Welcome to the Books & Beverages Blog Tour hosted by Mountain Brook Ink publishing! We’re so excited that you are joining us for the next two weeks of fun. We look forward to introducing you to some new authors — maybe you’ll even find a new favorite! The tour begins at Annie Douglass Lima’s blog on February 15, 2016 and goes through March 1, 2016, ending with Anna Weaver Hurrts. Please check below for the complete schedule of the tour.
Heather L.L. FitzGerald – Debut author of young adult fantasy series, The Tethered World Chronicles
Kimberly Rose Johnson – Multi-published author of sweet romance series, The Wildflower B&B Romance
Angela Ruth Strong – Multi-published author of Finding Love in Sun Valley, Idaho, book one in the Resort to Love series
Each stop will include an opportunity to enter for a FREE KINDLE FIRE as the grand prize, as well as three runner-up opportunities to win a $10 Starbucks gift card! Check the bottom of the post for either a Rafflecopter FORM or a Rafflecopter link for your chance to enter!
And now without further adieu, please welcome:
Heather L.L. Fitzgerald!
Two of the most powerful words in human language. For writers in particular, this question is often at the forefront of our minds–inspiring new ideas, constructing new worlds, or offering new perspectives of our own world around us.
For author Heather L. L. Fitzgerald, this question led her to an interesting idea:
What if mythological creatures such as Big Foot, Dwarves and Gnomes were real? What if they once inhabited the Garden of Eden? What if those creatures now live in a secret world underneath our own, occasionally slipping through the cracks and inspiring folklore?
Thus was born The Tethered World, book one of The Tethered World Chronicles.
Hold on to your hats–and dragons–because you’re about to get a glimpse into a secret and mysterious realm that few topsiders have the chance to see.
To begin with, why don’t we hear about the book from Heather herself?
“Normal” means different things to different people. For sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen, family dynamics look a little different than most. Parents with oddball occupations? Normal. Five homeschooled siblings–one with autism? Normal. Police knocking on the door and parents gone missing? Definitely not normal.
When Sadie uncovers the reasons behind her parents’ disappearance and the truth about her heritage, she despairs of ever feeling normal again. Especially when she learns that her mother’s interest in Bigfoot, Dwarves, and other lore extends beyond her popular blog. Sadie’s family has been entrusted with keeping the secrets of the Tethered World–home to creatures that once roamed the Garden of Eden.
Sadie and her siblings must venture into this land to rescue their parents.
Stepping out of reality and into a world she never knew existed is a journey Sadie fears and resents. But she chooses to risk all to save her family.
She’s just not sure she will survive in the process.
Normality–in all its facets–is one of the themes that runs through the entire story. And sixteen-year-old Sadie Larcen is the perfect heroine for readers (particularly young readers) to identify with in this aspect. After all, the teenage years are without a doubt the time in one’s life when one is most concerned about “fitting in” and being “normal.”
Sadie is a very realistic teenager. She’s in that awkward stage of struggling with the prospect of responsibility, yet her own maturity still has plenty of room for growth. That is exactly the sort of growth we witness consistently in this story. As we experience a new realm and adventure through the point-of-view of a most reluctant and unlikely heroine, we feel her desire for normality, and her fear and anger at being pulled into a world she wants no part of. Yet, as the story progresses, we also discover her best qualities that slowly and subtly rise to the surface.
Above all is her love and devotion to her family. She may resent the position she’s been dropped into, she may not thrive on danger and adventure the way her other siblings do, but still she pushes through. Sadie risks her own safety (even her own life) to save and protect each member of her family.
Despite Sadie’s constant claim that she’s not brave, and not in the least suited to her family’s secret occupation, her own actions prove her more capable than even she realizes. The very fact that she faces her fears and is willing to sacrifice her own safety and happiness for the good of others, is perhaps the most courageous act of all in this story.
That’s not to say that it comes easy to her, or that she plunges head on into danger without second guesses or angry thoughts. In fact, Sadie often has to face her own self-centeredness and repent for her lack of trust in God’s plan.
And that is one of the other themes that shines in this book: God’s sovereignty and the struggle to trust in His plan, especially when the difficulties that surround us seem insurmountable.
Alongside the main character’s personal journey, we meet an entire cast of interesting, lovable, and occasionally not-so-lovable characters, that give a vastness and depth to the world. I’m particularly fond of the pint-sized, quirky, Irish great aunt, Jules. She is bursting with personality and vigor, despite her age, and leaves you yearning to learn more about her past.
And, being an avid fantasy reader, my love of mythological creatures is more than satisfied in the Tethered World. This is a place I could return to again and again and never tire of.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects about Heather’s fantasy story though is the Larcen family themselves. It’s not often (if ever) you come across a homeschooled heroine–and, having been homeschooled myself, I know for a fact that there are plenty of families out there who will be grateful for a clean, fun adventure complete with a main character they can identify with on a very personal level.
Never fear, though! In this case, “clean” does not equal “boring” or “cheesy” in any sense. Sadie and her siblings are constantly faced with danger that will leave you on the edge of your seat holding your breath.What’s more, Heather is not afraid to create flawed characters, who make mistakes and sin. No one is presented as perfect, and the story is better for it.
One other unique side to the story is Brock–Sadie’s younger, autistic brother. Heather’s heart for autism, and for the families and individuals it impacts, shines through brilliantly. Brock is presented as a unique person who makes plenty of his own contributions to the siblings’ adventure. In no way does he ever feel like a “burden” or “baggage” on the journey. And Sadie’s relationship with her brother is something very special to read. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say Brock’s storyline is one of the most surprising and delightful ones in the book, at least in my opinion.
Heather’s writing shines with imagination, intermingling the fantastical with the ordinary, and offering believable characters you will care about, laugh with, cry over, and root for. If you’re looking for a story that is clean, fun, and perfect for the whole family, yet still thought-provoking and deep, with wonderfully detailed world-building, then look no further than The Tethered World.
You won’t be disappointed.
Stay tuned for the other books of the series, to follow soon!
The Tethered World Chronicles:
Book 1: The Tethered World
Book 2: The Flaming Sword
Book 3: The Genesis Tree
The blog tour continues! Below is a complete list of participants. I highly encourage everyone to follow along and hear the unique perspectives and posts from each writer! Thank you for reading my thoughts today, and I hope you enjoy Heather’s book just as much as I did.
2/15 – http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com Annie Douglass Lima
2/16 – www.ghostryter.blogspot.com Beckah
2/17 – http://www.gingersolomon.com/blog Ginger Solomon
2/18 –http://www.sandrarobbins.net Sandra Robbins
2/19 –http://www.jlmbewe.com Jennette Mbewe
2/20 –http://plentifulpursuits.com Erika Keswick
2/21 –https://mdeshaies.wordpress.com Marisa Deshaies
2/22 –http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com/blog Autumn Macarthur
2/23 –https://agreateryes.wordpress.com Crystal Scott
2/24 –https://thegatheringfire.wordpress.com Stephanie Florentino
2/25 –http://dianasbookit.blogspot.com Diana Montgomery
2/26 –http://www.liztolsma.com Liz Tolsma
2/27 –http://sarahruut.com Sarah Ruut
2/28 –http://notbybread.wordpress.com Ashley Taylor
2/29 –https://sparksofember.wordpress.com Kat Vinson
3/1 –http://www.annaweaverbooks.com/giveaways Anna Weaver Hurrts
DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A KINDLE FIRE OR STARBUCKS GIFTCARDS!!