There was a time in my life when I pored over fashion blogs, especially those blogs where the authors showcased the ou...moreOriginal post from One More Page
There was a time in my life when I pored over fashion blogs, especially those blogs where the authors showcased the outfits they made with half the items from thrift store shopping (aka ukay-ukay). I can count the number of times I went thrift store shopping with one hand, so I am a little envious with those people who seem to score so much good stuff in these stores while I can't seem to find any. I think this is some sort of talent, or you know, you just haveto devote more time in it so you can actually find something. Anyway, it's been a long time since I last scoured thrift shops, and reading Agay's Vintage Love kind of made me want to go do it again.
We meet Crissy Lopez in Vintage Love- a 26-year-old producer from a local network, whose life needs a serious make-over. Her usual wardrobe consists of jeans and sneakers, and her schedule gives her little free time for herself. To top it off, she's still hung up over her ex. When her stylish grandmother passes away, leaving her with all funky vintage items, Crissy decides to do something with her life. But what will she do if her past decides to catch up on her just as she is making progress? Can she make that leap to leave it all behind?
Vintage Love is as cute as its paper-doll cover. I liked Crissy from the start -- she seemed like a very smart heroine who is caught up with her career, and it's something that I think everyone her age can relate to. I liked how she was passionate for her art, but not really her job, and how she went for what she really wanted to do as the story went on. Plus, there was more to Crissy than just the romance -- the story had her really trying to improve herself, and the romance seemed to just come along as a bonus. The secondary characters in the book were also quite interesting, with the sort-of subplot for her best friend, Bea. This subplot wasn't intrusive and it fit the story well, and it makes me want to have a little spin-off for her too. Mama Maring is another secondary character I really liked, and her presence in the novel was really felt even if she wasn't really there.
The romance angle is cute and swoony and I really liked the text messages part, where lead interest, Vince, tried to cheer her up. Hee, I liked it because that thing was one of those "moves" back in college, when text quotes were still the "in" thing. Using that style in the story just fits in the whole vintage thing. The romance was pretty grounded and realistic, and it gave the characters enough space for their attraction and their relationship to develop, and even heal from whatever issues they both had. We can learn a lot with what Crissy went through, and the story's lesson on choice. My favorite quote in the book sums it up very well:
At any given moment, at any given struggle, you always had a choice. Even happiness was a choice.
Vintage Love is not just a romance story, but also a story of strength and recovery, finding yourself and going for what you love. You don't have to be a fan of vintage stuff to appreciate this novel. I think we all have a little bit of Crissy in us, and I hope that after reading this book, our inner Crissy's will find the strength to take a leap of faith, too. :)(less)
I've been in a reading rut in the past month because I was too busy doing something else, and that "something else" is...moreOriginal post from One More Page
I've been in a reading rut in the past month because I was too busy doing something else, and that "something else" is writing my novella. I took my own sweet time reading our book club's book of the month because I couldn't focus on it, and I didn't have any desire to read anything else that isn't contemporary romance because it was all my mind can handle that time. When one of our classmates in #romanceclass released her book into the wild last week, I automatically bought it and loaded it into my Kindle. For one, it's contemporary romance, which is just what I need; it's Filipino; and finally, it's a classmate's work, so I should support! (Plus, look at that gorgeous cover!) I finished reading this in a day, and when I was done, I found myself thinking, "What reading rut?"
In Chrissie Peria's All's Fair in Blog and War, we meet Five Cuevas, a virtual assistant by night and travel blogger the rest of the time, reading an email from the Macau Tourism Board inviting her for an all-expense paid trip to Macau. It was something I would joyfully jump into, and Five does the same thing. It was exciting, until she meets Jesse Ruiz, the photoblogger who gets in her way and on her nerves. She's determined not to let him ruin her trip, but it's proving just a bit hard when she was partnered with him for the rest of the trip.
Okay, this is fun. So much fun. I love books with blogging, regardless of whatever kind of blogging that is. I love Five's voice, and her passion for traveling and writing about it. I love the entire set-up and how she and Jesse met, and how their relationship grew in the story. It was a short trip, but it was believable, and reading the story made me want to go to Macau, or at least, find myself some egg tarts! There were so many lines in the book that made me smile, and it's no surprise that I breezed through it because I just wanted to keep on reading to know what happens to them in the end.
Granted, the story could be longer, and there could have been more tension, but for a quick and light read, All's Fair in Blog and Warreally works. It's the kind you'd want to read on a trip, or the kind you'd recommend to a friend who's going on a trip (I did that), or the kind you'd recommend to a friend who's looking for a light read (I also did this). I was happy with the ending, and how they got to the ending, especially for a social media/blogging junkie like me. :P If you're a blogger, a traveler or a reader (or, maybe even all) who is looking for a light and sweet contemporary romance fix, then All's Fair in Blog and War is a book for you. :)(less)
I discovered Lani Diane Rich back around 2008, when I was searching for writers who published their NaNoWriMo novels....moreOriginal post from One More Page
I discovered Lani Diane Rich back around 2008, when I was searching for writers who published their NaNoWriMo novels. I managed to get copies of her books and loved it, but they were always so hard to find that I sort of gave up on completing her entire backlist. I have very fond memories of reading The Fortune Quilt, and wishing that I could write something so funny and still so real like that. So now that I am actually in a romance writing class (long story, will talk about it next time), I decided to stock up on books in the genre. I stumbled into Lani Diane Rich again, and was very happy to finally get another one of her books.
Tessa Scuderi knew it's wrong to lie, but if it's a lie that would make her keep custody of her younger sister, then she would stick by it. Especially when it also means that she would forget about her best friend and first love, Dermot Finnegan, who had left with her car, her virginity and the town bell after their last escapade. But when she finds her old car parked in front of her house, Tessa realizes that Finn is back, and her life is turned upside down again.
Reading The Comeback Kiss reminds me of my reading experiences with Sarah Addison Allen and Kristan Higgins. There's the small town charm with lots of really fun secondary characters, just like Sarah Addison Allen's novels, and then there's the laugh-out-loud scenes and swoony romance of a Kristan Higgins novel. The Comeback Kiss is a fun read, and it's comforting because it's fluffy, but not too fluffy that it's almost just brain candy. This isn't just another romance novel, but it had real emotions, and real complications of past choices and repercussions of the characters' actions.
I think the best part of this book is how Finn and Tessa were portrayed, especially with their friendship. Their love story is one that is borne out of years of friendship, and it made sense how they both knew each other so well that they were not just lovers (complicated lovers, but still) but also best friends. One of my favorite passages in the book describes just that:
...Finn yelled, "I gots Tootsie Rolls!" from the sidewalk where he stood watching. Tessa froze in her spot, staring at him, transfixed...The next day, Finn stole a bag of Tootsie Rolls from the corner market and went to Tessa's house, where he found out that she was four years old and that her favorite color was yellow. They'd been friends ever since.
The friendship angle gives their relationship more credibility, and it was fun reading their interactions and how Finn saw himself and how Tessa saw Finn and how he saw her. Ah, it had just the right amount of mush, and it was realistic enough to know that love isn't always rainbows and butterflies, even if you know each other very well.
While there's nothing really completely new with the story as far as the romance goes, I think The Comeback Kiss is still a completely enjoyable book. It put me in the proper writing/outlining state of mind when I finished reading it, enough to submit one assignment for my romance writing class. :) (less)
When a couple gets married, it's easy to think that only their lives will change since they're really the star the wed...moreOriginal post from One More Page
When a couple gets married, it's easy to think that only their lives will change since they're really the star the wedding and the marriage that comes after. It's easy to think that way since all spotlight is turned to them, but have we ever considered what happens to the lives of the people around them? Case in point: one of my closest friend's sister got married last December, and she told me that she and their youngest sister spent the next few days crying because they missed their sister so much. You'd think the sister who got married was all happy because she was now living with her husband, but no -- the married sister was also crying her eyes out of homesickness and separation anxiety for the people at home.
There wasn't much drama in my home when my brother got married, although it did take me a little time to get used to the fact that I can't just barge into the condo where my brother lives anytime I want, or he can't stay too late at our house because he has another home now. Oh, don't get me wrong -- I love my sister-in-law and there's no discord among us. I just needed some time to adjust to the fact that my brother's priorities had changed, which meant ours had to as well.
This is what Marla Miniano's latest book, From This Day Forward, talk about -- how the lives of the people around the couple are also changed once two people decide to get married. Similar to one of her previous books, Table for Two, From This Day Forwardcontains interconnected stories that revolve around a major catalyst: main characters Nala and Nicholas' decision to get married. There's the story of Nala's mom when Nala tells her that she was engaged, and Nicholas' mom who goes off to see an old flame after finding out about the engagement. There's Nala's best friend, who lost the guy she loved and could never get him back, to Nala's cousin who had a complicated relationship with her boyfriend's best friend...who is also incidentally, the groom. The stories are told in different formats and styles -- the straightforward storytelling, third and second person POV, poetry, letters and diary entries -- but all revolving around the two main characters, their families and their friends.
If you've read Marla's Table for Two, From This Day Forwardhas a pretty similar structure, but instead of absolutely random characters who have little connections, we have a cast that have better connections with each other. I liked that about this book, and I felt that it was easier to get into the story of these people because of the closer connections. As usual, there's a certain elegance with the way Marla writes, each word chosen with care to deliver the right punch, but not too flowery that it feels too dramatic. I reveled in these words, and the characters jumped out at me, almost like they were real people instead of just people from a 144-page book. It feels like readers will relate to a bit of each story here, or maybe even find a friend in one of the characters.
I liked From This Day Forwarda bit more than I liked Table for Two because of the stronger connections, although I felt that the last story could have tied up the loose ends from the other characters better. But if we were to be realistic, anyway, when did loose ends in life ever tie up neatly? I liked how Marla ended the book with a quote from her first novel, almost like she was paying a homage of sorts to where she started:
Matter occupies space, and I know -- I guess I always have -- that I can only have space for the things that matter.
After reading this book, I realized that I have become a Marla Miniano completist too. :) I guess it was the right timing too because soon after I got this, I met her in person when I attended her Letters Out Loud event and had my copy signed:
So if you're looking for a quick, romantic and sentimental read, or if you have someone close to you who's tying the knot soon and you're feeling some kind of jitters but don't know why, then you probably want to pick up a copy of From This Day Forward. :)(less)
Daphne Sweeten is a professional nose -- by that, we mean she's a chemist who is trained to be a perfume creator. When...moreOriginal post from One More Page
Daphne Sweeten is a professional nose -- by that, we mean she's a chemist who is trained to be a perfume creator. When she gets stood up on her wedding day, though, her sense of smell disappears. Trying to piece her life back together, she works for a small company in Ohio, hoping to get her sense of smell back and fly back to Paris, which she gave up for the supposed love of her life. But her new job requires her nose, too, and her new boss, Jesse, doesn't seem to notice that she cannot smell anything. They're not creating perfume anyway -- she can definitely do this, right?
I've always considered Kristin Billerbeck books as a comfort read ever since I read and liked her Ashley Stockingdale series years ago. It's been years since I last read a Billerbeck book, but even so, it was easy enough for me to get immersed in the book. There's a certain familiarity in the way she writes, in her characters and her stories that makes her books easy reading, hence the comfort read label. :)
The Scent of Rain has that Billerbeck formula -- a girl who has some sort of romantic fiasco, a guy who's all bad news for her and a guy who's obviously good for her. Then there's the supporting cast: the best friend, the family (who, more often than not, cares for the main character in a really strange way), and the church group who will help her get back on track. And there's the villain, who we all hate, but we will eventually understand, because of something that will happen. This book has all the common ingredients in a nice and clean chick lit novel, with the bonus factor of the main character's job, a perfume specialist. I really liked the scent aspect of the book, and it gave me a whole new perspective with how to scents work with our senses. And I agree -- scents can bring memories! I remember holding on to a perfume bottle for so long because it reminded me of this particular memorable event in my life. :)
It's a very enjoyable read, and I found myself rooting for Daphne and wishing that Jesse would finally make that step to move their relationship forward. I liked the set-up, though, and their relationship seemed very organic despite the short time they spent. There was just the right swoon, too, but not too much that it's too cheesy. It was fun, but not mindless and it's clean but not too prudish.
I think my only complaint is that certain event in the end that brought about the big changes -- it felt a little too convenient despite it being a bit surprising, bordering on being a deus ex machina. But other than that, I really enjoyed reading The Scent of Rain. It's not super duper amazing, but it's good, and it makes me want to start looking for my own personal scent.
Reading this book ma makes me want to revisit the Ashley Stockingdale series to see if I still like it as much as I did on my first (and second) reads. Hmm.(less)
For a moment there, I thought this was kind of a paranormal thing, because of the name of the main character. It wasn't...moreOriginal post at One More Page
For a moment there, I thought this was kind of a paranormal thing, because of the name of the main character. It wasn't -- it was really a story of how Artemis, also known as Em, found love in an almost unexpected place and then lost it just as unexpectedly. We follow Em in her college and working years as she struggled to let go, and as the short blurb says, finds herself in the process.
Artemis Lets Go is very readable, and it reminded me of my favorite time in my life -- my college days. If I wasn't mistaken, I would've thought the org that Em joined was my old org in college (one I did not stay in for a long time), because everything was just so familiar. The book had a general wistful tone at the start as we get into Em's story, followed by a hopeful note when things started resolving for her.
That being said, though, I'm afraid I didn't find much to rave about in the book. It was exactly what the blurb says, and there wasn't much surprise factor in the book. I appreciated it because it was familiar and it was very easy to read, but I feel that maybe I would be the only one who would appreciate it among my friends, except if they happen to be going through the exact same thing.
Nevertheless, I thought it was pretty okay. Needs a bit more length and plot twists, but overall a quick an easy read.(less)
When I spotted Somebody to Love in Netgalley, I immediately requested it, having enjoyed Until There Was You last year....moreOriginal post at One More Page
When I spotted Somebody to Love in Netgalley, I immediately requested it, having enjoyed Until There Was You last year. I wasn't really planning to read this soon, but then I started and got to know Parker (and the Holy Rollers!) and I just couldn't stop. Somebody to Love introduces Parker Harrington Welles, a children's book writer who relies on the trust fund she had and building her world around her one and only son. She is essentially rich, but she didn't really live as a rich girl. Which was fortunate, because when her father got jailed for an insider-trading scheme, Parker is left penniless save for what she had now and a house left to her name by an estranged aunt. Thinking she could easily sell the house for extra money to start again, she was surprised to find that the house was more of a shack and it needs a lot of work. Enter James Cahill, one of her father's lawyers, who was asked to help Parker with whatever she needed. Parker had always been annoyed at James not only because of a shared history, and she really wished he wasn't there...except that he's proven to be helpful in fixing the house. That, and he's looking pretty...well, hot is the only word to describe it.
This is only my second Higgins book but she's slowly becoming my go-to read for anything light and fluffy but not too light and fluffy. I loved Parker for being a writer, and for being an all-around pretty good person despite the fortune she had in her name. Here's a girl focused on her career and her family, and it was a refreshing thing to read. I liked her wit, and I know this is weird, but I liked that she talked to herself because I do the same thing too! 'Talking aloud, the writer's affliction.' So that explains it! :P
I haven't read the other Higgins book set in Gideon's Cove, Maine (Catch of the Day -- which Angie recently reviewed) so I wasn't introduced to this place, but reading it in Somebody to Love was a very lovely experience! The small-town charm, the diner, how everyone knows each other -- I want to go there! Of course, everyone knowing each other isn't always a good thing, but I guess I wouldn't mind if Vin, Maggie and the others are there. My favorite scene in this book is the part where Parker first enters the diner and sees everyone in town there -- for what reason? It's for you to find out. :)
Of course, I can't not mention the romance in this book. I've been getting very lucky with the romance in the books I've been reading -- almost all the books I read lately have this slow-burn romance going for them, and Somebody to Love is no exception. While James and Parker have a history that I wasn't really much of a fan of, the development of their relationship was such a pleasure to read that I can't help but giggling every now and then. I liked that James wasn't just a token hot guy, but a character with his own hang ups and history and had his own story going for him. He's an individual completely different from Parker, and reading their conversations and watching their relationship grow was the best part of the book.
Somebody to Love is definitely a mood-lifter, and it's a great book to read in between serious books or when you just want to be lost in a good romance in a pretty place with interesting neighbors to boot. :) After this, I am definitely getting the two other Higgins books that this was spun from - Catch of the Day and The Next Best Thing. And then I will work my way through the rest of Kristan Higgins' back list. :)(less)
I read and enjoyed Tweet Sering's non-fiction essay anthology, Astigirl, early this year, so I was on the lookout for t...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I read and enjoyed Tweet Sering's non-fiction essay anthology, Astigirl, early this year, so I was on the lookout for the ebook release of her novel, Wander Girl. I believe this book has been published in print before but is now unavailable, so the ebook version was the best thing to come along, especially since I felt like I would like Tweet's other writings.
And you know what, I was right.
Hilda Gallares is also stuck in her own rut right after graduating college. Stuck in a dead-end job and a seemingly dead-end relationship, she knows that her life is not the one she had dreamed of back in college. After a pregnancy scare, Hilda sets off and tries to find herself, her dream job and her ideal man...but the question is, is she doing it right? And will her wander girl tendencies lead her to where she really wants to be?
I read Wander Girlovernight, and I can't really remember the circumstances that led me to reading it that fast, except maybe that I was in some kind of personal rut. I figured I needed to do my own soul searching and also escape (it's a paradox, but I think some of you will get it), so what better way to do that than to look for good local chick lit, right? Chick lit is about a woman finding herself, right? The book is written in a book format -- meaning we are reading a book written by Hilda herself, not just the Wander Girlnovel. I don't know about others, but this made me enjoy the book immensely because it feels like I am actually reading something a fictional character wrote. Here we get a glimpse of Hilda's family and her friends, which sets up the entire stage for her story to unfold.
I liked Hilda from the start, but I honestly don't think I see myself in her. Okay, I see a bit of myself, but I think Hilda is just a little wilder than I am, which is saying a lot, since Hilda never really considered herself wild. But I liked her, she's such a likable character. Her friends and family are definite characters too that I just really liked reading about them. Also, everything Hilda goes through is so fitting for those who are experiencing quarter-life crisis. While the experiences may not be similar, I thought Tweet Sering captured the despair and the feeling of wanting to do something meaningful in one's life perfectly. I could change a few details in Hilda's story and it could be my story just as easily.
I also liked how Filipino this book was, not just with the injection of Filipino words and expressions (a glossary is provided in the ebook copy), but with the values and themes it discussed: leaving home to live alone (not really something people would do here), family matters and even religion. I especially liked how religion and settling down factored in the story, and laughed so much at that particular scene where Hilda just breaks down and acknowledges this. You'll have to read it to believe it. Hee. All the laughter!
I really, really enjoyed Wander Girl, and in a way, it gave me hope for my quarter-life woes. Like I said, there's nothing like theright chick lit to cure me of some QLC. I especially liked this final quote (not spoilery, don't worry!):
Because the best thing about wandering off, I have found, is coming home.
I don't think I'm really wandering off, but I can say that I'm my own wander girl in a different sense. I think we all are. :)
I don't know if Tweet Sering is writing another novel, but if she is, I will definitely read it when it comes out. If I may request -- a spin-off for Hannah, the youngest Gallares sister? I feel like she needs a story of her own. :) (less)
I've never read any Kristan Higgins, but I've read about her in the reviews of my other book blogger friends. It's been...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I've never read any Kristan Higgins, but I've read about her in the reviews of my other book blogger friends. It's been a while since I last read a chick lit book, so when I heard that Higgins' latest book is available in Netgalley and that it was very entertaining, I decided to get it for some light reading.
Cordelia Osterhagen, also known as Posey, is pretty happy with her life. She has a business that she loves, her family is kooky but fun and she even has a sort-of boyfriend. Never mind that this sort-of boyfriend is owner of her parents' restaurant rival. Then she finds out that Liam Murphy is back in town, and it rocks her world. See, Liam is the guy who broke her heart sixteen years ago, and she felt that she never really got over it. Now that he is back, Posey is determined to not be affected by his charms, but it's proving to be very, very difficult.
They were right -- this was a fun and light novel. I loved the entire quirky town of Bellsford. It reminded me of those Southern towns I've read in other chick lit books I liked. I also love Posey's family and friends, especially his gay brother and his partner. :) I also loved Posey's business and her colleagues and her pets! Everything about the novel is so positively charming that it wasn't hard not to fall in love with it.
The build up for the romance is my favorite in this novel. Posey and Liam both have their own issues, but the scenes they had together and their banter are so entertaining to read that I can't help but smile. I especially liked how Posey gets to her realization about Liam and how she stands up for herself even if it means she could get her heart broken by the same guy again. It was also fun to be inside Liam's head so we know he is not just your ordinary bad guy. Also, thank you for the fade to black scenes. :)
Until There Was You is really a fun and light novel, but not so much that it doesn't have an impact. I am definitely stocking more Kristan Higgins' novels in case I am in the mood for something to cheer me up in between serious reads. :)(less)
I've been a fan of Camy Tang ever since I heard about her and read the first book in her Sushi series, Sushi For One?. I...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I've been a fan of Camy Tang ever since I heard about her and read the first book in her Sushi series, Sushi For One?. I liked that she wrote chick lit with an Asian flavor, and while I'm not Chinese/Japanese like her heroines are, I find that I could relate to the family and growing up woes that the four cousins experienced. And they're Christian, too, so the stories resonate with my faith.
Unfortunately, Camy's contract for the Sushi series only covers 3 books, so only Lex's, Trish's and Venus' stories came out in full-length novels. Fortunately, Camy announced a few years back that she would be releasing a novella about Jennifer, the fourth cousin. Imagine my delight when she sent her street team a free copy. :)
Jennifer Lim is the nicest among the cousins, so nice that she knows she can be a doormat sometimes. When she finally graduated from her culinary degree, she finds herself pressured with having to fulfill some family "duties" that her aunts had pressed upon her. After a particularly bad party with an encounter with her ex, Jenn finally stands up for herself and starts a catering company. This starts her adventure that brings Jenn into learning that it takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams and even more to leave those dreams and trust that God will make things happen.
It felt nice reuniting with Camy's characters again. I love the bond that Lex, Trish, Venus and Jenn had, and how they would always be there for one another no matter what. I also loved and hated their family. I don't know how Chinese/Japanese families really are, but their Aunty Aikiko really grated my nerves. How can a relative be so manipulating and conniving and just...annoying? Ugh. It almost felt a bit unreal with that aspect, but who knew, right? Maybe people like that do exist.
I like how things came into somewhat of a full circle in this novella. While this could be read as a standalone, like the first three, but I think reading all of them would provide a fuller experience with the story. I always find back stories interesting, so knowing what happened to who in previous books while reading this one helped a lot in appreciating the events in this more. I especially liked how one of their cousins seemed to be friendlier to them now, and how their grandmother played a surprising role too.
The only thing I probably did not like in Weddings and Wasabi was how short it was! I missed the build up in the old novels, especially in the romantic sense, so I was a little detached from the romance here unlike in the others. It did provide for a good, quick and light read, but I was definitely hungry for more. :)(less)
I read and enjoyed Sandra D. Bricker's other book, Always the Baker, Never the Bride last year, and I honestly had no idea that this was a part of a series. So when I saw the galley for this book on Netgalley, I was pleasantly surprised. The first book wasn't a favorite, but I liked it enough for me to get the sequel and read it in between pages of a ghost story I was also currently reading.
In Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride (which will be known as AWPNTB from now on -- what a long title), we meet an old friend of the heroine from the first book, Sherilyn Caine. She's a wedding planner and she fits right in the Tanglewood Hotel's wedding planning staff. Sherilyn is also moving back home to get married with her fiance, Andrew Drummond IV, who she has met only a few months ago. Their engagement was short, sure, but they love each other -- that should be enough right? But why is it that none of their wedding plans are pushing through?
AWPNTB is a fun read, especially since there are all those familiar characters that I liked last year. There was also the Southern charm that most Christian chick lit has, and it made me want to really see if Atlanta was as nice as it was written in these books. The book stays true to its wedding themes, too, and I liked the little wedding checklists written in between the chapters, as well as recipes that Emma the baker plays with.
This had more marriage and wedding stuff compared to the first book, so to be totally honest, I wasn't able to relate. Oh sure, I know a lot about weddings, given that my brother got married just last year and that he works as a wedding videographer, so I get regular doses of wedding magic. But being someone who has no plans of settling down anytime soon, I really couldn't relate to the things that Sherilyn worried about. I felt bad for her, yes, but that was just it. I can't really empathize -- not yet, anyway.
Okay, maybe I feel that way because Sherilyn and Andy seemed to be products of "insta-love", and I'm not really much of a fan of that. They knew each other for less than a year and then they're getting married -- how about that? But the good thing is, the issues about this quick engagement were tackled really well. The doubts, the quirks and the little issues that came up were addressed well, and even I was surprised with the last thing that ultimately gave Sherilyn and Andy reason to think about their relationship. I also liked how Sherilyn came into her final realization. It's sweet and I guess, true. Not that I would know now, of course, but I'd like to believe that it is. :)
Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride is a nice installment to the Emma Rae Creation series, even if it I wasn't able to relate to it that much. I dare say I will still pick up the next book, Always the Designer, Never the Bride. I wonder what crazy love-related and wedding antics the main characters will get into then?(less)
I wasn't sure what to expect with Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones because if I were to judge this book by its cover, it...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I wasn't sure what to expect with Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones because if I were to judge this book by its cover, it didn't give me the chick lit vibe. It gave me a romance novel vibe, sure, but not really chick lit. Am I the only one getting that? I want chick lit, but I'm not entirely sure if I wanted a romance novel -- if you get what I mean. Nevertheless, I requested this from NetGalley because the blurb seemed interesting despite its familiarity, and I heard good stuff about the author on Twitter.
Maybe it's the leftover February air that made me start reading this, and once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Save the Date starts with Lucy Wiltshire dancing around her kitchen, preparing a meal for her boyfriend Matt, expecting a proposal coming very soon. However, she was crushed when Matt says he's choosing his job over her, and he had to move away, just as when Lucy can't leave her hometown because she was about to open her foster home for adolescent girls, Saving Grace.
Fast forward two years later, Lucy seems to be doing well, until life decided to throw her a curve ball: she loses funding for her foster home and she needs money, quick. Enter old schoolmate and rich boy Alex Sinclair who was running for Congress. A chance encounter between the two gave Alex a good image for the election, so he proposes to Lucy: they would pretend to be a couple and get engaged to boost Alex's image, and Lucy gets paid to be his fake fiancee, enough to fund Saving Grace for years to come. Left with no choice, Lucy says yes, praying that she wasn't making a mistake. As they play along with the lie, demons from the past surface and they find out that God's plans are higher than our plans and He can work His purpose even in our flimsy human plans.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. This had the same vibe as A Billion Reasons Why but it has less of the Southern drawl and more of real and sympathetic characters. I liked Lucy from the start -- she's a darling, but she was far from a weakling. She's been toughened up by the hardships she experienced in her life and even if she suffers from a big inferiority complex, her heart is always in the right place. I admire her passion for the girls she's caring for and her fierce loyalty to what she believes in, even if sometimes it comes off as stubbornness. While I'm not much taken by Alex's described good looks and his charisma, I thought he was good for Lucy. He is far from perfect which I really appreciated, and I'm sure his faults and his growth in the story is something that other people have experienced. I liked how their relationship developed and how they saw each other in a better light despite the lie that they have built for their image. I lost count at how many times I sighed and wished that they'd realize that they were perfect for each other, and that one of them would make a move that would break the the pretend relationship they have so they could move into something real. Their banter was refreshing and witty, none of the gooey, over the top exchanges that didn't feel natural. I liked that even if it seemed like an outrageous story, everything in the story still felt real, like it could happen to anyone.
This modern-day Cinderella/The Princess Diaries-like story by Jenny B. Jones is definitely worth the read. I can't relate 100% with everything, but Save the Date shares important lessons on love, compassion, forgiveness and allowing God to work in our lives, and I think those concepts are pretty universal, anyway. While there's nothing really new in the premise, the characters, their voices and the author's humor shines through in the story, making this a very, very good read. :) I look forward to reading more of Jenny B. Jones' books.(less)
The release of Love Your Frenemies by Mina V. Esguerra totally made my Monday morning happier, and it also made me lose sleep because I couldn't put it down. I was so excited to read this that I put all other currently reads down, and the need to write my thoughts on feels more urgent than writing reviews for the two books that I need to review first. I can only think of two reasons why I have this urgency: it's because I really liked this book and I need to share my thoughts ASAP, and because I'm such a Mina fan. ;)
Love Your Frenemies features Kimberly Domingo, a familiar character for those who have read Mina's first book, My Imaginary Ex.For the uninitiated, Kimberly, also known as Kimmy, is the b*tch in her debut novel, the villain in Jasmine and Zack's romance. It's easy to hate her in that book as she was painted completely in black and white. More of a companion novel than a sequel (so you don't have to read My Imaginary Ex to understand this...spoiler warning for that novel, though, if you haven't read it!), this gives us a different picture of Kimmy, one year after she left after being dumped by Zack. Kimmy goes back home for her best friend's wedding, changed from her one year absence. Determined to start over, she slowly faces all the things she left behind -- her family, her Country Club friends, her old job. She's also ready to cut off the people she's declared toxic in her life, namely her bride-to-be best friend, Chesca, and her first love, hunky and charismatic Manolo.
I love spin-off stories featuring other characters, especially the villains, because it gives readers an entirely different perspective. It's also a great character study and a perfect example of how our first impressions of people don't tell us much. I like how Mina built Kimmy's back story here, making her less evil and just another person who had issues to deal with on her own, issues that happened to entangle other people. It shows that people aren't always black and white, but mostly gray.
I also liked that this one focused more on Kimmy's self-discovery and friendships than the romance. Oh sure, Manolo's hot (but I still find Lucas of Fairy Tale Fail hotter, LOL), but Kimmy's relationship with him wasn't the sole focusof the story. Love Your Frenemies isn't really just about love but about, well, frenemies. :) I liked how Mina made the other characters three-dimensional. Like the first Kimmy in My Imaginary Ex, some of them were easy to hate at first, but as the story unfolded, I started to somewhat understand why they did what they did, even if it's not what an ideal friend would do. I found myself feeling somewhat affectionate towards them in the end, and it further proves that people are not what you always believe them to be.
Love Your Frenemies is filled with flawed characters that paints a very accurate picture of how complicated and messy relationships -- family, friendships, and romantic ones -- are. It doesn't have any of those heart-stopping, tingle-inducing romance, but more of the introspection of a woman who's trying to build her life back from the mess that it has been and is determined not to make another mistake. The characters are far from perfect, and honestly I don't think they'd be my crowd, but they're definitely the kind of people that you'd want to be on your side even if they can be a pain in the neck more than half the time.
I think Love Your Frenemies show how much Mina really thinks about what she writes. It's difficult to give a voice to a villain and make her human and deserving of sympathy, but Mina does it almost effortlessly in her newest novel. Kimmy isn't your most lovable character, unlike Jasmine or Ellie or Carla from Mina's previous novels, but she's the type of character that will stay with you long after you've reached the last page, teaching us important lessons on discovering yourself, forgiveness and the ties that bind.
Highly recommended, and don't think I'm saying that only because I'm such a fan. ;)(less)
Ah, marriage. And engagement. Two things that I never really thought much about up until my brother got married. Now it feels like everyone around me is getting engaged or married. How many old female high school friends have changed their surnames (or at least, added their husband's surnames to their names? How many friends in high school and college have I seen change their status from "In a Relationship" to "Engaged"? Sometimes they take me totally by surprise, too, only because they seemed so timid and shy back when I know them and now they're getting married and starting their own families. It doesn't make me want to get married yet (well, maybe a teensy part of me wonders -- just a small part, because hello, I don't even have a boyfriend yet), but it makes me realize that maybe I am at that particular season of my life where everyone around me is getting married and I'm...not.
Talk about a chick lit novel. I knew my life can be qualified as a chick lit novel.
That may be one of the reasons I decided to read Kristin Billerbeck's newest novel for Valentine's weekend. Kristin Billerbeck wrote the Ashley Stockingdale series, one of my favorite Christian novel series, and I was thrilled to be able to request a copy of her newest book, A Billion Reasons Why, from Booksneeze.
Katie McKenna has been burned. Badly. She loved Luc DeForges with all her heart eight years ago, but he rejected her publicly, causing her to run away to build herself up again, even going to California shortly after her father died. Katie has found a new life in California with her best friend, teaching special kids. She was also about to be engaged to Dexter Hastings, a simple and stable man who wants to settle down and have a family like she does -- basically everything that Luc is not. However, in comes Luc again, now a multimillionaire and still with an oozing charisma that Katie could not resist, asking her to sing for his brother's wedding.
Truth be told, this felt a little bit harder to read to me compared to Ashley Stockingdale. The Ashley novels read a lot like Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series but with a geeky and Christian flavor. A Billion Reasons Why brought me into the world of New Orleans and 40's music and movies, things that I am not too entirely familiar or fond with. This definitely had the author's style, though -- the over thinking heroine, the hot guy who knew the right words, the other, somewhat boring guy, the in-your-face best friend and the somewhat crazy mothers. I had a hard time following the story and though, because I was plunged right into the action from the start. I spent almost half of the book wondering what exactly Luc did that embarrassed Katie? It also felt that some characters were quite inconsistent with their affections, like Eileen, Katie's best friend. She would rag on Luc then rag on Dexter, and she was really getting annoying at some point. Sometimes some of the characters felt a bit one-dimensional, particularly the one touted as the antagonist. It was an automatic dislike for the character from the very start. I think from the blurb alone, you know what's going to happen and who Katie is going to choose, and it really didn't give me much of a thrill when things unfolded in the book.
I wasn't quite sure if I liked the book when I finished it because the entire story didn't gel with me too much. I didn't feel much of a deep connection with any of the characters, and the story, while cute and interesting, didn't really give me too many "awww" or "aha" moments unlike the Ashley novels. Interestingly enough, I found that the book made much more sense a few days after I read it. I don't know if it's just me, but I think Luc's pursuit of Katie is the point. She was almost content with being someone she had to learn to love eventually than with someone she was in love and has loved ever since. Luc pursued her relentlessly despite all the people against him, not because he was afraid of losing her but because he knew what he wanted her. That makes all the difference in the world. He loved Katie and he wanted Katie, and he would do anything just to win her heart all over again to make up for the past mistakes. I especially liked what Katie's Mam told her, which is a pretty good advice for everyone, IMHO:
You know, Katie, you can plan so nothing goes wrong in life. But something will, and it won't be what you expected to go wrong. So make sure you're with someone who will help you bail the water out of the boat, not someone who will blame you for the hole. (p. 188)
Love isn't safe. And whoever you love will hurt you. It's part of the human experience. No one is perfect...people make mistakes. The secret is to focus on what they do right and decide what quirks you can live with. (p. 284)
Stability and good faith in a relationship is good, but without love, what's the use? And I don't think you can call it true love without the commitment and stability and faith.
A Billion Reasons Why isn't my favorite novel from Kristin Billerbeck, but it's a good book that talks about the complications of relationships and love and makes you think of your own convictions in that life aspect. It didn't make me want to get married anytime soon (heh), but it does make me want to go and pick up all the other Billerbeck novels I've missed. :) (less)
I have seen Miss Match first on my friend's bookshelf when she got back from her trip from the USA. I have been meaning...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I have seen Miss Match first on my friend's bookshelf when she got back from her trip from the USA. I have been meaning to borrow it for the longest time but I always forget to ask about it when we see each other. Then when I got my Kindle, I have been eying the book in the store, thinking if it was worth the splurge. Come Christmas, I saw it went down to less than $2 and so I finally got it for myself. I started reading it soon after I finished the creeps-inducing read that is Choker.
Miss Matchsounds and looks like everything there is to your typical chick lit. The pink cover with a girl and coffee cup is just the icing on the cake. Miss Match tells the story 23-year-old Laurie Holbrook who spends her free time making matches for her friends and family. Declaring herself to be single forever, she's decided instead to match her friends, particularly Nick, their singles pastor and Ruby, her time-conscious Type-A co-worker. As Laurie works her "magic", she makes new friends, learns a bit about how tricky relationships can be, and learns about God's sovereignty along the way.
Wow, when I wrote it that way, it sounds like a book that I would pick up, read, enjoy all throughout and pick up life and faith lessons afterward. It sounds like a book that I would write a long thoughtful review of, pointing out the things I would like to remember as a mental note. When I put it that way, it sounds like something I would thoroughly enjoy and recommend to all my other girl friends.
As much as I wished I could say I enjoyed Miss Match...it saddens me to say that I did not.
I'm not one to give up reading books easily, especially ones I paid for myself. Miss Match really proved to be a big challenge -- a first for a Christian chick lit novel. I liked the premise of the story, and I was curious enough to see how the author would make Laurie and her matchmaking connect with God's sovereignty. As a whole, I liked sort of romantic aspect and the relationships of the characters in the book. I liked most of the supporting characters, particularly Laurie's sisters and her co-workers. But as much as I liked the others, I must say this: I really, really disliked Laurie.
It's hard to like a book when you don't like the heroine, especially if you spend 100% of the book inside their head. Laurie first seemed like a nice person, but after a few chapters, I was getting sick of her. She's bratty, almost self-centered. Her initially witty quips became annoying soon after you get past the first few chapters. It makes me wonder sometimes if I said the same things when I was 23 and if I was that annoying, too. Her characterization felt horribly inconsistent, like she was spouting random facts about herself as a reaction to the things people are doing around her and it seemed so abrupt that I never really had a clear picture of who Laurie was as a person. The only thing I really knew about her in the story was her fondness addiction to chocolates and coffee. I also find her lack of ambition particularly disturbing at her age, too. At 23, I was already somewhat going through some major career and life decisions, while she's perfectly normal about her being where she was. She didn't seem to act her age -- she seemed more suitable as a high school student.
Okay, maybe her being annoying may be on purpose, but I found Laurie extremely manipulative, too, and it was probably the thing that had me shaking my head most while reading the novel. Sure, she was being a matchmaker, and true to form, she was being meddlesome. I kind of had a problem with the way her being meddlesome was justified by how she understood God's sovereignty. Case in point (spoiler warning ahead):
My father once told me there comes a time in every woman's life when she desperately desires to be married.
No offense, Dad, but I think you were wrong.
I think there's more. Most women desire matrimony -- but with the guys God has created for them. My job is to be still and wait, knowing He is God.
And occasionally pushing a couple together. Just now and then of course...
What does that verse in Colossians say? "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to god the Father through him."
...Matchmaking is a deed, right? Thanks God.
I find that particular conclusion a little off-putting, especially since I found everything Laurie did in the book manipulative and self-serving. She pushed the two characters together and would not give up not because she trusted God completely, but because she couldn't fail this match since she's never been wrong about her matches. Does that spell God's sovereignty? It doesn't seem like it. The rest of the spiritual aspect in the book also felt like it was forced and shallow.
They say it's based on Jane Austen's Emma, but since I haven't read it yet, I can't say how accurate it is. However, I'd like to believe that Emma wasn't a Mary Sue, unlike how I found Laurie Holbrook. Nothing sucks the fun out of reading than being in a Mary Sue's head. So...meh. It's been five days since I finished reading this book, and I still can't shake the annoyance I felt over this character. There are two more books in the Laurie Holbrook series and they say it gets better, but I think I'm going to pass for now. Maybe if I read this book before I've read some good chick lit with strong, non-Mary Sue characters, I would have liked it more since I didn't really know better then. Or maybe, if I read this one when I was younger, I would have enjoyed it more. But right now, I just think Miss Match is disappointing.(less)
Because I enjoyed the novel so much, I thought of writing a review for it in the way the novel is written. It might get a tad personal and long (just as how I tried to review This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen), but I hope you keep on reading. :P
================================== from: Tina < hello @ tinamats.com> to: Achieving Friends :) date: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM subject: Save as Draft, and all sorts of thoughts
This may be a very surprising email for you guys to get because...well, do we really communicate using emails now? There's Facebook and Twitter, and well, there are other ways we can communicate...but indulge me for a while. Sometimes a book can make you do silly stuff. ;)
So I just finished reading this book, Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee. It's this book filled with emails and text messages from this girl, Izzy, to her friends and her guys. It starts with Izzy in 2008, where she joins an online dating website and meets Marty, a nice and sweet guy who seems to be very interesting. However, even after a great first date, Izzy tells Marty that she has decided to exclusively date her best friend, Peter and she was sorry. Then we are brought back to 2006, where Izzy first meets Peter, and how their relationship started from best friends to lovers.
I'm going to stop there so I won't spoil you. I thought Save as Draft would be one of those typical chick lit romance novels with only a difference in format being an "electro-epistolary" novel, but I was wrong. I was very pleasantly surprised with this, and you may have seen my tweets during the weekend about this book -- I was literally laughing out loud at home while I was reading this because Izzy reminded me SO much of myself. I love Izzy - her over thinking, her flirting, even her depressing moments remind me so much of the times I felt the same thing! Girls, I think we'll all see some of ourselves in Izzy, or even her friends. The way they exchange emails and all that feels like they were actually exchanging dialogues instead of mere emails, and it's just like how we tweet each other sometimes, haha. I think we will definitely see some of the guys we know in Peter and Marty, too.
The book is littered with so many funny exchanges that's the stuff you can see in modern sitcoms but also things you can see in real life. Of course, I'm no judge for that with my still single since birth status, but these are the things we usually talk about, you know?
I think the biggest "lesson" I picked up with Save as Draft is how relationships are never black and white. I've talked to some of you about this before, and again, given my single status, I know I'm highly idealistic. That's why I like books like this -- they show a side of reality that I have not yet experienced and give me a bit of a warning, if you may. Something to remind me that things will never turn exactly the way I like it. Remember how I used to say that I wanted a guy who had no issues or hang ups in life just so things won't be complicated? Well, if I keep on thinking like that, then I know I would never ever settle down with anyone because a guy (or a girl, for that matter) without issues or hang ups does not exist.I think the author was very good at showing that relationships can be messy. There's no perfect relationship just as there is no perfect person. Even if the person seemed perfect at the start, you'd realize eventually that he's a workaholic, or he has issues with fat people (this really kind of grated my nerves there) or he's too presumptuous (haha this reminds me of someone!). It's all gray and there is never a clear thing, and sometimes you just really have to follow your heart, you know?
And excuse me for being emo there. These are the things we usually talk about when we're drinking.
I think this is the first time that I was confused at who I wanted the heroine to end up with. I mean, even my Best Friend vs. the Other Guy thing couldn't decide: Izzy fell for her best friend, but there was also this other perfectly nice guy there that I liked for her...is real life really like this?!
It's a very, very good book, and I won't spoil you anymore because I'm going to make you guys read this! I was entertained all throughout, and I bet you guys will, too. Save as Draft is not a relationship manual, but it's given me a little insight on what I must remember when the day comes that I enter a relationship: (1) never substitute face to face communication with emails/tweets/chats/texts/what-have-you and (2) never let anyone dim my sparkle.
Oh, and never ever do anything you'll regret when you're drunk. ;)
Rambling off. Can't wait to see you guys again -- this weekend?
P.S. I just thought of a perfect Valentine's Gift. I just hope this book gets to the Philippine shores on time. :)
If you're looking for a quick, fun yet meaningful read about relationships and how messy it can be, do get this book. Save as Draftby Cavanaugh Lee will be out in hardcover on February 1 under Simon & Schuster. (less)
I attended my godsister's wedding yesterday, the second wedding I attended this year. I came out of my brother's wedding...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I attended my godsister's wedding yesterday, the second wedding I attended this year. I came out of my brother's wedding last October relatively unscathed with questions about my own wedding, but this time around, I wasn't so safe. For one thing, I was called for the bouquet toss even if I was trying to make myself scarce at that point (my godsister called me out). Then as we were saying goodbye to the newly weds and my godsister's parents, they were all saying to me, "Don't forget to invite us to your wedding."
Sigh. Sure I won't forget. I figure it would be less exasperating question if I was actually nearing the altar, but alas, I'm not.
That is probably what Carla in Mina V. Esguerra's latest novel, No Strings Attached, felt, especially when her friends started getting married and having a life very different from her own. It doesn't help that the only remaining single in her group of friends was Tonio, the guy who likes to play the field. Carla is tired of being set up with stable banker types that she doesn't really like, and at the same time, she doesn't like how Tonio does it. Then she meets Dante, and things go from cold to sizzling hot between the two of them. The only catch is Dante is five years younger. Does she stay or does she go?
I've been hounding the bookstores ever since Mina announced in Twitter that her new book would be out soon, and I was giddy when I finally got my hands on it (boo on Eastwood stores for not having them in stock as fast as the other branches). This is another light and quick read from Mina, albeit a little different from her first two novels, My Imaginary Exand Fairy Tale Fail. I can't really pinpoint if it's more serious or not, but it is certainly different. Like what Chachic said, the story focused not on how the love story unfolded, but on the complications of the relationships, especially to the people around Carla and Dante.
Mina shows how chick lit does not always have to deal with heroines finding their soul mates or wanting to get married. Sure, it has romance and there is the set-ups and talks of weddings, but No Strings Attached has a different kind of romance. It's one that we don't really get to see on movies or TV or read in any other books. I liked how No Strings Attached tackles a different kind of love story, one that I am pretty sure some Filipinas experience as well. I liked how Carla seemed like a very real person, and her friends offer enough contrast to her for the readers to see the different sides of the story without telling it to them in a long monologue of sorts from the heroine.
I can't really relate to Carla's predicament, but I do know I see myself in her best friend, Mary's shoes. I don't necessarily set my friends up with stable banker types, but I'd probably react the same way she did if I find out that some of my close friends are in a relationship similar to Carla's. I'm not proud of it, but the good thing about books is some characters act as a mirror, and it helps me to realize or remember things about myself that I need to keep in check (or sometimes even get rid of) in order to be a loving friend.
It's not my favorite Mina book (that slot still belongs to Fairy Tale Fail), but it's another good local chick lit to be lost in for a couple of hours (or days, if you're not a fast reader). I guess I don't have to say that I am her fan now, but if it needs saying: if there's a Mina Esguerra fans club, I am definitely in. ;)
Oh, an in case you were wondering, I didn't catch the bouquet. :P(less)
Undercover Tai Tai is my first Maya O. Calica book, and I bought a copy as a thank you to her for giving us a pep talk...moreOriginal post at One More Page
Undercover Tai Tai is my first Maya O. Calica book, and I bought a copy as a thank you to her for giving us a pep talk for National Novel Writing Month. I have been wanting to read another one of the Asian chick lit novels republished by Anvil in the Philippines after I read Amazing Grace, so I thought it was just timely to get this, too.
Amanda Tay is a small, quiet girl who hates her job and her roommates, does capioera and dreams of something exciting to happen in her life. Her prayers get answered when she accidentally knocks CID Agent Brian out, and soon she finds herself as a new undercover agent mingling with Singapore's rich and famous socialites to find out what really happened to tai tai Jasmine Kwong.
Undercover Tai Taiis a fun and surprising novel. Surprising, because I was expecting to read one of those typical chick lit stories where the heroine goes through one mishap after another to find herself, but instead I found something a little deviant of the usual chick lit formula. I like watching undercover movies and shows, so this book was a real treat for me because it appealed to the adventurous part of me that liked espionage. It's fun, because even if the plot is highly unbelievable and requires suspension of disbelief, I thought it was well written and the mystery part of the story was kept well under wraps up until the end. The cast of characters added to the fun of it all, too. I am particularly fond of Agent Omni, who works on Amanda's gadgets and doubles as her personal stylist as she goes undercover. Oh and let's not forget Alexis, the crime fighting chihuahua. Gotta love it when there's a dog involved in the story. ;)
Like I said, it's a fun novel, and it was a good and quick in-between read. While I don't hold it in the same regard as the other chick lit novels I liked this year, I thought it was still pretty good. If you're looking for a usual chick lit novel you may want to skip this, but if you're in for something a little bit different, then I suggest you pick this up and enjoy the ride. I am pretty sure Maya wrote this as her NaNoWriMo novel because Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo's founder, is cited in the acknowledgments, and that explains all the craziness that happened in the story and, of course, the crime-fighting dog. :)(less)
I wasn't very impressed with Claire Betita de Guzman's first novel, No Boyfriend Since Birth. It was my first local chick lit read as a research for my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel, and I ended up getting irritated at the heroine and the story because none of it felt real to me. When I saw that the same author has a new book out, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it because of her debut. The excerpt seemed pretty interesting, but I didn't know if it was a justifiable impulse buy.
I eventually gave in and bought it last weekend using some expiring National Bookstore GCs and read the book in a couple of hours. Girl Meets World is the story of Mia Tupas, a homebody who writes brochures for a local tourism company and is perfectly content with her routine life. One day, she meets her colleague's friend, Leo, and they have an instant connection. Egged on by a fortune teller, homebody Mia decides to go to Bangkok to visit Leo to see if he is indeed The One, and finds herself on a sudden trip to Southeast Asia, following the guy who may or may not be The One.
Altogether now: what is wrong with that picture?
The moment Mia decides that she's going to Bangkok to visit Leo in the story, I immediately wanted to shake her. Okay, the going to Bangkok was forgivable, and no matter how much she denies it, I know she knows that her goal there was to talk to Leo...but when she goes to Bali, well...I wanted to smack her. The Mia from the excerpt was interesting, but as the story went on, I found her too romantic. Perhaps it's my pride talking, but I think anyone would know that Mia running after a guy she only really bonded over through chat is not a good idea.
Girl Meets World is a typical chick lit with love as the main goal, and while it is better than No Boyfriend Since Birth, I feel that it still lacked on what other good chick lit stories have. Mia's growth and realizations about herself felt unnatural and flat, almost like she was reading it off some book. The supporting characters were interesting, but their exposure was too little that I couldn't really connect with them. I'm willing to suspend by belief over the sudden change of course in traveling, but the different situations Mia encountered in the different places she went to felt too forced that I can't buy it. I know chick lit is supposed to be fluff and this one has a lot of it...but I think chick lit must also be substantial, and I think the book kind of failed in that aspect.
This book had a lot of similarities with Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering, which I really liked, so maybe that's why I did not like how this book turned out so much. That, and maybe because I kind of have too high standards sometime. ^^ Girl Meets World isn't a total waste of a read, so if you want to read something really light and fluffy, give this a try. Otherwise, go for something from Tara FT Sering, Marla Miniano or Mina Esguerra.(less)
If there was a book that I could blame for my being a bookworm, it is definitely Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley. I didn'...moreOriginal post at One More Page
If there was a book that I could blame for my being a bookworm, it is definitely Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley. I didn't start with SVH like most people (and I hardly read them, now that I think about it) -- I started with Sweet Valley Kids after I saw my classmate reading it back when I was in 3rd grade. When I grew older, I started on Sweet Valley Twins, and read so much more Sweet Valley after that. I remember even getting random Sweet Valley books from Book Sale whenever I needed a quick read because that's what Sweet Valley has always been for me: quick, easy and comforting reads. A reminder that somewhere, somehow life can be absolutely perfect (even if it sets a totally bad standard). :)
It's been years since I last read a Sweet Valley book, so when news of Sweet Valley Confidential came out, I knew it just had to be one of the books I must read this year. No excuses -- as a girl who practically grew up in Sweet Valley, there is no way I cannot read this. :-)
So I'll keep the summary brief to avoid spoilers. It's roughly 11 years since Sweet Valley High, and Elizabeth is living on her own in New York City, refusing to answer her sister's calls. She is lonely and angry, and the only person she is willing to talk to from her hometown is conceited rich boy Bruce Patman, who is now her best friend. What happened to Elizabeth? Why is she refusing to answer her sister's calls? What did Jessica do that made sweet, calm and well-loved Elizabeth Wakefield flee and close her doors? And how did she become best friends with 1BRUCE1, of all people?
When I finished reading the book, I knew I looked like this (thanks, Hyperbole and a Half for the accurate illustration):
I know some of my friends and Twitter followers have read my reaction, and I can't help it. When I finished the last page of the (e)book, I actually sat on the bed and stared into space, wondering what the heck just happened to what I read.
The appeal of this book lies in the nostalgia it brings. I didn't really read that many SVH books but I was still familiar with the people there -- Lila, Ken, Steven, Todd, etc. It was definitely a trip down memory lane and I can't help but remember all those crazy stories that I read back then. The magic dolls, the numerous beach trips, the people who all wanted the twins dead or at least want to be them. Of course, since the books were written by ghost writers, continuity errors abound, but I can easily forgive that. It was fun seeing the characters and laughing at how silly they all were and are, even after 11 years. Sometimes I want to shake them: Elizabeth, stop being angsty! Jessica why are you always crying? Todd! Caroline, why are you still meddling with your friends? Why haven't you all moved on from high school?!
It's not bad. In fact, I found Sweet Valley Confidential very entertaining, and it kept me amused while reading and hours after I finished reading. However, it was very brain-numbing, and it was probably because of the sheer ridiculousness of the plot. The twins are still perfect gorgeous beings that everyone loves no matter how self-absorbed they could be. You'd think that people would have grown up from their high school woes, but no, everyone's still hung up with old high school issues and hardly anyone has moved out. Come on -- I'm hardly in contact with some of my old high school friends. Was Elizabeth the only one brave enough to move away? Wait, scratch that -- it's not even bravery. She ran away from something, and if she were really and truly brave, she would have stayed to face the entire mess. Also, the big reveal of why Elizabeth left? TOTAL DUD. I expected more from you, Francine!
The writing leaves less to be desired, bordering on cheesy at times. The POV and tense switching can get a bit annoying, although I have to give it to Francine Pascal -- there were distinct differences in the characters' voices that made you know who was speaking a few lines in. Sometimes, though, I feel like she was drunk when she wrote some of the parts, or at least, very sleepy. "He heard her and turned to look but almost without recognition, so frantic was he." (p. 262) "So frantic was he"? Archaic-sounding much?
Now you see why I ended up like this after reading?
In the end, this book reminds me of what Jessica said in one of the Sweet Valley Jr. High books (I loved that spin-off -- probably my favorite of all the SV series). After she and her sister threw a party and invited their old middle school friends who ditched them when things were going bad at the party, Jessica realized what it means when people say, "You can never go home again." That is exactly what I felt after finishing Sweet Valley Confidential. I grew up in Sweet Valley, it's been fun hanging out with all those people, but I don't think I can ever feel at home with them. I think it's time to move out.
So. Do I recommend Sweet Valley Confidential? It's not really that terrible. It's like reading a trashy romance novel (with trashy love scenes to boot!) or a gossip magazine about your favorite fictional characters. You have to expect that it's like that so you won't be annoyed at the time you spent reading this book. If you're just the curious kind who didn't really love (or at least like) the books before, I don't think you'd be able to finish this. But if you were a fan, get ready for a fun, mind-numbing and slightly ridiculous trip down memory lane. :) (less)
I've been reading a lot of fantasy and dystopia lately so I decided to take a bit of a break and go for a light and fluf...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I've been reading a lot of fantasy and dystopia lately so I decided to take a bit of a break and go for a light and fluffy book just to cleanse the palate. I recently got Camy Tang's Formula for Danger through my Kindle, and I missed reading Camy's work, so I thought this would be a perfect in-between book.
Well, I think I may have chosen the wrong book! I'm not saying that because it's a bad book, but because Formula for Danger is anything but fluffy. Of course, I should have picked up from the title already, but who knew this book would be such a non-stop suspense ride all the way to the end?
Formula for Danger wastes no time with the action as I was dropped immediately in the middle of it right from the start. Rachel Grant, the protagonist, is assaulted just as she goes out of her lab at the family owned Joy Luck Spa. From here bad luck just seemed to follow Rachel, but this luck is not coincidental but planned as someone really wants her dead! Every chapter in Formula for Danger is brimming with suspense and action, and I found myself getting breathless as every threat comes to Rachel's (and the love interest, Edward's) life.
It was easy to immerse myself into the Grants' world again as I'm already familiar with it after reading Deadly Intent, the story of Rachel's sister, Naomi. This isn't really a sequel, so you don't have to read the first book before reading this, although I feel like it may be helpful. Formula for Danger brings in the action quick that there is no time to really get to know and appreciate Rachel's family with all that's happening in the novel. Perhaps it was just me, since I haven't read books in this genre for a while, so I felt like I would be a bit frustrated with reading this and diving right into the action without pausing long enough to know about the surroundings.
The threat in Rachel's life felt very real, and the suspense in finding out who the culprit was drawn out for so long that I found myself wondering the same thing that the main characters did: when will it end? However, I wasn't really that surprised when the reveal was made and I'm not sure if it's because I figured it out beforehand or because it's really just not that surprising. Compared to Deadly Intent, there seemed to be less red herrings thrown here, so the mystery seemed a bit linear, and the chase to save Rachel's life took a higher precedence compared to finding out who was behind everything.
I liked the romantic and Christian aspect of the novel, though, more than the suspense. I liked that Camy focused on how Rachel learned that God is in control of everything even in the chaos. I also liked it a lot that Camy gave Edward, the love interest somewhat of a superhero complex and how he was humbled in the end. This is a Christian novel, so expect prayers from the characters and phrases such as "Praise God" and such. I don't think it's preachy, but if you're not used to reading characters do this, well, I'll leave it up to you if you'd pick it up. Personally, I'd still push this book to others, because the message is good, and well, because I'm a Christian. :D
As a whole, Formula for Danger is a quick and suspenseful read, with a strong Christian foundation. If you would ask me, though, I still liked Deadly Intent better, but it may be because I could relate more to Naomi than Rachel. Nevertheless, this is a good addition to my Camy Tang collection, and I can't wait to read what she writes next. :)(less)
It's kind of funny that the next NetGalley ARC I read is another book that has recipes and other cooking tips in them, b...moreOriginal post at One More Page
It's kind of funny that the next NetGalley ARC I read is another book that has recipes and other cooking tips in them, but this time, the characters are way older than Ariel, M and Nicki from The Crepemakers' Bondwere. I guess it's fate, or maybe even divine, as far as books go, because reading them almost consecutively gives me an idea on how different YA/MG chick lit is to adult chick lit.
You know another funny thing? There seemed to be a lot of Christian chick lit that is set in the South. Atlanta, specifically. Maybe it's because there are more writers from that area? Or is it because it's just a charming place to set a story in, because in this book, I am charmed. :)
Emma Rae Travis is an award-winning contradiction -- she's the best baker in town, but she's also diabetic, so she isn't allowed to eat more than three bites of her baked confections. But the real point of the story isn't her diabetes, but her baked goods and how it helped her meet Jackson Drake, owner of the new Tanglewood Hotel. Pretty soon, Emma is a part of the hotel staff and with Jackson's crazy and efficient sisters, her semi-goth best friend Fiona and her separated parents...well, it's a circus, alright.
I love myself a good chick lit, obviously, as it's the genre I really started loving in the first place. I found that I hardly get to read much chick lit though, because there doesn't seem to be many quality chick lit out there. It's easy for chick lit to be stereotyped because it seems like there's only one story line for all books like that. I beg to differ, though, because there's a plethora of stories that can be written under that genre. You don't need a fashionista girl with a gay best friend living in a busy city working as a writer looking for Mr. Right for a book to be chick lit!
This is why I liked Always the Baker, Never the Bride because it doesn't fall under the usual chick lit stereotype. Sure, the leading man is handsome, and sure there's a crazy family, but I liked that Emma is her own person, and she's not a fashion slave. Emma is a bright and strong protagonist, one that I can't help but get attached to as I read the book. The best thing I loved about Emma? She's a baker! I bake, too, so that is definitely something I can relate to, but I am sure I won't be as good as her because my cakes tend to fall apart before I can even get them out of the oven. :P
The Christian aspect of this novel is well written, too, and I liked how it wasn't preachy. Prayer was subtly incorporated, and Jackson's grief and fears were real for a guy his age and with his experience. Emma's religious conflict, though, felt a bit blurry. By blurry, I wasn't sure why she was having the conflict in the first place -- maybe I missed it in the first few pages? I wasn't sure if it was because she didn't grow up in that environment or she lost it along the way, so her religious transformation didn't leave a mark in me as much as I wanted it to. I do like the romantic dynamics explained in this novel, though, especially the concept of After Care. Ever wondered why some guys act so sweet and do something special and then disappear afterwards (and it drives us crazy that we over think so much)? That is after care. :P I'd leave you to read the book to understand what it is, but if you're really curious, I may just explain it off the review. :P
This is a cute and fluffy read, and the romance was nice and well-developed, too. However, I felt a bit underwhelmed by the end. I was waiting for a big "oomph", a big conflict that would wreak havoc with Emma and Jackson and everything they worked for, but I felt like it never came. I also felt that Emma's diabetes wasn't properly spotlighted, but maybe that wasn't really the point of the story, so I could let that go. I just didn't find the game-changing (and sometimes tears-inducing) climax that I found in the other Christian chick lit books I read this year in this one, so that part just kind of made this just okay. It wasn't bad, I wasn't disappointed, but I felt that it needed a bit more to make it more memorable.
Always the Baker, Never the Bride is already out paperback. Thanks to Netgalley for the ebook ARC!(less)
I had a realization when I was reading this book: I like foodie books. I don't mean books about food like cookbooks or a...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I had a realization when I was reading this book: I like foodie books. I don't mean books about food like cookbooks or anything that talks about food. I mean fiction with food as one of its major elements. I've read two in the past year (The Crepe Makers' Bond and Always the Baker, Never the Bride) and although I was pretty lukewarm about them, I enjoyed the cooking aspect of both books and how food played a part in the story.
Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck is no different. I enjoyed reading her two other Lowcountry romances, Sweet Caroline and Love Starts with Elle, so I was thrilled to find out that she wrote another one that was set in Beaufort. I was excited to find out Joy's story, and see the old characters in the previous novels pop up every now and then in the book.
Joy is a paradox: she's a cooking show host who can't cook. It's a weird thing, but she's pulled it off for three seasons, ever since she's taken over her dad's show after he passed away. The combination of good editing, a supportive staff in on her secret and lots of humor and entertainment from Joy that she has survived for three seasons, but after her producer sold off the show to a bigger network, things are bound to change. Then Joy meets Luke Redmond, the new assistant chef at the Frogmore Cafe, who becomes her co-host, and she sees him as a way out. But as she prepares for the fourth season of Dining with Joy and she gets closer to Luke, Joy digs a deeper and deeper hole for herself and it seems like it would take a miracle -- or at least, something divine to get her out of it.
Dining with Joycarries the same sweetness and charm that the first two Lowcountry romances did. I love reading about Beaufort and their little idiosyncrasies. I love the seemingly relaxed nature that everyone has, how everyone's about sweet tea, or food, or Bubba's biscuits from the Frogmore Cafe. I love how close-knit the community seems, and it reminds me a bit of our own neighborhood, particularly our street. It's one of those settings that you wouldn't mind visiting over and over again, not because it is really that interesting but because it's very peaceful.
Joy is definitely a different character from her friends Caroline and Elle. Whereas Caroline seems soft-spoken and Elle is gentle, Joy is feisty and stubborn, borne out of a seemingly absent father. Joy is strong and independent, which is needed especially since she's works in the show business. However, her pride became her weakness especially when she decided to work things out on her own, particularly with her secret and her growing affections to Luke Redmond. Luke, on the other hand, carried almost the same characteristics as the other heroes in the other books, Mitch and Heath. In a way, he almost seems too perfect, but I liked how the author still gave him some flaws.
Out of all three books, this seemed like the book that had less "God" moments, but I think it also contained the best nugget of God-wisdom of all: God is good and God is love. I do wish that message was given more focus. Dining with Joy felt like it had too many things going on at once that some of them ran together too much and it didn't give as big as an impact as it should have. At times the story seemed too slow, although things did wrap up nicely in the end.
This is probably the best "foodie" novel I've read so far this year, but compared to the two other Lowcountry Romances, I liked them better than this one. Nevertheless, Rachel Hauck did a great job with Dining with Joy, and I cannot wait to try to recipes at the end of the book. :) Banana bread, anyone?(less)
The thing with Summit chick lit books is they seem to be too thin for a Php 150 priced novel. That's why I hesitate buyi...moreOriginal post at One More Page
The thing with Summit chick lit books is they seem to be too thin for a Php 150 priced novel. That's why I hesitate buying them because I feel like they're a bit too expensive for such a quick (albeit enjoyable) read. So when I spotted Anvil Publishing's reprinting of Asian chic lit by Filipina authors from Singapore in National Bookstore, I was curious! Here are some thicker chick lit books at the same price.
The next question is: are they any good?
I finished reading Tara FT Sering's Amazing Grace this week, and I can answer 1/3 of that question (since there are three Asian chic novels out as of now): it's very good.
Amazing Grace is the story of Grace Chua, a 26-year-old Filipina-Chinese single woman who has been egged on by her friends and family to find a man and settle down before her biological clock stops ticking. Grace realizes that, and she allows herself to be set up for blind dates. However, none of the guys were deemed worthy, until guy #7, her Valentine's Day date, Mike. She and Mike clicked, and after two years, he proposes to her. It would have been perfect if Mike hadn't gave her the next bit of news: he got a job in Singapore and will have to move there for two years for his contract.
Grace was determined to make the long distance relationship work -- after all, they were engaged, and there's no way she's letting go of that! -- but things become complicated when Mike seems to have less and less time for her, and he always seemed to mention a woman named Kaela in their conversations. Grace goes to Singapore on a weekend to surprise him, and finds herself in a race around three countries, all in an effort to get her man back.
Amazing Grace was unlike all chick lit I have read so far, and it was mainly because of the second person POV used in the story. Second person makes use of the pronoun "you", making it seem like the reader is also the main character in the story. I've managed to write one second person POV story, and I am not even sure if I did it right. From NaNoWriMo research, I've learned that its best to avoid writing in second person POV because it almost never works properly. For this novel, however, I think it really works. The POV effectively puts the reader in Grace's place, but still maintaining enough character to distinguish Grace from the reader.
Grace is a quirky, relatable character. I loved being in her shoes, I loved reading her thoughts, I love her reactions to the situations she was in. It was easy to sympathize with her and that may be because I was in her shoes as I read it, but I also felt her pain when she found out about Mike. Grace is not exactly a woman scorned, but there was a sense of desperation in her that made her want to save the relationship even if her sister says to let him go. Her growth in the story was believable in the sense that there wasn't really much drama over her epiphany. More often than not, there isn't much grandeur whenever we reach a certain point or realize an important thing in our lives; it usually comes quietly. The same thing happened to Grace, although unlike others, she found herself in a hilarious situation. What is that exactly? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out. :)
Other than the effective second person POV, there were a lot of fun sequences in the story, all in respect to the humor of chick lit. There were the good life lessons, too -- lessons that a single woman would definitely find useful. :) I'd also like to praise the epilogue of the novel -- it had me chuckling all the way to the end. :)
Amazing Grace is a fun read, and it is worth the Php 150 I paid for. If you enjoy chick lit, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one too. :)(less)
**spoiler alert** Marla Miniano is back with a new book, this time telling the story of four people who happen to hang out in the same coffee shop, an...more**spoiler alert** Marla Miniano is back with a new book, this time telling the story of four people who happen to hang out in the same coffee shop, and sometimes even at the same table. Table for Two is a collection of five stories of people from all walks of life, choosing a coffee shop to witness the changes in their lives, and ultimately connecting them in one way or another.
A bit of a spoiler warning starts here, but there's nothing major. Just be forewarned. :)
Table for Two starts out with Fresh, a story of the end of the relationship of a long-time couple when they realized that after graduation, they need to go their separate ways. Timeout is about Jill, a teacher, who follows her brother's advice to stop dating for two months to stop herself from dating losers. All the Best is about best friends Carl and Blake, and Carl's attempt at stopping Blake from marrying Vicky out of concern for his best friend but failing to recognize that he was in more need of relationship advice. This Closure is about Lucas who never really got over Bettina and their shared kiss. The last story, Table for Two brings us to a full circle with Mandy and her independence and her penchant for romance novels.
This book reminds me so much of Para Kay B by Ricky Lee, with all these stories of different people about love that connects them to each other somewhat. I liked Para Kay B but I liked this more because I saw a bit of myself at every story. True, I've never been in a relationship, and I've never broken up with anyone or been broken up with, but there's a part of each of the character that resonated with me. I believe other readers will be able to identify with the characters somehow, too, and this makes Marla's novel a good one for the older audience as compared to the Girl's Guide series.
I think out of all stories, my favorite is the last, Table for Two. One thing notable thing about this book -- particularly this story -- is there were so many quotable quotes! For example:
"...falling in love and trying to make someone fall in love with you and working to stay in love and forcing yourself to fall out of love with someone who will never love you back is much, much more exhausting than being alone." (p. 120)
"It's the little things she needs someone for, like someone to hold her hand at the end of a long day, or someone to watch stupid comedies with, or someone to curl up with on the couch on a lazy Sunday morning as she reads the newspaper and eats her cereal. Which probably means she doesn't 'need' someone in the strictest sense, although at the end of a long day, or while watching a stupid comedy, or on a lazy Sunday morning, having someone would be very much appreciated." (p. 133)
The only thing I could have wished for in this book is stronger connections between the stories. I was very curious to see the connections of the story, almost making me want to skip all the way to the ending, and when I got to the end, I got just a teensy bit disappointed. But it's still a very, very good read. Wonderful prose, good stories, and perfect reading companion on a rainy day with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate. It doesn't have to be in a coffee shop between the Korean grocery and appliance store -- an over-commercialized Starbucks would probably do. :P(less)
Inbetween Sundays, one of the weekly podcasts I subscribe to, has this little fun little segment called Chick Flick or Horror...moreFull review posted here.
Inbetween Sundays, one of the weekly podcasts I subscribe to, has this little fun little segment called Chick Flick or Horror Movie, where one of the hosts would say the title of a movie and its synopsis, and the other would have to guess if it’s a horror movie or a chick flick. Easy enough? Not for the hosts, both male, which is part of the fun: I find it hilarious to hear them think that Britney Spears’ first movie Crossroads is a horror movie. The thing that struck me about the game is the fact that there are few grey areas, since genres in Hollywood seem to be mutually exclusive. Most commercial movies are typically classified only under one specific genre: a comedy movie may be able to teach life lessons and bring some tears to but it won’t be classified as a drama, just like a horror movie cannot be a romantic comedy.
Books, however, are a different story. In literature more so than in cinema, genres evolve as more and more books are written and published. Nowadays, many books are a mixture of two or more genres. Of course, it’s not always easy to classify books into their respective mixed genres, especially if you're rather broad and loose with classifications, as I am: I only really divide books into two genres, fantasy and non-fantasy. Anything that falls out of the ordinary is fantasy for me.
Which brings me to my conundrum with Riley Noehren’s Gravity vs. the Girl. This Whitney Award winner for Best Novel by a New Author in 2009 reads like standard non-fantasy chick lit right from the opening pages...click here to read the rest of the review. (less)
So I was aimlessly looking around Amazon one day, looking for books to buy within my monthly book budget. I admit to bec...moreOriginal post at One More Page
So I was aimlessly looking around Amazon one day, looking for books to buy within my monthly book budget. I admit to becoming hooked to Kindle stuff, so when I spotted some $0.99 books, I jumped and got one. After all, it's only $0.99 -- less than Php 50! It's just like buying an app!
Declaring Spinsterhood sounds like one of those chick lit novels that I see almost everyday when I visit the bookstore. The theme is quite common: woman is getting older and still unmarried, family harps on her and tries to match her to everyone. Then there's the annoying ex that she still somewhat likes, and then a guy best friend who she ends up falling for...but, oh, he's in love with someone else. It's typical, but I know that some authors can make some of these story cliches work for them and even make it seem original.
This one...didn't work.
Emma Bailey seemed like a promising protagonist, with a wacky cast of characters in the background. However, Emma never felt like someone I could relate to. I wasn't sure which was really moving here, if it's the plot or the characters. Most of the time, it feels like the story's forced to come out. I didn't see much growth for Emma, nor with any other characters. Brian, the best friend, seemed like someone I'd like, but all the "sleeping-together-but-not-having-sex" thing had me turned off. Maybe I expect more for a guy best friend -- a real good guy would have enough sense to just sleep in another bed, even if you're best friends.
And wait. How can Emma and Brian be really close friends and know so many things about each other if they only met six months ago?
It's not that there weren't any notable characters though. The so-called villains did get me annoyed. The mother didn't feel realistic -- what mom would banish her daughter from their home because she didn't want to be married? Steve, the ex, was an annoying jerk, and I figured out the connection between him and Brian's girlfriend by the second time he mentioned Chicago. I liked Kathy, the best friend, and at least she had enough sense to listen to Emma, but not enough sense to drive something into her, and help her grow.
However, I can't really blame the author for the somewhat poorly developed plot and characters. The book was written as a NaNoWriMo novel, and from what I read, it is a NaNoWriMo novel. The book was self-published, which may explain the lack of polishing in the story. Maybe another round of edits could have made it better?
Declaring Spinsterhood isn't exactly bad, but it's not exactly good, either. Could be better. I'm glad I got it for $0.99 only -- else I would be absolutely annoyed at an impulse buy again.(less)
Fairy Tale Fail really is a cute book, one that has the right amount of fluff and life lessons for the everyday working girl. It’s very easy to relate...moreFairy Tale Fail really is a cute book, one that has the right amount of fluff and life lessons for the everyday working girl. It’s very easy to relate to Ellie, the protagonist, with her fairy tale whims and romanticism. While I never had a Prince Charming like her, I knew the feeling of wanting to have a fairy tale romance, one where I have a set guide for who Prince Charming should be. I know about obsessing about a guy, and I sort of know how it feels to restoring yourself when experiencing a loss.
I have to admit that like Ellie, I think I’d also prefer to have a guy like Don, but I would find someone like Lucas intriguing. Out of my league, but very intriguing. Lucas and Ellie’s development was done gradually, and it was nice to see that it wasn’t a rushed romance — nothing is more disappointing than a rushed romance in a chick lit novel, I swear. Lucas seemed sexy, yet he had a good heart, even if he seemed a bit hard to see. I kind of wish I got to know more of him through the story, but since the story was told in Ellie’s point of view, we only know as much as she does.
Here’s my favorite part (a spoiler, so if you’re reading/planning to read this, skip this!):
“You think you’re funny,” I said ruefully. “I have no idea what my life is going to be like now.”
…”You told me that your life wasn’t all about work. That you had a lot of things you looked forward to when you got out of the office…Then that’s exactly what your life is going to be. You’ve still got your family, your hobbies, your friends, and none of that will change…And I’m probably going to, you know, start calling. Driving you home. Taking you to movies you hate…And then you’ll probably want to introduce me to your mom. Your nephew Dylan will love me because kids like me, and I’ll tell him about my brother’s job and our pirate story, and he’ll just be so attached to me. And then you’ll want me to go to church again, and we’ll probably discuss that at length. But I probably will go to church with you at least once, and it will be in your college church, to erase the memory of what that douche did there.”
Ah Lucas. Where can I find someone like you? ♥ Fairy Tale Fail is a fresh and cute story that’s sure to make you sigh and be kilig. :) (less)
The story seemed simple at first, and I half-expected it to be another story about a girl who can’t let go of the guy, who’d meet a new guy and she’d...moreThe story seemed simple at first, and I half-expected it to be another story about a girl who can’t let go of the guy, who’d meet a new guy and she’d realize that she had the best guy all along. It wasn’t that — there wasn’t even another guy. There was a gay friend, another girl, and a whole lot of personal issues with Grace, and even a bit with AJ. It was a bit hard to really get into the story immediately, because the story wasn’t written in a chronological order. The story tends to jump from one time frame to another, but I think it’s quite effective because it gives us a view of how Grace thinks.
Grace definitely had issues, and while I didn’t agree on how she finally got over them (sort of), I thought AJ was a very nice male protagonist. AJ seems like a bad boyfriend at first, but he redeemed himself at the end very well, and he may just be the right person to offset Grace’s neurotic tendencies.
Overall, it’s a nice novel, one you’d like to lose yourself in for a couple of hours. 12 Steps to Quitting AJ reminded me that love isn’t really a step-by-step formula, it requires a lot of honesty for a relationship to work and loving someone is ultimately a decision to stick with them through thick and thin. (less)