The Simple Soul of Susan (2017) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

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About the Book

The Simple Sould of SusanTitle: The Simple Soul of Susan

Author: Noel Branham

Genre: Romance, YA, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary

Release Date: October 11, 2017

Susan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.

Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.

But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.

Compulsively readable, The Simple Soul of Susan is an engaging, soul-endearing romance and a mesmerizing debut.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Noel Branham

Born and raised in a small Texas town, Noel Branham started her career in digital communications after graduating with a degree in English. An award-winning communicator, she now writes from her residence in Florida about things closest to the heart: home, family, and love.

Guest Post from Noel Branham

Fictional Romance: A Real Relationship Killer?

You’ve heard it before… All romance novels give readers unrealistic expectations of relationships. Yep. They totally do. But I think most of the time, with life in general, we have unrealistic expectations not only of others but of ourselves. We live in a world where there is always something else to try, buy or satisfy our ever-evolving aspirations of happiness and fulfillment. So here are three things to remember while reading romance novels that will lead to having deep, meaningful, romantic, relationships in real life:

  1. Happiness isn’t fulfilled expectations. When you expect yoursignificant other (SO) to see you and romantically sweep you off your feet while pulling flowers from behind your back and force feeding you chocolates… you may have some unrealistic expectations. Would it be nice? Sure! But there is always something more they could do to make you happy, feeling loved, satisfied, etc. It’s a bottomless pit of desire and implied anticipated actions. We have to realize that no matter how many things we want out of a relationship, we can never receive them all… because realistically, we could never live up to the things expected of us either. Romance is a two-way street.
  2. Happiness is the unexpected, fulfilled. Wait… how can you fulfill something that isn’t expected? You can’t. And that’s what makes it so great. Your SO fills your car up with gas, takes you out for a date for no particular reason, watches that Victorian-era PBS drama with you even though they can’t understand the accents… When we get rid of expectations for ourselves and others we are able to really enjoy the things and people we already have and anything else is simply adding to lovely life that we already possess.
  3. Happiness in relationships is what you make of it. Just not feeling the love anymore after five years together? Was it that you chose the wrong person? Was it something they did? Something you did? Love can be a feeling and an action. Your relationship doesn’t have to be defined by feelings. Feelings fade. They aren’t realistic. They change with time as people change with time because all people change. But actions… actions are what you choose to do on a regular basis. They are a daily intentional choice (made by you) to care for another person. You can control your actions, but not so much your feelings. Funny thing is often times your actions create feelings you never thought you could have.

If you are looking for a romance novel with a bit more realism to test out these principals, check out The Simple Soul of Susan. You can have the realistic expectation that you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

My Thoughts

The Simple Soul of Susan is SO good! I mean “the kind of book you will re-read a bunch of times and tell everyone about” kind of good. It’s exceptionally fast-paced (I read it in a day), well written, and gripping. I have nothing but praise for this fabulous story!!!

Susan Combs is the main character, and she is STUPENDOUS. She enjoys the simple things (which is why she is called Simple Susan) and treats people compassionately. She is so mature for her age because of what life has thrown at her since birth (it’s rough — you’ve been warned), but she is also a bit naive. I absolutely love this duality to her personality. One minute she is reading a mathematical text about complex algorithms, and the next she is confused by the phrase “getting to first base.” One of the sweetest, most innocent moments ever in the history of books occurs when Calder, Susan’s next-door neighbor, best friend, and love interest, teaches her what that phrase means. The best part about Susan’s character is that she has a strong moral compass and will not change for anyone. She does not let town gossip or the mean girls ruin who she is and what she believe in. I find Susan an exceptional role model for young adults today.

Calder is the perfect hero. He has the BIGGEST heart, and he cares so deeply. He often does things for Susan in order to help her out, and is there for her when she needs him. The entire world sees Susan as a Plain Jane and odd. They never look past Susan’s Goodwill clothes, her self-imposed 10 pm bed time, or her poverty. To the world, Susan is fodder for the mean girls and town gossips. But Calder sees past all of this to who Susan really is, which makes him the best kind of hero — the boy who gets it!!!

Of the many wonderful things this book has to offer its reader, my number one favorite aspect is the message of this story. The Simple Soul of Susan teaches its readers that real love is a choice that one makes every day. Love is hard work, but totally worth it if you are with the right person. Love is NOT about how you feel. This is such an important theme teenagers today need more now than ever before. Today’s kids are saturated in feelings, and I fear many don’t comprehend what real love is. It seems like teens today, at least the kids I teach, believe relationships are all about what the other person can do for them. This idea of love being a daily decision, a choice that means a lot of hard work and effort, is a foreign concept to many. I would put this book into the hands of all of my students today if I had the budget because I think this message is so timely and important for our young adults.

The Simple Soul of Susan is a literary gem that must be experienced. I adore this book, and I am very sad my time with Susan and Calder is over. I plan to reread this book again very soon. If you are looking for a fantastic read for not just yourself, but for your teen(s) as well, then I implore you to read The Simple Soul of Susan. Run to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of this amazing story today. This book is well worth the trip!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author and Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.



To celebrate her tour, Noel is giving away:

Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
First & Second Place Prize: eBook copy of The Simple Soul of Susan

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

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13 thoughts on “The Simple Soul of Susan (2017) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

  1. Thank you for your review and the information on “The Simple Soul of Susan” by Noel Branham. I enjoyed reading the guest post too.

    I’d very much love the opportunity to read the book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    Liked by 2 people

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