[Book Review #59] eARC: In This Life by Christine Brae (Book Tour + Giveaways)

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“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
They’re in each other all along.”
Rumi

They say that life is full of choices. When you’re young and idealistic, you believe that the path you choose is the road that will lead you to your destiny.

But what if, along the way, fate decides to step in, and no amount of logic or rationality or even prayers can save you from your fortune? When the sacrifices you make, the love that you find, and the bright promise of the future are all snatched away from you, you’re left alone to pick up the pieces of your life.

This is a story about love, found in a faraway place by two very unlikely people. It is also a story about friendship and loyalty and fighting for what you have despite the illogical mystery of fate. It is a story of faith and acceptance, and learning that even the best-laid plans are powerless against the alignment of the universe.

From the beaches of Thailand to the streets of New York, three friends, Anna, Dante, and Jude will learn the hard way that once providence steps in, there is nothing in the world that can change what is truly meant to be.

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[Bookish Announcements #4] The In This Life PH Book Tour

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So, tonight, I wanted to share some great news for everyone. For the last few months, I have been working with some of the greatest people behind Christine Brae’s Philippine Street Team, which I also happen to be a part of, and we planned on hosting the Philippine Book Tour for Christine’s new NA book, “In This Life“. Christine is the incredibly talented US-based Filipino Author of The Light In The Wound, His Wounded Light, and Insipid. She graced our humbled country last September 2015 for a homecoming-slash-book signing event, and meeting her was one of the best moments of my 2015.

Now, I am more than excited to tell everyone that together with my good friend Rafael of The Royal Polar Bear Reads, and Christine Brae’s Philippine Street Team, I will be hosting the PH book tour for Christine’s forthcoming book, In This Life. Continue reading

[Event Recap #8] #CTCinPH

EVENT RECAP

Last September 13, I got the amazing chance to attend a private Q&A with authors Christine Brae (Filipina author of The Light In The Wound, His Wounded Light, etc.), Tarryn Fisher (New York Times bestselling author author of The Opportunist, Dirty Red, Thief, Never Never, etc.), and Colleen Hoover (New York Times bestselling author of Confess, Ugly Love, Maybe Someday, Slammed, Never Never, etc.). After months of intense anticipation, the day of finally meeting these lovely women have arrived! If you’ve been following me and my blog for some time now, you would be aware of my reader-author friendship with Christine Brae. She’s actually the one who got me an invite to the private Q&A. This post wouldn’t have been as awesome without her. Christine, I love you!

Before I ramble on and on about what went down in the private Q&A, I’m offering you a short version of this recap:

I fangirled so hard all through out the day!

I’m not even kidding. I did. Not only did I get the chance to meet the lovely authors, but I also met some wonderful Philippine YA Bloggers. Getting to know those with whom I share a passion for is indeed a very satisfying feeling. Some of the bloggers I saw, I already met during the #BookwormsUnite event last July, and some I just met that day. Wow. I can’t even describe how it feels right now. Well then, I should probably get this started.

Everyone was all cheers and smiles as the three ladies arrived. Not a single mouth was left unopened. Either the people were screaming with joy and excitement, or they were basically mesmerized by the three. God knows I was both. Afterwards, the Q&A immediately started and it was hosted by Sir Chad Dee of National Book Store. Listed below are the notes I took as it happened.

Photo grabbed from Chyna Go of Lite-rate-ture.

Luckily, I got the opportunity to ask my good author friend, Christine Brae, while I was at the private Q&A! My question was:

For Christine: What made you want to write about an elite for a protagonist? I am aware that Isabel, from your books The Light in The Wound and His Wounded Light, is a high profile character. What made you want to tell your readers about her? Is it something you have first-hand experience in? (You may read her answer below.)

Photo grabbed from Kate Manalo of The Bookaholic Blurbs.

Christine Brae

  • Christine wrote about an elite protagonist because it’s something she has first-hand experience in. In addition, being a US-based Filipina author, she wanted to give the US a glimpse of what life was like here in the Philippines.
  • As of now, if given the opportunity to co-write with an author, Christine will say no because of her busy schedule. Being a full-time mom and business woman isn’t easy and she just writes while riding public transportation, while staying at a hotel, and such. She actually wrote The Light in The Wound while travelling.
  • According to Christine, writing and trying to get published is a very lonely process. You need your own publishers, editors, and you basically have to do everything by yourself. On the plus side, however, you get to publish any time you want. You can avoid deadlines. And in a nutshell, self-publishing is all about you.
  • As for her writing process, Christine uses her feelings and emotions as basis in writing stories. She needs to feel something and write a story out of it. It’s a simple process for. Write, then publish!
  • Christine’s character names all have their meaning. Like Alex’ last name, Ailey, means “light”, which signified that she was the light in Isabel’s life. (I fangirled so hard when she said this!) She also sneaks in names from her street team every once in a while.

Tarryn Fisher

  • For Tarryn, co-writing Never Never with Colleen was a very easy experience. They get along perfectly fine, even if Colleen pretends that they don’t. They actually wrote it for fun and decided to share it with their readers. They completely avoided dreadful deadlines while writing Never Never, and it’s part of what made their writing experience enjoyable.
  • The self-publishing process is so badass for Tarryn. The hardest part for her is people not taking her seriously and they make you feel like you’re not good enough and it’s a satisfying sensation when you prove them wrong.
  • For Tarryn, she just waits for the emotion to come to her and once it does, she runs with it to write. She actually has a different writing schedule with Colleen and Christine. Also, she puts herself in the mindset of her characters which makes her stories more authentic.
  • Tarryn’s writing style is a combination of believable characters, good story, and beautiful words. Style is important too. She writes about bad people because that what she is. (Or what she at least thinks she is.) It’s a new perspective on something that has beend done millions of times before.
  • The names of Tarryn’s characters just fall in her head and it has always been this way ever since she started writing. She never thinks too hard about it.

Colleen Hoover

  • For Colleen, the publishing process is a life changer for a lot of people. The best part for her is not having a boss, and it feels less like work. And in addition, trying to get publishers to notice you is probably the hardest part for her.
  • Regarding the plot twists in Colleen’s books, she usually doesn’t have an idea as to how she will incorporate the twists into them. She first lets her characters speak to her before developing the plot line, which may sometimes get difficult because her books usually falls on the same genre.
  • Colleen didn’t know what genre her first book was when she first published it, and it really doesn’t matter to her. And to add humor, she told everyone that she thought that the “NA” acronym meant “Not Applicable”, when it actually stands for “New Adult”.
  • Colleen spends days locked up while writing. She doesn’t want to end her books in a sad or depressing note because it will, in turn, make her feel that way. That’s why she incorporates humor into her books: to take a break and end it happily.
  • Regarding the characters for her books, Colleen said that she can’t write a book without having an idea as to who the characters are. She currently has a writer’s block because she can’t think of an idea for her next set of characters. She feels that the characters are most important in a book. Her vision in naming guy characters is to give them a name that no one else has to make him recognizable and unique.
  • With regards to the importance of music in her books, Colleen actually spends hours driving to nowhere while listening to certain songs. Afterwards, she spends hours writing. She’s actually in to 21 Pilots right now.

The Signing Proper

The signing came up right after the Q&A and at this point, my hands were sweating like a sinner in church! I was very excited about meeting these ladies and I didn’t want to seem weird around them so I composed myself very quickly and just kept my cool.

Before standing up to finally have my books signed, Christine approached me and gave me a very tight hug! I’ve been waiting to meet her for 9 months and I think it’s safe to say that we’re both so happy to have met each other finally! She was the first one to sign my books. Since she’s already a great friend of mine, we talked about a lot of things as she signed my books! I asked how her homecoming was going, and she was as sweet as I expected.

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Signed and dedicated copies of The Light in The Wound (with a very sweet message), His Wounded Light, and Insipid.

I approached Tarryn next. After I introduced myself, I was completely honest and straightforward with her. I confessed that I, unfortunately, haven’t got the chance to read her books yet, but told her that I’m trying to grab a hold of her other books, mainly Mud Vein, and Marrow. She was stunning, just like Colleen and Christine. Also, her dress? Simply breathtaking!

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Signed and dedicated copies of The Opportunist and Never Never parts 1 and 2 (also signed by Colleen Hoover)

I went for Colleen last. I had lots of her books and I am more than lucky to have all of them signed by her. I was able to talk about her books with her, and she was happy to know how much I loved Confess and Slammed. She also told me that Point of Retreat is her favorite, and she’s not a big fan of This Girl. She also told me that she was so flattered to have been told so much compliments. I love her accent and she was very, very sweet! Also, I asked her to write her favorite quote from Confess and she chose my most favorite quote!!!

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Signed and dedicated copies of Confess, Maybe Someday, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, and Ugly Love.

After having my books signed, I got the chance to say hi to some of my blogger friends and talk about some books with them. I also met a lot of long-time bloggers and I am so honored to have met them yesterday. They were very friendly to a new face and I hope I could meet them again next time.

We took photos with the authors afterwards. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to have photos taken with these stunning ladies so, of course, we wouldn’t let that chance pass us by.

Philippine YA Bloggers with Tarryn Fisher, Colleen Hoover, and Christine Brae. Photo grabbed from Kai Agito of Amaterasu Reads.

Here’s a thank you message from the 3 lovely ladies for their Filipino readers!

Video grabbed from Kate Manalo of The Bookaholic Blurbs

Once the private Q&A was finished, I went to SM Megamall for the public signing event. I have to say, I really am more than lucky to have been invited to the forum, because there are hundreds of people waiting at SM to have their books signed! My friends were there waiting for their turn to meet the lovely ladies and have their books signed as well.

Photo grabbed from Queenie Josol from Facebook

At this point, I would like to send my sincerest thanks to Sir JB, Sir Chad, and National Bookstore for inviting me to the forum and for accommodating me with open arms. It was my first time to attend this forum and I’m hoping I could attend another one soon. You guys are heaven sent! Thank you!

And to the bloggers who I’ve met, thank you for making my first forum memorable. I am so happy to have met you guys and am looking forward to reading more books with you!

And to Christine, who I’m sure I will see again, I love you! I owe you another hug! I really am so happy to have read your book way back, and your friendship means the world to me! I love you!

I know a lot of people went to SM Megamall to have their books signed. Were you there? Tell me all about your experience! Also, tell me who’s your favorite among the three and what’s your favorite book by her!

Before I end this post, you might want to check out these recaps by some of my blogger friends! You know you want to!

Until the next one, folks!

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[Book Review #14] His Wounded Light by Christine Brae

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The perfect life.
The perfect marriage.
The jilted lover.
Their worlds collide.

Fate intervenes twelve years later and their paths intersect once again. All three will question whether the heart is truly capable of dividing and being divided; each will decide whether it matters who you loved first or who you love last.

Together they will learn that in the end, there can always only be one.

Book Specifications:

Author: Christine Brae

Format: eBook

Part of a Series: Yes. The Light in the Wound #2

Release Date: December 8, 2013

Publisher: CreateSpace

No. of Pages: 344 pages

Price: Free (copy provided by author)

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit

Book Review:

The Cover: Featuring the Eiffel Tower, and the red lock from the bridge area, etched with Alex + Isa (Read the book if you can’t relate), the cover was very significant, and luckily, very related to the story. I love covers like these which may be simple, but turns out to be connected with the story. It’s like a peak into what’s in store for the readers. I love it! (5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: Just like The Light in the Wound, this sequel was also fast-paced, and very detailed. I’m having a hard time believing that ALL my questions from The Light in the Wound and this sequel were all well answered within 344 pages. Questions like “What happened to Jesse after his apparent break-up with Isabel?”, “Was Jesse able to get over Isa? What aided him to forget or move on from her?”, “What’s in store for the married couple? What awaits their life as time goes on?”. These are just three of the many questions that ran through my mind. Luckily, all of them were answered as my reading of this book progressed. I was able to finish this book in two to three sittings, which is actually a good thing because I usually finish a good book within a week. If someone was to ask me how to describe this book in one word, I would say it’s FLAWLESS. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.*  Hooray for the legit happy endings! I am so, so happy and contented with the ending. Although, there were times when I doubted Isabel’s judgement and all, I actually truly am happy for her Alex, and the whole family. Including Jesse, who turned out to have found his great love. Everything was so fulfilling and seeing them (or imagining them, hehe) all happy and very satisfied with their lives just made me tear up. I love books like this, with impressive character developments, fast-pacing stories, and a complete set of characters as the story concludes (I mean, come on. It’s okay for death to find some characters, but I would love the book better if in the end, all the characters are still alive and well. Right?). Thank you, Christine Brae for giving Isabel, Alex, Jesse, and everyone else a fantastic life after this sequel. I will love you eternally for doing this book justice. 🙂 (5 out of 5 stars)


Additional Insight: The standards were set high for this sequel. The Light in the Wound was a great start for this duology. And to be honest, I was kinda scared as I was reading the pages of this book. I felt like the ending might not be up to par with what I expected. And indeed, I was wrong, Christine Brae really did the story justice. There were no longer questions in my mind as I finished reading Alex, Isabel, and Jesse’s story. There might have been some small queries, but nothing major. Nothing that changed my opinion for the book as a whole. And to add, let me just tell everyone how fast I finished this book. I started one December night, and I immediately finished it after 22 hours. Which is very unusual for me, unless I have the “reading slump” syndrome. But, with this book, I was completely immune to it. I felt absolutely curious with the story that I literally can’t put it down, thus, the fast reading pace. It was just that good. (++)

The Verdict:  I already miss Isa and Alex’ story. I’ve finished reading this book last December, and I am still feeling a hole in my heart. It feels like something’s missing. I feel incomplete. I don’t know why, but that’s usually what happens to me after reading an impressive book. I will surely read this again, and I NEED TO FIND PHYSICAL COPIES OF THIS BOOK!!! Oh my god!! And, I seriously can’t wait to meet the wonderful author, Christine Brae, on September for MIBF 2015. ♥ (5 out 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“Despite all the love and support that I have from my family, I feel deserted. I’m abandoned. Their consoling words, their heartfelt touch, their bereaved tears. They don’t do a thing for me; they do nothing to stop me from breaking.” – Isabel Amarra

“No, Issy. I’ve spent twenty years of my life loving you. You were always enough. I took you for granted and lost sight of what we had. When I lost you, I lost my focus. My sole purpose was to get you back and I lost so much time. I should have realized that you chose him because you wanted to. Because you belong to him.” – Jesse Cain

“As long as you don’t turn go all Christian Grey and handcuff me to the cockpit, I’m good,” – Isabel Amarra

Excerpt From The Book:

“I don’t want him to regret. I want him to get better so he can move on and be happy. It hurts to accept that I wasn’t enough for him. Just like I wasn’t enough for you.”

“No, Issy. I’ve spent twenty years of my life loving you. You were always enough. I took you for granted and lost sight of what we had. When I lost you, I lost my focus. My sole purpose was to get you back and I lost so much time. I should have realized that you chose him because you wanted to. Because you belong to him.”

Oh, and do you guys remember that giveaway hosted by the tour organizers the last time I posted a review for The Light in the Wound? Well, they have it again! 3 signed books + meet and greet for 3 bookworms are up for grabs! Join now! The giveaway is, once again, facilitated by Rafflecopter, so the link is provided below:

*Rafflecopter Giveaway for His Wounded Light*

About the Author:

Christine Brae

Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. She is currently working on her third book which she hopes to release in June 2014.

When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago. You may reach her through the links below.

Website || Goodreads || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram

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This book tour is hosted by Amanda and Jothee from Fandomly Bookish and The Bookwhore Diaries. 🙂

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[Book Review #10] The Light in the Wound by Christine Brae

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Affected by her parents’ highly publicized divorce, Isabel grows up isolated and alone, with a resolve to never fall in love and repeat their mistakes.

When Jesse Cain enters her life, she falls hopelessly in love with him, and every sadness she’s ever felt is washed away by his intensity and passion. But people change as they grow up. Things can never stay the same forever.

Jesse and Isabel fight to stay together, determined to hold on to what they once had. Isabel wonders if a second love can ever be enough to make her forget her first.

Book Specifications:

Author: Christine Brae

Format: eBook

Part of a Series: Yes. The Light in the Wound #1

Release Date: July 23, 2013

Publisher: CreateSpace

No. of Pages: 372 pages

Price: Free (copy provided by author)

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit

Book Review:

The Cover: The cover features a girl in a dress by a beach. This, for me, showcased a carefree, sweet, and innocent girl without a fault in the world, just like Isabel during the start of the book. Its a great symbolism to introduce Isabel to the book’s possible readers. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Story: As I have already mentioned on my Goodreads review of this novel, I love the fact that this book was fast-paced. It covered Isabel’s life before, during, and after her *spoiler alert!* marriage with Alex, all within 372 pages. Some books rarely showcase the same amount of details, and I must say that that was a good thing. I also adore Christine’s writing style with this novel. I loved how in every page of the book, was an insight as to how the protagonist, Isabel, felt at the time. I was never confused on what she was thinking, and feeling with the given situations she experienced. I loved that! (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* I actually didn’t expect that Isabel would end up with Alex!! I was on #TeamJesse until he left our Isabel for Katrina and his taste of fame, and attention. Don’t get me wrong, as the book came to an end, I changed my mind and decided that Isabel IS indeed better off with Alex. But the story seemed to attract and fool me to think that Isabel may end up with Jesse. With his frequent presence around Isabel, I , for one, thought that Isa might give in to her love for Jesse and leave Alex. Thank God I was wrong. Alex IS the right choice. (5 out of 5 stars)


Additional Insight: Isabel, Jesse, and Alex’ love triangle was far from what I have expected. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. Some love triangles in other novels tend to be destructive and controversial. They tend to take away the spotlight from the protagonist, or from the story itself. I found their love triangle to be mature. Isabel handled this concern the best way she can, by facing Jesse the night before her wedding with Alex, and she didn’t give in to the temptation of pleasuring herself with Jesse’s company. I found this specific scene mature, and different. It was a great “growing up” scene for Isabel. (++)

The Verdict:  This novel’s great. For me, it’s something that I would be looking forward to read again in the future, and I can’t actually wait for the sequel, His Wounded Light. I shall read the sequel right after I finish reading my holiday book of choice, My True Love Gave To Me. But going back, this book is just magnificent. Coming from a family with a chaotic and reckless past, I can actually relate to Isabel. And that’s what hooked me up from the start. (4.67 out 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“The good and bad thing about time is that it never stops for anyone.” – Isabel Amarra

“Burning your hand once is the only way you’ll ever remember never to touch an open fire.” – Isabel Amarra

“No man is worth hurting yourself over. Remember that, Isabel. You gave up too much for him. Don’t do it again. There is nothing wrong with who you are and where you came from. Someday when the time comes, you will realize that being socially different shouldn’t matter when someone loves you.” – Claudia Holtzer

“I will never settle for anybody who didn’t love me enough to make me a priority.” – Isabel Amarra

Excerpt From The Book:

“I’ve always been honest with you about how difficult it has been to let go of the past. But you are my present and my future. From the first time we were together, you saved my life. You saved my soul. You made me want to make you proud. You made me realize that I deserved better. You made me unafraid to love you. My wounds are healed because of you.”

He lifted me up, placed me on top of his lap and held me close as I leaned my head on his chest. He stroked my hair lightly as he spoke.

“Baby, I’m so sorry I left you that night. More than being filled with jealousy, I was afraid that you might have never really loved me. I know I told you long ago that it was okay if you didn’t love me just yet, that I had enough love for the both of us. I should have understood then that you never lied to me about your true feelings for him. You were always honest with me. And even now, at this very moment, I’d rather have a part of your heart than none of it all.”

Oh, and here’s something new! Amanda and Jothee from The Bookish Diaries and Fandomly Bookish are hosting a giveaway! This giveaway is open for the residents of the Philippines only. For some reason, WordPress won’t allow the code for the giveaway widget, so I worked around it. Just click the link below and it’ll take you to the giveaway instructions. Up for grabs are 3 signed copies of The Light in the Wound. I hope you’ll enter! Goodluck! 😀

*Rafflecopter Giveaway for The Light in the Wound*

About the Author:

Christine Brae

Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. She is currently working on her third book which she hopes to release in June,2014.

When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago. You may reach her through the links below.

Website || Goodreads || Twitter || Facebook || Instagram

Light in the Wound Banner

This book tour is hosted by Amanda and Jothee from Fandomly Bookish and The Bookwhore Diaries. 🙂

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