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YA Author Jay Asher at Writers Block Bookstore

by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on September 23, 2016

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On October 20, from 6-8 pm, Writer’s Block Bookstore will host YA Author Jay Asher, most notable for his book “Thirteen Reasons Why.” The event is intended for ages 12 and up. Jay Asher will be promoting his newest book “What Light.” There will be a book signing as well as refreshments.

Jay Asher has toured the country, meeting and connecting with teens in literally all 50 states. He and his previous book, “Thirteen Reasons Why” have impacted and changed the lives of countless young adults. It has appeared regularly on the New York Times bestsellers list for the past 9 years, selling over 2.5 million copies in the US alone and is currently in production to be a 13-part series on Netflix.

In Asher’s newest book, What Light, he continues to focus on themes of hope and forgiveness. He says “I wrote this book for teens who have seen dark days, but hold on to the hope that things will get better.” What Light weaves together a thought provoking and emotionally uplifting narrative on self-love.

What Light focuses on Sierra, who’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. It’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

To pre-order What Light, go to the following link:

http://www.writersblockbookstore.com/event/jay-asher

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Man in the Blue Moon, by Michael Morris

by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on September 23, 2016

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Not that many men can write a female protagonist I believe in. Michael Morris is such a writer. In Man in the Blue Moon, Morris also manages to portray small-town, turn-of-the-century Florida with such realism I could feel the sweltering heat, smell the pine resin, and see the firefies flicker. Ella Wallace’s dreams, as a young woman, of studying art in France are cruelly smashed when her drug-addicted husband leaves her to run their country store and raise their three sons on her own. When the mysterious Lanier shows up and begins to help her in ways that we’re not sure are from God or the Devil, Ella’s family and the town are torn apart by events that keep the reader guessing, right up through the thrilling climax.

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There are so many things I want to study and understand in this one, short life. I have mostly studied writing, but art, music, and dance have a hold on my imagination, as well, so I love to read about such things, even as I realize I’ll never have the time or passion to pursue them.

Abstract art is such an area. Sure, I’ve heard of the greats, and viewed some of their work in some of the great galleries around the world. But I confess, I’ve never been taken with it much, knowing there was depth there, and tremendous skill required, but lazily deciding to emphasize more accessible work in the limited time I had to focus on art and artists.

In reading Blue Territory, I found in Robin Lippincott what I most needed, to dip my toe into the water: a talented writer whose passion for Mitchell’s work and dedication to studying it and bringing it to the world through the medium of words allowed me to see who she was and what she accomplished with her work.

I deliberately avoided viewing images of the artist’s work while I read Lippincott’s book, in the same way he says he avoided using those images in his publication, to allow the words to paint the story in the mind of his readers. Only after I finished his pages did I finally see her paintings on the screen, with a depth of understanding and feeling I surely would have lacked, viewing them cold.

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Following Disasters, by Nancy McCabe

by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on September 22, 2016

Nancy McCabe has written an easy-to-read, complicated book. At first, I was irritated that her protagonist, Maggie-Kate Owen, receives a magnificent Victorian house when her estranged aunt conveniently dies on Maggie’s twenty-first birthday. Unattached, an orphan, with no particular interests to prohibit relocation, she tidily packs up and moves her life, like a blank slate, to its new location. There’s even an easy-on-the-eyes love interest next door. We should all have such troubles, yes?

But as the novel moved back and forward in time, including inserts from her Aunt Beth’s journals (“This Diary Belongs to Elizabeth Margaret Owens – Everyone Else Keep Out”) the multi-layered story began to capture my imagination. Family secrets, including illness, loss, and betrayal, are teased out with a delicate hand. Why is Maggie so apathetic? What is Erin up to? Who is Carol, really? Is the house haunted? Is Maggie possessed?

Rarely has a psychological thriller caused me to care so much about the characters. Rarely has a ghost story lingered as hauntingly.

(Available 11/1/16 from Outpost19 Books)

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