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Dear Charlie by N. D. Gomes

dear-charlie

“You have no idea what I’m feeling. No one does. but everyone tries to guess.”

Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.

Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Personal Thoughts:

Dear Charlie is a powerful contemporary novel that deals with the aftermath of school shooting that is told from a different but very important perspective.

Set in England in 1996, Sam is struggling with the death of his brother Charlie. Charlie who died in a shooting incident. When his family found out about the said incident, they thought Charlie is one of the shooter’s victim. Very quickly they realized that Charlie is in fact the one who do the shooting and had killed fourteen people before taking his own life. Sam lost his brother but people only see how his brother took lives. With Charlie dead, people blame Sam and his entire family. Media go frenzy with the news, even camping outside their house trying to get their side of the story but only depicting Charlie as the bad guy. Sam unfortunately suffers with this, he was bullied and unwanted, as if he will do what his brother did. Sam want to understand Charlie, he wants to know the reason why Charlie did it but Charlie is long way gone. Is Charlie the devil that other see him or he is just the quiet but happy and normal teenager that Sam always knew?

Reading Sam’s struggles is just heart breaking. Everything feels real to me. All his confusions, desperation, hatred, and guilt are easily believable and sometimes feels like my own. It broke my heart every time he feels lost, lonely, angry or defeated. Because he doesn’t deserve all those things. He is a good guy who unfortunately related to the guy who killed fourteen people and took a perfect escape. Sam is not his brother and he didn’t do a single thing to make that awful thing happen. He is completely innocent and yet he suffers like the other victims of the tragic event, and worst no one noticed his sufferings.

Like Sam, I wish to know why Charlie do it. And like Sam, it will remain a mystery to me and to readers what Charlie’s thoughts and feelings. No one will know his reasons or what triggered him to kill and end his own life. Because Dear Charlie isn’t about Charlie, instead it is about those people that Charlie left behind. People who unfortunately blamed by others because the one they should be blaming is already long gone.

Overall, Dear Charlie is an incredibly moving, heartfelt and thought-provoking novel. N.D. Gomez successfully shows how a family suffers, grieves and try to cope up after a traumatic event. Kudos to her for writing a sensitive and tragic topic in a perspective of someone who is directly affected but never truly considered.

*  This review is based on advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher,  HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins UK.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-n-d-gomesN.D. Gomes was born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in Media & Journalism Studies, and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Education in the US. She currently works in a public school system to increase educational opportunities for students with special needs. Previously, N.D. Gomes wrote for the London-based online student political magazine, deAlign and stage-managed student plays at the LeeStrasberg Theatre Institute in New York City where she attended for two years. She currently divides her time between the US and Scotland, but hopes to spend more time at her cottage in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Dear Charlie is her debut novel.

Find N.D. Gomez

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Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett

everyone-weve-been

“…whether it’s the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you can tell the story any way you want.”

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?

Book Links: Amazon | BDGoodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Told in a fresh and cutting perspective Everyone We’ve Been is a compelling mystery that will surely keep readers turning pages.

The story centers to Addie as she try to solve the mystery of her memory lapses and the identity of the boy she met in a bus ride home.

After being in an accident, Addie keep seeing the mysterious boy wherever she is. When she tried to introduce him to her friend, she found out that she’s the only one who can see the boy. Afraid that she is going crazy, she try to seek help through a local clinic that specialize with memory. But instead of getting answers she leaves the clinic with more questions. Addie needs to find out what’s happening to her. What she is seeing or remembering? And what she is forgetting?

One of the reasons why this book is a hit for me is because of the central message of the story. Addie’s story will remind readers how important it is to face our problems. Experiences bad or not are necessary for our own growth.

Sarah Everett writing is captivating and her lines are sometimes resonating. I particularly like some of Addie’s lines about music and life.

“In a way, it feels like I’m waiting for my life to start. Waiting for my life to feel as full and as vibrant outside of a melody as it does in it.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve sleepwalked through my life so far, with nothing significant or extraordinary happening to me. It’s time for that to change.”

“But mostly, I found things in my music. Hope. Distraction. Happiness. I found those things and held on to them as long as the piece lasted, and then I tucked them back inside a melody where they’d be unreachable.”

The plot though predictable never go down the bottom hill. It is still a thrilling read to wait for Addie hit realization. Since the book is written in different timelines – before and after Addie’s the accident, readers will put together things first before Addie will. And while waiting for Addie to put things together, readers will surely feel for her.

Addie as a character is easy to like. I root for her even at times I don’t believe that she’s making the right decisions. I don’t agree with all her choices and decisions but I won’t argue that those are realistic options for her. After-all, she is still young and unfortunately, haven’t learned yet from her past – past experiences that could have been make her stronger if not erased from her. I’m just glad that in the end she choose a different route.

The memory erasing part kinda remind me of Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More than Happy Than Not which I recently read. And having read that one, Everyone We’ve Been doesn’t sound too unbelievable anymore with its science-fiction element. Though I still questions some of the odds and technicality they never hinder my reading experience. It’s not perfectly smooth but mostly those speculative part blended well in this contemporary world of Addie.

Overall, Addie’s search for answer is a thrilling and compelling read. I absolutely could not put the book down. It’s a quick exploration about how experience shapes who we are as a person. Because memories – good or bad are part of our story. And stories like Addie is something to be told which makes me thankful to Sarah Everett for doing so. And she also told it beautifully. Which reminds me of what Addie says in the last part of the book — “you can tell the story any way you want.” And Sarah’s way is something readers won’t forget in a while.

* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Penguin Random House International.

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Book Signing Tour : Peter Lerangis back in PH

peter-lerangis-ph-book-signing-2016

Join New York Times bestselling author Peter Lerangis of ‘The Seven Wonders’ series for a book signing event on November 19, 2016 at 2 p.m. in National Book Store, Glorietta 1. Registration starts at 10 a.m.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When and where are the book signings?
November 19, 2016, 2:00 p.m., at National Book Store, Glorietta 1

Is there a registration fee?

No. There is no registration fee.

When will the registration be?

Registration opens at 10:00 a.m. on November 19 at National Book Store, Glorietta 1.
Each guest will be asked to fill out the registration form upon arrival. First come, first served.

A guest can register only once and will be given the following:
Numbered Signing Pass
Stamp mark on the hand to indicate your registration

Guests must present their book to get a numbered Signing Pass.
The book must have either of the following as proof of purchase: Price Tag or Official Receipt from National Book Store, National Book Store Express or Powerbooks.

How many books can I have signed?

Each guest is allowed to have a total of five (5) books of any of the following titles.
Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Book 2: Lost in Babylon – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Book 3: The Tomb of Shadows – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Book 4: The Curse of the King – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Book 5: The Legend of the Rift – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Journals: The Key – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Journals: The Promise – one (1) copy only
Seven Wonders Journals: The Select and The Orphan – one (1) copy only

One personalized and the rest are signatures only.

Is there a limit as to how many people can have their books signed?

NBS will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible. However, should there be an excessive number of guests,
NBS reserves the right to limit the number of copies per guest or limit the number of guests in line.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?

Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, National Book Store Express or Powerbooks.
The books must have either the price tag or official receipt.

Do I need to buy on-site?

No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?

No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the author. Other merchandise like t-shirts, posters, journals etc. will not be allowed to be signed.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?

Yes. There will be an official photographer from NBS who will take your photo with the author. However, we strictly allow only one photo per person.

How much are the books?

Morgan Matson titles:
Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises – P629 (Hardcover); P249 (Paperback)
Seven Wonders Book 2: Lost in Babylon – P629 (Hardcover); P249 (Paperback)
Seven Wonders Book 3: The Tomb of Shadows – P629 (Hardcover); P249 (Paperback)
Seven Wonders Book 4: The Curse of the King – P629 (Hardcover); P249 (Paperback)
Seven Wonders Book 5: The Legend of the Rift – P629 (Hardcover); P249 (Paperback)
Seven Wonders Journals: The Key – P99
Seven Wonders Journals: The Promise – P99
Seven Wonders Journals: The Select and The Orphan – P99

Only books purchased from National Book Store, National Book Store Express, and Powerbooks will be accommodated.

* PR courtesy of National Book Store

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Book Signing Tour : Amy Ewing in PH

amy-ewing-ph-book-signing-2016

Join New York Times bestselling author Amy Ewing of the ‘Lone City’ trilogy for book signing events on November 12, 2016 at 1p.m. in National Book Store, Ayala Center Cebu and on November 13, 2016 at 2 p.m. in National Book Store, Glorietta 1. Registration for both events starts at 10 a.m.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When and where are the book signings?
November 12, 1:00 p.m., at National Book Store, Ayala Center Cebu
November 13, 2:00 p.m., at National Book Store, Glorietta 1

Is there a registration fee?
No. There is no registration fee.

When will the registration be?
Registration opens at 10:00 a.m. on November 12 at National Book Store, Ayala Center Cebu, and 10:00 a.m. on November 13 at National Book Store, Glorietta 1. Each guest will be asked to fill out the registration form upon arrival. First come, first served. Guests must present their book to get a numbered Signing Pass. The book must have either of the following as proof of purchase: Price Tag or Official Receipt from National Book Store, National Book Store Express or Powerbooks.

How many books can I have signed?
Each guest is allowed to have the following signed:
• The Jewel – one (1) copy only
• The White Rose – one (1) copy only
• The Black Key – one (1) copy only

One copy will be personalized and the rest are signatures only.

Is there a limit as to how many people can have their books signed?
National Book Store will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible. However, should there be an excessive number of guests, National Book Store reserves the right to limit the number of copies per guest or limit the number of guests in line.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, National Book Store Express or Powerbooks. The books must have either the price tag or official receipt.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the author.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes. There will be an official photographer from NBS who will take your photo with the author. However, we strictly allow only one photo per person.

How much are the books?
The Jewel (Trade Paperback – P435)
The White Rose (Hardcover – P649)
The White Rose (Trade Paperback – P359)
The Black Key (Hardcover – P649) – Will be available this October
The Black Key (Trade Paperback – P435) – Will be available this October

Only books purchased from National Book Store, National Book Store Express, and Powerbooks will be accommodated.

* PR courtesy of National Book Store

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National Book Store Cut Price Book Sale

nbs-poster-cut-price-2016

Book hoarding time once again!

Break out of your reading slump, rediscover classics, and unearth new books to love in National Book Store’s Cut Price Book Sale! Get up to 50% off on books for 10 days only! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for to buy the books everyone’s talking about and what you’ve been dreaming about. This is your chance to finally complete the books in your favorite series that you’ve been eyeing for the longest time. And you wouldn’t believe that even the books that have just been released have discounts. So what are you waiting for? Bookmarks and color-coded tabs at the ready.

Promo runs from October 14 to 23, 2016 in all National Book Store branches.

See posters for details. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube (@nbsalert). Share your Cut Price loots and hauls using the #NBSCutPrice2016. Per DTI-FTEB SPD Permit No.12613, Series of 2016.

* PR courtesy of National Book Store

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The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

the-memory-of-things

“Tuesday, and those planes, they’ve broken something. Permanently. And in the process, they’ve changed everything. And everyone.”

The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home.

What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Let me start first by pointing out that The Memory of Things is not a September 11 novel. Sure, it is set up around that event but is not about the four coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States. Instead, it is a story of loss, survival and hope during one of the most devastating events in history of America.

The plot, in brief, focus on Kyle who is on his way home during the September 11 attack when he came across a girl who seems poised to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. The girl is covered in dust and ash and strangely wearing wings. At first, Kyle don’t understand what is happening but he certainly can’t leave the girl. Not when there’s a possibility that she will kill herself any moment. So instead of leaving the girl, he convinced her to go home with him. Soon he discover that the girl doesn’t remember a single thing. Not her name, or anything that happened before Kyle found her. Kyle wants to help the girl to figure out who she is and where she came from but the more he helps her the more he realized he is not ready to let her go yet.

Gae Polisner shifts narration between Kyle and the girl. While Kyle parts are written in a standard narrative, the girl point of view is presented in snippet and verses which perfectly conveys her unsorted and mostly lost thoughts.

“Change comes in two ways. The first is the blindside way that comes without warning… But other times, change comes gradually, in that sure, steady way you can sense coming a mile away. Or maybe a day away. Or, maybe, a few short hours. And, since you know it’s coming, you’re supposed to prepare. Brace yourself against the stinging blow. But just because you plant your feet wider, doesn’t mean the blow won’t take you down.”

More than finding out the girl identify or seeing her recover her memory, what really drew me in this book is Kyle. His reaction to things around him, the changes he saw in people and just how he continue to live his daily life trying to be responsible. Those little and mundane things he do during the days around the attacks are things that shows how resilient people are. That’s in-spite of all the tragedy around us we still try our best to continue to live life.

Overall, The Memory of Things is not as moving or powerful as I expect it to be but it is still a well written story of loss, survival, hope and human resilience. It’s is a reminder of what life is like to some people during the tragedy of September 11 attack.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, St. Martin Press via NetGalley

 

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