Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Saying Goodbye

About the Book:

Title: Saying Goodbye: Part 1 (Passports and Promises #1)
Author: Abigail Drake
Publication date: September 10th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Samantha Barnes always dreamed of seeing the world, and only has a few months left before she starts a semester abroad in Japan. Enough time to say goodbye to her friends, polish up her language skills, and maybe even squeeze in a quick fling with handsome fraternity boy Dylan Hunter.
All she wants from Dylan is something casual, and perhaps some mind-blowing sex, but things don’t work out as planned. Dylan wants a lot more from her than a hook-up. Before Sam realizes what’s happening, their relationship has become serious, something she never intended. And then she discovers Dylan is hiding a dark secret that makes breaking up with him nearly impossible.
Sam is running out of time. She has to leave soon. She has no choice. But leaving Dylan could mean more than just the end of their relationship. It could also mean destroying him completely.

Title: Saying Goodbye: Part 2 (Passports and Promises #1)
Author: Abigail Drake
Publication date: September 10th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

What if you meet the right person…at absolutely the wrong time?
When Samantha Barnes starts her semester abroad in Japan, she brings along a heavy load of emotional baggage. With her ex-boyfriend in the midst of a mental health crisis back home, she’d been forced to make some difficult choices, choices that now fill her with guilt and remorse. She also made promises to him she isn’t sure she can keep, especially when she meets Thomas MacGregor, an irresistibly charming Scottish rugby player. Thomas is studying at the same university as Samantha, and, although she tries to fight it, she begins to fall for him. Hard.
Life in Kyoto is everything Samantha could imagine, but, when tragedy strikes, it sends her on a downward spiral into darkness. Will she be able to come to terms with what happened, and have a future with Thomas, or will she forever be plagued by regret?
Forgiveness is a tricky thing, especially when the person you need to forgive most is yourself.

Author Bio:
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.

Part One:

This is the first book I have read by Abigail Drake, but it certainly won't be my last! This book blew me away, and I certainly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. With great writing and even better characters, Saying Goodbye, Part One is a book that all contemporary romance readers will love!

I think my favorite part of this story was the characters. There was fantastic characterization and I felt as if I knew every character in this book very well...even the side characters. Don't get me wrong, I would love to learn more about some of the side characters, but I think Ms. Drake did an amazing job at fleshing everyone out. She also never once relegated the side characters to the background. Everyone had a specific role to play in this story, and every character ultimately had an impact on helping to shape Samantha into the girl she was by the end of the story. Samantha, our MC, was a great lead. I never expected to connect to her as much as I did, but she was very real throughout the entire story. While I did think she was a bit unfair to Dylan (our romantic lead), I think she did what a lot of girls would in the situation she was in. Sam was attracted to Dylan right from the off and in the back of my mind, I knew that their relationship was headed in a not-so-good direction. Dylan was mysterious and charming and seemingly the perfect boyfriend. I was hoping I would be wrong, but when we find out a certain secret about Dylan's past, it changes the entire story. 

The other thing I appreciated about this story was the focus on friendship. Sam is extremely close with her two girlfriends throughout the story, and they stick together no matter what...even when something shocking happens. Sam is there for her friends (just as they are for her when she goes through some rough things), and the friendship they all have with each other is exactly what every person should have in his/her life. 

I can't say too much about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything, but trust me when I say that you will never see the conclusion coming. As I said, once we find out a big secret, the book takes an entirely new direction. It's a direction I never saw this book headed in, but it made the story that much more real and raw. Ms. Drake did an excellent job at handling the subject matter, and it was extremely well written. Suffice to say, Ms. Drake definitely left us with a shocker of an ending going into Part Two!

I would definitely recommend checking out this story if you are a fan of contemporary romance novels. Ms. Drake's writing is spectacular and I'm glad I had the ability to read Part Two right after I finished! 

Part Two:

Saying Goodbye, Part Two had a much different vibe than Part One, and it made me love the story even more! While the first part was very much the college romance story, this second part was more about Sam finding herself. It had a more quiet, calming essence that was introspective and reflective. And the setting...I couldn't think of a more perfect place for this part of the story to occur in. Japan has such a rich culture that is sure to jumpstart that travel bug in any reader. There is so much to love about this story, and Ms. Drake blew me away once again with her amazing storytelling.

Sam is a very different person in this book. Her characterization alone is amazing, and some of the best I have read. Obviously, the events that occurred at the end of Part One was going to affect her in a major way, but I don't think she even knew how much it would impact her future. Sam allows herself to grieve and overcome her troubles. She is dedicated to learning and becoming a new person...a better person...the person she is truly meant to be. And she definitely achieves that, although not through the way she would have originally expected. Sam meets new friends, one in particular that becomes something more. Thomas was such a great addition to the story, and he was exactly what Sam needed. He helped her realize things about herself, which added to her ultimate transformation. However, Sam's development is purely through her own doing. And that was where the beauty of this story shone through. 

As with the first book, there is a pretty big plot twist that occurs, and just as in the first part, it made the story move in an entirely new direction. My heart broke for Sam multiple times while I was reading, and I think that is why I loved these stories so much. Ms. Drake has this way of writing that makes the emotions so tangible. These characters feel as if they are your friends (or even a part of you) and you can easily relate to them. Who among us hasn't endured a loss and had it affect every aspect of their life? You feel lost and confused and maybe even a bit of guilt. But at the end of the day you overcome and build yourself back up. And while that pain might still be with you, you learn how to live your life to the fullest. There was one scene in particular involving a letter to Sam that made me tear up a bit (okay okay...I was gross sobbing and it was definitely not a pretty sight). So you definitely need some tissues for that part! I'm warning you now!

The setting was also so perfectly written. I've wanted to travel to Japan for awhile now, but this book made me want to go even more. However, what I liked is that Ms. Drake didn't just focus on the beauty of Japan and the culture that is in all the textbooks. She decided to also shine the light on the underbelly of the city. This just added to the realistic nature of the story, and something that I appreciated. I applaud Ms. Drake for not shying away from the shocking and seedy underbelly that lies in the city. It reinforces the idea of two sides to every story (a very common theme in her books). 

I would highly recommend checking out the Saying Goodbye series as it is not to be missed! With amazing characters and a beautifully written story, Ms. Drake crafts a wonderful novel that is sure to stay with you long after you finish reading. I hope there are more novels in this series about the side characters because I would love to know what happens to them in the future. Definitely read this as soon as you can!

Average rating for both parts: 

Happy reading :)



  1. Great review, Cassie! This sounds very character driven and overall very well written and atmospheric! Glad you liked it! :)

    1. Thanks Giselle! I hope you're able to check it out soon :) I think you'll really like it!