Blog Tour: Violence/Joy/Chaos

Jane Marshall Fleming
Essays / Poems
Publisher: Rhythm & Bones Press
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Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 154

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This debut full-length hybrid collection of essays and poetry explores the moments of joy and chaotic hilarity that mingle with the experiences of trauma and trauma recovery.

Jane Marshall Fleming writes with boldness and shows the beauty in every moment amidst violent chaos, embracing joy just as much as darkness. Moving from a backdrop of a small Virginia town and eventually finding herself in the freedom and wilderness of the desert, readers will follow the author on her journey mapping her skin, sharing in her joys, grief, pain, loss, discovering love and self-growth, night-blooming like a desert flower.

Rhythm & Bones Press ┃  


Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Have you ever had to make a challenging life choice? Held a secret from a family member? Have you ever been judged? Violence/ Joy/ Chaos is a collection of poetic writing that focuses on the life of the author. The author spends time diving into the most life-changing and challenging moments in her life. She takes you on the journey of love, loss, grief, self-discovery, pain, anger, and finally freedom. 

There aren’t too many words that I could use to fully describe how beautifully written this book of poetry is written. This book of poems flows wonderfully together as the author allows the reader to be transferred into her life. The highly descriptive writing style allows for the emotions of the author to be transferred onto the page. It is such a challenge to portray such raw emotions in such a way that not only captures the attention of the reader but also provides a connection between the reader and the storyline. There are moments during the reading that feel her anger, sadness, grief, love, pain, and finally freedom. You feel as though not only is she free from herself. Although her road to recovery and freedom was tumultuous it is truly enlightening to take on the journey to her discovering herself. The most beautiful part of this book is knowing that although she finally was able to find true love she still struggled daily with control. That is inspiring to know that it is okay to struggle even after you become free. Here dialogue with herself is powerful and shows the reader the true power of words. One of the most important conversations you will have is the one you have with yourself. 

I cried, I laughed, and I gasped while reading this book of poetry. There were a lot of instances where the author captures the essence of each moment being described. Throughout this collection of essays and poems, you find yourself crying when she cries, laughing when she laughs, and rejoicing in those moments of triumph. We are all transferred into her life as she takes us on a long-awaited journey through the years and we watch her find her voice and discover herself. There were a few moments where I essentially had to stop and process the information that was delivered. The following quote resonated with me the most. 

I had forgotten what brought me here. The loss, the pain. I left my

phone in the house while we walked. No buzzing, no texts, no pain.

No pain.

It encourages you to consider the times you have lost someone and have wandered from the path you were previously on. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a loss, it can be the end of a relationship, a traumatic event, or anything that has thrown your life for a loop. It reminds of those moments where you wander aimlessly hoping to find a place that has a solid ground or a place that will make you whole. I learned that wholeness for me didn’t come from a person but came from the Bible and building that relationship. Although you may find your freedom, it is okay to struggle but it is important to stay grounded and find your roots. 

I highly recommend this novel for any mature young adult. There are a few instances where they could be trigger warnings for those who have suffered abuse (sexual and domestic), struggled with suicide, and suffered a loss. I would take caution if you decide to read this book but overall the remaining context is appropriate for mature readers and adults. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book and thanks for writing it. It is an inspiring text. 

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!

Bourdeau Photo
Jane Marshall Fleming is an author and artist living in Austin, Texas. She currently works as an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and is also the author of the chapbook, Ocotillo Worship (Apep Publications, 2019). Violence/Joy/Chaos is her first full length collection.



Autographed copy of Violence / Joy / Chaos 
March 31-April 10, 2020

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Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mustaches for Maddie is a contemporary juvenile fiction novel. I chose this book for my book club and want to have the kids read it. Maddie finds happiness behind brightly colored mustaches. She faces many challenges with her health and still remains positive when life gets hard. She faces challenges at school and makes new friends by being herself. Maddie loves to make people laugh, whether is by creating a new game or putting on a mustache when situations get hard. She is definitely a strong character and I loved that this is based on a true story. I adored the authors commentary at the end of the novel and the note from Maddie herself. I was able to email the author and get a few questions answer for my book club. I recommend this book for juveniles between the ages of 10-14. It is based on the life of a middle school girl.

Here is some of the questions and answers from the author. A special thanks to Chad Morris for answering my questions.

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 

“Mustaches for Maddie is based on the true story of my daughter. She’s funny, loves acting, and thinks fake mustaches are hilarious. She has quite the collection. But  a few years ago, she was diagnosed with a tumor pressing up against her brain. She faced two neurosurgeries with hope, good friends, and humor. In fact, hundreds, if not thousands of people, put on mustaches to make her smile while she was recovering. Maddie is great inspiration. “

2. How does this book relate to kids in this age group. 

“Mustaches for Maddie is a middle-grade book, so targeted at kids in the 3-7 grades. It’s sweet spot is probably more 4-6. And I think it’s especially relatable because Maddie went through her surgeries during those grades. She also deals with friend trouble, and facing her own fears in ways that kids those age can relate to. For example, auditioning for a play and trying to get enough courage to stand up to someone whose doing something mean. “


3. What are some challenges you faced while writing this book?

“Writing a book is always a challenge, but this one had some special difficulties. For example, my wife (Shelly Brown) and I were trying to capture a real person’s voice on the page. That made us nervous. In some ways that was easy. We know her and she has a great personality. In other ways this would be recorded for forever and we really wanted Maddie to like it. We wanted it to be a blessing in her life, rather than a regret. So she read and approved each draft. She also had a note at the end. “

“Another challenge was writing difficulties Maddie faced in school. She had to deal with some very manipulative girls (a less talked about way of bullying) and we didn’t want to immortalize their weaknesses. So we decided to fictionalize Maddie’s trials. We based them off of true moments and themes, but changed the characters and circumstances enough that they felt new. This is also explained in a note at the back of the book. “

4. What is something you like kids to know that decide to read this book? 

“That they can meet any challenge with compassion, humor, and good friends. School Library Journal said that Mustaches for Maddie is “a good readalike for fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder.” We think that the same way Wonder teaches people to be kind, Mustaches for Maddie encourages compassion. There is a website that even has teaching guides and activities for school classes and families. “