So, here we are at stop number who-knows-what on Sarah Boucher's Blog Tour for her debut novel "Becoming Beauty." In previous posts on my blog I have talked about how grateful I am to have a friend like Sarah. She has been so so patient and selfless and I can't even begin to express how blessed I've been to have a friend like her who is literally walking distance from my front door. I've never had that in my adult life and I couldn't have asked for it at a more critical and insanely stressful time of life. This has been quite the year for both of us in our respective day jobs and obviously, preparing to have a book published on top of teaching the little people has taken its toll on this Ethel-next-door-neighbor friend of mine. I've decided to share a few tidbits from the perspective of this equally crazy "Lucy" as she has watched her friend bring this book to the shelves. Then we will talk themes and my favorites. Ready, set, go!
- It is a lot of work to publish a book. Once it was under contract with Cedar Fort I lost count of how many times Sarah had to re-edit and re-write parts of the book to make it just perfect. And some days 'just perfect' meant making the editor happy so they passed her off to the next step.
- The book cover is by far one of the most beautiful elements of this whole process and when it landed in her email inbox she was SOOOOOOO excited. The cover was spot on exactly how Sarah envisioned it on the first draft. So it stuck. I loved reading the review copy and having visions of characters in my head that were created because of this stunning cover.
- There is something truly awesome and equally hilarious about reading a book your friend has written. For those of you who will never meet her in human form, you will not understand this, but there are SO many elements of this book that are ALL SARAH. I call them Sarahisms. I will get into this a little bit more as we dig into the content and themes.
- Sarah has done an incredible job at self-promoting this book during the last year through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her blog. The entire year she would write posts and participate in Monday Blogs on Twitter with the blind hope that it would pay off when the release date happened. It has been the coolest phenomanon to witness the response she has received because of her hard work promoting herself through social media. There is not a single element of this process that Sarah has not lost sleep over. She went about planning every step so that it was perfect and after her first book launch party, I am happy to say that it worked. We (I was her self-appointed non-profit publicist) kicked ass and impressed the peeps at Barnes & Noble.
- This is not your run-of-the-mill fairy tale regurgitation. Sarah dug deep for each of these characters and exposed their vulnerability and portrayed them in a way that was exactly what we needed to know and forced us to question who really was the beastly being driving the plot.
And with that, I present, my official review.
The main character of this book is named Bella, NOT Belle. And if you even attempt to associate her with another fictional Bella that we are all aware of you should poke your own eyes out. Our Bella barrels her way into the spotlight the second she enters the room. When I started reading the book I was hooked by page 5 when Bella says the following about her sister Cassie, "What if I launched a beaded slipper at her head? It wouldn't cause any lasting damage, I reasoned. The crowd of men would be gathered about her, eager to catch her every word, and then WHAT? Looks of stunned outrage would paint their faces as she fell in a graceless heap at their feet." Ha! Damn frickin funny and such a SARAHISM. A behind-the-scenes tidbit about this particular passage....it was not originally written like this. Not at all. There was an intention of death (gasp) for the sister and somehow they didn't think that was ok?!? But, alas, the edit was still so funny and I loved it!!
We quickly realize that Bella has some attitude issues. I would submit that a bit of karma came her way as her selfish wishes landed her a one way ticket to the point of no return and the home of the beast. I appreciated the raw dialogue that occurs between Bella and the beast because, quite frankly, she deserved everything that he dished her way. There was a debt to be paid and she was fulfilling it. The next quote that I really liked was also the first quote that I shared on my social media because it was some serious food for thought.
Assuming that we can charm our way to the top while others slave? Not a big fan! Are you?? This theme was one that made its way to the very last chapter and it made me smile. There is so much to be said for those who work hard for what they have and also for those who are happy with what they have, even if it means they aren't the wealthiest of the wealthy.
Next was the discussion of imperfection and attaining beauty at our own speed and in our own manner. As we read further and further we find that Bella is in a constant battle with her subconscious self and there are a number of dream sequences. Well that sounds familiar. How many of us have gone to bed and spent a night in dreamland that really was a battle of sorting out our reality and woke up more exhausted than before we closed our eyes? I did whilst I was reading the book and it sucked. It also reminded me that I am still not perfect (news flash) and that my heart aches and stresses just as much as the next human.
Bella experiences a transformation of heart due to a number of events that are so delightful. And some of it might involve the interaction with a beardy grump face. Aw, beardy grumpy men. Oh, how I love them.
The third and final quote that I will share was towards the end of the book.
I am so proud of my friend for pushing through the stress and drudgery of being published for the sweet reward of sharing her talent with the world. I encourage you to find the time to read "Becoming Beauty." It is a perfect holiday gift for the reading girls in your life and I can't wait to share it with my friends and family. For those of you who enjoy the electronic reading route (ME!) it is also available on Kindle. You can find that information here.
The moral of the story: When you wish upon a star and write a story, don't be afraid to share it with the world. It just may end up on the shelf of your local bookstore.
Until next time, my lovelies!
And don't forget to click below and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!