03 February 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Okay, so of all the three books so far in this series (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and this one), I liked Isla and the Happily Ever After the most. Isla was by far the most likable leading lady that Perkins was able to come up with. It's a pet peeve to me that all her guys seem to be perfect nice guys (ugh), but perhaps it's because we're reading it from the lady's rose-tinted and infatuated point-of-view.

I liked this book a lot because there was less bullshit. It's a slice-of-life story, and Isla is a breath of fresh air. She's shy, patient, and understanding... and even if we're reading it from her point of view, its obvious from the conversations and inner turmoils she has. Josh, on the other hand, is quite endearing. He's sweet but also oblivious to Isla's insecurities, which is where most of the book's conflict comes from.

And my favorite part of the book? Kurt. Kurt is Isla's childhood friend who has high-functioning autism. He's blunt and rude and can't tell a lie (which gets Isla and Josh expelled), but he's just so incredibly sweet and caring. I think he's actually the reason I like Isla a lot more than I liked the other leading ladies of Stephanie Perkins. Through him, you can actually see how good a person Isla is because she refuses to keep relations with people who don't care for Kurt's company.

As for Isla and Josh's relationship, it was more of chance that they got together, but they did appear to complement one another. Isla's conversation with a friend later on in the book explains why Isla and Josh work. It's simply because Josh is brash and Isla is gentle, and rather than push, they listen.

I'm giving this book a 3/5. It's no literary masterpiece but it makes a good, light read.

01 February 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #3

It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy – that guy right over there – that’s him.

Quite a short first paragraph, but there you go. That's the first paragraph (and sentence) of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. It's the third in the series though you don't necessarily need to read them in sequence, as each book can stand alone.

I've read the first two books. Nothing great, more of books that you read to pass the time but won't really make a lasting impression, hehe.

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea.

30 January 2017

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion... she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola's past be the love of her future?

Fall in love with the international bestseller from queen of young adult fiction, Stephanie Perkins.

Unfortunately, I'm giving this book a 2/5. I enjoyed the book before this one (Anna and the French Kiss), but I found the main characters of Lola and the Boy Next Door too eccentric to be relatable. Don't get me wrong -- Stephanie Perkins writes light-hearted stories that you want to be able to relate to. This one was about a typical "first love never dies" story about the boy-next-door. It tugs at your heartstrings and all, but... I feel as if the quirkiness of the characters seemed too force.

I loved everything else, though. I like how Lola had two overprotective fathers, and I liked how Cricket had a matching bitchy, protective sister. Max, Lola's older and rebellious boyfriend, added a good conflict to the story as well -- though I'm sensing that a recurring theme in Perkins's books is being torn between 'two lovers' and ultimately having to make the hard decision of letting go of a difficult relationship and realizing that someone else 'sees the real you'.

And... Lola, our leading lady. She insists on being seen as mature but nothing about her decisions (or personality!) were mature. At all. It was frustrating because Cricket seems genuinely nice, but here's Lola, who I have a hard time liking because she's just downright immature. It's not even just the strange costumes. That was more a quirk that anything else. It's the infatuation with the OLDER guy, the lying to her parents, the leading Cricket on, etc etc.

In summary, the overall premise (boy-next-door first love) was sweet and endearing, but the two main characters were not. Not a fan.

08 June 2014

Damn scammers. ;p

So when I was looking around instagram and facebook today, there were all these posts that an instagram account (@FullyBookedPh) was giving away 2.5k GCs to its first 10k followers. Too good to be true so I ignored it. Anyway, here's the real deal for those who did repost it. The official announcement that, yes, it's was a load of bull. :)

02 April 2014

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan

Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance, glbt, realistic fiction

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.

John Green and David Levithan did a good job on this collaboration. What I liked best about it is just how much it captures the reality of teenage drama. Really, this book is all about Tiny, and the two Will Graysons in his life. Tiny is an amazing character, he's hilarious and confident, with all these insecurities that he tries to hide.

Another character that I ended up liking a lot if Jane. She's the type that just grows on you, alongside Will Grayson (the straight one).

Green writes in his typical manner, with wit and sensitivity. In contrast to Levithan, I found that Green's chapters had a more upbeat feel to them, which can possibly be attributed to the fact that Levithan's Will Grayson was suffering from depression. Levithan's writing was... unique. No words were capitalized and dialogues were done in chat/script form. It took a while to get used to but once you did, you kind of see that it's probably the way his Will Grayson really would have done it anyway.

Truth be told, the ending appeared a bit lacking to me. I enjoyed how they tackled the depth of Tiny and straight Will's friendship, but the ending seemed to lacking and, sorry to say, corny. It was done in a flashy way that I guess Tiny appreciates because it's Tiny, but from the reader's perspective, there could have been more to it.

Rating: 3.5/5

03 December 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #2

When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick you friend's nose." This seemed like a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels. To begin with, you cannot possibly pick your friends, or else I never would have ended up with Tiny Cooper.

Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.

Truth be told, the first two paragraphs were catchy and witty, and so typically John Green. I've skimmed over the chapters and it turns out that Green writes odd numbered chapters while Levithan writes even numbered chapters. Also, Levithan doesn't use capitalization. It hurts the eyes.

02 December 2013

Review: On The Count Of Tree by Maureen Johnson

On the Count of Three
On the Count of Three by Maureen Johnson

Genres: Young adult, glbt, romance, contemporary, realistic fiction

What happens when your two best friends fall in love...with each other?

"Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical -- in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel." So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed "The Bermudez Triangle" by a jealous wannabe back on Nina's eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes.

Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows.

Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery...kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it's only the beginning of a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

I've mentioned it in a previous post, but I've been wanting to read a Maureen Johnson book ever since I was introduced to her writing in Let It Snow. Fortunately, On The Count Of Tree (also titled The Bermudez Triangle) did not disappoint. It was not as hilarious as Johnson's short story in Let It Snow, but I liked it just the same. The characters are all realistic and lovable, and the emotional scenes tug at your heartstrings. I actually teared up once. It's unlike some novels which try too hard to make you feel for the characters. This one was a good read and it built up their issues well to the point that you can understand what they're going through. It's got comedy, romance, friendship, and battles with the self. 

Really, my own qualm was that the ending left me wondering, 'that was it?'. Nina, one of the three main characters, suddenly solved her problems and made a major decision without any explanation or build up. There was just mention of it in the last chapter. Just... okay, there could have been more to it. 

 Despite that, I loved the book. Maureen Johnson is now a favorite author. 

 Rating: 4/5