Blog Book Tour | “Missing in Paradise” by Larry Verstraete #MGLit adventure novel from a new Canadian #IndiePub!

Posted Sunday, 18 January, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Chapter by Chapter, where I receive opportunities to host Cover Reveals & Author Guest Features on behalf of the Indie Publisher Month9Books. This is the first time I was offered to host a blog tour outside of Month9Books, featuring another Indie Publisher: Rebelight Publishing! I jumped at the chance to read this exciting novel for Middle Grade readers, as I am always seeking out light infused Children’s Lit which has a resounding story-line stitched together with a life lesson and/or a character who children can relate too as much as they can celebrate having found.  

I received a complimentary copy of “Missing in Paradise” direct from the publisher Rebelight Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A bit of a background on Rebelight Publishing:

Included with my copy of Missing in Paradise, I received a lovely letter from the Marketing Director who gave me a bit of insight on behalf of the publisher! In an effort to help my readers understand a bit more about this exciting new Indie Publisher, I am going to share a portion of the letter as it was written like a Press Release, giving me the ability to share the contents like I would on behalf of other publishers who include the same Press Sheets with their stories and non-fiction titles.

Rebelight is a new publisher committed to the promotion of literacy through producing high quality fiction for middle grade, young adult and new adult readers. We are celebrating the release of our first three books! Our company is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, a city of approximately 800,000 at the geographic center of North America. Our tagline: Crack the Spine. Blow your mind. And that’s exactly what we seek to do with every book.

Our mandate is to open doors to new and talented writers, and give established authors an opportunity to venture outside their genre.

I have had an inclination to seek out Canadian Lit for several years now, ever since I first learnt my local library couldn’t borrow from outside the United States! I could search for Canadian authors through WorldCat or I could continue the long process of seeking them out on my own accord through the variety of genres and works of literature I appreciate reading. One door that opened Canada up to me is by becoming a book blogger, as I have started to find Canadian Writers are amongst those authors who put their books into blog tours as much as publishers in Canada are seeking blog tour hosts who are in the United States or overseas. I appreciate their keen awareness that there are those of us down here who would be quite wicked happy to discover their stories, if only we could find a bridge that would give us a better insight into what is being published per annum.

It is my continuing hope that as time shifts forward, I can host more Canadian authors and works of literature on blog tours but outside of that focus, I want to start seeking out Canadian Lit through my public library (as some authors have their collective works housed in one of our stateside libraries which can be inter-library loaned) as much as seeking their titles through Indie bookshoppes at a later date. I fully support the Indies (as disclosed on “My Bookish Life“) and forevermore will seek out ways to be a book cheerleader for the publishers and the writers who give us such a refreshing new voice to seek out within the craft of story-telling!

On a side note: I hadn’t realised how large Winnipeg has grown in population, as to me it was the little Indie film-making capital of Canada — spilt between Vancouver and Toronto! I have supported Canadian film for most of my childhood through adulthood, as nearly every tv film I have every become fondly appreciative of seeing was shot on location in Canada, with a Canadian crew and cast! This includes Montreal, by the way!

How lovely then, that I can celebrate a NEW Indie Publisher with my first book review for Chapter by Chapter whilst hosting one of the debut releases for Rebelight Publishing!?

Missing in Paradise by Larry VerstraeteMissing in Paradise
by Larry Verstraete
Source: Publisher via Chapter by Chapter

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade

Places to find the book:

Published by Rebelight Publishing Inc.

on 3rd November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 134

Published By: Rebelight Publishing, Inc. (@RebelightBooks)
Converse via: #LarryVerstraete & #MGLit
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Four months after Gramp’s mysterious death, Nate helps out at Gram’s garage sale. An eerie feeling, as if Gramps were reaching beyond the grave to send Nate a message, leads Nate to a box full of clues. A missing plane. A secret to keep. A map highlighting the route where Gramps died and the message, “Shipment #35-Gold.” Nate and his best friend, Simon, are convinced that Gramps was on a treasure hunt when he died. They’re just as convinced that Gram’s shifty next door neighbour, Fortier, is after the gold too. Nate and Simon sneak away on a Greyhound bus for the small town of Paradise where Nate is sure treasure awaits. Can they find the gold before Fortier gets his thieving hands on a treasure that rightfully belongs to Gramps?

About Larry Verstraete

Larry Verstraete, a retired teacher, has authored thirteen non-fiction books for young people and won multiple awards including the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award and the 2010 Silver Birch Non-fiction Award. Missing in Paradise is his first work of fiction.

My Review of Missing in Paradise:

It isn’t often I find such a stirringly curious opening to a Middle Grade novel, such as I had in Missing in Paradise! The layout of the first chapter is writ with a style that reflects a young boy whose reached his absolute wits end with his parents and the situation he’s become thrust inside without so much as a by your leave! He’s been entrusted to his Grandmother to mind his manners, look after his sister, and effectively do anything he could to help ease the discomfort his grandfather’s death had caused. His parents are off for a bit without their children, but it is how Nate reflects his growing sense of ‘how could this get any worse’ that truly held my eye to the page!

He’s writ a list, itemized it out (in numerical sequence!), and right when he felt it couldn’t possible become any weirder than hosting a garage sale in skin-melting humidity, he starts to get the sensory perception his Grandfather has something to tell him! Confirmed quite instinctively by the family dog, Buster, Nate is on the verge of settling inside a bit of a mysterious adventure! And, these are the type of stories I love the most within Middle Grade, as they stir inside a growing curiosity on behalf of the reader! (irregardless of your age!)

Life continues to move forward after death, but death has a way of affecting everyone around the person whose left them behind; for Nate, he feels as though there is a part of him missing when he returns to his Grandmother’s house now. Even though he has a best friend in the neighbourhood, he feels a bit awkward being back such a short time after his Grandfather had died. There were complications around the time his Grandfather died, such as his health was starting to deteriorate due to Alzheimer’s. This is a condition that a lot of grand-children (myself included) grew up knowing quite a lot about as our loved ones faced the same obstacles. It is nice to see a thread of story that includes this in a way that educates but doesn’t distract from how earnestly the grandfather still attempted to live his life.

Missing in Paradise gives young readers the excitement of following clues, putting pieces of thought together, and coming up with theories that are both plausible and doable giving the circumstances to work within as Nate is finding himself. It encourages you to think outside the box (no pun intended!), to see what you can make out of all the disconnected pieces of the same puzzle and put everything back together in a way that not only makes sense, but represents the message that was left behind to be found. The novel is written in a fast-paced educational stimulating manner, where I’d be surprised if any young boy or girl who picked this up wouldn’t be captured by the growing mystery of what is truly behind Nate’s grandfather’s death!

Nate’s sidekick Simon is a hoot! He’s the one of the best comical characters I’ve come across recently, as he knows how to inject humour to give levity to a difficult time in a friend’s life. He’s the wise clown in the room who knows that a bit of oddball games and a good dose of laughter can carry you through just about anything! Ironically or not, the references to The Simpsons were lost on me (not a fan) but I accepted the inclusion as I’m singularly one of the only kids who grew up during that generation who just opted out of seeing the series! Mind you, I had more fun learning about who created the voices from my Mum who watched a behind-the-scenes feature about it years ago!

One of my favourite books I read as a kid was The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler — were two kids get it inside their heads that in order to take an epic adventure, you first have to plan for all the inevitable things you may or may not need whilst your adventuring! Although this is part bus trip and part shoot from your hip and make it out in the world kind of an adventure, it still takes quite a heap of moxie to find the confidence you can follow a map or a plan, whilst resolving an unsolved mystery! This story reminds me of the joy I had reading the other book because you are center front to the action all the while wondering if they are going to get to the end of the rainbow before the time they’ve spent away from their families is used in vain without restitution for their efforts.

There is a heart-warming side story attached to this novel, that evokes a hidden history out of World War II Canadian History, that I am afraid to say I never heard of myself until I read this novel. A lot of the war stories that are known nowadays were not shared as readily whilst most of us studied the World War eras in school. In fact, during my first year as a book blogger I learnt quite a heap of new antidotes of bravery, courage, and the undying fever of attempting to save lives even when the odds were barely survivable to the good! As I read this portion of the novel, I reminisced about How Much Do You Love Me? which was the novel that opened my eyes to internment camps and how guttingly difficult it had been for the families who lived inside them.

On the fictional writing style of Larry Verstraete:

Verstraete writes Middle Grade fiction with a tone and voice I am accustomed to finding inside the stories I not only read whilst I was a child myself but the stories of which I am seeking out and journalling on my adventures inside Children’s Lit as an adult! I have a particular style of tone and voice I am attempting to uncover in modern Children’s Lit that is highly elusive and at times evasive as not every writer etches innocence and innocent discoveries into their stories. A lot of Children’s Lit is underlit with a heap of dark undertones, of which I do not fancy. To discover a new Middle Grade writer like Mr. Verstraete who is writing a story that encourages you to turn the page, to become caught up in the growing mystery behind a left-over box Nate accidentally discovers is a classic story within the craft for this age group!

I love finding writers who get a wicked sense of youth and the beauty of living through a life experience that seeks to teach rather than to scare; to elevate an awareness of the world rather than to cast shadows on only a small fraction of what could have revealed a greater whole. This story is a celebration of re-visiting the story-tellers of our childhood who have been honoured in the modern story-tellers who uphold the craft to a higher level whilst understanding how sensitive young readers are and how best to tell a story is by encouraging their imaginations rather than disappointing them with an absence of light.

I loved the appendixes in the back where you get learn about the real-life inspirations behind this fictional story, as despite the creative liberties taken to tell Nate & Simon’s story, the author researched fact and truth out of history, to anchour this novel with a special touch of realism that will touch every heart that reads Missing in Paradise! If you take a close look at the cover art, you’re halfway to knowing which ‘clues’ give the boys the most encouragement to take their adventure!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via
This blog tour is courtesy of:

I am especially grateful to Rebelight for offering to send out print editions which gave me the honour of reading my first title by their publishing house! I cannot wait to see what they release next as I will most definitely be keeping my eyes out for more print releases as much as seeing which stories start to expand their catalogue of choices! Rock on, Rebelight!

Missing in Paradise Blog Tour by Chapter by Chapter

My first official blog tour wherein I could review a book with:

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours badge

Reader Interactive Question:

What are your favourite Middle Grade novels which encourage a young reader to become stimulated by learning as they read? Which writers do you draw an interest to seeking out within this branch of stories, that keep young readers in mind yet give such a wicked adventure, that even as an adult you cannot help but become excited for the joy you will have in reading the tale? Do you like hidden clues and adventures that have to be pierced together out of your own wits and courage to see where everything leads whilst reading a story that slowly unravels to reveal the heart of the novel?

{SOURCES: Book Cover of “Missing in Paradise”, the Chapter by Chapter badge, the Book Synopsis, Author Photograph of Larry Verstraete and the Author Biography were provided by Chapter by Chapter and used by permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 18 January, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Canadian Literature, Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Juvenile Fiction, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Modern Day, Siblings

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