Friday, September 29, 2017

Blog Tour & Review: Touched - Mara White

-Does your sister let you touch her, Gemini?
-Barely, but, yes, more than anyone else. I remember even in preschool when the teacher would grab her hand, she’d stare at the spot where their skin connected as if it were an affront to her existence. Just stand there and glare like she wanted to hurt someone.
-Junipera suffers from a rare phobia.
-Please, what does June not suffer from?
-When did she start chasing storms?
-In third grade she started obsessing about the rain. Full blown? I’d say after hurricane Katrina she never looked back. And she didn’t just chase them, June became those wild storms.

Junipera and Gemini Jones, Irish twins born during the month of June, survive a childhood of neglect and poverty by looking out for one another. Destined for a group home, the girls are rescued by a rich aunt and uncle who move them from Northern Minnesota to Fairfield, Connecticut. One sister thrives while the other spins out of control. A violent assault leaves Gemini searching for clues, but what she finds might be questions that are better left unanswered.

4.5 Stars

It is difficult to review a book that impacts you in an almost uncomfortable way, Touched was impossible to put down and is now impossible to not think about. Mara White tells an unpredictable story of three individuals during the peak moments of their lives. We see snippets of elementary school, of their rough living situations, coming of age moments that aren't quite the norm, of adulthood and the learning that comes with growing older. Gem and June are Irish twin sisters and opposite in nearly every way. Gem craves consistency, knowledge, the comfort of another, while June shies away from touch, seeks adventure, and struggles with her connection between food and comfort. Children of an absentee mother, they learn to survive on their own, keeping their situation a secret from everyone except Alaric. Though he is the same age as June, Alaric is more experienced in the world, accustomed to being on the run and the ever changing walls of various foster homes. Together they form a bond, the three of them growing together, maturing together, experiencing together. Their bond is unique, filled with love and compassion and trust, but to outsiders it is inappropriate. Through the years they fall in and out of touch, but their bond remains the same, always connected to one another. As adults Gem seeks stability and what she deems a normal life and June seeks storms, the wild instability of nature that connects to her soul like nothing else.

"Three blind mice. See how they run."

It's no romance and it's not an easy read, but it is a story that reads much like real life with the beautiful prose of Mara White bringing it to life. The girls and Alaric take life's difficulties and turn them into positives, their outlook on the world is cynical and beautiful at the same time, their desire for independence and adventure is so refreshing. The chaos of their lives makes for an enchanting, other-worldly read, especially with June's calling to nature. The storms mirror their youth, the instability and unruliness make for the perfect adventure for a girl who could never accept the ugly world of poverty, laziness, and handouts. Nature is her lover, the snow and rain her comfort, with Gem tethering her to earth and Alaric offering her the only other compassion she knows how to accept.

"It hurt to hurt her. He swallowed her cries with his mouth and tried so hard to make it something beautiful."

Touched is told over several years, in two parts, and from the perspective of two main characters as well as three fully developed secondary characters. It was difficult to keep up with the pacing, the changing from past to present, and the alternating perspectives. Mara makes sure readers are aware of who is speaking and what year and location each chapter takes place and ultimately the confusion works out for the story. It was like being inside the head of each character, especially that of June's as she dealt with the difficult hand that life gave her while also being so compassionate and the most understanding of individuals. 

"Tears rolled down June's cheeks and she refused to open her eyes and let Maude see all of the ugly pain she held onto inside."

I found myself discussing Touched with my significant other, reading him lines and summarizing chapters as I read. Though it doesn't perfectly fit into any single genre, Touched is a psychological fiction that makes you truly look at life and creature comforts. It's a book you start without expectations and finish with a heavy heart, changed forever by Mara White's incredible storytelling ability.
Praise for Touched

“Fresh, raw, relevant. TOUCHED slips under your skin with lush prose, unforgettable characters, and a story like no other.”
        -Leylah Attar, New York Times best-selling author

“Hauntingly beautiful and downright emotional, White grabs you by the soul in her latest novel, Touched, and leaves an indelible mark."
-K. Bromberg, New York Times best-selling author

“Mara White has crafted characters so real and complex, they live and bleed. Watching their story unfold was heartbreaking, beautiful, and riveting. Touched is stunning work.”
    -Nikki Sloane, Best-selling author of the Blindfold Club Series

“Touched is a truly beautiful book. It's raw, real, and possessing of a quiet poetry.”
        -Emma Scott, Best-Selling author of the Full Tilt Duet

"I can confidently say, without a shred of doubt, that this story and these people will stay with me for the rest of my life. I bow down, Mara White. You wrote a category 5 masterpiece."
-BB Easton, Bestselling Author

“A phenomenal, mesmerizing and unforgettable masterpiece!
This story blew me away! I cannot put into words how beautiful this story was! Absolutely astonishing! A must read!”
    -The Book Queen

“The writing is voracious and hungry and insatiable. Touched is a story that will devour you as you stuff your face with it. I'm not only touched, I'm digested. Just read it.”
    -Suanne Laqueur, Best-Selling author of the Fish Tales Series

AP  new -about the author.jpg

Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.
Author Links


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