Stumbling on the Downbeat

Rated 3.00/5 based on 1 reviews
For 15 year old Emma Bastien, life should be simple. Make friends with the popular kids. Excel at something. It worked for her brother, after all. He was a hero.
So when Emma joins a drum corps to impress her withdrawn parents and mend a broken friendship, she is surprised to find that things might not be so easy. Drum corps is hard, and being true to yourself isn't as simple as it seems. More

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About Shawna Quinn

When I was nine I won second place in a national writing competition. Second. Place. Second only to the one kid who blew the judges socks off. Of course they gave the runner-up title to about a dozen others, but that's besides the point. I loved to write, and somewhere, someone appreciated my words. I went on to get a BA in English with the intention of teaching elementary school. It was here, after all, that I found something "special" in myself. Why not dedicate my life to helping other children find their passion? I traveled to Korea to teach, to test out the profession, and five years later found myself back in Canada with a full passport of stamps and no teaching degree. Life has its way of pulling you in unintended directions sometimes. Back on home soil I met the man that would become my husband, adopted two tiny dachshunds, birthed a daughter, and ended up in lake and wine country, tending to my garden and typing away whenever Violet (my toddler) slept. I always wanted writing to be my vocation (and it has been - from marketing to blogging to curriculum design and creative contributions), but never thought I'd have the courage or the dedication to write (GULP) a whole book.
Now, after publishing my first novel, I realize that the heart knows what it wants often before the head does. The head gets caught up in fear and doubt and other people's opinions. In the end, we must follow our hearts, and mine has led me to the path of authorship. It is a salve for the soul, and anyone that may stumble upon my stories and find something valuable, something they can connect with, makes it even more meaningful. Moving a story from the heart to the brain to the world is a beautiful, terrifying, incredible process, and I thank all of those who share it with me.

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Reviews

Review by: Graham Downs on Feb. 02, 2017 :
This isn't the kind of book I would normally read. Not to stereotype, but it probably isn't the kind of book that you'd expect most men to read. But the description intrigued me, and besides, I've been known to enjoy a good Drama at the movies from time to time. So I decided to pick it up.

Overall, I rather enjoyed it. It's a bit of a "coming of age" type story - in terms of emotional maturity, not physical maturity - about a fifteen-year-old girl who joins a drum corps and goes on tour.

I should tell you that I seldom read the free samples of books before I buy them. I look at the cover, the description, the ranking, and sometimes skim a couple of reviews, and that's how I make my decision.

In this case, it's a good thing I don't read free samples. If I did, I'd probably never have bought this book. It starts off quite slowly, and it's a bit confusing at first trying to work out who's who.

The chapters are fairly long (there are only eleven of them), and to its credit, each one ends with some earth-shattering revelation that makes me want to read more. The problem is that in between these revelations, it's all rather pedestrian, rather "ho-hum" if you will, and not a lot happens. I'll admit to "zoning out" quite a lot while I was reading. I didn't miss much when that happened, though, and had no desire to go back and re-read what I missed.

I found the description of drum corps life very interesting. When I was in school, we had "Drum Majorettes" - and some schools had "Drum Majors" - so I could kind of relate to that. Only, I couldn't get used to girls being described as "Drum Majors". Maybe I'm old-school, but I still quite like the old gender specific nouns (master/mistress, actor/actress, singer/songstress, waiter/waitress [that's a big one: I HATE the word "server"], etc).

On the flip side, in South Africa, there is absolutely no stereotype to male cheerleaders at school. In fact, I might possibly be tempted to say that MOST school cheerleaders are males!

Anyway, tangent over, I really rooted for our heroine (oops, there's another one) Emma, and I think she grew and learned a lot during the course of the book. I loved the ending, too!

In terms of the writing/editing, it was good, but there's one thing that kept distracting me and ripping me out of the story: please, please, PLEASE, "alright" is not a word! ("Awhile" is, but not in the way the author used it.)
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)

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