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Saturday, August 1, 2020
Literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart
When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can't go on--so he doesn't. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel's ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis's ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.
Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town--and his good friend Gomez Gomez--and Father Jake can't just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?
The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.
MY REVIEW I don’t think I have been entertained by a book like this one in a long time. The characters are flawed, quirky and downright fun. The author writes a story that captures the good old days reminiscing about rock music and hanging out with friends you've know forever was a treat. Gomez Gomez is missing his wife and doesn’t want to let go of her memory. He has become a recluse in the woods. I liked him instantly when he said he was a believer . I thought it was funny that so many people were worried about him, yet Gomez Gomez seems quite content with how he is living. The bitterness he harbors about his wife’s death is getting to him though. There are several characters that interact with Gomez Gomez that makes the story interesting. I can’t forget about Father Jake. Now there’s a man who has a double whammy of guilt and regret. We make decisions in our life and sometimes they turn out bad. Jake is regretting a big decision he made and now is wandering around unhappy. It sure is hard to see the person you love everyday and not be able to be with them. There are several twists in the story that took me by surprise. Just when I thought I had figured out what was going to happen, the author throws a curve ball in the story. I do believe I would like to meet Gomez Gomez and let him know that others may judge him , but God knows the pain he is in. The author gives us a look at forgiveness, redemption and characters I hope to see in another book. I received a copy of this book from Read With Audra Blogging Program. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.
Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.
“The Beautiful Ashes Of Gomez Gomez solidifies Buck Storm’s place among the unique literary voices of our day. Infused with humor, imagination, and poetic beauty, Buck’s writing is an absolute delight. I’ve read all his books, and his characters have taken up permanent residence in my memory. They come back to me at unexpected moments and invariably leave me smiling. Anyone who travels into the wild, wacky, wonderful world of Gomez Gomez is in for an unforgettable adventure.”
~ Ann Tatlock, novelist, blogger, and children’s book author
“I’ve never read a phrase from Buck Storm that wasn’t time well spent―and worth reading again. A topflight storyteller, Storm pits his protagonist―an eccentric, homeless widower―against a powerful and wealthy small-town businessman. The engaging story has readers quickly joining the cast of funky supporting characters on the streets of Paradise, Arizona, grooving on creative plot twists and wondering if this hero-and-villain drama can ever be resolved.”
~ Randall Murphree, editor of AFA Journal
“From a small Southwest town to the island of Corfu, Storm’s quirky characters take us to a place where love, compassion, and redemption may seem out of reach but are always within our grasp. From a cameo from Elvis to a story within a story, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez becomes more than a metaphor. Is Paradise, Arizona, real? We can only hope.”
~ Bill Higgs, author of Eden Hill
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London…and a boy who shouldn’t exist. Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins. The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
I think that I have always liked fairy tales. They are an escape for me and it opens up a world of imagination. This story is definitely not for younger children. However I will say that young adults and adults who love fantasy should check this book out. It is a twist on a classic fairy tale that goes a little dark. The author’s creative flow is exceptional in this story. She takes a story we all know and makes it into a version of fantasy clashing with modern times.
Claire was everything I would hope for in a character that travels to another world with determination and a little skepticism. I loved how she would not give up on finding her brother. Even though danger surrounded her, she seemed to have faith that she would overcome any obstacle in her path. I really wanted to know more about her friend N and hoped the author would explore his connection to Claire more.
There is a lot of Claire figuring out her magic and what she can do with it. I have never been a big fan of young adult fantasy, but over the last several months that has changed. Doors have been opened for me to read books I never thought I would enjoy. This book did hold my attention and the descriptions of familiar characters from the fairy tale were so vivid I was captivated by its realism.
I read every page with anticipation and loved how the story kept me guessing at what was to come next. I am upset that there is a cliffhanger but the author has given me something to look forward to. I am fully invested in this story and the next book can’t come soon enough.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com
More from Kara
I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.
Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.
Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.
I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.
Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.
This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.
To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
He chose to be a dad before he realized he’d need a wife, too.
When Tait took in an abandoned girl, he had no idea it would change his life.
Tait Stedtmann–accountant, fledgling do-it-yourselfer, and all-around nice guy. He’d been more than a little interested in Bentley Girard and had finally worked up the courage to ask her out. That was before that fateful day at the rest stop when he saw a girl shoved from a car and abandoned there.
She’s not like any girl he’s ever met, and now she’s given him an ultimatum. Adopt her baby, or she’ll abort it.
Eden doesn’t think he’ll do it. She can have the abortion and move on with her life–far away from these creepy Christians in Fairbury. But when Tait agrees, she finds herself keeping her word… and the pregnancy.
Nine months later, Tait is wracked by guilt as relief sets in when Eden leaves and terrified as he decides he can’t do this daddy thing alone. Bentley figured out how to make marriage happen for her.
Would she help him, find someone, too?
Tempting Tait is the second in the Marriages of Conviction series.
If I had a daughter I would want her to marry someone just like Tait. He stole my heart the minute he helped a young woman who he knew nothing about. Eden plays a pivotal part in this story. Through her we see the goodness in Tait. Some may say he is a geek, not so tall and a house that is half finished, but Jesus says to look on the inside. There you will find the true heart of a person. The story is a look at several things. Let’s start with Eden. Now she is alone, pregnant and just been literally dumped on the side of the road. I can hear it now, “Well she should have listened to her mom. That boy is no good and will end up leaving Eden.” But what if God had a divine appointment for Eden on a certain day when Tait was there to witness her being tossed out of a car? I love the way the author uses Tait to demonstrate that God calls us to help others without prejudice. I cried during most of the story not because it was sad, but because I was being shown what a Christian should do and how they do it without judgment. Tait has a heart for babies and is very convicted over abortion. I know this is a hot subject for some but the author lets us see how a person can love the unwanted. The moment Tait utters the words “I will adopt the baby,” my heart rejoiced. It’s not often that someone will take on a responsibility that he has committed to. I’m not sure if I wanted Eden to want her child or to leave and let Tait do what he was called to do. I think the little girl in me that so desperately wanted my mom to want me hurt for Haven who Eden was ready to walk away from. I loved the last part of the book because we meet a woman who is so opposite Tait yet seems to have the same heart for helping others. Maya is a spitfire at times but a marriage is in the works. Oh how I loved reading how Tait and Maya go through counseling and meet each other’s parents. I couldn’t get enough of seeing how they compliment each other. Maya became to really grow on me as I realized how compassionate she was about other people. The story is one I need to cherish for awhile. Let us remember that somewhere out there are people who need to know Jesus. We can’t let one opportunity pass us without reaching out in love to those who feel unwanted, neglected, unloved and with no hope. “We’re more concerned with avoiding bad appearances than we are with doing loving things.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona
How One Man Turns A Mess into a Miracle
It’s been ten… maybe fifteen years since Eden Pohl waltzed into my brain and settled in. Despite my focused attention on other books, her taunts never strayed far from my hearing.
If you really believed what you say about abortion, you’d tell my story.
You just don’t want to have to write the messy stuff.
Ouch. Worst of all, she was wrong. And she wasn’t.
I don’t mind attacking the hard things when it’s the right time, but I only had half a story. I knew what would not happen but not what would.
So, she languished there in what is probably the longest pregnancy in fiction.
After my friend, Sandy, killed my dreams of combining Tait and Bentley’s stories and added Tait’s (and therefore Eden’s) into a series, things clicked. Duh. Tait would need a wife. Being a single parent is hard. It isn’t how God designed things, you know? We’re supposed to have help. A spouse, extended family, the church.
But sometimes things don’t work in this fallen world. Sometimes we find ourselves parents—even by choice—without the daily support of another parent. Not only that, sometimes our own parents aren’t in a position to be able to help. Age, illness, or distance can remove us from the God-given networks we should have and don’t.
Finally, our decisions sometimes cause us to isolate ourselves even from God’s family, and the result can mean we don’t have that help that we otherwise would.
One verse came to mind over and over when I planned out the rest of Tait’s story.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Sometimes the words tried to transform themselves into, “It is not good for a father to be alone, so God will find him a helper parent suitable…”
And I had to silence that voice.
First, because we don’t just change Scripture to suit our purpose. Or rather, we shouldn’t.
Second, because that’s even more out of order than having a baby before marriage. It happens sometimes—sometimes by choice, as in Tait’s situation. However, the healthiest marriage will usually put a strong emphasis on the marriage relationship first (after the Lord, of course) and then focus on the children. Why? Because it is best for the children if their parents are in unity. Children find security and strength in knowing their parents love and are committed to each other.
So many times, I started to put that emphasis in the wrong place struggled to get it right. Then one day I realized that this was the very thing I needed to do. Show that struggle. I needed to show that Tait’s focus was wrong—that he created problems he could have avoided simply by being a good daddy… but also by being an even better husband.
I hope you’ll enjoy Tait’s story, and I pray that his heart for the unborn will touch your life in a real and tangible way.