Like Sapphire Blue // Book Spotlight

Hi Friends,
I’m excited to have been asked by @BreakevenBooks to participate in the blog tour for ‘Like Sapphire Blue’ by Marisa Billions. It sounds like such an amazing LGBTQ+ coming of age story and the fact that there’s an audiobook version make me so happy!

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About The Book

“Your eyes are amazing. I’ve never seen a blue like that.”

Emma Landry is tough, independent, beautiful, and smart. Being an outcast unable to identify with her classmates, she was willing to do whatever it takes to climb her way out of poverty.

“What color would you say they are?”

Like Sapphire Blue

Having never known a mother’s love, her father “Bear”, raised her on the wrong side of the tracks in a wealthy town.

When success beckons, the woman she’s been in love with is, finally, within her grasp. Life is now worth living and loving.

That is, until a dark family secret is revealed. A secret tied into the very fabric of who she is, and what she spent a lifetime working to overcome.

Faced with a foundation shattering treachery, Emma finds herself at the crossroads. Can she overcome a destiny stronger than death, destitution, and murder, to prove she is more than just her father’s daughter? Or will this new knowledge lead her to destroy the world she’s spent a lifetime building?
Winner of the 2023 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Fiction Book of the Year.

Book Excerpt 

Humble Beginnings
The Present…
Discord, meaning a lack of harmony or unity by the definition. In a relationship it is that moment when the realization hits that there is no turning back and the damage is done. It’s irreparable.
Why won’t she look at me? Emma looked about the room. The table was set with the good china. Their favorite bottle of wine sat corked in the center, and across from her, was her beautiful wife. This was the woman that she spent the last two decades of her life with, and she won’t even look up? There was no way I was ever going to really fall in love with anyone else, you made sure of that. Whenever I thought you were out of my life, you miraculously reappeared every time. With narrowed eyes, gripping the ends of the table she looked around in the dimly lit room.
The dining room was immaculate, crown molding lines the ceiling, and a tapestry of a French courtyard hangs on the back wall. A china cabinet delicately displaying the unused settings on the opposite wall. The dimmer switch was set to low and candles flicker in silver holders (inherited from her wife’s grandmother, who inherited them from her grandmother and so forth and so on). Her wife was sitting, with her thick strawberry blonde hair in delicate waves down her back. Her favorite dress clung to her curves. She has a beautiful body, and not a lot of things look bad on her. Her chin was down, and her beautiful blue eyes are downcast, refusing to look at Emma. She is leaning back against the chair with her head down. She’s there, but she’s not.
Emma sat back, still staring across the table at her wife. One hand rested on the table, the other on the back of her chair. She worked so hard on this dinner. She made their favorite meal – eggplant parmigiana, pasta, home-made garlic bread. Not even an acknowledgement of the fact that the bottle of wine costs what Bear used to make in two weeks working at Jessie’s shop.
Her wife just sat there unmoved. Unimpressed. Not looking. Not speaking. This was her schtick though. The cold shoulder. The silent treatment. It wasn’t the first time she did this to Emma. But still, it was frustrating to her. And to think, this woman has a PhD. You would think she has better coping mechanisms than the silent treatment.
The dinner itself and the beautiful and impressive dining room it was served in, could not be a further cry from Emma’s meager beginnings. To keep from looking at her silent wife, Emma looked around at the room.
“You had everything growing up. This dinner, and what I did to prepare it, probably don’t mean much to you. But to make this, to have this, this is the world to me. What we built together, has meant the world to me.” Emma’s voice was quiet. Tears had welled up in her eyes.

The Past (1976-1991)
Emma Landry never knew her mother. She didn’t even know she had one until she was in kindergarten. She thought she only came to be because of one parent, her dad Frank, who she called Bear, short for Papa Bear.
She lived with her dad in a small trailer near the town. It was behind the auto shop that her dad worked at, which was owned by his brother, her uncle Jessie. The trailer was rundown, and there was a hole in the corner of the floor in the living room where she could see the ground beneath. In the winter time, she would stick a towel in the hole to keep the cold out, but sometimes the mice beneath the trailer would take it. Bear’s room was located at one end of the narrow trailer, and hers was at the other. There was a small living room with a tv that had bootlegged cable running to it. The walls were lined with a dark, faux wood paneling. An old card table with folding chairs was where they ate from dull plastic plates with mismatched silverware and chipped ceramic mugs. The couch was old, cream colored with brown and orange flower print, sagged in the middle and smelled faintly of mildew.
Their trailer and the shop were located on a small, wooded plot of land. They didn’t have neighbors, and she didn’t have friends. Her friends were two plush animals, Teddy (a floppy eared dog) and Brownie (a threadbare cotton tailed bunny).

About The Author

Marisa Billions is a high school English teacher in Southern California. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminology. She is the author of the fiction novels, This Too Shall Pass, Like Sapphire Blue, and Into the Blue Again. She is working on her upcoming fourth novel. Like Sapphire Blue was the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Fiction Book of the Year. She lives in Southern California with her wife, Stephanie, and son, Alexander, and two Boxer dogs, Max and Ruby.

If you enjoyed this post below is the entire blog tour schedule!

May 5th, 2023

May 6th, 2023

May 7th, 2023

May 8th, 2023

May 9th, 2023

May 10th, 2023

May 11th, 2023

May 11th, 2023

May 12th, 2023
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Until The Next Chapter,

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story // Book Review

“Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.”

This book gives a realistic look at mental illness. The main character, Craig, is relatable and still trying to figure out his mental state. Although he is a teenager, I think even adults can relate to his thoughts and feelings. Dealing with mental illness can be complex and the author does a great job of showcasing that. Like Craig, sometimes we feel fine due to medication, but once we stop taking that medication, we crash.

The book’s main plot centers on Craig being committed to the hospital’s adult psych ward. There, we are introduced to all sorts of characters, who are struggling with different mental health issues. It truly shows that everyone is facing their own battle. And mental Illnesses doesn’t look the same for everyone. On the outside, Craig seemed like an average teenager. But inside, he was crumbling. Some people are tied together with a smile.

There were many funny moments, which is nice to have in a book that deals with such a heavy topic. It was good to see Craig bonding with other patients. He learned a lot about their lives and struggles. But, there was also the notion that what happens in inpatient, should stay in inpatient.

There are many messages through the book. One being that you can’t truly understand mental health issues, even if you deal with them yourself. No two mental illnesses look the same. There will be people who think they have you figured out, but they don’t, and this was the case for Craig.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”

You never need to explain yourself to others, and that was something Craig struggled with in the story. His friends were toxic, and don’t even get me started on Nina, his crush. Craig had a lot of personal development in the book, and learned that it is better to be friendless than to be friends with all the wrong people.

One of my favorite things about this book was that it mentions “finding your anchor”. It is so important for us to find something that fills us with joy. That one things that tethers us to life. It shouldn’t be a person, but something that we enjoy. And the book made a point to talk about how we all should look for some type of anchor.

As you can tell, the book hits on some heavy topics. Obviously, mental health is the main focus in the book but there is talk about self harm, somewhat slut shaming, and the underlying mention of sexual abuse. If these are subjects you are sensitive to, please be aware before you pick this book up.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books. I connect with it, and love the view that all we can do is try to manage our lives. And to live the best life for ourselves. Please like and share this post, and follow my blog.

Until The Next Chapter,