Friday, July 27, 2012

Character Interviews and Book Review: Bourne and Tributary by Lisa T. Bergren

I'm very excited, because today we have Gabi and Lia, the heroines of the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren, and their handsome and chivalrous knights, Marcello and Luca, answering a few questions. Enjoy!

We'll start with the guys.
Luca and Marcello, have Evangelia and Gabriella attempted to teach you English yet?
Luca: Nay. They speak passable Italian. *Lia hits him playfully*
Marcello: We have no need of the English tongue here in Toscana.

Now onto the girls.
Gabi and Lia, if you hadn’t landed in beautiful medieval Italy and fallen in love, what other time or place would you have liked to visit via the nifty time tunnel?
Lia: Seriously? I'm so homesick for modern times I don't think I could go anywhere, anytime.
Gabi: Victorian. More cool dresses. :-)

Oohh, yes, Victorian dresses are lovely! Personally though, medieval dresses are my fav. ;-)
Gabi and Marcello, family is obviously very important to you. How would you define “family”?
Gabi: I define family as those you love most and could never be without.
Marcello: Anyone for whom I would die to save, which includes several of my friends who are like brothers to me.

I completely agree. Perfect definition.
Luca and Lia, could you each describe your relationship in three words?

Luca: Passionate, playful, intoxicating
Lia: Irresistible, fun, intriguing
*smiles really big* No words...just... *continues smiling*

This last question is for all four of you. When each of you were young, what was your biggest dream, and how has it changed since then?
Gabi: You know I'm only just 19, right? I think I didn't start dreaming until I got here. Seriously. I just lived my life day to day, rather than really digging in DEEP, you know?
Lia: I dreamed of college, getting married, having kids, a career, maybe as a graphic artist or something. And yeah, you could say my dreams have changed a bit...
Marcello: *looks at Luca and smiles* You people of Normandy have far too much time on your hands. Who has time for dreaming of the future. The day is full enough....

Wow, yeah, gives one alot to think about. Thanks so much, you guys, for visiting today! Now I suppose you must return to your full and crazy lives we love hearing so much about. Yes, definitely do that, and maybe we'll get more wonderful stories from all of you! :-)
Now on to the review of Bourne and Tributary, the latest installments in the River of Time...
*Warning! May contain slight spoilers for those who haven't read the previous three books in the River of Time series!*
Bourne picks up right where Torrent left off. Our main characters are having to deal with the aftereffects of the recent battle. Gabi is drawn deeper into the lives of the Sienese people as she feels their deep pain for losing their loved ones. Marcello has been injured and everyone fears for the lord of the castello. Lord Greco is wracked with guilt for betraying Firenze and is conflicted (as usual!) to such an extent that he begins making rash choices that endanger his life and the lives of others. Luca takes on more responsibility while Marcello is injured, and we see a different--more warrior and leader--side of our usually funny sidekick. This only endeared him to me more. And, finally, we get to see events unfold from Lia's point of view, which I absolutely loved!
The quieter of the two sisters, Lia has a more sensible and even-keeled approach to different situations. However, in Bourne, she is thrust out of her comfort zone when, once again, danger is afoot. The secret brotherhood Marcello, Luca, and Greco have been apart of for years is not so secret anymore and each of the secret brothers have been targeted by assasins. When Lia and Luca go to warn those in danger, they find themselves in a mess of their own.
Bourne feels more like the ending of Torrent than a story on it's own, which I suppose that's why it's labeled as #3.1 rather than #4. But it's still filled with the adventure, romance, and intrigue we all love.
Tributary begins a year after the events of Bourne. There's a restless sort of peace between Siena and Firenze that's put in jeopardy when a young Firenze woman, Alessandra, is injured in a hunting accident involving Gabi and team. This novella is told from various point of views: Gabi and Lia in first person; Luca, Alessandra, and Greco (I know!) in third person. I honestly want to read Greco's point of view more often because it was so interesting!
Alot happens in Tributary that bring changes to our beloved characters physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Lia is still struggling with being stuck in medieval Italy. She hasn't even picked up her bow in a year. Greco finally has to come to terms with his inner struggles. Gabi and Marcello face a change they weren't prepared for. Luca is suspicious of the newcomer at the castello and desperately wants to protect Siena and the ones he loves. And, finally, Alessandra becomes the center of the new conflict between Siena and Firenze, and she discovers not everything is as black and white as she believes.
To me, Tributary had a slightly different feel than the rest of the series, but I'm not complaining at all. Though last in the series (just for now I hope!), it seems to start a whole new chapter in story where the characters are growing older and continuing to discover what it truly means to live life everyday, one day at a time.
Genre: Romance/YA
Ages: 15 and up
Pages: Bourne (116), Tributary (163)
Publication Date: Feb. and June 2012
Part of Series: #3.1 and #3.2 River of Time series
Both enovellas seemed too short, in my opinion, but now they are available together in paperback. Here are the links to the seperate ebooks and the combined paperback:
Bourne Kindle enovella (also available on Nook and Smashwords)
Tributary Kindle enovella (also available on Nook and Smashwords)
Bourne/Tributary paperback
Check out my review of the first three books Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review: River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall (River of Time Series #1)
 When 17-year-old Gabi Bertarrini and her 15-year-old sister, Lia, discover a mysterious time portal that transports them back in time to medieval Italy, they are thrust into an adventure that changes their lives forever. Lost in history, the two sister unwittingly become heroes and prime enemy targets in a war between Siena and Firenze. They also become the targets of affection to two handsome and chivalrous young men, Marcello Forelli and his cousin, Luca. Throughout the whole journey, Gabi is stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually as she discovers what it truly means to live.

Buy Waterfall here.

There are some books you like, some books you love, and some books you live. The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren is definitely in the "books you live" category. I picked up Waterfall and Cascade in a bookstore one day because I was drawn in by the beautiful covers. The back summaries and first chapter of the first book intrigued me, so I randomly decided to buy both books, which is NOT normal for me. I usually thoroughly research a book before I read it, and even then, I usually buy just the first book in a series then the rest later. But, boy, am I glad I bought both (and Torrent when it released)! For one, there's a cliffhanger at the end of each book, and two, the story is just beautifully epic and amazing.               
Cascade: River of Time Series, Book 2Buy Cascade here.

The characterization is great. I love how Gabi is a strong yet vulnerable heroine. She doesn't have all the answers, but she honestly thinks things through carefully and approaches situations in a smart and realistic manner (most of the time!). One of my favorite parts of the series was the relationship between Gabi and her family. They have their moments of disagreements, but they genuinely love each other and get along. Parents actually take part in adventures rather than being kept in the dark. I found the family dynamics refreshing. Bergren paints her characters, story, and setting of medieval Italy like a fine oil painting in 3D. It's lush and gritty and real--full of light and dark.

 Buy Torrent here.

Torrent (River of Time Series #3)
I'd like to end this review with one of my favorite quotes from Torrent which I believe describes the series perfectly:

"I think the trick to living fully," I said, thinking through each word, "is to appreciate what we have, day by day, regardless of what we know might come our way...If I live life in fear of what might be, how can I truly live my life to the full in the present? And if I do not give myself to the day, to hope, to life, what do I miss?" I raised my eyebrows and shook my head. "Life itself, I think. At least the way I wanna live it."

* Make sure to check back in a couple weeks for my review of the two novellas in the River of Time series (Bourne and Tributary) and a special character interview with the four main characters: Gabi, Lia, Marcello, and Luca! :-)

Genre: Romance/YA
Ages: 15 and up
Pages: Waterfall (369), Cascade (399), Torrent (388)
Publication Date: 2011


--Become a part of the River Tribe by liking the "River of Time Series" on Facebook. There are constant updates about the series and it's just fun to hang out with other River of Time fans. Also, several main characters from the series, including Gabi, Marcello, Lia, and Luca, have their own Facebook accounts, and when they update every so often it's usually veeerrry interesting and entertaining. ;-)

--Check out the book trailers for Waterfall and Cascade: