Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Finding Favor



What’s more important: friendship or freedom?
In the eight years since seventeen-year-old Favor Miller’s father died, she’s had to endure her reluctant, self-righteous guardians the Browns. Every day for eight years, they've reminded her that she doesn't fit in, that she’s not one of them. Every day for eight years, she’s eagerly awaited the day when she’ll finally be free to live her life her way.

On the eve of high school graduation, Mr. Brown ambushes Favor with the offer of college funding and a to-die-for summer internship–with the one stipulation that she must discontinue her friendship with his son, Ethan.Accustomed as she is to sharing everything with her best friend, this is one secret Favor must keep in order to protect Ethan. The distraction of his new girlfriend, her growing friendship with his older brother, and her need to understand her family history, add in further complications.

As Favor debates signing the contract, she must decide if she’s willing to give up her best friend in order to pursue her dreams. Will she have to stay in the place she’s so desperately wanted to escape in order to make the right decision and get what she really needs?


4 STARS

This was a wonderful story! I really enjoyed reading about a girl who lost everything at such a young age and has to start over with complete strangers. She is basically treated like a nobody. There is the super vindictive girl of the same age as Favor and there are the two older sons Ethan and Tom. One is a trouble maker and one is her very close friend. Of course this is the crux of Favor’s problem as the story opens. I really wanted to slap that arrogant man, Mr. Brown, right from the start. Not to mention his bitchy daughter, Madison. We do come to understand her a little later in the book but for me it was too little too late.

With everything that she has ever wanted on the line we delve headlong into the journey of Favor's life. I felt that Ms. Long did a fabulous job of illustrating each of the complicated relationships in this book. Oh my! There were characters to love, characters to hate and characters that broke my heart. Yes I bawled while reading this book. I love a book that evokes such responses. It just increases the enjoyment. There were twists and turns and dramatic events aplenty to keep my attention riveted throughout the book. This is a must read book that you should go out and buy like right now!

Read on for a fabulous guest post and an excerpt from the book:


Read an Excerpt from

Finding Favor by Lana Long


I woke early after not sleeping well. I threw on gray shorts and a black T-shirt, and put my hair in a ponytail. My eyes were only slightly puffy.
Thankfully the kitchen was the only room awake, and not even Brenda bothered me.
When I opened the greenhouse door, I stopped short. It was only seven but there she stood, by my work table—a place she'd never been—waiting for me with a malicious smile on her face, a metal garbage can at her feet.
"Hello, Favor," Madison said. A chill traveled up my spine.
"Hey."
"So yesterday was rather embarrassing for you." She picked a piece of lint off her shirt. "I thought that would be enough, but after a restless night I decided it really wasn't. My dad sent you a birthday card."
Her eyes flashed and shone like emeralds. "I knew something needed to be done. And you know what that means."
"Madison..."
She silenced me with a finger to her lips. "Now is not the time for groveling, Favor. That time has passed... if it ever existed." She pulled a book of matches out of her pocket.
My heart sped up. She was going to burn down the greenhouse. I took a step toward the door. I didn't need her knocking me over the head and leaving me in the burning building. She was sadistic, but I'd never thought of her as violent. With the manic look in her eyes and a matchbook in her hand, I discovered that I'd never before known true fear.
"Madison," I said in a warning voice. "What are doing?"
"What am I doing? Favor, I know you're slow, but c'mon. Even you aren't that slow."
"Madison, if you burn down the greenhouse your parents are going to be really, really mad. Murder is a capital crime."
She laughed at me, her head thrown back and her fist clutched to her stomach. "That is hilarious. You think I would risk my future for you." Her eyes went bright green and even crazier still.
"That's it, you know?" She took a step toward me and I took a step back. "The attitude that everything is about you. Always about you."
"Are you crazy?" I screeched. Not the best thing to say but she'd gotten me going. "Nothing is ever about me!"
"Really? Then why did my dad send you a birthday card when he didn't send one to me?"
All hope of reasoning with her drained out of me. Mr. Brown had forgotten Madison's birthday earlier in the year. I'd been too distracted by my own problems to make the connection.
"Madison, you have to know the birthday card had nothing to do with wishing me a happy birthday."
"Oh, I know." She waved her hand, making my stomach plunge as the matches waved, too. "I know about the contract. I found it in your desk."
I tightly fisted my hands to stop my urge to throw her to the ground and take the matches.
She stretched her neck and smoothed her hair.
I stepped toward her.
She went perfectly still. "Now, now, Favor. If I were you, I would try not to piss me off anymore this summer, or I'll tell my dad about your little crush on Ethan."
Another thing she knew about me. I felt exposed.
"He'll take away your money for college. And something tells me your precious internship is in this deal, too. But right now I'm feeling charitable, and really, angrier at my father. So, unless you do something to make me less charitable, your secrets are safe with me. But that doesn't mean that I can let you get away with garnering even a little attention from dear, old Dad."
I swallowed hard. "What do you plan to do?"
"Oh, I plan to burn these." She held up the trash can and inside, stacked neatly on top of each other, were my journals.
"Madison..." I took a step towards her.
"Uh-uh." She twisted her body so the trash can was farther away from me. "Like I said, the time for groveling is over."
"Madison, please." Tears welled in my eyes. "You don't understand. Those journals are all I have of my dad. They're everything that's important to me."
"I know that," she scoffed. "Why do you think I choose this method of retribution? You take away my dad's attention, and I take away your dad's attention. It seems fair." Her tone turned sinister and she sounded crazier.
"How did you find them?"
"Oh, I have my ways. You're not the only one with secrets."
"Madison, I will do anything you want."
She put the trash can down and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Stop saying my name!" She started out in a whisper and was screaming by the end.
I should've turned to run and save myself, but I couldn't. Those journals meant everything to me.
"God." She sighed in frustration. "Don't say another word, okay?" She smiled at me. "I have a whole day planned so I'm going to get this over with. This is for the birthday card."
She pulled a match out of the box.
I stared stunned, shaking my head. She struck the match, and I felt faint.
"But most of all, this is just fun." She flung the match into the trash can and a flame shot up a few inches from the can. Even Madison jumped back.
"Huh," she said thoughtfully. "Shouldn't have used so much lighter fluid."
The flame jumped inside the trash can, but thankfully, stayed contained.
I gave Madison plenty of room as she left, not daring to take my eyes off of her. Once the door slammed shut, I grabbed the nearest water can.
Empty.
I tore through the greenhouse trying to find water. Finding a half-full can, I doused what was left of the fire, a plume of smoke rising and encircling my face. I coughed, waving at the quickly dissipating smoke.

***
Lana's Websitehttp://lanalongbooks.com/



Finding Favor is priced at just 99 cents as part of its special launch week sale. Pick up your copy on either Amazon US or Amazon UK now, and don't forget to stop by and participate in the special release week contests.
Our big launch week prize basket includes:   Journal with a cover inspired by Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (as is this novel), note cards with an orchid design (Favor's favorite flower), a hard cover edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (Ethan's favorite book), and a cool pen (who doesn't love cool pens?). CLICK HERE NOW TO ENTER!

An Interview with Lana Long,

Author of Finding Favor

 

I'd like to welcome YA author, Lana Long, to the blog today as part of the celebration for the launch of her debut novel, Finding Favor. Read on for info about prizes as well as a special launch week eBook sale!


Finding Favor was just published—congrats! How do you feel now that your first novel is out there for the world to see, read, and enjoy? Are you more excited or terrified?

A little of both. I’ve spent so much time with Favor, Ethan and Tom that I’m excited for them to be out in the world but also terrified that no one will like them.

Finding Favor is a modern take on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. What have the works of Austen meant to you as a reader, and why did you decide to pay homage to this great writer in your first published novel?

Austen’s novels reinvigorated the love of reading I’d lost during my college days of studying, working and hanging out. As my love of reading took off, I was inspired to give writing a try. I started off writing purely original works and experimenting in different voices, perspectives and tenses. Over time, I began to notice similarities between Austen and the Yong Adult genre of today.
Mansfield Park is one of my favorite Austen books. The story of a young girl coming of age away from her immediate family, required to uphold expectations but never to be rewarded for doing so, and loving a boy, her best friend, who was falling in love with someone else, and by all of society’s rules unattainable, felt ripe for a modern Young Adult novel.  

Besides Jane Austen, who are some of your other favorite authors? If you had to pick just a single answer, what is your all-time favorite book, and why do you love it so much?

My other favorite authors include Sarah Dessen, Maggie Stiefvater, and Emily and Charlotte Bronte. I adore E.M. Forster’s Room with a View. It has similar themes as in Austen’s works, but is set 100 years later than Austen’s novels with Florence and England serving as the backdrop. I could read the scene when Lucy steps through the bushes, onto into the hillside covered in violets, and George kisses her, over and over again.

What was the writing process like for you? How long did it take to complete this novel from start to finish, and what kind of research was involved?

Finding Favor is the second novel I wrote. I spent a year writing four novels without editing. I had a few ideas and wanted to get them on paper. Then I chose Finding Favor to focus my energies. I participated in workshops, joined a group of writers for critiquing and attended conferences. I spent three years off and on working on the novel. I’d already read Mansfield Park multiple time so no research there, but I did research gardening, orchids and the northeastern sea coast to better write the characters and scenes.

Although I certainly sympathized with Favor and found Tom to be charming as all-get-out, my favorite character was the old gardener Mr. Rushworth. How did you go about developing his larger than life personality? Was he based on anyone you know in real life?

Honestly, he just came to me. I needed his character to be the antitheses to an earlier character, Grandmother Brown. Her condescension and cruel nature didn’t make it to the final cut, other characters fulfilled that role, but Mr. Rushworth’s kindness and charms did.

What activities do you enjoy outside of writing? What is your day-to-day life like?

I love reading and music. I go to three or four concerts a year, download countless songs, and read at least five or more books a month, not including the scenes I tend to read over and over in some of my favorite books.
I spend a lot of time with my kids and volunteering at school. My kids are six and eight and busy little people. I’m involved with their elementary school’s PTSA and other volunteer opportunities at school. I also work at a local church as the treasurer one day a week. 

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Don't forget to come back tomorrow for a Guest Post by Ms. Lana Long. And join the contest with the link above.




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