Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: BLOODLINE by Joe Jiménez

I reviewed Bloodline (Piñata Books an imprint of Arte Público Press) by Joe Jiménez for Lone Star Literary Life. This is YA fiction for lovers of language.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? —Mary Oliver

Abram is seventeen, living with his grandmother in San Antonio. His father died when he was three years old — no one will tell him how or why — and his devastated and overwhelmed mother left soon after. Abram has had four fights and two suspensions this school year, and it’s not yet Thanksgiving. His grandmother is distraught; she worries that Abram needs a man to model male adulthood for him, that her example, love, and care cannot suffice. She lost Abram’s father; she will not lose him, too. Enter Tío Claudio, bombastic, volatile, manipulative, and avaricious.

Bloodline is the debut novel from Joe Jiménez. This slim volume of young adult fiction is rich in emotion and language, diving deep into the perilous psychological territory of violence, harboring a final plot twist that caused me to fall silent and still.

The plot of Bloodline is simple, the pace steady. Jiménez employs a second-person point of view for Abram’s narrative, for reasons that aren’t clear until near the end of the story. It’s a difficult narrative mode, but elegant and haunting in this writer’s hand. The characters are relatable and complex — notably Abram and his girlfriend, the smart, red-headed Ophelia — and allowed a good deal of further development. Jiménez portrays the essence of Abram’s grandmother through her physicality, her “voice like a hand smoothing out a bedsheet.” We can gauge the atmosphere in the house by the grandmother’s hands.
Click here to read the entire review. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

VIDEO GUEST POST: Chris Cander launches WHISPER HOLLOW at Brazos Bookstore!



Chris Cander
Genre: Literary Fiction / Friendship
Publisher: Other Press
Date of Publication: March 17, 2016
Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Set in a small coal-mining town, Whisper Hollow is full of secrets, love, and betrayal, where Catholicism casts a long shadow and three courageous women make choices that will challenge our own moral convictions.
            One morning in Verra, a town nestled into the hillsides of West Virginia, the young Myrthen Bergmann is playing tug-of-war with her twin, when her sister is killed. Unable to accept her own guilt, Myrthen excludes herself from all forms of friendship and affection and begins a twisted, haunted life dedicated to God. Meanwhile, her neighbor Alta Krol longs to be an artist even as her days are taken up caring for her widowed father and siblings. Everything changes when Myrthen marries the man Alta loves. Fourteen years later, we meet Lidia, a teenage girl in the same town, and her precocious son, Gabriel. When Gabriel starts telling eerily prescient stories that hint at Verra’s long-buried secrets, it’s not long before the townspeople begin to suspect that the boy harbors evil spirits—an irresistible state of affairs for Myrthen and her obsession with salvation. Rendered in exquisite prose, Whisper Hollow is an extended reflection on guilt, redemption and the affirmation of life in this early 20th century Appalachian community.


~Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)
“Cander divinely delves into multiple points of view, crafting a collage of vibrant, layered characters while charting six decades of poignant, precise moments. A distinctive novel that sublimely measures the distressed though determined heartbeat of a small mountain community.”
~Shelf Awareness (STARRED REVIEW)
“Cander weaves together the stories of these varied characters across nearly five decades with skill and grace, and in her hands, Whisper Hollow grows into much more than the sum of its many parts. The result is a memorable novel about the bonds of town and family, the strength of friendships in unlikely places and the power of secrets to shape a life–or many lives–often without anyone even recognizing it.”
“Cander superbly envisions the town, its residents’ dynamics, and the early twentieth-century immigrant experience…[and] rewards the reader with…well-developed, believable characters whose mental fortitude and capacity to love linger in the reader’s mind long after the last page.”
~Publishers Weekly
“[Whisper Hollow] is inextricably rooted in West Virginia coal country—the rough locale that determines and intertwines [Cander’s] characters’ fates…Cander closely tracks how Myrthen’s and Alta’s romantic decisions unknowingly complicate each other’s lives in the lead-up to a tragic incident that bisects the novel…[and] admirably captures the lack of choice that men and women have in rural West Virginia.”
~Library Journal
“Spare, elegant writing by the author of 11 Stories evokes a bleak atmosphere and creates a smooth, compelling narrative… much of the prose is so outstanding, this writer is clearly gifted.  Give this literary, plot-driven novel to those who enjoy the West Virginia setting and who like a gentle handling of their tragedies.”


* or Signed Copies from Brazos Bookstore *

VIDEO GUEST POST: Chris Cander launches Whisper Hollow at Brazos Bookstore


Chris Cander is a novelist, children’s book author, screenplay writer, and writer-in-residence for Houston-based Writers in the Schools. Her novel Whisper Hollow was selected as an Indie Next pick and nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize in fiction and her award-winning novel 11 Stories was included in Kirkus’s best indie general fiction of 2013. Her children’s book The Word Burglar received the silver 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Reading Skills & Literacy. Her animated feature film Germs! is currently in pre-production with Cinsesite in partnership with Comic Animations. Chris well knows that the pen is mightier than the sword, but she’s willing to wield one of those, too. A former fitness competitor and model, she currently holds a 3rd dan in taekwondo and is a certified ICSU Women’s Defensive Tactics Instructor. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Author’s Guild, the Writers’ League of Texas, PEN, and MENSA.





September 13 - September 22, 2016

Author Interview 1
Video Guest Post
Author Interview 2
Author Interview 3

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