Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Welcome to my stop on The Game of Love and Death Blog Tour, hosted by the ladies of Rockstar Book Tours. I've got a review and giveaway for you, but be sure to check out the rest of the stops (schedule at the end of the post) for more awesome content, including interviews and guest posts from the author!

Title: The Game of Love and Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Series: n/a
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

The Game of Love and Death was absolutely exquisite. It was eloquent and beautiful, and you can't help but be pulled into the love story of Henry and Flora. But this story wasn't just about the romance; there's also a lesson or two in there about overcoming fear, among other things.
"Death is the finest teacher. The finest, and the most cruel."
The book itself was incredibly atmospheric, set in 1937 after the Great Depression, when practically everyone but the rich white male was oppressed in some way or another. I found the depictions of life in this time period to be beautiful -- if not heartbreaking -- in their portrayal, and it all felt authentic based on what I know of the period from history texts and stories from my own grandparents. The inclusion of music as a common interest between the players but also as the soul-searing source of their bond was a brilliant touch.

I was completely engrossed as the game unfolded, and as the details of the game -- and some from previous games -- were revealed, I found myself drawn as much to the characters of Love and Death as I was to the players. They were so enigmatic and yet I felt I knew the truth of them from the very first page. But it was Henry and Flora's souls that captured my heart. Okay, and maybe Ethan's, too, for he stole my heart more completely with every page turned. None of them had an easy go of it, especially considering the times and what was considered taboo in those days. And taboo is probably putting it a little too mildly.
"But what were odds? The odds against any one human being born were tremendous. The chain of moments that led to it was long, a chain made of infinite human choices that each had to occur in sequence to lead to a particular birth. The odds of either Flora or Henry being here at all were one in four hundred trillion, give or take."
I came to love these characters and longed for them to beat Love and Death at their own game. Still, I never really felt that connection to the characters, that certain something that means I am 100% invested in the story. I knew them. And I would want to know them in real life. But the only time I felt that emotional pull toward them was when they were on the page together. Their chemistry was palpable, even when it was the lightest, most innocent of touches bringing it out of them. Yet, I felt a lot like Flora must have throughout the story: there and in the moment and yet not a part of it.

This story was gorgeous in execution and brilliantly told, the kind of love story that you can get swept away in without risking too much. Love and Death's past is haunting and slightly horrifying, and Henry and Flora's future is bleak, and yet the story as a whole is just so achingly beautiful. And terribly romantic. It's not just the story of two people falling in love but one of overcoming the odds and conquering fear. In a word: exquisite.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Martha Brockenbrough (rhymes with broken toe) is the author of two books for adults and five books for young readers.

She's the founder of National Grammar Day (every March 4), and she's written game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. The former editor of, Martha has interviewed lots of celebrities, including the Jonas Brothers and Slash (his favorite dinosaur is the diplodocus). Her work has been published in a variety of places, including The New York Times. She also wrote an educational humor column for the online encyclopedia Encarta for nine years.

She lives in Seattle with her family. Her favorite kind of food is Indian, although Thai runs a close second. Besides writing, she likes board games, playing music with the family band, travel to places far and near, drinking lots of coffee, and working out really hard at the gym.

Find Martha:

Website | BlogTwitter | FacebookGoodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
4/20/2015 - Alice Marvels - Interview
4/21/2015 - Books, Bones & Buffy - Review
4/22/2015 - A Glass of Wine - Guest Post
4/23/2015 - Jump Into Books - Review
4/24/2015 - Icey Books - Interview

Week Two:
4/27/2015 - Fiction Freak - Review
4/28/2015 - Nerdophiles - Guest Post
4/29/2015 - The Starry-Eyed Revue - Review
4/30/2015 - Seeing Double in Neverland - Interview
5/1/2015   - Winterhaven Books - Review


  1. I like love stories with a twist. I like what I've read so far.

    Martha, I really dig your glasses. They are so cool! Were they custom made? I don't wear my glasses in public because they just aren't as cool as yours lol.

  2. I have never come across a story like this before. I am very excited to read it!

  3. I'm so glad that you loved this one. I've been dying to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. This sounds good! Beautiful, romantic, dark.

  5. Ahh, I've been so excited to read this one! I love all the great adjectives you used to describe it :-) I totally admit, the cover is what drew me in at first too - I just love it. The story sounds fantastic too and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the great review!

  6. Oooo, I haven't read anything Depression-era in awhile - I'll have to check this beauty out!!

  7. Oooh this book sounds really great! It is now officially on my TBR!

  8. This book sounds awesome! I'm super excited to read it :D

  9. This one sounds so good! I saw it on Netgalley, but it didn't look like it was available for US readers.

  10. What a unique premise! Can't wait to read it - thanks for the giveaway :D

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