This review contains some spoilers, so if you want to keep the suspense before you pick this up, just click on the X on top. :-)
Reading The Gi4 stars.
This review contains some spoilers, so if you want to keep the suspense before you pick this up, just click on the X on top. :-)
Reading The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything was confusing especially at the start because you feel like you're as lost as the main protagonist, Mina Clark. If you don't read the synopsis, like I did, prior to reading, then you might be going in blind. There's a prologue but it does not introduce Mina's state of mind in chapter one. In fact, it was only after a few pages that I was able to figure out that Mina lost her memory.
I felt like I was going into the story as blind as Mina was. I felt as uncertain and as confused as she was. Maybe this was done on purpose by the author, Francine LaSala, or maybe it wasn't. However, it did the trick, leaving me perpetually curious to find out what the heck was going on. It wasn't a good feeling, I hated it, in fact, but I cannot deny that I was able to relate to Mina's confusion.
I didn't like any of the characters, except for Char-tee, Harriet, and Mina. The others, like Jack and Alex, felt too bland. There were a lot of hints along the way but Mina never really did trust her instincts. For an investigative reporter, she seemed quite clueless about the people she kept trusting, before and after the incident. Comic relief came in the form of Harriet's kooky but envy-inducing family and the whole neighborhood dynamics. Emma's antics were also funny, especially since she was just being a kid. She had her crazy moments, but reading about her latest escapade was a welcome distraction.
However, when I got to the ending, the 'explanation' felt so far-fetched I was left feeling dissatisfied with how the whole quirky, confusing episode ended. I also had a lot more questions than when I first started. Like also, if Char-tee was just a figment of her imagination, then how did she get her creditors to back off? Who really did that after all? And why does she keep imagining her uncle as a dragon?
Aside from Mina, everything and everyone was highly exaggerated, which totally belied the cheery and light cover. The secondary sub-plot was like a dark satire on how the young and old look at each other and just don't understand each other's POV and on how people tend to treat, delicately or indelicately, around people who have some sort of mental imbalance. Frankly, Harriet was almost the only one who treated Mina with some kind of normal attitude. Although Harriet is quite out of this world, it's not too hard to imagine her as a real person.
The ending was heart-warming, and I felt satisfied that at least Mina had a semblance of normality after that whole crazy episode. The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything could have used a few more pages to settle a lot more questions. Still, I don't regret reading the book. I actually want more of it, if only to satisfy my questions. I think fans of satire and those who can relate to being a mom and having a kid who just runs around creating havoc while everything is pretty darn confusing can find some refuge here, with a glass of wine, of course....more
With Interim Goddess of Love, we are introduced to the main characters who play pivotal roles for the ne4 stars. Originally posted on My Book Musings.
With Interim Goddess of Love, we are introduced to the main characters who play pivotal roles for the next three books: Quin, the sun god; Vida, the moon goddess; and Hannah, the interim goddess of Love. Diego, god of the sea, is also introduced, but while he does play a meaningful role here, I felt that he was more of a secondary, supporting character to the first three.
What can I say about gods? They're gorgeous, and they can do whatever they want. And Quin, Vida, and Diego do get away with a lot. Quin doesn't seem to be manipulating people, but Vida, she does what she wants to get her way. And Diego fights a lot, for some reason. I still don't get why he has to cause so much trouble. They have had a millenia to go about in their god ways. Hannah, on the other hand, was just chosen by Quin. I don't know (and it wasn't explained) why Quin chose her, but she is eager to fulfill this new role.
Quin is...well, the typical, brooding, secretive, darned attractive kind of male character. He should also be called the God of Mixed Signals because throughout the whole book, he keeps hanging out with Hannah and being there in the nick of time for her, and he seems nice, even gentle, towards her but he never says anything. Always so mysterious, that one. But then again, if you know how everything plays out and how things are supposed to go, then I guess he has his reasons for being the handsome, silent type, which is actually contrary to his being a sun god. Sun gods are usually the loud, showy types, aren't they?
Vida, physically, is your typical perfect leader in college. The characters are described as the typical king and queens you had in college, although describing them as such is justified since they are gods, after all, and they are typically physically perfect. I'm not sure how I feel about her - whether to sympathize with her, or to think she's really a manipulative cow who just wants more power. But then hating her would just be too easy. Also, she is contrary to being the moon goddess - you know, quiet, contemplative - but Vida is...out there. She's not exactly showy, but you can't help but notice her.
Hannah actually reminds me a bit about myself - the one people go to for love troubles, and friends with the guidance counselor (yeah, I was!). She is eager to perform her duties, either as an SK (scholarship kid) or as the goddess of love. I actually liked getting to know her.
In just 120 pages, Mina Esguerra was able to establish the personalities of the different characters in a creative way. She gave their character descriptions through the results of the personality tests that their school, Ford Rivers, give to students every year. I like that Mina contrasted Quin and Vida's personalities with their god designation. Sadly, they don't seem to have the usual powers like flying or invisibility, although Quin seems to be able to read minds or send messages via telepathy. I had fun reading about Ford Rivers, too, because it sounds a lot like the college I went to! Of course there were a few differences, but I really felt like I was back in college. In fact, I was imagining the characters moving in my alma mater as I read the book.
The Interim Goddess of Love was a smooth ride. Honestly, it didn't make me feel so kilig (this Filipino term does not have a direct English translation, but for lack of a better term: giddy - in a romantic way) and I didn't get hooked into the book as easily as I did with Mina Esguerra's other books (like My Imaginary Ex), but I decided to keep on reading. You know what? I finished the book with a smile on my face.
I cannot recall, at the moment, reading a book with a similar plot. I like that the ending does not feel forced. I also appreciate that Mina didn't push Quin and Hannah together, no matter how much they look cute together. There's also another guy for Hannah, Robbie, and he's just a normal mortal who likes her and even saved her. So maybe they're more suited for each other, them being both normal mortals, and Hannah is just the interim goddess after all. Wait, the mechanics of her being an interim goddess wasn't explained much in the book. Hopefully, this god-goddess factors will be explained more in the second book, Queen of the Clueless....more
Almost DNF'd this book. I truly felt bad for Frank in the end, even though it's what you would call a happy ending, because I didn't feel that Quinn tAlmost DNF'd this book. I truly felt bad for Frank in the end, even though it's what you would call a happy ending, because I didn't feel that Quinn truly loved him. Glenn and Dottie were way more interesting, while Quinn just kept whining and bemoaning howher life hasn't changed when she hasn't done anything to make her life any different.
I love Beth Harbison's books, but Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger just didn't do it for me....more
You know how sometimes, you just need a light book to pass away the time, and to just read something that's not oOriginally posted in My Book Musings.
You know how sometimes, you just need a light book to pass away the time, and to just read something that's not overly dramatic or too serious and make you feel emotionally heavy? Well, Picture Perfect was just what I needed after a long week. It was relaxing, easy to read, with the story just flowing from page to page. I found myself not thinking about any other book, clinging to the easy vibes I was getting from this.
Emily is a high school senior, about to attend college come September. She usually takes vacations with her family and her parents' group of friends, who all went to Linden. She is great friends with the children of her parents' friends, Heather, Adam, and Spencer. I love that there was no unnecessary drama and conflict among the four of them, barring the romantic feelings Emily has been feeling for Spencer. I think it's great that Catherine Clark wrote them as good friends instead of making them out as enemies.
I felt like the story was a coming-of-age story of Emily, as she slowly sheds her parents' expectations to do ballet and explore what she actually wants to do, and how dating is like. It was really refreshing to see someone so clueless about flirting and so shy about it, as lately all the girls in the books seem quite bold and upfront. Plus, she was so gutsy, finding the balls to admit to Spencer she likes him...twice.
One of the things I liked about reading Picture Perfect is I'm reminded and feel involved in other love stories, without getting my heart broken. Haha sorry, who ever enjoyed having their heart broken? Plus, I'm happy I got a happy ending. Although sometimes I do wish the characters wouldn't end up together, just so the story would be different and stand out. Is it just me who feels this way or are there other readers out there who wishes the same thing?
I think the best character I like in the story though is not Emily, but Heather. I admire her strength, especially facing her father's friends like that. It must have been quite painful for her seeing all her dad's buddies having fun and being reminded of her dad when he was alive. However, despite her strength, she shows her human side when she cries. I'm glad she's also brave enough to cry, and that Adam and Spencer were real nice to her when she did. Some guys just feel so helpless and act like jerks instead, or flee, at the sight of a woman's tears.
Not much can be said about Adam, he was not as active in the story as Spencer and Heather. He is portrayed as quite the athlete, with a smoking bod and seems to be protective and nice. I do wonder why he and Heather were not made into a couple, but maybe that would just be so cliche?
Spencer is bookish. Your type of guy, ladies? He brings along a book almost everywhere and he volunteered to rebuild houses. He also seems to be protective, as evidenced when he keeps coming to Emily's rescue. He also displays his sensitive side as he opens up to Emily about his past heartbreak, his other secrets, and the letter he writes to her. I like that he finally "manned" up in the end. I understand how awkward that would have been. I sure hope they didn't break up in the end. Wait, they're not real characters, but every character I read makes me think that they're real and I can't help but fantasize that they all lived their happily-ever-afters. Am I alone in this one?
Fans of light reads, chick lit YA, or those just looking for something to pass the time pleasurably, just might enjoy Picture Perfect. I have to admit the cover didn't really interest me, I just needed something to read, and I chose something from Catherine Clark because I enjoyed The Day I Met Him, the book she wrote for the Love Stories series (remember that one? I still collect those!) but I have no regrets about choosing this one!
There are some books that leave you with a pleasant feeling after finishing the book, and From This Day Forward is one such book. I didn't really know what to expect from the book but I decided to give it a chance. All I know is that it's about two people getting married, but I wasn't sure if they'd actually end up together.
The book is a quiet, gentle read that takes you through different stories. It was a great morning companion for me, letting me have my peace while not emotionally affecting me too much. I can imagine myself at the beach (preferably Boracay!), under the umbrella shade or coconut trees, basking in the moment while reading From This Day Forward as I wait for the afternoon heat to pass by. I picked it up and didn't put the book down once. I just found myself reading along, caught up in Marla Miniano's talented story weaving.
There is a Table of Contents, with different titles per chapter. But then it turns out they aren't exactly conventional chapters after all; the book is actually a collection of several short stories, with some being told from the first point of view, and others were narrated, but every main character was connected to Nicholas and Nola. The titles are, in order: Homecoming, Safe and Brave, The Only Single Girl on New Year's Eve, The Middle, It's Complicated, A Very Strange Aversion, and House Tour.
I thought the first chapter was about Nola's relationship with her mom, but it was so much more than that. It was about Nola's relationship with her mother as well as the strength of her mother being tested with Nola's announcement of her engagement. I think the point of the chapter was that Mrs. Montano is starkly reminded of her failed marriage, and perhaps her fear that Nola's might end up unhappily, too. But like a good mother, she faced her fears and congratulated her only child.
Of all the chapters, I think I liked the second one, Safe and Brave, which is about Mrs. Roces' dislike of Nola for her son Nicholas. She thinks that Nola is too unkempt, too carefree, not caring about anyone else. She had to face her old lover, her very first strong love, to get back her heirloom rings to give to her son Nicholas. While reading the chapter, I realized why Mrs. Roces doesn't like Nola -- she was too much like Raphael, her old lover, her crazy, big love at one point in her life. I'm glad though that she did not get in between Nicholas and Nola. Some mothers try to intervene, try to break up the engagement. But her, no matter how afraid she was that Nicholas and Nola might end up estranged, she still supported them and even gave them a sweet note.
I was able to relate to The Only Single Girl on New Year's Eve and The Middle, not because someone I loved suddenly died and I was left all alone, or that I was in a relationship where cheating occurred, but it did remind me of my first two relationships. I thought we were going to last forever and ever. But with my first ex, one day it was just over. No warnings; I didn't see it coming. We never talked again after the breakup day, but for months I was lost. I stopped eating and lost so much weight. I couldn't understand why it ended the way it did. In a way, I felt like my ex died. And it took me, regretfully, more than four years to get over that one year and one month relationship. But eventually, I did. Thank God.
It's Complicated also took me by surprise. It was just a chapter of poems, all signalling how Nola felt at one point. In one of the poems, there were hints that Nicholas did something wrong in the past, but he tried so hard to change ("You are better now, don't fumble"). The line feels like a tall order, but maybe it was needed for him to move forward; to succeed; to move on. Sometimes we need to be told that we cannot fail so we can save our own self; so that we will not wallow in the past.
A Very Strange Aversion was a fast forward to the future. This was about Laura, Nicholas' cousin, who used to dislike Nola. In the end, they became quite good friends. Her story is too good for me to spoil for you. But in true Laura style, it was crazy and not out of character for her.
Last is House Tour, fast forward to 20 years into the future. The narrator is the unnamed daughter of Nola and Nicholas. At this, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Nola and Nicholas did last. There were also some tidbits of how Laura eventually ended up. And her story is so real, it can happen to anyone.
Nicholas sounded like the perfect guy, but it felt like he was just pressured to be one. Or at least he was actually a jerk prior to meeting Nola but he tried to change, to be better. They were opposites of each other, but they sounded like they were just what the other needed to be balanced out.
What I find missing in the story is what happened to the other characters. Did Mrs. Montano move on from her husband, or did Nola's dad come back to her mom? Although that's highly unlikely. I'm hoping Mrs. Montana was able to move on. Did the best friend find another love? Did she let herself truly move on? Did Annika find someone else? I wish these were answered, not because the story was lacking or feels incomplete, but because I have come to like them and hope that they have found relief from their broken hearts.
Before I end my review, I would just like to give props to the cover. Even the cover is understated, but still exuding femininity and gentleness. No drama. Plus, I like the material used for the cover as it feels more sturdy, unlike other paperback books.
Not all books need to be dramatic to make an impact, to be recommendable. Sometimes, we just need a gentle book to pass the time and still give us good vibes, or inspire all these questions, that maybe you don't even know you need to affirm for yourself. For lovers of chick lits, or those who love a good story (or five), or those who just devour romance, do give From This Day Forward a try. It is currently available at all National Bookstores nationwide. Also, do check out other Summit Books online.
After reading the book, I suddenly remembered that not every relationship lasts; we don't always end up with THAT one person who made us feel so much joy, happiness, or even grief. I ended up sending my friend several questions about love, mostly inspired by Safe and Brave, which I will now leave you with:
What if you found the one you feel so passionately, madly, crazy about, but you end up parting ways (for whatever reason), and he's your one big love, but someone else comes along and the relationship feels right .
Is it a matter of choosing to love the new person as much as you did the first one?
Or do you think we can only feel that one big passionate crazy love once in our lives?
Very cute story. I read it for an hour, and throughout that time I was just so caught up. My sister tried talking to me, and I was just like "hmmmm. hVery cute story. I read it for an hour, and throughout that time I was just so caught up. My sister tried talking to me, and I was just like "hmmmm. hmmm..." so she gave up. Hehe....more
Cupcakes on the cover is almost a guarantee that I’ll be checking it out. I was actually checking out another booOriginally posted on My Book Musings.
Cupcakes on the cover is almost a guarantee that I’ll be checking it out. I was actually checking out another book then I saw When in Doubt, Add Butter as one of the recommended books (and since it had a cupcake on it), I read the plot. Finally, I was able read the book, and I am so glad that I did! It’s another one of my new favorites and I am looking forward to reading Beth Harbison’s other works.
I really liked a lot of the main characters in this novel. I liked Gemma and Mack, and even Gemma’s kooky clients such as Lex, Vlad, and Willa. This is such a feel-good book that reading it was so pleasant. I even ended the book with a smile on my face.
Gemma is one of those curvaceous (‘voluptuous’) women who used to be stick-thin but eventually had to let go and let herself have curves. I can so relate to that, except for the fact that I didn’t let myself have curves, hahaha. Anyway, she’s a great cook and is quite nice. She is also the type who works hard and tries to do her best. She’s so likeable!
‘Mack’ well…I figured out who he is early on into the game. And he seems to be nice. Plus, suddenly confronted with ‘that’ news, he handled it like a man. I have to give props for a man who proves himself as such. And I just love a man who knows how to take care of his woman and knows how to deal with kids! It’s really such an attractive trait.
Of all Gemma’s clients, I think Vlad is the most…surprising. He wasn’t who I initially thought him to be, but he was endearing nonetheless. Like a diamond in the rough, eh? Lex is also very likeable because, well, he’s nice to Gemma. His contentment with what he had in life was also different because I’m usually surrounded with people (including myself) who just wants more, more, more.
The plot was simple. Harbison did not try to do so much with her story. It was easy to read and the story flowed smoothly from one chapter to another. It was another one of those books I could just not put down easily. Another one that was different about this plot, by the way, is that she’s already almost 40 and single. Most chick lit I read are usually about 20+ years old or almost 30. This was somehow more adult but I was still able to relate to it (I’m 24).
If you’re looking for something different, something lighthearted, and something simple, I invite you to try this nice and pleasant story about a woman who had to confront her past and accept the future, ending up with a nice man along the way. I’m looking forward to reading her other books and I hope it does not disappoint.