Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Tour for The Odor of Violet by Ju Ephraime (Review & GIVEAWAY)


As a person with a disability I'm always searching for stories featuring disabled characters.  I recently discovered The Odor of Violet by Ju Ephraime featuring a blind hero and wanted to present it to all my fellow readers.  Today you get a brief snippet as well as my review of this book to whet your appetites.  So keep reading for that as well as the chance to win a gift card just for commenting......

STEP INTO THE SIGHTLESS WORLD OF DAMIEN FALCONER, AS HE STRUGGLES TO COME TO GRIPS WITH THE BLISTERING ATTRACTION HE FEELS FOR HIS NEW PERSONAL ASSISTANT, LISA ANDREWS.
Full of self-doubt as he struggled to regain his independence, the last thing Damien was looking for when he hired his new assistant, was to fall in love. So, he fought it for as long as he could, until the feelings he had for Lisa kept chipping away at him. Exposing a heart he had thought encased in stone, never to love again.
Lisa, a gentle, caring individual, a professional nurse, and inexperienced in matters of the heart, was ill-equipped to deal with the emotional and physical attraction she felt for her boss, Damien Falconer. Fully cognizant of the pitfalls that exist in such a relationship, Lisa fought equally hard to resist the powerful lure of Damien.
The blistering attraction between Damien and Lisa was searing in its intensity. Both were trying desperately to do the right thing, but the fates had other plans for them. Can two hearts that were broken be made whole again?

EXCERPT:

Ms. Andrews walked into the room, and Damien felt the air leave his lungs. He could not see her, but he

felt Jake’s reaction also. He was not certain if he was mirroring Jake’s reaction to the candidate or his
own overactive imagination. Whatever the reason, he had a physical reaction to whomever it was that
walked into his library. She was polite and calm, and he sensed she had a smile on her face because Jake
had an answering smile in his voice when he greeted her. Poor Damien, he couldn’t see a thing, but boy,
was he aware of her. He could smell the fragrance she was wearing, and it was doing strange things to
his body.
There was a hint of jasmine, mixed with a bit of musk, but the overwhelming scent was of violet. He
recognized the scent because of the perfusion of violet plants that grew in the garden surrounding his
house.
It was his favorite flower. He was never tired of sitting on the porch just inhaling its heady fragrance.
On Ms. Andrews, the fragrance was positively intoxicating. The mixture of violet with her unique scent
was overpowering. Damien was almost in pain from the strength of his physical reaction to her. He was
uncomfortable in his seat and kept fidgeting and moving to get a more comfortable position. He did not
want either Jake or the young woman to notice his discomfort. He desperately wanted to see the
woman who was in his library, but he had to be content with just listening to her responses to Jake’s
questions.
She sounded a bit flustered because she would begin each response with a slight nervous laugh, and
Jake would respond in kind. This exchange between the two infuriated Damien, who wanted to
participate in the conversation. He interrupted one of Jake’s questions to her with one of his own.
“Tell me, Ms. Andrews, how long have you been out of school?”

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

As a person with a disability I find myself a good judge of what makes a disabled character believable as well as a reliable critic when it comes to portraying disabilities.  In The Odor of Violet Ms Ephraime both succeeds and falls a bit short in how blindness and the resulting emotions are presented.

Damien was blinded a few years ago and is still trying to cope with round the clock assistance from his accountant/assistant/friend, Jake. Their relationship was a complicated one as Jake gave up everything to help Damien.  He's put his life on hold to help Damien and it's clear that he does this for more than money.  There's friendship between them, with Jake the more obvious in their interactions and the playful banter he throws at Damien.  This friendship/caregiver relationship kept Damien from having to fully accept his disability and act independently in my opinion.  With people to make and bring his meals and people who pay his bills and run his errands, he's allowed his home to become his hideaway and I saw a man who was a slave to his blindness, both physically and emotionally.

That's not to say that Damien is completely weak.  He's strong in body and exudes sexuality.  His ex fiancée might have questioned his sexual prowess but this story shows time and again his sexual intensity.  His new insights have also allowed him to realize what's really important when it comes to love.  No more superficial eye candy for him, it's now what's inside someone's heart and soul that counts.

Enter Lisa Andrews, nurse extradonaire!  After a bad hospital experience she now works one on one with patients and Damien is her latest patient.  I'm not quite sure what needs Damien would have for a nurse and considering how fast the attraction erupts between them I guess a bit of sexual healing is what she provides.  She's a kindhearted woman, down to earth, but a bit naive in the boudoir.  Her virginity doesn't stop their numerous hot and heavy encounters that quickly evolve into something more profound and permanent.

This was a sweet yet sexy story that had a soap opera feel to it. Damien's blindness is addressed head-on with his feelings of inadequacy being realistic.  What I had issues with was his lack of becoming independent.  His continued reliance on others made me like him a bit less.  I wanted him to show inner fortitude and dig out from under his emotional despair but it never fully happened until the conclusion, of which I also had issues with.  Suffice it to say, the healing power of love took on a whole new meaning in this story and it left me a bit disappointed.  

Those of us with disabilities will find some aspects of this story disappointing but lovers of romance will find themselves completely won over.  This is ultimately a story of a man learning to cope with his differences.  He's lucky to be surrounded by people who are caring and supportive and the rapport between them was entertaining and heartfelt.  The story flows with a nice pace and there are no BIG misunderstandings, the conflicts are more internal.  The story is sweet and sexy and culminates in a satisfying conclusion.

My rating for this is a B-

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. I know I started a long, long, time ago. I began writing short stories for the local radio station in my home town, which were read on the air at story time. After I had my children, I went back to school to further my education. I have since earned several degrees, including two Masters and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. During the course of my schooling, I wrote and published a working curriculum for a career school, as well as, other literary works. A couple years ago, I revisited my first love, writing for fun and enjoyment.
I live in a small town in Connecticut, where the closest thing to a mall is a shopping strip, so nothing exciting happens there. I’m a mother of three and a grandmother of five. My dog Bondine is my favorite companion when I take up pen and paper to write.
Many of my stories are set in the places I've visited. The children I encounter during my travels determine the theme of the book.  I love to write stories about talented, inquisitive, and curious children who are thirsty for knowledge.
When I’m not writing my children books, I write romance novels under a pen name. Oftentimes, I take the time to visit the places in which my stories are set, which is the icing on the cake. My second love is traveling, and those times when I can combine writing with traveling, I’m usually in writers' heaven because I’m doing my two most favorite things...

WEBSITE  |  FB  |  TWITTER  |  BLOG  |  AMAZON PAGE  |  PUBLISHER

**********GIVEAWAY**********

Ju will be awarding a $50.00 Gift Certificate, winner's choice (Amazon, Kobo, BN, or ENVISION) to one randomly chosen commenter.

-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 3/1.

20 comments:

  1. This review was honest and fascinating. I think the story sounds very sensitive and caring.

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  2. Thank you for the honest review! Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

    galaschick78 at gmail dot com

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  3. I found the review to be very honest, the story sounds like a good read.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. Thanks for your honest thoughts in the review. I enjoy reading romances with main characters with disabilities due to the extra challenges for them.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  5. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    shadowrunner1987ATgmailDOTcom

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ami,
      I enjoyed seeing Damien recover and regain his independence. But more than anything, his reaction to Lisa had me breathing hard; particularly, in the scenes where he played little tricks on her. I enjoyed Lisa too, but Damien wins hands down. :)

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  6. Thank you for your honest review, it is great to hear from the point of view of someone who is also has disabilities. I guess we have to accept Damien as what he is a beautiful but flawed hero in that he isn't fighting for his independence

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

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  7. A blind hero; that's interesting. I am always drawn to stories that have more unusual aspects; scarred heroes, etc. I am really interested in reading this one! Thank you for sharing an honest review.

    justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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  8. Thank you for the thorough and honest review!

    vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

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  9. This sounds so good! I am definitely going to grab a copy! :) Thanks for the review!
    -Amber
    goodblinknpark(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. A very honest review. I appreciate your insights, especially as regards the hero with a disability.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. What an interesting book! Thanks for the honest review.

    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  12. Very nice review about the characters.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  13. This sounds really good! I have added to my TBR list. Thank you for the great giveaway as well. lcminer at windstream dot net

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  14. I really liked this post :) I feel like I keep getting to know the author and story better each stop on the tour :)

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great review!
    Sounds like a really good read!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the giveaway!

    bookish(dot)stacy(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for the honest review, this sounds like a great romance story!

    moonsurfer123 AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great excerpt!

    hopefull1978ATgmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete