Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: The Perfect Summer Read: The Blue by Lucy Clarke

~The Giveaway is now closed~

Back in 2013 I was introduced to Lucy Clarke and her first novel, Swimming at Night, by the Bookalicious Book Club. Since then, I've been her biggest fan. Well, at the very least, her biggest Canadian fan. Not only is Clarke's writing impeccable, but from the chat the book club had with her, her replies to readers and posts on social media, she just seems so down to earth and lovely! I hope she doesn't think I'm nuts because I do follow her closely on social media and often comment. Altough, after I read Lucy's literary love letter to author, Maggie O'Farrell, I felt much better about my own author crush ;).

I've been thinking a lot about what I love so much about Lucy Clarke's books (three in total, all from publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada – Swimming at Night, A Single Breath, and now, The Blue) and I've narrowed it down to a few things.

First, her characters are very real. They are people you might know or encounter in your own life. They are “normal”, likable and I become attached to them as I read. With each of her novels, I haven't wanted the stories to end because I want – no, NEED – to know what happens next in their lives. That's how real the characters become to me.

The second aspect of Lucy Clarke's writing that draws me in is how her stories are so raw with emotion. I truly feel what the characters are going through; I am in the moment with them. All of her books have taken me on an emotional ride, but in a good way. I became invested in each of the novels and went through myriad emotions as the stories unfolded.

Last, but most certainly not least, I love how Clarke is able to transport you to exotic locales through her words. She paints vivid pictures of the surroundings her characters find themselves in and the settings come alive on the pages. As I read, I can picture the beaches, feel the sand between my toes, see the bright colour of the water, taste the salt air, and feel the breeze blowing against my skin. Reading her novels is like taking a trip around the world as Clarke has clearly done her research and writes about places she's been and knows.

All of the above encapsulates what I loved about The Blue – the characters, the emotion, the setting - a feast for the senses. The Blue is about best friends, Lana and Kitty, both of whom decide to leave home for different reasons, in search of freedom and adventure. While traveling in the Philippines, they meet the crew of a yacht, all of whom have a story or secret. Lana and Kitty are invited to join the crew and the tale unfolds from there.

Here's part of the description from publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada:

Lana and her best friend Kitty leave home looking for freedom—and that’s exactly what they find when they are invited onto The Blue, a fifty-foot yacht making its way from the Philippines to New Zealand. The crew is made up of a group of young travellers bitten by wanderlust, and it doesn’t take long for Lana and Kitty’s dream of sea-bound romance to turn into reality.

Both women fall under the hypnotic spell of The Blue, spending their days exploring remote islands and their rum-filled nights relaxing on deck beneath the stars. But when one of their friends disappears overboard after an argument with another crewmember, the dark secrets that brought each of them aboard start to unravel.

This novel is a well-balanced dose of adventure, romance, betrayal and mystery. It kept me guessing and I actually said, 'WHAT?” and “Ohmygod!”, aloud a few times as the mysteries were revealed. I read this book while at a cottage and it was the perfect beach and summer read. Although, The Blue, and all of Lucy Clarke's books, make the perfect anytime read.

Do these books sound like something you'd like to read? You're in luck! Simon & Schuster Canada is going to give one of my readers a copy of each of Lucy Clarke's books! That's right, ALL THREE of her fabulous books! All you have to do is tell me in a comment which book you are most anxious to read – Swimming at Night, A Single Breath or The Blue. Remember to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win!  GOOD LUCK!


Contest closes at midnight on Friday, August 14th. The draw will be made on Saturday, August 15th using Random.org and the winner will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. The odds of winning depend on the number of entries. The winner will be required to answer a skill-testing question to claim their prize. This contest is open to residents of Canada only.