Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Vacant by Evelyn R. Baldwin

To Add Vacant to Goodreads Click HERE

• Title:  Vacant

• Author:  Evelyn R. Baldwin

• Released:  December 23, 2012

Genre: YA Romance


Ethan Parker gets up every day, surviving the only way he knows how—alone.

Orphaned as a child and forced into the child welfare system, he knows better than to depend on anyone but himself. He’s learned trust is a word used all too often, but rarely earned.

Ethan believes that his best chance for maintaining a simple and solitary existence is to live by a simple mantra: Don’t get involved. Keep things simple.

Take care of yourself!

When a young woman moves in next door, Ethan is forced to reevaluate his beliefs. He tries to keep his distance, but his new neighbor’s infectious smile and outlook on life leave him struggling with the decision of living the life he knows, or taking a chance on the unexpected.

As Ethan develops a relationship with his new neighbor, Emily, he realizes nothing is simple and learns that life is about more than just surviving… it’s about living.

My Take on this Journey:

Ethan is a young boy, being brought up by his father.  They have a routine life, without physical touch, companionship, without affection.  Ethan's father provides him with food, and shelter, (though they live in a poor neighborhood), but that is the extent of their relationship.  One evening, when Ethan is 15 years old, his father leaves the house for a pack of cigarettes, and never comes home.  Ethan's father is shot at point blank range, and Ethan is on his own.  He is bounced around in the system, and finally on his own at 18, when he is kicked out of the system.  Ethan gets a job, gets a cheap place to live, and begins his journey.  Ethan is a loner for the first few years, until he meets Emily.  A girl who is squatting next door.  He can hear her sobs through the paper thin walls every night.  Ethan keeps telling himself to keep his life simple, and not get involved, but there is a soft spot in his heart he doesn't even know exists.  He decides to, " pay it forward," and help Emily.  Emily's mom died, while living in a shelter, and she was left on her own.  She tells Ethan she is going to be 18, but he finds out she is really only going to be 16.   While doing paperwork to get a job, he is furious to learn her actual age.  He still can't bring himself to turn his back on Emily.  He completely relates to her circumstances, and he is there for her through and through.  He becomes gentle, kind, considerate, even loving and nurturing at times.  Though awkward, he is very careful not to give off the wrong signals.  Every nuance Ms. Baldwin describes comes through loud and clear, and puts you right there beside them.

This book had me paralyzed with overwhelming sadness, and loneliness, for Ethan.  He was just walking through life, not allowing himself to think, or feel, or interact.Then Emily is thrown into the mix, and the reader has a powerful mixture of feelings.  Emily has had a tough road, yet she is always smiling, and upbeat in front of Ethan.  She is actually a scared, lost, soul, but never shows it to anyone.  Only is the darkness of night can she let herself be free to feel, while all alone.  I was completely taken in by the inner strength of this character.  I loved the way Ms. Baldwin makes her audience see the glass half full.  Emily is amazing, and she helps pull Ethan through his darkest demons, and he evolves into a loving, caring, altruistic human being.  It was wonderful to see how she innocently breaks down Ethan's walls.  He is very stoic, she is very naive, in the beginning, but the well rounded characters they become is awesome.

Their life is simple, their love is strong, and the unity is beautiful.  I loved this short little novella.  Ms. Baldwin wrapped me up in their journey, and threw away the key.  I was completely involved, felt every step of their tough road, and rooted for them all the way.  The narrative for most of the novella is Ethan's perspective.  Later in the novella there is dual narration through Emily.  Ms. Baldwin wraps the story up nicely, and gives you everything she's got.  Emily becomes a beautiful, educated woman, and Ethan becomes a caring human being, still paying it forward to the end. Together they create a caring, and compassionate family unit, that communicates, and makes decisions together for the good of their family.  The growth from disfunction is prevalent at the end of the story.

 I love the fact that Ms. Baldwin has woven one of the most prominent challenges that our kids generation is facing today, with Autism becoming prevalent.  That is a cause that is very close to my heart.  Awareness and understanding are the key.

I give this terribly lonely, outstandingly moving novella, 5 pay it forward Stars!


  Purchase At:  Amazon (Kindle)/Amazon (Paper Back)

           Guest Post Short Q&A 

Q:  What made you become a writer?

There was a creative writing course with the final class project being an autobiography. I had kept a journal since I was about 10 and figured “final Project complete!” Easy A. Through the semester, my teacher encouraged me to enter some contests, and I won one a small monetary prize. Having reached literary greatness at 18, I hung up my pen and moved on to the Behavioral Sciences. Realistically, the seed was planted to pursue writing in college, but my conservative family felt that majoring in the “arts” was silly. To quote my father, “that’s what 
 hippies do.”

After Twilight was done and I’d read them all 2-3 times, I wanted more and googled “twilight addiction.” It led me to someone’s blog who then spoke about twi fanfic. I started reading all the stories and said, “Hey, I can do this!”
So yeah, I wrote a story. It was popular. It validated my writing prowess, AGAIN . That was 4 years ago. I began to read other stories that were popular, and I didn’t think they were that well written and it really made me second guess myself as a writer, so I drifted away. It wasn’t until recently (last 6 mo) that I felt like this was something I could do without “Edward & Bella.

    Author Bio:  Evelyn R. Baldwin

Evelyn R. Baldwin was born in the Midwest and spent her childhood on a horse ranch. As an only child, Evelyn was often forced to entertain herself with the family's horses as companions, and her imagination the only limitation. 

After moving to St. Louis to attend college, she earned a degree in Education. During her Master’s program, Evelyn discovered her fascination with behavior and psychology. 

Her first professional job experience was as a juvenile counselor, which led her to venture into other human sciences, eventually making a career with Behavior Analysis. While writing is a hobby for Evelyn, she often uses her experiences with human behavior to guide her characters. 

She’s written short stories since childhood but only recently began exercising her real writing muscles. While she does not consider herself a professional writer in any sense of the word, she continues to polish her craft and hopes for success in her writing ventures, even if they are just as a hobby.

Evelyn Baldwin's:  Website/Twitter/Goodreads

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