Friday, September 11, 2020

Copy Boy ~ Audio Book Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

Narrated by April Doty

Genre: Adult Fiction (18+)
Categories: Noir, Historical Mystery, Literary
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release date: June 23, 2020
Content Rating:
PG-13 + M. The book includes: the F-word 7 times, the word "g--dammit" 4 times, and one violent fight in the beginning.

Book Description:

Jane’s a very brave boy. And a very difficult girl. She’ll become a remarkable woman, an icon of her century, but that’s a long way off. Not my fault, she thinks, dropping a bloody crowbar in the irrigation ditch after Daddy. She steals Momma’s Ford and escapes to Depression-era San Francisco, where she fakes her way into work as a newspaper copy boy.

Everything’s looking up. She’s climbing the ladder at the paper, winning validation, skill, and connections with the artists and thinkers of her day. But then Daddy reappears on the paper’s front page, his arm around a girl who’s just been beaten into a coma one block from Jane’s newspaper―hit in the head with a crowbar. Jane’s got to find Daddy before he finds her, and before everyone else finds her out. She’s got to protect her invented identity. This is what she thinks she wants. It’s definitely what her dead brother wants.


HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review. Copy Boy, the debut novel by Shelley Blanton-Stroud, inserts readers into the 1930s and the life and mind of one young woman determined to find her way when no one cares to guide her--oh, except maybe her dead brother, Benny. 

"Any kind of family was better than none."

In main character Jane, Blanton-Stroud has written a complex, layered, often difficult to understand personality. Certainly, Jane's driven, but by what? By whom? From the outside looking in, readers will want to shake Jane straight and convince her that she needs to learn forgiveness, and honesty, and abundantly apply the lessons. Those lessons are complicated enough to learn under normal circumstances, but Jane's life is far from normal, primarily because it's the 1930s, and she's pretending to be a man in order to make a career for herself. And her mother has manipulated her into believing Jane owes her...a lot. And the father she left for dead seems to be alive and vengeful. Oh, and she's got the voice of her dead brother dominating her decision making. Did I mention that? The push-pull within Jane to remain loyal to her parents despite their horrible failures to her (and their just plain horrible-ness), and to remain loyal to her dead brother, is often painful. Readers are as desperate for Jane to find stability as Jane is herself. 

“Jane would fold up her achievement and file it in her hope chest, one more artifact in her historical record of Not Quite Yet.”

There is a pervasive melancholy that threads itself through Copy Boy, and even as Jane, then Jane-as-Benny, then Jane-as-pseudonym find successes, even triumphs here and there, it's not ever quite enough for Jane, for her employer, the people in her life, or for those gone from life. Like Benny. It is the Benny that dominates Jane's brain that is problematic for me. At times, Benny's presence is subtle, at other times, in your face. Later in the book, it got a little weird like a Smeagol-Gollum kind of internal struggle happening within Jane. Is it psychosis? Is she possessed? Clearly haunted, but whatever it is, I could have done with less of it or a better exploration of it. 

The Jane/Benny struggle is a place where I really have to give narrator April Doty kudos for navigating what must have been a very difficult landscape. In addition to Jane's internal dialogue with Benny, there is a wide cast of characters, male and female, young and old, with accents from Texan to Czechoslovakian. She handles them all with panache, lending unique voices so there's no confusion in who's talking. Her performance adds emotion, sarcasm, and attitude to Jane and her outlook. I listened on Authors Direct, and I really enjoy that platform because it allows for minor tweaks to the speed. Well done, all around.

Shelley Blanton-Stroud clearly has a gift for descriptions that are richly detailed and dialogue that creates a specific mood and tone for readers. Copy Boy is an intriguing story and reading it is time well spent and an impressive debut. I look forward to what's coming next from this author.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give.

Meet the Author:

Shelley Blanton-Stroud grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field. She teaches college writing in Northern California and consults with writers in the energy industry. She co-directs Stories on Stage Sacramento, where actors perform the stories of established and emerging authors, and serves on the advisory board of 916 Ink, an arts-based creative writing nonprofit for children. She has also served on the Writers’ Advisory Board for the Belize Writers’ Conference. Copy Boy is her first novel, and she’s currently working on her second. She also writes and publishes flash fiction and non-fiction, which you can find at such journals as Brevity and Cleaver. She and her husband live in Sacramento with an aging beagle and many photos of their out-of-state sons.

Connect with the author:   website  ~  twitter  facebook  ~ instagram bookbub

Enter the Giveaway:

courtesy of author Shelley Blanton-Stroud 
(ends September 24, 2020)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Aug 24 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 25 - Locks, Hooks and Books – audiobook review / giveaway
Aug 25 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 26 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Aug 27 – I'm Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 28 – Reading Authors Network – book review / giveaway
Aug 28 - PuzzlePaws Blog - audiobook review / giveaway
Aug 31 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Sep 1 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
Sep 2 – T's Stuff – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 2 - Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Sep 3 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
Sep 4 –Pick a Good Book - book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 7 – Svetlanas reads and views – book review
Sep 8 – 100 Pages A Day – book review / giveaway
Sep 9 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
Sep 9 - Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Sep 10 – Books for Books – audiobook review
Sep 11 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
Sep 14 – Amy's Booket List – audiobook review / giveaway
Sep 15 – Casia's Corner – book review
Sep 16 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
Sep 17 –Pen Possessed - book review / giveaway
Sep 18 - My Fictional Oasis – book review
Sep 18 - PuzzlePaws Blog - book review / giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for listening to Copy Boy's audio and sharing your thoughts! I am so happy you have given narrator April Doty her due. I think she's amazing. Her voice is so distinctive, her performance so nuanced. I hope she'll narrate everything I write:)

  2. You are most welcome, Shelley. I definitely will tune-in when y'all team up again.