Book Review, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Beginner’s Guide to Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes

This one’s for my old [STEM gurl from Science HS] life. 😉

Beginner’s Guide to Love and Other Chemical Reactions
By Six de los Reyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult
Rating: 5/5

Blurb:

Falling in love is a chemical reaction.

Just ask Kaya Rubio, twenty-five year-old Molecular Genetics graduate student and research assistant. Fed up with her spinster aunts’ relentless reminders and unsolicited advice regarding her Single Since Birth status, she designs a scientific, evidence-based methodology to find her a suitable partner in time for her cousin’s wedding. As any good scientist knows, any valid experimental design requires a negative control. Enter the most unsuitable candidate for a potential boyfriend: the messy, easygoing, café owner Nero Sison. Her null hypothesis? Going out with Nero would establish her baseline data without catalyzing the chemical reaction she seeks.

But when Kaya’s recorded results refuse to make sense, she is forced to come to the conclusion that there are some things in life that are simply, by nature, irrational and illogical. And that sometimes, chemistry doesn’t always happen inside a lab.

Review

I’ve been meaning to read this one since Sounds Like Summer. The cover and the blurb were just instant wins for me. I mean, that minimalist blue cover with a test tube. Of course, it’s going to be about Science, my weakness. My love even when we did not exactly work out together.

And it lived up to my expectations! Granted, the start of the story needs a little getting used to. The pacing and the language of a scientific journal can be a little alienating. I get that the use of the clinical language could have been intentional, since Kaya is a scientist and this book is her headspace.

But power through it and you will be rewarded!

Characters

I am a little wary of falling in love with LIs lately. I want to firmly love the MCs first before loving the LIs. Maybe I just want to give more airtime to the female characters. I feel like I always owe them more time to gush over.

But then Nero happened. Nero, who was the perfect ideal guy for girls who refuse to face their emotions, for stubborn but passionate women bent on succeeding. And sigh, it’s hard to keep the love for LI from showing.

Six’s strength in her storytelling lies in the complexity of her characters. I love how dynamic everyone is, from Sounds Like Summer to Feels Like Summer. Her characters feel so real and the richness of the world building just follows.

I also love her way around steamy scenes. They are Really Fucking Steamy. I could feel how single I am with her stories. As in, I want a Nero to make out with, kind of awareness.

So yes, read this! Read this is if you’re a fan of Penny Reid. Science and romance can happen. There’s no binomial opposition here, only a union of two sets of amazing and awesome fields of passionate women.

Book Review

[REVIEW] How We Fall by Melissa Toppen

I have been given an advanced reader copy (ARC) by Buoni Amici Press in exchange for an honest review.

How We Fall 
By Melissa Toppen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: New Adult
Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

It’s not always about how we fall- it’s about where we end up once we land.

I remember the very first time I laid eyes on Cole Lincoln. It still feels like yesterday when he stumbled into my life with his messy brown hair and dark eyes. Even though I was only ten years old at the time, I knew right then and there that he was going to change everything.

From that point on Cole and I were always together—inseparable—and I naively believed we’d be best friends forever. But forever didn’t last nearly as long as I expected.

We grew up and grew apart, life driving the distance between us, but my love for Cole never faltered. Even long after he moved away, leaving me and our little town behind, I still carried a piece of him with me every single day. Because Cole wasn’t just my childhood best friend- the boy who knew me better than anyone else in the whole world. He was also my first love- a part of my very core.

When a tragic death brings us face to face again after six years, every single memory comes rushing to the surface. Only this is not the boy I fell in love with all those years ago. The man before me is hardened, intimidating, and so damn sexy I practically melt when those dark eyes meet mine for the first time in six years.

And like the first time he walked into my life, I know with complete certainty that everything is about to change.

Review

Often, we read about reviews of romance books as ‘cheesy’ stories that make us cringe and irate. I always hate it when romance falls into that branding because it’s not always ‘cheesy’. Emotions, in general, are scoffed at because we live in a patriarchal world where they are treated as weakness. And when romance novels are rounded down to being cheesy, it really sparks the Anger inside me.

How We Fall by Melissa Toppen, sadly, falls into the cheesy category. I hate to say this but here’s why:

Toppen’s How We Fall starts off promising. Childhood friends Cole and Mel always teetered between friends and Something More. They never crossed the line when they were teens because of course, they don’t. Only after the death of their close friend, many years after, did they reconnect and found the courage to tip over the Something More field.

Before I launch into the plot analysis, I’d like to point out that when they did reconnect, Mel was in a relationship with another guy. I feel like it is too convenient that her relationship with Nate, the boyfriend, was ‘unhappy’, she’s always the second choice from his job, that ultimately made their breakup and her reconnecting with Cole conveniently easy.

In fact, the crises in the story, while many and good, conveniently solve themselves for the couple without any agency from them. The story reads like a huge Deus ex machina-propelled narrative. I am really sad about the wasted potential of this book.

I understand how Toppen might have loved Mel and Cole. After all, it shows how much the characters love each other so much. (By how they declare their love for one another every single time. It’s too much! There is a thing called too much.) This is the love conquers all story that might read well technically (in terms of grammar and syntax) but the plot really needs more work.

We don’t just need a couple in love with each other. We need crises and ritual deaths and reconciliations that will mean significantly for the characters, both as individuals and as a couple. Romance is not just for feelings. Romance can deliver the edge most good stories have so please don’t do it this kind of disservice.

Book Review

[REVIEW] Natalie and the Nerd by Amy Sparling

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Hello, welcome to my bookstagram blitz for Natalie and the Nerd by Amy Sparling! This bookstagram blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. You may see other bloggers, and bookstagrammers’ tour stops here.

Natalie and the NerdNatalie and the Nerd
By Amy Sparling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: 30 May 2017
Blurb:
Natalie’s school work is the last priority on her long list of things to worry about. Since her parent’s divorce, her mom’s boutique—their only source of income—is about to go under, and Natalie spent all summer and most of her senior year trying to save the little shop. Now that she’s in danger of failing high school, the assistant principal (who happens to be her evil stepmother) is making Natalie join daily tutoring sessions with Jonah Garza, the school’s valedictorian.

Taking math lessons from the rich nerdy boy is the last thing Natalie wants to do, but Jonah needs these community service hours to get into Harvard, so he’s not going to give up on her. In addition to working at the boutique and studying with Jonah, Natalie’s lifelong crush just started paying attention to her. She’s being pulled in so many directions, she doesn’t think to question why the son of the biggest business mogul in town is suddenly trying to win her affections.

When her crush betrays her and the store goes into foreclosure, Natalie has to choose between fighting harder to keep her mom’s dream alive, or fighting to pass high school and start a future of her own.

Review

If you love Sarah Dessen’s writing voice and storytelling, then Amy Sparling’s Natalie and the Nerd should definitely your next read! NatN delivers a solid story around Natalie and her struggles as a high schooler while the world happens around her. It’s a great coming-of-age read with the right amount of romance and sparks that will reel you in.

The thing that I loved most and surprised me is Amy Sparling’s writing voice. For the past few years, I’ve been staying away from YA because I find most authors’ voice to be rather annoying and their storytelling lacking. The stories I enjoy reading has the complete package – finely crafted world, well-developed characters, and engaging storytelling. I don’t think that’s too much, right?

Natalie and the Nerd is a surprising delight because from the first page to the last, Sparling’s clear voice and engaging words will smoothly transition you into the complicated life of Natalie Reese. I also love how rich and real Natalie’s character is. She is trying her best to survive high school while saving their store. The story never veers away from her crisis and does not use her crisis as a mere backdrop to her romantic storylines. For me, YAs with this kind of focus are the best kinds of stories.

Jonah Garza is the typical YA love interest. I kinda don’t like how perfect his character is, to be honest. He didn’t even have his own kind of crisis. (The ex-girlfriend one does not count. It was practically a blip in the story.) The story could have been made richer if Jonah had more to his character. And it probably could have brought an extra layer of crisis to his and Natalie’s relationship.

Their romantic relationship, too, feels a little too conveniently flawless. I feel like the story could have been better if it were longer. A lot could have been touched upon and discussed more but it was all cut short with the very abrupt ending.

Everything was fixed within a chapter of conclusion. If I didn’t love how rich and powerful the book started, the ending would have brought my entire review down to two stars. I wish Sparling had shown more how Natalie reconciled with her stepdad, how they found the solution to her mom’s problems and the confrontation between Natalie and her mom. These are all great and big emotional landmarks that should not be relegated to a couple of paragraphs mentioned in passing.

Maybe it’s the word count limit, but as it is the novel could have been longer and better. Don’t get me wrong, I love what it had right now. I’d definitely read more Amy Sparling books in the coming days, that’s for sure. I’d just love for her to get the right amount of her story in ink and page to get that satisfying story out.

You can find Natalie and the Nerd on Goodreads

You can buy Natalie and the Nerd on Amazon

Amy SparlingAbout the Author:
Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She lives in Texas and has an addiction to sparkly nail polish, taking photos of her cute dog, and swooning over book boyfriends.

You can find and contact Amy here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the bookstagram blitz for Natalie and the Nerd. One winner will win a $20 Amazon Giveaway + a signed paperback of Natalie and the Nerd by Amy Sparling.

To enter this giveaway you need to make a picture of the book Natalie and the Nerd by Amy Sparling and post it on social media with the hashtag #NATNGiveaway.

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Book Review, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Waiting in the Wings by Tara Frejas

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Waiting in the Wings
by Tara Frejas

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Romance / NA / Contemporary
Release Date: February 21, 2017

SYNOPSIS:

At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage, away from the klieg lights. She is the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fall and the lights go down. In real life, Erin is a certified NBSB whose heart has been hoping for a song to dance to for quite some time.

But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and fulfill her dream?

BUY IT ON AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WV7BPJ4

ADD IT ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34102210-waiting-in-the-wings

BOOK REVIEW

Waiting in the Wings serves up HEA in spades. It’s a fun and happy read that packs a punch of happy feelings as things progress. Of course, along the way, I can’t say the same. One of the things floating in my head while reading it was, this is one character away from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and as messy (in love) as it.

One of the things I love about Waiting in the Wings is how we see both MC and LI struggling to find things in life: love and career, respectively. While there are books who treat the LI as human as the MC, a lot of books still set up the LI as a perfect piece of flesh, meant to be desired and admired throughout the text.

Waiting in the Wings brings a refreshing LI in Ramon Figueroa’s character. We rarely see an LI owning up to self-esteem issues that usually plague the MC, but here’s the thing: flaws create character and depth that makes your LI, or any character for that matter, more dynamic. Dynamic characters are always a good thing. It endears the readers to them and creates for a more complex book.

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I just love how we see Ramon try and build himself up. I especially love how the book portrays him as someone who would do things to better himself. We don’t see much of that in books. Ultimately, my reading of Waiting in the Wings is a coming-of-age of both main characters, overcoming obstacles and growing together. I especially love how they both figured out things for themselves together.

Erin Javier is the cutest character I have read so far. She is this cuddly ball of sunshine, and in Ramon’s words, people just can’t help but fall in love with her. And it’s true. At her very core, you know Erin just wants to help out. But for me, her character begins her development a little earlier than Ramon. With her conscious decision to wait in the wings (see what I did there?), to allow herself to experience the things she usually portrays on stage, seemed not quite an easy decision to make for someone as giving and kind as Erin.

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But, this kindness of her is also her character flaw. She tries so hard to be there for and to help Ramon but it does more harm than help. But you have to give it to her, her grand gesture was one of the most beautiful Grand Gestures I’ve ever read—realistic, not too gaudy, artistic, and fits their characters just right. I am so down with that kind of Grand Gesture.witw-quote3

Should I talk about Pio? Okay, I guess so. Pio Alvez is the foil to Ramon’s character: he is confident, his career is stable, and there is just a deep rooted sense of self with him. He is the obvious, no-brainer choice for Erin’s LI if you think about it logically. But Pio is also the shiny boy you’d just love to stare at. I feel like Pio could be a great character but this is not his book yet and he is emotionally unavailable for Erin. His schedule and all his rules (baggage, tbh) make him just unfit for this book. It’s not his turn to grow yet. He is a prime character for another MC, though, but not for Erin.

There are lots of reasons to read this book: the characters, the growth, the story. And to add more reasons, read it for the intertextual material. There are wonderful songs penned for this book that snatches my heart and I can only just imagine if they were really singing in real life for a stage adaptation. I can’t even wrap my head around writing songs, for me that’s such a big task. Like writing poetry.

I just love this book to pieces. Ramon is a great character to fall in love with, and yes, I really identify with Erin’s affectionate character (hehe). And hey, I just realized now how ripe Pio is for a celebrity romance story! Heh. I hope we see a sequel with Pio.

 

 

Book Review, Favorite, Recommendations

[REVIEW] Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano

[ I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. And it is quite a long review. I’m sorry. I ramble a lot. And I really loved this book. Please read it and discuss it with me because I actually cut this review short as it is!]

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Book Title: Keep the Faith

Release Date: July 31, 2016

Author: Ana Tejano

About the Book:

As a community development worker, Faith was quite familiar with heartbreak and recovery after all the time she spent on disaster relief missions. So when her five-year relationship ends right before she left for a mission trip to a typhoon-stricken town in Iloilo, she tries not to make a big deal out of it. How can she be broken up about a breakup when she’s with people who literally lost everything?

But now that she’s back, all Faith wants is for her life to go back to normal and have people stop looking at her with pity. Never mind that she still has a lot of questions about the breakup, or that she feels a tiny ache every time her ex comes up in conversations. She’s okay now, and happily distracted by Nico Tamayo, the attractive new guy at work.

With new possibilities in the horizon, Faith thinks she is well on her way to moving on. But when her past comes calling back to her, will all the good things in her present be enough to keep her on the path? Or will she finally learn that there was more to heartbreak and recovery than what she knows?

BOOK REVIEW

Before we begin with my review, let me ask you one thing? Why do we read?

We often take for granted the reason why we read things. Maybe, you want an escape from the mundane of life. Maybe, we seek to find a piece of our souls in one of the books we peruse. Maybe, we seek worlds greater and far more dangerous than ours. Or the contrary – finding a safe place to be who you are and finding the freedom in between the lines.

For me, the answer is a variety of all these things I mentioned.

But until I started reading Philippine Romance Literature in English, I never really thought that maybe I read because I am seeking a part of myself in the books that I read. Until Ana Tejano’s book, I never realized how much it meant to me, as a Filipino reader, to relate to the characters of the book I am reading that we share the same kind of culture, of environment, of hopes, doubts, and fears, more than just sharing the universal feeling of falling in love.

Reading Keep the Faith felt like jumping into a pool of cool water at the height of Luzon summer heat: refreshing, in a way you didn’t even know your body is craving for that sweet relief.

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Tejano’s book is about Faith Alvarez and how she tries to cope with life after her break-up with her boyfriend of five years. The story starts with her coming from a long relief mission in Iloilo, one of the island provinces in the Visayan region. For those unfamiliar with Philippine geography, Iloilo is uhm, really far from Manila. A few years back, Typhoon Haiyan struck the westernmost part of the region, destroying a lot of homes and taking a lot of lives as well. I am guessing that Haiyan is where we are getting this experience from.

But anyway, moving on.

So Faith is a development worker. She basically saves the lives of people who suffered from calamities and turned her passion into a career. But James isn’t exactly on board with her on that. He breaks up with her. He tells her, “He can’t do it anymore.”

(I agree with Nico; that reasoning is complete bullshit.)

Nico Tamayo is her love interest. He is also a new hire who sleeps on Faith’s desk while she was away at Iloilo. He is… God, where do I even begin with Nicolas?

 

*stuffs my mouth with a handful of French fries*

Nico Tamayo is the stuff of my dreams! (There, I said it!!) The first shot of him that endeared me to him was not the scene where he was first introduced. It was this scene where he was lighting candles at church, candlelight framing him. And GOOD GOD CAN YOU JUST IMAGINE A MANLY MAN, WITH THE ARMS THAT CAN LIFT MY EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY, PRAYING TO GOD SOLEMNLY?

Goodness, yes. Yes, I am in love with Nicolas Tamayo and I am not even ashamed.

(He’s so perfect.)

So let’s go back to character analysis. Nico is perfect. And to a fault, I would say. He is a History major, passionate with his cause of championing education and children, like Faith, he is too giving, too forgiving. You can’t find anyone like Nico anymore. He is a rare and endangered cinnamon roll. And I guess, this may pain me to say, but yes, he does lack a little flaw to his character.

I love him, but I’d love to see more human fault in his character. (I’m sorry, Nico. I still love you, though.) The only time that he gets to be a little darker than his perfect, perfect self is at the precipice of the point of ritual death. (You’d know where this is when you read it! I loved that scene. I milk all the angst and heartbreak of that scene for all its worth.)

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Faith Alvarez is a character that my reading mind can easily slip into. I wouldn’t say I can totally relate to her. I think she’s far too giving and selfless for me to properly relate with. But I think what draws me into her is how this tiny detail of her character that just resonates with me: how she seems so fine, she thinks she’s moved on, that she can do it again—live alone.

But she’s actually way in over her head. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. This shared experience with her just made it easy to slip into her mind. Maybe it’s all the signs of denial she exhibits at the beginning of the story. Maybe, like her, I want to believe wholeheartedly that she’s already moved on. That she’s okay.

But it’s just so easy to fall back into bad habits. It isn’t easy to let go. Five years is a long period of time to overcome in just a snap of your finger. Holding on, when all you’ve done for the longest time is to hold on, is a conditioning that is difficult to break.

I love how the book did not go to the easiest and most used path where the main character and the new love interest just gets into a relationship really quickly, like this new hope of love magically heals all the heartache and pain that the previous one had inflicted upon. It doesn’t happen that way in reality.

I love how, no matter how really perfect Nico is, Faith was every bit realistic and dynamic as a character. She believed, she fell in love, she fooled herself, she hurt, she cried. Through her readers break and find it in themselves to find the strength to move on.

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I really appreciate the pace and how the story handled this concept of moving on. Lately, this concept has been all the rage in Philippine Cinema. And reading this book is actually a little cinematic for me as well. Like, I can totally see it adapted for the big screen.

This vividness of the images and the story, for me, says more about how easy it was for me to resonate with the story because it’s just so very Filipino. More than just the settings, the way Tejano wrote the entire thing is engaging and captivating. And the little details of the life we live here in the Philippines? Our weather, our priorities in life, Metro Manila traffic, the disasters we always experience—all these tiny details perfectly, perfectly captures what and how it is to be a Filipino.

And books like Tejano’s Keeping the Faith is why I keep on reading and seeking myself.

Links to Purchase:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31228888-keep-the-faith

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About the Author:

Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications manager for a payroll outsourcing firm, and serves in CFC Singles for Christ in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).

Contact Links:

Book Review

REVIEW: Soaring by Kristen Ashley

soaringI’m giving the book 4 stars not by my general standards, but by KA standards, and you guys, I know you know how I mean.

No?

Well, here’s a sample:


Conrad jerked around.

I looked beyond him and the world suspended.

This was because, five feet away from Conrad, standing on my front walk, was a tall, muscular man with dark hair clipped short to his skull and the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life.

Those eyes were on Conrad. They were irate.

The thing about KA, if you haven’t read her yet or haven’t heard from her, is she basically writes a long love story about a macho man and an independent, empowered woman, but still manage to pull off both succumbing to the very un-PC representation of woman and present a HEA. Her image of a macho man is also very problematic in the sense that each and every one of her heroes is one and the same. Like, believe it. I called them heroes in my last review of her Rinse and Repeat heroes.

So. How did this book even get a four-star rating from me?

I was actually expecting a disaster from the way the first book ran. Maybe that’s the key to reading KA though: You have to know what you’re going into. As a newbie, I almost put the book down because it’s so hard to read. *actual tears* My first KA book was Rock Chick, and I’ve heard so many good reviews of it that I forced myself to wade in the mess that was KA. It was horrible. But it did pay off.

Another thing about KA is that you may want to rewrite her whole book, but you’d have to give her credit that she writes the most interesting turn of events and the craziest characters in the literary world. Her characters are just golden puffs of marijuana smoke. The guys are also insanely hot and comes a dime a dozen. But emphasis on a dime a dozen.

Soaring was pretty much a book that doesn’t have to do much from its preceding book in the series to be considered decent. The first book, The Will, was just, really, a disaster. It was so ambitious, and it’s like watching a rocket launch go tremendously awry, everything just went horribly wrong. Just. Wrong.

So as the second book, as I’ve said, there really isn’t much it could have done to best The Will in the epic fuck-up. In KA standards though, the MCs are pretty normal. But what made it really okay for me is that, despite knowing Amelia had done something batshit crazy before she moved to Magdalene, she’s also very easy to sympathize with.



The mistakes we make in life don’t define us, Amy. The way we handle ’em after makin’ ’em do. You made a mistake. Now you’re handling it and doing it the right way and that’s who you are. A mother who wants to heal her family and make them safe and healthy. So really, you got that strength in you, that’s all you ever were. Your ex tripped you up and you weren’t expecting it and you didn’t handle it right. But that’s over, so you gotta find the strength to keep handling it right now

Amelia Hathaway is a divorced mother of two who had made some mistakes prior to moving to Magdalene. And by some mistakes, she unleashed the fury of a woman scorned on her ex-husband and his current wife. It was alluded in the book that everything she did was made publicly and they weren’t pretty. At all. Her kids were also compromised by her revenge, so in turn, their custody was awarded to their cheating asshole of a father, who then moved to Maine. Away from Amelia of then La Jolla, CA.

On her third day in Magdalene, Conrad, the ex-assband, paid her a visit and really got into her face. Until she was saved by her hot firefighter neighbor, Mickey Donovan.



“All my life,” I whispered, “I was the girl who everyone thought had everything or could get it. But the only thing I ever wanted was a man like you. You’re the best man I’ve ever met, Mickey Donovan.” I felt another tear and the words trembled when I finished, “And you’re mine.”

The thing is though, Amelia won the book so much. SO. MUCH. She went from this really sad, really broken woman, and the readers were there every step of the way to her recovery. And it’s amazing. The journey was long, but I loved it. It’s just, really systematic and realistic for me.

Mickey was also quite refreshing. I can’t quite exactly point out how he’s different from the other KA hero clones, but it’s maybe because he doesn’t establish his male dominance in every freaking scene. Although there are still many problematic scenes between him and Amelia that I just cannot–

Sometimes I wonder what KA was thinking, actually. She writes really strong female characters, but she also enforces gender stereotypes. I don’t know what she wants to pull off here. TBH.

I guess, the thing that puts me off, I just realized, is her misrepresentation of a strong male character. Not every strong male character should be all-macho, all-dominating hunk of a man. He doesn’t have to impose his decisions to the female around him just because he is the alpha of the relationship and the house. (The young adult males are also tiny, budding hero clones so it’s seriously disturbing and really, really problematic.) This representation just perpetuates the idea that a man should be THE man of the house. Yeah, sure you should provide for your family, but it’s not because you are male and therefore, biologically appointed to be the breadwinner. Or in the case of the young adult baby clones, just because you are the son doesn’t mean you have to speak in active, incomplete sentences like the hero clones.

Ok, it’s just super frustrating. But yeah. It was a fun read, despite the problematic gender roles. (Very problematic, though.)

Uncategorized

Clara’s 2013 in the Wraps + Top 5 Books of 2013

Joyeux nouveau annee~! 😀 ¡Feliz año nuevo! 😀 Happy New Year~! 😀

2013 had been a wonderful year for me. Although it did start off as an extension of my ~*gloomy and depressive*~ days, it picked up midyear into probably one of the best times of my life. And for that, 2013 will always be a memorable year for me.

This year had been a year of friendship: ending, beginning and bonds forged stronger than ever. It felt like the end of one of the most dysfunctional friendships I had really come into completion. (It had been a long time coming, so.) It saddens me that a friendship has come to an end, but I learned that people grow, people change. And sometimes, we find ourselves completely different from our younger selves. That our principles and beliefs may lie somewhere different and far from when we younger. Consequently, the friends we had from our younger days will grow into different people, with different sets of values and principles as we do. And then in some inevitable cases, you will find each other at odds. The bitter truth of the world is that sometimes friendships end, not because there are arguments or shortcomings, but people just drift away. Almost as if there are just relationships that are not meant to be.

There are also new beginning this year. New friendships I’ve formed through the internet, imagine that, (and they are the most awesome people ever!) and from the new leg of my life. This year, I finally made the choice to pursue what I really want, my greatest what-if: English Literature. I am still not officially into the program, but I’ve been taking units, as you all know, and you know what? It feels like it’s the best decision I’ve ever made since college started. The classes I’ve been taking are the most wonderful classes ever. A big, big bonus is that the faculties are probably the kindest, most awesome teachers I’ve ever had in my entire collegiate experience. Seriously, follow you dreams, even if they have the biggest chance of you being unemployed after graduation.

Do what you love! Life is too short to waste it on engineering school things you don’t love.

So for next year, I’m really really hoping and praying that I be accepted officially into the program! 

I also started this blog this year! 😀 I actually only started this blog so I can work my way into getting advance review copies of books, but since I’ve neglected this blog for soooooo long, that dream is still kind of stilted. (Although a few authors have come to me for reviews from my GoodReads and tumblr accounts. AND THOSE WERE THE BEST EXPERIENCES EVER!!)

In line with this being my book blog, I’d like to list down my top 5 books of 2013! Yeaaaaah, I had to share my life first before I went down to business.

Clara’s Top 5 of 2013

5. Rock Chick Series by Kristen Ashley

If there is something you have to know about me, it’s that I love a series of books about a group of friends or a family. And the Rock Chick series was  gold mine! Initially, it was very hard to get into. KA’s characters are really crazy and out of this world and it just took so long before I could stomach their craziness. But what really captured me into reading ALL of the books in this series is Lee Nightingale and his hotness. Because, come on let’s be honest here, KA writes the hottest, baddest alpha males in the world of New Adult-landia!

4. Fantasyland Series by Kristen Ashley

Uhmmm, so yeah. This year had definitely been a KA year for me! So since I was only partially into KA reading her Rock Chick series, Fantasyland sunk me in totally. Especially book 2, The Golden Dynasty, which to be honest made me feel like a continuation of my Game of Thrones OTP, Daenerys and Khal Drogo. And I have to say, the Fantasyland series has some really awesome world building. It wasn’t too complex or big like Lord of the Rings. It was simple but it freaking rocked! It is a manifestation that sometimes the right combination of a good writing style, kickass characters, rollercoaster plot and a simple world building can make a impressionable book.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I hated John Green. But mostly because I hated Looking for Alaska. So before the year ends, as I gorged myself into meaningless contemporary romances, I tried to give myself a genre jolt, and boy, what a jolt it had been! I’ll be posting my review of The Fault in Our Stars later this week. But let it be known that I am now a John Green believer. The Fault in Our Stars was flawless.

2. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I read books really fast, so a usual paperback only lasts three hours to me. That’s also why I loved Kristen Ashley’s books because they always take me twice as long to read. I only read The Sea of Tranquility because it was mentioned in More Than This by Jay MacLean, and that decision cost me a heart and half of my soul. The Sea of Tranquility is a magical experience for me. It made me remember why I have a hope in my soul for romance books.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park owns my body and soul and possibly my first-born child. Seriously. This book gutted me and gahd, it was a fucking experience. It felt like if Hector of Troy was still alive as Achilles dragged his body around the perimeter of Troy. Reading this book felt exactly like that. It was so noble. I’ll probably make more sense in my review of this book, which I will publish also sometime later this week.

2013 was a wonderful year. I hope all of you guys’s year was as wonderful and fantastic as mine! Let’s all hope 2014 will even be better and lot more awesome than 2013!