Friday, June 26, 2020

All Things Left Wild ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours BONUS Book Review & Giveaway!

James Wade

Genre: Adventure / Rural Fiction / Coming of Age
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Number of Pages: 304 pages

Scroll down for the giveaway!

After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb's moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill. 

Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul.

PRAISE for All Things Left Wild:
"A debut full of atmosphere and awe. Wade gives emotional depth to his dust-covered characters and creates an image of the American West that is harsh and unforgiving, but -- like All Things Left Wild -- not without hope." — Texas Literary Hall of Fame member Sarah Bird, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

"James Wade has delivered a McCarthy-esque odyssey with an Elmore Leonard ear for dialogue. All Things Left Wild moves like a coyote across this cracked-earth landscape—relentlessly paced and ambitiously hungry." — Edgar Award finalist David Joy, When These Mountains Burn
  Amazon ┃ BookPeople ┃ Bookshop.orgIndieBound

Audio Book Narrator: Bradford Hastings
Book Length: 9 hours, 44 minutes

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book / Print Combo Review. The problem with Mary Poppins-like books (practically perfect in every way), is that nothing I write about one will do it justice.  All Things Left Wild is one of those books. Sure, reading it (with my ears and with my eyes) was enhanced by the majestic scenery that surrounded me while I digested the story; it's really something to read amazing, lyrical descriptions of place and look up and say, "Yep. He got that right." But whether readers burrow into this book from a city high-rise or a jacal in New Mexico, they will be completely immersed and transported.

"He emancipated a charred stick from the fire and used its glowing end to light his smoke before condemning it again and watching it for a while as it was consumed by the flame." 

While author James Wade writes some incredibly beautiful, profound, and memorable lines of prose, even the simplest of descriptions are exquisite and evocative. Wade masterfully manipulates the readers into being part of the story, not just observers of it. Add to the mix a robust cast of characters, and All Things Left Wild rises to being much more than a great debut novel -- it's a great novel that I expect will stand the test of time alongside those of authors with considerable and important catalogs of titles. 

While at its core, All Things Left Wild is about two men -- one coming of age and one in mid-life -- and the path each is forging, some of the most intriguing and dynamic characters are women: strong, intelligent, tough-as-nails women. It is just one of the many aspects that sets the novel apart from most gritty, often gruesome westerns. Male and female, young and old, not a single character is cookie-cutter or predictable. There is a fine and often-crossed line between good and evil, right and wrong, revenge and righteousness -- and of course, surviving and dying.

Wade strikes a perfect balance between giving the details that matter and summarizing those that just need resolution. Not a single loose thread is left by the end of the story, but All Things Left Wild is impossible to leave behind. Expect memories from the story to regularly creep into your consciousness and dwell there. 

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Bradford Hastings! Oh, my! His voice and method paired with the characters and text of All Things Left Wild is sheer perfection -- and authentic (which makes sense given he's from Austin). His deep, gravelly voice is colored with just the right amount of cowboy, and he deftly alternates between character accents and attitudes. His pacing and diction is excellent. I will absolutely be looking for more of his audio book performances. I listened at regular speed (because Hastings) on the Downpour app, which is really versatile, and there are no technical issues.

I got my signed copy when I attended the MPIBA Spring Con back in March before the plague hit.  But, for the Lone Star Lit promotion, I asked for and was provided a free audio download from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. 
Signing my copy at MPIBA Spring Con
My perfect bookstagram setting: Canyonlands National Park, Utah

James Wade lives and writes in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter. He has had twenty short stories published in various literary magazines and journals. He is the winner of the Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. All Things Left Wild is his debut novel.

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TWO WINNERS: A signed copy of All Things Left Wild
JUNE 18-28, 2020

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Author Interview
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