Sunday, May 31, 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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Thursday, May 21, 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



Giveaway:

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Out and about: Book Signing with E. Lockhart + Giveaway: Signed Paperback of We Were Liars!


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 #ELockhartInPH event.

The Basics:

Who: The author is: Emily Lockhart. The Organizer is: National BookStore.



What books:

The books!

Book Description:

Hardcover, 225 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Delacorte Press

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

When: March 22nd 2015

Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 4


What I learned about E. Lockhart Frey, her books and her writing style from the event:

Frankie was different in lots of ways better than the author. Frankie is a very difficult person. - executes large-scale and political and funny series of pranks. The pranks end up shaking up the social hierarchy of her high school and end up bringing down the all-male secret society. These pranks took the author forever to figure out, the author had to read tons of books on college pranks.

All her characters have a big part of Emily. Frankie is smarter than the author really was.

Emily basically like to experiment with formats. The boyfriend list has lists. Emily always set herself some kind of structural challenge. In We were Liars, the various tales that Cadence tells are used as interstitials between the stories while not really revealing anything major. In We Were Liars, for the first time, Emily used a different word processor. She used Scrivener, which allows you to see the structure of the book that you're writing from a bird's eye. You can look at the pieces from above and move it around. Emily shared the book with a lot more colleagues than she normally does. She didn't know when people would have the misleading suspicions that she wanted them to have or when they would figure out the plot.

Emily was taught the same way you were taught how to write - to erase yourself. She came out of college writing as formally, as invisibly as a person could be. She writes the same way that she would talk to a friend. The way that you would tell a story to a friend is quite unusual, because you jump back and forth through time, the same way you tell a story, you don't have to make sure that everything is in order. You don't have to be invisible. You just fill them out with what they should know.

Lockhart went to two different high schools: she grew up in Seattle in Washington state and went to the Northwest School of the arts, humanities and the environment. She was just completely miserable in this high school. She couldn't find a friend. She couldn't get into the drama productions. She was so unpopular that people would move away when she sat down at their lunch table. Then she decided to go to a Prep school called Lakeside. She got into the school and she was still the same exact person and nobody had any idea that she was a nerd and a loser. She had boyfriends. She was on the Prom committee. She got into drama productions. She got to experience high school from the bottom and from the top - two radically different experiences, both culturally and socially.

She does not reread We Were Liars. She made the best book that she knew how to make and she's not thinking about it again. We Were Liars had a different style of writing. She was ready for people to dislike the book or the characters because of the style.

She had this idea to write a book about an island, a family, a patriarch with fairy tale. When you have published books, you don't write the entire book, you write a pitch. That was what she did. She met her editors for lunch. She told them: "I want to write a book about real estate." They initially didn't like the idea and suggested for her to write "the sexy stuff" into the story and to include "a thing that happens."

It only took 10 minutes for Emily to finish the plot for We Were Liars while she was waiting in a coffee shop before picking up her daughter.

Emily would like to write about con artists. The next book is not set in high school, and there is a little bit of murder and international jet-setting characters.

Emily likes to write unusual characters who have an unusual voice or way of thinking. But she also always needs to find some points of connection between those unusual characters and other people's lives, human experience. So, in We Were Liars, one of the things she wanted to write about was real estate. But real estate is not really it. It is families fighting over property, and grown children fighting over parental love and approval, and younger kids in the family hearing older people fight and feeling powerless and angry about the way the grown ups are conducting themselves. So, that is an experience that she had and she thinks most young people have had. All families fight, all kids feel threatened when the grown ups in their lives are threatening to dissolve or implode or whatever they're gonna do. That was one of Emily's subjects. All families fight over property and the affection that it symbolizes.

Truism of mystery writing versus writing. In a book or story, when you don't know whats a lie and whats a truth, it gets more interesting. There would be multiple interpretations of what is really going on. The characters are lying for their own reasons and you would know when they are lying but not why they are lying.

Emily and her mom lived in communal houses, with around 15 hippies smoking, meditating and doing yoga during the 70s. She didn't have bookshelves and funiture. One thing that they moved from house to house was a cardboard box filled with books of late nineteenth and early twentieth, beautifully illustrated, bound books of fairytales. It was only much later that Emily found out why: these books were given to her mother by her father during their courtship. She was interested in writing a story We We Liars with objects that were endowed with a lot of family baggage and meaning. She always had that King Lear set-up. Three daughters, one of whom is good, two of whom are bad.


Me and E.Lockhart, my blogger ladies!

Signed books :)

Big thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event! One lucky reader (aka Emily's bookish liar) of Fragments of Life will win a signed (with a message) paperback of We Were Liars. Emily tucked a bookmark in between the pages for you, as well.

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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