Tag: The Boxcar Baby

*Blog Book Tour*: The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Muvihill

Posted Sunday, 29 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill
[Book One in the Steel Roots series]

Published by: Seventh Star Press, 12 July 2013.
Official Novel Websites: The Boxcar Baby Blog & The Steel Roots Facebook Page
Converse on Twitter: @JLMulvihill & #boxcarbaby
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio
Available Formats: Softcover and E-book
Page Count: 274

The Boxcar Baby Book Tour | Tomorrow Comes Media

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on “The Boxcar Baby” Virtual Book Tour, hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media. I received a complimentary copy of “The Boxcar Baby” in exchange for an honest review by the publisher Seventh Star Press. The book released on 12 July 2013. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. This marks my first stop as a Tour Host for Tomorrow Comes Media!

Author Biography:

J.L. MulvihillBorn in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her début novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing.  The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them “Chilled Meat”, a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and “The Leprechaun’s Story”, a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology, Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing)J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower.  She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

Inspired to Read: Nearly all of my best ‘finds’ for the science fiction realms have been serendipitous in nature! You see, if I hadn’t been roaming around the bookish blogosphere a week ago, I might not have seen a curious little tour badge with “Tomorrow Comes Media” on it! Nor would I have suspected to click over to scope out the tour company and the authors that they represented! Had I not kept an open mind towards discovering ‘something!’ curious and unexpected, I might not have known about this author and book! This was the same way I had stumbled across “The Clockwork Carnival” in August [2013], the forthcoming “Sci-Fi November” (of whose badge is in my sidebar; my post on it coming the first week of October!), and the mere fact that I had chosen this particular Autumn to serve as a gateway back into a genre that my heart first came to know at the age of seventeen! I lay claim to that as my starting ground into the ‘literature’ side of things, but you’ll have to come back for my “Sci-Fi November” postings to learn the full story of how I’ve been happily consuming all-things sci-fi for the well full of my life!

As you may or may not know, it took me a bit to resolve what to read as my ‘first’ Steampunk selection, as much as I became attached to this revolutionary genre where the lines blur on what a story can attach itself into being, and jettison the reader off into such fantastical realms and worlds, that it nearly takes your breath away! Some aspects of Steam are subtle, others are full-on adventurous catalysts to transport you into a world bent on steam technology! I love the vitality of choice!! Therefore, when I saw a blog tour announcement for this story, I knew I had found my ‘second’ Steam novel and author!

Be sure to read my poster advert for this tour to glimpse my motivation to read “The Boxcar Baby”.

Synopsis of the Story:

The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Muvihill

Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB’Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it’s up to AB’Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB’Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa’s spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB’Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries … and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.

Notations on Artwork & Design:

The Boxcar Baby | Interior Shot 1
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

In this particular day and age, where book cover designs are based more upon stock images and less on the artistically creative book cover designers, whose original artwork is all but lost; I must confess, what impressed me the most about this book, was the diversity of art, and the choice of which scenes to illustrate! I have always held a special place in my heart for illustrators, as they are encouraging our imaginations to jettison us off to that internal place where all stories live inside our hearts! They enable us to help stitch together imagery and scenes, that we may or may not, have been able to visually conceive on our own.

They create a tangible palette in which the scope of the story is percolated through a lens similar to a motion picture’s storyboard, yet instead of having the ‘images’ set to fluid motion by ‘camera’, we get to expand on what is being presented and wholly enter the realm of the literary unknown! Almost as though we jumped through hyperspace and entered a completely new dimension!

Such is the happenstance adventures of readers everywhere, who are given such a breadth of light by artwork that co-creates the story by which the author first conceived!

Mr. Perry’s first image seen on the left of the unidentifiable ‘person’ holding what appears to be a container or a particular ‘type’ of something that comes with a sling strap for your shoulder, is bang-on accurate to the descriptive narrative that Muvihill supports in Chapter 8!  This scene takes place at a train yard at night, in a discernible city of hidden suspense! What I liked about this snapshot of the character being brought forward into AB’Gale’s life at this moment in time, is that it shows that she is never going to know who or whom is going to cross her path! She’s set alight on a course where the most unsuspecting people she encounters, might hold ‘key’s to where she is headed next!

This is a metaphor for life as well, because its most oft known that the people who come to your aide or give you guidance are generally not always the ones you think will be akin to provide the information you need! No, actually in life as in stories, its the people you might overlook that provide the best advisers who help guide you on your path!

There was a second illustration that I was going to include in my review, but the chapter in which it was revealed has left me wondering why this particular thread was inside the story!? Of all the chapters, Chapter 54 was by far the most horrific!! I was not expecting a nose-dive into the realms of gruesome horror, yet that is the twist of a turn this story took at that junction! I would rather bypass it, and focus more on the main thread of story, by which, I enjoyed the most!

In regards to the cover art itself, a sense of urgency is playing out before us, as the locomotive is on fast approach, with a heightened sense of foreboding intensity! The gnarled and curling of the trunk of the tree, nearly reflects a sense of “unyielding twists of time and place”, as a curious hinting that the train can act as both a conveyor of people and goods, but also of destiny. I had been lamenting upon the visual symbolism of including the ‘tree with the train’ in full sight of the reader,… yet at the conclusion of the story, where I was expecting to arrive at a clarification of the symbolism, I was left instead with a questionable ending!

[My musings prior to the ending:]

Of all the times I’ve looked at the cover, I didn’t quite see what I saw whilst polishing this post to publish!! I was moving my mouse up and down, darting through everything to check the flow, as much as to check the rhythm of what I was wanting to convey about reading the story. Somewhere between the moving of the mouse and watching the screen, the cover art in this post was full in my sights, and therein, I noticed what I could not see whilst observing the cover art ‘flat and close’!!! The juxtaposition of AB’Gale Steel’s roots! It was like a lightning bolt had struck itself upon my desk, and all the logic of the choice in art electrified itself into my brain! The train’s boxcar in sight around the curve is “AB Gale Logs”; the workhouse factory is in the background with its garish stacks of smoke billowing towards the sky; and portions of a map are bleeding through the background into the foreground! The map bits I did originally see, as I thought I saw an overlay of a compass originally, but to see her origins and present circumstance coming rushing into view — kismet!

 

In total, Mr. Perry supplied 2 illustrative plates to give The Boxcar Baby a highly unique periscope into the lifeblood of the Steel Roots! His perception and understanding of the narrative is spot-on! And, I commend his artistic eye as much as his conveyance of the emotions, heart, and climatic moments of the evolving story! Even if I didn’t agree of the story shift, the illustrations honour the context in full! IF I could have picked one scene to be illustrated, it would have been of the girls’ new wardrobe, which hearkened quick to mind everything that I simply adore about Steampunk couture!

I look forward with whet anticipation of which Seventh Star Press novel I might encounter his brilliant artwork again! He’s truly an asset to the writers whose novels are published with the Press!

My Review of The Boxcar Baby:

Miss AB’Gale Steel, is a pure spitfire girl, full of strong-minded grit, who draws strength out of adversity, and endures hardship by bracing herself against self-pity. She latches her heart, her mind, and her spirit to the world by which she grew up in, as a method of memory against the vexatiousness life she feels consumed by. If it weren’t for percuring huckleberry friends: Charlotte, Raine, Lyza, and Freckles, I dare not presume to know how she would have found the strength to overcome! The girls owe allegiance towards each other as members of a surviving tribe of girls’ cast out and into a perpetual System that works against their well-being. Strengthened in their combined resolve, their sisterhood pits them against any opponent known or unknown.

By the fortuitousness of keen observation, these young women will assert their right to freedom by declaring their right to liberty. The woman who was behind their misery, Ms. Marcs, made me recollect my disdain for Brucklehurst who was the inflicter of desolation for Jane Eyre. Tragedy, flight of freedom, and an instinct for adventure transports these lovely huckleberries into a life of living by their wits!  

The girls usage of veritable language choices, are a direct reflection of other distinctive times in history, where the choice of words could not only separate you into a class structure, but be a reflective mirror into your place of origin. This is an ingenious ploy by Mulvihill to construct a fuller picture of the world building she set off to accomplish, as their attentive nature to using slang, akin to the quick-wit of the 1920s or of East Londoners’ Cockney, provides them with a unique voice of character! She sets into motion a world that we can draw a familiar line against, but purports it into a new dimension that we have not yet visited!

I was taken aback when the story shifted off the tracks of Steampunk suspense, and entered into the macabre horror of creatures who live in the pitch black of caves! I felt as though there was a story shift in the ending chapters that was not foreshadowed or even built into the first half of the book! I was settled into the story, and even thought I had found metaphoric meanings into the narratives, yet in the end, I felt disillusioned and saddened to see, that where I thought this adventure was leading me was not to be!

Read More

Divider

Posted Sunday, 29 September, 2013 by jorielov in Alternative History, Coming-Of Age, Dystopian, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Horror, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Tomorrow Comes Media, Trains, Young Adult Fiction

WWW….Wednesday #2: One Book at a Time, One Day at a Time!

Posted Thursday, 26 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

WWW Wednesday badge by Jorie in Canva

I loved the premise of this meme {WWW Wednesdays} due to the dexterity that it gives the reader! :) Clearly subject to change on a weekly rotation, which may or may not lead to your ‘next’ read which would provide a bit of a paradoxical mystery to your readers!! :) Love the concept! Therefore, this weekly meme is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each week you participate, your keen to answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading!?
  • What did you recently finish reading!?
  • What do you think you’ll read next!?

Afterwhich, your meant to click over to Should Be Reading to share your post’s link so that the rest of the bloggers who are participating can check out your lovely answers! :) Perhaps even, find other bloggers who dig the same books as you do! I thought it would serve as a great self-check to know where I am and the progress I am hoping to have over the next week!

What are you currently reading!? A better question would be to ask “What is Jorie not reading!?” (smiles a bit mischievously!) You see, I fell behind on my Septemb-Eyre + Classics Re-Told Reading schedules, but I stubbornly refuse to abandon ship on either project! Afterall, I am stitching together posts this week for 4 adaptations in motion picture for “Pride and Prejudice”, as well as making headway towards having book reviews ready as well! Therefore, I am knee deep inside Chapters XII-XXI of Jane Eyre, expecting to post my ruminations by Sunday, which coincides with my review of The Boxcar Baby, which I am starting on the morrow! The Pride books I am reading are as follows: Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson, The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater, and The Independance of Miss Mary Bennett by Colleen McCullough.

Meanwhile, I have seven! lovely books in progress at different stages of absorption:

  1. Larkrise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
  2. Bluebird or the Invention of Happiness by Sheila Kohler
  3. The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti by Annie Vanderbilt
  4. The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland
  5. Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
  6. Murder on Monday by Ann Purser
  7. & Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert

To the keenly observant, this list was included on my #1 WWW! I still fully intend to read each of them!

What did you recently finish reading!? The Secret Keeper K.B. Laugheed! This story bewitched my mind, as it was such an engrossing multi-dimensional stroke of narrative!! I was quite gobsmacked when I read the other reviewers’ opinions, as I would never consider this to be a book for a pre-teen! Unless they were emotionally mature, but even then, its not a story of innocence nor of a life lived wrapped around the warmth of hearth and home! Its a gutting testament of the power of overcoming your past and carrying forward into your future! I seriously wonder at times, am I reading a different book altogether!? When I was between the ages of 9-12 I wouldn’t be caught dead reading a book with such heavy story-lines as these, because I was wrapped up in: Anne of Green Gables, Mandie, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Thoroughbred, The Black Stallion, Agatha Christie, and other childhood favourites I’ve outlined under “Children’s Lit: The Undiscovered Frontier“.  By 13, I was exploring more mature texts, as I was in a Michael Crichton, John Grisham, and Tom Clancy phase by then, but evenso, the books I chose to read by them were not on this same theme. I was also entering my cowboy and frontier fiction days, yet those authors were more tempered than Laugheed in their descriptions of frontier Americana. As I would consider this book akin to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” the tv series, which I watched in my twenties! The story is still haunting my thoughts, because I very much want this book to transform itself into ‘a first of a series’ OR at the very least ‘one of two’ stories stitched together. Its very much one half of a whole! I truly love this book, for adults! I’ll step off my soapbox now, my ire was irked that’s all!

What do you think you’ll read next!? I will be diving into the world of Ave, [The Fires of Eden series] by way of a short story collection that knits together previously spoken about characters or events, inside The Chronicles of Ave: Volume I by Stephen Zimmer! My review of this lovely collection will be live on my blog: 5th of October! Continuing forward with Eyre, Chapters XXII-XXIX will be consumed next, as well as Two Shall Become One: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Sharon Lathan, Pemberley by the Sea {alternative title: The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice} and Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds; Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan; Dancing with Mr. Darcy: stories inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House {anthology} by Sarah Waters and Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. I am still awaiting materials through ILL &/or books to boomerang back to me, to complete my Classics Re-Told Project, therefore, this is an abbreviated list!

BONUS: What did you forego reading at the moment to read again lateron? Sadly, I had to let go of Lucid Stars by Andrea Barrett, which was an ILL book, and therefore, will be a bit trickier to get back again! I simply ran out of hours to read all the lovely books I was attempting to read having been ill for a week [third week of September!]. There are times when you simply cannot do anymore than your able too. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe, and Jane and the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor slid into this category as well! I was able to reach the audio clip that I shared with you during my Top Ten List for Autumn Reads, yet that was about as far as I made it before it was called back! With Scargrave, I felt like it would be possible to conclude the story, but in the end, the hours rain out of the hourglass! I am back on hold for both of these lovelies, and eagerly await their return! I have also decided that for whichever reason, my ‘time’ to read Mistress of my Fate has not yet arrived!

Whew!

I wonder what everyone else is up, too!?

{SOURCE: The WWW Wednesday badge created by Jorie in Canva as a way to
promote the weekly meme for those who want to take part in it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Divider

Posted Thursday, 26 September, 2013 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Books of Eyre, British Literature, Classics Re-Told: 19th Century & Gothic Classics, Cosy Mystery, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Reading Challenge Addict, Science Fiction, Septemb-Eyre, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, the Victorian era, WWW Wednesdays

*Forthcoming Blog Book Tour Stop* | The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill | 29 September 2013!

Posted Monday, 23 September, 2013 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

The Boxcar Baby Book Tour | Tomorrow Comes Media

An exciting announcement to make today, here on Jorie Loves A Story, is the official start of the book tour, for THE BOXCAR BABY is MONDAY 23 September!!  My review goes live on the very last day of the tour! I will be in good company, as there are 5 book bloggers joining me on that day! I first learnt of this book by way of Tomorrow Comes Media, which is a new touring company that I am working with to bring tour stops to my blog! Each book they showcase on tour deal with speculative fiction, with a keen focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Ms. Mulvihill’s book is science fiction at its finest, as it’s a contribution to Steampunk! This is why it drew my eye to read it and tip my hat to put in a request to review! As you may already be aware of, I had my initial introduction to Steampunk back in August, with “The Clockwork Carnival“, whereupon I read my first Steampunk book “The Clockwork Man” by William Jablonsky. I will be continuing this journey into the vast and steam-filled world of cogs, gears, and Victorian technology with “The Boxcar Baby”!! And, did I ever mention my fascination with TRAINS?! This marks the beginning of Ms. Mulvihill’s Steel Roots series, with forthcoming titles in 2014 & 2015, published by Seventh Star Press.
What first captivated my attention for this story, is the undercurrent plight of a seemingly orphaned teenager who by the fortitude of her own pure spunk and wit, is determined to unearth the mystery behind her Papa’s disappearance! She sets off on a journey, where I would presume she’s meant to uncover far more than the secrets of her own past! I am always keen to seek out coming-of age stories mixed with the adrenaline rush of an adventure!!
As you can read about this book’s premise on the book tour page for Tomorrow Comes Media!

Official Blog for THE BOXCAR BABY

Official Facebook Page for THE STEEL ROOTS series

Be sure to mark your calendars to drop back here on:
29th of September 2013!!
Follow the tour as it unfolds prior to stopping on Jorie Loves A Story!
Remember, to always keep a keen eye on my sidebar,
for current & future Bookish Blogosphere Events!
For a full listing of each book that has a stop on Jorie Loves A Story, please consult: Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCE: Tomorrow Comes Media supplies bloggers who are on the tour stop schedule
the banner by which to advert the stop and announce the book tour to their readers!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Divider

Posted Monday, 23 September, 2013 by jorielov in Alternative History, Coming-Of Age, Dystopian, Folklore, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Tomorrow Comes Media, Trains, Young Adult Fiction