Blog Tour of 3volve and The Shadow of Loss by Josefina Gutierrez -- REVIEW

The subject-matter of these two books aren't something you get to encounter on a daily basis when browsing in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or whatever book store you shop in. Just judging from the blurb, you'll know that there's darkness, pain, anger, and a lot of sadness in 3volve and The Shadow of Loss. I've actually read 3volve first before I did The Shadow of Loss, however, I recommend ya'll to do it the other way around. Things will make much more sense if you do so. Alright. Time to share my experience and opinions of these two novels from author Josefina Gutierrez.

Title: 3volve
Author: Josefina Gutierrez
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Multicultural
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Published by: Self-Published
Source: ARC Given by Author and Tour Organizer

From author Josefina Gutierrez, of “The Shadow of Loss”, comes a new New-Adult contemporary love story.

I thought my life began when I graduated high school and moved far, far away—okay three hours away. But I was wrong. My life didn’t start until it almost ended.

I’m Cristal Escobedo, twenty-two years old and a former wild child who favors tequila far too much. But that all changed when life happened, and I ended up being responsible for my younger brothers. To top it all off, I think I’m falling in love with my best friend—dammit.

This is my not-so-happy story of how I grew up and got my shit together. My story isn’t filled with a bunch of pretty analogies or hyperboles. The people are real, the hurt is deep, and the love is complicated. People are flawed in the ways that matter; it’s what makes us human.

Cristal Escobedo is what you would call irresponsible. At her age, she can barely feed herself, can't clean her room, spends her night drinking and sleeping around. She could barely hold a job for long, and that is even she doesn't forget to go to the job interview. She's also not close with her family, choosing to distance herself in more ways than one because she feels as though she's only a disappointment. Of course, that is before things took a turn for the worst and she had to step up to the plate.

3volve is what I would call a complicated book. Not in a bad way per se, but if you're the kind of reader who dislikes many things going on at once, then this may not be your cup of tea. But yeah, it has a lot of elements; there's the reckless young woman's journey to self-growth, learning to be responsible for teenage siblings, as well as balancing friendship and a love life.

The thing that impressed me the most is the story's message. There are many young people out there who are left to fend for their younger siblings, or even teenage parents who have to make it on their own. I personally know a few of them, and it can get one thinking, "How are they getting by?" It's nice to see the heroine struggling with the sudden change and not just have magically transformed into a perfect sister/mother. There's a sense of realism in the transition. I also find the twins rather amusing. They're pretty mature for someone their age, and with their older sister's bout of immaturity, it's a good balance.

There were moments when I felt like I missed something. A time lapse of sorts. One minute this is happening, and the next I'm completely lost. Example: Cristal finally landed a job in a grocery store near their house, and apparently things are going really smoothly. A few pages later, apparently she's having a hard time holding a job again. No explanation as to what happened and what she's going to do. These are details that people can easily look past, but I struggled a bit with it.

I give this book 3.5 stars. The story holds real depth and deals with real problems in real situations that happens to real people. It's quite a short read, so I believe more people would be able to enjoy this that much more.

Title: The Shadows of Loss
Author: Josefina Gutierrez
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Romance
Publication Date: August 31, 2014
Published by: BookBaby
Source: Copy Given by Author and Tour Organizer

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more?

Has she lost her soul?

Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus.
Can she trust people again?
Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school.

Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

Evelyn Gonzales has always been insecure, shy, and wary of people. It didn't help that her sister left to build her own life, and she was stuck with a mother who couldn't care less about her. Trusting never came easy for her, but when she finally found a person she can completely depend on, she was taken from her. She suffers from great depression, and nothing is ever the same since then.
I think what I liked most about this book is how I could relate to Evelyn on a deep level. We have so much in common as well as the opposite. I don't want to make this about me, but I'd like to just share why I feel for her; she has abandonment issues -- as do I, she's awkward and insecure -- I am too, she tries to be independent and mature -- I "grew up" pretty early too, and she finally overcame her troubled past -- I'd like to believe that I've turned over into a new leaf.

The Shadow of Loss tackles a pretty sensitive topic: Depression. This is a word that I've noticed people throw around carelessly. When women gain a few pounds, they say they're depressed, when teenagers don't get what they want, they go berserk as though they're lives are over...then say they're depressed. I, on the other hand, believe that this is not a term that should be lightly used, because it is a serious issue. I have been diagnosed with depression before, which lead me to do something that forever changed my life, so I know a thing or two about this condition. You can't turn sadness of. It's hard to laugh at things when you're in this state. Your thoughts constantly bombard you and they fill your head with negative things, no matter how much people try to fill you with optimism. It's not easy to overcome this, and is usually caused by multiple things piled on top of each other. This has been the case with our heroine; ever since she was a child her mother tends to flake out, then her father passed, then her sister left, then her mother -- but she did it permanently. She was left to fend for herself at such a young age and she felt ashamed to ask for help for fear of being taken away. Then she finally finds someone who she becomes emotionally and mentally dependent on, but this person is taken away from her by an incident that she claims to be her fault. It's quite easy to follow the process, right? What we get from this novel, is we get to embark on a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and moving on.

I loved how romance isn't the main point of this story. I mean, yes it says "Romance" at the genre section, but it doesn't circle around that.
There were quite a lot of characters introduced and I admittedly has a hard time keeping up, especially because they come and go so quickly.
The Shadow of Loss gets 4.5 stars from me because of its plot and storyline. I also want to note that there are other things at play here that I feel very strongly about; bullying and fitting in. These are things children and teenagers suffer from everyday all around the world, and hopefully we can put a stop to all this.
Josefina Gutierrez is a Young Adult eBook author, who resides in San Antonio. Josefina writes Young Adult Multicultural, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy literature in her free time when she’s not embarking on adventures with her son and gnomes Fitzgerald and Bartholomew. Her current projects in the works are a Fantasy dystopian series, a Mystery-Thriller eBook, and New-Adult Contemporary Romance.




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