Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

The House of Order – John Paul Jaramillo

It’s been a while since I’ve written a review. But when Novel Publicity sent out the blog tour promo for John Paul Jaramillo’s The House of Order, I knew I had to sign up. The writing captured my attention immediately, as did the storytelling format and the story itself.

Probably the best word to sum up this book is “raw.” Some might translate this as “uncensored.” (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Some might prefer “harshly realistic.” I would say that this book is not just about a broken family trying to forge and maintain relationships–it’s about the human condition at its ugliest, most honest, and most naked.

Manito, the young man who narrates the story, tells the history of his family through stories that have been passed down to him from family members, specifically his uncle, Neto. There is not much cheerfulness or even hope in these stories, but there is a huge dosage of survival. In this way, Jaramillo captures the longing for love, hope, and purpose that drives Manito and his family to survive.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The House of Order? Well, there are two ways to enter…

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official House of Order tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the official House of Order tour page–either way works just as well.

About the author: John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Associate Professor of English in the Arts and Humanities Department of Lincoln Land Community College. Connect with John Paul on his website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

Get The House of Order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Advertisements

April 16, 2012 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | 3 Comments

Briefcase of Books: Bridget Jones’ Diary

Title: Bridget Jones’ Diary
Author: Helen Fielding
Brief Case: The only thing clever about the plot is what it copies from Pride and Prejudice; the only thing likable about the characters is what it stereotypes, creating a story that falls flat with characters the reader doesn’t care about.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: In Leah’s Wake

Title: In Leah’s Wake
Author: Terri Giuliano Long
Brief Case:  In a study on human perspective and condition, Long creates a painfully realistic picture of a disintegrating family, showing that a well-rounded viewpoint doesn’t always lack edge.

Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official In Leah’s Wake blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

The next word for the book give-away is book. Learn more about the give-away and enter to win 1 of 3 copies on the official In Leah’s Wake blog tour page. The other 2 copies are being given-away courtesy of the GoodReads author program, go here to enter. And don’t forget to stop by the Q&A with Terri Giuliano Long Group to discuss In Leah’s Wake (including questions from the official book club guide), the author, her writing process, and advice.

Book Trailer for In Leah’s Wake:

May 25, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | 1 Comment

Briefcase of Books: The Other Hand

Title: The Other Hand /American title: Little Bee (I don’t know why the copy I got has the other title)

Author: Chris Cleave

Brief Case: Two women unexpectedly come together and tell their story with unexpected words that keep the reader engrossed throughout by their sheer beauty.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: The King Whisperers

Title: The King Whisperers

Author: Kerwin Swint

Brief Case: Clear writing guides the reader behind historic scenes, introducing unknown masterminds and delving into their brilliant minds.

Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official King Whisperers blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

The next word for the book give-away is FOR. Learn more about the give-away and enter to win 1 of 3 copies on the official King Whisperers blog tour page. The other 2 copies are being given-away courtesy of the GoodReads author program, go here to enter. And don’t forget to stop by the Q&A with Kerwin Swint Group to discuss the King Whisperers (including questions from the official book club guide), the author, and his previous works.

Book Trailers for the King Whisperers:

May 11, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: The Other Hand

Title: The Other Hand

Author: Chris Cleave

Brief Case: Two women unexpectedly come together and tell their story with unexpected words that keep the reader engrossed throughout by their sheer beauty.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: Immortal (Blog Tour)

Title: Immortal

Author: Gene Doucette

Info: http://genedoucette.me/immortal

Brief Case: With history at his fingertips, an immortal man leads readers on a journey through the allures and downfalls of humanity (as well as non-humanity), forcing them to contemplate the meaning of their existence through new but aged eyes.

April 20, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

A Subtle Thing, by Alicia Hendley

The human mind is a complex mechanism, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, sometimes clear, sometimes jumbled, always contradictory.  Alicia Hendley captures the essence of humanity, in all its glorious faultiness, through her investigations into the life of one woman in her debut novel A Subtle Thing.  The existence of beauty in the midst of a life of ugly details is shown over and over again throughout the account of Beth’s psychological and emotional struggles.  Each minute conflict draws readers in and gives them a better understanding of the inherent value of each individual human life.

The story unfolds at the pace of Beth’s thought process, painting a portrait of the grimness of a life overcome by depression.  By writing exclusively from Beth’s perspective, Hendley overwhelms readers with the same thoughts—or lack of thoughts—that overwhelm Beth.  The entire novel is intensely focused on each and every thing that goes through Beth’s mind, allowing readers to see the complexities and (as the title suggests) subtleties that exist in a depressive state.  It also allows them to see the beauty that sprouts up even in the most hopeless of situations, especially in the area of relationships.

A Subtle Thing delves into the most basic aspects of humanity: relationship and identity.  Beth struggles to maintain both of these things while fearing their loss.  Her relationships with her family and friends seem painstakingly real to readers, because they are based in the fears, loves, and hurts that exist in every relationship. The entire novel explores the lines between wanting to hide from the world and yet still needing people as a support system, a trait typical in those experiencing depression.  Many of Beth’s relationships throughout the book are broken, causing her to doubt both those around her and herself.  As she suddenly finds herself in a new and different kind of relationship, she is forced to confront her past and take control of her future.  Little by little, almost so subtly that it is not quite visible, Beth matures through the challenges of depression until she (and the reader) once again remembers what happiness is like.  Even without happiness, however, she is able to find beauty in her interactions and relationships with other beautiful individuals.

Hendley’s ability to craft a character with such care, detail, and attention to the aspects of depression that affect a life results from her professional background in clinical psychology.  As a psychologist, Hendley has interacted with many people like Beth, who all struggle with different issues but the same subtleties.  Throughout A Subtle Thing, readers are able not only to identify with Beth as a character but also to reflect upon their own humanity as a result.  Beth is a heart-wrenchingly human character, whose flaws lie in her strengths and whose strengths lie in her flaws.  She reminds readers that being human means being imperfect, yet there is still great beauty in imperfection, as there is great beauty in this book.  Although Beth perceives herself as weak, the reader perceives her as a strong woman who has endured psychologically and emotional turmoil beyond what many are faced with.  As a psychologist, Hendley does a fantastic job of walking the lines between weakness and strength.

As someone who has struggled with depression, I found this book especially powerful.  Hendley’s descriptions of the slow passing of time, the feeling of helplessness, and the overwhelming insecurities all rang a very strong bell in my mind.  However, despite going into such depth about depression, the book itself is actually quite uplifting.  While reading it (at a point in my life where I still struggled daily with depression) I was encouraged by the hints of individual beauty throughout.  Although living my life during that time was one of the hardest things I had ever faced, A Subtle Thing reminded me that each individual life is precious.

A Subtle Thing should be read by anyone struggling with depression, anyone who knows someone struggling with depression, or anyone who is seeking to remind themselves of humanity’s inherent value.  If that doesn’t cover everyone, all I can say is this: Read it.  You will learn about yourself and others and be deeply moved by the time you put it down.  Kudos to Alicia Hendley for communicating truths about human nature so well.

March 30, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: Memoirs of a Geisha

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha

Author:  Arthur Golden

Imagery pervaded the colorful life of the protagonist, translating her hopes and fears into pictures.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment

Briefcase of Books: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Book: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Author:  Aimee Bender

The author manages to communicate to the reader the same confused mix of emotions that define the characters, resulting in a story that is part magic realism, part emotional turmoil, and part family life.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | book review, briefcase of books | Leave a comment