Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau, Black Flower by Young-ha Kim, The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

Congratulations to Laura Hatfield, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Thrill-Bent by Jan Richman.

This week's book give-away is another Friday "Threebie."  One lucky reader will have the chance to win a trio of terrific novels: The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (out in paperback at the end of this month), Black Flower by Young-ha Kim, and The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell.

Stephen Dau's debut novel The Book of Jonas has been called "a literary tour de force" by Kirkus Reviews; it also comes highly recommended by Library Journal: "A sobering and accomplished read meant to prick the conscience."  Here's the synopsis:
Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. An international relief organization sends Jonas to America, where he struggles to assimilate—adapting to his foster family, high school, a first love. Jonas meets Rose Henderson, the mother of the U.S. soldier responsible for saving his life. Christopher Henderson disappeared after the raid that destroyed Jonas’s village, and Rose yearns to know the truth. Gradually, a shocking and painful secret emerges. In spare, evocative prose, debut novelist Stephen Dau crafts a virtuosic novel about memory, the terrible choices made during war, and what happens when foreign disaster arrives at our own doorstep.
Earlier at the blog, I raved about the novel's opening paragraphs.

Black Flower by Young-ha Kim is also about the consequences of war, though it takes place a century earlier than the conflict in The Book of Jonas.  Here's the plot summary:
In 1904, as the Russo-Japanese War deepened, Asia was parceled out to rising powers and the Korean empire was annexed by Japan. Facing war and the loss of their nation, more than a thousand Koreans left their homes to seek possibility elsewhere—in unknown Mexico. After a long sea voyage, these emigrants—thieves and royals, priests and soldiers, orphans and entire families—disembark with the promise of land. Soon they discover the truth: they have been sold into indentured servitude. Aboard ship, an orphan, Ijeong, fell in love with the daughter of a noble; separated when the various haciendados claim their laborers, he vows to find her. After years of working in the punishing heat of the henequen fields, the Koreans are caught in the midst of a Mexican revolution. Some flee with Ijeong to Guatemala, where they found a New Korea amid Mayan ruins. A tale of star-crossed love, political turmoil, and the dangers of seeking freedom in a new world, Black Flower is an epic story based on a little-known moment in history.
Young-ha Kim's debut, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, earned him critical acclaim.  Since then, he has published five novels and four collections of short stories.

Screenwriter Lisa O'Donnell's debut novel, The Death of Bees, is also gathering a lot of good buzz (hey, you knew the pun was coming, right?).  The Spencer Daily Reporter had this to say: "The Death of Bees reminds me of Emma Donoghue’s Room. Maybe it’s because both authors originated from the United Kingdom. Maybe it’s because both stories carry a darkness brightened only by the innocence of the main characters."  Booklist gave it a starred review: "O’Donnell’s finely drawn characters display the full palette of human flaws and potential. Told in the alternating voices of Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie, this beautifully written page-turner will have readers fretting about what will become of the girls."  Library Journal wrote: "Quirky characters with distinct voices enliven this sometimes grim and often funny coming-of-age story in the vein of Karen Russell’s best seller Swamplandia!"  Here's the plot summary:
Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's Maryhill housing estate isn't grand, the girls do have each other. Besides, it's only a year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both. Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? Lennie takes them in—feeds them, clothes them, protects them—and something like a family forms. But soon enough, the sisters' friends, their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls' family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.
Here at the blog's "My First Time" series, Lisa recently wrote about her early encounter with war poetry.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Book of Jonas, Black Flower and The Death of Bees, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Feb. 7at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 8.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome giveaway this week....all three of the books sound very interesting. If I win, I don't know which one I will read first but I do know it will be by the fire. It has turned cold in Alabama. :) Thanks for the chance to win GOOD new books.