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!