Publisher: Luminis Books

Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline Kolosov

Posted Friday, 3 June, 2016 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 was selected to review “Along the Way” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

I was originally contacted to review this novel last year [2015] however, due to different reasons, I was never able to share my thoughts on behalf of this Luminis Books title until now. This is one of the books from my backlogue of reviews, I am thankful I can now set mind and heart to read. Luminis Books was one of the publishers I was most grateful to have discovered in [2014] due to their compelling Children’s Literature.

I received my complimentary copy of Along the Way from the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I originally wanted to read ‘Along the Way’:

As “Along the Way” is reading to me to be a new book that paints a similar portrait of personal growth on a trail that re-defines your life by what you learn and what you gain by the experience itself. In a similar way, this is why I want to borrow the film “Wild” from my local library, as I read the review of a fellow book blogger I follow who gave me clarity of the story from her own ruminations but halted me from wanting to read it due to the heaviness of the abuse/neglect and acting out behaviour the author survived. The film thankfully glosses over some of it, but sometimes I find I can drink in a film better than a book.

“Along the Way” feels more akin to “Not Without My Father” and a topical non-fiction I can handle rather than the harder hitting “Wild”.

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Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline KolosovAlong the Way
by Jacqueline Kolosov
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Three friends, 33 days, and 500 miles walking the Camino de Santiago add up to one journey they'll never forget.

Piper Rose, Dani Shapiro, and Alexandra 'Tessa' Louise De Mille Morrow share a history that goes back to their preschool years in Chicago when their families were still intact. Now Piper lives in Evanston with her divorced dad, her estranged, unstable mother popping in and out of her life at random moments.

Meanwhile, Dani's been living in Santa Fe with a psychologist mom pregnant with her fiancé's IVF babies. The blueblood Tessa resides on a prominent street in Boston and dreams of a romantic and well-heeled love story like that of her great-grandmother who went to France during World War II.

Now that it's the summer before college, these radically different friends decide to celebrate their history and their future by walking the legendary pilgrimage along the Way of St. James, from the French Pyrenees to the Spanish city of Santiago. Along the way, each young woman must learn to believe in herself as well as in her friends, as their collective journey unfolds into the experience of a lifetime.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-1-941311-47-9

Genres: Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Luminis Books

on April 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 300

Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #LuminisBooks + tags used together: #UpperYA #Contemporary

About Jacqueline Kolosov

Jacqueline Kolosov teaches creative writing and literature at Texas Tech University. She is the author of the young adult novels Grace from China, Red Queen's Daughter, and A Sweet Disorder, and the poetry collection Memory of Blue. She lives in Lubbock, Texas.

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Posted Friday, 3 June, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Coming-Of Age, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Mental Health, Modern Day, Pilgrims and Pilgrimages, Realistic Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Young Adult Fiction

Book Review | A #LuminisBooks special focus on #stringtheory with Chris Katsaropoulos. Two stories, two books, and a world of thought: “Antiphony” & “Entrevoir”.

Posted Monday, 28 December, 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 was selected to review “Entrevoir” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 2nd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary copy of Entrevoir direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Whilst I was discussing reviewing Entrevoir, I enquired about Antiphony as to the best of my understanding although the two stories are independent of each other, I felt it would behoove me to read them in tandem rather than to attempt to read Entrevoir without knowledge of Antiphony. Therefore, I received a complimentary copy of Antiphony without obligation to post a review as I did so for my own edification.

On my fascination with the Quantum World:

The following is an excerpt of my response to the JKS publicist who contacted me. I elected to share most of this conversation as it illuminates my interest in Quantum Physics and how relevant my curiosity has remained me with me ever since I first started researching the field; both in my early twenties and previously as a young adult teen.

I am keenly interested in this author and his works, as I personally love string theory and quantum physics — I started to collect books on the subject in my early twenties, including but not limited to “Lucifer’s Legacy” and the works of Dr. Brian Greene. I approach it through Copernicus, Aristotle, and Einstein’s legacies of thought and dimensional observations on the subjects, but I have a keen interest in da Vinci as well, who was a bit ahead of his time across all fields. It isn’t often quantum physics is a featured subject for either non-fiction or fictional releases, and I’m always giddy as a cat when I discover a new author or physicist, who is endeavouring to have us enlarge our perspective and point of view on the world and realms by which we live inside.

I pulled up the author’s Twitter feeds and liked the esoteric and metaphysical tweeting he was projecting inasmuch as the clarity of his thoughts being conveyed in such a small space! I love introspective and thought-provoking texts, especially when your shifting from how we view and understand our world and the cosmos above us.

I was going to ask, can “Entrevoir” be read and understood without having read “Antiphony”? Sometimes physicists carry forward their thoughts from one release to another, so I wasn’t sure if perchance this is the case here or if they are substantially heading off in different directions from one release to the other?! [the key reason I requested to read both of these titles together]

Anything to do with the quantum world, either in fiction (esp hard science fiction) or non-fiction is going to appeal to me, as I love black hole science, string theory, quantum mechanics, dimensional space and the theory of the time continuum, as well as straight-up quantum physics and the curious attraction I have to studying symmetry vs asymmetry in both design and elemental physics. I started to soak inside the theories after picking up “A Wrinkle in Time” which opened the door to understanding the projections of the theories inside “Flatland” by Edwin Abbott. From these two explorations as one was rooted in fact and the other was expressed in fiction (fiction is a beautiful gateway to the imagination, to help us harbour a direct connection in how to purport what was not able to be fathomed by granting us the grace of familiarity), I moved forward into the works I mentioned above: “Lucifer’s Legacy” and the works of Dr. Greene.

You have a keen eye to notice [in reference to the publicist] where my interests lie, as Dr. Brian Greene is one contemporary physicist alongside Dr. Michio Kaku I have my eye on. Another is a mathematician: Dr. Clifford Pickover, where I get to explore where mathematics have a sublet of inspiration on the bearing of how art is seen, produced, and explored — especially when it comes to fractals!

Sometimes I just like to “browse” the science shelves in book shoppes to see what jumps out at me, and therein, I discover other wicked sweet things like ‘quasars, quirks, and the little bits’ which make up the interior fabric and framework of outer space possible. Mathematics is the language of how the design of our world is possible but it also bears understanding to become closer to God. He left behind such a prism of insight just by the science of how everything kinetically works together. Most scientists (i.e. Issac Newton, Einstein, etc) were attempting to understand God through the language of mathematics and the intricacies of quantum physics; this fascinates me, and as I follow their paths, I start to see what they discovered too. The infinite beauty of how all of what we know and everything we have yet to know is plausible; it’s joy doubled and bound through eternity.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | A #LuminisBooks special focus on #stringtheory with Chris Katsaropoulos. Two stories, two books, and a world of thought: “Antiphony” & “Entrevoir”.Entrevoir
by Chris Katsaropoulos
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

The unveiling of a new work of art by Jacob Marsteller is typically one of the most highly anticipated events in the international art scene—but not this time. Jacob's new piece is a labyrinth of gossamer fabric perched on the peak of a mountain called Entrevoir in a remote corner of the south of France. It looks as if nobody except Jacob's teenage children and a few neighbors from the village will bother to show up at the gallery.

As Jacob finishes dressing for the party, he and his wife Marya begin to argue. She warned him that moving from the vibrant art scene of New York to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere would be a fatal mistake for his career. As she turns her back to him and walks down the stairs, Jacob tells her there was a reason he had to come here to create this piece—and that's when Jacob's whole world begins to unravel. Without realizing what is happening, he is lifted out of his body and taken to another dimension, where he becomes the watcher, the witness, and experiencer of lives he lived six decades ago and thousands of years ago, on other planets and as the highest forms of life.

In the span of one instant and over the course of millions of years, Jacob comes to understand that he is not his body, he is not his mind, and he is not even his soul. By the end of the amazing unveiling of Jacob's true self, he will experience the greatest transfiguration any human being has ever known: the realization of the ultimate nature of human life, and of spirit itself.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Genres: Quantum Physics, Science Fiction, String Theory


Published by Luminis Books

on 15th April, 2015

Pages: 208

Book Synopsis for Antiphony:

Chris Katsaropoulos dramatically depicts the downfall of Theodore, a String Theory physicist who commits the biggest faux pas in the world of science, proposing to his colleagues at a major international conference that perhaps consciousness—God—could be the missing piece in discovering the Final Theory of the universe. To the horror of everyone at the meeting, Theodore proposes, “What if the Universe is really a giant thought?”

ANTIPHONY traces the downward spiral of Theodore’s career in the wake of what he has said, and the remarkable transformation that leads him into the depths of madness . . . or the revelation of the Final Theory, the ultimate secret of the universe.

Katsaropoulos explores Theodore’s downfall with a depth of feeling and meaning that is expressed in a lyrical style that challenges readers to think beyond what is readily apparent and on the surface of things. As novelist Al Riske put it in his recent review of ANTIPHONY, “Katsaropoulos has a way of delving deeply into what seem like small moments—the whole novel takes place in just three or four days—and capturing all their nuances and vibrating tension.”

As Riske says in his review, “Throughout Antiphony, the protagonist experiences dreams and visions that fill pages the way a flash flood fills a ravine—a torrent of words flowing into the space between the margins and pressing onward to the next page and the next. It makes me wonder how he did it.”

Is there a God, and if so, is science fighting a losing battle in its search for the ultimate Theory of Everything? In the end, ANTIPHONY lets each reader decide for themselves…

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Antiphony via Midpoint Trade Books (Luminis Books)

[ Antiphony ] Add to Riffle | Public Library

Genre(s): Science Fiction based on Science Fact | Quantum Theory

Spiritual Metaphysics | String Theory | Hard Sci-Fi | Literary Fiction

Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog

Available Formats [for both]: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via Twitter: #StringTheory, #SciGeek,

#LuminisBooks and #JKSLitPublicity

About Chris Katsaropoulos

Chris Katsaropoulos is the author of more than a dozen books, including two critically acclaimed novels, Fragile and Antiphony, and Complex Knowing, the first collection of his poems. He has been an editor at several major publishing houses and has published numerous trade books, textbooks, and novels over the course of his publishing career. He lives in Carmel, Indiana.

Interview on Luminis Books Blog | About "Antiphony"

Read More

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Posted Monday, 28 December, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, ARC | Galley Copy, Astrophysics, Asymmetry, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Review (non-blog tour), Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Literary Fiction, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Quantum Physics, Scribd, String Theory, Superstrings, Supersymmetry, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Amy’s Choice” {sequel to “Call Me Amy”} by Marcia Strykowski – a #YA sequel to a heart-warming #middlegrade novel!

Posted Tuesday, 7 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Amy’s Choice by Marcia Strykowski
Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog
Official Author WebsitesSite | @MarciaStry | GoodReads

Available Formats: Paperback, Hardback

Converse via: #AmysChoice, #middlegrade, & #KidLit

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Amy’s Choice” virtual book tour through JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. As this was the second novel in a book series, I was able to put in a request to receive the first novel Call Me Amy of which I received a complimentary copy of direct from the publisher Luminis Books without obligation to review. I received my complimentary copy of Amy’s Choice direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am always on the hunt for wicked quality Children’s Literature – stories which carve out a special niche of childhood innocence and the mirth of exploring how to find growth through life experiences. I want to find even more stories than I had as a young child myself – striving to find the writers who keep the tone of their novels radiating with light and the darkness can be erased through the resolutions at the ending of any conflict that a character needs to overcome. I like finding stories which give children a free sense about how to differentiate between right and wrong, whilst allowing them the grievance for understanding there is a measure of wisdom in living through our mistakes, our misunderstandings, and our ability to be humbled through adversity. I like stories that break down barriers and also serve to teach a lesson of stewardship and diplomacy. When I first saw this series going on tour on behalf of the publisher’s showcase, I simply knew that I wanted to take part and high shine a light on two stories that would benefit any library of a child or adult who appreciates the same types of stories I am passionately addicted to myself.

Blog Book Tour | “Amy’s Choice” {sequel to “Call Me Amy”} by Marcia Strykowski – a #YA sequel to a heart-warming #middlegrade novel!Amy's Choice
by Marcia Strykowski
Source: Direct from Publicist

Amy’s freshman year starts with a new best friend, Cat, and a newfound confidence. But she misses her crush, Craig, who has gone to live with his aunt in Boston. Craig has promised to write, and Amy checks the mail daily, but to no avail. There are new adventures, even so. Cat’s brother, Ricky, seems interested in Amy, but is she interested in him? And a new friendship with Finn, the lighthouse keeper, who Amy discovers is a talented artist, keeps Amy and Cat busy as they arrange for him to exhibit his work. But things get complicated when Craig returns from Boston and Finn is accused of arson. There are more questions than answers for Amy as life becomes as turbulent as the cold and stormy ocean of her coastal Maine town. Ideal for preteens, this novel is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Call Me Amy and touches upon issues of friendship, boyfriend troubles, and the power of believing in oneself.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Call Me Amy

Series: Amy,


Also in this series: Call Me Amy


Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade


Published by Luminis Books

on 3rd November, 2014

Pages: 200

Author Biography:

Marcia Strykowski

Marcia Strykowski works at a public library. Earlier, between earning her BS in Fine Arts and raising her children, she worked for seven years in textbook publishing. Marcia participates in writing groups and enjoys family, art, music, travel, and theater. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. After numerous magazine and anthology contributions, CALL ME AMY was Marcia’s first novel. It was chosen for the 2014 Bank Street College of Education’s prestigious Best Books of the Year list. AMY’S CHOICE, a sequel to CALL ME AMY, is now available. You can find out more about her and her books at marciastrykowski.com.

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Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski

Amy’s voice in the novel is bang-on brilliant for her age in the story, as her curiosity and inquisitiveness about her life and the world around her comes out strongly perceptive. Her heart is open to the possibilities that first impressions are not always as receptively accurate as you first think they would be as much as she cares for those who are in need. I enjoyed watching her slowly emerge out of her shell once she had a project she could focus on that was outside of her own worries and insecurities. Amy starts to see the intricate balance of life, how staying true to who you are is key, and how being open to learning from misunderstandings enriches the spirit of who you become.

– quoted from my book review of Call Me Amy

Alighting inside Amy’s life as a freshman:

By the conclusion of the first novel, we were ready to see where Amy’s life would take her next, as she had a newly acquired voice of confidence that had led her heart towards a path of community spirit and innovative restitution. I loved how at the end of Call Me Amy, she truly lived up to the title as she had a newfound bold confidence in who she was and understood better the way in which she understood life itself. In my own life, my Mum would have simply said “Amy has finally found the *big!* C!”, and therein lies the best bit of reading Call Me Amy ahead of Amy’s Choice! The very first sentence of the sequel begins with the very last expressed words of Amy allowing complete continuity between the two stories.

Seeing how her progression out of holding back from interactions with her peers due to her shyness and shedding a bit of her introverted moments of unease, Amy steps forward out of her 13th year a strong 14 year old ready to tackle high school. She learnt quite a heap from her friendship with Miss Cogshell and Craig, giving her the ability to seek out other new friends and relationships as life afforded the connections to cross her path. She maintains her kismet insight to knowing when a moment has arisen to give her an unexpected friend, as this is how she came to know Cat and Cat came to love her company.

My Review of Amy’s Choice:

I am always hopeful there will be seamless continuity between installments of series, and I was not disappointed with the beginning chapters of Amy’s Choice as I felt as though I was merely turning ‘the next page’ rather than opening a new book! This is quite the feat, as previously it is rare that a writer will pick up right where we leave off – although I did have the blessing of finding this in the Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman.

I couldn’t help but shimmer a happy glow of delight seeing that Amy is now regularly volunteering at her new towne’s library! I was happily wandering my own libraries growing up that I should have thought to ask if I could volunteer – my mind was always happily wrapped up in a topic to research or a new author to discover, that I never gave any credence to the idea of being able to help others find wicked reads of their own! Unless of course, I stumbled across someone who was plumb lost in the stacks and/or I was at an Indie bookshoppe and simply supplied information as though it was commonplace and not unusual. Sometimes I think sorting out where your best to alight to give back your gifts of insight is a bit tricky, not to mention that most of the libraries I have always known were heavily regulated and had more rules to understand than a DMV driving manual!

Troll dolls with wild hair – now that brought back happy memories; even if it did take me half of forever to sort out which troll I wanted to bring home with me! The flickering visual clues to the seventies are happily still evermore present in the sequel, yet what strikes me the most about seeing them is just how much I can personally relate to knowing about! From the music to the toys to the series on television – one would have thought I was brought up a full decade before I was actually bourne by the way I can honestly attest all the familiarity of Amy’s childhood is wrapped inside my own! Lest I mention that I used to make the folded paper ‘magic solution’ boxes as easily as Amy and Cat! Except to say, they called them something a bit different in the 80s!

Lighthouses have simply captured my wonderment for absolute ages – the fact they are beacons of safety for seamen and captains notwithstanding, there is an allure of wonder attached to them for me. We have a few where I live but they are not as readily well-known as the ones sprinkled up and downeast the starboard side of Maine! From what I can gather about the lighthouses up there, you could island hop half your life and still never quite see them all in their glory. What a fantastic adventure though? To nip around, camera in hand, and a heart full of salt air and vistas that are hard to describe as they are felt in the spirit of the moment? Getting to cosy up to a lighthouse keeper inside Amy’s Choice was a treat for me! Especially considering I spent how many hours watching Pete’s Dragon as a child and young teen?

A very inspiring companion is found inside Amy’s Choice, as the title eludes to a choice Amy needs to make that may or may not be an obvious answer to the question that is eating away at her the most. Like most girls her age, she is trying to decide where she stands on the more difficult issues that start to arise when your in high school. The best part of the story is that the setting of her life is in Maine, where life ambles forward at a slower pace and allows the grace of growing through your childhood to have a rhythm of it’s own that is not always dependent on the fast pace of the outside world. In this setting, children can grow as they take on responsibilities inside their communities and needle out where their focus should be in the long term whilst appreciating the short expanse of childhood itself. What staid with me throughout the sequel is how reassuring the heart of the story is left in your mind. No matter what obstacles try to forfeit your plans or upset your course, you can find the strength to handle life as it comes along to you. There is a powerful life lesson etched in this novel and I was quite happy to see it included.

Establishing herself as a stronghold in Children’s Lit:

Not since I showcased Carol Antoinette Peacock {Red Thread Sisters}, Jackie Gamber {the Leland Dragons series}, Hannah L. Clark {Uncovering Cobbogoth}, R.J. Palacio {Wonder}, Laura Stoddard {The Dreamosphere}, Nancy Lorenz {The Strength of Ballerinas}, Mandy Madson Voisin {Star of Deliverance} and my forthcoming showcases on behalf of the published works of Laura Resau have I settled into such a heart-warming style of a writer who is contributing such a positive mirth of stories for children, young adults, and the young at heart who appreciate soaking inside stories of how we start to awaken into ourselves whilst growing up. I appreciate their styles of story-telling (as well as the writers I spotlighted on my Children’s Lit page) as they convey such a breadth of story yet tell the tales in a way that not only uplifts the reader but helps to teach through the craft of story-telling — the benefit that I believe reading provides across the spectrum of literature itself.

Strykowski has established herself as a stronghold in Children’s Lit inasmuch as the other writers have given us the chance be introduced to characters we can respond too and stories we do not want to soon forget having read. I could even imagine her stories becoming family films, as they are light-hearted yet full of the lessons all children have to learn somewhere along the corridors of their growing years. The fact these stories are set in the 1970s doesn’t diminish their impact, and in fact, I think in many ways the impact is heightened. I know she has a few stories she is currently working on completing and I cannot wait to see what is released next!

One happenstance moment of a lightbulb going off for me was realising I had forgotten the story of Andre the seal had a foothold in Maine! It was quite clever how this bit of trivia was worked into a conversation between Craig and Amy!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Previously I shared my thoughts on:
“Call Me Amy” – where the story begins,…

Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski

This blog tour stop is courtesy of:
JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

Luminis Books Blog Tour with JKS Communications

 See what I will be hosting next with:

JKS Communications Literary Publicity Firm

By visiting my Bookish Events page!
I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and as CommentLuv only requires Email to leave a note for me I cannot wait to see what starts to populate below! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon!

{SOURCES: The tour badge was provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Book Cover Art for “Call Me Amy” & “Amy’s Choice”, Author Biography & Book Synopsis provided by the author Marcia Strykowski and used with permission. The book trailer for “Call Me Amy” had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Amy’s Choice”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

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Posted Tuesday, 7 October, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Family Life, Geographically Specific, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Maine, Middle Grade Novel, Nature & Wildlife, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, The Seventies, Walking & Hiking Trails

Book Review | “Call Me Amy” by Marcia Strykowski – a #middlegrade coming-of age story set amidst the rescue of a baby seal

Posted Tuesday, 7 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski
Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog
Official Author WebsitesSite | @MarciaStry | GoodReads

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #CallMeAmy, #middlegrade, & #KidLit

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Amy’s Choice” virtual book tour through JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. As this was the second novel in a book series, I was able to put in a request to receive the first novel Call Me Amy of which I received a complimentary copy of direct from the publisher Luminis Books without obligation to review. I received my complimentary copy of Amy’s Choice direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am always on the hunt for wicked quality Children’s Literature – stories which carve out a special niche of childhood innocence and the mirth of exploring how to find growth through life experiences. I want to find even more stories than I had as a young child myself – striving to find the writers who keep the tone of their novels radiating with light and the darkness can be erased through the resolutions at the ending of any conflict that a character needs to overcome. I like finding stories which give children a free sense about how to differentiate between right and wrong, whilst allowing them the grievance for understanding there is a measure of wisdom in living through our mistakes, our misunderstandings, and our ability to be humbled through adversity. I like stories that break down barriers and also serve to teach a lesson of stewardship and diplomacy. When I first saw this series going on tour on behalf of the publisher’s showcase, I simply knew that I wanted to take part and high shine a light on two stories that would benefit any library of a child or adult who appreciates the same types of stories I am passionately addicted to myself.

Book Review | “Call Me Amy” by Marcia Strykowski – a #middlegrade coming-of age story set amidst the rescue of a baby sealCall Me Amy
by Marcia Strykowski
Source: Publisher via JKS Communications

For 13-year-old Amy Henderson, 1973 has been a lonely and uneventful year in her small Maine fishing village. With the help of a wounded seal pup, she gets to know Craig, who slinks around in an oversized army jacket. A new law against handling wild marine mammals brings suspense to the story. Where can they keep Pup until he heals? Their only hope is to trust Miss Cogshell, an elderly woman keeping to herself amidst jeers from the local kids, who catches them sneaking Pup into her woodshed in the middle of the night. Throughout the book, small challenges prepare Amy for her greatest one of all. A challenge that leads her to discover that everyone, herself included, has a voice worth hearing.

Call Me Amy was selected for the Best Children’s Book List by Bank Street College of Education.
For readers aged 9 & up.
Published by Luminis Books, 2013.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Amy's Choice

Series: Amy,


Also in this series: Amy's Choice


Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade


Published by Luminis Books

on 15th May, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 176

Author Biography:

Marcia Strykowski

Marcia Strykowski works at a public library. Earlier, between earning her BS in Fine Arts and raising her children, she worked for seven years in textbook publishing. Marcia participates in writing groups and enjoys family, art, music, travel, and theater. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. After numerous magazine and anthology contributions, CALL ME AMY was Marcia’s first novel. It was chosen for the 2014 Bank Street College of Education’s prestigious Best Books of the Year list. AMY’S CHOICE, a sequel to CALL ME AMY, is now available. You can find out more about her and her books at marciastrykowski.com.

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Maine : as a setting:

Northern New England always held an appeal for a girl like me who grew up on a state known for it’s panhandle, fierce fire of a sun, and the fact that at the southern most tip of her state you could wave to Cuba! I kid you not. Being as far South as you muster an interest to live, I oft wondered what it would be like to live somewhere blissfully different – where the changing seasons outweighed the blight of walking through volcanic heat and where you could snuggle into a season rather than being fearful of the extreme storm warning alerts blasting off your tv, radio, and reverse 911 phone messages. Anywhere where the pace of life wasn’t contingent upon tourism or at least wasn’t as blatant about flaunting that it was would even be a wickeder place by far. To settle into the texture of a place rather than the presumptions of a state’s reputation always felt ideal; where you could absorb into the curiousness nature of it’s townes, and visit with locals who would always have a hearty conversation to share.

For me, it was simply the fact that the Northern states were as far away from the Southern hemisphere as you could wrangle yourself without leaving the United States completely! All the top tier states flitted through my imagination as being the most seriously awesome place to live throughout my life, due to their hugged close nature of being a stepping stone into Canada. And, Canada to me was always the most unique place I could readily visit without needing to cross the North Atlantic and brave the high seas over a jaunt in a plane.

The whispering assurances that this novel is set in Maine is a credit to a writer who happens to call New England home herself. She has carefully etched a sounding stone of believability into how the setting is conveyed and how unique it is to call Coastal Maine home. I’ll admit that short visits are not enough to fully eclipse what is there to be found. It is a unique stretch of coastline that ebbs you further into it’s graces the more you go up and down Route 1. The road which angles and stretches itself from the upper lip of Massachusetts and zips you into New Brunswick outside of Eastport; the city which produces my absolute favourite brand of stone ground mustard!

My Review of Call Me Amy:

The opening pages of Call Me Amy took me back to my first visit to Mid-Coast Maine, as I spent a bit of time around the area where Thomaston is located. My favourite memory of Thomaston is getting to see National Treasure whilst only paying $5 dollars for the ticket, a large popcorn, and a drink! I was properly gobsmacked you could get away with that price as even though it was the mid-2000s the prices were far steeper down in the Southeast! To the brink that going to see the film was the true joy over the snacks. The atmosphere of that cinemas was friendly with an old fashioned way of putting you at ease as soon as you walked through the door! Set around a backdrop of a rock manufacture across the street, the ocean not too much further past it – you had a unique impression of going to see a film was anything but ordinary in this small coastal towne! Being able to chat ahead of the show, munching on popcorn and getting free refills for your drink and popcorn prior to being seated was the supreme best! I think I was akin to Mum realising that we both felt that “we were somewhere wicked good” at the moment, as getting refills on snacks isn’t as easy back home. We loved the interpersonal touches and the manner in which we felt welcomed ‘home’ rather than being ‘from away’; we bonded over a deep passion for cinema and for the actors who create the stories we love to watch. It should always be as keen to go to the movies and I never forgot how much I ached to see National Treasure 2 up in Maine rather than back from where I had came.

I could relate directly to Amy’s sense of wonder about reading and the necessity of longing for a library located close to home. I was thankful I had branches throughout the cities and townes I lived in as a child for having locations within a commutable distance of where my house was located. Never close enough to walk too as everything was so spread out and in some ways, I could relate to her angst about always needing to travel a bit of distance to do what you wanted to do most. I do not think she realised though how blessed she was that she could walk outside her front door and easily walk to most of the places she wanted to visit regularly. There is a thread of narrative inside the story that reminded me a heap of the tv film Polly which was based around Pollyanna. Celeste Holm played an incredible role in bringing to life Miss Snow and I was equally captivated by another character inside the film Because of Winn-Dixie: Gloria Dump. Centrally important to the growth of the young characters in each of these stories is having the strength of an unexpected teacher, advisor, and mentor. My heart swelled with joy seeing how Strykowski knitted Miss Cogshell into the heart of Call Me Amy.

Amy’s voice in the novel is bang-on brilliant for her age in the story, as her curiosity and inquisitiveness about her life and the world around her comes out strongly perceptive. Her heart is open to the possibilities that first impressions are not always as receptively accurate as you first think they would be as much as she cares for those who are in need. I enjoyed watching her slowly emerge out of her shell once she had a project she could focus on that was outside of her own worries and insecurities. Amy starts to see the intricate balance of life, how staying true to who you are is key, and how being open to learning from misunderstandings enriches the spirit of who you become.

On the writing style of Marcia Strykowski:

I slipped into this novel as easily as I used to curl into the sofa to watch Flipper or Thunder Bay, a true note of appreciation goes to Strykowski for re-creating a soft-spoken story filled with lessons of life stitched into each page of Call Me Amy. The best blessing of all is that it is writ in such a voice as to fill your own mind with the reverie of your own growing years as much as a curious nod to places you’ve visited as an adult. She is the kind of gentle story-teller I would have felt wicked happy to have stumbled across as a nine year old and in full mirth of happiness to await each new release she would continue to pen!

I always liked feeling as though I was taking a journey within an adventure with a character who was sorting out who they were whilst defining how they wanted to grow into their own skin. Call Me Amy is a strong story for children who are seeking the same stories I was at the ages I did not always find I had a lot to pull off the shelf. Especially considering her attention to detailed descriptions and bolting a firm image into your mind about her quirky characters, gave me the most pleasure joy whilst reading the novel overall! I love finding writers who can etch alive their settings and characters for children with such wicked loveliness as to paint everything true blue to real life!

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Stay tuned!

Next I will be sharing my thoughts on: {review}

Amy's Choice by Marcia Strykowski

Call Me Amy Book Trailer via Marcia Strykowski
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Virtual Road Map of “Luminis Books” Blog Tour found here:
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Luminis Books Blog Tour with JKS Communications

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and as CommentLuv only requires Email to leave a note for me I cannot wait to see what starts to populate below! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon!

{SOURCES: The tour badge was provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Book Cover Art for “Call Me Amy” & “Amy’s Choice”, Author Biography & Book Synopsis provided by the author Marcia Strykowski and used with permission. The book trailer for “Call Me Amy” had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. #KidsLitBlogHop badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Call Me Amy”:

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(on 6th February, 2015)

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Posted Tuesday, 7 October, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Geographically Specific, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Maine, Middle Grade Novel, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Seventies, Young Adult Fiction

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