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Thursday, January 15, 2015

[Blog tour] Review: Cities by Carla de Guzman + Interview & Giveaway!

"What if in another universe, I loved you too?" That tagline just got to me enough to make me curious about this book. I'm glad I was able to read it! Interesting, fascinating, confusing and bittersweet.

Title: Cities by Carla de Guzman
Release Date: November 30th 2014
Published by: Midnight Books
Buy: Amazon | Createspace


Celia has dreams.
She dreams of going to Seoul for that scholarship she never took, of leaving everything behind and moving to New York.
In all those dreams, she finds herself attached to Benedict, the boy she has always loved, who didn’t love her back.

Ben believes in parallel worlds.
Worlds where the things you didn’t do come true—worlds where he went to London and fell in love with Celia, where he shows up on the day she needed him most. He believes that dreams are glimpses into that parallel world, and it’s not a coincidence that Celia’s been having them too.

It’s the day of Ben’s wedding, in the middle of a typhoon in Manila. How will these dreams and unmade decisions change their lives? Will they bring them closer together, or just drive them further apart?

A friend of mine had mentioned this book in passing one day while we were waiting in line for a cab, and then a few days after I found myself reading this for a tour. It's destiny.

And speaking of destiny, this book talks about it and a whole lot more. All the possibilities, all the what-ifs. Worlds and cities. Various circumstances that could have led to varying outcomes. Broken hearts. Hope.

Celia is attending a friend's wedding, and she was plagued by dreams. Dreams of what could have been if she had decided to do things she didn't, visited places she could have gone to. After all, it was the wedding of her best friend, Vivian, and Ben, the guy she loved who broke her heart that faithful night back in college.

The idea of multi-verses is a tricky one to handle, and it could lead into a total disaster if not written well. Cities confused me because of the jumps from one dream to another, to a city, to another life, to what could've been but I enjoyed the ride with a few bumps, so to speak. That question, what if?, presents itself over and over in various scenarios and set-ups that a reader like me couldn't help but feel completely different emotions every single time Celia dreams. Her dreams made me feel hopeful, but reality doesn't, and reality is what Celia must face.

Carla de Guzman wrote a book wrapped in an interesting premise, a story that many can relate to.  The dynamics of friendship and the strain it is put through when love gets mixed in and the kind of love that you want but couldn't get. Unfulfilled, unreciprocated feelings? Check. Supportive friends? Check. Cool places and pop culture references we all know? Check. Being an Asian Pop fan, I loved the Seoul City story the most!

Cities pinches the reader's heart quite a few times while being immersed in a world within worlds. It's fascinating to see what these "could've been" are, from Celia's perspective to the various transformations her friends made in the places Celia's dreams took her. Definitely an interesting, quick read!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Very interesting concept, but like I said, if you're not aware of the presence of multi-verses (and you will only get it once Ben mentions it), you will be confused very early by the jumps in every chapter. But you'll get it eventually, don't worry. I didn't like Vivian that much because is she really that kind and perfect? (In every "City", yes) And Henry, how I wish I know you more. I like him a lot! Ben? Not so much...
Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
I am so in love with the cover!

Carla de Guzman ( had horrible handwriting as a kid. That didn't stop her from writing, though. Riddled with too much energy and a vivid imagination, she started writing every midnight. She grew up with her toes in the sand and her bags packed and ready to go on adventures. Her books are chronicles of her journeys, with a little romance mixed in.

When she’s not sitting in a plane or working, Carla writes for her blog, Some Midnights ( and for When in Manila.

Archive of Our Own:
Instagram: @ckwhales


I had a chance to ask the author a few questions and here are answers. How fun would it be to read a book set in Camiguin AND Osaka? I need to read that book now.

1. First up: describe Cities in 3 words
Travel, Love, Multiverses

2. What inspired you to write Cities and why the idea of multiverses?
Cities started out as a short story, the concept of which I got from Throught Catalog. For a sadsack, no boyfriend since birth type like me, it was comforting to know that somewhere out there, there was a version of myself was braver, that could have the ones that got away. As the story grew, the multiverses began to have personalities of their own--meaning certain situations fit only in certain cities, making each city a different universe in itself.

3. Given that Cities is a story where multi-verses exists, do you believe in them? Given the choice, in what alternate universe would you like to be in if you can go to one?
It's an idea that I find incredibly fascinating. I love stories that explore what ifs. But I think totally believing in parallel universes would drive me crazy! If I could live in an alternate universe, it would be the one where I actually pursued musical theatre instead of writing. I'm still very much attached to that world, and I wonder what it would be like if I stayed on that path.

4. Which of the "Cities" is your favorite? Mine had to be the one in Seoul. I love how it's familiar like something out of a KDrama but still managed to have that bite of bittersweet kind of love.
I'm glad you liked the Seoul verse--a lot of it is a reflection of everyhing I know about Korean dramas (and I've seen a lot)! Ben's character espescially was fun because I had a good archetype to work with! But I have to say that the London story is my favorite, only because you really get to see Celia's relationships with the other characters, and how interconnected they are.
Plus I got to reference Doctor Who quite a lot, which is always a bonus!

5. Are you working on a new story other than Cities?
Yes! I'm plotting out a letter-driven story set in Camiguin and Osaka. That's all I have about it so far, because I'm still working out a lot of...kinks in the plot. It was originally going to be set in Bali, but maybe next time.



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