Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman + Jay Kristoff

Book Description:

Hardcover, 608 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Dianne and Pinoybooktours! (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Illuminae is hands down the best science fiction novel I have read this year. As I'm writing this review, I find myself grasping, searching and squeezing-my-eyes-shut-thinking of words to describe my reading experience. I found the book most intriguing and incredibly unique. The format of the story was unlike any other, in such a way that it was comprised of various files that were gathered about the incident: chat conversations, official statements, outlines and blueprints of the spacecrafts involved, emails, medical reports, official exchanged between ships, written reports that were narratives of audio and surveillance footage, files and more. I thought that because of the format, I might find the narration limited and cagey. I was wrong on so many levels. The variety in the formats enabled the reader to jump from one perspective to another, while enjoying the story from the back seat. I was able to experience the story in various forms and form a thorough understanding and form healthy guesses based on the information presented.

Kady and Ezra. The two ex-lovers by label, silent lovers by choice. Ezra was a pilot, flying a Cyclone, which was the first line of defense of the Alexander. He was brutally honest and cursed too much for his own good, and yet I found him charming. He could be a representative of the modern guy, with a kind heart and a conscience amidst the darker attributes. Getting a female main character that was a talented hacker was a bonus. Kady was a genius with code. It was amazing to see her at work as she broke through the walls and security systems to get the most hidden and most coveted information about the attack on Kerenza and the chaos that was the travel to Heimdall by Copernicus, Hypatia and Alexander. I admired her perseverance, bravery and guts. She was a modern heroine, unafraid to test the water and to swim hip deep into the unknown. She was a very private person. I saw myself in her silence, in the risks that she took and in the sacrifice that she did. She was the ultimate example of a person on a "no regrets" policy in life. I loved the banter between them, albeit limited. It was one of a kind. They broke up right before their planet was attacked. The sudden separation, emotionally and physically, drew them apart. Through sparse emails and forbidden chat conversations, they reunited. There was spark between them that was easy to spot. Somehow, this satisfied me despite the fact that the novel was primarily focused on action and destruction. I loved reading about these two - how they interacted, worried about one another and eventually tried to save each other while digging for hard truths.

The plot was what I would consider catastrophically epic. When I thought things couldn't get worse, it did. When I thought the cast had suffered enough, they suffered even more. The setting reminded me of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, with two more spacecrafts, more people and more firepower. I enjoyed reading about the specific culture in each vessel. But what really intrigued me the most was the Alexander and its military crew. With the Lincoln, the enemy, hot on their heels, Torrence and his men were breaking under the pressure. They were understaffed, forced to conscript civilians into service and to make things worse, their ship took damage and their artificial intelligence system, AIDAN was going crazy. I enjoyed reading about the military aspect of the book. I've always been fond of military fiction and it was so rare to find a book that goes into full detail about it. The authors were focused on every little detail, and that made me appreciate the story even more.

Another thing that I liked about Illuminae was AIDAN, the out of control AI. It was a fascinating experience to try to understand the point of view of an intelligent yet unliving, incorporeal thing. It was programmed for defense and security, to protect and prioritize the fleet. However, because it has no morals, its decision-making was surprisingly unorthodox and tragically cruel. It was a terrifying exhibit of what might happen with mankind's inventions.

Illuminae is a beautifully chaotic and wild adventure into the unknown. Readers are bound to experience the following symptoms: adrenaline rush, heart stoppage and system restart at suspense and terrifying scenes, heartache due to brutally tragic events, laughing like a crazy person over the humor injected into the story, getting butterlies in your stomach over unexpectedly sweet scenes and lastly, goosebumps over the gorgeousness that is Illuminae. Highly recommended to all human beings alive, especially science fiction enthusiasts!


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

Giveaway: Hardcovers of Illuminae
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Book Description:

Paperback, 404 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Reviewer's Copy: Paperback

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

The Wrath and the Dawn drew me in several months ago, when its book summary was unleashed into the world. I took a copy in my hands and refused to let it go. Its deliberate beauty consumed my being. I have no regrets, other than I would have to wait months stretching into the future for the second book. My heart needs it. My sanity needs it.

Shahrzad, also known as Shazi to her beloved and to her friends, was a strong heroine. She didn't need saving - she handle everything and could save herself. I admired her strength, determination, loyalty and intelligence, and even her imperfections. She wavered and found herself falling in love with the monster caliph, Khalid. Love was mixing into the already troublesome concoction of emotions wrapped between Shahrzad and Khalid. Shahrzad soon found herself trapped in the middle of her revenge, her heart's call and her shame and betrayal. When her first love, Tariq, waltzed into the palace, things were bound to spiral out of control.

Khalid, the murderous boy-king, was not the monster that people, including myself, thought him to be. Underneath the boy of ice and stone, past through his walls and distance, Khalid was a broken boy with a longing heart and a tortured conscience. His suffering and his honor melted my heart. Khalid was a gentleman; he was protective, undeniably sweet and thoughtful and most of all, intelligent. I am fond of intelligent characters and I just found another reason to like Khalid because of this. Seriously, Khalid had everything a reader would look for in a male MC. He was the caliph of Khorasan, the second best swordsman in all of Rey, and possibly the most handsome man in all of Renee Ahdieh's story world. Readers would enjoy reading about him - he's such a complicated character and it was a delight to explore his strengths, weaknesses, motives and hopes. It was also heartbreakingly painful and yet, I love it!

Reading about Shahrzad and Khalid was like watching yourself falling in love with your perfectly imperfect match, sans the deaths and bloody complications, of course. The emotional tension between these two was palpable; you could feel it pulsing through the pages. It was not the straight-out love or love at first sight. It was an unexpected love, the kind that caught you off guard and the kind that made your heart skip a beat because you noticed that you weren't looking at someone in the same manner anymore. While I enjoyed reading about Shahrzad and Khalid's moves in their own little game, I enjoyed seeing the telltale signs that they were falling for one another, from the most obvious ones to the subtlest ones. Each sweet word, each confession was a balm for my heart. Each fight and misunderstanding tore me apart. The emotions evoked in The Wrath and the Dawn could possibly rival those of Clockwork Princess.

The minor characters were also animated and well-developed. I loved Jalal aka Captain Al-Khoury. He was the boy who brought the room to life. His funny and sometimes-sarcastic remarks kept me entertained throughout the book. Despina's loyalty, teasing, sarcasm and attitude complimented that of Jalal's. Together, they injected humor into the emotionally heavy story. Tariq, Shahrzad's first love, was actually the first male character that I noticed. He was undeniably boyish in his ways, albeit a bit judgmental. He was fiercely loyal and so desperately in love with Shahrzad that I couldn't help but feel for him. I would have considered Tariq's presence as the third side of a love triangle but I just found Shahrzad and Khalid's connection too strong to be broken by Tariq.

The writing was gorgeous. It was crisply clipped in some places - sweet and short - and yet it delivered the emotion needed for each scene. I felt it echoing in my own ribcage. The story world, but most importantly, the palace, was well-constructed in the book. I could easily visualize every door and item in my mind. The plot was smooth and nicely done. Renee just left enough breadcrumbs for me to follow, and it eventually led to the prize. The timing of each event was perfection. I am in awe of this woman's writing and I vow to buy all her upcoming novels.

The Wrath and the Dawn is an unputdownable, all-consuming, heartbreakingly beautiful tale with just the right concentration of tragedy, humor, secrets and adrenaline and a generous overdose of love, heartbreak and pain. I was engrossed from page one. The Wrath and the Dawn is a truly, heady blend of everything I love in a book. I highly recommend this to readers of fantasy and romance. And if you're having doubts, just give this a try. You won't regret it.


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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Book Description:

Paperback, 608 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Danger, betrayal, and enchantment abound in the riveting conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Will and Jem, will do anything to save her. As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

The tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Reviewer's Copy: Paperback

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

This book has been in my possession for two years. I really don't understand, and frankly I'm quite frustrated with myself. I simply don't know why I waited this long to finish this amazing series. I was not disappointed.

The love triangle. Jem and Tessa were engaged. However, it was a race against time since Jem's life was nearing its end. Jem Carstairs was the perfect gentleman: kind, thoughtful, well-mannered and loving. Jem was burning as brightly as he could for Tessa before his time was up. It was such a weakening thought that someone so beautiful and good as Jem, could not possibly live longer to stay with Tessa. Meanwhile, there was William Herondale, the wild boy who shared Tessa's love for literature and books, who sacrificed so much to keep Jem happy, and who would die protecting the people he loved. He was charming, effortlessly funny and witty. Underneath the sarcastic facade was a fragile heart that continued to break every single day. The three of them were all so honorable, choosing the best possible path and decisions for their loved ones; as a result, each one of them, mostly Tessa and Will, suffered. I was torn along with Tessa, from Clockwork Prince until this book still. And this time around, it hurt twice as hard. I had to stop reading after certain scenes and remind myself that this hurt - this piercing pain - was not actually happening to me but to a fictional character. 

The feels. This book most probably evoked all emotions, in such a way that was effective, intense and long-lasting. I had the feels even after I finished the book. I have become emotionally attached to all the characters at this point, in such a way that no matter who Tessa ended up with, I would suffer the consequences along with her. 

The Magister. The Shadowhunters were tense as the battle with the Magister drew closer. The book crackled with anticipation, danger and inevitable loss. The plans of the Magister were incredibly thorough and downright merciless. It was unusual to see a full blooded human wield so much power over the story world. I liked how Clare showed the entirety of the villain's personality. Mortmain was once a victim before he rose into power.

Magnus Bane. Another character that I enjoyed reading about was Magnus Bane. I've been fond of him since reading about him first in The Mortal Instruments. It satisfied my curiosity to see a younger, less colder version of Magnus. As always, he was a source of entertainment with his humor, sarcasm and quotable quotes.

The minor characters. Another thing that I loved about Clockwork Princess was that the author allowed the minor characters to grow. The Lightwood brothers have become part of the London Institute, becoming part of the London Shadowhunter family. Sophie and Gideon were gradually getting closer, despite Sophie's initial efforts to keep their relationship formal and distant. Cecily's musings were curious and intriguing. She was stubborn and went with her gut and this almost always led to something interesting. Gabriel was also softening under Charlotte's roof and in Cecily's presence. Aside from this, I was most curious about Bridget, the Institute's cook. She spouted and sang depressing songs with bad timing. But what really surprised me was her prowess with blades.

Clockwork Princess is a heart-wrenchingly epic, emotionally charged, tragedy-riddled, adrenaline-infused novel. This book is emotionally raw and will touch the hearts of readers, entertain with its humor, sarcasm, and twists and turns. There is nothing I didn't enjoy in this final installment. It has everything I want in a book. It is so beautifully written that I found myself reading over specific lines. The book was filled with quotable quotes that made my heart skip a beat. I highly recommend this unputdownable novel and the Infernal Devices series to paranormal readers, steampunk readers and most importantly romance readers, especially the ones who delight in well-written love triangles.


5 CupidsEternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Out + About: Book Signing with Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae + Giveaway

Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events and book launches. Today's post is about #CTCinPH - the Manila leg of Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae's visit to the Philippines.

Tarryn, Colleen and Christine

Today, Sunday, September 13th 2015, I felt like I went to work (on a positive note) because I just spent seven hours with my blogger friends and amazing bestselling authors and brilliant NBS Staff. Remember all those Colleen Hoover (and of course Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae) books you have stashed on the most secure, most seen spot of your bookshelf? You were probably out today in the area between Toy Kingdom and the Food Court at the lower ground floor of SM Megamall.

The Q & A with the authors was interesting. It was the first time that I interacted with New Adult (NA) authors. I am primarily a YA girl. The questions more or less revolved around the writing and publishing of books. A lot of aspiring writers would find the information valuable. So, here are the things I learned from Colleen, Tarryn and Christine:

Colleen Hoover

  • Colleen could only see herself writing with Tarryn. She thinks that it might not work for all writers. With Tarryn, they kept sending the draft back and forth until it was finished.
  • Her favorite thing about self-publihing is not having boss. Not having a boss means that there is less stress and it feels less lirk. The hard part of it is that there are thousands of books being released every day. There are countless amazing books that go unnoticed. It is hard to break into it when you're a new author.
  • In Colleen's books, there is always a twist. She mentioned that she just waits for inspiration to hit her. She doesn't necessarily google or researrch stuff for her to be inspired.
  • Back in 2011, the emergent "NA" genre still didn't exist. And yet it was this year when Colleen Hoover's book was published. She mentioned that she doesn't necessarily write a genre. She writes story that she wants to write. She only found out about the term "NA" or New Adult six months after the book was published. Colleen mentions that she is very disorganized when it comes to her writing. She tends to be manic, in which she has to allot consecutive days locked away to work on her book. She can't ever end with a sad scene because then she would feel sad. This is the reason why she puts humor into her books.
  • She is actually experiencing writer's block because she doesn't know the name of the female main character. She has to know the name, in order to proceed to write the story. She also mentioned that the name of the male main character should always be unique and unforgettable because this is what readers remember.
  • Writing is crazy. She feels that she lives more in a fantasy world, in her head, and she visits her house every now and then.

Tarryn Fisher
  • For Tarryn, co-writing a story was enjoyable experience, Colleen and her did it for fun. She can't see herself writing with anybody else.
  • Self-publishing is badass. It's a deviant movement because some people say that there is something wrong with their books and that it can't be published. However, based on Tarryn's experience, self-publishing is successful. The hard part of self-publishing is when people don't take you seriously.
  • Tarryn's writing process: Feel something - anger, etc. Write daily, a few hours or so. Be in her character, to make it authentic (this involves reading books and watching movies that is related to her character).
  • She doesn't think too hard about the character names. Whenever she is writing, and she would then need a name, it just drops into her mind.
  • Good writing is a combination of believable characters, a good story and beautiful words. This can also be related to developing a style and reading a lot. She incorporates pieces of what she loves into her style.
  • "Only you can see the world the way you see it."

Christine Brae
  • Christine can't imagine herself co-writing with anybody, due to her busy schedule.
  • Self-publishing entails doing it all on your own. You need to have your own resources, your own readers, etc. The good thing about it is that you can write whatever you want and when you feel that it is ready to be shared, you can share it with the world (aka self-publish).
  • Christine's writing process: She starts from the ending and move backwards. (In fact, whenever she reads a book, she always reads the last line first. Just like I do.)
  • Every character's name has a meaning in Christine's books. She researches the meaning of names before she uses them.

I have to admit that a big chunk of my book pile was written by Colleen Hoover. After reading Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, I have become a fangirl, indeed. There was something about her writing, something good and addictive. All of the books she wrote were superfluous in the narration. The plot and the story itself and the way in which it was told were all seamless. Enough of my babbling, I'm practically typing all this while I'm still high off of it.

Me, the authors, Maricar from Blackplume and signed pretties!

Bloggers :)

I have an extra copy of Never Never, signed by Tarryn and Colleen, for giveaway. This one is only open for Philippine residents. Sorry, my international lovelies, I will have something super nice for you soon!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith + Giveaway

Book Description:

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by Poppy

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Dianne and Pinoy Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

From the very first page of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, I was immediately swept away by Jen E. Smith's trademark writing: superfluous and heart-wrenching. It had a bittersweet feeling all throughout the book and I have to admit that I probably loved that the most about it. This book captures all the ups and downs of loving someone a lot and being on the brink of breaking up with them. This book captures the moment when lovers hold on to what they have shared for a certain length of time; they hold on to the magic so fiercely and desperately and yet, they have already planned to let it go. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend a year ago. I didn't expect to relive the experience again with this book. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences of all, knowing that this experience was universal, so was the hurt, the desperation, the confusion, the dilemma, and the bittersweet tang of it on my tongue.

Clare and Aidan have been together for years, but reality has caught up with them and it's time to part ways as they go to opposite directions in college. I really adored how mature Clare thought. At an early age, she was already predicting the possibilities, taking into consideration the pros and cons and most importantly,taking care of her heart. Aidan was so optimistic and hopeful that it was almost too painful for me. Halfway through the book, I wanted him to convince Clare to stay with him. 

I loved that Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between also touched various themes such as family dynamics, parent-child expectations when it comes to college, the changes after high school and the nostalgia that grips one as one leaves it behind, truth, lies and trust between family members, couples and peers, and friendships. On the downside, I was expecting something more epic. Though I truly enjoyed the story, there were some things that I wanted more of.

Jen Smith captured the beauty and bittersweet side of love. The book was what I would call a "relatable" book for almost all ages, from young adults to new adults and maybe, even adults. It has a timeless vibe about it, as if it has encapsulated and carefully preserved the little details, the intensity and the rush of young love and firsts. In this sense, it could be a nostalgic novel, a throwback of some sort, that would bring back to people to their own versions of the "old days" of young love. This was a quick read and yet, it was heavier than other Jen Smith's other novels.

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is a moving, nostalgic and heartfelt novel about changes, finding and letting go of love, and figuring out life. Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is a bittersweet capsule of memories, love and hope. The writing, as always, was beautiful. I found myself lost in the pages, in a good way. I couldn't let go of the book. I recommend this novel to readers of contemporary romance and readers who like books about post-high school/college period.


4 CupidsStrong book love. 
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!


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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder

Book Description:

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Scholastic Inc.

What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes—and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day—maybe even their own.

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Dianne and Pinoy Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

All We Have is Now was set 24 hours before a meteor was set to land smack dab in the middle of USA. Everyone who had the capacity and the resources to leave the country had already left. Emerson and Vince were on their own. They had no home to go back to and only 24 hours to make the most out of life and the world, as they know it. When the world is ending and you only have a limited time to leave your mark, make other people happy, confess something or maybe, just simply tick off some things off your bucket list, you change and the people around you change. There is something so wistful and beautiful about spending the last few hours before the end of the world - it's the chance, the last glimpse, the last everything that makes it different. Going over all of these lasts was astonishing for me.

Emerson and Vince were intriguing characters. They were best friends for years, looking out for each other and supporting one another. Vince was the guy who made the extra effort, went the extra mile to make the people around him feel remembered and special. Emerson ran away from home when she was younger. She was carrying a lot of emotional baggage on her shoulders. The only person she had left was Vince and she wasn't going to ruin their friendship. Reading about these two characters, made me think of how fate finds ways to make sure that we were with the person we needed throughout life. There were subtle sparks shooting off of their skin. The temptation to delve into something more than just friends, was ever present. As the hours went by, Emerson and Vince came closer and closer to a decision.

When Emerson and Vince met a middle-aged man, Carl, who handed them a wallet filled with cash, this triggered a long line of wishes and wish-granting. The message of the story was one of optimism, making the most out of life and appreciating it and of hope. The people that Vince and Emerson met shared a little piece of themselves with the duo. As a reader, I got to see the different possible situations and reactions of people in the face of the upcoming apocalypse. 

All We Have is Now is a refreshing apocalyptic fiction and a mild wake up call for all readers. If you are into thoughtful fiction, apocalyptic fiction (that is quite contemporary) this might be the book for you.

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

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.


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