Monday, November 21, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Becoming Bonnie (GIVEAWAY)

It's already time for me to begin showcasing my 2017 Most Anticipated titles. I love this annual event because it not only allows me to talk about books I am super excited about but it lets me feature some pretty awesome authors. I have a bunch of amazing sounding books to share over the next couple weeks so I hope you are prepared for your 'to be read' pile to grow.

The first book is technically an adult novel but one with tons of  YA crossover appeal.  It introduces us to the young lady who would become half of one of the most recognizable crime duos in history.

Its 1920s setting and real life inspiration of Bonnie and Clyde ensured that this one would be on my list this year. Their story has always fascinated me, particularly Bonnie.

If that was not enticing enough, check out this Goodreads synopsis! I appreciate that this is going to focus on Bonnelyn before she meets Clyde. I also love that the cover showcases that it is HER story.
​From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh comes the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

​The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
A novel that puts Bonnie at the forefront is a welcome change and I cannot wait to meet Jenni L Walsh's Bonnie Parker. It sounds like a lot of research went into this book and that only makes me more excited to read it.

Jenni and I did a little Q and A which I hope will entice you to check out this book and add it to your own 'to be read' list for 2017.

1 Twitter pitch Becoming Bonnie (140 characters or less)

The untold story of how seventeen-year-old Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the Roaring Twenties.

2 If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

Love this question. Just so happens Becoming Bonnie is set in a speakeasy, where the drinks flow freely, and this scene makes for a fitting answer, from Bonnie’s point of view.

On edge, I keep my head down, focus on the work.
That is, ‘til a boy steps up to the bar—the boy from the other night with the lopsided grin who looked like he had so much to say.
“Gin Rickey, please,” he says now, ignoring Blanche, his eyes narrowing in on me.
Gin, lime, sugar, soda.
Loudly, I set them out for Blanche to do the mixing, annoyed with myself when my hand shakes from the intensity of his gaze
“No,” he says to me with a cocky smirk. “I’d like you to fix my drink.”
If Blanche wasn’t so amused, I think she’d be mad at his brush-off. But no, she pushes the small of my back ‘til my stomach bumps the bar. “Go on,” she whispers into my ear.
I know how to make the drink, been watching Blanche do it all night, but I’m only seeing black spots where Pour gin and lime juice over ice, top with club soda should be.

3 What about Bonnie and Clyde's story resonated with you enough that you wanted to write your own take on their story?

At some point during my adolescent years, I saw the Bonnie and Clyde film from the 60s. The violence didn’t stick with me, but, all these years later, their loyalty (and love and passion) toward one another did. It made me wonder who they were besides outlaws. And I thought, I need to write that book.

4 What was the most surprising thing you discovered about Bonnie and Clyde while researching this novel?

They’re both musically inclined. Clyde played the saxophone and the guitar, while Bonnie had a healthy set of lungs. Bonnie also loved the written word and penned a lot of poetry. I sort of mashed these interests together to create an element of Becoming Bonnie that was so much fun to write: an original song. As Bonnie and Clyde face each new obstacle of the book, they write a new verse.

5 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel?

I don’t typically listen to music while I’m writing, but songs influence me greatly while I’m brainstorming. I’ll often go to a run to rejuvenate my mind, and one song that kept coming onto Pandora was The Big Big Bang by Rock Mafia. The energy and vibe of the song had me itching to get back to my computer.

6 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I’m from Philly, and I think it’d be insanely interesting to walk the streets, explore the buildings, and navigate the city as it was, compared to how it is now. Here is Independence Hall in 1770s, when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States, compared to present day.

7 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

I’m part of The Debutante Ball, so I’d be remiss not to mention the other amazing authors in the group. I’ve read their books and they are phenom.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Caged Eyes by Lynn K. Hall
Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King

8. If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Becoming Bonnie?

But I, being poor, have only my dreams.

Anyone else swooning over what I assume is a scene where Bonnie and Clyde meet? That smirk. The whole 'I'd like you to fix my drink' thing and how flummoxed Bonnie appears. I am pretty sure this book is going to have its share of swoon worthy moments and I cannot wait. Also, how fitting is it that a Gin Rickey would be this novel's signature drink?

Becoming Bonnie releases May 9, 2017 and can be pre-ordered right now from any retailer.

You can also follow Jenni on Twitter, visit her website, and find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Jenni has kindly offered up an ARC of Becoming Bonnie (when available) and a set of Bonnie and Clyde keychains. They are amazing and I kind of want to keep them for myself.

Just enter using the below Rafflecopter. It's open INTERNATIONALLY and will run the entire length of the event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Are you a fan of historical novels? Does the Bonnie and Clyde story hold the same allure for you as it does for me?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!


  1. Thank you so much for including Bonn on your list, Kathy!!

  2. I'm so excited for this book! I'm not in swoons over B&C like many are, but I'm really intrigued by Bonnie and so thrilled to read a HF about her. My favorite genre, one of my favorite time periods, and a deadly wicked woman?! Oh yeah. Thank you for this great giveaway and interview!

  3. I seriously love the Bonnie and Clyde element. I can't wait to read this!

  4. I had the absolute privilege of reading this manuscript while Jenni was working her magic and let me just say, it will blow you away. Bonn is the bomb! I can't wait for the world to know it.

  5. Thanks for the spotlight--so psyched for this book!

  6. This book sounds really good. I can't wait to read it.

  7. Historical novels are one of my great passions, and this sounds amazing! I'll definitely be picking it up!

  8. I love to read books.Thanks for this giveaway.


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