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Review & Giveaway: No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily

NO NAMES TO BE GIVEN
By
JULIA BREWER DAILY

Categories: Women’s Fiction / Vintage Fiction / Adoption / 1960s
Publisher: Admission Press Inc.
Pub Date: August 3, 2021
Pages: 334 pages
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1965. Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired.

But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. That shattering revelation would shake their very foundations—and reverberate all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives in alternating chapters, this mesmerizing story is based on actual experiences of women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant but unmarried, pressured by family and society to make horrific decisions. How that inconceivable act changed women forever is the story of No Names to Be Given, a heartbreaking but uplifting novel of family and redemption.

PRAISE FOR NO NAMES TO BE GIVEN:

A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart. Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas.

An insightful and sympathetic view offered into the lives of those who were adopted and those who adopted them. Pam Johnson, author of Justice for Ella.

A novel worthy of a Lifetime movie adaptation. Jess Hagemann, author of Headcheese.

Readers can expect deep knowledge of the world the characters inhabit. Sara Kocek, author of Promise Me Something.

This book is a relevant read and one that will keep readers guessing page after page until the very end. The US Review of Books

Today’s young women, especially, need to absorb No Names to Be Given. Midwest Book Review, D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer

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Review
No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily is a fascinating story filled with every human emotion, especially fear, desire, distress, and confusion. Daily pulls you in from the first chapter as we meet the three young girls on the day that they each give birth to unplanned babies. For 1965, you couldn’t meet a threesome as different as Sandy, Becca, and Faith. I really admire the lengths that the author goes to, gently pulling each girl’s story like taffy, making us feel like we know each girl intimately and the people that either influence or directly control the path that they have taken. Rich or poor, sweet or abrasive, you cannot help but empathize with the three and you are anxious to see how not only their lives turn out, but those of their children as well.

In school, we learned about the social issues that took place during the 1960s. Daily has clearly done her research to portray a time period where women don’t have control over what happens to their own bodies and African Americans are still discriminated against. Sadly, 60 years later, we are still at war with these social injustices. I don’t know if that sad fact is part of the reason that Daily wrote this novel, but the message of caution, the call to action, and the hope for change are very timely and needed in our country today.

As someone who has grown up in the South, in a traditional Filipino family, and raised as a strict Baptist, I could relate to the shame of not fulfilling certain expectations and the pressure to live a certain life. As I take my own destiny in my hands, it has been truly inspiring to hear how these three girls rose above their circumstances and forged lives that no one else could have predicted they would be capable of creating. You might scoff and say that this is a work of fiction, so how can I be inspired? This book is loosely based on true stories that Daily found during her research. And in my experience, even the most fantastical tale can be found in the real world if you dig deep enough.

I think that many readers will enjoy this well-crafted story, but I think it will especially speak to those who are adopted, who plan to adopt, or are debating whether to put a child up for adoption. And if you don’t fall in any of those categories, I think you will find value in the story of perseverance, friendship, and self-love.


Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been a Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS. She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart. As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public. Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well. A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.

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Review & Giveaway: The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

THE EDGE OF BELONGING

by AMANDA COX

 
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction 
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 400

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When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother’s estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo framesshe provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truthboth the search for it and the desire to keep it from otherstakes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

 
When I picked up The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox, I knew that I was in for an emotional ride. Any book about family secrets will do that to a person, but the idea that your true origin story has been kept from you for over 20 years… I couldn’t imagine it. I also couldn’t figure out why Ivy’s adoptive family didn’t just tell her where she came from. But I guess there wouldn’t be much of a story if they had just laid it all out!
I have read many novels that alternate between characters and/or time periods, but Cox uses the technique masterfully. The chapter lengths are perfect with nice little cliffhangers that make you groan a little because you want to keep going. But then the revelations that occur with each new chapter, flipping between the two timelines, are so riveting as the big picture is slowly but surely shaded in with deliberate strokes and increasing pressure.
I admire the framework that Cox must have laid out for this story to take shape. As connections are realized between the different characters, it feels like we aren’t getting any closer to finding out why the details of Ivy’s adoption are not out in the open. When it finally dawned on me that I would just have to read patiently to find the answer, I was able to sit back and ponder Ivy’s hangups.
For someone who is so very loved and supported, I was confused by how Ivy could fall into such an abusive relationship with Seth. I know that situation could happen to anyone, but I feel like people more often are easy prey when they have had to look for love and approval during their formative years. As I learned more about Ivy’s origin story, the concept of nature vs nurture came to mind. But also, hearing how the people in Ivy’s small town speculated about her backstory within earshot of her probably had a lot to do with it as well.
I really enjoyed this book and how it was such an active read despite the unrushed pace. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a feel good story that truly lifts the spirit. If you’re not into Christian books, don’t be put off by the labeling. Cox doesn’t hit you over the head with the Bible and the characters are very real without the usual Christian filters.

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. 

 
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. 
 
Amanda lives in Tennessee with her husband and their three children.
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Author Interview & Giveaway: Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane


EVIDENCE
OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by
By Lindsey Lane
  Genre: YA /  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
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Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.

Fact: Tommy was adopted.The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? 

Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist.

Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance. 

* * *

PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:

“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” – Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” – Horn Book
“This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines.  Haunting and beautiful.” – Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About AliceDevoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.”  J.L. Powers, author of Amina, This Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle
“Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” – Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios Nirvana, Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly
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* * *

AuthorInterview

Author Interview: Lindsey Lane
This book on the surface is about a boy who disappears; but at closer look it is about the people around him and how their lives are entangled. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write Evidence of Things Not Seen?

Hmmm, research is tricky for me. Because I write fiction, I usually do a lot of fact checking after I’ve drafted the story. If I wander off into too much research, I can get really bogged down in it and it takes me away from the character development. For instance with Evidence, I did do research about physics’ principles but I used secondary sources. I needed to stay with the voice of a sixteen year old totally tripped out by physics. I didn’t want him to sound like a professor. So I understood the theories pretty well but I treated them somewhat simply through a journal. When I was satisfied, I had readers’ who were savvy about physics check my facts to make sure I had conveyed the ideas correctly.
How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?

I used to think my writing career was a bit haphazard but now I can see how writing plays gave me an ear for dialogue and pacing a story so that action and exposition move together seamlessly. Later my work as a journalist was critical to my ability for developing characters. I loved interviewing people and finding out their stories. I got very good at getting them to reveal themselves to me. Even when they didn’t want to. From those interviews, I became aware of the lies that certain characters told. Often times, when I uncover a character’s lie, I will find their emotional arc. Finally, picture books pared down my writing a lot and gave me a new respect for verbs. I like leaving space for the reader to enter in and make connections within the story.
Okay, so I always like to see what authors read. What are your favorite books and why?

Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty because it tells the truth about love and cruelty in the human heart.

Neil Gaiman’s The GraveYard Book I love Gaiman’s storytelling voice. Haunting and masterful.

Sherman Alexie’s True Story of a Part time Indian -The honesty of the voice. Also, when I finished this book, I thought, “Man, this is what books are meant to do: open up worlds.”

Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie. Again, India Opal’s voice and honesty and her clear beautiful emotional want makes you turn the page.

Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terebithia-Someday I may write a paper about how that book always makes me cry no matter how many times I read it.

Three books inspired the form of Evidence of Things Not Seen: Kathi Appelt’s Kissing Tennesee; An Na’s A Step Toward Heaven and Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street. Kathi’s book is linked short stories around a middle school dance and gives you a glimpse into each character going to the prom. Both Na’s and Sandra’s books stunned me in their spare writing. So much is told with so little. Good writing that breaks form allows us to pad along behind and write the best stories we possible can with greater freedom.
Night owl or early bird? How does it help with your writing process?

Most reliably, the early morning hours are the most spacious and quietest times to write. I will often do a lot of drafting then because my critical mind is still snoozing. But you know what? I’ve discovered a little trick to create morning writing at all hours. I do a reset with a little nap or a shower. I find that those two things can recreate quiet and I can sit down for another couple of hours and work. Even late a night.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I always wanted to be a writer. I thought writers were the smartest most magical people in the world. I could create whole worlds and explain how everything works. Yup. That seemed way better than being President of the United States.
If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?

I’m going to have to go middle grade. Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle. I love that town where everyone watches over you and no one calls the police. I love being by the ocean. I love the freedom and the safety of that world.
And finally, what other projects, if any, are you working on?

I’m close to finishing a pretty good draft of a young adult novel. The working title is Truth Inside. It is about a girl who murders someone and then redeems herself by turning herself in. How do you redeem yourself when you have done the worst possible thing in the world? Here is a haiku I wrote to hone the focus of the novel:

She must trade her life

For the girl she killed one night

No win redemption

 

Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing. 
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Deceived: Soul Keeper Series by L. A. Starkey

 

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE Blog Tours
presents
 
L.A. Starkey’s 
SOUL KEEPER SERIES
 
 
They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.
But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?
The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.
But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?
What if your choices had eternal ramification?
Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.
 
Praise for DECEIVED
“This book! Oh my word. To sum it up in one word: amazing! L.A. Starkey absolutely slayed me with Deceived.” – Kristen, Pretty Little Pages Blog
 
“I love how the Greek myths are woven into this story with detail yet its still a modern high school romance. Sam is just an ordinary girl, mostly. The writing is tight and I got lost in the characters.” – Loren Weaver, Author of The Victoria Novak: Paranormal Division Series
 
“I read this book in one day because it kept me so engaged with the story that I didn’t want to put it down. There’s lots going on in the story, but it all flows really well and I like books with the ancient Gods and mythology of any nation.” – Rosie, Roses are Amber
 
“Just found LA Starkey and I am so excited I did! I love her writing style and the Soul Keeper series! I purchased book one and then went straight into book 2!” – W.J. May, Author of the The Chronicles of Kerrigan & The Senseless Series
 
“All I can say is WOW I was not expecting this at all. Deceived, (Soul Keeper Series 1) is a wonderful book and will keep your interest until the very end and leave you wanting more.” – JC Brennan, Author of The Fine Line, The Beginning
 
“The first thing that wow’ed me was the beautiful storytelling by Starkey. Just beautiful. This book had me guessing from the get-go – a sure sign that I’m hooked.” – KK Allen, Author of The Summer Solstice
 
BUY LINKS
 
DECEIVED is FREE for download everywhere
 
BOX SET of entire SOUL KEEPER SERIES
 
Amazon  
 
 

Sam smiled. “I should get going, it’s gonna get dark soon and my car is still in the shop. Bikeville, population one, here I come.”

Julie got up from the bed and moved closer. “Alright, but don’t forget I can’t talk tomorrow night. Brent and I are leaving right after school to go visit his aunt in Massachusetts.”

“Yeah, I remembered. That seriously blows about having to spend the whole evening with Brent.” Sam couldn’t help but laugh at Julie’s plight. “Sneak a call to me tomorrow night when everyone goes to sleep and fill me in on Brent’s latest skank conquest abroad.”

Julie smiled and gave her a quick hug. Sam returned the sign of affection and hurried downstairs, jogging out the front door and almost making it to her bike when someone cleared their throat. She turned around to see none other than the player himself.

“Yes?” Sam asked, trying not to smile at him and failing miserably.

“Leaving so soon?” Brent asked with a little boy pout on his face. “We were just about to order pizza. We don’t have dessert, but maybe you’d be willing to volunteer?”

“Volunteer to get dessert, huh? Never heard of the guest having to provide for the hosts, but coming from you, this isn’t a surprise.” Sam smirked at him as she jumped on her bike.

“Not get dessert, Samantha, be dessert.” Brent smiled devilishly, teasing her like he always did.

“And then you woke up.” Sam laughed and started to pedal away.

“You’re not even going to blow me a kiss? Shame, Sam, shame.”

Sam resisted flipping him the bird over her shoulder as she rode away.

The very thought of the challenging fifteen mile bike ride that lay ahead of her caused her adrenaline to surge. Laughter spilled from her lips as she stood, pumping her legs hard and fast before sitting down into a steady rhythm that offered her peace.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and even though the breeze had picked up, embracing Sam like a good friend, the warmth of the sun was putting up a mighty fight. Being someone who thrived outdoors, she loved that New Hampshire had four seasons and took profound joy in having the ability to experience all the weather gods could throw her way. After the first few warm up miles, Sam stood back up on her peddles and pumped out the next few miles with a good bit of effort.

Man, it feels good to get my blood pumping.

Sam looked to her left as a quick movement of yellow jotted between the trees.

“No!” A loud masculine voice rang out.

She jerked forward in time to swerve, barely missing the yellow lump lying in the road and instead hitting the curb. She plummeted off the bike, flying through the air and landing in a crouch. Her chest heaved in effort to gain much needed oxygen as all of the blood in her body rushed to its aid.

Her eyes quickly surveyed her surroundings as she cautiously rose. No one was close enough to create the loud protest that was still reverbing in her head. Trying to regain her composure, she worked to make sense of what had happened. I could’ve sworn there was something yellow in the trees. And then it was in the road, right?

 

She searched the ground finding nothing to support her internal claim.

Review

A young adult novel that involves Greek mythology = the perfect recipe for a good read in my opinion. There’s nothing quite like the irrational rage of the gods and teenage angst. Although I’ve read many children’s and YA books that incorporate Greek mythology, I have never come across a retelling or reinterpretation of Zeus vs Prometheus (with 3 pregnant Fates on the side). I actually don’t remember the original tale, so I guess I should refer to the ol’ Edith Hamilton when I have some free time.
Interesting plot aside, I must say that Starkey is a great poet. It can be difficult to emulate the style of a prophecy without sounding completely ridiculous while maintaining a decent rhyme. What she could work on though is her teenage voice and interests. “As if?” These kids are not of the 90’s era. I guarantee you will not hear girls saying this. There was some other phrase that made my ear bleed but I can’t remember it at the moment. And as great as Linkin Park is, I doubt kids nowadays have “In the End” on their playlist. A bit dated. Even a Lady Gaga reference is a bit dated because she doesn’t release music that often. Go with Taylor Swift. That girl releases multiple albums every year.
Nitpicks aside, I am curious to see which brother will win this battle. To be honest, I don’t care for either of them, nor for the gods they proxy for. But I wouldn’t mind reading the next two books to see if any of the fellas have redeeming qualities that make Sam’s choice easier for her.
 
L.A. Starkey is the author of the Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series.
 
She is a fulltime writer, and loves spending time with her family and reading a good book. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.
 
She also writes under the following pen name: Kate Thomas – NA/Adult Paranormal (http://amzn.to/1SKV9ey)
 
 
 

Never miss a new release! Join LA Starkey’s readers group and grab your free copy of The Beginning: The Prophecy for the Soul Keeper Series! http://eepurl.com/9Nrc1


 
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