Friday, May 4, 2018

"Ray Vs the Meaning of Life" by Michael F. Stewart

Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
by Michael F. Stewart

Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart

Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart is due for release on 15 May but is currently available for pre-order. The book is on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Grandma’s Last Will and Testament names Ray to inherit the trailer park. It’s a million-dollar estate with one hitch: to prove he’s not as aimless as he seems, Ray must discover the meaning of life by the end of the month. (She left the answer in an envelope.) If he fails, the camp goes to his estranged family.
How does anyone find the meaning of life while running a park full of misfit miners, would-be truck racers, and one demanding little girl? There’s a bear too. A grizzly. Maybe that’ll help?

Here’s what killed Grandma:
The garbage truck pulled into Sunny Days RV Park at half past nine. I was gaming in my camper and missed most of it, but there were witnesses. Grandma was checking on the trailers like she did every morning to make sure no one was “cavorting.”
Now my half-sister, Crystal, she was hunting with her rifle out. The .22, for picking off squirrels, even the odd raccoon, you know . . . dinner. But Crystal didn’t kill Grandma. She says Grandma’s dying was the same as one of those domino setups, where one thing follows another.
The truck roared up from the main gate in a direct line headed to the rear, where the garbage was piled. It’d been raining, and mud pooled in the road’s tire ruts.
The way Crystal tells it, she hit that squirrel with the crack of a rifle shot. The bullet knocked it from the tree branch and onto the face of Grandma, who staggered, screeching, into the path of the truck. The truck locked its wheels and slid through the mud like a greased pig through a farmer’s fingers.
But the truck didn’t kill Grandma.
My ma, who had been scrubbing toilets, lurched out of the stalls, bucket sloshing, and witnessed what came next. Says that getting squished by the truck would’ve been better. One of those dream catchers people use to keep away nightmares hung in the truck’s windscreen. Grandma had a weird fear of dream catchers. Seeing the feathers dangling from the web of gut, she screamed and ran toward the garbage pile.
Near the bins, smoke was streaming from Uncle Jamie’s firework shack. He was doing what he’s always doing, mixing various powders and such to concoct his explosions. The whole shack looks like it’s ready to fall over; he just leans the metal sheets together like walls. Says it’s not laziness, but to release pressure in the event of what happens all the time.
In my game, I was protecting a party of rangers, hacking dragon spawn left and right. My trailer’s back in the woods, nearer to Uncle Jamie’s than anyone else’s, and atop a tiny hill to keep it out of the swamp and to improve reception. But this is what I heard happened from those witnesses: Grandma was sprinting, which is a little like a dog with two legs, a front right one and a rear left, trying to run. And smoke was a pouring, and the truck was a roaring and chasing Grandma like a nightmare itself, when Uncle added the wrong powder and . . .
But the fireworks didn’t kill Grandma, either.

Praise for the Book
“Stewart presents readers with a dynamite coming-of-age story … A tale spins its answer to an age-old question into an inclusive, hilarious, and thought-provoking yarn.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Please take the time to grab a copy of this amazing novel. I'll defintely be looking for more of Mr. Stewart's books in the future. And if your kids are looking for a great read, just grab one of these, they won't be disappointed.” ~ S.L. Dearing
“This book was surprisingly philosophical, given the absurdity of the characters. I really enjoyed Ray's character development, and the fact that nothing is - or is supposed to be - perfect.” ~ Kat
“This is such a beautiful, warm, wonderful book that I think so many people can benefit from. Check this book out: borrow it, buy it, gift it, just read it and share it widely!” ~ Andrea Johnston
Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart is a witty, charming tale of self-discovery and the challenges that teenagers face as they grow into the world.” ~ Colby

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
When his grandma dies, seventeen-year-old Ray blames himself for her death. To make things worse, her will states that Ray stands to inherit everything. However, there is one condition: Ray has one month to discover the meaning of life, or everything goes to his mother. This sparks a family feud, but does Ray even want to spend the rest of his life in a trailer park? Join Ray as he battles a bear, gamers, his family, his customers, a philosopher, his fears, and even an iceberg. Who will emerge victorious?
From the very first line, you know that this is going to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek kind of book. And it won’t let you down. It’s not all light, though. There are some dark moments, and you won’t believe how mean Ray’s mother and sister are. There is also a lot of soul searching and philosophy. It’s great to see how Ray grows over the course of the book and how he impacts the rest of the cast of quirky characters. Having owned and run a trailer park for over ten years, I can relate to what Ray went through in that month. I love how the book finishes full-circle, taking us right back to the beginning. 


About the Author
Michael F. Stewart
Michael F. Stewart embraces all forms of storytelling. In 2009, he created Bully For You for Scholastic Canada, a fully functioning social media platform with an embedded interactive story. He’s written graphic novels for Rubicon Publishing’s Boldprint series, illustrated early readers and novellas for Pearson (coming in 2019!), nonfiction texts on Corruption and Children’s Rights; he even tried to convince the world that we needed a location-based storytelling app with augmented reality (NARR8R) - we still do! He’s written adult horror, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and adventure. He’s even written books you’ll never find. But nothing is ever wasted. His most recent book, Counting Wolves, a contemporary YA, was named to Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2017” list. The Boy Who Swallows Flies (2018) won Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award, and the Assured Destruction Series won The Creation of Stories: Best YA Award at the Toronto International Book Fair. In 2016, Michael was selected to join the CFC/Entertainment One TV Adaptation Lab.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s Writer in Residence and runs free writing workshops.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of twenty ebook copies of Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart.