Feb 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Bad Apple

Title:  Bad Apple
Author: Barbara Morgenroth
Publisher: DashingBooks
Publish Date:  30 September 2010
Pages: 166
Source:  for book tour
Genre:  Mature YA, abuse
Series:  Bad Apple
Other books in series:  Burning Daylight
Other books by author:  Not Low Maintenance, Sweeps, Unheard, Bittersweet Farm Series
Rating: liked

When 15 year old Neal Marchal finds her neighbor murdered, she knows who did it. The why is the secret the family has been keeping forever. While Paul took an interest in Neal’s musical education and taught her how to play the fiddle, he took her fatherless stepbrother, Joe, under his wing and all that implies. Joe’s rage has always been barely beneath the surface and years ago, he pushed Neal under a tractor as a warning. The reminder to never reveal the secret is her limp.

While Joe was gone for five years, Neal made music a private and central part of her life. Now she has an opportunity to sing and perform but the threat remains even if Joe is a thousand miles away. Neal finds refuge in the family of the young man who wants her to join his band. It’s like a dream to live with people who love each other. Neal blossoms. She has everything to live for—music, performing and a growing affection for the young man who pulled her to safety.

Then Joe comes home. Neal knows it’s just a matter of time because she told. Joe’s going to finish what he started 8 years ago. But this time Neal vows the outcome will be different.

What would you do if you had to keep a secret or risk the anger of the person you feared most?  That is what happens to Neal.  She knows a secret about Joe.  Joe is the reason she has a limp.  He pushed her under a tractor and caused her to break her leg.  He told her that if she ever told his secret, he would kill her.  All is good because Joe moved to New Orleans.  Then one of the neighbors is found murdered. 

Through the investigation, Neal meets Truly.  He is the son of the detective investigating the murder.  Truly is interested in Neal because she can sing well.  He convinces her to be in his band as a lead singer.  Neal isn’t exactly comfortable by this, but for the first time in her life, she finds something that she enjoys and wants to make Truly happy.  She likes his parents also.

Truly drops Neal off at home only for her to discover that Joe has returned.   Neal is terrified, calls Truly on the cell phone he gave her, and he convinces her to come stay with him and his parents.  What will happen between Truly and Neal?  Who is responsible for the murder of the neighbor?  Why did Joe return and what happens when he is there?

When I first started this book, I couldn’t really get into it.  So, I did what I do with all books like that, I put it away and said I would come back to it.  I have done this multiple times with different books and found that when I went back to them, they were more appealing to me.  It was the same with this book.  I found that I got more into the book when I took more time with it.  Things made more sense to me.

There were things that I found distinctive about Neal’s character.  The dialog with Neal is short and curt.  I think this is just how she is because she isn’t used to dealing with people who are interested in having a conversation with her.  She also wants to please people.  She doesn’t want to upset them, especially the ones who make her happy.  She tells Truly on more than one occasion that she doesn’t want to upset or change how things are in the band and that she is willing to do things the way that they have been doing them.

Truly was a very good friend to Neal.  He would help her overcome things like her aversion to performing on stage.  His parents and he showed Neal what a family should be and that made her happy.  He also helps Neal with her fears.  He gave her a cell phone to use to she can contact him.

Overall, I liked this book because it made me think about what was happening.  Granted, you don’t have to be Einstein or a Mensa member to understand it, but there is a depth to the book that you don’t normally find in YA.  It is described as a “mature YA” book.  I’m guessing this is because it deals with the topics of murder and abuse.

This soundtrack for Bad Apple was written by author, Barbara Morgenroth:

Since Neal Marchal joined a band that was already in existence, Lambert and Luton, initially she sang the kind of music they had been doing.  As time progresses, Truly Lambert realized Neal offered the band greater range than they had before and the band morphs into something entirely different.  By book 2, they have created their own sound, their own style.  Because of Truly’s background in classical music, he is influenced by many eras, styles and perspectives from John Dowland madrigals to jazz.

I drew from several different sources besides traditional music for inspiration during the writing of Bad Apple, some and mentioned in the book and some aren’t.  Among these songs on CDs and as individual tunes:

Thomas Berghan performing Canaris

Rabbit Songs (CD) by Hem

Enlightened Rogues (CD) by The Allman Brothers

Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers

Now That I Found You by Alison Krauss and Union Station

So Long So Wrong (CD) by Alison Krauss and Union Station

Raising Sand (CD) by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

The Band (CD) by The Band

Over You by Betty Buckley

anything by Michal Towber

anything by Evanescense

anything by Buddy Holly

anything by Madeleine Peyroux

anything by Melody Gardot

Of course, Tru and Neal wrote their own material, too.  

Barbara was born in New York City and but now lives somewhere else. By now, she thinks of herself as a country girl and knows more about gardening and animals than how to ride the subway.

Starting her career by writing tweens and YA books, (and did the cover photography for her first two books published by Atheneum so continuing to do the covers to her ebooks is predictable), she was actually aiming at the small screen. Television seemed like the perfect place for her even if she had no clue how to get there. Life is funny and often presents opportunities. Advice--Grab Them! Through a neighbor, Barbara wound up getting an introduction to a lower honcho at ABC and an audition to write for them. Her hopes were more than dashed, they were disintegrated, evaporated, demolished when ABC couldn't find a place for Barbara on General Hospital. (No Luke and Laura in her future!) To ease the crushing disappointment, Barbara wrote “In Real Life I'm Just Kate” about a 17 year old girl who becomes a star on a soap opera. That became an open sesame moment and shortly thereafter Barbara became the last headwriter for NBC's daytime serial, The Doctors, where she was ordered by the network to kill Alec Baldwin, shooting him not once but twice. With two different guns. From different directions.

Ah, good times.

You can read the book that started Barbara’s television career as the Kindle YA ebook, “Just Kate”, now with a substantial tweak because living life made her smarter.

You can also read about some could-be-hers-could-be-rumors experiences gleaned during Barbara’s stint in daytime television in the Kindle romantic comedy, In Under My Head.  Barbara is a recipient of a Writers Guild of America Best Writing Award for her work on One Life To Live.

Whether you're looking for a Mature YA or a romantic comedy, Barbara has a book for you!

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