Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blog Tour: Forty Days (Stephanie Parent)

The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic… …until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive? With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.

Forty Days (Neima's Ark #1)
by Stephanie Parent
Release Date: 02/10/13
125 pages 

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Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

Forty Days is on sale this week only for only $.99!  Go get your copy!

THE DOVEKEEPERS BY ALICE HOFFMANSince I’m not a particularly religious person, I’ve never had too much of an interest in fiction inspired by biblical history, even though I’ve always loved historical fiction in general.  But when I began working on my retelling of the Noah’s Ark story, I decided to read a few of these books in the hopes that they’d help me with my novel.  I was really surprised by how incredibly fascinating novels based on biblical stories and history can be.  So I decided to highlight a few of my favorites, in case you enjoy Forty Days and would like to read more…  One of these books is YA, two are adult, but what they all have in common with Forty Days is that they’re told from the point of view of strong female characters who so often lack a voice in the Bible.  I hope you’ll consider picking one of these up!

I have always loved Alice Hoffman’s gorgeous, imagery-rich, magical-realist writing style, and I was blown away by her epic story of the Masada massacre in Israel in 70 CE.  (If you don’t know about this period in history, you can google it, but you might now want to—it will give away part of the story!)  The Dovekeepers is told from the shifting point of view of four women of different ages, backgrounds, and walks of life who all become dove keepers at Masada.  The amount of research Alice Hoffman did for this book is astounding, and the descriptions of the harsh but beautiful landscape of Israel absolutely captivated me.  The writing and storytelling lures you in like a fairy tale—a dark and tragic but also hopeful one.

Song of the Magdalene
SONG OF THE MAGDALENE by Donna Jo NapoliSong of the Magdalene by Donna Jo Napoli is a fictional retelling of the life of Mary Magdalene before she met Jesus.  While parts of the story were inspired by certain Bible verses, as the author shares in her afterword, this story is very inventive and goes far beyond the biblical version of Mary Magdalene.  At the same time, the story is incredibly well grounded in historical detail.  A number of the same places are mentioned in this book as in The Dovekeepers, and I found them just as enthralling here.  This book has a lot to say about the treatment of women and people with physical and mental disabilities in ancient times, and it was an incredibly moving reading experience for me.  You do not have to be religious to enjoy this book, and I encourage everyone to pick it up—the kindle version is only 3.99.

THE RED TENT BY ANITA DIAMANT The Red Tent is probably the most famous example of a biblical story retold from a woman’s point of view, and I actually like to think of Forty Days as sort of a “YA Red Tent.”  In The Red Tent, Anita Diamant takes a woman whose life is only briefly mentioned in the Bible—Dinah, the daughter of Jacob—and creates a rich narrative for her that spans several countries and many years.  Other women mentioned in the Bible, like Leah and Rachel, are also fleshed out much more here.  The Red Tent is a must-read if you’re at all interested in biblical history, and particularly in women’s lives during biblical times!

Welcome to my stop on the Forty Days blog tour hosted by YA Bound.  Click HERE to see the full blog tour schedule!

YA Bound

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