Another Monday is here. Hopefully, you are all having a good start to the week, and all of you affected by the cold blast are feeling a bit warmer this week. Lots of rain here, perfect weather for reading. Today, I am pleased to welcome back author Bette Lee Crosby to Rainy Day Ramblings. Last spring, I read and reviewed Spare Change. This was a heart warming read about an orphan who finds a home in an unexpected place. My only complaint was it was a bit dark as there was some violence. Bette assured me when she contacted me for the sequel that this book didn't have much of violence, and indeed it was much lighter. It is a story about two orphans who need some help, and they find it from the same wonderful citizens in Wyattsvile who helped Ethan Allen. I enjoyed this one, it is a great pick me up, feel good read. Bette is back to guest post today, but before we get to that, I want to introduce you all to Bette:
Bette Lee Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006, when she won the National League of American Pen Women Award for unpublished fiction with What Matters Most. Her novel, Cracks in the Sidewalk, received the 2009 Royal Palm Literary Award and then went on to win the 2011 FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal. In 2011 Spare Change received the Reviewer's Choice Awards and it garnered a second Royal Palm Literary Award. Her books have earned numerous five-star ratings with readers acclaiming them as heartwarming and captivating. Most recently, Bette completed a memoir written for Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as The World’s Longest Living Quadriplegic. Bette Lee Crosby is originally from New Jersey, but now makes her home in Southern Florida where she lives with her husband Richard and a feisty Bichon Frise named Katie. A highly entertaining public speaker, Bette makes frequent appearances to support the various charities of women’s groups, and schedule permitting, she will join book talks and book club discussion groups. Find out more about Bette by visiting her site, Facebook,Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.
Here is Bette on writing in crayons:
Writing in Crayon…
We live in a world of description—green trees, brilliant flowerbeds, dark hallways and overstuffed chairs. Those are the words that show us where the story is taking place; they set the scene. But the heart of most stories is found in the words the characters speak…the dialogue. This is especially true of the stories and characters that stay with us long after we’ve finished the book.
Creating an authentic voice for a character is the greatest challenge an author faces. But the task becomes even more daunting when you write in the voice of a child.
Writing in a child’s voice is like writing in crayon. You have to let go of everything you’ve learned over the years. You step away from the computer and wrap chubby little fingers around a fat crayon. You no longer think about being politically correct and you say what you mean without worrying what others think. The honesty of a child’s voice can reach out and take hold of a reader’s heart in a way mere words seldom can.
I often write stories that involve children and I have been blessed with the ability to think in crayon. I believe this is a result of the many years I’ve taught Sunday School to Kindergarten and First Graders. The honestly in a child’s thoughts and prayers has challenged me to look inside every character and find their true voice. To remind myself of this, I keep a box of crayons on my desk. When I stumble over the most hearfelt way to say something, I take a crayon in hand and start a list of words. Inevitably the right word is in there, it just takes a bit of crayon time to find it.
I pray that I never grow too old or become too serious to write in crayon.
I so agree Bette! I also hope that I never grow to old to write in crayon (or smelly markers). My kids remind me daily of how wonderful it is to be a child! What about you all, how do you stay in touch with your inner child? Let us know! Bette is generously offering two chances to win. For all U.S./Canadian entrants you are eligible for a paperback copy of Jubliee's Journey, while International entrants can enter to win an ebook. Big thanks, to Bette for stopping by today! Defiintely check out her books! To enter fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Jubliee's Journey(Wyattsville #2) by Bette Lee Crosby
When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life.
Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making.
If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him.
The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid?
Jubilee’s Journey is Book Two in the Wyattsville Series.
This story of discovering lost family and finding love reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of the bestselling novel SPARE CHANGE.
Paperback, 300 pagesPublished October 15th 2013 by Bent Pine Publishing
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review.
Four Stars: An uplifting story of hope, love and the kindness of strangers.
Paul and Jubilee pack everything of value in a small knapsack and leave the only home they have ever known behind them. Paul, at sixteen, has seen far too much grief and hardship in his short life. His mother fell ill when he was eight, forcing Paul to take over the care of his sister and the house. When she died a couple of years later, Paul continued to care for Jubilee. Then at sixteen, another devastating blow. Their father is killed in the mines. Paul puts his best foot forward, believing he can still take care of his sister. When the man from the mine informs them that they must leave the house as it is the property of the mine or Paul must work in the mine, a decision must be made. Paul promised his father he would never set foot in the mine, but where are they to go? Paul finds a few letters from his mother's sister, Aunt Anita. He and seven year old Jubilee sett out for Wyattsville. Unfortunately on their first afternoon there, tragedy strikes. Paul is shot, an innocent victim of a robbery. Jubilee is waiting and waiting on the bench, not knowing Paul's fate. Luckily, a plucky boy, Ethan Allen, knows a thing or two about being lost and alone and comes to her aid. Can Ethan Allen and the citizens of Wyattsville help a pair of down on their luck orphans?
What I Liked:
- Ms. Crosby has gift for sculpting out believable characters with plenty of flaws and likable qualities. She knows how to make them human by exposing their shortcomings and triumphs. Some feel like old friends after awhile. I always enjoy Ms. Crosby's characters, and I highly recommend checking out her books if you are someone who enjoys great character driven stories.
- I enjoyed seeing many of my favorite characters from Spare Change again. The lovable, rascal Ethan Allen returns, and this time, he plays the role of a surrogate big brother to the lost Jubilee. I adore Ethan Allen. At eleven he is a typical boy who would rather play than go to school. His grammar often needs correcting, he is quick to scheme, but most of all he is big hearted and willing to help someone who was once like him. Grandma Olivia is back, and she finds herself again taking in a straggler orphan. This time, though, Olivia is fast to act and she quickly opens her heart to another lost child. All of Olivia's wonderful friends from the apartment are there to help her out as well. Detective Jack Mahoney returns, and he his soon drawn into another case that doesn't look right on the outside. His determined digging uncovers the truth and saves two lives.
- Aside from the return of some beloved characters, there are some new introductions such as Paul and Jubilee. Paul is the most kindhearted, brave and caring sixteen year old. He continues to do the right thing and move forward despite all the hardship he has faced. Jubilee is a plucky seven year old who needs a little love. I throughly enjoyed getting to know these two lovable orphans along with some of the new secondary characters.
- Once again, Ms. Crosby presents a story filled with hardship, sorrow, greed, and then blends it with kindness, love and hope. She shows us the ugly side of humanity and then shoots a ray of sunshine in as we see the kindness of strangers doing the right thing. From the women at the bus station, to the kind waitress at the cafe, as well as Olivia, Ethan Allen and all their friends. Some characters, at first, are bitter, unkind and unlikable, but I was pleasantly surprised to find by the end, I changed my mind about Detective Gomez, Carmella and Aunt Anita. I liked seeing them do the right thing, and I liked seeing that unexpected spark of goodness.
- At the heart of the book is an interesting little mystery. The reader is in on the full story from the get go, but it was still enjoyable to watch the main players put together the pieces and uncover the truth behind the robbery and shooting. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome before the real story emerges. I liked that there was a bit of suspense thrown in.
- This is a book that can be picked up and read without having read the first book. It is a stand alone story that ties in nicely with Spare Change. It feels more like a companion novel than a sequel.
- Finally, I appreciated that everything reaches a heartfelt, satisfactory conclusion. This is a read that will leave you with hope and a smile, perfect for a dreary, stormy winter day or anytime you need a positive, pick me up read.
And The Not So Much:
- As with Spare Change, this story is told with multiple view points. There are numerous switches as each chapter is from a different perspective. I know many readers are not fond of books with many voices, but this is easy to follow as each character's chapter is clearly labeled and it isn't hard to keep track of who is narrating.
- I wasn't a fan of the villain, Hurt, his chapters were jarring and unpleasant. However, I appreciated that I had insight into his motives and behavior. His part ends dramatically, but I kind of felt like there should have been a bit more. After all that, I didn't feel like there was closure. The folks in Wyattsville weren't even aware of his fate. A minor loose end.
- I wanted to know a bit more about Aunt Anita. Did she get her life back on track and end up in a better place? Did she end up having a positive relationship with her niece and nephew? What about her ex husband?
- Even though it was nice being in on the mystery, part of me thinks it might have been better to have been left in the dark, trying to piece everything together along with Detective Mahoney. This is not an issue at all, just a thought.
Jubilee's Journey is a heart warming, emotional tale that relates the hardship, sadness and suffering of two orphans who through the kindness of strangers find love, happiness and a home. If are in need of a pleasant, pick me up book with plenty of exceptional characters and a terrific story, grab this one. It is the perfect book for those long, winter days.
"Sisters don't weigh their words with each other; that's just how it is. When you've got a gripe on your chest you say what you're thinking, whether it's hurtful or note. You never stop to consider there might not be a tomorrow when you can take it back."
"Apparently it didn't matter whether a person was seven or seventy, when you lose someone you love you cling to any life raft floating by."
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.