Blog Tour: Songs of Our Breakup – Guest Post and Excerpt

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I love books with songs. Books with Japanese actors, not so much, because I never really got into the Japanese thing even if I love the country. But I was willing to try this, and I wanted feels, so. You can read more about what I thought about this book in my review! :)

So, break-up songs. Or heartbreak songs, when it’s not really a break-up. when I went through something similar (but also not really, haha, long story) to Jill, my best friends supplied me with an entire playlist of sad/heartbreak songs to help me cope. I had them on repeat for weeks, because of course you need a soundtrack when you suddenly burst into tears in the shower! Or when you’re walking! Or…all those things! :D Some songs on my list: Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles, Call It Off by Tegan and Sara, Wanted You More by Lady Antebellum, and Out of My Head by Ben Rector. </3

So today I have Jay E. Tria, author of Songs of Our Breakup, on the blog to talk about her heartbreak songs. Check out her list below!

Top 5 Breakup/Heartbreak Songs

When I was tasked to choose a guest post topic, I jumped on this one figuring it would be easy. I mean people carry heartbreak songs around with them all the time. My karaoke roster for one is usually 80% heartbreak songs, and those are the best ones to sing!

But when I tried to compose the list of my top 5 songs of sadness, I sat there and watched the cursor blink a few dozen hundred times, my head a blank space. I remembered that I haven’t really been keeping up with new releases, relying solely on the millennial magic of Spotify. But I guess that shouldn’t matter much. Breakup songs usually endure.

So here it is: the list of my favorite songs of heartbreak, no recent hit in sight, in no particular order. Hit play, click shuffle, maybe feel a few things, and repeat. Breakup not required.

The Script, Breakeven

  • Why it hurts. Because it’s a truth universally acknowledged that love is not given in equal measure, and thus when it is broken, the divide is unequal too.
  • The lines that got me. ‘Cause I’ve got time while she’s got freedom /Because when a heart breaks it don’t break even.

Sandwich, Masilungan

  • Why it hurts. I like my Sandwich served raw—simple words and a lazy tune that builds into a violent barrage of feelings as Raimund Marasigan screams the gigantic question of why into my ears. Even the video by Quark Henares is awesome in its simplicity too. Shots of faces, profiles, and movement, proving that you don’t always need tears to evoke sadness.
  • The lines that got me. Wala natayo/Wala natayo/Bakit wala na tayo?

Ed Sheeran, Photograph

  • Why it hurts. You can argue this isn’t technically a sad song, but to me the words are asking someone to hold on to a promise, a blind hope. It makes me think that hope, while a positive thing, can be even sadder than a clean break because it leaves you hanging.
  • The lines that got me. We keep this love in a photograph/
    We made these memories for ourselves/ Where our eyes are never closing/
    Hearts are never broken/And time’s forever frozen still.

Arctic Monkeys, The Bakery.

  • Why it hurts. Alex Turner is a fricking lyrics genius. I’d like one hour to see a normal, everyday scene through his eyes. Here he makes the bakery seem like the most romantic setting for a boy pining over a girl. The line that killed my heart is actually the last one, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. The following were heartbreakers too.
  • The lines that got me.The more you keep on looking/The more it’s hard to take/Love, we’re in stalemate/To never meet is surely where we’re bound.

The Smiths, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

  • Why it hurts. I can’t make a list of the best saddest songs without including the Smiths. Morrissey’s MO seemed to be to wrench sadness from the depths of broken hearts and make the display seem like the most beautiful thing. This song is short and simple in the wretchedness it brings, because hasn’t everyone had this dream?
  • The lines that got me. Last night I dreamt/ That somebody loved me/ No hope, but no harm/ Just another false alarm.

 

Songs of Our BreakupSongs of Our Breakup (Playlist Book 1) by Jay E. Tria
Published on August 22nd 2015
Genre: New Adult Romance/Chicklit
Goodreads | Amazon

Every breakup has its playlist.

How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.

Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.

But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?

Excerpt:

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Songs of Our Breakup

Songs of Our BreakupSongs of Our Breakup by Jay E. Tria
Playlist # 1
Number of pages: 180
My copy: ebook

Every breakup has its playlist.

How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.

Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.
But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?

As I mentioned in my Open Road Summer review, I like books with music and bands. So when Jay E. Tria’s book, Songs for Our Breakup surfaced in my radar, I was curious although I was a bit hesitant with the Japanese-sounding characters because I’m not a huge fan of foreign lead interests in my Filipino romance novels. I think I was in line at a bank without a book when I decided to read this, and a few pages in the book, I was hooked.

Jill and Kim have been together for seven years, until their break-up came that ended the relationship that Jill has known for a third of her life. It’s even more difficult to move on, because her ex-boyfriend is the lead guitarist of the band where Jill is the vocalist. And as expected, most of the songs they sing share memories of their relationship and Jill’s not sure how much her heart could take. Her best friend, Miki, stays by her side, picking her up when things get too hard, and then there’s their other friend, Shinta, a Japanese celebrity that they befriended during one music festival. Shinta provides the distraction that Jill needed, as she wrestles with the questions that the break-up has left with her.

Let me get the obvious thing out of the way: the book shares an almost similar title with the Piolo-Sarah movie that came out a few months ago, but like what other reviews said, it’s different from that. I should know, because I watched that movie. :P There’s so much more going on in Songs of Our Breakup compared to that movie, and it was made entertaining because of the fun cast in this book. I loved everyone in the band, Trainman, and how their friendship seemed to spring alive in every page. I loved their banter, how they played off one another and know each other so well that even if there’s this elephant in the room with them, the rest of them fought for their friendship and the band just to keep them together.

And then of course, there’s Shinta, who was a delight to read. I liked him, and perhaps all his screen time made me join his team early on in the book. I liked how he also felt like a member of the band because of his friendship with them, and how he was especially fun and gentle with Jill. His storyline wasn’t so surprising, but it was still a pleasure to watch that unfold and I was really cheering for him at the end of the book. However, I also can’t deny that my heart went out for Miki, the best friend, because…well, he’s the best friend, and I also have a soft spot for those characters! I liked him, and I wished that he did something different in the book to give him his share of the spotlight…but if he did, then we probably wouldn’t have book 2. ;)

As with every book with a band and songs, I wished the songs here were real. I’m not sure if Trainman would be the kind of band I would religiously follow, but I would probably enjoy their songs if I catch them in a gig or something. I liked how the songs in this book fit exactly with the major moments in the book. And because we’re all about heartbreaks and feels for this book, I have to say that the last duet kind of destroyed my heart (and made me almost waver with my team choice haha). If there’s any song in the book that I want to be real, it’s that duet. Please let that happen?

With all those points, plus the great writing, I thoroughly enjoyed Songs of Our Breakup. It gave me so many feelings after I was done (which I realized probably contributed to the feelings I had later that night when I watched Heneral Luna, but that’s another story) that I couldn’t stop thinking about it after. This book also made me kind of appreciate Japanese lead interests, because hey, if it’s someone like Shinta, then why not? :P Songs of Our Breakup is not exactly for light reading because of all the feelings, but there’s something pretty cathartic about this if you allow yourself to indulge and accompany Jill in her story. I can’t wait to read the next book (because Miki!), and really, just read whatever Jay comes up with next. :)

Rating: 

Favorite quotes:

“You don’t really stop loving someone…it’s just that you’re different now from the person you were yesterday. And you can’t go back. Even if you can, why would you want to?”

Why don’t they teach that in school? Emotional Safety 101. How to love without losing your sanity. Instead of people running around claiming they feel it, while not knowing what to do with it, how to handle it, how not to break it, how to keep it whole. It’s a terribly dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

“Oh, you’re not built for depression. You have too much sarcasm in your veins. That protects you.”

So I stand here on the train tracks,
Waiting for you to look back
Turn back
And see me
Sliding in the slipstream
Tumbling in this daydream
But you don’t see me
No, it’s never me.

Other reviews:
Will Read For Feels
Tara Tries to Write

Open Road Summer

openroadsummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Number of pages: 353
My copy: ebook, from Scribd premium subscription

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I think I’ve said it here before: I like band books – Books with bands, books about music, books about friends with singers. My secret dream of being a roadie or a band manager is still hanging around, but because I don’t think I can handle the stress of all of that, I live vicariously through fiction. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Emery Lord’s Open Road Summer, but it’s been a while since I last tried a contemporary YA book from a new author. I like tried and tested ones, plus most of the contemporary YA now are NA, and I’m not a super fan of NA.

But I had  Scribd subscription that was about to expire, so I need to make use of it. I picked Open Road Summer from the selections, because of the good reviews, plus singers! The book tells the story of Reagan, who’s trying to turn over a new leaf by joining her friend Dee aka Lilah Montgomery, country superstar, on her summer tour. Reagan is nursing a broken heart, and so is Dee, so the summer was their time to bond and to help each other heal. But the music industry is a big, crazy ground for seemingly fragile Dee, so her management brings in Matt Finch, childhood friend and the guy who makes Reagan rethink her plans of a boy-free summer.

I enjoyed reading Open Road Summer because it was so easy to get into. It was so easy to feel like you’re in the bus with the girls, or in the audience or the backstage, and it was so easy to fit in the Reagan and Dee’s friendship. Figuratively, because if Reagan were real and you tried to be friends with Dee, I bet Reagan would have snapped at you. With all of Dee’s charm, Reagan is very abrasive to the point that it was almost annoying, and I wanted to tell her, “Chill out, girl. Not every girl is your enemy.” She was judgy, and at times harsh, but she had a heart devoted to Dee all the way.

Their friendship was my most favorite part of the book. I liked how they were for each other, and how even if they had a fight, they were still for each other. This kind of friendship is rare, and it’s really a good thing to have one in the midst of a broken heart. My favorite parts were always when the two of them were together, and how Reagan watched Dee stand up for herself, and how Dee pushed Reagan to be slightly softer towards Matt, and softer towards herself.

The romance was cute, in a slow-burn kind of way. I really liked Matt, and while I’m not a country singer, I would have probably been a fan of his given his description in the book. I liked how he sparred with Reagan, not backing down from her jabs, and how he stood up to show Reagan that he really cared. The grand gesture at the end really made me smile, too.

And as with any book with music, I wished the songs here were real! I really liked the lyrics, and I wished that they also released a soundtrack to accompany this. It’s just right for books like this, don’t you think?

Open Road Summer is one of those impulse reads that I don’t regret. I’m quite excited to read her next book, The Start of Me and You (lovely title) once I get my grubby hands on them. :D

Rating: 

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

This is the currency of friendship, traded over years and miles, and I hope it’s an even exchange someday. For now, I do what all best friends do when there’s nothing left to say. We lie together in the darkness, shoulder to shoulder, and wait for the worst to be over.

The exploration of guitar chords, Matt’s low voice, and Dee’s hoarse giggling make a summer soundtrack I’ll replay even when the tour is over—in the moments when I feel like being truly happy is an impossible puzzle, one I’m not meant to figure out. If you have a best friend you can laugh with and a few good songs, you’re more than halfway there.

It takes a long time to learn someone. It takes a long time to see a person as a whole spectrum, from worst to best—from the mismanaged heartache that lands them in AA to the pancake dinners, from the hurtful things shouted in a dressing room to the huge-hearted strength that only a best friend can understand. Once you get there, it’s forever.

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Love at First Page

The Lucy Variations

The Lucy Variations by Sara ZarrThe Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown
Number of pages:
309

My copy: hardbound, ordered from Book Depository

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it’s over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano — on her own terms. But when you’re used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?

* * *

I used to play the piano when I was a kid. I’ve dreamed of having a small piano at home, but my parents settled for a keyboard instead (which was, in the end, a good choice, because [1] I didn’t really play piano for long; and [2] having a piano during the Ondoy/Ketsana flood of 2009 would just be horrible), and I took several lessons on it. I liked it a lot, and I always thought the piano was a lovely instrument and I wanted to be able to play it more. Unfortunately, by fifth grade, I realized that I didn’t really have that much of a musical aptitude. I mean, I can play, I can read notes, but I didn’t really develop that ear for listening to music and being able to play it without sheets. (But wait, does that even exist?)

But either way, even if I don’t play the piano now, I still like it. And I really like reading books with musicians in them, whether they’re bands, or singers (or girlfriends of singers), or a band manager, even. Plus, The Lucy Variations is a Sara Zarr novel, and I love Sara Zarr.

Lucy Beck-Moreau is a piano-playing prodigy, the next great concert pianist that everyone’s buzzing about. Or was, until she walked out on a major recital after learning of a death in the family. After she walked out, the piano playing was left to her younger brother, Gus, to fulfill the family’s expectations. When her brother gets a new piano teacher who not just teaches him but encourages Lucy to try again, she wonders if it’s worth it, and if she could ever escape what her family — most especially her grandfather — would think if she decides to go back and play again.

The Lucy Variations felt just a little different from the other Sara Zarr novels I’ve read, what with Lucy being a bit of a more quiet, organized little musical genius who just wanted to be normal. At first, it was hard getting to know Lucy because she felt so closed off, even if I was basically in her head all the time. But eventually, she started showing more of herself, to understand how it is to be where she was, and how suffocated she felt with the pressure of her family in playing the piano. Lucy felt real — despite being a little detached — and I eventually started caring for what she cared about in the book, most especially her brother. I liked how she struggled not to play and when she played, she got lost in it, and I could see that she really loved it. Piano, the music, and making music. I think the only thing that really niggled me in Lucy is her attraction to older men — way older men, which was really something because she’s just sixteen. But perhaps it wasn’t really that kind of attraction, but more of seeking attention. She never had the chance to be around boys her age, at least ones who didn’t see her as competition.

The overall story was quiet, and maybe because of the music aspect, I felt like there was an accompanying background music to all of this while I was reading it. I liked The Lucy Variations, overall. Perhaps not as much as I liked Once Was Lost or How to Save a Life, but still good enough. I sort of called what happened near the end a few pages before it, and when it happened, I was secretly glad because I always felt there was something fishy about that character. And I liked how Lucy saw it later on, how she saw past the hurt and what had come out from it. I guess that is the best example of what “daring greatly” meant, as one of my favorite bloggers said in one blog post, how in the end, Lucy dared again, and it was what mattered: Because when was the last time she gave her whole heart to something? (p.291)

Number of dog-eared pages: 24

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

Sometimes, you should be allowed a tiny bit of joy that would stay with you for more than five minutes. That wasn’t too much to ask. To have a moment like this, and be able to hold onto it. (p. 78)

Adulthood is a perpetual state of confusion. (p. 182)

But what they’d done together, what had been opened by becoming so close, she could still love that. She could love their conversations and their hours at the piano and the results of their work. She could even love the way it hurt right now, because when was the last time she gave her whole heart to something? (p. 291)

That, all of it, belonged to her. She didn’t have to let Will take it away, the way she’s let her grandfather, the business, herself, take her love for music. She would hold on to what was her. Let go of what wasn’t. (p. 291)

Rating:

Required Reading: January

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger

Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony JohnFive Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Dial, 352 pages

THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she’ll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she’s deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family’s decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

In 2007, I wrote a NaNoWriMo novel with my main character as the manager and the guitarist of a Christian band. I had a pretty good idea for a story, really, with the band looking for a female vocalist and I figured the hardest part was writing about their chemistry. It turned out it wasn’t. The hardest part was writing about music because even if I’ve helped produced some concerts before, I still didn’t know how it feels like to be in an actual band, or even to just manage one. Suffice to say, that was one of the hardest novels I’ve tried to write.

But that doesn’t stop me from putting singing characters or bands in my stories. I don’t know why — maybe it’s a frustration because I know I am hardly musical? Oh I listen to a lot of songs, but I usually pay attention to the lyrics and not the music. Maybe it’s because I have a secret dream of being a rock star or a manager of a band?

Antony John’s latest novel, Five Flavors of Dumb spoke to my inner rock star and band manager. I’ve been eying this book for the longest time (even made a Want Books post about it) ever since I saw it from That Cover Girl. I was planning on waiting for the actual book to arrive but I had an ebook itch I needed to scratch and I was very easily swayed when she convinced me to. And this is one splurge I am very glad I did. :)

Five Flavors of Dumb tells the story of Piper Vaughan, deaf girl, who gets recruited to be the manager of Dumb, the new rock band in school. What would a deaf girl know about music, right? But Piper says yes to it after she finds out that her parents used her college money to buy a cochlear implant for her baby sister, Grace, who was born deaf. She has one month to bring in the cash, and it would have been easier for her if Dumb actually worked together…but as luck would have it, it wasn’t. And craziness ensues.

Five Flavors of Dumb is such a fun read from the start all the way to the end. I loved Piper’s voice. If you didn’t read the blurb, you’d honestly be surprised to find out she was deaf as she revealed it. I loved how smart and snarky Piper was despite her circumstances, and the fact that she was hearing impaired made her rock some more. I love how the other characters were more than what they were at first, from Ed the love interest who can play anything with stainless steel drums and particularly the other girls, Tash and Kallie. The characters were a diverse group, and it really brought out the “flavors” in the novel.

There’s also a lot more going in this novel other than Piper’s deafness or managing the band. This book also tackled some music history (Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, for those who are curious), passion, a bit of self-image and a lot of family. I was torn between Piper and her family when tensions rose about her deafness and her sister’s cochlear implants, and normally I would think it was unfair for Piper. I hated Piper’s father at first for being so prejudiced against his daughter, but he had a good redemption in the end. It really is a difficult situation for a family to be in, anyway. The choices that Piper’s parents made are choices that they shouldn’t have to make, but they have to and just find ways to deal with what happens after. I loved how that issue was resolved and how everything was tied up at the end. To put it simply: it rocked.

I was kind of expecting it to be like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (which I also liked a lot), but Five Flavors of Dumb had all the things I liked about that novel, and more. This is one of the books that I think I will also get in print version when I see it in the stores here so I can lend it to other people and they can read for themselves how much this book rocks (and the cover is just really pretty). Don’t miss out on this one rocking your world. :)

And you know what? This book just gave me a problem. I’d need to fix my Top 10 reads of 2010 again to make room for this one.

Rating:

My copy: e-book, from Amazon Kindle store

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:

The Book Smugglers

YA Addict