Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Stitch by Samantha Durante

Hi Gorgeous people!  Today I have a great treat for you in the form of review of Stitch, but stay with me for a guest post and giveaway too!

Title: Stitch by Samantha Durante
Published:  August 1st, 2012 by Samantha Durante
Source: Provided by the author for review
Format: Paperback
Challenge(s): Debut author
Grade Rate: B+

Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa's body screams at her to run... but yet she's powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees - and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell - Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn't figured out yet is that she's not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university's idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface...

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

My Review

I was very excited when Ms. Durante contacted me to be part of the blog tour for Stitch, and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed in the least!

Stitch is a clever mix of many genres.  At the beginning I thought that this was a ghost story, but as the story progressed I found out that it is part mystery, part thriller, part sci-fi, part romance and most surprisingly a dystopian novel.   

The main character is Alessa, who is a brave, confused, smart girl that is obsessed with an apparition (aka as ghost) that she starts seeing in her sorority house.   As she searches for the truth about who her handsome ghost is, she unravels something much more sinister and harder to grasp.  We get some clues as to what might be going on in the form of nightmares that plague Alessa’s existence.   Issac is the ghost, but as we get a few chapters and sections from his point of view, we find out that Alessa is an apparition for him as well.  This is when the plot starts getting much more interesting and the story picks up the pace.  Is a little harder to identify with Isaac as he is not present on the story as much, but we do get a pretty good insight from Alessa’s point of view.  I also liked Janie, Alessa’s best friend and her sole support system. 

I am fascinated by the notion that two people are so attuned to each other, so in love with each other, that they can recognize each other on a deeper level, even if they cannot remember their past.

The story started a bit slow for me.  It is hard to build the story line and the plot, and then include all the twists and turns that appear out of nowhere.   The plot is, therefore, unique in its complexity and there is still a lot to be discovered. The writing is very descriptive and easy to read.   I wish I could tell you more (and I know this sounds very mysterious), but you need to read Stitch, my lips, as they say, are sealed :) 

Shudder is the second book in the trilogy and I will definitely read it.

About the cover:  Isn’t it beautiful?  I love the cover, both Alessa and Isaac are on it and you can see the ‘stitch’ and what’s in between them (which makes a lot of sense after you read the book). 

Where to find Stitch: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & noble

Samantha Durante lives in New York City with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at

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How Dystopia Happens by Samantha Durante, Author of Stitch

I LOVE dystopian books.  Even putting aside the awesome characters and exciting storylines found in so many great dystopian novels, just learning about the world itself could easily be enough to keep my interest.  Dystopian societies are fascinating.  So many rules, such a different way of doing things, and it always seems to just work for the people of that society (until, of course, it doesn’t – and that’s where the fun begins!).

But there’s one thing about my beloved dystopian books which has always driven me nuts, and it’s this: no one ever explains how the world came about.  There’s always some vague backstory about a war or a catastrophe a hundred-plus years ago that brought our current world to its knees, and then out of the ashes rose this wonderful new society where everything was neat and tidy and everyone accepted these crazy new rules just as they were.

But how does that really work?  At what point in history have we ever seen one civilization transition into the next without some sort of fight?  For the sake of enjoying the story, I always swallow this jagged little pill and accept that the society stands, but there’s forever a tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “Wait – how does any of this make sense?  Why would these people allow this to happen?  Why would they submit themselves to this kind of control when they knew freedom before?  And who put these crazy leaders in charge, anyway?”

When I decided to write Stitch, I vowed that I would do things differently.  I wanted to explore a society in transition – not one where the rules were in place, but one where the people in charge were still trying to figure them out.  I wanted to try to understand how we could go from the world we live in today to something totally different, and who could have made that happen and, most importantly, why they would go to the trouble.  (And before you start harping on me, I will freely admit that no, I did NOT answer most of these questions in the first book – but this is what a trilogy is for!  I promise I will answer all the questions to the best of my ability by the end of book 3.)

In Stitch, the characters are the first generation to rise from the rubble and start fresh in a new society.  They’re young – only teenagers when everything happens – and you get to watch from their eyes how our world came tumbling down, to be replaced with something different, something which was shiny on the surface but sinister underneath.  And you’ll be by their side as they try to figure out what they can do to set things right.

After all, the threat of a dystopia is very real.  With today’s volatile economic and political environment, it’s a material possibility that our grandchildren could one day live on a planet that resembles what we’ve come to call a dystopia.  And in Stitch, I explain through the eyes of people like us just how that could happen – and, hopefully, what we could do to stop it.

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