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#159 ~ The Laws of Harmony ~ Book Tour and Giveaway

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tlc-book-tours-graphic-tiny1Today it is my pleasure to serve as Judith Ryan Hendricks’ hostess on her The Laws of Harmony blog tour organized by TLC Book Tours.  What a great way to kick off the week!  Since I had already received a copy of this novel from Audrey at HarperCollins (thank you!), I get to offer my book tour copy to one of my readers.  Please see information on her entire tour and the giveaway at the end of this post.

For more information on TLC Book Tours, their authors and all of their tour dates, please click here.

The Review

The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks

Sunny Cooper grew up on a hippie commune in New Mexico with her parents she calls by name, Rob and Gwen, her older brother Hart, her younger sister Mari, and all types of other people interested in living a communal lifestyle or at least partaking in its sexual and drug-related freedoms.  Although she left the Armonia compound after graduating from high school, is now in her early 30s, and is a successful radio voice over talent, Sunny never seems to be able to escape the impact of her childhood, especially her relationship with her mother and the loss of her sister Mari.  She finds herself unable to commit to marriage with Michael and hopes that living together will keep him satisfied.  When he is pronounced dead after a tragic traffic accident, Sunny no longer has even a loose grip on her life.  Impulsively, she sells everything she owns and travels as far away from Albequerque as she can get.  She ends up on San Miguel Island in a small town called Harmony.  She finds that even on an island surrounded by strangers that she can never fully escape her past.  She has to learn to forgive and to acknowledge all that made her the person she is.

It was great to read a novel about a woman my age.  Just because a woman is in her 30s doesn’t mean that she’s got her life together.  Sometimes it feels far from it.  Sunny and I had dramatically different childhoods, but I related to her as if she were my my sister.  The scene at her maternal grandparent’s house as a child hit me both as a young girl and as a mother. Gwen grew up in a well-to-do family in California. When she left home, she turned her back on her family’s lifestyle. What drove her away appealed to Sunny and her grandmother saw to it that she got what she wanted.  As they were leaving to return to the commune, Sunny begged her grandmother to let her stay where there was access to new clothes and indoor plumbing. I could feel Sunny’s anxiety over leaving a more normal life to return to New Mexico.  I could equally feel Gwen’s pain as Sunny opening showed her partiality to the life she could no longer condone. It is interesting how each generation feels they know better how to raise children only to discover that their children do not agree. 

judi-208x300This is the first novel I’ve read by Judith Ryan Hendricks.  If her fourth novel is any indication of Hendrick’s talent, she is an author to watch. The Laws of Harmony is full of interesting twists, so it’s difficult to discuss the novel more in depth without giving anything away.  It addresses relationships without being cliched or heavy handed. The fact that not all of Sunny’s issues and relationships ended neatly or with a dramatic reconciliation made this novel so much more realistic than most. What she discovers instead is that the  strength and fortitude needed to move on with your life is there if you are only honest with yourself. It would make for an active and interesting book club discussion.  

I cannot say enough about The Laws of Harmony. Although there were a few sections that slowed the story down for me, I did not regret a single moment I spent with Sunny.  There is so much depth to her character and in her story. I enjoyed being surprised when several twists – including the ending – turned out much differently than I had suspected.  If you ever dreamed of running away from your cares, you can relate to this novel.  You might even find yourself thinking through similar issues in your own life. It’s always a rewarding reading experience to be invited to learn more about yourself through the telling of a story.

++++++

My stop is just the beginning for Judi and I am interested in hearing what everyone else thought!  Check out her remaining stops this month:

Tuesday, May 5th:  B & B Ex Libris
Wednesday, May 6th:  Books and Cooks
Thursday, May 7th:  Baking and Books
Monday, May 11th:  Book Addiction
Tuesday, May 12th:  Prudence Pennywise
Thursday, May 14th:  Farmgirl Fare
Monday, May 18th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, May 20:  Baking Delights
Thursday, May 28th:  Stephanie’s Written Word
Friday, May 29th:  Caribou’s Mom

The Giveaway

I have one copy of The Laws of Harmony to give away.  To be eligible to win, leave a comment telling me about a book you’ve read that has made you pause and consider your own life. This contest is open until Saturday, May 30th at 11:59 EST. The winner will be announced on Sunday, May 31st. 

Tell others about this giveaway on your blog, through email, or through Twitter for an extra entry each.  Leave a comment for at least 7 of Judi’s other hostesses (listed above) on their tour date and you’ll get five additional entries.

To ensure that you get you additional entries, please be sure to notify me here in the comments or through email.

Good luck!  While you’re waiting to see if you’re the winner, why not check out the book trailer for The Laws of Harmony?

 

*****

To buy this novel, click here.

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26 Comments

  • At 2009.05.04 03:59, Karen @ Planet Books said:

    Right now I am reading BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos. Last night the part I read was about one of the characters who is dying from cancer in her thirties (I think). It made me think about my friend who is battling cancer and is losing and what fear she probably has for her husband and three year old son. Reading about this character made me wonder about those few days before dying from an illness and how sad, no matter how you look at it, thost days will be.

    planetbooksworldwide @ gmail . com

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    • At 2009.05.04 08:27, Kathy said:

      Don’t enter me – I have this book in my TBR pile. I’m really anxious to read it after reading your terrific review.

      Kathy’s last blog post..Mailbox Monday

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      • At 2009.05.04 09:42, lisamm said:

        I appreciate when a book doesn’t tie up all the loose ends neatly- it’s so much more like real life that way and gives the reader more to think about. I’m so intrigued by this book, and this is also one of the few book trailers that I think is really good.

        I just finished The Story of a Marriage, which I think you read too (didn’t you?) It gave me a lot to think about= most vividly- can we ever truly know another person?

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        • At 2009.05.04 10:51, Lisa said:

          I recently read Bound South which introduced me to a southern mother who basically gave up her dreams for her husband and family. After her children were raised she decided to follow her dreams. It was very enlightening. I’d love to read Laws of Harmony!

          lisamos64@gmail.com

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          • At 2009.05.04 12:06, Sandy said:

            It is nice to take a step back now and again and take an inventory of our life, and what we are doing with it. It has been way too long since I’ve read something that has caused me to do this! These types of books are so good for the soul. The one that comes to mind is “Love You, Mean It”. This was a real life story of a group of young women who all lost their husbands in 9/11. They were not close before, but formed a bond that got them through some really tough days. It made me sit back and appreciate the power of girlfriends. It can be an awesome force.

            Sandy’s last blog post..Monday Movie Meme – Where the Wild Things Are

            • At 2009.05.04 13:10, Darlene said:

              I didn’t fully read your review as I haven’t started the book yet but I did browse around to see that you loved it. I don’t think I’ve run across anyone who hasn’t. I’ve read two other books of Judi’s-Bread Alone and Baker’s Apprentice so I am so looking forward to delving into this one.

              Darlene’s last blog post..Book Review: ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes – Year 1 by Susan Helene Gottfried

              • At 2009.05.04 16:44, Jo-Jo said:

                I would love to win this book. I just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and it made me realize how grateful I am to live in a country that allows women so many liberties! It was a wonderful story but it just frustrated me so much!
                joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

                Jo-Jo’s last blog post..Audiobook Review: Code to Zero by Ken Follett

                • At 2009.05.04 22:01, kim v said:

                  Your Money or Your Life was a book that really made me think about what I am doing with my life.
                  Thanks for the giveaway!
                  Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

                  • At 2009.05.05 04:35, claire said:

                    This sounds like a wonderful read. One book that made me stop and think about my own life was Dave Eggers’s What is the What. It’s the fictionalized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudan refugee. It gave me a clearer picture of how privileged I was, no matter what troubles I’m facing, whether financial or other, and see that how petty my concerns are compared to the lives of a lot of other people in the world. It was a wake up call.

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                      • At 2009.05.05 10:30, Deborah R said:

                        I recently read “Galway Bay” by Mary Pat Kelly. I sometimes feel sorry for myself because of a couple of tragedies in my life…not often, but sometimes…and reading Galway Bay made me realize (again) that so many people have a much harder life, and so many people (like me) are so much stronger than we imagine.

                        • At 2009.05.05 13:34, Alexandrea M said:

                          “Love without limits” by Deborah Anapol really made me think – the communal aspect of the book you’re giving away made me recall it. I would really love to win this book, thank you!

                          • At 2009.05.05 16:14, Angela said:

                            This sounds like a really interesting book. I’ll definitely be adding the title to my ever growing wish list.

                            Recently, I read The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer which was interesting for me as I’ve just become a stay at home mom in the last year. It makes me wonder if ten years from now I’ll still be at home or if I will go back to work when the kids (we plan on having another in a couple years) are in school all day.

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                            • At 2009.05.05 22:18, nat @ book, line, and sinker said:

                              ooo! i just read a review of this book by another TLC host…and it honestly got me really interested in giving this book a go. i love reading book blogs because i hear about books i would have otherwise missed.

                              i love reading books about people in my age group, especially when the author makes the characters relatable. this sounds like a terrific read. thanks for the tip!

                              nat @ book, line, and sinker’s last blog post..Review: Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

                              • At 2009.05.06 12:37, Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said:

                                I just finished The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez. It was interesting because it made me think how my actions affect others. In the story, it was a mothers decision affecting her daughter, but it could apply to anybody. Thanks for the giveaway.

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                                • At 2009.05.07 16:57, Jo-Jo said:

                                  I’m back to let you know that I blogged about your contest here:
                                  http://jo-jolovestoread.blogspot.com/2009/05/current-giveaways.html

                                  • At 2009.05.08 11:44, Cheryl S. said:

                                    The most recent book that has caused me to stop & think is “A Single Thread” by Marie Bostwick. It made me think about the importance of family and friends. It also made me realize that I need to spend more time with my friends!

                                    Please count me in – Thanks!
                                    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

                                    • At 2009.05.08 23:06, Esme said:

                                      My Sister’s Keeper-made me think about how a family incident affects everyone in the family so differently.

                                      Esme’s last blog post..Coconut Layer Cake for My friend C.

                                      • At 2009.05.11 00:25, Janelle @ Brimful Curiosities said:

                                        Over 10 years ago I read a book called “A Woman in Amber: Healing the Trauma of War and Exile” by Agate Nesaule that made me truly appreciate my own easy life and realize that my “problems” were quite minor compared to what others have faced.

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                                        • [...] #159 ~ The Laws of Harmony ~ Book Tour and Giveaway SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “#162 ~ Frenchman’s Creek ~ Review and Giveaway”, url: “http://literatehousewife.com/2009/05/162-frenchmans-creek-review-and-giveaway/” }); [...]

                                          • At 2009.05.15 21:14, Just Mom said:

                                            A life-changing book for me was Simple Abundance – I was living in an isolated situation after a move and her guided reflections helped to console and entertain me.

                                            Just Mom’s last blog post..The Firemaster’s Mistress by Christie Dickason

                                            • At 2009.05.21 22:11, gaby317 said:

                                              A book that caused me to pause and think about my life was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He talked about the different things that affect a person’s ability to succeed. There are certain things that we sometimes take for granted but that have helped us along the way – such as age that you entered school (he points out that when you are very young, a few months or a year makes a difference and can help you stand out or make it harder for you to compete or keep up with your classmates), and a whole list of other factors.

                                              it made me consider how these same factors have helped me (or not) throughout the years.

                                              gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

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                                              • At 2009.05.22 16:49, Alexa said:

                                                A book that caused me to think about my life was 13 Reasons Why. It made think about how the little things I do to people that could push them over the edge.

                                                Enter me in the contest!

                                                lovinfitch@aol.com

                                                • At 2009.05.29 20:07, veedee said:

                                                  Jimmy Carter’s Our Endangered Values.

                                                  • [...] to HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours, I was able to hold a contest for a copy of The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks.  I am pleased to announce that the winner [...]

                                                    • [...] Monday, May 4th:  Literate Housewife [...]

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