Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Blog Tour: But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

   Hello and welcome to the But Then I Came Back Blog Tour hosted by Raincoat Books! Today I have for you my review of the book, as well as a brief interview from the author. I hope that you enjoy!

But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Read: March 19th-27th, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Series: Standalone
Format: ARC, 320 pages
Source: Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Description from GoodReads:

   “Something does exist. I saw. It’s a place. Like this but different.”
   “Okay, so let’s say we do reach her, that something like that is even possible. Then what?”
   “Then we ask her to come back.”

   Eden: As far as coma patients go, Eden’s lucky. She woke up. But still, she can’t shake the feeling that she might have dragged something back from the near-afterlife.

   Joe: Joe visits the hospital every day, hoping that Jaz, his lifelong friend, will wake up. More than anything, he wants to hear her voice again. But he’s not sure anyone can reach her.

   Eden & Joe: Even though she knows it sounds crazy, Eden tells Joe that they might be able to talk to Jaz. Opening themselves up to the great unknown—and each other—Eden and Joe experience life: mysterious and scary, beautiful and bright.


   Time is speeding, speeding while I stand perfectly still.
   By now most of you know that I personally don't enjoy Contemporary novels all that often, but on occasion, like this one, I do put in an effort to pick one up. When I first heard the synopsis for But Then I Came Back I was intrigued, the book sounded to me as a new story from all the other contemporary novels that I'd read. When Raincoast Books announced that they'd be hosting a tour for But Then I Came Back, I hopped on the chance.

   But Then I Came Back was a unique read, I've read novels where characters go into comas or where the story takes place while the character is in a coma. But I haven't read a story where the character wakes up from one and is recovering. That was my favourite thing about the story, I liked how we went on a journey of recovery with Eden, the protagonist. Laure showed the recovery process of coma patients from after they wake up, showing how smoothies are the only thing that they can swallow for a while because the patient hasn't been able to swallow food or drinks for as long as they've been out, and it damages their throats. Facts like this show up in the novel, facts that you probably wouldn't have thought of.

   Although But Then I Came Back is considered a standalone, there was the odd time where I didn't completely understand what role a specific character played or who they were. I feel like these characters were explained in the first novel that Estelle Laure wrote, This Raging Light, where this novel takes place in the same world but with different characters.

   And finally I felt that I could relate to Eden on a personal level when it came to her brother and best friend dating, I'm currently in a somewhat similar situation and I still don't know how I feel about it or how to deal with it. I also felt like the relationship between the brother and best friend could have been explained a bit more, but it's understandable why it wasn't considering This Raging Light is based off of that story.

   But Then I Came Back was a little slow at times, but a very intriguing read. I enjoyed hearing the stories of the characters in But Then I Came Back, so I can not wait to pick up This Raging Light


Favourite Quote:

"It’s so damn sweet to be nothing but a riversong."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Death, Afterlife, Coma Stories

But Then I Came Back is your second book to be published, it’s been said that this book also takes place in the same world as your first book This Raging Light. For people who’ve read This Raging Light, what are they to expect in But Then I Came Back that is similar to your first book? And for people who haven’t read This Raging Light, would you recommend that they read that one first before reading But Then I Came Back?

   People who read This Raging Light can expect to see some familiar faces and get further into that story, maybe get some answers about things I left open in the first book. Also, and for me this was the most interesting part, they will see that no one is how they seem on the outside. Eden seems like she has it all together from Lucille’s perspective, but once you’re in Eden’s head you’ll see everyone is grappling with their own difficulties and insecurities. But no, I don’t think you have to have read This Raging Light at all. If you have, it will have an extra layer, but it’s not like you won’t understand what’s going on.

   Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.
   Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoy the rest of the tour!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017 SerendipiTEA Tour: Leah Henderson

   Hi all, and welcome to The 2017 SerendipiTea Tour! I'm your host for today, and Ohana Reads is featuring Leah Henderson! 
   The tour is a unique one, each author on the tour pairs their book with a tea! Sounds great right? So I hope that you enjoy! And don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson

Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages

Description from GoodReads:

An orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined.

With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?


What Leah has to say about her tea choice:

    I have created a tea blend from two teas I enjoy in Senegal. The first is green tea which is the tea most commonly used in attaya, the tea ceremony which is practiced quite often in Senegal and other parts of West Africa. It is usually made with green tea leaves, loads of sugar, and possibly mint. The tea is mixed over and over between small glasses to help stir the ingredients and then it is served in three times where the tea becomes sweeter and minter each round. Attaya is often a time for friends and family to come together and talk as they wait for each round of tea.
   Along with the green tea, I’ve also added a bit of hibiscus, which is the key ingredient for my favorite drink in Senegal called bissap juice. Bissap is simply hibiscus leaves boiled with sugar then chilled to make a sweet, refreshing drink. So I hope I have created a smoky sweet blend that will transport you to the sun-kissed shores of Senegal and Mor’s Lat Mata.

What Leah has to say about her book:

   One Shadow on the Wall is a book about loss, family, friendship and self-reliance. It follows newly orphaned Mor Fall and his two younger sisters after the death of their father. In order to stay safe and together, Mor must choose between doing what is right and what is easy when a group of boys want what little he and his sisters have. Mor has to figure out what type of person he wants to be while trying to make it through the summer months before his aunt’s return. It is a novel laced with magical realism and I hope loads and loads of heart!

How the tea suits the book:

   Since attaya is a very common tea ceremony in Senegal, it was only natural that I would try and include it. It is featured early on in my book, in an important scene where the adults are discussing Mor and his sisters’ future.

The author's tea life:

   I absolutely love tea. I have cabinets full of it. And in another life I would definitely own a small tea shop and writer’s nook in some charming town in the South of France (there’s a long story behind this, but needless to say earlier in this life it was a very real thought ☺). You can pretty much find me drinking tea all day, everyday. I even have a mug right now. My flavor of the moment is pomegranate oolong. But ask me in an hour and I might have genmai cha, rooibos lemon cloud or some other blend I’ve found irresistible on my travels. 

   Leah has always loved getting lost in stories. When she is not scribbling down her characters’ adventures, she is off on her own, exploring new spaces and places around the world. Her debut middle grade novel, One Shadow on the Wall, will be available June 6th by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. Leah received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University and currently calls Washington D.C. home.
You can find her on Twitter @LeahsMark or through her website at 

April 8th--no post

   Thanks for stopping by, I hope you guys enjoyed!