TLC Book Tour: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Jenny Wingfield

Random House Trade Paperbacks

352 pages

Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

With the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield has created an enduring work of fiction.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake was one of those books that I was dying to read when it was first released.  I even started it last summer but had to put it aside for other obligations, so when the opportunity to review it came my way, I was thrilled.  Unfortunately, I realized pretty quickly that this book just wasn’t for me.  I was determined to stick it out, but I wanted to put it down within the first forty pages.

I guess my issue was the Southern, country setting.  I am not usually one for Southern fic, and this was no exception.  Everything about this one grated on me.  The language, the characters–it was not what I expected.

I always feel bad in instances like this because The Homecoming of Samuel Lake has been well received and it was more a case of clashing interests than anything else.  I urge you all to take my review with a grain of salt because I feel like I am in the minority with this one.  In other words, the problem is me, not the book!

About Jenny Wingfield

Jenny Wingfield lives in Texas with her rescued dogs, cats, and horses. Her screenplay credits include The Man in the Moon and The Outsider. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is her first novel.

 

 

Jenny Wingfield’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, July 11th:  Twisting the Lens

Thursday, July 12th:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life

Monday, July 16th:  Southern Girl Reads

Tuesday, July 17th:  The House of the Seven Tails

Thursday, July 19th:  The Lost Entwife

Monday, July 23rd:  Book Snob

Wednesday, July 25th:  Kritter’s Ramblings

Monday, July 30th:  A Novel Source

Wednesday, August 1st:  WV Stitcher

Monday, August 6th:  A Patchwork of Books

Wednesday, August 8th:  Reviews by Lola

Monday, August 13th:  A Musing Reviews

Monday, August 20th:  Colloquium

Wednesday, August 22nd:  Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Tuesday, August 28th:  Sweet Southern Home

Announcing Genevieve Wells

For those of you that are curious, I had my baby girl this past Thursday, August 2.  I was induced at 38 weeks due to high blood pressure.  After 16 hours of labor, including 3.5 hours of pushing, she was born vaginally.  Unfortunately I did have a few complications but they were pretty minor.  Baby G suffered a broken collarbone and is now battling jaundice too, but I feel so blessed because I know things could have been worse.

We’ve been told that baby has quite a temper on her but I think she is absolutely perfect! As tired as I am, I hate to put her down to even go to sleep because I don’t want to miss a single moment!

I am trying to get back into the swing of things but so far it hasn’t happened.  I haven’t cracked open a book since I went into labor on Wednesday (and I am right in the middle of Broken Harbor! I need to know what happens!) I refuse to stress about it though.  The most important thing is to enjoy my baby.  I am already upset at the prospect of her getting older and growing up.

TLC Book Tour: Darkness All Around

Darkness All Around

Doug Magee

Touchstone

352 pages

Risa is married to a local politican and has a teenage son from a previous marriage.  She owns a local diner and she seems to have it all.  Turns out though that her first husband disappeared years ago and has been declared legally dead.  Risa has no idea what has really happened to him.  Until the local high school’s Scrimmage Day when he shows up again.

Sean comes back out of the blue.  A recovering alcoholic, he is now in recovery and has come back to his small hometown to confess to the murder of his and Risa’s high school friend Carol, who was killed years ago.  Sean is having flashbacks of her dead body and he is convinced he is the killer, but Risa cannot fathom her former husband committing such an atrocity.

Darkness all Around was good but not great.  The mystery in itself was interesting enough but I felt like Magee didn’t go into the initial murder enough.  There was a chapter at the beginning of the book detailing the discovery of Carol’s body, but I never felt that there was a picture painted for the reader of the actual murder, which is kind of important when you’re talking about a murder mystery.

I also had issues with the characters. They seemed a little two dimensional to me.  I was able to understand who they were and what they were about, but I never really ended up caring about them or drawing a connection with any of them. It was unfortunate because I liked Sean and Risa and I was intrigued by their story, especially that of Sean, but it just never panned out.

My two main concerns made this book just an ok read for me.  I am glad I read it.  It kept me involved for the most part.  I just don’t think I’ll remember much of it in a few weeks time.

About Doug Magee

Doug Magee has been a photojournalist, screenplay writer, children’s book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protestor, college football player, amateur musician, and the basis of the Aidan Quinn character in Meryl Streep’s “Music of the Heart.” This is his first novel. He lives in Spanish Harlem with his wife and two teenaged children.

Learn more about Doug and his work at his website, dougmagee.com.

Doug Magee’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, June 19th:  Crime Fiction Lover

Thursday, June 21st:  You’ve GOTTA read this!

Monday, June 25th:  Bewitched Bookworms

Tuesday, June 26th:  Life in Review

Wednesday, June 27th:  House of Crime and Mystery

Thursday, June 28th:  Inside of a Dog

Monday, July 2nd:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Tuesday, July 3rd:  Reviews by Lola

Thursday, July 5th:  Chaotic Compendiums

Monday, July 9th:  Man of La Book

Tuesday, July 10th:  Wordsmithonia

Thursday, July 12th:  Well Read Wife

Monday, July 16th:  A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, July 17th:  Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, July 18th:  Reviews by Elizabeth A. White

Thursday, July 19th:  Drey’s Library

TBD:  Murder by Type

TBD:  Raging Bibliomania

The Sunday Salon: 7/01/2012

I bet you all are surprised to see me! I know I have been a bad blogger recently.  Some of you have asked for updates so I wanted to post about what has been going on recently.

Baby Genevieve should be her shortly.  My due date is August 16, however she is a BIG baby.  My doctor believes she will be a July baby and I hope he’s right! I am ready to be done with the constant heartburn and I am getting so swollen that I feel like the Michelin man!

We have been slowly getting everything we need and but for a few final touches, we are pretty much ready for baby.

Sorry about the photo quality–it was snapped on my phone!

Since this is a book blog, I suppose I should also talk about what I have been reading.  Here is what I read this week.

I enjoyed all three books but I must admit that I was disappointed with 84 Charing Cross Road.  I loved the wittiness but I just didn’t draw that connection that I had hoped for.  The other two books were great for holding my attention–especially The Future of Us.  I couldn’t put it down!

I have now moved on to Gone, Girl, by Gillian Flynn.  I was too tired last night to read anything but the first chapter (don’t you hate that!), but I can already tell I will love it.  It is the book club choice for my IRL book club this month so we’ll see how it fares.  I have a feeling it will be a resounding success!

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday and stays out of the heat!

TLC Book Tour: Into the Darkest Corner

Into the Darkest Corner

Elizabeth Haynes

Harper

416 pages

Cathy Bailey is a recluse.  She has a good job and she is a single woman in her mid twenties living in London.  She should be in the prime of her life, but instead Cathy is haunted by her past.

Cathy’s story is revealed thread by thread, but it becomes clear pretty early on that she has been the victim of an abusive relationship at the hands of her ex boyfriend who is currently incarcerated for almost killing her.  The story flips back and forth between the present and five years earlier, as Cathy was trapped in her relationship with Lee.  The present story deals with Cathy’s struggle with OCD, which has become her coping mechanism to deal with her intense fear.

Cathy is lucky to befriend her upstairs neighbor, Stuart, right around the time she discovers that Lee is being released from prison.  Because of his background in psychology, Stuart attempts to help Cathy overcome her fears as she deals with Lee’s release.

Into the Darkest Corner was originally published in the UK and it was named Amazon UK’s best book of 2011. I certainly believe that it deserves those accolades.  It was the type of book that I would pick up before bed and an hour or two would pass with the snap of a finger.  I couldn’t put it down.  It is the epitome of a psychological thriller.  Haynes encapsulated the severity of Cathy’s mental illness while still tying in Lee’s abuse and release from prison.

Cathy was such a genuine character but as the book went on, it became harder and harder for me to determine whether or not the danger she perceived was real or just in her head, which only added to the suspense.  It reminded me of SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and I am now yearning for other books in the same vein.

This is a great thriller that will keep you rapt during the sweltering summer days.

About Elizabeth Haynes

ELIZABETH HAYNES is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 with the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Elizabeth’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 22nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves

Wednesday, May 23rd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Thursday, May 24th: StephTheBookworm

Monday, May 28th: Jen’s Book Thoughts

Tuesday, May 29th: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, May 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, June 1st: A Worn Path

Monday, June 4th: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, June 5th: Book Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, June 6th: Book Addict Katie

Thursday, June 7th: Paperback Princess

Monday, June 11th: Mary’s Cup of Tea

Thursday, June 14th: Twisting the Lens

Saturday, June 16th: “That’s Swell!”

Monday, June 18th: Book Hooked Blog

Tuesday, June 19th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, June 25th: Reviews By Lola

Tuesday, June 26th: Life In Review

Wednesday, June 27th: A Bookworm’s World

Friday, June 29th: Proud Book Nerd

Wednesday, July 4th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Thursday, July 5th: Veronica M.D.

Monday, July 9th: Booksie’s Blog

Thursday, July 12th: MariReads

Friday, July 13th: My Life in Not So Many Words

TLC Book Tour: The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles

Karen Thompson Walker

Random House

288 pages

Julia awakes on a summer day to what seems like a normal Saturday.  It only takes a few minutes for everything to change dramatically.  The news stations suddenly have breaking news to report: the days are getting longer.  It’s only by a few minutes, but scientists are reporting that it’s indicative of the earth’s rotation slowing down.

As The Age of Miracles goes on, the situation quickly becomes more dire.  As the days go on, the idea of a 24 hour day becomes a distant memory.  The daylight hours stretch on for days, to be followed by long bouts of darkness.  The government decides to go ahead and stick with “clock time”, meaning that people are expected to live by the 24 hour clock regardless of whether 3am falls in the middle of the day or noon is smack dab in the middle of the night.  Conflict arises when some citizens decide to go by “real time”, meaning they sleep when the it is dark and stay awake during daytime hours.

There is a LOT of YA dystopian fiction out there.  I think we can all agree on that.  So it can be difficult for a debut author to step onto the scene and be successful. For that reason, I was kind of skeptical when I picked this one up.  I was interested in the premise, so it was a matter of whether or not Walker could deliver.  And guys, I am happy to say she did! The Age of Miracles was wonderful. I could not put it down!

There seemed to be a little something special about this book.  It kept me rapt, which is typical for YA dystopian but there also seemed to be an additional weightiness to the text that I don’t always find with the genre.  It almost seemed a little more realistic than what the genre typically offers.

I urge others to read this one ASAP.  It’s a great beach read because it will keep your attention from page one! I will definitely keep an eye out in the future for more from this author.

About Karen Thompson Walker

KAREN THOMPSON WALKER holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and is an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Simon & Schuster. The Age of Miracles is her first book.

For more information about Karen and The Age of Miracles, please visit the book’s website, www.TheAgeofMiracles.com, and Facebook page.

Karen Thompson Walker’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, June 4th:  Layers of Thought

Wednesday, June 6th:  Rhapsody in Books

Thursday, June 7th:  A Chick Who Reads

Monday, June 11th:  Reviews by Lola

Tuesday, June 12th:  Book Chatter

Wednesday, June 13th:  Alison’s Bookmarks

Thursday, June 14th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves

Monday, June 18th:  Inklings Read

Tuesday, June 19th:  Life in the Thumb

Wednesday, June 20th:  Under My Apple Tree

Thursday, June 21st:  Twisting the Lens

Monday, June 25th:  Taming the Bookshelf

Tuesday, June 26th:  Stephanie’s Written Word

Wednesday, June 27th:  Jen’s Book Den & Literary Review

Thursday, June 28th:  Conceptual Reception

Monday, July 2nd:  Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Tuesday, July 3rd:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life

Thursday, July 5th:  The Brain Lair

Monday, July 9th:  Great Imaginations

Tuesday, July 10th:  Sweet Southern Home

Wednesday, July 11th:  The Scarlet Letter

Thursday, July 12th:  In the Next Room

Monday, July 16th:  Regular Rumination

Tuesday, July 17th:  She Treads Softly

Wednesday, July 18th:  Book Addict Katie

Thursday, July 19th:  Fiction State of Mind

Monday, July 23rd:  Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, July 24th:  Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, July 25th:  Ashley Loves Books

Thursday, July 26th:  Becky’s Book Reviews

Date TBD: Tuesday, June 5th:  Book Drunkard

TBD: Chick Lit Reviews and News

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