Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Really Random Tuesday #52: Supernatural Freak, and a Giveaway Winner


Editor and writer Louisa Klein from Lost in Fiction invited me to participate in the cover reveal event for her new book, Supernatural Freak, the first in a four-book series for readers of all ages, but aimed especially at a young audience.  With a striking cover created by Harper and Collins digital artist Regina Wamba, Supernatural Freak, an urban fantasy set in London, is the story of Robyn Wise, a girl in her twenties who possesses an arresting assortment of paranormal abilities.  Supernatural Freak, the first fiction project for Lost in Fiction, will be available in ebook form beginning on August 8, 2012.

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And now, ladies and gents, the moment many of my readers have been waiting for!  The lucky winner of my giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card is Leslie, from Under My Apple Tree.  Congratulations, Leslie!  I hope you'll enjoy shopping at Amazon as much as I do.

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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of.  Often I announce giveaway winners in these posts.  If you're inspired by this idea, feel free to "grab" the button for your own blog, and leave a link to your post in the comments.  For another recent Really Random Tuesday post, filled with book-related news and tidbits, please visit Vivienne's blog, Serendipity Reviews.

As always, thanks for reading! Your comments are welcomed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday: Some Summer Books


Oh, the many woes of book blogging! Books are not always the easiest subjects to photograph, especially when you have several or many to include.  It seems that at least one of them will "act up", and refuse to cooperate in some manner.  A book cover won't stay flat, or there may be distracting shadows in the photo.  In spite of these difficulties, though, I brought my newest "mailbox" books outside and photographed them with my phone. Wisely, my new books realized that this was their chance to make a good first impression, and cooperated. ;) 

I received Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (of Arrested Development fame!) from the author's agent, Anna. I won Charlie: A Love Story by Barbara Lampert from Naida's blog, the bookwormThe Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe arrived from the publisher for an upcoming TLC book tour, and In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell is a mystery I won recently from Harvee's blog, Book Dilettante.  Last and certainly not least, I received The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith by Joanna Brooks from her agent, Jill; I'm planning to interview this author soon.


Mailbox Monday, one of my favorite memes, continues to be on tour, and has been hosted this month by Mrs. Q, Book Addict. What books arrived in your mailbox recently, or from elsewhere?

I haven't posted (or read) much this month, because I just had LASIK eye surgery and felt my eyes needed a break, but I did want to showcase some of the new books I've gotten this summer.  And remember that today's the last day to enter my international giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, if you haven't already done so!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Young Men Shall See

Published in 2012, Young Men Shall See by Scott Thompson is a coming of age story about Gus Ambrose, set in the 1980s in River Falls, Georgia.  Gus is a seventeen-year-old left at home alone while his parents nurture the musical career of his younger brother, Dante, a prodigy.  While his family is away, Gus depends on his group of friends, Ogie, Darwin, Cassady, Yonah, and Elena, for both support and excitement. The boys are members of a group called the S.S.D., the Society of Social Deviants.  Not surprisingly, they get into more than a trifle of trouble as they strive to become more independent.

Young Men Shall See kept my attention throughout, and I finished this short book within a few days.  Because of their age, Gus and his friends grapple with sex and love in an awkward, juvenile manner.  Much of the book's drama stems from the fact that Gus' friend, Ogie, has fallen in love with a beautiful black girl, Kendi, during a time when interracial dating was still quite rare in the South. The book is action-packed, full of youthful adventures and drama.  However, this relates to what I didn't particularly relish about the story: the adventures centered on reckless behaviors depicted in this book, the drinking and driving, and the fighting, which I thought was overly violent and superfluous at times.  I was surprised that Gus was allowed to live by himself for relatively long periods while his parents traveled with Dante; this did not seem like an altogether realistic premise to me.  So, I had some issues with the book.  For the most part, though, I found the book absorbing.  I liked most of the characters in this novel, especially Gus, the protagonist, who consistently tries to do the right thing, and reassures his family that he's fine while they're away by writing them letters, even when he's (secretly) going through much turmoil.  The author manages to capture the intensity and value of friendship at this age, as well as the wildness of many teenagers, in a truthful and engaging way.  This book is certainly not boring!

After reading Young Men Shall See, my curiosity led me to ask the author a few questions, which he graciously answered.

1) Scott, to what extent are the adventures in your story based on your own experiences?

ST: Many of the adventures in the book started with real experiences, but in the book the stories went in the direction the characters took them.  Some of the characters started as real people, but evolved into their own in the book.  The stories in the book evolve too, which is most often different from the original stories. There are some things that I obviously didn't do in real life, but the historical events, situations, and internal conflicts were the same.


2) Do you think the kind of drinking in the book is (still) the norm among teens in the South, as a relief to boredom?

ST: Teens probably drink a lot more now, and not just in the South, but I do think many are more aware of the dangers than in the past.  Underage drinking is about more than just boredom.  A big part of it is simply being irresponsible, and some of it comes from the desire to experience the forbidden, or to overcome inhibitions.  Alcohol is very dangerous when abused, and teenagers and young adults do abuse alcohol often and with zeal.  One solution is for parents to talk to their kids about drinking. They need to tell their kids what went wrong during their experimental years.  Ignoring it, saying "just don't do it," and pretending your kids won't abuse alcohol isn't a solution.  When a teenager dies from drinking and driving it's important to show this to your kids.  Now that I've said this I have to note that some of the best times in my life have involved alcohol.  It's not all bad, especially if it's abused correctly and safely. ;)


3) Because of the fighting and violence in the book, do you think your novel would appeal more to boys than girls?  Is your book for young adults?

ST: It probably appeals more to males, but I've talked to plenty of women who like the book too. There's a part of me that hates that books are marketed to a specific demographic.  I've read books before that were marketed to women that I enjoyed very much.  Several of my favorite books were written by and often for African Americans, but they still touched me, a white man.  I may take something different away from a book than another demographic, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have value for me too.  If anything it helps me to better understand others and hopefully makes me a better person. This book wasn't written for teenagers, and it's definitely not in the YA genre, but most older teenagers are probably find reading the book.  It doesn't hold back, and isn't meant for the easily offended, but I believe it is honest.  Sometimes painfully honest.

Thank you, Scott, for sending me a complimentary copy of your book, and for answering my questions. I think that Young Men Shall See would make a very touching movie (Brother Louie would need to be included on the soundtrack). Your novel is bold and honest, and I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.

As always, comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Really Random Tuesday #51: Book Winners

Does Laura mean lucky?  The lucky winner of the literary novel River in the Sea by Tina Boscha is Laura from Laura's Reviews.  Additionally, I had to draw a new winner for the book I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits, because I haven't heard from the first winner, and had no email address to use to contact her.  The new winner is Laura Kay from A Novel Review.  Many congratulations to both Lauras!  



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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and  book-related things you can think of. I often announce my book winners in these Tuesday posts.  If you're inspired by this idea, feel free to "grab" the button for your own blog, and leave a link to your post in the comments.  Please visit Leslie's blog, Under My Apple Tree, for another Really Random Tuesday post.  Leslie's post has earned her an additional entry in my $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!

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Some of the books reviewed here have been provided
to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents,
in exchange for my honest reviews.