I've been curious about Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard ever since it first came out and I saw positive reviews popping up all ovOriginally posted here.
I've been curious about Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard ever since it first came out and I saw positive reviews popping up all over the blogosphere. I have no idea why I put off reading it though. I was able to borrow a copy from my good friend Celina and I decided to read it right after my Hong Kong trip because I still had a vacation hangover. I figured I'd enjoy reading a YA book that focuses on traveling while I was in that kind of mood - I was right.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Wanderlove. At the start of the novel, I was a bit annoyed at Bria because she's never gone out of the country and she makes an impulsive decision to join a tour group, without even researching the details of the trip. I mean, how hard can it be to Google the destinations? But that was a passing thing because I quickly learned to like her as the story progressed. She has her own reasons for trying to move forward without looking back at the past. I'm all for budget flights and cheap accommodations when traveling but I don't think I have what it takes to be a backpacker. So it was a lot of fun for me to read Bria's adventures with backpacking experts Starling and Rowan. There are certain aspects of Latin America that reminded me of the Philippines - third world countries, beautiful beaches and diving sites - so I feel like that's another thing that added to my enjoyment of the story. Here's a nice little passage that highlights this (Rowan is the one speaking):
"What everyone forgets - even me - is the people who actually live here. In places like Central America, I mean. Southeast Asia. India. Africa. Millions, even billions, of people, who live out their whole lives in these places - the places so many people like us fear. Think about it: they ride chicken buses to work every day. Their clothes are always damp. Their whole lives, they never escape the dust and the heat. But they deal with all these discomforts. They have to.
So why can't travelers? If we've got the means to get here, we owe it to the country we're visiting not to treat it like an amusement park, sanitized for our comfort. It's insulting to the people who live here. People just trying to have the best lives they can, with the hands they've been dealt."
My clothes aren't always damp but yes, it's pretty humid over here. I wonder if there are backpackers all over the Philippines? I always see a lot of foreigners whenever I go to popular tourist destinations here but I have no idea if some of them are backpackers. Anyway, back to the story, Bria is an artist and there are several sketches (drawn by the author herself, I believe) included all throughout the story. Sample artwork from Kirsten Hubbard's Goodreads review:
I'm a big fan of slow burn romance and Wanderlove definitely has that. Even though the book spans only a couple of weeks, I still felt like the romance took time to form. The characters really got to know each other before deciding that they want to pursue a relationship. I just wish the ending was a bit longer so I could have read more scenes between them. Even if I don't think the male lead is my type of guy, how can you not swoon a little bit for someone who is an avid reader? Always squeezing in reading time in hammocks instead of partying like crazy with the rest of the secondary characters. If you're a fan of that kind of romance or contemporary YA novels about traveling, then Wanderlove is the book for you. I'd love to read more novels like this so feel free to recommend similar titles.
I first read this in 2012 (the first discussion that I joined for my book club) and I decided to reread it now that the whole series is available. ItI first read this in 2012 (the first discussion that I joined for my book club) and I decided to reread it now that the whole series is available. It has a intriguing premise, and the first book serves as a good introduction to the series. While it can stand well enough on its own, it also sets up the possibilities for future books. I'm glad I reread The Raven Boys because even if I remember the gist, I had forgotten the details of the story. It took me a while to finish it because real life kept getting in the way, and it's the kind of book that requires a bit of effort to sink into. Just like when I first read it, I liked most of the characters with Adam as an exception. I'm seriously annoyed at how stubborn he is and how he lets his pride get in the way of making sensible decisions. His friends just want to help him and he keeps pushing them away! Anyway, I liked everyone else and how Blue changed the dynamics of the group, kind of balanced it out a bit. I think it's great how the boys are so protective of each other, how they're always there when it matters the most. I think their relationship will continue to grow with the rest of the series. I also liked the world Maggie Stiefvater created. She seamlessly integrated magic into a very realistic setting. And her words are lovely. Beautiful writing. Diving into The Dream Thieves next....more
Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra is the sequel to Interim Goddess of Love. Do the books need to be read in order? IOriginally posted here.
Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra is the sequel to Interim Goddess of Love. Do the books need to be read in order? I think so because that will give the reader a better understanding of the story. In fact, I reread the first book before starting on this because I didn't want to be confused about the characters and everything that happened before. These books are Filipino young adult fiction that has a hint of local mythology (so "goddess" in the title of the first book isn't a metaphor). It's going to be a trilogy and there's no release date for the third book yet but I'm hoping it will be published soon.
Hannah is still the temporary Goddess of Love and while she's still pretty clueless about certain aspects of the job, she's learning slowly and surely. She gets regular training sessions with Quin, God of the Sun, on how to improve her game as a goddess. She enjoys these sessions with Quin but keeps hoping that they will lead to more than just doing "work" stuff. What's funny about Hannah's situation is, she helps other people navigate the tricky waters of love and yet she's hopelessly in love with someone she can't have. I think that's what makes Hannah a relatable character - even if she's part-time goddess now, she's still a normal college girl in so many ways. Clearly, she doesn't have things figured out and like any non-goddess person does, she just goes with her instincts and what she feels is right. I also think it's ironic that the main plot thread in this installment is Hannah trying to break up a couple instead of bringing them together. I liked that Queen of the Clueless focused on Sol's love story, it was nice to get to know Hannah's best friend since we really didn't get to do that in the first book. I also liked that we learn more about some of the other secondary characters, like Diego and Robbie. Although I wish there was more of Quin in the story, I felt like he didn't get enough face time in this book. I would have liked to learn more about Quin's character, a little more insight on how he is both as Quin the mortal guy and as God of the Sun.
I'm really, really curious about the third book in this series. If I had a copy of it right now, I'd dive into it right away. I have no idea how Hannah's story arc will get resolved and I'm hoping it won't feel rushed because these books are on the short side. I found Queen of the Clueless an enjoyable read but I definitely wouldn't have minded if it was a little longer. I think it was a good idea on Mina's part to try writing a different genre from her usual contemporary romance featuring women in their twenties. I'm all for Filipino fiction with a college setting, especially if it reminds me of my own college experience. I know I've mentioned this before but I really couldn't help but feel that Hannah's school is like a smaller version of my own alma mater. So many details about the school was reminiscent of my own school - the cafeteria, some of the classes, the rich kids and scholarship kids. I know that Mina attended the same college so maybe it served as an inspiration for her writing. Since I loved my school, I think that's a good thing. I recommend this to fans of Mina's writing and readers curious about Filipino fiction. I know I don't feature enough of them here in my blog so I would gladly recommend this.
Some lomo shots of my college, which can pass off as Ford River:
I'm a Mina V. Esguerra fangirl. I've read and reviewed all of her books and even did and interview and giveaway last year. She's my favorite Filipino chick lit writer and I keep recommending her books to my girlfriends because all of her novels are so light and fun. I knew she was planning to release Interim Goddess of Love in 2012 and I was really looking forward to it, not only because I'll read anything she writes, but because she's tackling a new genre. All of Mina's other books are contemporary romance with women in their twenties as main characters. This time, she decided write a contemporary young adult novel, with a hint of Philippine mythology in it.
I initially thought the "goddess of love" bit in the title and the premise was figurative. It's not. Hannah is a descendant of one of those unions between a mortal and a god so she has enough magic in her to be the interim goddess of love. Basically, she has to help out fellow students in Ford River College with their love problems. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that one of my frustrations is not having enough Filipino YA novels to read. Which is why I'm thrilled that Mina has written Interim Goddess of Love and has two sequels scheduled to be released this year. I loved the college setting of the novel because Ford River reminded me of my own college. If you want to get a feel of what college (or university or uni in other parts of the world) is like here in the Philippines, then read this book. I know I keep saying this about Mina's novels but I could really relate to the characters because they're all Filipinos. Interim goddess role aside, I could connect with Hannah's college experiences. It felt like I was back in my own school - attending core curriculum subjects, hanging out with friends in the cafeteria, participating in school organizations and getting to know classmates. Based on just the title, you know that romance is a focus of this novel and I think that's pretty realistic because most college teenagers tend to worry about their love lives. Here's a snippet that I really liked:
Some girls can’t stand to be around the guy they like. They get really nervous, and rather than make fools of themselves, they just stay away. I was the opposite; the more I liked a guy, the more I wanted to be around him. I was the type who’d join the same org, or pick the same elective. Sure I was probably looking like a fool five times a day over a bunch of things, but I liked being close to someone I admired.
The act of doing something about the feelings, no matter how futile the exercise, was still way better than sitting around just hoping they’d notice the girl who never said anything.
Hannah has never had her own boyfriend but she's not willing to be a wallflower either and I liked that about her. The huge cast of characters in this short work of fiction may be confusing for some people but that's one aspect of Interim Goddess of Love that I really enjoyed. Thank you, Mina, for giving us so many swoon-worthy guys in one book! I couldn't decide which guy I should root for. This installment is about Kathy's romance but in the process of finding her true love, we get hints about Hannah's possible love story as well. I think the number of characters sets up the sequels quite nicely - I'm hoping to read more about the other characters in the next books. Interim Goddess of Love is a promising introduction to Mina's YA work and it's just as charming and fun as her other books. After finishing this, I went online so I could bug Mina about the sequels. I can't wait to read them and I will recommend this one to anyone interested in reading Filipino fiction because I have a feeling they'd enjoy reading Interim Goddess of Love as much as I did....more