Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Title:If I Stay (If I Stay #2)

Author: Gayle Forman

Publisher:  Speak (April 17, 2012)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 274

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life.

And three years he’s spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good – or can you really have a second chance at first love?

*Warning: Might contain some spoilers!!!*

Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay, tells the tale of Mia and Adam’s reunion in New York City. Ever since Mia left for Julliard and Adam rose to stardom, things have changed quite a lot for both of them. One night, Adam wanders off and surprisingly finds out that Mia is in the same city as he is. He makes a decision that  could potentially bring them back together OR maybe bring their closure.

I picked up this novel with high hopes that I’m going to enjoy this more than If I Stay. It turns out that I was right. So, I start off the novel, definitely not expecting what happened to Mia and Adam’s relationship. It didn’t cross my mind that the plot for this novel would revolve about that. I know that their separation would be inevitable due to their career aspirations but it still shocked me that they had indeed lost what they once had way back when they were teenagers.

In Where She Went, I was submerged into Adam’s angst-y world post-Mia. I was a bit afraid that the feel of the main character’s narration would bore me out or make me drag myself through out the book. Surprisingly, the angst of Adam towards his past relationship with Mia was very understandable and relatable in some ways. The hurt that he felt was so intense.. and you will be brought back to all the things he’s been through because he lost someone who has a very special place in his heart.

The cool thing is in every chapter, we get snippets of the tracks from Adam and his band’s albums. By reading the lyrics, you will get a look into the Adam in his “dark days”. We get to see how messed up he turned to be ever since Mia has left him.

And then, everything changes when he sees the poster of Mia’s live show..

I love the element of fate here. It’s like some twist of their destiny to have them cross each other’s paths again. I was so thrilled when I read that Adam decided to let his curiosity win him over. That’s when the story got so catchy for me. That’s what urged me to continue..to see what he does when he sees Mia again and what Mia does when she sees him again. I love this type of stories..the second-chance-at-love-kind of novels.

As I went on through the book, I love how they rediscovered each other. I understand that they had a lot of issues with each other. I enjoyed reading every single conversation that they had. The only issue with me for this book is the abundance of flashbacks. I’m just the kind of girl who likes to read on and on about the present. A little flashback to support the plot is good but yeah I don’t know. Maybe I’m not the biggest fan of flashbacks in stories.

Nevertheless, I did really really loved this novel. It’s still beautifully written. Kudos to Ms. Gayle Forman. She did an amazing job of conveying the characters’ emotions to me. I think Where She Went is so moving. I love how this novel and If I Stay changed my perspective in life.

Oh and btw, I am not really sure if this is a Young Adult novel or a New Adult one. I think it’s more on the New Adult side, considering  some of the events in the book. I do recommend this novel for the contemporary romance fans out there. This is a read that will make your heart melt.

5-rating

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Book Buying Ban: Can you stick to it?

As a book lover and avid reader, buying books has definitely one of the most pleasurable things that I do in my life. It just gives me this satisfaction knowing that I have new books to add up in my TBR (to-be-read) pile. This is always the case even though I haven’t finished the half of it yet. The pile keeps growing and growing but I don’t care because it makes me happy. Probably, the other book lovers out there have the same thoughts like mine.

However, there are times when my book-buying habits get out of hand. I think there are lots of circumstances when I felt guilty of overspending on books. I usually tell myself that it’s a once-in-awhile-thing..that it’s alright to spend that much. Yeah, I just rationalize to myself, get over my guilt, and buy books again before I know it. It’s all good in the beginning but then I realize that I need to be on a tight budget because I’ve spent most of my money in books.

No matter how I love books and the feeling I get after doing book hauls, I think impulsive book buying is a matter that I shouldn’t ignore. “Too much” is really bad even for buying the books that you’re craving to read and put on your bookshelf. You feel me?

In the previous month, I think I almost did good on sticking on a book buying ban…ALMOST. Lol. The only time that I slipped from my promise was when I came in a Book Sale outlet in a mall near my place. Then, there were copies of Where the Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern and The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams. I got them for like 70% off their original price and I couldn’t let them go. So, I bought them.

If you’re going through the same situation like me…being on a tight budget and all, here are some of the tips (that I hope could help) to stick to your book-buying ban:

1. Try to pick up and finish some books in your TBR first.

We all probably have stack of books waiting to be read for a long time already. If you have some, at least pick one up and finish it. Those unread books will be so happy to be picked up. I’m quite sure that you find something interesting in that book. That’s why you bought it. So, don’t let your money go to waste and just leave a book unappreciated in your book shelf or pile.

Or if you have some unfinished books, maybe it’s time to go back and continue it…

2. Hunt for free e-books!

If you’re searching for something new to read, the internet is full of e-books that can be downloaded for free. I follow some blogs on Twitter and Facebook that give updates on books which are currently free on Amazon. Also, if you got some bookworm friends, you can ask them to give you copies of the e-books that they have.

3. Borrow books from friends and the library.

If you’re lucky enough to have bookworm friends, you can ask them to lend you some of their books. *Just a friendly reminder: Please do take care of their books. Don’t even attempt to fold or tear or spill on the pages* Okay? Okay. As for people who have good collection of books in a nearby library, go and make use of it. We have the National Library here in Manila but I don’t know if they have the type of novels that I like there. So, I haven’t tried borrowing from there. I might as well try to find out when I get a free time to visit the place. I used to go in the library at my University when I was still in college. I’m not sure though if I still can go back and borrow books from there though.

4. Distract yourself with other activities.

Try other activities which you may enjoy aside from reading books. In my case, I watch movies and TV series and read fanfictions. Oh and I try to get as much social life as I can and catch up with my friends. Oops!

5. Avoid going to bookstores and shopping books online!!!

I know. I know. Preventing yourself from going to these happy places hurts a lot. It pains me not being able to visit a bookstore because I am trying to resist impulsive book buying. Most of the time though, I can’t help it but still go. I just browse some titles and look at the beauty of the books in the shelves. Then, I do a pep talk that I would come back in time..just not now..that my spending on a book can wait till I have extra money for buying books. As you drag yourself out of the bookstore, tell yourself how proud you are of yourself..because hey it really is hard!

Book buying ban is like the one of the most painful things in the life of bookworm. But yeah, as I said..our spending can get out of hand. So, we need to keep ourselves in check because well it’s hard to be broke. 😛

 

Book Review: The Oracle by T.L. Coulter

Title: The Oracle (The Arcadian Series #2)

Author: T.L. Coulter

Published: June 2, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Rek finds Kailee and Audric’s bodies missing from their coffins, he must figure out where they are before it is too late. Rek along with Astrid, and their mortal friend Gabe, must cross realms in order to find the last remaining Oracle. She is the only one who can help lead them to Kailee and Audric. Will Rek find Kailee and Audric before it is too late? Will the secrets about the “key” prophecy finally be revealed? Find out in this exciting second installment of The Arcadian Series.

 

This novel is probably one of the most enjoyable stories that I have ever read. First, it’s not overly dramatic like the other fantasy books. Second, I find the way of writing simple yet detailed..and that fact makes me more “into” the story. I find myself turning page after page because I simply get more interested and invested with the characters. Also, it was easy for me to imagine what the world of Arcadia looks like. I love the idea of different realms. It’s the kind of adventure that every book lover should have.

 

If you haven’t read The Key (first book in the series) yet, better read it now. I swear it’s going to be worth it. Here’s a link, so go and check what the series is all about.

 

On to the next book…

 

The Oracle continues on Rek’s journey in searching for the love of his life and also his brother who were abducted by his traitor uncle. To help him find them, Rek seeks the help of The Oracle and some friends from the other realms. This is what mainly what happens in this book. Moreover, the main characters get to discover the truth about the prophecy that kept Rek and Kailee apart. A lot of new characters were introduced in this book. My oh my, I love all of them except for the enemies of course. Lol.

I think this book is more action-packed than the first book. I loved reading all the fight scenes. They just made me hold my breath and feel nervous for my favorite characters. The involvement of vampires, werewolves, ghosts/angels, and demons in the story made it much more fun for me to read. Maybe I was expecting for casualties in the wars but apparently the big war isn’t happening in this installment yet. That part was explained towards the end of the book.

Another thing that’s abundant in this book is “love teams”!!! I like it though. I’m a sucker for happy endings so I am the kind of reader who is frustrated to have the fictional characters I love finding his/her match. That’s real good. Thank goodness. I also like it when drama ensues. For example, Astrid and Gabe. They’re both stubborn but I think they’re so cute. Oh and I shouldn’t miss the Audric, Rek, and Kailee situation…

In my opinion, I got the answers that I was looking for from the happenings in the first book. I am so satisfied that I was able to make sense of why some of the events in the series occurred.  I am also curious to know how the visit in the dreams thingy work. I mean I get that their loved ones who passed away can come to their dreams but I don’t fully understand why some of the characters aren’t able to do such things.

The book ended with a bang though. Yes! Another cliffie..and we all have to wait to find out what happens next. I was all stressed out as I was finishing it. I’m like..”No!!! I need more!!!” but yeah that’s the life of a book addict.

 

My rating for this book:

5-rating

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title:If I Stay (If I Stay #1)

Author: Gayle Forman

Publisher:  Speak (April 6, 2010)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 262

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

 

 

I admit that I took interest in this book mainly because it’s going to be a movie plus Gayle Forman did book signing in Philippines last January. The story is about Mia who gets an extraordinary experience of being in between life and death. A tragedy that takes her family away and she must choose whether to stay or not.

You may actually get the notion that the plot of this novel is a bit cliche. However, there is just something about this novel that sets it apart from other novels involving a tragic car accident. It was just written so beautifully written that I had so much heart-felt emotions for the characters. This is the first book that got me crying already within it’s first few pages. I love how the story goes back and forth from Mia’s past and then the present. I appreciated the way Mia gets these flashbacks and how the readers are taken to the highlights of her life. It was fun and touching to read them.

I love Mia’s personality. I really felt attached to her. I like how simple and quiet she is. I enjoy her relationship with her loved ones. Their family is just so adorable. Gosh and I had lots of laughs reading about her mother and her bestfriend. Oh and her relationship with Adam is cute. It’s not something that is so cheesy. Like what Mia’s mom said, they pretty much have a mature relationship. For once, I’m glad to come across fictional couple with a love story like theirs.

The last few chapters of the book got me crying more. I was really emotional because she had to make her decision. Then, her bestfriend, gramps, and boyfriend gives these tear-jearker messages to her while she was on coma. I just can’t with all the feels. The book makes me realize how lucky we are to still have our loved ones. I think that’s the message..to appreciate what you have and you decide for yourself because you lead the show, aka your life.

Anyway, I feel that there could be more for this book and hopefully, I’ll get what I’m craving for in the next book in the series. I also read the book at a very slow pace. Why? Well, because the story is painful..I tend to slow down when reading this kind of stories. All in all, I very much love the way If I Stay was written. It’s enlightening in some way. Plus, it’s really good because it made me think about..what if we can really choose between death and holding on to our lives? It really is an interesting concept.

4-rating

Book Review: Bang (Black Lotus #1) by E.K. Blair

Title: Bang (Black Lotus #1)

Author: E.K. Blair

Published: May 19, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 420

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.
But I’m not innocent.
I haven’t been for a very long time.
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart. 

Let me take a deep breath before starting my review for this awesome novel. *takes a deep breath*

Once in awhile, we encounter a novel that is so powerful and life-changing. I think Bang by E.K. Blair is one of those novels who got to really give me chills and just appreciate what I have in life. I can’t even explain what I really feel about it. It’s just like one of the most traumatizing novels that I have ever read.

Bang is a story of a girl named Nina who had a dark and lonely past behind her. She had a good life before but it was all taken away from her when she loses her father. She’s dumped into hell on earth. Then, she becomes scarred and tortured inside. Years after her tragic childhood, she grows into a beautiful, sophisticated, but vengeful woman.

From the very first page of this novel, I was intrigued by Nina’s character. I wondered why is she that way.. why was she keeping her real feelings and why was she hiding and lying? I had all those questions in my head as I went on with every chapter. As I go on reading it, I feel terrified of all the things that happened to her. I was afraid for her. It really pains me to see what she went through. There are just so many things happening. I meant it when I mentioned earlier that this is probably one of the most traumatizing novels I’ve ever read. What happened to Nina was just so sick…good thing that I was able to survive reading it.

I definitely love the whole novel as terrified as I was for the main character. I appreciated how strong and complex Nina is. The writing style of E.K. Blair is epic! She did a great job for making me hang on to her story even if  most of the events in the story were dark. I was able to get through it and finishing it was worth it. It definitely ended with a Bang! Also, I think the best part of the story was Nina finding love. I think that her finding a chance at love made her live again and have hopes again.

What do I don’t like about this novel? Uhmm..maybe the main character being so tortured. I guess I sympathized for her so much. She’s had a lot of hardship and to be honest, I was disturbed with everything that happened to her.

If you were intrigued reading my review, please do read Bang by E.K. Blair. It’s such an awesome novel. It’s full of mind-blowing plot twists that will probably put you in a state of shock after reading it. Oh and a friendly reminder, please read something light and funny after this. Lol. I can’t wait what will be in the next book in the series.

5-rating

Book Review: Reasonable Doubt Volume 2 by Whitney Gracia Williams

Title: Reasonable Doubt Volume 2 (Reasonable Doubt #2)

Author: Whitney Gracia Williams

Published: May 16, 2014

Format: E-book

Pages: 67

Synopsis from Goodreads:

She lied to me…
She betrayed the one rule that I’m most adamant about: Honesty. Complete and utter fucking honesty.
I really wish she was someone else—someone who didn’t have the ability to make me feel, someone I could easily discard like the hundreds of women before her.
She isn’t.
I’m drawn to her like I’ve never been drawn to a woman before—completely captivated by the very sight of her. But unfortunately, with my past slowly re-surfacing for all of the world to see, I’ll have to find a way to let her go.
She can never be mine. 

 

 

In my previous review, I said how the first installment in the series is such a cliffhanger. Good thing that the sequel came out already and I wasn’t faced with too much waiting. The story continues with Aubrey finding out about Andrew’s past who came to find him. Basically, this second volume in RD is all about Andrew’s past catching up to him and well the two of them (Aubrey and Andrew) having more sexy times together.

This is still such a fun novel to read. I enjoyed every single moment of the characters here. It’s a light read even though there are the drama moments. I love the banters of characters especially when Andrew and Aubrey fight. When that happens, the inevitable happens, they have sex. Lol, sorry I can’t help it. I love how Andrew falls more for Aubrey, how in his mind he’s so afraid to let her in. Ms. Williams really knows how to make her readers hooked. Her writing style is just so good. It’s like you get to feel how intense her characters’ feelings are. For me, that is so important to get me “into” the story.

I flew through the book because well it’s so short. That is my only problem about these series. They’re too short for me.  The author could have probably compressed them in one novel all together. I need more from this series. I need a different plot twist. I think Andrew’s past is not so new to me. I see some similarity to other romance novels I’ve read before. So, maybe I was just expecting more..preferably something that is different to make me feel shocked. Even though that’s the case, I am still looking forward to read the third book in the RD series. I can’t wait. I hope it comes out soon!

4-rating

Book Review: Reasonable Doubt Volume 1 by Whitney Gracia Williams

Title: Reasonable Doubt Volume 1 (Reasonable Doubt #1)

Author: Whitney Gracia Williams

Published: March 31, 2014

Format: E-book

Pages: 78

Synopsis from Goodreads:

My cock has an appetite.

huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a fucking liar… (Although, that’s a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don’t have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online.

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats.

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less.

At least it was , until “Alyssa”…

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades.

But then she came into my firm for an interview—a college-interninterview, and everything fucking changed…

There have been lots of hype for this novel from my bookworm friends and book bloggers. They say that it’s really hot and addicting. My oh my, and I didn’t know what I got myself into. The first line in the blurb got my attention, like really got it. Lol.  The story is told in two POVs, Andrew’s and Aubrey’s. They met each other in a chatroom for lawyers online. They have been talking for awhile and somehow formed a friendship.

Andrew is the usual kind of guy you get in new adult stories. A guy who sleeps with different women from time to time. At the same time, he’s someone who’s got issues and temper problems. What’s his issue? He hates lying…and liars. That is the outstanding thing about this character. Then, there is Alyssa..oops..I mean Aubrey. She got this secret identity online and became friends with a certain lawyer guy there. When she comes in for her interview as an intern for a law firm, her world gets turned upside down.

I can say that I definitely love the writing style of Ms. Williams. It’s riveting. So, I was pretty much unstoppable once I started from the very first page. I liked how it is fast-paced and packed with excitement. I also think that the chapter titles, which are all law terms, are cool. The sexual tension between the two characters is intense as well. Gosh!

However, the ending was something that I did not see coming but the thing is, it’s a bit cliche. It was funny though because I thought all along the novel that Andrew hates lying. What happens at the end of the first volume? I wouldn’t say..but it kind of pisses me off.

Overall, I think it’s an exciting story. I love the pacing and the characters. I finished it in one seating. I just don’t like the ending maybe because it’s cliche to me and it’s a cliffhanger. Readers of new adult romance novels would definitely love this novel. You wouldn’t feel bored. I promise. =)

4-rating