Blog Book Tour | “Riding” by Cassia Cassitas with a featured Guest Post to accompany my review!

Posted Sunday, 20 September, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Riding” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Cassia Cassitas in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading translated works of fiction:

Prior to being a book blogger I hadn’t had the chance to read translated works of literature, which I’ve mentioned previously, especially when I reviewed my first Swedish thriller The Swimmer which blew my mind at how intricate and intense a high octane suspense novel can read whilst in translation! However, expanding out of translated works from their original languages, I also have had a healthy curiosity about authors whose first language is not English, who are writing heart-centered fiction and/or historical fiction, as I love reading women’s fiction as much as I love reading historicals. Another niche I thought I might appreciate would be literary fiction, as the breadth of what can be told and explored would expand through the narrative arc.

When I first read the premise of Riding I felt connected to the story, but also recognised this was an original type of story told through a perspective that I haven’t come across beforehand and warmly looked forward to reading. I’ll express a bit more about why I appreciate the Olympic and Paralympic Games as I move into my review, but right now I simply wanted to say how joyful it was to encounter a wholly original premise from an author whose first language is not English. I am celebrating multi-cultural and multi-language authors as my discovery of their works helps enrich my reading circle with a bounty of unknown stories of whom I am blessed and grateful to have alight on my path!

Blog Book Tour | “Riding” by Cassia Cassitas with a featured Guest Post to accompany my review!Riding
by Cassia Cassitas
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational narrative. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.

When he is born, Andre propels his mother's life in a new direction. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn't know when to come back home, strives to make him a worldly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete.

Together with his friends, he experiences disappointments and new beginnings. A doctor that builds robots, the daughter of a lonely teenager, and a retired athlete teach André how to overcome his limits and live his dream.

Set in Curitiba with breaks in Los Angeles, Seoul, Johannesburg and Soweto, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, the narrative ends in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.

As a tribute to all those who choose to sign the next episodes of their lives, this book is about overcoming one’s self amid achievements, obstacles, love and heroism, written behind the scenes of life.

Genres: Literary Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781511966139

Published by Self Published

on 31st April 2015

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 252

Self-Published by the Author
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Cassia Cassitas

Cassia Cassitas

In my mind, words came in strides. They aligned themselves in arguments that were ready for combat after rebelling themselves - and that was just inkling. Where was my certainty to support the new image? And where were my emotions, with their brushes to bring color to life?"

Born in the interior of the state of Paraná, Cassia Cassitas accumulated various degrees throughout her career in Information Technology. The author of three novels, her texts convey ideas accumulated amidst the smell of coffee plantations, shoe factories, and the technology of the 20th century. These texts deal with life-altering episodes, in a path lit by a harmonious blend of memories and imagination.

On my love of the Olympic and Paralympic Games:

I love finding the world coming to one stage and location to celebrate sports and the pursuit of achieving a personal ‘best’ where everyone is watching from afar. Most years I would tune in to see the Winter Games vs the Summer Games, however, in recent years, I’ve changed my mind about that whilst looking forward to both instead of one over the other. I think in part because the Winter Games were new territory of interest for me, as I didn’t grow up with four seasons, the sports of Winter held within them a lovely niche of surprise and joy. I loved watching the snowboarders in particular as they race the sky for the height their sport demands them to achieve as much as the agility of the tricks to make a snowboard contend for artistry whilst airbourne.

Aside from a preference for Winter over Summer, one of my favourite memories of all the Olympics I’ve seen live as the feeds reach me so very far removed from the country and host city – are the stories! Each athlete has their own story to tell and to be revealed during the Games; you can see it readily as you watch them compete but if they are one of the athletes in focus, you get to see the story unfold in a short narrative recap. The joys and the bittersweet sorrows of the Games provide their own groundwork for the watchers who are keenly invested in this blocked out moment of time to co-live amongst the competitors to see what will happen and to cheer on the athletes who have worked so dearly hard to reach this moment in their lives.

Being able to watch the Paralympic Games for the first time in 2014 was an happy achievement for me, as I wondered why coverage was sparse throughout the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

My Review of Riding:

We are greeted by Mario who is part of the team behind ensuring the host city for the Olympic Games has everything they need to put on the Olympic Games; wherein the Paralympic Games takes place a week after the world watches the main events. It wasn’t until recent years, I started to notice there was coverage of the Paralympic Games, most especially the last ones that aired – where I had the pleasure of tweeting a bit of encouragement and joy (see thread). I started to watch more of the documentaries attached to the Olympic Games, thereby increasing my own awareness of the amount of work and construction that happens in order for a city to host the world’s largest stage in Sports. What is curious is how Cassitas has taken us further into this vortex to understand a closer perception based on the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes.

I will admit there was a strong shift in events before the first chapter ended – I was not quite prepared for it to happen but it made sense all the same. I had a feeling at that moment, this novel was going to be told in a quickstep of a voice urgent to it’s readers understand the heart of what the author left behind.

One thing that helped me a bit about the shift in locale and the time jaunts is knowing first-hand how far in advance the Olympic Games has to be organised and executed in each host city! The inertia of work involved is incredible, but it’s the advance planning that is curated by the dedication of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that truly sets the Games apart from most competitions because each location has nearly a decade of advance knowledge they will be the next city hosting either the Summer or Winter Games. Finding myself riding the coattails of two IOC planners and workers (i.e. Mario and Elizabeth) was not surprising, as this is a hidden history of how the Games are organised from the inside out and yet, their developing story does not limit itself to the Games either. In fact, most of the chapters in the beginning are quite short and absent of what you might expect to find of a developing relationship.

The story has it’s own tone and pace, it’s one where you become absorbed into the background of the moving text and are interested in what is going to happen; it’s not traditionally set to play at a pace your expecting of a novel, but all the same, I found pleasure and enjoyment in how Cassitas told her story. The Games are merely folly to the heart of the story, as Riding is a bit of a metaphor on how to live your life or rather, how to proceed on your journey whilst life has chosen to give you an alternative path you were not expecting to walk. Elizabeth’s life abruptly changed when Andre (her son with Mario) was bourne, but it was through his special needs and the challenge to give him a fuller life than most would expect possible, Elizabeth re-defined her soulful wish to lead a life worthy of what she could give back to it. She was set on a path to change the world, to encourage her thoughts and ideals into the real world and make contributions that would affect lives. What she hadn’t expected is that one life, her son’s would radically change her world-view and the measure of how she would view her life would change in that instant.

Her husband, Mario is seeking answers towards a hidden riddle towards understanding his place in this world. His trust in his wife and of their relationship being strong enough to handle their many separations due to his travelling job (with the IOC) was rock solid, but his confidence in his own merit of existence was set on a rocky shore. His journey is strengthened by seeing the resolve in his son, Andre’s hope for where he wants to take his goals as a cyclist.

Riding has multiple layers threaded throughout the context of the story, at one point, Elizabeth begins to share her journey and her son’s through a personal blog bent towards inspiring others to share their stories with her. It’s an insightful novel about how we greet the obstacles we face in life and how we self-determine how those obstacles will effect us in return. If we choose to overcome the odds, carrying forward our hopes and dreams despite the uncertainty of what might have come along our path, we are the ones who have been strengthened through a deep well of both faith and blind acceptance of our own will to do what others might consider impossible.

On the writing style of Cassia Cassitas:

The opening pages of Riding are writ quite differently than most books I have picked up to read, on the level, it felt part memoir and part cathartic release of emotional unrest in the passages contained within ‘Shards’. It felt a bit disconnected to me from the Prologue which was setting up a story about a young boy named Andre whose curiosity was keeping his Mum on her toes. Poetic and yet startling surreal, the section about ‘Shards’ has an intensity all of it’s own. It alluded to the fact the story within Riding might be an experiment in expressing an internal confliction towards surviving through the difficulties life affords us all against the counter-balance of our emotional turmoils. That the truer story is hidden within the pages of the novel, if a reader were to look deeper than the surface of where the characters reside. For me this is an interesting way to begin a story, and Cassitas left me curious to discover what would come after such an auspicious opening!

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Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

In addition to signing up to review ‘Riding’ I wanted to give the author a chance to expand her thoughts about the novel, as initially it was how she elected to tell the story and how the story was centered around the Para-Olympic Games which motivated me to read the novel. Here are her own words to express what captured her own heart and spirit whilst writing ‘Riding’:

As the narrative journey of Andre follows his para-Olympic dreams from country to country, how did you infuse cultural references at the different locales that are highlighted to draw the reader into each destination as the story shifted from one location to another? Was there a favourite location Andre visits in the story that personally attached to your own heart?

I believe that to understand how we live in an interconnected world makes you look at your own life through different lenses.  Mario, Andre’s father, introduces the world. After reading his chapters, the reader realizes that all is true. He could visit the places mentioned in the book searching for people with surnames, or think about the facts, real facts, behind the episodes.

The shifts from one location to another are the loneliness of his mother. From Curitiba, she introduces elements of Brazilian culture like family relationship, educational challenges, sports and literature contributions.  The best picture to describe all these elements together is Andre in Australia. Reality, sports and books, dreams and emotions, all mixed in the little boy’s perspective:

“In Andre’s mind, the Australia that Sydney was introducing to him was a mockup of heaven. The temperature oscillated between sixty-four and seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit. The zoo, the koala hospital, the beaches… Every day something new awaited him. There was also the downtown area, with modern skyscrapers and weekend excursions. And, every night, he would have dinners with Mom and Dad. Those were the moments that reminded him of the fable about Baita and his nostalgia.”

I’d like to thank Ms Cassitas for her willingness to answer my enquiries and to anchour my review with such a heartfelt response! I hope more readers will discover her novel!

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This book review and author guest post is courtesy of:  iRead Book Tours

My review and the author’s guest post were delayed being posted from my original tour date (17 September) due to  personal reasons and a delayed resolution to major tech issues. Blessedly the publicity team at iRead Book Tours is patient and understanding when book bloggers run into woes that upset our blog schedules!

Click through via the badge to find out what else awaits you!

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Reader Interactive Question:

I look forward to hearing your reactions if you’ve read this novel too

and/or if your curiosity had become piqued to read it after reading my own ruminations!

What inspires your mind to consume translated works of fiction and stories by authors whose first language is not English? What do you love the most when seeking out stories from new perspectives and new ways of telling a story?

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Riding”, book synopsis, author photograph of Cassia Cassitas, author biography, and the quotation from the novel and the tour badge were all provided by iRead Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 20 September, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Life Shift, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, South America, Special Needs Children, Sports, The Olympic Games (Winter or Summer), Women's Fiction

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