Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Tour: Freedom Road by T.M. Souders (Review + Excerpt)

Title: Freedom Road
Author: T.M. Souders
Publication Date: September 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
My rating: 4 stars
Since the tender age of eight, music served as Samantha Becker’s source of solace against her father’s tyranny and her mother’s alcoholism. Now at eighteen, her only dream is to study classical guitar at Juilliard. But when her father’s careless actions lead to an “accident,” which threatens her ability to play the guitar, Sam becomes despondent. Losing all confidence in her future, Sam hides behind the emotional barriers that have protected her for years.

Just when Sam has given up, two unexpected people enter her life, giving her the confidence she needs, and forcing her to evaluate all she’s ever known. Battling her father’s plans for her future, band mates using her for personal gain, and a permanent injury, the odds are stacked against her. With auditions approaching and time running out, Sam must relearn to play the guitar, or be destined to give up her dreams forever.
Freedom Road is a story of a girl's journey in rediscovering herself and reaching her dreams even when almost everything in her life seems to be shattering and crumbling. Sam's story has definitely inspired and touched me in many ways. And this being a music-themed book had my heart even more captivated with it.

Sam is a very talented and gifted girl. Her guitar had become her solace from her very dysfunctional family and broken life. She developed a fiery passion for playing it and it became her dream to get into Julliard. However an "accident" happened that caused her to not almost be able to play. She was disheartened and discouraged and thought that she lost the only thing that really matters to her - her playing. But she met two people that truly cared and believed in her gift despite her new disability. Through them Sam found new confidence to continue playing and reasons why she should not give up.

For someone who knows how to play a guitar, I can say that Sam and I had developed quite a bond in this book. (Although my ability to play doesn't even reached quarter of hers. Haha!) I can say that I was really able to relate to her especially with her passion for playing the guitar. I understand why she was discouraged after the accident when some people might think that it wasn't really that big of a deal. I can imagine who hard it is for her to continue having that disability. But Sam is different, she is truly a gifted child. Her passion and love for playing is very remarkable and impressive. And so with the help of the people who truly cared for her she was able to stand up and believe in herself again. I also love how she was able to realize and learn a lot of things through her journey. Her character really progressed as the story went on and she became a very admirable character.

The writing is wonderful too. I can feel the intensity of Sam's passion in every word and phrases that describes her playing. The emotions were very well layered and I was able to really feel the heartaches and despair of the characters in this book especially with her family. 

The secondary characters, Tad and Laird were both really great. I really adore the both of them. Tad was a very funny and interesting boy and I love how insightful he could be sometimes. Laird was just really sweet and supportive. Moments between him and Sam were just really cute and yeah, swoon-worthy. 

Overall, this book is such a wonderful work. The plot line was very well thought and I love how the author showed insights about growth, forgiveness, acceptance and love. But most of all the passion for music. I was definitely inspired and touched by Sam's story. I recommend this. :)


I returned home from school and shut myself in my room, grateful to be alone. Leaning against the closed door, I sunk to the floor. My guitar case fell off my shoulder and slithered down my body next to me where I sat, arms wrapped around knees drawn firmly to my chest.

Today was a hard day. And on hard days, I turned to my guitar. But as I stared at the scuffed, black case at my side, apprehension gripped my chest with scorching fingers. I opened the case and stared at the instrument in reverence. The natural vintage surface, as smooth as glass.The rosewood fingerboard and handmade pickguard with its creamy design.

I lowered my legs and lifted the Gibson out of the case, liberating it from the darkness,exactly what my guitar had done for me ten years earlier. I held it, feeling the weight, heavy in my arms like a long lost friend, a patchwork of happy memories. I moved to the edge of my bed and got into position. My left hand curled around the board. My fingers moved onto the strings and I launched into the first piece that popped into my head—“I’ll See You In My Dreams” by DjangoRheinhardt.

I played for several minutes. Crappily. Mangling most of the song, my playing was stilted and unsure. The sounds emanating were those of an amateur. For most of the first half, I had troublestretching my pinky to compensate for my ring finger on the chords. As a result, I ended up lifting my hand too far off the fretboard to create a consistent sound. Little time passed before the tears fell. A sob wracked my body as I missed several notes. I bit my lip until it bled, trying my best to focus on the music and not on my blistering heart. But the song was too upbeat, too happy and discordant from my own frame of mind for me to play well. The tears fell freely after that, until my whole body shook from the force of my anguish, and I could play no more.

I swiped my face with my right hand, sucking a deep breath and trying to calm myself. I breathed in and out, concentrating on the simple task until my chest stopped heaving. “You can do this, Sam. You need this.”

I needed to play. I needed just one song. A song to get me through the rest of the day.A song to get through tomorrow and the week.

I picked something I liked, something I could play before with my eyes closed. I started in on “Only Hope” by Switchfoot. I launched into it, curling my middle finger in place of my ring finger on the fifth fret, A string. I slid my finger up two frets to E. I did well with the first few chords, but when I got to the G power chord, I had to bar the whole third fret with my pointer finger and utilize the rest of them for the chord. I wrecked it. I started over, playing again and trying to find a way around the chord, a way to create the same sound with one less finger, but I couldn’t. I started a third time, then a fourth. I played the same few chords over and over, until I finally went on with the song. But I mutilated the rest of it too.

Stopping, I shoved the guitar off of me onto the bed. I ran a hand through my hair and paced my room. I tried to focus on the steady cadence of my sneakers moving over the floor, but nothing about the sound soothed me. A thousand visions passed through my mind. Ones of me playing at events past—playing with Mr. Neely for hours before and after school, playing at the talent show, at the county fair, at The Clover, the Celtic festival, the Greek festival, the jazz festival, gigs in Richmond. Playing everywhere and anywhere I’ve ever been able. I played with all my fingers. They moved skillfully over the fretboard, needing nothing more than talent and muscle memory to drive them. The sounds which escaped those fingers? Perfection.

I walked back and forth in front of my bed, my steps heavier, faster than before. Reaching up into my hair, my hands clenched automatically, gripping my raven locks by the roots. I pulled and screamed, letting the searing pain in my scalp and the sound of my screaming soothe my ragged nerves. Only, it fueled them instead.

I darted across the room, to the picture of Derek andme at a jazz festival last year, my guitar strung over my back. I ripped it from the wall. I looked down at my desk, and in one smooth motion, I shoved all of its contents onto the floor and upturned it. My heart smashed into my ribs, as I turned and strode over to my bed, where my gaze zoned onto my guitar.

What good was it to me anymore? What good was a guitar I couldn’t play?

I snatched up the guitar—my prized possession—and raised it above my head. I started to bring my arms down, the guitar with it, but I paused. Tears sprung to my eyes. The beating of my heart resounded in my ears. I raised the guitar again and pressed my face into my shoulder, steeling myself for the blow, my muscles coiled. But I hesitated. I stood, arms and guitar suspended in the air, my eyes squeezed shut.

And then, as if whispered to me from above, I heard of all people, Tad’s voice in my head. Speaking slowly, clearly, coolly, triumphantly.Jerry Garcia. James Doohan. Tony Lomi. Django Reinhardt...

I lowered my guitar. With aching limbs, I retrieved the case from the floor and put it away. I stared at the closed case for what felt like hours, realizing I was in-between worlds. One in which I couldn’t play, and another in which I knew I had to, but having no idea how to close the gap, having no idea if I even could, only knowing that I wanted to. I needed to.


  1. Great review and excerpt :D This book does seem awesome. And I do like the cover :) Thank you for sharing. <3
    Thank you for commenting on my WoW. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  2. I was intrigued by this book when I first saw that you had received a copy, I'm glad that you ended up enjoying it Eunice! I really want to know what this accident is. Another great review Eunice and thanks for sharing this excerpt with us too! :)

  3. Wow, I see what you mean about the writing. I felt everything she was saying! Looks like an emotional read. I'm definitely adding this, thanks for bringing it under my radar. ;) Beautiful review, Eunice! :)

  4. *sniffs* I think I'm going to bawl like a baby when I read this book, Eunice! This seems like a very emotional read. I remember reading something like this book this year, about a virtuosic girl with dysfunctional family, and I was such a mess at that time! I imagine that I would suffer the same fate when I read this book. :')

    Beautifully written review, Eunice! The excerpt is really intriguing too. :) Thank you for introducing us about this book! ♥

  5. This sounds awesome! And since i also play guitar (high five) maybe ill also relate to Sam! I love books that are about finding yourself and reaching for your dream. Lovely review Eunice!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  6. To be honest this sounds a little heavy for me, but as someone who auditioned at music schools herself back in the day I might give it a try, especially since you really liked the writing. Thanks!

  7. I really wish I could play the guitar Eunice! I know I have plenty of time to learn, but I'm so far from musically incline it's kind of scary:) I love books that feature characters who show a lot of growth, so I'm thinking this would be a good book for me:) Thanks for putting it on my radar!

  8. This sounds beautifully touching and I adore books with music themes. I read your review on Goodreads, but reading it again has convinced me more. And that excerpt is wonderful too. Thanks for sharing, Eunice!

  9. I love books about self-discovery and this book sounds like a beautiful and emotional read. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, great review!

  10. Wonderful writing, adorable characters, and music- related themes? Well, this book practically has my name written on it. ;) This book sounds gorgeous and I'm so glad you alerted me of it, hon! Superb review and thank you sharing the excerpt with us, Eunice! I'm intrigued. ;)

  11. I'm wondering what her injury is. This sounds like a deeply emotional book, Eunice. I've never heard of it before, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. Wonderful review. :)

  12. Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments :) If you read the book, I hope you enjoy it. Don't hesitate to contact me to chat about the book. Thanks for the wonderful review Eunice!


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