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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Author Crush Jolene Perry

Last week I spotlighted three favorite recent reads and mentioned I'd discovered an author I couldn't wait to introduce you to. I read three of her books in three days, they were that good. So here's my journey to discovering Jolene Perry
I heard about Jolene a few months back when I saw the cover reveal for this beauty on Jenny Morris's blog.
I couldn't stop staring. My copy isn't as pretty as the high quality versions, but imagine the richness of the floor and the reflection in the wood and not being sure if it is covered in a thin layer of water or not, but being intrigued either way. It's hot, it's playful, and... I'm getting away from myself. So, at this point I started following Jolene's blog. She has wonderfully real posts. and interacts well with readers. Also, I've always been curious about collaborations and she's sure done a lot of them (and she's even teaching a class on it for LDStorymakers 2014!) I want to go so bad, but the chances are pretty slim *cue serious sad face here*

So, I kept following, but I hadn't read anything of hers yet. I bought 3 Sides to a Circle, but didn't start it. And then she released the cover reveal of this beauty out next March from Albert Whitman Teen:

This cover took my breath away (and I'm usually anti-hearts. It's a joke in my family that Stan's going to get my a ginormous heart pendant). I had to read it. I looked up the book, the publisher, and the cover designer.  When Jolene posted it was up on Netgalley (be still my heart) I rushed to request it. The Summer I Found You was a read now option...*cue frantic happiness* If you're on Netgalley go now and swoop it up. I'll wait.

I began reading this beauty in the midst of my walking pneumonia and I read it in half a day. I couldn't get enough of Kate and Aidan (and their alternating POVs). Having recently moved from a military town and being married to a councelor specializing in military and deployment issues, I know how real Aidan's struggle is, to have a future plan of retiring military and then to be receive a medical discharge at 19. We had many friends go through this for various reasons. Aidan lost an arm. He couldn't do buttons, or drive his stick shift, or open the toothpaste without using his teeth. Add that on top of the mental trauma of the incident and the loss of his commanding officer and friend and you have one troubled boy. Enter a girl dealing (but poorly) with her DiabetesType I diagnosis and the need to self-regulate, to prick and plunge needles into her skin. One issue we could clearly see, the other not so much. The plot gripped me, I cried for them, I ached for them, and I loved right along with them. I've never found a one-armed man as hot as Aidan!
*some language, but it was authentic to military life

I couldn't help myself, I had two more Jolene Perry books on my kindle, so I opened 3 Sides to a Circle, saving the LDS read for Sunday-lol. 

I should mention this is one of her collaborations, this time with Janna Watts. This book is NA told from 3 POVs. I haven't read many NA yet, but the college years were huge for me. So much of my life and decisions I made happened during these years. My freshman year, that first time on my own, I ended up with a roommate unlike any I had expected. We filled out surveys and I still don't know how the college thought we're pair well. So I could relate to the shock of Honor meeting wild child Libby who seems to know everyone and have crazy ideas to make everything an adventure. Add nerdy Toby to the mix and you've got three memorable characters for a great ride. This is another book I absorbed in a day. It was a little heavy on the language and crudeness factor, but I couldn't resist the writing. 

Next I read The Weight of Love. Isn't this cover stunning? I love the light in it, the yellows and her face to the sun.

This is an LDS novel, again with a military influence. The MC, Jaycee, lost her husband two years previous on a deployment and is raising their autistic son on her own. The male MC, Mitchell, is a boy who strayed early in life, but came back to the church and is serving a mission in Alaska where Jaycee lives. From Jolene's blog, "The Weight of Love is a story about letting go of the past, falling in love during impossible circumstances, and learning that often the best kinds of joy are the ones worth waiting for." 
I don't read much LDS fiction, but I've found a few writers whom I really enjoy. I've added Jolene to the top of that list. I especially liked the different POV's for this story because each were going through so many different issues and experienced the same things in different ways. I LOVED the hair cutting scene and how wonderful Mitchell's mom was to Jaycee. If you enjoy LDS fiction, or are looking to give it a try, I hope you'll pick up this one. 

Jolene was sweet enough to tell me how the titles for her books came about.
The Weight of Love used to be "Things We Carry" or "What We Carry" but they both felt awkward. I just felt that in ways love tied them both down in good ways and in bad ways and kept them apart, so it had a weight to it. That's where that one came from.

The Summer I Found You was not my title. My publisher sent me an email saying - By the way we've changed your title to The Summer I Found You. Originally the title was Used To Be, which I didn't love and told them as much. Also, Eileen Cook has a book out w/ that same name and it's a YA Contemp.

3 Sides to a Circle is a title I've had spinning in my head for a LONG time and when Janna came up with the idea for the book, I was like - WE HAVE TO USE MY TITLE!! lol.

I think Knee Deep is my favorite title. I love how it weaves through the book, and I also love how simple it is. That's a book where I wrote a line in the novel and was like - WOW. There's my title.

I will also be supah long-winded and say that the same publisher that picked up The Summer I Found You also picked up a book of mine called The Happiness of Joy and changed the title to Stronger Than You Think - I'm still getting used to it...

Thanks Jolene, for being on the blog and for writing books I crave to read. 

Jolene is having a giveaway for 4 paperbacks to celebrate the release of The Weight of Love. I'm putting the link below, but don't feel like you should go to it as I want to up my chances of winning them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Jolene's books? If so, what's your favorite? I'm trying to decide which one to dive into next.

Next Monday I have a guest post by a MG expert. I hope you'll check it out! I crack up each time I read his reviews.


  1. Dude!! I feel so special and happy!!! :-D HUGE thank you!!

  2. Thanks, Jolene! It was so fun to get to fan girl over your books. You are A-Mazing! Seriously.

  3. Glad you got the spotlight today Jolene. Great work showing off Jo's wonderful talent Robyn.

  4. Gotta love Jolene! She's one great writer!

  5. Read many. And love them. I also have several waiting to be read on my kindle. AND, I got a signed copy of Night Sky. Jolene's not only a great storyteller, but she's just an awesome person too.

  6. I haven't read any of her books but you sure made me want to :)

  7. Not coming to LDStorymakers!!! Oh no :( Try REALLY hard :)

    And I've read her work. Very talented lady :)

  8. the books look and sound awesome! Thanks for highlightening Jolene today, Robin. My fav cover is the huge heart over the ocean. <3