Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jodi Thomas, Welcome to Harmony Blog Tour

Welcome to Harmony
Welcome to Harmony
By: Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Berkley, 2010
384 pages, English

About Jodi
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 30 novels and 8 short story collections. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted in to RWA Hall of Fame. She is also currently serving as the Writer in Resi-dence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Starred review from Publishers Weekly
Thomas ... sets her latest trilogy in a town founded by three families who are also bitter rivals: McAllen, Matheson, and Truman. Nothing much happens in Harmony, Tex., except on Saturday nights, when the town sheriff is brawling at the local bar. Unhappy teen Reagan worked in a nursing home and loved listening to old Beverly Truman’s stories about Harmony. After Beverly’s death, Reagan steals her last name and runs away to Beverly’s hometown. Jeremiah Truman, Beverly’s brother, quickly figures out that Reagan isn’t actually a long-lost relative but lets her stay with him anyway. Meanwhile, sheriff Alexandra McAllen tangles with fire chief Hank Matheson, who keeps rescuing her from her Saturday night sprees. The characters are delightful, and a subplot about mysterious fires balances the sweet stories about being and becoming family.

Please find the link to the video trailer for Welcome to Harmony on YouTube or on Jodi’s website.

TwoLips Reviews
Being shuffled from foster home to foster home, Reagan has always wanted to belong. Befriending old Miss Beverly at the Shady Rest Home, Reagan decides after she talks so fondly of Harmony, Texas, she wants to be part of that heritage. When Miss Beverly dies, Reagan slips away, entering the tiny town pretending to be her granddaughter. Will the town accept her ruse, embracing her within its arms?

Be just as pleasantly surprised as Reagan when you enter Jodi Thomas’s Harmony, Texas in Welcome to Harmony. Who hasn’t felt like Reagan once or twice in their life, wishing with all your heart and soul to truly matter to someone? Knowing she can bluff everyone in Harmony excerpt for Jeremiah, Reagan is determined to prove her worth to the blustery man she wants to call her uncle. Proving nothing worth having is easy, it takes a long time with hard labor in his orchard to worm her way into his affections.

Although Jeremiah knows Reagan isn’t his kin, he can’t help but admire her plunk. Not wanting her to slave her life away working on the farm, he demands she attend high school to keep up with her learning. While there, Reagan catches the eye of Noah McAllen a cocky bull rider. Noah finds Reagan’s aloofness refreshing and befriends the young girl to her utter dismay. I loved their interaction together since both represent one third of the original families which comprise Harmony. Somehow these two manage to not let old tensions get in the way, finding a way to form a great bond.

Lest you think Jodi Thomas’ Welcome to Harmony is just Reagan and Noah’s story, think again. I’m so glad this is only the first book in Ms. Thomas’ Harmony series because I desperately want to know more about the town sheriff, Alexandra McAllen who perpetually flagellates herself over her older brother’s death. Clinging to her shame, thinking she was directly responsible, she drinks herself into oblivion every Saturday night, making Hank Matheson rescue her. Hank is another intriguing character because he’s the only male in his clan, bound by a sense of duty not only to Alex but his unconventional family. Tyler Wright is the last of his family’s line and owns the only funeral home in the area. He is an unassuming man by day until he interacts with a mystery woman via email at night. All these characters make me long for Jodi Thomas’ second book because I’m afraid I’m just like Reagan, never wanting to leave Harmony, Texas, and its colorful characters.

My Review
I have found this novel to be so sweet and refreshing. I fully admit that I have not finished it, due to packing and moving this week, but I have loved every bit that I have read so far. This is my first Jodi Thomas book, but it has made me want to read more from her. She weaves a story as well as any I’ve read. The characters are complex, yet seem real. I’m from a small Texas town and have lived all my life in small Texas towns. I can relate to lots of things the characters experience and can understand why Reagan would want to go to the one place she thinks can be a home. There are a few things I’m “hoping” will happen with the characters as the story evolves. I can’t wait to see if I’m right!

Available on June 1 from Amazon HERE.

I received an advance copy of the novel, courtesy of Jodi Thomas. No additional compensation has been provided and I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you to Ms. Thomas for allowing my to enter a world that I'm really enjoying!

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