Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Amy Harmon

When two unlikely allies become two unwitting outlaws, will two unforgettable lovers defy unbeatable odds? Bonnie Rae Shelby is a superstar. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s impossibly famous. And Bonnie Rae Shelby wants to die. Finn Clyde is a nobody. He’s broken. He’s brilliant. He’s impossibly cynical. And all he wants is a chance at life. One girl. One boy. An act of compassion. A bizarre set of circumstances. And a choice – turn your head and walk away, or reach out your hand and risk it all? With that choice, the clock starts ticking on a man with a past and a girl who can’t face the future, counting down the seconds in an adventure riddled with heartbreak and humor, misunderstanding and revelation. With the world against them, two very different people take a journey that will not only change their lives, but may cost them their lives as well.
Infinity + One is a tale of shooting stars and fame and fortune, of gilded cages and iron bars, of finding a friend behind a stranger’s face, and discovering love in the oddest of places.

 

Bubby: This is what, the 3rd novel by Amy Harmon that we have reviewed? That, in and of itself, should tell you how good Infinity + One is. It has engaging characters, perfectly drawn settings and beautiful dialogue – everything that one expects from the pen of our dear Amy. But for me, this novel is about moments of grace. They appear over and over again as we follow Bonnie and Finn’s adventure. Moments where a split-second decision changes the course of not only Bonnie and Finn’s lives but the lives of all those they touch. Of course, it all starts with Finn’s choice to save Bonnie instead of just walking away.

Sissy: We read a lot of books. Most of them are good, middling stories without much depth but nevertheless entertaining. But sometimes we find authors who are able to go beyond the superficial and get under our skin. Amy Harmon does this once again in Infinity + One. I know that an author’s least favorite question is “Where do you get your ideas?” but I found myself going there while reading this book. I just kept thinking that the plot is so unique and yet the love story is so well-done that it feels like you are reading about the love between people you’ve known for years. I truly cared about Bonnie and Finn. I felt that they were my friends and I wanted to be part of their lives. That is one of the  keys to outstanding writing.

Bubby: I loved that both Bonnie and Finn were just trying to be their most authentic selves – that they were tired of being who other people thought they were or should be. Bonnie wanted to be normal – to be loved for herself and not for her music or for her monetary potential or her stardom. And Finn wanted to escape who his past had forced him to be. I think that we all sometimes wish for the opportunity to start over fresh and create the identity that we feel we could have had under different circumstances. For example, I’m pretty sure that if Sissy had her druthers she’d be the Imperial Grand Duchess of some tiny European country – lots of money, lots of shiny jewelry and no real responsibilities!

Sissy: Exactly. In fact I am working towards that goal at this very minute. Give me a pony! Sometimes I become weary of analyzing books, their characters, the plot lines, blah, blah, blah and I just want to say how I FELT during the reading experience. That, for me, makes the decision between a thumbs up or a thumbs down or a middling hovering maybe. When I read Infinity + One I felt like I was transported into the story and lived and breathed it right along with the characters. I experienced frustration, angst, happiness, sadness, frustration and finally joy.

Bubby: You know that you said frustration twice, right?

Sissy: So maybe I felt it twice! So sue me! You messed up my reverie, Bubby. I was in the groove! You’re always messing up my stuff!

Bubby: It’s part of the “little sister” job description. Are you done with your eloquent waxing yet? I have things to say too…

Sissy:  I was going to say that when I came to the oh so satisfying end, I felt like I had awoken from a trance. I didn’t know who or where I was. And I just wanted to get back in the story. There were so many bits of dialogue that were nuggets of quotability. Again I wondered how someone could come up with all these wonderful things! Now I’m done.

Bubby: So in real life, I cry very easily. So much so that it’s a running joke with my children. But I rarely cry when reading – I know, it’s strange. However, there was one scene at the very end of Infinity + One where a particular character, a homeless man named William, just brings it all together and ties it up with a pretty satin bow. And I cried. So there. Oh, and we got an advanced copy from Amy herself – and I STILL went out and bought the finished product.

Sissy: As usual, I love me some Amy Harmon. 4.5 bubbles.

Bubby: Beautifully written. 4.5 bubbles from me too.

**This is a New Adult novel and as such has a few bits of language and so forth. No “F” words or nasty “nekkidness”, however.**

We received a copy of Infinity + One from the great Amy Harmon in return for a fair and honest review. Thanks, Amy!

Click HERE to buy Infinity + One by Amy Harmon at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

 


100-fireworksBubby:  Guess what, everyone?  This is our 100th post!  It’s amazing to me how much has changed since we started this blog in September of 2012.  We lost our dad just a month after we started, I did a huge remodel on my house, and my kids just kept on growing.

Sissy:  Congratulations to us, Bubby!  I feel like we should be having a party, or something.  Where’s the cake?  Yes, these past couple of years have been interesting times.  After Dad passed away it seemed like my house got emptier and emptier, and now I only have one child left at home–thank heavens for him!  But our sisterly bond just keeps on growing, and our love of books–well that has always been constant.

Bubby:  So in honor of our 100th post we are revealing our TOP TEN OF 2013! (Drumroll please…)

NUMBER 10:  Feyland by Anthea Sharp

Bubby:  Hey–wait just a minute there, Sissy–I had Feyland by Anthea Sharp as number 9!

Sissy:  Why do you always have to be so difficult?  You’re messing with my juju!  Alright, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Sissy’s NUMBER 10:  Feyland by Anthea Sharp   Bubby’s NUMBER 10:  Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

Sissy’s NUMBER 9:  Finding Colin Firth by Mia March  Bubby’s NUMBER 9:  Feyland by Anthea Sharp

NUMBER 8:  Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

NUMBER 7:  Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand

NUMBER 6:  Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

NUMBER 5:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson

NUMBER 4:  Mariana by Susanna Kearsly

Bubby’s NUMBER 3:  Making Faces by Amy Harmon     Sissy’s NUMBER 3:  The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Bubby’s NUMBER 2:  The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley     Sissy’s NUMBER 2 Making Faces by Amy Harmon

AND NOW FOR OUR NUMBER ONE TOP READ OF 2013…………………….

*****A Different Blue by Amy Harmon*****a different blue

Sissy:  Big Thank Yous to Amy Harmon and Susanna Kearsley and all our favorite writers out there–May 2014 bring you lots of blessings, happiness, and quiet, creative moments!

Bubby:  And big Thank Yous to all our readers!  Keep coming back to hear all of our great reading suggestions for you in 2014!

©Bubblebathbooks 2013


Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: So I am frantically rushing around my house getting ready for a family vacation and I get a message from the fabulous Amy Harmon. “Do you want an advanced copy of Making Faces?” she asks. Well, duh! I am not sure if I was more excited about reading Making Faces or going on vacation!

Sissy: It was Fall Break and my son and I decided to have a total reading and treats day.

Bubby: Every day should be reading and treats day!

Sissy: It just so happened that the literary gods were smiling upon me because my inbox contained Amy Harmon’s new book, Making Faces. My son and I grabbed our books and treats and climbed into my king-size bed, yes we did, and read for hours. When I emerged from the cocoon of reading, I was crying. I immediately went to my computer and sent an email to Amy Harmon (may she live long and prosper) and told her basically that she is not an author but a goddess of the written word.

Bubby: I wish that I had been able to immerse myself as you did, Sissy. As it was, I had to grab a page here and a page there between zoo visits and beach trips. I want to read it again so that I can experience the full impact.

Sissy: One of the things that kept going through my mind as I read this story was that it is unbelievable to me how a fantastic author can come up with these characters and situations, do all the research and weave it together seamlessly, all the while using the most perfect language that evokes deep emotion from my soul. When I am thinking these things, it’s like my whole self is validating this author as one of the truly gifted ones. That is honest-to-goodness how I felt.

Bubby: So what you are saying here is that you like Amy Harmon’s books and you think she should write 20 bazillion more? Me too.

Sissy: Yes. Some authors should stop writing immediately, or take a class perhaps, but at the other end of the spectrum are the Olympic Gold Medal authors, so to speak. I am not an author but I have Spidey-Sense when it comes to sniffing out the good ones.

Bubby: A big part of the story here is centered on high school wrestling. That just grabbed me right from the start and made me want to know more. Back in the day, most of my guy friends were wrestlers. My dad and two of my brothers wrestled. So did most of the men in my husband’s family. It is an intense sport and you either love it or hate it. Obviously, Amy Harmon is a fan. The bonds between Ambrose and his teammates are deep and strong – they are family, almost more than if they had been brothers. It’s important to understand the depth of their relationship because for me, that’s what drives the story. They wrestled together, they go to war together, and even when they are no longer together (I SO want to give a spoiler here) their hearts are still knit as one.

Sissy: Bushwah, Bubby! Wrestling is simply a backdrop that showcases Ambrose’s beauty and prowess. It’s a story of redemption, of the emergence of inner beauty over outer. Fern has UGS, Ugly Girl Syndrome, which is something that all women can understand to some extent, but has inner beauty in spades. Everything Fern is on the inside is what attracts Ambrose – she is everything he needs and wants to be.

Bubby: As much as I enjoyed watching Fern and Ambrose’s relationship unfold, we are forgetting my favorite character. The hero of this story is Bailey. Bailey has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. He could be a pitiful character who feels sorry for himself and his fate but he is not. He is hilarious and strong and amazing. If you want a great love story, read this book. If you want a good look at small town life, read this book. Looking for a band-of-brothers type story? It’s in here. But for me, the heart of Making Faces is Bailey. Because of Bailey, Fern is the caring, giving woman that Ambrose loves. Because of Bailey, Ambrose finds redemption. Because of Bailey. All because of Bailey.

Sissy: Bailey’s story is especially poignant. Heck, the whole thing is poignant and moving out the wazoo. Making Faces by Amy Harmon would make an excellent movie (hello, Hollywood? Hello?) It does have some language (not F words) and is sometimes grittingly realistic so maybe not the best choice for our younger readers). I personally loved it and will give it 20,000 bubbles.

Bubby: We only go up to 5 bubbles. Try again.

Sissy: I do what I want. Amy Harmon is my favorite author in the universe. If she needed a kidney I would give her mine.

Bubby: Allrighty then. I may not feel QUITE as strongly as Sissy about Making Faces (and about Amy Harmon – any extra kidneys Sissy has belong to ME!) but I did love the book. 4 3/4 bubbles from me.

© Bubble Bath Books 2013

Click HERE to buy Making Faces by Amy Harmon at Amazon.com


Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing. This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible. (Synopsis from Amazon.com)

Bubby: SO EXCITED to get the chance to review this brand spanking new novel by Amy Harmon. She was kind enough to let us read it as an advanced reader’s copy – several weeks before the publishing date. Made me feel all special and important!

Sissy: You ARE always special and important to me, Bubby. Especially when you bring Diet Coke. A Different Blue is a little darker than Amy Harmon’s previous novels, and when she warned us of this I was a little worried at what that meant – i.e. heaving bosoms? Multiple @#!**#%s? Spouting fountains of blood and gore? Did the author turn into a goth-emo-slasher satanist? But no worries. It is a story of redemption, sacrifice and hope, beautifully executed.

Bubby: Yes, I too was a little concerned that Amy Harmon might have fallen to the dark side. Yes, the main character, Blue Echohawk, is at first a naughty girl. She behaves badly. But she has good reason. Her life has been one tragedy after another and she is acting out in the only manner she knows. If wearing tight clothes and too much makeup and being “easy” gets her the attention and validation she so desperately needs, then that is what she’s going to do. At least in the beginning. The title, A Different Blue, gives us a clue right off that this is going to be a story about transformation. And it’s a good one.

Sissy: I have said it before and I’ll say it again:

Bubby: “Get your hands off my chocolate or you’re a dead woman!”?

Sissy: Not quite, but close. Thanks, Bubby for interrupting my professional philosophical meanderings. Anyway, there are thousands of writers and then there are WRITERS. People who have the beauty of words oozing out of their souls. They find the perfect balance of prose, description, characterization and flow and make it seem effortless. I like a lot of authors but not many of them fit into this category. Amy Harmon does.

Bubby: I have a friend (hey, Holly!) who owns signed copies of Amy Harmon’s first 3 books. After reading A Different Blue I told Holly that she needs to take those books and wrap them in acid free paper and put them away in a box because they are going to be worth money someday. We gave away some signed copies in a contest last year and now we are kicking ourselves – that could have been us making a killing on EBay in a few years! I predict that in 5 years Amy Harmon will be a nationally renowned author on the NY Times Bestsellers List. You watch and see.

Sissy: If I was a major publisher I would be on that like grey hair on grandma. Publishers! What’s wrong with you?!?!? Sign this woman and give her 100K immediately! I loved Blue’s foster father Jimmy Echohawk, who saw something in her that made him want to take her in even though he lived a life of a drifter/artist. What he did enlarged her soul and ultimately saved her life. In the end the mystery of his life binds him to her even more than she could have ever known.

Bubby: Everyone at some point in their lives feels unloved. Unwanted. Unworthy. Hopefully at that point, there is someone who believes in you enough to buoy you up and help you realize just how fabulous you are and how much potential you have to be even more fabulous in the future. Blue has felt unloved and unworthy for years and has had no one to be that person for her. All she had was her art – her beautiful wood carvings – as an indication that there was more to her than what showed on the outside. As her relationship with Wilson evolves, you begin to see more and more of that inner beauty reflected in her outward appearance and mannerisms.

Sissy: A tragic life is one wherein a person cannot see or recognize their own intrinsic beauty and value. Introduce into that life individuals who are trustworthy and nurture a person in a way that they can begin to see and believe in themselves and the tragedy turns to triumph.

Bubby: I think we could go on all day about what a moving and beautifully written novel Amy Harmon has created in A Different Blue. But don’t think it’s all violins and sunsets and self-discovery and emotion. It’s wickedly funny in bits as well. Just fantastic. A rare and well deserved 5 bubbles from me.

Sissy: We here at Bubble Bath Books are ultimately snark queens so we wouldn’t fully enjoy a story unless it was balanced with enough humor and sarcasm to make it real. This is another aspect of Amy Harmon’s writing genius. 5 giant, luminescent bubbles.

Bubby: We have a really special treat for Friday – an interview with the author herself. Don’t forget to pop by and have a look!

Click HERE to purchase A Different Blue by Amy Harmon from Amazon.com

 

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


This week instead of a Friday Favorites we shall give you a teaser of great things to come!  On Wednesday, March 27th, catch our review of a new novel by one of our very favorite up-and-coming authors, Amy Harmon (the Purgatory series and Running Barefoot…).  Her new book, A Different Blue, is set to be released on March 29th, and while we don’t want to spoil the review, we will say that Ms. Harmon’s latest is FANTASTIC writing.  Some people in the world are just blessed to be beautiful wordsmiths, and she is one of them!  We will also be privileged to interview this author, and it will be included in our review–lucky us, and lucky you!  Don’t miss it!

Bubby and Sissy

©Bubble Bath Books 2013