Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 8, 2012
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

In Honor by Jessi Kirby is a bittersweet look at family, loss and growing up. From the first page, Kirby powerfully evokes Honor's complete devastation in the wake of her brother's death. Without Finn, Honor is lost at sea, not knowing which way to turn. Even before readers really get to know the heroine, their hearts will break at the hopelessness of her situation -- as orphans, Finn was not only Honor's brother, but also her father figure and friend. Without him, she feels utterly alone. In a desperate attempt to find meaning in a senseless tragedy, Honor sets off on a cross-country road trip to fulfill Finn's final wishes. Unfortunately, Finn's estranged best friend Rusty is along for the ride -- drunken stupor and all.

It's hard to know what to do with Rusty. He's drunken and abrasive, crass and a bit of a jerk, intruding his own issues on Honor's grief. At times, readers will wish that Honor would call Rusty out on his attitude, but as Kirby gradually reveals their long and complicated history, they will begin to see that his brashness comes from a dark and painful place. It takes a while, but ultimately Rusty becomes a sympathetic and even charming character. Honor's voice is clear and strong, though readers may occasionally grow frustrated with her naiveté. Both Honor and Rusty have something to learn from each other, and their sparring keeps the tension high and takes In Honor beyond the traditional story of youthful grief. Honor has a lot of growing up to do, and she learns that lesson the hard way with the help of constant misadventures and Rusty's brutal honesty.

 The slight romance in the novel effectively represents the need to continue living even though a loved one is gone. However, I wish Honor didn't need two men to take care of her and set her on the path to maturity. While it makes sense in the context of her relationship with her brother, the gender dynamic of her relationship with Rusty is slightly uncomfortable. Ultimately, though, her trip across the country gives Honor new wisdom and leaves the reader hopeful that she will take control of her own life in the future.

By their very nature, road trip novels are episodic, but Kirby skillfully turns this series of events into a touching journey of discovery and growth. There are crushing lows and transcendent highs as Honor grapples with her grief and the realization that her brother had secrets of his own. The final twist of the tale will warm readers' hearts and make them question the nature of fate, casting the rest of the story in a poignant new light and giving Honor's journey profound meaning. True to form, Kirby takes overwhelming sadness and spins it into a strand of hope.


Disclosure: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.

You may also like Moonglass by Jessi Kirby.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Launch Party & Giveaway: Unspent Time by Graham Parke

Unspent Time Launch Party

Get free books and win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%*
(* These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

From the award winning author of No Hope for Gomez! comes a collection of impossible tales. Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time; time that was allotted but never spent. This is where we find the stories that could have been true.

Such as the story of Kiala, whose caretaker disappears one day, leaving her as the sole Huntress to battle the giant octopi to feed her village. Or the revealing tale of Goki Feng Ho, the ancient Chinese art of decoding the meaning of car license plates. And the heartbreaking story of the man responsible for choosing the colors of the insides of your shoes. And letís not forget the story behind Unspent Time itself, the metaphysical ramifications of which will leave the scientific community feeling mostly indifferent about it for decades to come.

For the launch of the new novel I decided to discount it to $0.99 for today (PC and eBook), give away some exclusive content, and raffle off two Kindles. All entrants will get:

  • An exclusive spin-off novelette (not available for purchase anywhere!)
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signature for their paperback or kindle edition
  • Chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

(Prizes can be traded for Amazon gift certificates if you already own them.)

Just email your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com to enter.

Each purchase counts, so stock up on birthday presents (for people you don't like that much, for instance) The discount ends today, but be sure to send the receipts no later than June 1st.

(Or order the books from any bookstore.)
Coupon code for today: ZB77D

And then get by tweeting about your purchase: 

Sound bites from Unspent Time:

ìI'm looking into my past lives. I'm convinced some of them still owe me money.

ìI'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.

ìI didnít actually want to do it,î Kiala told the boy. The universe just kind of conspired to force me to make a fool of myself. It does that quite a lot, actually.

ìSadly, my socks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.

Here's what reviewers had to say:

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- BookReview.com

ìExtremely witty and clever writing.î -- California Chronicle

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.


Thanks so much to Graham for stopping by! Leave your questions in the comments and Graham will stop by to answer them throughout the day!

You can also check out my review of Graham's previous novel No Hope For Gomez!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Giveaway: Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Series: TBA
Publisher: Simon and Schuster BYR
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And you thought there were secrets in the Abby...

The Darlington family of Wentworth Hall, an elite British family, fills their time by caring for their extensive estate, and looking over their shoulders as they struggle to keep up an elaborate charade to hide their scandalous secrets of illicit romances, and bitter betrayals.

Wentworth Hall is a lush historical novel by debut author Abby Grahame, which is spot-on perfect for fans of Downton Abbey!

Thanks to Simon & Schuster, TWO (2) lucky readers will win a copy of Wentworth Hall by debut author Abby Grahame!

To Enter:
  • Leave a comment with your email address answering the following question:
If you could live in any historical era, which would you choose and why?
  • US only -- prize will be shipped by the publisher
  • Ends 5/8 at 11:59 pm EST
  • Two (2) winners will be randomly chosen
  • Following is appreciated, but not required
  • Please review my giveaway policy
  • +1 for each place you share this giveaway (leave links)

Good luck and come back next week to see my review!

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