Sunday, January 25, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: Cities by Carla de Guzman

Book Description:

Midnight Books, November 30, 2014

Celia has dreams.

She dreams of going to Seoul for a scholarship she never took, ofleaving everything behind and moving to New York. In all those dreams, she finds herself attached to Benedict, the boy she has always loved, but who doesn’t love her back. Ben believes in parallel worlds. Worlds where things you didn’t do come true—worlds in which he goes to London and falls in love with Celia, where he shows up on the day she needs him the most. He believes that dreams are glimpses into that parallel world, and it’s not a coincidence that Celia’s been having them too.

But here, now, they’re in Manila. It’s the day of Ben’s wedding, and a typhoon is raging through the city. How will these dreams and unmade decisions change their lives? Will they bring them closer together or drive them farther apart?

Reviewer's Copy: Ebook

Source: Author (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

After reading A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, I thought I would never be able to find another book about multiverse. When I heard about Cities, I knew that I just had to read it. Carla's version of the multiverse was less scientific, dwelling more on the theme of fate, possibility and intertwined lives.

Celia was a likable character, madly in love with Ben, but he was going to be married to Vivian in a few hours. Lovestruck and unable to accept that Ben was going to be married away, Celia braved the ceremony but what-ifs buzzed in her head and she felt like a total disaster. To make things even more complicated, Vivian was her best friend and she was the Maid of Honor. After a semi-awkward conversation with Ben about multiverse and how they lived a set of possibilities in each universe; how he believed that somewhere, he and Celia had their happily ever after, Celia began to spiral her way back to her dreams, to other versions of herself.

Ben's theory was that the dreams that he and Celia had, the ones wherein he was getting married to Celia, instead of to Vivian, wherein he loved Celia back, were reflections or memories of the different version of himself in another universe. The narration bled from main story to dreams, from reality (as they know it in the present universe) to dreamscape/parallel universe. The switching between one universe to another was a bit confusing at first, but once I got the hang out of it, I was able to adjust to the fluid narration of Cities. The different lives of various versions of Celias were played out in different Cities: Manila, Hongdae, London and New York. The main universe was set in Manila, the peripheral/parallel multiverse were set in other cities. The concept was a bit like the one in A Thousand Pieces of You: each universe represents a set of possibilities. There were various dimensions wherein Celia and Ben were emotionally involved, whether it was fleeting or long-lasting. True enough, they always met each other in the other dimensions, sometimes they wound up together and sometimes they didn't. Carla's way of showing the varying degrees of emotional involvement, love and fate was stunning and complex. A reader could get lost into the pages and in a parallel universe.

To be honest, I was more drawn to the artsy and fashionable best friend in all the multiverse: Henry Cruz. He was the solid knight in shining armor. He was always there when Celia needed him or when Celia needed to be rescued. He was her pillar, the shoulder to cry on, the hand to lead her forward and the arms to pick her up when she has fallen down. Henry was handsome, sleek and fashionable, loved literature, enjoyed eating out and was incredibly sensitive to the feelings of the people around him and thoughtful. He sounded like my dream guy, actually. I know that we get a lot of books wherein the best friend never ends up with the main character. I'mm glad that in Cities, there was more than one chance for Henry to be together with Celia.

Carla wrote in a very atmospheric manner, she transported me to South Korea, London and New York. I really enjoyed this about Cities. The pages were charged with nostalgia, memories and feels that added up to the wondrous storyline of switching perspectives, minds, and universe. I only had a bit of a problem with the transition from dream to reality to a different universe, as it was a bit blurry around the edges but don't let this discourage you as I easily got the hang of it. I also felt that the book could have been made a bit longer, so that the readers could get to know the characters more deeply, to get emotionally invested in them. At the same time, it would have been nice to have a clear discussion of the theory of the multiverse in the book - a direct discussion of their dreams, thoughts and theories, to make the idea crystal clear in the mind of readers. It just so happened that I am well versed in science fiction that I grasped the idea quickly.

Cities was an atmospheric, heartfelt, beautifully written contemporary with an edge of science fiction. I devoured it and enjoyed every page, and all the feels, wonders, realizations and lessons that it offered. The cast (Celia, Ben, Vivian and Henry) was an interesting bunch. Although they retained the kernel of their personality, they were a little bit different in each universe. It was like seeing bits and pieces of them in each universe, and at the end, I was able to see the whole picture of who they really were deep inside. I loved how the characters were developed in various settings and circumstances. I recommend this to readers who enjoy science fiction and contemporary romance (Cities is like a multi-love-story book); readers who liked A Thousand Pieces of You and who are interested in multiverse/parallel-dimension-themed books.

Rating:

3.5 Cupids = True book love.
Slightly flawed but I liked it!





About the Author:

Carla de Guzman (ck.deguzman@gmail.com) had horrible handwriting as a kid. That didn't stop her from writing, though. Riddled with too much energy and a vivid imagination, she started writing every midnight. She grew up with her toes in the sand and her bags packed and ready to go on adventures. Her books are chronicles of her journeys, with a little romance mixed in. When she’s not sitting in a plane or working, Carla writes for her blog, Some Midnights (www.somemidnight.wordpress.com) and for When in Manila.

Follow Carla: Tumblr | Blog


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis + Giveaway

Book Description:

The Body Electric by Beth Revis
Published by: Scripturient Books
Publication date: October 6th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…
Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Reviewer's Copy: Digital Copy

Source: Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

The story world of The Body Electric was incredibly eclectic, bursting with colors and sounds, rooted from various cultures. It was a beautiful and chaotic world. Its detailed history was of wars, terrorism and death. Revis had a focused attention to detail when it came down to the the history and geography of her story world: bombing incidents, records of war and its aftermath in the present, old sites that were significant in the past and landmarks. With all these details, I felt like I had actually walked the bridges of New Venice, crawled inside the catacombs and the ruins and visited what once was Valetta, the old capital of Malta. The society remained divided into two classes: the rich and well off, and the poor. This was geographically mapped in the story world as the upper city and the lower city. The progress in terms of technological advances was evident in the cuffLINKS, imposed upon citizens of the Unified Countries under the guise of a safety device, and androids.

The main characters of the book, Ella and Jack, were endearing and complimentary. Ella was working as an intern at the Reverie Mental Spa, helping people relive a specific memory through the technology that her mother developed. She was careful, naturally suspicious of the people she didn't know, brave and overprotective of her loved ones. As she began to see clues about the impact of her father's work and its power, a past she couldn't seem to remember, she came to realize that everything she believed in might not be true at all. The boundaries of right and wrong blurred, and Ella must decide in which side would she stand. Though I initially struggled to connect with Ella as a heroine, I was able to understand her more as the story progressed. One of the possible reasons why I couldn't connect with Ella in the beginning was because someone had altered her memory: she wasn't herself entirely until she discovered what happened to her.

Jack Tyler was a character that I hated at first, and then loved deeply until the end of the book. He was the kind who believed in what he was fighting for, and stood up for it no matter how extreme and almost unavoidable the consequences were. He was true to himself and to his cause. He had a soft spot for Ella and I liked that about him.

The novel was filled with politics and conspiracies. The plot was amazing. You could never really trust a certain character, as Revis gave the life in such a way that they have their own motives, purposes and of course "facades." The characters had "layers" of protection on them, metaphorically speaking. They had a public face that they show to people but deep inside their minds, there were storms of emotions: fear, doubt, pain, guilt and worry. Through the Reverie Mental Spa, Ella had the chance to explore other people's minds and figure out their deep thoughts and fears.

The Prime Administrator Hwa Young was an incredibly powerful and manipulative woman. Though her intention was good (to prevent another war), the methods that the government was using was quite drastic and unhumane. I would consider The Body Electric as a dark science fiction - the pages were splattered with blood, cyborg body parts, death, android replacements and more. As they say, science fiction could be directly related to our present world. In the present, there are also deaths, torture and missing persons cases that are ignored and sometimes, never filed at all or looked into. Some of these cases are related to politics. It is unsettling to see this issue in The Body Electric, manifesting itself as a day-to-day occurrence, rampant and almost unseen by the public.

The Body Electric was atmospheric, engaging, chaotic and beautifully written. Readers are in for a treat with its memory-tampering, flavorful culture, sights and sounds, and politics and terrorism. The writing was superfluous and very effective. Revis will make readers marvel, flinch and sit at the edge of their seats with her vivid and cinematic storytelling. I highly recommend this to readers of science fiction, especially the ones who liked Across the Universe, Slated by Teri Terry and Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Also, if you like something as vivid and complex as A Thousand Pieces of You (but with more, more history and all) you should definitely try The Body Electric.

Rating:

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





About the Author:

Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. A native of North Carolina, Beth’s most recent book is The Body Electric, which tells the story of what was happening on Earth while the characters of Across the Universe were in space.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter



Giveaway




Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
Complete signed trilogy of the Across the Universe series
A signed copy of The Body Electric
An Across the Universe branded water bottle


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Friday, January 02, 2015

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

A Thousand Pieces of You blew me away. It surpassed my expectations. I have read various science fiction novels but in truth, A Thousand Pieces of You, was one of the few that remained faithful to the genre, presenting a thorough elaboration of dimension-traveling. Claudia Gray veered away from time travel and instead, wrote about an even more challenging concept - travel between dimensions. Essentially, there were multiple dimensions and each one represents a set of possibilities. Every time there was a fork on the road, this would be a point where dimensions split, giving life to another set of possibilities that could happen in one's life. It was more like a prescripted lifetime written by fate, with our choices and decisions taken into consideration.

Marguerite Caine was the second daughter of two brilliant scientists. She was the artist of the family, the one who was not drawn to science, and yet, she would be the one to test the Firebird, the device used to travel through dimensions, and jump straight into unknown territory. Marguerite was uncertain at times, continuously evaluating plans, events and clues that came in line with her mission. What I really liked about her was her unwavering determination and being perceptive. She was a strong girl who pushed forward, despite the grief, her confusion and doubt over Paul and her fear. Through her journey through various dimensions, she was able to taste life's different and exotic flavors.

Paul and Theo, the research assistants of Marguerite's parents, one was good and one was bad. Paul was the suspect for the death of Marguerite's dad. As a genius, he was undeniably strange and mysterious - always a little bit awkward yet charming. Theo was the handsome rocker-boy-next-door, the chick magnet who flirted every chance he got. Marguerite's ties to both boys were natural. The attraction was palpable and yet there was so much second-guessing, rethinking, doubt and hesitation. Gray's characters were spectacularly layered. As they jumped from one dimension to another, these layers were peeled off of them, revealing their true personalities.

The idea that fate or destiny was replicated in each parallel dimension, was thoroughly intriguing. Going across dimensions and living the lives of different versions of oneself gave the traveler a sense of enlightenment and clarity about fate, his/her relationship with other people and life.

One of the themes I really liked was love manifesting itself between two people, over and over again, in different places. The fact that it could exist and full out blossom into something beautiful, transcending time and boundaries, uniting two souls repeatedly, was simply amazing. It woke up the hopeless romantic in me.

A Thousand Pieces of You was an atmospheric, nostalgic and stunningly well-executed science fiction novel. Claudia Gray surpassed my expectations. Packed with adrenaline, suspense, romance and living-in-the-moment-feels, A Thousand Pieces of You will keep readers enthralled and moving forward with Marguerite's pace, thoughts and emotions. I highly recommend this to all readers. There was a little bit of everything in A Thousand Pieces of You: a dash of historical, steampunk, humor with a backbone of hardcore science fiction and the soul of romance. This novel was perfection!

Rating:


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


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Out and About: Meeting Marie Lu + Giveaway: Signed Copy of The Young Elites


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

This time around, I am sharing my experience about the #MarieLuinPH event.

The Basics:


Who: The author is: Marie Lu. The Organizer is: National BookStore.

What books:


When: November 23rd 2014

Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 4

What I learned about Marie Lu and her books from the event:

  • Legend was pitched only as science fiction. Marie had never heard of YA dystopia before that.
  • For Marie, the process of growing up goes hand in hand with fantasy and science fiction, as with these genres, life if more fun and more extreme. She read books from both genres when she was younger.
  • One of Marie's goals that she would like to accomplish is to write a picture book. She is an artist and she would like to work on a project that is closely related to art.
  • Day was inspired by Robin Hood (and figures like Robin Hood) - a thief with a heart of gold. He is optimistic and his name is related to his motto: to walk in the light. Meanwhile, June's personality fits that of a gemini - smart and intelligent. She was inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
  • The plot of the Legend series is inspired by the social climate when Marie was writing it. That was back in 2009, after Obama became elected, wherein two parties were competing against each other. Marie Lu saw that as a potential for a story and she imagined what it would be like to have two America's. 2009 was the inspiration of the story world.
  • Before Marie drafts a story, she draws the characters first to find out who they are, what their personalities are. She needs to sketch the story world first to understand it better. Marie is just a visual person. She wants to write what she sees.
  • To counter writer's block, Marie Lu sketches.
  • The Young Elites was originally only 100 pages long. It was so different from the published version. Marie Lu's agent hated it. Marie had to call her for a second chance.
  • Fan reactions does not affect Marie's books. By the time she hears the reactions, the book has already been published.
  • Champion was the hardest book to write for her Marie Lu also mentioned that she likes bittersweet endings. There was no other good way of ending the series than the original bittersweet ending.
  • When it comes to rituals before or while writing, Marie Lu listens to sounds without lyrics, such as rain, or sounds with lyrics in a different language.
  • Marie likes writing in a train. She mentioned that there was something with the forward motion of the train that was conducive for writing.
  • In the beginning of the Legend series, Marie felt like she was more like Day. She related more to him because he was emotionally driven and he wears his heart on his sleeve, but as the story progressed, Marie found herself to be more like June. She noticed small details of June that represent little pieces of Marie's personality.
  • Adelina was the villain in the original version of The Young Elites. She was manipulative and cunning. Marie found Adelina to be interesting and different. After submitting the first draft to her agent, Marie's agent encouraged her to explore Adelina more. Adelina has a twisted view of life. What was justified for Adelina was crazy. When Marie was writing from Adelina's POV, she found it to be a disturbing experience to be in Adelina's head space. Adelina had a dark mind. Sometimes Marie Lu had to take breaks while writing.
  • Villains as protagonists was the theme for The Young Elites. "Everybody thinks they're the hero" - this applies to the villain POV.
  • Writing from various perspectives was not hard to do in Legend. The alternating POV showed the two sides of the world that June and Day were living in.
  • For Marie Lu, the bigger rebel is June. Day, of course, is the obvious rebel. But June changed her life 180 degress in the story, going against what she knew and what she believed in.

Marie Lu and I, books, bloggers. <3

Signed books!

Big thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event! Now, because I love Marie Lu and her books, I have a giveaway for those of you who were not able to make it to the Manila and Cebu signing.

So this is open to PH residents only, but if you're based abroad and have a Philippine address to send the book to, you could still join. Enter below!




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Friday, December 19, 2014

Indie Friday + Giveaway: Touch by Natalia Jaster

For the last almost-five-years of blogging, I stumbled upon and discovered gems in YA and NA. I was surprised that some of the best books I have ever read were in fact not published traditionally. Some of these unforgettable books are indie. So I have decided to start a weekly feature on my blog about indie novels and authors, that deserve attention.


Indie Friday is a weekly feature wherein YA/NA indie novels are explored, authors speak up and bookish goodies are given away. Accompany me in my search for the next best indie read.

For the first Indie Friday, I amm featuring Natalia Jaster and her novel, Touch, a YA mythology-with-a-twist. Without further ado, lets move on to the interview:

What or who inspired you to create and mold Love as she appeared in Touch: wild, longing, graceful and sometimes mischievous?

Ha! I have a tendency to gravitate toward characters with a naughty side—and usually that naughty side is hiding something deeper, an emotional yearning. Love is a goddess, so it was easy to give her some graceful qualities. But since she’s alone for most of her life, it was also obvious that she’d have an untamed side, a desperation to her.

Really, what inspired me were the questions, What if the god of love had never been in love? What if Eros had no clue how to truly love someone?

We are used to the male-version Eros. How did you set the difference between the traditional Eros and Love?

Love is like Eros in many ways, yet there’s always a pinch of a difference. They both have human-like features, except that Love doesn’t have wings. She doesn’t spend her time flying around town—and that simple difference makes her even more relatable. She uses the same weapon, but she crafted it herself. She’s arrogant and entitled, but she’s also lonely.

And like Eros, she gets a kick out of matchmaking, however it’s not just callous amusement for her, as it seems to be for him. She genuinely cares about the people she pairs up, she wants them to be happy together, and she believes that she’s doing right by them.

But I think the biggest difference is her sexuality. Eros represents sexual desire, yet Love is a virgin. It’s safe to say she’s not as experienced as he is. She’s the goddess of love, but she’s never been with someone, so intimacy is a mystery to her. Discovering that part of herself is major aspect of her growth in this story.


Could you tell us more about Love's culture and world?

Love comes from a dimension called the Peaks. It’s sort of like a celestial island—or perhaps what an island would look like if it were a star. In her world, gods and goddesses don’t have families, because they can’t procreate. Each deity is born from a star. I wanted to reflect that in the type of landscape they live in, with a sense of darkness and majesty, a place of moonlight and water and cliffs.

Every deity represents an emotion. So not only do we meet Love, we also get to know Anger, Envy, Sorrow, and Wonder. Ironically, the culture is rather pragmatic and dispassionate. They see emotions as a force of power, as a skill to be mastered, as a job. Not as something you just feel. That’s the difference between them and humans. Deities consider it their duty and right to oversee these emotions in humans, but it’s undignified for a deity let their own emotions get the better of them. Of course, Love refuses to conform to that belief, which gets her into trouble.


Could you tell us how you made Andrew so gorgeous-that-readers-would-fall-in-love-with-him? What were the "ingredients" to his personality?

*smiles* Oh my, I can’t take the credit for that. It’s all Andrew’s doing.

He’s just a precious guy. He’s inquisitive, quick-witted, forthright, and generous to a fault. Plus, he’s a writer who carries around a fountain pen. How could a girl not love that about him!



Could you share with us if you encountered some obstacles along the way, while developing Love and Andrew's relationship?

Love and Andrew are very playful and visceral, like two adolescent snow leopards chasing each other through the forest. But man, they quarrel about as much as they goof off. They both have very different, and very strong, opinions about love, fate, and freewill. Those arguments between them were pretty tough to write.

The other challenge was their intimate relationship. The book is about the goddess of love falling in love and learning what it means to be in a relationship—in, ahem, every way. So it was important to balance the innocence, curiosity, and sensuality of their scenes together. This tale isn’t called Touch for nothing.


Any message for our readers?

Thanks for stopping by this interview. I hope you enjoy my little story!



Book Description:

Kindle Edition, 237 pages || Paperback coming out in Jan 2015
Published October 27th 2014

The myth of Eros isn’t the truth. Her story is the truth . . .

Love is an immortal bad girl. With a strike of her arrow and a smirk on her face, she pins human hearts together against their will. It’s for their own good, of course—silly, clueless creatures that they are.

But Love has never loved. Not until the Fates parcel her off to a small, frostbitten town littered with needy souls. Not until she crosses paths with Andrew, a crippled boy whose gaze locks onto hers. Yet how can this be? Mortals don’t have the power to see deities.

The longer they’re friends, the more Love wishes she could touch Andrew. In gentle ways. In other tempting and reckless ways as well.

It’s impossible. She isn’t a true part of his world. She’s an outsider whose fingers will only ever sweep through him. A mischievous, invisible goddess who’s destined to be alone. And he’s destined for someone else. By order of the Fates, it’s Love’s duty to betray his trust. To seal his heart while ignoring the gash in her own.

Or she could become human. For there is one very tricky, very dangerous way to do so.

If only Andrew felt the same about her, it might be worth the risk.

*Mature YA. Intended for readers 17 and older*

About the Author:

Her kindergarten teacher told her mom that Natalia stared out the window too much, daydreaming instead of paying attention in class. It’s true. Eventually she learned to focus more in school (and to love it), but the daydreaming never stopped. So after earning her master’s in creative writing and spending a bunch of fun years as a magazine editor, Natalia is now a writer of YA romance.

She is also a total fool for first-kiss scenes, fanfiction, libraries, and starry nights.

Touch her my first book.

Follow Natalia: Website | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest



Giveaway Alert!

There are two giveaways for this Indie Friday feature guys! For US and INTL readers. :)


US giveaway: Signed Copy of Touch by Natalia Jaster + bookmarks

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International Giveaway: E-book copy of Touch by Natalia Jaster

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scavenger Hunt + Giveaway: Relish by Kate Evangelista

Hi guys! Today I'm posting as part of Kate Evangelista's scavenger hunt for her upcoming book, Relish. It is the sequel to Savor, which I liked so much.


Book Description:

I left Lunar Manor broken, seeking comfort in the hands of Laurel “the Dragon” Hardy, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Gossip. Okay, I may have used him to ease the pain He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named caused by his confession of loving someone else. On New Year’s Eve! Granted, he was drunk off his ass, but still! I stay with Larry mainly because the dreams are getting worse. Worse enough to wake me in the middle of the night needing the touch of another to save me from losing my mind.

Unfortunately, the handsome bassist of the uber successful indie rock band, Vicious, is never far from my mind. I thought I was rid of him once and for all only to have him show up at my hotel in London. Luka Visraya’s power over me is intense. No matter how far I run, I always end up circling back to him.

If you think my story is just some romance about two lovers getting back together, think again. Little did I know that returning to Luka meant I’d be plunging myself into a world more familiar than I ever thought possible. Trust me when I say I didn’t believe it either when the truth finally came out.

Release Date: January 12, 2015

Chapter 1 of Relish is divided into 11 pages. You have to start with Kate's blog and continue reading by hopping from one blog to another. Without further ado, here is my part. To continue reading, please click "Next Page" and you'll be directed to the next stop!

~Page 8~

I offered him my mug, doing my best Oliver Twist impression. He chuckled and sauntered to my kitchen in just his boxers. I took a second to admire his ass before minimizing the YouTube browser. I cued up my photo manipulation software, ready for another long day.

“Why are you up so early anyway? It’s not even six,” I asked as I pulled up one of Dray’s splatter drumming photos. I’d been tweaking the tinting for the past two days. I needed to get it right soon or I wouldn’t have time for the rest of the photos before I had to bring them to Eddy’s for framing.

“I have to head to the library before my first class and check out a couple of law books for my debate this week,” Larry replied over his shoulder. He puttered about in the kitchen and soon the sizzle of eggs and the scent of cooking bacon reached me. “How’s the project going?”

“Slow.” I grumbled curses under my breath.

The Spring Showcase opened the first of March and ran a week. Then I would have to defend my introspective to a panel consisting of the dean and several photography luminaries. My heartbeat sped up from zero to sixty at the thought. I had a week to finish everything. Framing took another week, and that was cutting it close because Eddy loved me. He wouldn’t do anyone else that kind of favor. I’d frame the pictures myself if I didn’t have to write the stupid paper that went with the pictures. In ten pages I needed to explain the theme behind the introspective and my driving force for the images. I could actually feel time slipping between my fingers. I had so much to do.

“I get that you want the pictures to turn out perfect, but at some point you need to let go and let your talent speak for itself.”


~Next Page~



Author Bio:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University - Manila with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full-time and is based in the Philippines.

Follow Kate:

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Wattpad




Giveaway Alert!


The giveaway will be at Kate's website. ;)

The prizes for the giveaway are as follows:

2 Swag Packs
1 signed copy of Taste with swag
1 signed copy of Savor with swag
1 Grand Prize of an ultimate Relish-themed swag pack with a signed copy of Relish



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

[Blog Tour] Review + Giveaway: The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Laxmi Hariharan

Book Description:

Paperback, November 13, 2014

A YA thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kickass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.

A girl desperate to rescue her best friend.
A cop willing to do anything to save the city he serves.
A delusional doctor bent on annihilation.

When Ruby Iyer's best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a mysterious cop-turned-rogue on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?

Reviewer's Copy: Ebook

Source: Badass Marketing(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer was unlike any book I have read in the past. First and foremost, it was set in chaotically gorgeous Bombay. It also had heavy whimsy - which made various pieces of the story work together as a whole. Because of this, one side of the novel was hihgly unpredictable, while the other side remained predictable. It was hard for me to classify under which genre The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer would fall: YA paranormal, YA contemporary or YA science fiction? It was a crossover, more likely. It had undertones of dystopia, with the onslaught of pre-apocalypse, hints of paranormal/fantasy with the mythology involved, whispers of science fiction with the experiments, and finally contemporary with the budding romance.

Ruby was an imperfect yet determined heroine. Ruby’s flaws made her more realistic for me. She was fiery, had a bit of a temper, dangerously on the brink of violence and yet there was good in her: her desire to save her friendship with Pankaj, and to rescue her best friend, and finally to stop Dr. Braganza. She was a balanced character. Although I was not able to fully connect with her, I found her interesting.


Vikram, the policeman who kept on helping Ruby, was one of the characters that stood out for me. Strict yet thoughtful, he went out of his way to help Ruby. There was something so gentle, tame and sweet about him. Though I wished that more of his personality and past would be explored so that I could get to know Vikram more as a character. The almost-love tension between him and Ruby were one of the things I liked to read.

The plot itself was quite unpredictable. The pre-apocalypse came with bursts of violence, whimsy, and blood. It was, in fact, startlingly harsh that I found myself rereading some parts in utter horror. In a sense, the novel had good action and suspense bits, the kind that makes your heart race, and makes you sit on the edge of your seat.

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer was heavily whimsical, atmospheric and unique. Set in chaotic and culturally colorful Bombay, I felt like I was transported to India. The series is one of a kind and has a very high potential to be an epic series that readers could sink their teeth into. With the original story and high rate of unpredictabiity, Laxmi Hariharan would keep readers entertained. Readers that indulge in suspense/thriller, culturally evocative literature, and dystopia/apocalyptic stories will like this.

Rating:


3 Cupids = Unrequited book love.
Had certain expectations for the book. The book was flawed but I still enjoyed it.

About Laxmi Hariharan

A near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped.

Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Amazon bestselling, eLit Gold winner The Destiny of Shaitan (Bombay Chronicles, 1). She has been a journalist and a global marketer with NBCU and MTV. Laxmi also blogs for Huffington Post, among others.

London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination.

Reach Laxmi: Twitter | Website.



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