I celebrate the last day of my book tour with two reviews of Saffron Dreams that have arrived in the past few days. 2 Kids and Tired book blog offered this review of the novel.
“Fascinating. A fictionalized story, written as a memoir. Arissa’s story is told first-person through flashbacks and present day. A beautifully descriptive novel: full of color and flavor. A fascinating tale of love and loss, tragedy and triumph, and following your dreams even when they take you on an unexpected journey.”
Read full review online
Another one is from the Review From Here book blog:
“I had a hard time putting this book down. Shaila Abdullah’s “Saffron Dreams” is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and won’t let go. This is one of the most poignant books that I have read.”
Read full review online
And now a word of thanks to all the individuals who followed me on this month-long tour and provided comments, feedback, tips, and messages. It is because of all of you that time and again, I feel compelled to pick up my pen and do what I do. I am deeply grateful to the wonderful network of book bloggers who hosted me on their blogs this month. You are doing a great service to authors. Please keep it up.
Take a few minutes to read my interview at Fiction Scribe.
Nancy Williams of Book Tiger book blogger offered this review of Saffron Dreams:
“Saffron Dreams is a wonderfully uplifting story of struggle and survival, and yet another necessary work of fiction. It is one of the reasons that fiction is so powerful.”
It is official.
Swapna Krishna of S. Krishna Books is the well-kept secret of the book review world. I was blown away by her review of Saffron Dreams and the depth of her plot and character analysis. When I read her review, I experienced one of those “Aha” moments that is every author’s dream. It’s when a reader truly get the book.
I didn’t want to pick and choose an excerpt, so I am including it here in its entirety.
“When I first heard about Saffron Dreams, I was really intrigued. The story of a Muslim woman who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attacks seemed compelling and timely. Indeed, after reading the book, I am moved at how beautifully and tenderly Ms. Abdullah handled a controversial subject and made the book about our common humanity, rather than about the differences that divide us.
What really struck me about Saffron Dreams is that the 9/11 attacks aren’t the only serious subject addressed in this small novel. Abdullah manages to talk about racism, fundamentalism, widowhood, culture clashes, and the challenges of raising a child with disabilities within its pages. With all those weighty topics, you would think the book would be a heavy read, but surprisingly, it isn’t. Instead, it’s an honest look at the life of a woman trying to live a normal life while chaos is reigning around her.
Despite the seeming lack of hope in Saffron Dreams‘ premise, the book is full of wonder. The novel is never depressing; even in the darkest times, Arissa never seems to lose that hope that the future will be a brighter, happier place. That feeling permeates the novel, leaving the reader with a sense of optimism after the last pages are turned.
Abdullah’s writing is crisp, sharp and clear. She does not mince words; her writing is very precise, each word chosen carefully. Her words have a way of conveying raw emotion; because they are so stark, the feelings are so much more clear and powerful on the page. It’s a wonderful writing style for a novel such as this.
In the end, the message I took away from the novel is that what we, as citizens of this earth, have in common is much greater than all those differences than set us apart from one another. We must look to our common humanity to bring us together. This is a message full of hope and love, much like Saffron Dreams itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed Saffron Dreams and recommend it to anyone interested in multicultural fiction – it’s a great read and you won’t be disappointed. I am eager to pick up Shaila Abdullah’s book of short stories, Beyond the Cayenne Wall.”
I also shared some publishing secrets with Book Publication Secrets of Authors. Take a look.
A fabulous, in-depth review of Saffron Dreams from Marta of Marta’s Meanderings has come in. Once again, I am amazed by how closely readers and reviewers identify with the characters and their struggles when reading the book. Here’s an excerpt from the review:
“This book is simply stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with the depth and eloquency of Saffron Dreams. Shaila Abdullah spins a story so beautifully that each sentence is like the richest of desserts. I couldn’t put this book down because I was mesmerized by a side of the 9/11 story I’d never heard before. Excellent writing pulls you into the life of Arissa, making you feel like you are right next to her, experiencing what she is experiencing. Shaila Abdullah’s storytelling skills are unsurpassed and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’d recommend this book in a heartbeat to everyone!”
Read the full review online
Cecilia of the Epic Rat who in the past days has been promoting Saffron Dreams rigorously on her site by posting a teaser, giveaway, and review of the novel has now posted an interview.
Read the interview online.
Come view my guest post at Marta’s Meandering about the importance of a good cover.
“It’s All in the Design
I have said it once and I will say it again: the worth and value of a book is in its stickiness.
So how do you create that stickiness? That human emotion that connects you to a book, it’s plot, the characters, and makes you recall the book over and over again long after you are done reading. Think of it much like a human being. The design is the body of the book; its soul is the actual content. There are many functions of a book cover: engage a possible buyer, convey something about the story, and leave the viewer wanting more. Authors, especially if they are new, tend to distance themselves from discussions about the cover of their books. Most believe that since they are not artistic, they should not get involved. Some are simply overwhelmed. The thing to remember is that you don’t have to be creatively inclined to have an opinion about a book cover. It is your product. If you created the content, you have a say on the cover. You will be surprised to find how willing publishers are to hear your side. Be explicit in your suggestions: start with images, elements, colors, and go all the way to typography. Bring in examples of styles that resonate with you. You’re not asking the designer to copy the idea; just to get a sense of what works for you. Don’t wait for that first draft to come in before you offer your suggestions. Being a designer, I know how frustrating it is when new ideas are brought forth at the time of design approval.
No one understands the importance of the right cover better than children’s author Cynthia Leitich Smith. According to her if your book is for teaching purpose, an accurate/plausible cover is key to the school-library market. “My first three books were related to my Indian (Mvskoke-Cherokee) heritage, and so the publisher consulted with me,” she says. Renowned young adult author Lila Guzman has always been consulted on the cover of her books. “My publisher sends the cover art to me probably because they are concerned about getting the Revolutionary War setting correct,” she says. “For Turncoat, they had my character in a Continental Army uniform when he was in the Spanish Army. It was easy to flip the blue and white, but I cringe to think of the reviews we might have received had they had the wrong uniform colors.”
The visual connection readers make with the book is much like a guy meeting a girl for the first time. It could be a lasting relationship or a fleeting one. I designed the cover of both of my books but I had the backing of 15 years of design experience to venture in that area. For those with small publishers or self-publishing their book, make that wise investment and get a professional to design your cover. After all it is the face of your work. Remember, a book is judged by its cover, no matter what anyone says.”
Also the Epic Rat is giving away Saffron Dreams and Cecilia, the blog owner, has posted several excerpts of the novel to engage the readers. Take a look at the review. If you would like to participate in the giveaway, enter your comments here. So far 39 people are competing for the book. Last day to enter is March 31. Good luck!
I will be a guest of Marta’s Meanderings for the next three days. Marta, who runs a popular book blog, sent me this nice note after she was done reading Saffron Dreams:
“I’ve just finished your book and can’t wait for your stop at my blog Marta‘s Meanderings. Your book is stunning! I don’t know any other way to describe it. I think you’ve explored an entire side of the 9/11 events that most people have never looked at.”
Thanks, Marta. Read my interview on Marta’s Meanderings
Read my in-depth interview with The Writer’s Life. We talked about my new novel Saffron Dreams, the joys and perils of publishing, writing habits, etc.
Remember, at every blog tour stop there are prizes. For those with comments and questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you mention The Writers Life interview, you will receive a free e-book called A Taste of Saffron, containing recipes of dishes mentioned in Saffron Dreams.
This was another fun piece to do.