Blog Tour: Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki (Review)

Hi everyone! I’m here today to help celebrate Pride Month! I want to give a big thank you to Nori and Gina Gagliano from Macmillan Publishing. I’m so excited to be part of this blog tour! Today I’m reviewing the wonderful book, Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki. Below will also be a giveaway and all the other tour stops!

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A little background: The book follows Montgomery (Monty), her friends Thomas & Naoki, her family (Mama Kate, Momma Jo & sister Tesla) and their lives in the town of Aunty, CA. Monty and her friends are in school club (Mystery Club), where they explore the unusual and unexplainable. They’re considered the outcasts of the school. Thomas is gay (and is made fun of because of it), Naoki dances to the beat of her own drum, and Monty doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks. While on the internet one night Monty finds The Eye of Know and buys it. It’s supposed to have mystical powers but when it arrives it’s just a black stone.  Meanwhile, John White (a religious zealot that believes marriage is between and man and woman) rolls into town with his family to start spreading the “word of god”. His son Ken goes to school with Monty & her friends as does Matt Truit, a one time friend of Monty’s turned tormentor. I don’t want to say much more, so as not to ruin the book.

Review: Overall, I enjoyed this book. It took a bit to get into, but it was a quick read once the character introductions were over. I liked that the characters weren’t your typical YA teens. Monty, Thomas & Naoki each had unique qualities. At times it was difficult to agree with Monty and her choices, but I think that’s a good thing. I like to read books where the characters are different from me. While the voice of Monty seemed, at times, accurate for a 16 year old,  she seemed angry a disproportionate about of time and always on the defensive. I suppose that’s how some teens feel though. I enjoyed watching Montgomery grow and learn to judge people by their character and not who their parents are.

I’m glad Mariko Tamaki decided to write Monty’s parents as lesbians and Thomas as gay. It’s refreshing seeing a diverse group of characters. I think that by having these characters, it allows readers to be more open minded about people who differ from them. I think acceptance is even more important now in light of what happened in Orlando recently. We should celebrate people’s differences, not shame them for them. I wish she highlighted these three characters more, but I’m glad as a reader I was able to “see” what the life of a child of same sex parents might be like. The struggles they face from their peers, adults, friends, etc.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Thank you to Macmillan for generously giving away 5 copies of Saving Montgomery Sole! Enter Here

Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews, interviews, and a giveaway!

Learn more about Saving Montgomery Sole!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Two for the Show: Blitz Tour

Today’s blitz tour features “Two for the Show” by Jonathan Stone!

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About: Chas is a detective who doesn’t stake out cheating husbands, track down missing persons, or match wits with femmes fatales. Instead of pounding the pavement, he taps a computer keyboard. He can get the goods on anyone, and it’s all to make sure superstar Las Vegas mind reader Wallace the Amazing staysamazing. Thanks to Chas’s steady stream of stealthy intel, Wallace’s mental “magic” packs houses every night.

But when someone threatens to call the psychic showman’s bluff, the sweet gig takes a sour—and sinister—turn. Who’s the clean-cut couple gunning for Wallace with an arsenal of dirty tricks? Why does Wallace keep upping the ante instead of backing down? And just how much does Chas really know about his mysterious boss’s life…or his own? The tangled truth—of blackmail, kidnapping, and false identities—quickly becomes the biggest case of his strange, secret career.

–“The surprise-filled plot shifts rapidly between illusion and reality, keeping the reader constantly—and entertainingly—off-balance.” – Publisher’s Weekly

An excerpt from TWO FOR THE SHOW

It’s the strangest job you’ve ever heard of.

Stranger still, it’s mine.

I’ve been doing it over twenty years. Which makes it a career, I guess.

Technically, I’m a detective. A private investigator.

But not the kind you’re thinking of. One client. Ongoing investigation. ­ The case never closes. ­ The job never ends.

I’m in the entertainment business. But not in the way you’re used to thinking.

I work for a mentalist.

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We are partners in the truest sense—each unable to proceed or succeed without the other. And despite his fame and my anonymity, we hold enormous power over each other. He is nothing without me. I am nothing without him. We are each other’s secret. Each other’s best friend, each other’s lurking nightmare. A secret shared with no one else. We are brothers who never share a story or a beer, but who are nevertheless everything to one another.

Secrecy, silence, discretion—they’re obviously a way of life for me. For twenty years now, I’ve known nothing else. I’m a professional ghost. And because I have not decided, as I write this, exactly what I will be doing with this document, what its ultimate use will be—and in light of a professional habit of protective silence and secrecy and shadow that I am already, somewhat uncomfortably jeopardizing here—I’ll refer to my employer, for the moment anyway, for the purposes of this record, as … oh, I don’t know, let’s call him Wallace the Amazing.

                                                       About the author

johnJonathan Stone does most of his writing on the commuter train between the Connecticut suburbs and Manhattan, where he is a creative director at a midtown advertising agency. His five published novels have all been optioned for film.

He has short stories in the two most recent Mystery Writers of America anthologies. “East Meets West,” appears in the collection “Ice Cold – Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War,” (2104) edited by Jeffery Deaver. “Hedge”, appears in the MWA anthology, “The Mystery Box”, edited by Brad Meltzer (2013). His short story “Mailman” will be published in Best American Mystery Stories 2016, edited by Elizabeth George.

A graduate of Yale, Jon is married, with a son and daughter.

From the acclaimed author of Moving Day and the Julian Palmer series comes TWO FOR THE SHOW by Jonathan Stone (Thomas & Mercer; $15.95 Trade Paperback Original; $3.99 Ebook; May 31, 2016): a thrilling story of blackmail, kidnapping, and stolen identities. www.jonathanstonebooks.com

 

Chains of Command – Blitz Tour

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Chains of Command summary:

The assault on Earth was thwarted by the destruction of the aliens’ seed ship, but with Mars still under Lanky control, survivors work frantically to rebuild fighting capacity and shore up planetary defenses. Platoon sergeant Andrew Grayson must crash-course train new volunteers—all while dulling his searing memories of battle with alcohol and meds.

Knowing Earth’s uneasy respite won’t last, the North American Commonwealth and its Sino-Russian allies hurtle toward two dangerous options: hit the Lanky forces on Mars or go after deserters who stole a fleet of invaluable warships critical to winning the war. Assigned to a small special ops recon mission to scout out the renegades’ stronghold on a distant moon, Grayson and his wife, dropship pilot Halley, again find themselves headed for the crucible of combat—and a shattering new campaign in the war for humanity’s future.

kloos-anglesofattack-photo-albogdan-2014Bio: Bio: Marko Kloos was born and raised in Germany, in and around the city of Münster. In the past, he was a soldier, bookseller, freight dockworker, and corporate IT administrator before he decided that he wasn’t cut out for anything other than making up stuff for a living. He writes primarily science fiction and fantasy, his favorite genres since his youth, when he spent most of his allowance on German sci-fi pulp serials. He resides in New Hampshire with his wife, two children, and a roving pack of vicious dachshunds.

Excerpt from pages 23-25:

The Lankies can sense our vehicles somehow. Anything with an electric motor or fusion plant draws their attention much faster than just a trooper or two in battle armor. Two of the Lankies notice the four-wheeled crawlers and stop what they are doing to pursue the all-terrain vehicles in strides that are slow at first, then longer and faster as the aliens get their enormous mass moving. The drivers of the crawlers goose their electric engine and shoot off into the desert, and even at full throttle, they are barely pulling away from the Lankies. The two rear-facing troops on the passenger seats empty the magazines of their rifles at the pursuers. On a small vehicle going at top speed over rough and bumpy terrain, even the aiming computer isn’t a great deal of help. Most of their rounds go wide or kick up dust in front or beside the Lankies. Then two or three rounds hit the lead Lanky, whose lower left limb collapses midstride. The Lanky tumbles to the desert floor in an enormous cloud of dust and gravel.

For a bunch of boots, it’s a pretty good plan, and capable execution. It only has one flaw—it makes the Lankies disperse. The two that followed the ATVs are now away from the impact marker for the kinetic strike. When the rail gun projectile from the stimulated carrier Enterprise hits the dirt right in front of the terraforming station a minute later, the quarter-kiloton impact blows apart the ruined front of the station and the two Lankies that were still working their way through the wreckage. The remaining Lanky, in hot pursuit of the two ATVs, stops and turns around. It’s over five hundred meters away from the station now and and cleanly avoided the kinetic impact altogether. The two crawlers stop their flight, and the riflemen on the backs of the ATVs reload their weapons. Then First Squad come out of the safety of basement hallway shelter and takes up firing positions on the east flank of the building. The Lanky acts as if it can’t make up its mind where to go next. It’s about to find out what it feels like to be stuck between a hammer and an anvil. The ATV teams goose their rides again and swing around wide, and then the remaining Lanky takes rifle fire from three different directions. I watch with satisfaction as their concentrated fire tears into the Lanky, felling it like an enormous alien equivalent if an ancient Earth redwood tree.

When the dust settles, the platoon has lost eighteen out of thirty-three, more than half its number, but it has taken out all six of the attacking Lankies. The terraformer they were supposed to defend is half gone—in the simulation on their helmet visors, not in reality—but I wasn’t counting on the building surviving the defense, so I don’t subtract any marks for that on the simulation score for the platoon. In the field, for a seasoned platoon of SI, this would have been a near defeat, with half the platoon gone and the facility destroyed. But these are recruits, not even fully trained soldiers yet, and only eleven weeks out of utter civiliandom. All things considered, they did well, but I do have to wonder how many of them I consign to a violent and perfectly unsimulated death on a colony world somewhere by letting this platoon pass their basic training.

The vital signs from the platoon are good, and a lot of them are elated at their victory. No doubt they anticipate this to be the end of their graduation exercise, but it’s only the beginning.

“Squad leaders, gather your squads and prepare for egress,” I send through the platoon channel. I unfreeze the “dead” soldiers’ armor joints. Then I update TacLink with the coordinates for their next waypoint, which isn’t the parking spot for the bus that dropped them off. It’s the parking lot in front of the platoon building at NACRD Orem, forty kilometers to the northeast.

I smile when I hear the groans and muttered curses over the various squad channels. I’ve been in their shoes, and I’ve hated my drill sergeants as much as these recruits hate me right now. But the settled galaxy holds much bigger hardships than a surprise forty-klick hike in battle rattle, and I wouldn’t be doing them any favors by going easy on them and making them believe otherwise. They’ll be out in the field for the whole week, and they’ll hate most of it, but they’ll be better soldiers for it. And maybe they’ll live long enough to appreciate it one day.