Monday, May 30, 2011

Recommending 'The Great Lenore' By JM Tohline

Read A Sample
It had been some time since I read a book with such depth, magnitude, and substance.

The Great Lenore is the debut novel of the young and talented J.M. Tohline.  The synopsis proved the story would be interesting.  The sample proved the writing was elegant.  And the cover proved I would be comfortable reading the book in public (because I have no problem admitting if the cover is too girlie, I'm not whipping that baby out in front of strangers).

I never doubted I would like the book.  In fact, I never doubted I would love the book; I had that much faith in J.M.  His blog posts convey a man who has mastered his craft; he knows much about writing and publishing, and what it takes to tell an exceptional story that is marketable today.  His passion and professionalism emanates from every word he types.  With me, online persona counts.  I'm not an expert, but I like to think I'm skilled at picking out the real deal.  J.M. exceeded my expectations long before I held his book in my hands.

When Lenore Montana's death is falsely reported, the compelling young Brit has a chance to wipe the slate clean.  A fresh start falls into her lap; now, she can escape her cheating husband and abandon the life she despises.  She leads us all to consider the thought-provoking question: what would I do if I could completely start over?

The Great Lenore is told from the perspective of Richard, an opinionated writer who finds himself visiting the heart of Nantucket high society.  Through Richard, Tohline introduces a variety of characters who remind me of a group of kids playing the human knot game.  Their relationships are intertwined; they tangle together through the bonding principles of passion, prestige, and deceit.  As a spectator, Richard's commentary represents the voice of those living outside these elitists. The reader has opportunities to recognize what the characters cannot see themselves.

It is safe to say I expected a lot from The Great Lenore.  It is also safe to say it delivered everything I hoped: passion, suspense, and a burning desire to continue reading.  Lenore punched me from the first sentence.  It intrigued me; I immediately imagined plot lines and scenarios, anticipating the direction the story might take.  It made me part of the book.

I applaud writers who bring their stories to life.  I enjoy inviting myself into their world - casting myself as an innocent bystander; the 'extra' in every scene observing as the story unfolds.  My favorite books suck me inside the pages - the same way Richard Tyler is sucked inside in The Pagemaster.  I read for the experience.  Tohline gave me the experience I craved.

The Great Lenore is a book about life.  It explores dreams, opportunity, and decisions.  The characters make you feel; they take on a form outside the ink housing their DNA cells and become part of your daily interactions.  They make you think.  They make you question your own degree of happiness. Lenore extends beyond an engaging story; it's substance lays the framework for readers to reflect and learn.

Tohline's debut pairs a contemporary story with the defining elements of literature's greatest classics.  The simplicity of his words roll right off the page, yet the complexity of the story will haunt you long after the final chapter.  Every word in this novel counts; the author is a master at saying a great deal in what feels like very little.  J.M. Tohline writes with the experience of someone who has tackled the craft far longer than he's been alive.


To celebrate the release of this phenomenal novel, which I highly recommend be added to your summer reading list, I am giving away one last free copy.  Anyone who leaves a comment answering the following question is entered in the giveaway:

What is one thing you would do if you could start your life over?

Comments must be posted no later than this Monday (June 6, 2011) Tuesday, June 14 at midnight, EST.  I will transfer all entries into a spreadsheet and use to generate a winner.  The winner will be notified and announced on June 7 June 15.  The prize will ship from on June 15.

The proclaimed winner will need to provide his or her mailing address so I can order your copy.  Once shipped, I will e-mail you the confirmation notice and include the tracking information. This contest is open to participants anywhere in the world.  

If your e-mail address is not linked to your blogger profile, or you do not comment via a profile where I can retrieve your contact information, be sure to include a way to be notified (e-mail address or Twitter ID).  I will only contact you if you are the winner of the giveaway.

As always, spreading the word is greatly appreciated.  I'll add extra entries for any of the following (just let me know what you did):
  • Mention and link this giveaway in a blog post (+5 entries)
  • Share this page on facebook (+3 entries)
  • Tweet this link (+2 entries) - please tag @ImPaulJoseph in the tweet
  • All of the above (+15 entries)
Thank you to everyone who participates and helps spread the word.  Good luck to everyone!


  1. Great review!
    Answer to the question: start writing earlier in life.

  2. Really well done, Paul! And I say that keeping in mind that I read this amazing book and was totally blown away. I have really struggled to find the right words in my review to truly do it justice.

    JM will be thrilled. ;) (I think it goes without saying, you don't need to include me in the contest, since I have it. lol)

  3. Terrific review, Paul! For someone who doesn't boast of hefty experience in the "review" facet of writing, you've certainly tricked me. Your review was incisive, passionate, scrupulous and beneficial. I want to track down my own copy of The Great Lenore without hesitation. Well-done, my friend.

    As for an answer to your giveaway question, I feel compelled to say: focus my formative years on movie making. And by movie-making, which is a rather generic phrase, I mean ingratiating myself in all areas of filmmaking: working with digital cameras, storyboarding, script writing, editing software and voraciously watching every movie. Essentially, I would've made it my birthright.

    Better late than never, right? I'm working on this whole film thing every day, using much of my free time. I'm glad it's becoming my focus.

    Great post!

  4. What a great book review! I am definitely reading The Great Lenore. If I were to start my life over, I would spend more time doing what I love-writing.

  5. Wonderful review and I will add this to my Summer reading list.
    If I could start my life over, I would start writing earlier in life.

  6. I wouldn't have jumped out of airplanes, that's for sure, and I would have started writing at a younger age.

    Loved the review. JM has a good friend in you. After reading a review like that, who wouldn't want to check out this book? It makes me want to have you review my book someday.

    Great post.

    Draven Ames

  7. Answer: Be wiser with my pennies in my early twenties so that I could have traveled to exotic kingdoms by now.

  8. If I could start my life over, I'd definitely have studied harder in school, and perhaps took history over geography, though I now love both!

    Duncan In Kuantan

  9. If I could start over I would run away from home and write my way across the country.

  10. If I had to start over, I wouldn't have squandered my college years. Maybe instead of the easy road, I would've taken the high road and got a much more useful degree!

  11. I might major in something different in college. OR I might go on more vacations. I'm still young and like to think I can make that happen. Maybe I would tackle more books on my to-read shelf? I'm snoring boring.

  12. Paul, I tagged you in a post on my website. Check it out at

  13. Nice review. I think this book looks and sounds great. Starting over is such a universal theme... something I think people will want to read about.

  14. You do such an awesome review, Paul. I hope you will get to review me one day if I ever manage to become published :) You make the book sound so interesting.

    I have to say, I would probably change nothing about my life if I got to do it all again. I make so many mistakes, but its what made me who I am today, and I like me :) Okay, maybe I would listen more when I was at school, especially in English :D

  15. Thanks to everyone who has entered so far! There are still two days left, so help JM out and continue spreading the word. He is also hosting a contest on his site (jmtohlineDOTcom). You can suggest a name for a character in his new book. One name will be chosen. The winner receives a signed copy of THE GREAT LENORE as well as a book of his or her choice. But personally, I'd just like to tell people I named a character in a book! :D

    Good luck to everyone. LENORE is truly a book to read. See you Wednesday when the winner's revealed!


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