Tag Archives: Greenleaf Book Group Press

Little Joe, Book One of Round Rock Series by Michael E. Glasscock III

Little Joe Cover, book written by Michael Glasscock IIISynopsis: 

When Little Joe Stout survives the car accident that took his parents’ lives, he is sent to live with his maternal grandparents in the small town of Round Rock, Tennessee. Orphaned and missing his Texas home, Little Joe is reluctant to adapt. But his grandparents, especially his grandmother, are up to the challenge of raising him despite their own struggles. Soon, childhood friendships are forged in the oddball duo of Sugar and Bobby, and—with the help of a new canine companion—Little Joe begins to see that his new home offers the comfort and love he thought was lost forever.

Set against the drama of World War II and the first sparks of the civil rights movement, Little Joe’s new home is a microcosm of America in the 1940s. A frightening incident with a Chinese motorist traveling on the wrong side of town, the migration of troops across the countryside, and a frank discussion of Jim Crow laws are just a few of the local events mirroring the radio broadcasts that bring the news of the day into his grandmother’s kitchen.

Little Joe begins a four-part series from Michael E. Glasscock III that explores the intricate social cloth of Round Rock, Tennessee.

(Cover image and synopsis via Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Recently I selected Little Joe by Michael E. Glasscock III from my To Be Read pile looking for a charming story, hopefully intriguing characters, and a lighter tale than I have read lately. When I selected Little Joe, I realized it was Book One of a Four-Part Series. Reading Little Joe hasn’t charged me with the will to read Book Two.

Growing up in Nashville, TN, which is near the region Glasscock uses as his central geographic point, I was impressed with the accuracy of his descriptions of Hwy. 70, the impact of fog along its narrow lanes and shoulders, and the intensity of rain storms and the amount of water drenching highways.

The depicted region is captured well so I anticipated good character development and an emotional read based on this nine-year old boy’s sudden transition from his parents to his grandparents. Not having had grandparents who were still alive when I was born, I always enjoy a book with beautiful grandchildren/grandparent relationships.

Nothing could be farther from the situation in Little Joe. Although his grandmother is a strong Christian woman and is quite pleasant to those among her community who are African-American, she is quite bigoted when it comes to Catholics. I waited for the author to tell me why, but he never expanded on this. Perhaps it will come in Book Two.

Under the circumstances of his parents’ sudden death, I expected a softer heart from the grandmother and not such harsh judgments and punishments. I did not like her character at all.

During a time when emotion could have filled paragraphs and perhaps pages, it was sadly lacking. I did not feel that Little Joe was given an opportunity to grieve for his parents as a child should and likely would have, nor did I get the sense that, other than with his two young friends, was he allowed to be a boy child.

All in all, I was sorely disappointed with this book and have a difficult time recommending it to anyone else to read. If I were in the habit of assigning ratings to book in my reviews, Little Joe receives 2 stars.

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Meet the Author:

Glasscock, Michael E III, AuthorFor the first eight years of his life Michael E. Glasscock III lived on his grandfather’s cattle ranch a few miles south of the small community of Utopia, Texas. At the beginning of World War II, he moved to a small town in Tennessee not unlike the mythical Round Rock portrayed in his fiction series. Michael decided to study medicine, and he graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical School at age twenty-four.

Nashville, Tennessee, was the site of his otology/neurotology practice, where he was associated with Vanderbilt University as a clinical professor, and where he continues to be part of the faculty as an adjunct professor. He retired from full-time clinical practice in 1997 and moved back to Texas where he continues to work as a consultant for three major medical device companies. He currently resides in Austin, Texas.

(Image and bio via Amazon)

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DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:

  • Series: Round Rock (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608325660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608325665

I received a copy of Little Joe from Greenleaf Book Group Press via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Story of Fierce Determination | Gracianna by Trini Amador | Blog Tour Sponsored by HFVT

Gracianna

“Odds are I was the only four-year-old to have ever freely fumbled a loaded German Luger.”  Prologue to Gracianna, Trini Amador remembers

“Once she decided to engage with anyone on a given subject, they would become transfixed by her confidence, and the grasp and depth of her knowledge.  Her sureness came from her strong core.”  Describing Gracianna (page 7)

“Even though we did not learn much about other kinds of people, I am glad how we learned to be tolerant of others no matter their difference.”  Gracianna speaking (page 46)

Synopsis:

The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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Click here to see entire tour schedule

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My Thoughts:

The opening line to Gracianna is startling once you realize this four-year old boy is the man writing the book you’re holding. More startled than the reader, I believe, was his great-grandmother who turned to find Amador holding the Luger pointing at her.

Toni Amador has lovingly coupled what he knows of his great-grandmother’s story, holding it safely in his hands near his heart, with what he believes may have happened as her story played out in war-ravaged Paris during World War II.

From the French-Basque country, Gracianna Lasaga travels in search of a better, more productive life than that of a Basque sheep herder’s wife. In Paris, Gracianna finds a different lifestyle and an entirely different world than she has ever known.

As she sees her sister taken away by Nazi soldiers to Auschwitz, Gracianna becomes determined to find her sister any way she can. Her determination aligns her with the French Resistance and a life of sheer threat and danger. Will she find her sister alive? Will she live to continue her search? Is her life worth the risk she takes?

The one thing I would like to have seen more of is Paris through the eyes of young Gracianna. It must have overwhelmed this 16-year old Basque farm girl to arrive in Paris, and yet the reader doesn’t experience her reaction fully to the first sights and sounds. Also, at times some of the characters seem a bit distant, perhaps due to the third-person nature of the book.

And still I fell in love with Gracianna and her story. Her courage, strength and determination are alive on the pages of as you read of her commitment to the French Resistance and finding her sister.

My Recommendation: 

Lovers of historical fiction, especially centered around World War II and particularly France, will enjoy this book immensely. Anyone who loves a good story of honor, love and determination will come away satisfied.

 

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Meet the Author:

Trini Amador AuthorTrini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.

Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

(Bio and author photo supplied by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

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DETAILS ABOUT THE BOOK | DISCLAIMER:

Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Historical Fiction
Hardcover; 296pp
ISBN-10: 1608325709

I received a copy of Gracianna from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

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GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER

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The contest ends at 12:00am on November 20th.

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COMING UP:  Something for the family — Vacation Hiro by Meg Welch Dendler. Don’t miss my review of the second book in the Cats in the Mirror Series. 

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