I have decided to be part of the Vicarious blog tour. When I heard about this book, I thought it would be interesting to read about a main character whose background was in South Korea and also the fact that the story had an interesting premise and so I became a beta reader as a Korean-American for this particular book. Below is a mini review and an interview I did with the author, Paula Stokes.
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you–for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.
Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the story of an unbreakable bond between sisters in this unforgettable high-tech thrill ride.
My Mini Review: I enjoyed beta reading this story. The concept of ViSE recordings was very intriguing to me. I loved reading about Winter and Rose and the ending made me want to read more of the story. It’s very interesting when an author tries to tackle a dark topic set in a very different country from the author’s own and I think she wrote it very well. I really can’t wait to read the sequel!! I would recommend reading this book if you enjoy dark thrillers and reading from different perspectives.
Here is an interview I did with Paula!
What was your first impression of South Korea?
You’re asking me to remember something from ten years ago, but I’ll do my best. When I first traveled to South Korea, it was to take a job as an English Language Trainer. Where I worked, ELTs were paired with bilingual Korean teachers and worked with Korean students who had at least a rudimentary grasp of English. As luck would have it, my plane was delayed an entire day on my way to Seoul and my luggage (two suitcases jam-packed with everything I might need for the next year) got lost. So I was quite stressed out when I arrived in Seoul. But my initial impression was that it was like a more-crowded, higher-tech version of Manhattan. People were all moving quickly, most of them looking down at phones. They weren’t unfriendly—they were just going about their daily life at a slightly faster pace than me 🙂 I loved walking the city streets—the wide sidewalks, tall buildings, carts with delicious food for sale. But for me personally, my first few days in Seoul were pretty overwhelming.
What was one unique experience that you had in South Korea? Did you notice any big cultural differences?
Just the process of eating dinner is different in South Korea than in the U.S. I went out with other Western teachers as well as Korean teachers many times, and I had to learn the proper way to do things—how to pour the tea for others and to hold my cup with two hands when it was poured with me. Unlike in the U.S., where if you go out with a group of friends everyone normally orders their own food, in Korea people often order many small plates and share food. And do not even get me started on the steel chopsticks! I had never seen slick metal chopsticks before I went to South Korea. For the first couple of weeks, I seriously thought I might starve 😉
Do you have a particular favorite restaurant in South Korea?
I do not. My favorite places to eat were little family owned places serving tabletop barbecue and food carts serving hotteok and tteokbokki 🙂
What would you like to tell other people who might want to visit South Korea?
First of all, learn to read Hangul, and I don’t mean translate into English—just learn how to sound out the characters. It will help you navigate the subways and order food in some places. I remember wanting an angel cream donut once and not knowing the words for “angel cream donut” and I don’t really like pointing at stuff—it feels sort of degrading for both parties. When I looked at the Hangul sign, I realized the characters spelled out “Ahn-jul-crem-uh.” Some things actually have names that you know. You just have to be able to figure that out.
Second, learn a few basic Korean phrases. This goes for anywhere you travel. If you’re visiting a country where English isn’t one of the official languages, you really ought to at least be able to say “hello”, “good-bye”, “excuse me”, “where is”, “how much”, “can you help me?”, and “thank you.” Thank you in Korean is a little tricky, but even if you do it wrong, people will appreciate the effort.
Finally, give yourself enough time to see more than just Seoul. Seoul is incredible, but so is the Korean countryside, especially some of the beautiful mountains you can climb. Korea isn’t the easiest country to navigate if you don’t speak the language, but be brave and try new things. You’ll be glad you did.
Check out the next blog tour post about Writing Outside of Perspective (Part 2) over at Hiver et Café!
Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts. She’s the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks
You can find Vicarious with the links below! 😀
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Vicarious-Paul-Stokes/9780765380944
Blog Tour Schedule
Mon. 8/15 Introduction + tour schedule authorpaulastokes.com
Tues. 8/16 Writing outside my perspective: Part 1 ivybookbindings.blogspot.com
Wed. 8/17 Review + interview with Paula readingandsometea.wordpress.com
Thurs. 8/18 Writing outside my perspective: Part 2 hiveretcafe.blogspot.ca
Fri. 8/19 Review + five facts about Winter bookcatpin.blogspot.ca
Mon. 8/22 Writing outside my perspective: Part 3 www.xpressoreads.com
Tues. 8/23 Review + five facts about Jesse bookiemoji.com
Wed. 8/24 Writing outside my perspective: Part 4 www.thesilverwords.com
Thurs. 8/25 Review + five facts about Rose cahreviews.blogspot.com
Fri. 8/26 Writing outside my perspective: Part 5 www.bookrookreviews.com