Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blackbird Falling Release Day!

Happy Book Birthday to Blackbird Falling by Em Shotwell!

I'm thrilled to help Em launch this amazing book! I finished an advanced copy yesterday and loved it!

This is the perfect follow up to Blackbird Summer. It pick up a year after BBS left off. We see Delia struggling to come to terms with the horrible things that happened to her (no spoilers in case you haven't read BBS yet) and navigate the world as a new mom.

Before I continue with my review, here's a bit about the book.

Meet Delia. Gifted. Magical. Broken.

Hell hath no fury like Delia Caibre—Gifted single mom with the power to make people love her, and a chip on her shoulder the size of the Mississippi.

When last summer left her broken by a monster, and abandoned by the man she trusted, Delia pulled herself up and vowed to never let anyone hurt her, or those she loves, again. So when Thomas Richard shows up, begging forgiveness and flashing his hundred-watt-smile, Delia lets him know that it will take more than dimples and promises to win her back.

Besides, raising her daughter, Genevieve—whose Gift is rare and stronger than anyone in the magical Caibre family—leaves little room for things like dating. But Thomas is persistent. And cute…and it would be nice to feel carefree and nineteen.

Until a masked-man from her past wields a Curse that leaves Delia’s beloved sister on her deathbed, and makes off with Genevieve. It will take the most powerful in the Caibre family to put things right. But bringing her broken family together may prove impossible, even if not doing so means their destruction.

You can buy your copy here.

The first part of this book has a lot of sweetness as Delia gives Thomas a second chance. I was swooning and laughing. Em is a master at writing those sweet, awkward scenes. Though Delia is dealing with her grief and PTSD, I found the first bit fun.

I admit, I was a little worried that the book would continue in that vein, which would have been fine but I was craving the chaos and darkness that I know Em can deliver. And deliver she did.
When Genevieve, Delia's daughter, is taken, there's no stopping the Caibre family from getting her back.

I loved what Em did with the story. Kidnapping of a child is a common trope, but in this story, totally necessary as Gen has the coveted gift of vigor. I don't want to spoil the book, but what Em down with the Gifts and families had me enthralled. I didn't want to stop reading.

Em's characters are complex and emotionally troubled in their own ways. She writes with compassion and humor. I love the world she's built and I can't wait for more!

Where can you find out more about Em and her Blackbird series?

Em Shotwell is a mom, writer, cancer survivor, foster youth advocate, podcast producer, and a casual geek--among a million other things. Sometimes she writes books about misfits and the people who love them.

When she’s not frowning at her computer screen, Em enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, or indoors daydreaming and wishing she could play the banjo. 

Find her on her website, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Get your copy of Blackbird Falling here.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Another Concert Adventure

Last night I went to see two musicians whose careers I've followed for decades...and it was amazing!

It took a little wheeling and dealing at work to get the time off to see Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. A co-worker was nice enough to cover my shift, so I'll owe her big time. Going also involved about ten hours of driving and keeping my kids up later than they should have been one night (my youngest doesn't do well if she misses her bed time).

I've been a Slash fan since Guns n' Roses's first album and have bought all the albums he's put out (I still have Slash's Snakepit on cassette). One would have thought I'd have jumped to see Gn'R on their reunion tour when they came to Toronto, but honestly, I wasn't into it.

When I heard Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators was coming, I wanted to go because I love their albums. I can put one on when I'm having a rough day and it makes things better. They're like comfort food for my soul. Hearing the songs live and seeing them preformed was a touching experience.

Slash wasn't the only reason I wanted to go. As I counted down the days to the show, I told everyone, "X days until I see Slash and Todd Kerns!" Most people know Slash, but everyone asked who Todd Kerns was, which gave me the chance to talk about my favourite Canadian band Age of Electric (if you peek at my What I'm Listening To page, you'll see they've been helping me with my latest book). I was even late leaving work one day because I was educating a co-worker on AoE, playing her songs off my phone. It's not often I get to geek out like that. I've been an AoE fan since I saw their video for Aphrodisiac Smile on Much Music way back when (I've been unsuccessful in obtaining a copy of it though). I saw them at Edgefest in the late '90's but sadly missed them on their re-union tour a couple of years ago.

I've been to two shows at Rama and I always find it a little awkward. I want to get up and rock out but most of the audience sits. We all paid a lot for our tickets so I'm not going to be inconsiderate and stand so no one can see. We had a woman in front of us who stood almost the whole show. I'd sat behind her but my husband switched seats with me so I could see without the obstruction.

The opening band Republica was pretty good. The singer has more of an old school metal sound to his voice that you don't hear often anymore and some of their songs have a thrash tint, but not too much that made them too heavy.

Slash was phenomenal. He gets up there and plays his heart out, and looks awesome doing it. He didn't try to work the audience, but he's Slash, he doesn't have to. It was amazing seeing a rock legend that I've followed since my early teen years play live.

The whole band sounded great. They are tight and played their own material sprinkled with songs from Slash's self-titled solo album and covers of Fall to Pieces and Night Train. My only critique was that there was little interaction with the crowd. I like when bands work the audience a little more. I saw Sebastian Bach in July, and that man knows how to interact with a crowd. But it wasn't a huge deal. I'd go see them again in a second.

As much as I loved Kennedy up on stage, doing his thing, the highlight for me was when he turned the mic over to Kerns to sing two songs. Yup, this woman lost her shit, which amused my husband greatly. He did Doctor Alibi and We're All Gonna Die from Slash's solo album. Kerns was great on stage. While he played bass, he interacted with the crowd and tossed picks like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, I wasn't close enough to acquire one. I wished I'd had an AoE shirt to wear to the show.

Nothing has touched seeing Chris Cornell three years ago, and I don't think anything will top that because the circumstances in my life at the time gave that show extra meaning. But I think Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators isn't far behind.