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I am excited to be part of the blog tour for Tameka Brown’s newest picture book — My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood! Welcome, Tameka! *and the crowd goes wild!* Tameka graciously answered some of my questions below. I hope you are as inspired by her responses as I am. Her interview made me want to go …
Hello my fine feline friends, the Daemons in the Mist Virtual Book Tour kicks off tomorrow Saturday June 9th and runs through June 23rd. We’ll be joining a lot of fabulous bloggers, so be sure to check out the blogs below on their tour dates to find some awesome Daemons content!
How could this get more awesome?
By visiting the tour stops below and participating in the fun, you will go into the drawing to win the grand prize giveaway. A signed print edition of the book, a Marked Ones art prize pack and a custom portrait of yourself transformed into a daemon, complete with awesome horns!
Once in a while comes a book so encompassing of experience it holds the potential to touch each person’s heart. WOW’s own Chynna Laird has written such a book; today we are very proud to share with you White Elephants, a memoir.
White Elephant is a term used to describe a difficult issue people would rather overlook or ignore. Chynna’s family had a very large elephant devouring their very foundation and the only person willing to name it was a small girl named Tami who stood her ground against the charging pachyderm.
The heart of this raging beast is a mother thrown out of control by bipolar disorder and alcoholic binges. Despite loving relatives and friends, the children find themselves alone in a world of pain and confusion. Where others may have crumbled, Tami raised herself up.
As an adult Tami took on her first name, Chynna; this is her remarkable story of abuse, survival, and triumphant recovery. White Elephants will touch your heart. Within these pages you might see your own story, or that of a neighbor or your best friend.
Chynna couldn't help her mother, but she would consider it worth everything if her family's story helped another. That said, writing a memoir and promoting that memoir are two very separate experiences. It takes a strong soul to reveal what, for many of us, still lies in the closet. We feel honored to launch White Elephants on The Muffin today.
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of White Elephants, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, April 19 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #WhtElephts, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day--Friday, April 20. Good luck!
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes” is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.
About the book:
Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and spins all over the place. But what he hates even more are the special shoes that have been made for him that will help him to walk just like all the other kids. Willie thinks that they are the “stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world.”
Discover how sometimes we worry about things about ourselves when actually there is nothing to worry about in the first place.
My take on the book:
Teaching young children that differences are okay is one of the building blocks necessary for children to be able to show empathy for others. The author, Larry Peterson, takes on this issue of accepting differences in an engaging and light-hearted manner. Children ages 4-8 will be able to easily identify with Willie’s feelings of being different and standing out.
While the storyline was definitely geared for children 4-8 years of age, I thought some of the pages had a lot of words. I think this could make it a little difficult for younger children to read. Yet because the story is engaging and fun, it does seem to make an excellent book to read aloud with younger children. I really liked the illustrations accompanying the story as well. I thought they helped express the emotions elicited in the story very nicely.
I did have one little pet peeve about the story. I really am not a fan of using the word ‘stupid’ in children’s books. I know it sounds prudish but I worked for many years as a teacher’s aide in special education classrooms, and I also owned a business where I provided respite care for families of children with special needs. I simply heard too many children during those years get called that word. I really enjoyed this book and I think the message is excellent, but that word strikes a chord in me which I can’t shake.
That being said, I was thrilled to see the excellent discussion questions provided at the en
Born in Oakley, Michigan. Maximus grew up with the best family a dog could have. Maximus’s family includes him on many exciting adventures. When Maximus is not sleeping, he enjoys walks, car rides, and of course his favorite treat, “Peanut Butter Treats.” Also, he likes playing with his new brother Wrigley and his many animal and human friends. Maximus’s is now an award winning children’s book and has a book series called, “Read with Max.” Children and adults of all ages can relate with his stories, pictures and adventures told from his prospective.
About the author:
An award winning childrens book author, Anthony Majewski was born in Detroit, Michigan. Anthony grew up in a family of four that relocated round the country for nearly eleven years. At the age of eight, he started his moving adventures from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan to Northbrook, Illinois to Plano, Texas then to Long Island (Glen Cove), New York and finally what he refers to as home, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. Anthony graduated college earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University and earned a Masters Of Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing from Walsh College. After college, he and his wife Julie started their family with the addition of their first dog Maximus, an English Labrador Retriever. They also added to their family by rescuing Wrigley, a Basset Hound. Maximus inspired Anthony’s breakthrough award winning children’s book, “Dogs Move Too! From Max’s Point of View!” plus “Color with Max Activity and Coloring Book”. Anthony and his wife Julie intend to continue adding stories of Maximus and their other family pets in a children’s book series “Read with Max.” When Anthony is not working, he enjoys boating, playing racquetball, and of course spending time with his best friends, Maximus and Wrigley.
About the book:
Did you know that dogs work too? My name is Maximus, but you can call me ?Max.? I?m a six-year old yellow English Labrador Retriever and I just went on an adventure. I learned about working dogs, especially Leader Dogs for the Blind. As you read my story, I’ll share my adventure with you from my point of view. If humans can work, then dogs can work too!
Emma Piers was born in Kent in 1958. She has combined her skills in creative writing with her background in counselling,to create her therapeutic stories. All her work is co-created with her partner Mark Turner, who provides the illustrative content. Emma attended creative writing courses when her two children were young, and started writing as a hobby from that time onwards. She lives in Dorset, and loves wandering along the amazing coastlines, walking in the New Forest, and exploring and learning about natural environments everywhere.
About the book:
These stories are aimed towards helping children ages 5 – 11 years develop confident, happy and peaceful self identities, particularly during challenging times. The stories explore four themes common to many children: childhood bereavement, separation, bullying, and childhood anxiety and depression. Written in third person to enable the child to impersonalise themselves from the story content, rich metaphor and imagery is used through out to help the child absorb healing messages that are helpful to them.
The author uses her background experience in counselling, to help children who are struggling with feelings like guilt, shame, depression, and other immobilizing and self destructive emotions. During times of change and challenge, it is very easy, and often inevitable, that a child can assume they they’ve done ‘something wrong’ and there’s ‘something wrong ‘with them. The author uses various fantasy characters who undergo various challenges, and are shown by their friends, in ways that children can respond and relate to easily, that they are not the cause of the circumstances. The book has been carefully crafted to help children develop a sense of wholeness, happiness, peace and self confidance. This helps them avoid self injurious preoccupations with seeking other’s approval, or need to control and dominate, as they become older.
Author Audrey Vernick is unflinchingly honest and gasp-for-breath funny, in real life and on the page. When I first met her we were at our literary agent's writer retreat in an idyllic setting near Boston, with a reservoir perfect for kayaking, woodsy paths ideal for writerly contemplation, tables on the patio just right for manuscript inspiration. And a wide, green lawn that I kept hearing hosts frolicking baby foxes early in the mornings -- but I never saw them even though one morning I did get up very early to jog. This was a lovely backdrop for meeting Audrey and other stellar members of our agent's client list. At such events my strategy is to memorize names and analyze people quickly. Instantly I pegged Audrey as sort of a sister. To me this means she can take endless ribbing (and get even) but she also has a huge heart. She's deep. Compassionate. She plays fair. By now she knows some of my worst faults and insecurities but never uses them against me.
We drove for ice cream one night --
Erin Murphy, literary agent, and Audrey Vernick, literary author
and Audrey's group got lost. (Probably her fault.) We gave up looking for them and drove back to the retreat center, but I remember worrying -- not for their safety, but for us. Audrey's little, but she's a big part of any party.
Rich Wallace is the author of many award-winning books for children and teenagers, including Wrestling Sturbridge, Sports Camp, Perpetual Check, and the “Kickers” and “Winning Season” series. He lives with his wife, novelist Sandra Neil Wallace, in Keene, NH. A note from Rich: ”Bloggers might like to know that, like Brody in War & Watermelon, I was 12 years old in 1969 and living in suburban New Jersey, just becoming aware of the war and the music and the other world-changing events of that summer. I also had an older brother who was eligible for the draft, which caused considerable concern in our household and informed the events of this novel.” Learn more about Rich and his books on his website, www.richwallacebooks.com.
About the book:
It’s the summer of 1969. We’ve just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he’ll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves.
My take on the book:
I was really intrigued by the description of this book when I was offered an opportunity to read and review it.
I wasn’t disappointed either. War and Watermelon is a quick read and I read it over the course of a day and found it hard to put down.
Although War and Watermelon is recommended for ages 9-12 years, I thought it was definitely more of a young adult novel. There are some pretty heavy duty issues addressed in this novel, mainly focused around whether Brody’s older brother Ryan will enroll in college before he gets drafted to go to war in Vietnam. I didn’t have an issue personally with any of the subject matter in the book (the “activities” at Woodstock i.e. drinking beer, smoking pot and language). I just think it’s a book more suited for young adult readers ages 12 and above.
All in all, this book makes an excellent summer read. I think librarians and teachers would be interested in adding this to their classrooms as well. Wallace does an excellent job of bringing the political turmoil of the late 60s to life for readers, even if it is through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. Don’t worry though, the book isn’t just centered around the topic of the Vietnam War. There’s a few laughs in here, as well as some football (Brody has made the local team as a running back/linebacker). I’d have no problem recommending this book to a male teen reader in your life.
The HUNTED book blog tour starts today! You can read my opening post at A Novel Outing. Over a few weeks, you can read interviews with me, guest posts I wrote, reviews of HUNTED, and have the chance to win copies of HUNTED and SCARS. I hope you’ll take part!
My friend Kim Norman has a book out today. Congratulations, Kim! Please clear a path while I sing. :::soft, sweet, clear voice::: Happy birthday to you, :::a little louder::: Happy Birthday To Youuu, :::picking up steam::: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR KIM'S BOOOK, :::screeching now::: H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y T O O O O O O Y O U U U U !!! :::curtsying:::
I'm having trouble with an idea for a blog post! I have received two author requests for book reviews that I'm happy about, but I have to read the books before I can write them!
I 'm also polishing the July story for my Bizzy, The Bizzy Dog blog series, although I still don't have a title for this months story. I like to put a story away for a few days before doing a final rewrite, so here I am with the week-end quickly approaching and no blog post!
I decided to visit the "Helium" web site for help. A few months ago before I started writing my blog I wrote a few articles for the site. It's fun, but I haven't had time to play there, since starting this blog, so when I went back this morning I was delightfully shocked! They have redone the web site, with some great new feature enhancements, a debate forum, and even new channel champion contests!
Plus many of my articles have risen to the top like a helium balloon! ;) It's great! One of my articles popular on Helium got my attention, so I decided why not post iton my blog. It's about My Random act of stupidity one Christmas when my son was just a baby. It was written around April fools day so forgive the reference-
How To Entertain Yourself With A Random Act Of Stupidity-
Random acts of stupidity, cheap thrills, I like to call them, are cheap entertainment! It doesn't cost you a penny! That is of course if you aren't hurting anyone else's feelings or property. This is a good subject, especially around April Fools day, which is the national day for random acts of stupidity. Every year the same people fool me on April fools day. I hate it because, I know what day it is, and they still get me every year! It's ridiculous. My son threw a fake lizard on me this year while I was asleep, (I will take his keys away from him the first chance I get) and I screamed so loud you would have thought my ceiling was crumbling down on top of me! Well, I may not be a good April Fool day fooler, but I m great with a random act of becoming a complete idiot any day!
I'm a single parent, and when my son was small, Christmas time was stressful. One year I was sitting with a friend , and my little boy, (my son was a baby then) in a fast food restaurant. We were talking about Christmas , and I was explaining to her how I was budgeting my money and , well, she came up with a proposition for me! She said ,"What if you got on the table and sang whatever that song is you love so much right in the middle of the restaurant?" When I looked at her (actually pondering the question), we both smiled like children. Then she said, "What do you think people would do?"
We were so young (although, I think it's funny today) we decided there was only one way to find out. Guess what I did? You got it! For fifty dollars, I got on the table in a fast food restaurant, and sang the song, New York, New York! My son, who was 18 months old at the time, sang back up!
My friend did not think I was going to do this of course, but I really wanted to get my son a particular gift for Christmas! I'm lucky I was not in jail!
What a random act of stupidity! But, boy, was it fun!
Random acts of stupidity? Did I have one!
Author note- I bought my son the gift I wanted so badly to purchase that year. It was a twist -a-twirl his father and I spent the entire Christmas eve pulling our hair out to put it together, but he loved it- They 're worth aren't they?
You can read the same article and other more intellectually stimulating articles of mine on Helium.com
Thanks for reading and have a great week-end! But, come back and read my new blog story featuring my character Bizzy on Monday! The link for the first story is under the category for children's stories entitled Bizzy, The Busy Dog.
Hi, Karen! I'm so excited about your newest book, My Even Day, and excited to help you along on your book blog tour.
1. You are from a family with a bunch of kids born in a short number of years, just like me. How did that affect your art? As second of five, do you feel like an oldest kid or a middle kid?
I think both nature and nurture have had their influence on how I became an illustrator. I want to point out here that even as a very young child it was all about illustration for me – not fine art. I never wanted to be a fine artist and the reason I didn’t go to the nearby Cleveland Institute of Art is that it is a fine art school. It wasn’t until I discovered CCAD that I knew that was where I belonged.
I feel like the oldest. My brother is one year older than me and then I have stair stepping sisters, so I was leader of the girls (leader of all until my brother got taller than me in high school). I still feel that big sister need to round up my chicks and herd them where they need to go, not that I am a natural leader, just a chick herder.
2. What kind of art did you like to do as a kid? Has any part of your art remained constant?
I was a very typical kid. I enjoyed art and it was always very exciting for me, but I wasn’t particularly driven. I went through the horse profile stage like every other girl. I had a pretty dynamite high school art experience and was able to try lots of different things. Drawing and painting have remained the constant and the work always looks like I did it – even when I look back on older work, there is something soft and Karenish about the work. That’s sort of frustrating but it’s also what contributes to the style.
3. You're married to an artist! That must make for some interesting dinner table conversations at your house. How do you keep your work separate? How do you keep from morphing with him into a third, between-the-two sort of entity?
Yes! Our conversations can be pretty fun. I love being married to Tim the guy, but I am really fortunate to be married to Tim the artist. We have always kept each other passionate about art and that is precious. He turns me on to artists outside the children’s publishing world and that keeps me more in tune with what is happening in the broader world of illustration. I don’t think we keep our work separate and I’m glad.
We have had several overlapping clients over the years – one of his clients will call me not knowing that we are married, and the other way around. Although our work is different there is definitely an influence on each other. I am actually ready to morph with him now (oh, how he loves to hear that!). It took some maturity on my part to be able to think of working with him on something and we are beginning to. He is much more adventurous in his art than I am and I want to tap into his bravery, lean on him a little. And I think the art could be pretty spectacular!
What we don’t do is critique each other. We need to stay married and it is too hard to not take criticism personally.
4. Describe the perfect career path for you.
I want to continue to illustrate other people’s writing. I want to be offered work that challenges me to continue to move forward rather than stay in place. I want to continue to write and gain the confidence and skills to create something enduring and universal. I want to be able to delight in the work I am doing (as I am now). I don’t want to map out where the path ends up but find my way as I go. When I look back at where I’ve come from I am grateful that it led me here and I have certainly guided it, butI have also allowed for synchronicity and I know that will influence what becomes of me next.
5. Are you active in SCBWI or any other writer groups? What kind of stuff you do for them? And what do you get out of it?
Yes! I am very active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators here in the Carolinas. I am the Illustration Coordinator for our chapter – which really means I am the head cheerleader and wrangler for the artists in the organization. I coordinate the art for our quarterly newsletter and occasionally provide articles. We are having our 15th annual fall conference beginning this Friday and I have been very involved in the planning for that. I love this organization and as much as I have put into it, I have received back in spades. It was through my first conferences and the SCBWI online discussion board that I learned the fundamentals of both the art of writing and illustrating for children, and then the business side of the profession. I entered contests (and won), found my publisher, found both online and local critique groups, and most importantly I found myself. I feel like I have a close circle of friends that I can count on, and a larger community that I can be inspired by.
6. You're only 29. Barely out of school and already making a name for yourself. What's different than what you expected, at this stage in the publishing game? What surprised you? What most pleases you?
Ha ha – yeah, 29. The real story is that I spent fifteen years doing storyboards in advertising and after I had both my kids I was exposed to children’s publishing for the first time. I decided to begin building my children’s portfolio when my youngest was two – and now she’s ten. So eight years is no meteoric rise. That is what I didn’t expect. I was shocked at how little I knew about creating effective picture book art, and then how long it took to have someone take the risk of signing me to do a book.
What pleases me? After years of being frustrated with my artwork almost all the time, I am now frustrated with it less than half the time. So for me the process has become the most fun. I love the early concepting phases and all the excitement that brings as ideas come together. I love drawing, I love painting. I love showing the finished result to people and seeing them react to it.
It's Paco time! New this week: Paco and the Giant Chili Plant, written by Keith Polette, published by Raven Tree Press, and illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. To celebrate, Elizabeth's blogging author/illustrator buddies are sending her on a book blog tour. For my stop in the tour, I've asked her 6 questions. Read her answers, below, and then check out the other station stops in her tour. And buy her book! --------------------------- 1. Which title do you take more pride in, author or illustrator? --------------------------- I was an illustrator first, so it's the title I'm most comfortable with, however, I probably take it for granted. The author tag is new and still somewhat untested. Although I've sold many articles, a short story, a poem, have won honorable mention in several writing contests and am writing my second novel, I have yet to see my name on the cover of a published book as author. So that's what I covet the most right now. --------------------------- 2. I admire that you took a lot of time to develop your work, a few years ago, to get it ready to submit to publishers. That takes patience and persistence. Care to share how you did it? --------------------------- Oh, I was sending work out while I tried to develop my style, don't get me wrong! I just hadn't found my voice yet and there wasn't much interest until I did. To find it, I experimented with everything: acrylics, oils, gouache, markers, colored pencils, you name it. The supplies are scattered around my office . . . somewhere. It wasn't until I went back to the computer and the software program, Painter, that I sprouted wings. (I'd dabbled with Painter for years, but frankly, computers weren't up to the task until just a few years ago. It's a behemoth of a program.) --------------------------- 3. Describe your best speaking gig so far. --------------------------- Hands down, the Decatur Book Festival. Now heading into its third year, it started up right after I moved to the area. The owner of my favorite independent bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, is in charge of the children's stage and has been so supportive of my career. That first year, I read GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE to a crowd of hundreds under the children's tent - what a thrill! --------------------------- 4. What competes for your time, and how do you manage to give your writing and illustration work the time it needs? --------------------------- I just work my tail off, no way around it. I have two muses fighting for 100% of my time and it's tough to keep them appeased. --------------------------- 5. What are your goals for your work? --------------------------- I always want to produce the absolutely best work I can, which can be challenging when I'm not given enough time or have too much on my plate. But I got into children's books to create inspired work, work that attempts to be in the same league with that of my heroes (children's book illustrators). My goal is for my work to entrance and transport the viewer to magical places. --------------------------- 6. Now that Paco's out, what are you working on next?--------------------------- Lots! I'm writing my second novel (the first is with my agent). I'm illustrating the second two books in a parental aid picture book series - I also illustrated the first two which come out this June. I'm finishing up a few coloring book covers and writing more picture book stories. And of course, I've got lots of engagements lined up to celebrate Paco! I can't wait! (My calendar of events: http://dulemba.com/index_schedule.html ).
In keeping with my fellow bloggers' recipe offerings, here's mine: Five Year Old Quesadillas(pronounced Kay-sah-DEE-yahs) (so named because they're easy enough for a 5-year-old to make -- not because they're old ;) 1. Lay a flour tortilla on a glass dish. 2. Sprinkle it with about 4 tablespoons of grated cheese, more or less to taste. Grated cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack or a taco blend all work well. 3. Top with another flour tortilla. 4. Zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds or until the cheese is melted. 5. Remove from oven, let cool, and slice it into pie-wedges using a pizza cutter. This is my 5-year-old grandson's favorite recipe, at the moment.
To read the rest of Elizabeth's interviews and find a few more recipes, check out these blogs: Monday: Kim Norman's Stone Stoop! Kim is the author of "Jack of all Tails" and shares a great recipe for Tasty Tortilla Snowflakes!! Tuesday: Barbara Johansen Newman's Cat n' Jammers Studio. Barb wrote and illustrated "Tex & Sugar." Wednesday: Janee Trasler's Art & Soul. Janee's latest book is "Ghost Eats It All!" Thursday: Ruth McNally Barshaw, creator of "Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel!" (Elizabeth says: If you like "Diary of a Whimpy Kid," you'll love Ellie! -- thanks, Elizabeth) Friday: Kerry Madden, author of "Jessie's Mountain," the thrid installment in her Maggie Valley trilogy (read about it here.) Saturday: Sarah Dillard, illustrator of "Tightrope Poppy" and author/illustrator of the forthcoming "Perfectly Arugula!"
And -- check out Elizabeth's site for more of her luminous art-- like this piece:
Newly published Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy (Tulika Books, 2010) begins its blog tour today at Educating Alice, where you can read her students’ reviews of the book; and Saffron Tree, where there’s an intriguing Q&A with (writer) Uma, as well as the book title in all of its available languages/scripts…
Also, do read Uma’s explanation of the book’s format – I found it fascinating…
And we can’t wait to be hosting Out of the Way! Out of the Way! on Wednesday. Don’t miss it!
Here’s the whole schedule (I’ll update links to the actual posts as the week progresses):
Ryan O’Reilly, grandson of the O’Reilly Auto Parts founder, is also the author of the travel novel Snapshot, and a free-lance contributor to various newspapers and periodicals throughout the country. He studied English Literature at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and is a member of the National Writers Association and the Writers League of Texas. Ryan’s wild, often death-defying, adventures have nearly gotten him killed; they’ve also earned him travel writer street cred (see his Road Trip Tips for MensFitness.com). O’Reilly divides his time between his business in Austin, Texas and a small farm in Clever, Missouri.
About the book:
Whereas older generations tended to settle down earlier in life and often in the same towns in which they were raised, today’s younger adults – Generation Y – marry later, thus prolonging their youth and leaving more time for career development and living an unattached life. This phase of soul searching puts more time between past relationships, often creating regret and the overwhelming desire to return “home.”
To Nourish and Consume deals with the awkward journey of returning home after a long period of avoiding one’s past. The notion of returning home is something many long for, but in the end is unreachable.
This is the story of three former friends, who reunite unexpectedly in the small resort town they had known as children. For the main character, Brian Falk, coming home brings him face-to-face with a past he spent most of his adult life running from, especially his teenage involvement in a complicated love triangle that crossed both class and gender lines.
Brian hoped to return not just to home, but also to the euphoric experiences of youth; only to find that youth, being transient, is gone forever. His eventual self-discovery comes in the form of breaking certain ties to the past, while at the same time recognizing the role his past has played in sculpting his current life.
My take on the book:
“What am I getting myself into,” is the thought I had when I received Ryan O’Reilly’s newest novel To Nourish and Consume in the mail. I even sent Chris at Book Dads an email expressing my concern that this book might not fit with the scope of his site. This was all before I even opened the book.
Well, forgive me, Mr. O’Reilly, for judging your book by its cover, specifically the back cover. All-in-all this novel doesn’t go along with the norm of what is review