harris) and the Gilda Liberty series (Fawcett)—as well as the recent novels Second Coming, Smoke, and Bayou City Burning (all from Boomerang Books). She is Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio Wesleyan University.A native Texan, Borton became an ardent admirer of Nancy Drew at a young age. At the age of fourteen, she acquired her own blue roadster, trained on the freeways of Houston and the broad stretches of oil-endowed Texas highway, and began her travels. She also began a lifetime of political activism, working only for political candidates who lost. She left Texas at about the time everyone else arrived.

In graduate school, Borton converted a lifetime of passionate reading and late-night movie-watching into a doctorate in English. She discovered that people would pay her to discuss literature and writing, although not much. But because she found young people interesting and entertaining and challenging, she became a college teacher, and survived many generations of college students. Later, during a career crisis, she discovered that people would pay her to tell stories, although even less than they would pay her to discuss stories written by someone else.

Borton has lived in the Southwest and Midwest, and on the West Coast, where she has planted roses and collected three degrees in English without relinquishing her affection for the ways in which actual speakers constantly reinvent the language to meet their needs. In her spare time, she gardens, practices aikido, studies languages other than English, and, of course, watches movies and reads.

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Review & Giveaway: Sitting on a Fortune by Becki Willis

SITTING ON A FORTUNE

The Sisters, Texas Book 9 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romance / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: February 11, 2020
Number of Pages: 228

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Hidden fortune. Hidden danger. Madison Reynolds deCordova is about to uncover a dangerous secret…literally.

During In a Pinch Professional Services’s latest gig at an upholstery shop, Madison finds a chair that’s perfect for her husband’s birthday gift. At least it will be, once she removes the worn velvet. Hiding the chair at Granny Bert’s, Madison tackles her first solo upholstery project but soon discovers more than she bargained for! A hidden treasure beneath the cushion puts her in the middle of a new mystery and new danger.

The treasure isn’t her only problem. While helping a young boy find his lost dog, Madison lands on the wrong side of surly businessman Lamont Andrews. Meanwhile, best friend Genny is worried about one of her café patrons. Mr. Pruett’s wild stories are getting wilder each day, and now he’s missing. Plus, there’s the matter of a troublesome new habit Maddy seems to have acquired: breaking and entering. It’s a harsh term for simply trying to rescue a dog and save an old man.

Somehow, she knows it all fits together. But what does a lost dog, a cluttered old barn, Mr. Pruett’s disappearance, and a hidden treasure have to do with her chair? Now someone is stalking her and her grandmother, and Madison knows that danger is on its way.

As always, The Sisters are full of fun, excitement, family antics, and more danger than the law allows!

I get a little nervous when I’m reviewing a book that is part of series that I haven’t kept up with. I worry that I will be too focused on the minutiae that are explained in earlier books. Well, I worried for nothing because Sitting on a Fortune by Becki Willis grabbed my attention and did not let up for one second. Willis must be the mistress of narrative exposition because not only did she give the right amount of backstory for people and events that I should know about already, but each occurrence made me more and more excited about reading books 1-8 as well.

I enjoy Willis’ style of mystery writing because she doesn’t throw red herrings left and right, but she also doesn’t hit you over the head with the relevant clues either. The only thing that made me pause for a moment was her choice to have Madison speak her thoughts aloud so often. It almost felt like it was used solely as a device to have our protagonist caught out on several occasions. Although to be fair, when I’m psyching myself up to do something or have trouble processing something in my head, I have a tendency to talk to myself too.

Something about small towns where silly old rivalries run rampant and everyone knows everybody else’s business make for great reading. The interaction between Madison and Monte played out like a moving Normal Rockwell painting, while the bustle at Genny’s cafe had me picturing a cuter version of Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls. I would give anything to see a picture of Madison’s three-story mansion and the blueprints (especially for all the secret additions). Even more than the idea of living in an old mansion, I am enamored with the thought of living across the street from an old library.

In addition to knowing more about their community, I am excited to read the previous books so that I can soak up all the lovely backstories and Madison’s meet cute with her husband. If not for Willis sharing little tidbits about the early challenges of blending their families, you wouldn’t have guessed that this more modern and smaller version of the Brady Bunch faced any obstacles at all. Although, I get a little bit of a vibe just short of a ’50s husband flavor when Madison’s police chief husband shows disapproval at the thought of her pursuing her private investigator license. I would have liked a little more exposition on that business. Is Brash just worried about her safety or is he worried a little bit that she will get in the way of his job? Again, I must read books 1-8!

A nice little touch would have been to have a sample page of Juliet’s journal at the very end of the book. Perhaps something that could tease the reader for the next installment in the series. Overall, I am very much in love with this cozy mystery. I never thought about what the “cozy” part meant but I feel like this book embodied it perfectly. (I now take cozy to mean no crass, sexy stuff or gratuitous gore.) So I can highly recommend this series to anyone who likes a good mystery that leaves you feeling lighter once you’ve finished it.

Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published numerous books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction, Best Women’s Detective Fiction and Best Audio Book, won the 2018 RONE Award for Paranormal Fiction, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, Writer’s League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

 
Connect with Becki below. She loves to hear from readers and encourages feedback!

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Review & Giveaway: Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley

FINDING ESME
by
SUZANNE CROWLEY
  
Genre: Middle Grade (3-7) / Magical Realism / Family & Loss
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: August 14, 2018
Number of Pages: 288

Scroll down for the giveaway!

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.

The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

PRAISE & HONORS FOR FINDING ESME:

“Esme is a brave, appealing heroine with the odds stacked against her… Bad blood and layered family secrets drive this story to its ultimately optimistic and satisfying conclusion.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

“Esme McCauley is a lonely but spirited 12-year-old who feels nothing ever happens to her the way it’s supposed to…A poignant tale for readers who enjoy character-driven realism.” — School Library Journal

“Readers muddling through preteen changes or unstable family lives will identify with Esme’s struggles, but the thrill of discovery will appeal to most.” — Booklist

Texas Library Association 2019 Spirit of Texas (SPOT) reading program selection

 

Every once in a while you read a book and just know that this is the first of many times that you will read it. Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley is one of these books. I struggle to put into words why that is exactly, but it’s a feeling that came over me when I began reading. I have read a good number of stories with a similar setting, but Crowley’s turn of phrase, character building, and imaginative plot transport you to a completely different place.

But let me backtrack a bit and talk about the cover for a second. I like the unusual use of colors and the distinctive illustration style. I especially like that the cover art ties in with the story while appealing to its intended audience. However, I feel like the artwork is a shade too juvenile for the story within. This book was like a mash up of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, and My Daniel by Pam Conrad. If you have read any of those books, you know that they deal with tough subject matter and they all have pretty somber cover art to match. But I get it. Kids are more excited to pick up a pretty book in hues of purple, orange, and green; but I think it disguises a very sophisticated story.

If you’ve gotten this far without reading any synopses of the book, then proceed directly to your own copy and enjoy reading one of the best coming of age books ever. There’s a whimsy of adventure that is tethered to the earth by the hardships of the time and the personal struggles of Esme. I found it fascinating how a supernatural gift could be grave one moment and then later provide levity to another situation. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but there’s a lot of duality at play. Characters that flip between love and hate, a home that is a safe harbor one day and a cage the next, the desire to find the truth replaced by stubborn denial. And that’s just a handful that I came up with on the fly. This is the sort of book that should be studied in a youth literature class.

Funny coincidence that I had to point out, Crowley dedicates the book to her father, whose last name is Carlisle. Esme and Carlisle! [Insert groan here.] I read a lot of YA, what can I say? But seriously, this book is top shelf. Boys and girls alike will take something special from this book. And old fogies like myself will add this to our collection of classics.

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. When not hugging her dog or imbibing in chocolate, she can often be found taking a nap.
 

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———————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TWO READERS EACH WIN A SIGNED COPY OF FINDING ESME, TWO CANDLES, BOOKMARKS, FUN FACT CARDS, AND A PEN!
February 11-21, 2020

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