I received a copy of What Tears Us Apart by Deborah Cloyed in exchange for an honest review.
Love lives in the most dangerous places of the heart
The real world. That’s what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys’orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn’t expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.
Their love should be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita’s troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked…and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.
In the aftermath of Leda’s rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.
When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought whoa. Deep subjects and plenty of food for thought with this story. I was able to get into the reading and start to connect with the characters, but at times it was almost a bit too heavy for me. I will say that this book will give you a lot to talk about though, which I think is great. I brought up some discussion points with my fiancé and friends, and I always think that is important in a book. I saw one reviewer describe this novel as “ambitious” and do I agree with that term. A lot of research and heart went into the writing of What Tears Us Apart, and while not totally my style of reading, still a good book.
Bio: DEBORAH CLOYED lives in Los Angeles, in Humphrey Bogart’s old room with a view. As a photographer, travel writer, or curious nomad, she’s previously resided in London, Barcelona, Thailand, Honduras, Kenya, and New York City. She’s traveled to twenty other countries besides, several as a contestant with her childhood best friend on CBS’ The Amazing Race. She runs a photography school for kids and is happily at work on her next book – a nonlinear love story set against the political violence in Kenya 2007-2008.
Titles: The Summer We Came to Life
See my review of The Summer We Came to Life
I am a bad, bad girl. I forgot a very special birthday- the 2nd birthday of Chick Lit Plus! Man, I felt like such a tosser when I realized that earlier in the month. Who forgets their own blog’s birthday? I’m hoping I have a good enough excuse- the publishing of my first book! Destined to Fail became available as an eBook on October 20th, and the weeks leading up to that were crazy. Last minute edits and revisions, formatting woes, cover battles and choosing fonts. What a process! In all the craziness, I forgot that October is the anniversary month for Chick Lit Plus. But better late than never- right?
I want to give a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has continued to make CLP a success. I can’t believe what has come from this little blog- almost 300 book reviews, dozens of author interviews and informative guest posts, plus branching out into editing and marketing. And now to be a published author- what a crazy two years this has been. The friends I have made are just the cherry on top for me. My world is now open to so many new ideas, and the support and encouragement just does not stop. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am truly one lucky lady.
Now on to the fun part- the giveaway! *Rubs hands together with glee* As usual, I need to tidy up my bookshelf. I give books away like they are going out of style, always pressuring my friends and family to read, read, read, but I still have some books for you! Check out all the books below I am giving away- and that includes copies of my own Destined to Fail. Yay! Check out the details and enter to win. Happy Birthday Chick Lit Plus!
Win copies of the following print ARCs:
And three winners will win an eBook copy of my debut, Destined to Fail, published as Samantha March.
To enter, please leave a comment below letting me know which books you would like to win and why. This is open worldwide. Winners will be chosen Friday, November 11. Thank you!
The winners are:
The Lies We Told- Jennifer Fischetto – email@example.com
Little Black Dress- Kathleen Anderson- firstname.lastname@example.org
The Summer We Came to Life- Nancye Davis- email@example.com
On Folly Beach- Lucie Simone- Lalucie@sbcglobal.net
Full Moon Bride- Lisa/Lost in Literature- firstname.lastname@example.org
Destined to Fail eBook:
Laura/The Reading Nook- Laurabcrupi@gmail.com
Cindy R- email@example.com
Michele W- firstname.lastname@example.org
The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed explores the friendship between four young women- Samantha, Isabel, Kendra and Mina. Childhood friends, the girls take a trip each year to someplace exotic, and this year they are in Honduras. But this trip is different, because Mina is no longer with them. She lost her battle to cancer, and now the three friends are struggling to move forward without her. Each friend is at a different place in her life, and with her own unique problem she is trying to figure out. Also in Honduras with the group are Isabel and Kendra’s mothers, and Mina’s and Kendra’s father. The adults are also trying to find their own answers in life, and to understand about the journey they’ve taken so far.
This wasn’t a terrible book, it was well written and Cloyed takes readers on a unique journey with her characters. I struggled a bit to get into the story after Samantha drowns and goes into a different world, one where she is with Mina again. I just got lost after that plot twist, and couldn’t find the same enthusiasm that I had in the beginning of the novel. The narratives are a bit all over the place- from Samantha’s point of view to the parents, and it was confusing to keep jumping all over the place with that. I think Cloyed really wants readers to take away the lesson to never give up on life, to always keep fighting for yourself and what you believe, which is great. The four girls make for an interesting and creative character set, but the second half of the book just fell flat for me.
Living Life and Writing Fiction
The Summer We Came to Life is set in Honduras, where I lived for six months in 2006. It depicts best friends dealing with the death of a fourth, as their parents share tales of love and loss, before the story takes a supernatural, quantum metaphysical twist. The book is definitely fiction, but was inspired by my travels, and by friends and family in real life.
The seed for the novel came from a discussion with my best friend in Honduras – the meeting of Baby Boomer parents and their adult daughters. Then I barely survived two near death drowning experiences, white-water rafting in Honduras and on vacation in El Salvador, and I had my motivation – exploring the deeper mysteries about love and loss and mourning.
Then, add to these factors the crazy thing that happens to writers as we go about our day. I collect little pieces, like a shag carpet collects crumbs – something hilarious a friend said, something hurtful I can’t make sense of, a conversation I overhear at a restaurant. The pieces glom onto a central story idea I can’t escape. In the case of The Summer We Came to Life, it was a combination of my own brush with death and the ever-presence of my childhood best friend as I approached thirty and had all these big life decisions to make.
I believe writing is unavoidably tied to our stage in life. In my twenties, I wrote wild stories about the single life (that I thank my lucky stars will never see the light of day!), this book was very much about the modern woman turning thirty, and I’m sure the books I write in my forties will be about very different central themes.
Isn’t writing fiction one of the most fascinating psychological processes of the human mind? It encompasses worldview, cultural bias, echoes and obsessions of memories, rites of passage, inspiration of the Muse, the zeitgeist, and collective unconscious. And still it is a manifestation of a completely unique creation by the imagination of a single human being on earth.
How’s that for a job description?!
So, this summer, please check out The Summer We Came to Life and journey through my memories and my ‘what-ifs’ with me to four countries through two generations, and even parallel universes.
Big thank you to Deborah for stopping by and please visit her website for more details!
In My Mailbox: Week of May 22, 2011
Title: Love and Freedom
Received: From Choc Lit
Synopsis: New start, new love. That’s what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England. Honor’s hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town. Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor’s past threatens to undermine everything. When secrets about her mother start to spill out …Honor has to make an agonising choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom? From the best selling author of Starting Over, this novel has great charm and a cast of unforgettable characters.
Author: Lisa Lim
Received: From Lisa Lim
Synopsis: Madison Lee is a fresh college grad, ready to take on the world of print media. But she has zero luck landing a job. Unemployment is at ten percent and on the rise. Desperate and left with no other options, she accepts a position as a service rep at a call center in Pocatello, Idaho. At the Lightning Speed call center in Spudsville, Maddy plunges into the wild and dysfunctional world of customer service where Sales is prided over Service and an eight hour shift is equivalent to eight hours of callers bashing her over the phone. Oh sure, the calls are bad. But Maddy manages to find humor on the phone and off the phone. And with all the salacious drama behind the calls, there is never a dull moment at the Lightning Speed call center.
Lately . . . Maddy has been pining for her smolderingly gorgeous co-worker Mika Harket. Now things are heating up on the phone–and elsewhere. Don’t hang up on this novel. Working at a call center has never been this garish . . . or this delightful.
Author: Deborah Cloyed
Received: From Eric @ Planned Television Arts
Synopsis: Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends – Isabel, Kendra and Mina – on a vacation somewhere exotic and fabulous. This year, it’s a beach house in Honduras, but for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months prior, and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find a way to move on without her. Before the trip ends, the bonds of friendship with her living friends, the older generation’s stories of love and loss, and Samantha’s glimpse into a world far removed from the one in which she belongs will convince her to trust her heart.
Author: Iain Reid
Received: From a friend
Synopsis: Meet Iain Reid: an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something, living in the big city in a bug-filled basement apartment and struggling to make ends meet. When Iain lands a job at a radio station near his childhood home, he decides to take it. But the work is only part time, so he is forced to move back in with his lovable but eccentric parents on their hobby farm. What starts out as a temporary arrangement turns into a year-long extended stay, in which Iain finds himself fighting with the farm fowl, taking fashion advice from the elderly, fattening up on a gluttonous fare of home-cooked food, and ultimately easing (perhaps a little too comfortably) into the semi-retired, rural lifestyle. A hilarious and heartwarming comic memoir about food, family, and finally growing up, One Bird’s Choice marks the arrival of a funny, original, and fresh new voice.