Monthly Archives: April 2012

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

A new book of Sophie Kinsella entitled I’ve Got Your Number has just been released recently. I am not a fan of her Shopaholic series, but I have read Can You Keep a Secret? years before and I ended up liking it. And so, with her new book, I decided to give it a try. Plus, I was intrigued by the plot.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

I’ve lost it. 🙂 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her ‘happy ever after’ begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily round the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents… she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Poppy is clumsy enough to lose her engagement ring, and the next thing she knows, her phone gets stolen. As her world starts to crumble (because according to Poppy, her cellphone is basically her life), she is able to retrieve a phone from a trash bin and “borrows” it in the meantime in order to maintain the connection from her contacts, hoping that one of them would find her ring. But the phone isn’t just an ordinary phone – it belongs to Sam’s PA. And with that simple fact, Poppy now has access to Sam’s personal and business information. A story full of twists, this very situation significantly changes Poppy’s decision in life.

The story is set in modern time and I’m absolutely amused by the very idea that Sophie Kinsella established realistic characters that any reader can easily relate to. The most complex characterization of all is absolutely Poppy. With the usage of footnotes as part of the story, the author does not fail to let readers be transported into Poppy’s inner consciousness. Sometimes, the comical footnotes also serve as Poppy’s side comments which she can only secretly share to her readers.

On the other hand, I won’t deny that there are parts of the story where I sympathize with Poppy, especially how the intimidating geniuses Tavishes treat her. As much as Poppy can’t very much relate to the Tavishes, readers can actually feel, at the beginning, that the parents of Magnus aren’t that impressed by Poppy as well. To be honest, I find the Tavish family weird. They’re so immersed in their successful careers that they tend to ignore the simplicity of life. Moreover, it’s like Poppy should be the one to compromise and change herself just to be on the same wavelength of intelligence with the Tavishes. In fact, readers might hate Antony and Wanda (the parents of Magnus); however, towards the end of the story, they will get to understand the reason behind their actions.

There are so many awkward and embarrassing moments in Poppy’s escapade that if I were in her shoes, I might have fainted already or my heart would have already stopped. But despite all of these, I enjoy every bit of Poppy’s personality. And of course, Sam becomes a big part of who she will become as the story progresses. It is also in this sense that readers can get to compare between Sam and Magnus – who is better than who – because both men’s characterization is so different from each other. They may look perfect physically, but each person has his or her own flaws and this is where Sam’s and Magnus’ personalities differ.

The book also discusses the aspect of standing up for one’s self. This may just be a work of fiction, but I can’t help but agree that what Poppy goes through also happens in real life. Aside from this, her relationship with Magnus will definitely offer readers some meaningful and significant insights about commitment and marriage.

Overall, I’m impressed by Sophie Kinsella’s creativity. She is able to come up with a unique story by just using a cellphone as a connection between characters – a simple means of communication where Sam and Poppy’s lives are unexpectedly intertwined.  Yes, a simple object and yet everything is connected with it. Furthermore, the concept of the story is undoubtedly entertaining. I find some parts humorous which make me laugh as I read. It keeps me turning page after page, wanting to know what happens next. I truly recommend this book to those who need or want to break away from stress once in a while. I’ve Got Your Number will not disappoint you.


Love Your Frenemies by Mina V. Esguerra

Seems like I’m having Mina V. Esguerra marathon – been reading her three books consecutively now. Anyway, after reading My Imaginary Ex, I proceeded to Love Your Frenemies – a companion novel or somehow a sequel to My Imaginary Ex.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Kimmy Domingo was the kind of girl everyone hated and envied — until her fiance’ dumped her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her. A year later and she’s back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can’t miss.

Kimmy’s home because she’s ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.

In this novella, Kimmy is the main character. Being a villain of some sort in the previous book, she is now given a different portrayal. If you have read My Imaginary Ex, you would already know how Kimmy is described in that book in the point of view of other people. As a matter of fact, readers like me would undoubtedly hate her in the previous book.  However, reading Love Your Frenemies will certainly give readers an unusual perspective about the dynamic characterization of Kimmy.

As people often say, there are always two sides of a story. My Imaginary Ex and Love Your Frenemies is the perfect example of this. While we see what the other people think of Kimmy in the first book, Mina is able to provide an avenue in the second book where readers can look at the side of Kimmy in her point of view. Surprisingly, she’s not the way I expect her to be. She is truly misunderstood not just by her peers, but also by the readers themselves. I slowly come to know more about her and her strong personality.

Kimmy may come out as someone with a bad attitude, but I admire her competitiveness. She sets high standards for herself and keeps on challenging herself to build up her confidence more, but I don’t blame the outcome of her personality. Sometimes, I guess possessing that kind of attitude will come in handy, especially in a corporate business setting. But then again, with every strength, there’s a weakness. I won’t delve into the details, but let’s just say that I’m glad Kimmy finally accepts and faces her weakness in the end with the help of her friends and Manolo – Manolo, the guy whom ladies would gush over.

I’m also amused by Chesca’s personality. She may sound bitchy, but the book is able to show that she’s a true friend. She would go an extra mile just for Kimmy and even though she is demonstrated as an insensitive person, readers can still figure out that she’s more than what she seems to be. People just have to be patient and should look deeper into her to know the real her and her thoughtful gestures. Isabel, on the other hand, may be the opposite of Kimmy and Chesca, but in a way, she maintains the balance between her two friends. She’s caring enough to stick around to her friends and be there for them.

On a side note, I find one thing in the book funny and totally relatable. Reading the part where Kimmy explains that there are different kinds of flirting, one of which is when some don’t do it up front, but instead “flirt by way of contrived situations”, just makes me laugh. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the few people I know who do that in real life. And no, I won’t name names.

On a serious note, Mina certainly did an amazing job to justify Kimmy’s personality. Readers will surely empathize with her and the characters are, indeed, realistic enough to be relatable. Love Your Frenemies is a kind of novella that won’t let you down. It’s a light and enjoyable read for people who need a break from stress – may it be at life or at work.

My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra

Finally, after months of searching, I was able to find a copy of My Imaginary Ex at Fully Booked Greenhills. It was a good timing when I bought this book because I was looking for something to bring with me while I go on a week-long trip this Holy Week. Without any hesitation, I decided to bring My Imaginary Ex along with Love Your Frenemies.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she’d just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can’t even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it’s too late?

The pacing of this book is just right. The novella might be short, but the author did not fail to present the unique personalities of each character. Readers will get to witness how the characters have changed as time passes – Zack, Jasmine, Lena, and Marjorie. I will not delve into the details so as to avoid any spoilers.

Moving on, the story is set in present time combined with flashbacks to better understand when Jasmine mentions something that has happened in the past. It’s like readers are transported into the inner consciousness of Jasmine. I really like the plot line Mina has come up with because Filipinos can easily relate to it – wherein the places mentioned are familiar to Filipino readers. Non-Filipino readers, on the other hand, will also get a glimpse of some Filipino culture in the book.

This book definitely talks about the relationship between Zack and Jasmine. Zack has not been very vocal about his feelings for Jasmine, while Jasmine has been oblivious towards Zack’s sweet gestures. It’s nice to know how Jasmine went through all of it in her point of view, but I’m also curious about Zack’s. As much as I very much enjoyed the book, I’m pretty sure that if the author has included Zack’s point of view, Mina could have delivered a more exemplified job.

I’m actually in favor of this friendship-budding-to-love kind of relationship because somehow, in the friendship stage, both parties will start to learn about each other. Maybe it’s just me, but when friendship turns to love, there will be no feeling of awkwardness despite the exposure of vulnerability from both parties. It is also tackled in this book that love is all about taking risks – one of the things I learned in college. Reading this book leaves me feeling nostalgic of the college years. Speaking of which, coming across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in the book, I smiled at myself because we also took that personality test in college, although I have already forgotten what I got in the test.

Of all the characters I met in the book, Tim and Kimmy irritate me the most. The way Kimmy projects herself intimidates other people. Both she and Tim possess this “Look of Condescension” where they look down on other people, especially at Jasmine. Kimmy may be perfect physically, but if one bases it on her manipulative personality, the ugliness of it overpowers her physical stature. Furthermore, the kind of personality Tim has also pisses me off. What kind of boyfriend is he anyway? He is not supportive of Jasmine’s work, and somehow wants to show off that he’s an alpha male, belittling Jasmine. It’s a good thing Jasmine ends her relationship with him.

Overall, this novella, being Mina’s first work, is a success – not just as it is sold in bookstores and read by many people, but Mina is able to create a story where readers can relate to the characters and feel with them, whether it be hatred, pity, or love. I’ll definitely read more of her books.