Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Book Description:

Hardcover, 329 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now... Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Maricar + Pinoy Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

First of all, I loved the premise, because it was promising and had an entire history laid out for the reader. But the beginning of the book was slow and I struggled a bit upon starting The Game of Love and Death. However, as the story progressed and the game started and the stakes kept getting higher and higher, I found myself engrossed.

Henry was the perfect gentleman, the kind of boy who goes out of his way to ensure that you are safe and out of harm's way. He had a knack for writing and editing and was incredibly talented with music. I liked seeing his almost-martyr side, it pleased, pained and disappointed me. It was such a shocking view of the goodness of humanity enclosed in a single boy. The way he reached out to and took care of Flora touched my heart.

Flora reminded me of myself, because she was ambitious, determined and passionate about the things she loves in life. It was refreshing to read about her, such a unique character who didn't easily bow down under the building pressure of social norms and racism. I really liked how it hurt me to see Flora hurt, in any way. I have become emotionally attached to her. I applaud the author for making me feel drawn to the parts about aviation, as I so rarely read anything about this topic, especially in YA.

Love and Death were interesting characters. It was surprising to see the typically gendered roles reversed. Love was a boy and Death was a girl. They have been running the game for centuries, with their own pain, longing and sacrifices. I liked stepping into their minds, and seeing the story unfold from their points of view. As Love and Death wove the story using their own threads and patterns, the level of risk and danger heightened, bringing an all-new high to the book.

Overall, The Game of Love and Death was a romantic and tragic historical romance that sweeps readers off their feet with the right dose of desperation, tragedies and inspiration. The writing was amazing, and it was one of the reasons why I kept on reading. If you're into tragic love stories and stories revolving around the embodiment of timeless things such as Love and Death, and historical novels, then this is for you.

Rating:



4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Review: Silence by Deborah Lytton

Book Description:

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 2015 by Shadow Mountain

Love is blind, but it's also deaf. Stella was born to sing. Someday Broadway. Even though she's only a sophomore at a new high school, her voice has given her the status as a "cool kid." But everything changes when a tragic accident renders her deaf. She can't hear herself sing not to mention speak. She can't hear anything. Silence. What happens when everything you've dreamed of and hoped for is shattered in a single moment?

Enter Hayden, the boy with blond curls who stutters. He's treated like an outcast because he's not "normal." And, yet, Stella feels an attraction to him that she can't explain. As Hayden reaches out to help Stella discover a world without sound, his own tragic past warns him to keep a distance. But their connection is undeniable. Can the boy who stutters and the girl who's deaf ever find a happily-ever-after? Silence is a story of friendship and hope with a lesson that sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us find and appreciate beauty and love in unexpected place.


Reviewer's Copy: e-ARC

Source: Publisher (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Stella was a talented singer and she dreamed of making it to Broadway. However in one accident, she lost her hearing. What good was a singer who couldn't hear? In one single moment, she lost her gift and her dreams. Post-accident, she found a friend in Hayden, the boy who saved her and continued to save her in his own little ways. Stella was a kind spirit. Even before Hayden saved her, he had always seen him not as the stuttering, stammering guy but the guy who made good music, the one who offered nothing but kindness and happiness to her.

Hayden had been lingering in the sidelines of the story. Until the day that Stella fell into a pool, and he dived in to save her. I liked him even more when he proposed to show her how to live life without sound in 17 days. It was a bit movie-like for me - every day that he spent with Stella seemed like something straight out of a movie, sweet and cute and inspiring. I liked Hayden's voice. For me, it was the voice of a teen gentleman: respectful, clean and considerate. It was like stepping into a guy's head and cutting out the profanities, the rude and green stuff. This makes me wonder if there is truly someone out there who thinks the way Hayden does? I just find it so pure and clean, that it's almost surprising. It was refreshing to encounter a fictional character who was flawed in his speech and yet so finesse in his narration. There was redemption in this step, and it also allowed me to comprehend the stark difference in how people see Hayden and how he could be.

Stella and Hayden had a connection and they were able to see through each other's armors. All the worries, anger, pain and sadness wrapped around them like multiple layers, and each of them helped each other peel away the many layers covering them - until finally, they were free of baggage. They helped each other survive and overcome problems. Hayden and Stella developed a friendship that soon turned into something more. I liked how the sparks buzzed off of their skin and how the emotional pull was palpable. I enjoyed reading about them and seeing them fall slowly, inevitably for each other. They had their own way of conveying emotions and thoughts, without making too much of an effort. The ride was like heaven, cute, sweet and romantic.

There were a lot of items tackled in the book, including friendship. Stella and Lily's friendship was beginning to come undone. Lily was self-centered and didn't really consider Stella's situation and thoughts. The family dynamics in the book were explored well, both Hayden and Stella has unorthodox families: Stella's parents were not together, she lived with her mom but was in touch with her dad; Hayden lives with his grandfather, he didn't know his father and his mother was almost always absent in his life. There was also the universal theme on pain, forgiveness, acceptance and letting go.

Silence is a clean, heartfelt and sweet YA contemporary romance. It is not your typical contemporary romance. I encountered two main characters in difficult situations: a singer who lost her hearing and a musician who had trouble with his speech. It was a roller coaster of emotions to see the world using the lens of Stella and Hayden. I admit that I would never see the world in the same way again after this.


Rating:



4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!

Follow Deborah:




Facebook | Website | Twitter



Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Out and About: Book Signing with #KMRinPH + Giveaway: Signed Paperback of The Beginning of Everything


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events and book launches.

This rainy Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to meet three amazing contemporary authors. Being in the presence of KMR (Katie, Melissa and Robyn) left me buzzing with excitement and sheer book love. As Lyra from Defiantly Deviant says: This is what it feels like to be in YA Contemporary Heaven! So please join me as I recap #KMRinPH.

The Basics
Who: Katie Cotugno, Melissa Kantor and Robyn Schneider
What books: Katie Cotugno: How to Love + 99 Days
Melissa Kantor: Maybe One Day, Better than Perfect and more
Robyn Schneider: The Beginning of Everything + Extraordinary Means

When:July 5th 2015
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What I learned about Katie, Melissa and Robyn from the Q&A:

 

  • Melissa would like to write historical fiction but she finds the idea of it daunting. Historical fiction entails a lot of research to do. She wants to get the information right.
  • Robyn would like to write horror fantasy, in which there is an element of horror but the heroine still feels like a 'real girl' living in a world that we can relate to.
  • In Katie's books, her characters make mistakes and they are not perfect. This is the kind of story that she wants to write -stories about people who make mistakes. She feels that this makes the story more 'real' and genuine.
  • For Robyn,   
  • The biggest challenge for Melissa was making Zoe (from Maybe One Day) likable. There were things that Zoe said in the book that seemed harmless to Melissa, but it came out as negative/rude for other people. In the original draft, Zoe was much nastier.
  • The authors are drawn to the YA genre for the following reasons: Katie actually wrote How to Love when she was in high school. She mentioned that from the perspective of a teenager, everything feels important and feelings are intense. She thinks that this is a fertile ground for story telling. For Melissa, it would be the fact that every decision seems important. There is intensity in writing about teens. Meanwhile, Robyn likes to write about impactful firsts. She finds it exciting and great to try to remember parts of herself through writing. She also mentioned that teens read to find themselves in the world and this is one of the things that draws her to YA.
  • Melissa outlines before she writes. She mentioned that as a writer, you need to find the process that works for you. When Robyn writes, she gets various inputs from different people. She figures out everything and everyone that influences and is involved with the main character. She gathers her materials, builds the background of her character and when she has these ingredients, she starts to write.
  • All of the leading guys in Robyn's books are patterned after herself. Ezra reflects how she was like in high school while Laine reflects how she was like in college. As for Melissa, one of the leading men in her books was actually inspired by a serious ex-boyfriend named Steve.
  • Melissa commented that the people around you (the writer) tend to attribute names to your characters even though it was unintential at the time of writing.
  • The authors' favorite part of writing YA novels are: (Melissa) romance scenes: seeing him across the room scene and the kissing scene; (Katie) figuring out how you feel about things in the world and; (Robyn) nerdy popculture references/fandom.
  • When Robyn writes, she is basically trying to answer her own questions. She doesn't have a complicated writing style - she just writes really fast, as simple and true as she can be.
  • Katie's next book is set in 1990s Florida, during the time of boybands. It is a popstar book about two not-so-famous popstars.
  • Robyn prefers writing from a male's point of view. For her, it is like writing a fantasy - writing something that is away from her true self. Ezra was so much easier to write. She was drawn to his brokenness.
  • Melissa changed publishers. For her, it was like reinventing herself.
  • If the authors have to write a book about their lives, the titles would be:
    • Melissa: Don't Press Send - she feels that she had said too many things that she shouldn't have via email.
    • Katie: Places I Have Fallen and Injured Myself - she is clumsy. Each chapter would be a specific injury that she had endured.
    • Robyn: #ihatehashtags - she just finds herself angry at the internet culture, especially with #hashtags.
 

Book Signing - up close and personal


Talking to each one of the authors was great - they were all so warm.

Me and Maricar from Blackplume with Katie, Melissa and Robyn.

A signing isn't complete without my lovely bloggers.


The signed pretties!


I can never say thank you enough to National Book Store for the amazing experience!

Ladies and gents, one lucky reader of Fragments of Life will win a signed paperback copy of The Beginning of Everything! Rules: Be a follower + should be a resident of the Philippines (sorry, international readers - but I'm currently running an international giveaway of a Pre-order of Six of Crows!) Enter below.


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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Bought

My Thoughts: (This is where I rave.)

Ravka was incredibly exotic and vivid. I enjoyed reading about the different areas of the story world and perusing the gorgeous map. Bardugo wrote in such a detailed and hypnotic way. The words demanded to be read. It left me intoxicated and wanting for more.

Alina Starkov was an orphan from Keramzin. She was a ghost sliding through day to day life, unnoticed. In a desperate and terrifying moment, this nobody unleashed a power unlike any other in the Unsea, shattering the bubble that has hidden her from the eyes of the public. Alina was flawed and realistic, this made her more human to me despite being the Sun Summoner. She did not believe in her own power in the beginning, and she even flat out denied its existence. She was unwilling to accept her fate so easily, when being Grisha meant that she would be away from the only person who has really cared about her: Malyen Oretsev, longtime best friend and fellow orphan. She had the potential to be a very powerful Grisha and yet she manifested signs of weakness, both physically and emotionally. It was refreshing and surprising at the same time. What really intrigued me further was that Alina had a dark side - the part of her that was Grisha was hungry and longing for power.

The Darkling stole my heart, though I mildly resented him for it, sometimes. With silken onyx hair, gray quartz eyes that examine every inch of your being, a touch that gives you a sense of surety and words that drip with promises and mysteries, I found myself drawn to the Darkling, even more than Alina was. He was an intriguing character, showing multiple facets of his being. He was the Darkling, current leader of the Second Army; Summoner of Darkness; the boy who lived over a hundred years and who was ten steps ahead of everyone and; the boy with longing in his eyes. I loved how he was hard to figure out. There were just too many possible motives, a sea unspoken words and wave after wave of cruelty and violence surrounding him, so much so that the Darkling has become an unsolved equation. The mind and the heart struggle to see through his shell.

Mal, Alina's best friend and secret love, was easy enough to understand. Mal was the exact opposite of the Darkling: down to earth, warm, protective and pure in his intentions. He was the only person who has been there for Alina but now that his best friend was a Grisha, how would he fit into her world? After Alina was taken away, he was dumbstruck to realize that he missed her. As they say, you only know the true worth of something or someone when it is no longer yours. Mal unleashed a lot of heartfelt statements that pierced me through. I liked how the author was able to reach me emotionally, through Mal's character.

Grisha who were discovered stayed at the Little Palace in Os Alta. There were three Grisha orders: Corporalki (The Order of the Living and the Dead): Heartrenders, Healers; Etherealki (The Order of Summoners): Squallers, Inferni and Tidemakers and; Materialki (The Order of Fabrikators): Durasts and Alkemi. After education and sufficient training, some Grisha would be sent to rich, noble families to serve but the best ones were handpicked to be a part of the Second Army, under the Darkling. I loved the entire cast of Grisha, especially Genya and David. They were an eccentric and amusing bunch.

The story itself was enchanting and written with such detail and vibrance, it has rendered me awestruck. The plot and the history reminded me a bit of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. The books were similar in terms of the religious aspect, the mention and regard given to saints and the history that was tied to them. There were twists and turns that kept me guessing, calculating and predicting events, reasons and outcomes. The pure entertainment would have to be with the power struggle and the fact that Ravka was almost in tatters, with the Shadow Fold cutting the country into two. The dire situation only intensified the race for power and domination. There were political aspects tackled, detailed and broken down for the readers to see and appreciate.

Shadow and Bone was an intoxicating blend of fantasy, with a shot of creeping romance and temptation, a generous dose of epic adventures and battles and a dash of light and darkness. I highly recommend this book to fantasy readers and romance readers alike. If you liked Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you might like this novel as well!

Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Giveaway Alert! I'm also giving away a signed paperback of Shadow and Bone (for residents of the Philippines) + a Pre-order of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (open internationally) here.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out and About: Book Signing with Leigh Bardugo + Giveaway: Signed Shadow and Bone + Six of Crows


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

Shadow and Bone has been in my wishlist for a very long time now. I love fantasy, stories set in Russia and light versus darkness theme. I kept delaying getting my hands on the first and book. And when I finally got a copy, I couldn't stop reading. The book basically took hold of me and refused to give me my life back (in a very good way, I assure you.) That was the beginning of my fangirling. This weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend #LeighBardugoInPh.

The Basics
Who: Leigh Bardugo
What books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising + Six of Crows.
When: June 21st 2015
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What I learned about Leigh Bardugo, her books and her writing style from the Q&A:



Here is my question to Leigh: Exotic languages are featured in your series. Could you tell us if these are inspired by the current languages of the world or if you followed Tolkien’s steps and made your own languages?
Leigh based the languages in the Grisha trilogy on the cultures and languages of the world. Ravkan was Russian. Kerch was based on the language in the Dutch Republic during the 1700s. Fjerdan was her Scandinavian.

If you had to choose one amplifier from the Grisha trilogy, what will it be and why?
Leigh will choose the firebird. She is an animal lover. An amplifier could be an animal or a person, slain, and then pieces of them - usually bones,antlers,etc - are worn by the Grisha. This boosts their power. Leigh had a hard time writing the scenes wherein animals were killed.

With the editing process, I assume you removed some scenes from the manuscript. Are there any scenes (HOPEFULLY A BIT STEAMY OR ROMANCE-HEAVY) that you cut and regret?
No, Leigh writes outlines, so the cutting of scenes is rare. However, she took some action scenes from Siege and Storm and put them into the middle of Ruin and Rising.

Can you make a haiku, right now, to describe Six of Crows?

Six deadly outcasts
One impossible heist, yeah!
You should order it

We heard you're writing a book about Sturmhond. When can we expect to hear all about it? And obviously we all love him, but what was special about writing Sturmhond that he's getting a spin-off?
Sturmhond is a very interesting character. He's a privateer and is always doing risky and adventurous things. While Leigh was writing Siege and Storm, this (Sturmhond) character swaggered his way into the scene and started talking. He wouldn't shut up. Leigh already know how his story is gonna go and who he will end up with. However, Leigh is taking a break from the Grisha trilogy after writing the sequel of Six of Crows. She might (please, please, please) write Sturmhond's story after that.

Your upcoming book, Six of Crows is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, what made you decide to continue writing a story in the same world instead of creating a new one?
Kerch is a very interesting setting. It is cosmopolitan, hub of legal and illegal trade.

Supposedly a villain who wants to take over the world but like me, many readers ended up liking The Darkling instead. How hard was it to build The Darkling’s character and was it intentional to make him that kind of character?
Leigh set out to write characters and not love interests. Each character has their own motives, goals, reasons and journey.

Is there any chance we’ll have a novella about Alina’s origins and where her powers came from?
There are many threads about Alina's past and it would be interesting to explore them. Leigh says this is a possibility! Hopefully in the near future.

What was your inspiration for creating The Grisha?
Leigh likes Old World England but she felt that there were too many stories set in England. Leigh wanted to bring readers to another place. She thought of Russia, the era wherein there were two elements at work: rise of modern technology and medieval magic.

Six of Crows is the first book in a new series also set in the Grisha world. How has the experience of conceptualizing and writing this new series been unique from writing the Shadow and Bone books?
In Six of Crows, the whole setting was in place before Leigh wrote it. It has five POVs and flashbacks. Shadow and Bone was a classic chosen one story. Leigh wanted to write a book about the people who aren't chosen.

Aside from high fantasy, what genre do you see yourself writing in the future?
Horror. Leigh's upcoming book is called Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, which comes out in August. Leigh is also going to be contributing a story which is not set in our world, for an anthology called Summer Days & Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins.

If you were to collaborate with one author on a story, who would it be and what would the story be?
Leigh would like to write with Laini Taylor. Although she noted that they have very different writing styles. While Leigh outlines, Laini writes the entire book, reads it again and edits it, and so on.

How has life changed for you after the success of the Grisha trilogy?
A few years back, Leigh was really broke. Although she worked as a make-up artist in Hollywood, and people perceives this as a glamorous job, her heart wasn't exactly there. A friend of hers drew a picture of her in a book signing, as a gift to her on her 14th birthday. She knew that this scenario was something that she would like to experience and continue experiencing in her life. Leigh is literally has her dream job.





Big thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event! TWO lucky readers of Fragments of Life will win a signed paperback of Shadow and Bone and a pre-order of Six of Crows.

Okay ladies and gents, mechanics of the giveaway. There will be two winners. The winner from the Philippines will win the signed paperback copy and the international winner will win a pre-order of Six of Crows! How does that sound? :) Enter below.


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Monday, June 01, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Book Description:

Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Alexandra Ridgemont was an admirable character. Despite being schizophrenic, she was eager to get through senior year as normally as possible. She was cautious, observant and brave, in such a way that was right and just. She cared about other people, she supported her friends aka club mates in any way she could. I liked encountering such a strong and problematic heroine in Made You Up. She was flawed, and I like that about her - she seemed more realistic this way.

Miles' physical appearance reminded Alex of her first “hallucination” when a blue-eyed boy helped her free lobsters when she was a child. I perceived Miles as a slightly scary and unpredictable character. He triggered warning signs in my head, and always had me on the lookout for anything suspicious. But Miles was also attractive in his own way, a genius and a gentleman sometimes. Miles shed his stiff outer shell and showed his soft side later on in the story, only then I was able to understand his complexity. I loved how Zappia made her characters complex. She did not set things in simple black and white, there were a lot of grey areas, which would be explored, and I liked that.

Schizophrenia was a constant presence in the book: it affected the story in such a way that the reader would not easily distinguish what was real and what was not. I was attentive to all the details throughout the story, in an effort to spot what was part of the story and what was part of Alex’ hallucination. This trying-to-figure-out-what-is-real-and-what-is-not routing was something that I look forward to in psychological novels. It goes beyond the typical storytelling and adds a layer of unwanted additions on top of the story. It was the reader’s responsibility to get lost in the story and find his/her way out to the other side, to understand the main character and the plot as a whole.

Made You Up was enchanting to me. The story had a holistic aspect, as it explored various elements of the book; it tackled psychological problems, family dynamics, friendship and budding romance, and the line between reality and hallucination. But what I really loved was Alex and Miles' interaction and banter. The back and forth zapping of energy and tension between them, as they learned more about one another, was refreshing. They were unlike other YA couples that I have encountered so far. Alex was a paranoid girl who kept overthinking and over-analyzing Miles' words and actions while Miles was a genius who didn't let anything slip away. But then he was also not as sensitive and not as perceptive of others' feelings.

Made You Up is a heart-racing, suspenseful psychological concoction, with an ample dose of crazy, budding romance, pranks and, surprises and revelations. I highly recommend this to readers of psychological novels and contemporary romance. If you want something a little crazy with a dash of love, this is the book for you.


Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

About the Author:



Francesca is a YA writer represented by Louise Fury. Her debut novel, MADE YOU UP, is out now from Greenwillow/ HarperCollins.

Follow Francesca: Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | DeviantArt

Francesca also draws! Check out her art - Miles and Alex from Made You Up!


Credit to Francesca Zappia | Source

Credit to Francesca Zappia | Source



There's a giveaway for an ARC of MADE YOU UP! One lucky Philippine resident will win this one.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: The Day of the Wave by Becky Wicks

Book Description:

Kindle Edition
Published May 1st 2015 by Becky Wicks (first published April 27th 2015)

Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami tore through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead. Unbeknown to each other and haunted by one of the biggest natural disasters in world history, Isla and Ben are living very different lives, until over a decade later when a chance encounter throws them back together.

Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.

Amazon | Goodreads

Reviewer's Copy: e-ARC

Source: Becky Wicks and Xpresso Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Becky Wicks never fails to impress me. She has been inspiring me one novel after another. Although The Day of the Wave was related to the 2004 Tsunami Disaster, I was determined to read it. I usually avoid reading sad contemporary stories that have something to do with life-threatening diseases and disasters. This would be my first.

The Day of the Wave was set in various places: London, Bangkok, Phuket, and Bali. As usual, Becky skillfully drew the landscape for you, took a piece of the sun and the moon, put it in the pages, added her atmospheric writing, that I just felt like I traveled to four different parts of the world. Reading a Becky Wicks novel is always like going on a vacation, I got to experience and taste the culture and the atmosphere of her locales. The Day of the Wave was also fragmented into different parts by Isla's moving from one place to another: Part one would be her pre-Ben life in London, which dragging, rigid and clogged with grey spots as she lived with Colin, her boyfriend; Part Two would be set in Bangkok, while Isla was slowly dipping her foot into Thai culture; Part Three would be the emotionally chaotic transit from Bangkok to Phuket and the stay in Phuket itself. Isla and Ben were dancing around one another, both emotionally-strained, both yearning for one another but unable to pass through the barriers separating them; Part Four was set in Bali, which is something that you should find out for yourself.

Isla was a beautiful and complicated girl. The tsunami left her miserable, without parents and without a home. She was not the carefree 16-year-old girl that left UK anymore. She was continuously hurting. To make matters worse, she found out that her boyfriend for four years cheated on her with her ex-flatmate. Heartbroken and carrying the burden of her past, she went to Bangkok on an assignment. Time seemed to stop when Ben found her there, the same boy that she thought she had lost in the tsunami.

Ben carried on picking up the pieces that the tsunami left behind. He had built a shell around him, only really connecting to people who suffered because of the tsunami. But he wasn't entirely whole anymore, there was a gaping hole inside him and he didn't know how to fill it. He kept on moving on to different places, forming friendships but not really committing to anyone. Things were about to change when he found Bizzy in Bangkok, the girl he thought he lost forever.

Ben and Isla were meant for each other, they just didn't know it yet. It was exciting and frustrating to see them play this tug-of-war game. They were dancing around one another, getting close enough to touch, to make all what-ifs a reality, but there was a barrier separating them. I really enjoyed reading about these two, and seeing how their relationship, both in the past and in the present, developed. The flashbacks in between the present narration also enabled me as a reader to understand the characters better. Their loss, pain, guilt, hopelessness and destruction were laid out on the pages. Knowing their vulnerability and seeing their weaknesses diminish day by day gave me a sense of weightlessness. Becky really knew how to reach the readers through her words.

The Day of the Wave was a storm of emotions, issues, lost love, second chances and forgiveness and acceptance. The Day of the Wave was incredibly atmospheric, able to transport the reader to foreign places, romantic, with just the right amount of emotional and sexual tension, and unforgettable. It wasn't the easiest story to read, but it was definitely one of the most meaningful and enjoyable stories of all. I highly recommend this novel to contemporary romance readers, older young adult and new adult readers, readers who like/want to travel.

Rating:



5 Cupids: = Eternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


About the Author:

Becky Wicks lives in Bali and scribbles books, and she’s mostly powered by coffee. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, Before He Was Famous recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories, and her three travel books, published by HarperCollins are online to make feet nice and itchy. Mostly though, she loves to write love stories. She blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter @bex_wicks. Especially if you have photos of cats.

Follow Becky: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



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