Monthly Archives: August 2013

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I wouldn’t have known of this title if it weren’t for the bloggers. Word spreads so fast that eventually, almost everyone is talking about the book. What convinced me more to grab a copy are the praises people have been giving to it. Plus, the premise of the book looks promising and intriguing. I want to find out for myself what happens next.

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

My Life Next Door coverOn one summer night, everything changed.

Life in Samantha Reed’s home is neat and clean and orderly―precisely planned by her local politician mother. Next door, at the Garrett’s, things are loud, messy, and irresistible. And when gorgeous Jase Garrett climbs the trellis outside her bedroom and enters her life, she finds herself falling passionately in love with him and everything he brings with him. The only hitch is, she’s got to hide it from her mother. Then something unthinkable happens, and Samantha is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

I’m only a few pages in, but I find myself already hooked by the story. Being brought up by her single mother Grace, Samantha Reed lives a perfect, good life – from being an obedient daughter to being a responsible student and child any parent could ask for, as opposed to her sister Tracy. In a way, I guess I understand Tracy’s actions due to their mother’s OC behavior, protectiveness, and eventually, her neglect to take care of them when she runs for a government position. On the other hand, I can relate to Grace as I also tend to be as organized and neat as possible, but not to her extreme.

And then comes the Garretts who live just next door and are the complete opposite of the Reeds. Readers can compare and contrast the lifestyles of these two families and somehow, experience what it’s like to live as a Reed or as a Garrett. There are things you can find in the Reed’s family but cannot be found in the Garrett’s and vice versa. As I am reading through the book, I find myself more sympathetic towards the Garretts. The way Mrs. Garrett handles the situation when surrounded by judgmental people, she never loses her patience and I come to admire her for that.

Huntley Fitzpatrick impresses me in a way that through her characterization, she is able to represent the different possible life paths teenagers could take as they enter adolescence stage. Some characters are likeable and some are not. There are those that I root for and hope to become a better person, and there are those who have surprising outcomes towards the end of the story.

Jase and Samantha’s relationship makes this book more worthwhile to read. Jase is undeniably swoon-worthy and I’m pretty sure girls long to meet guys like him in reality. Jase is, in the readers’ eyes, a perfect boyfriend anyone wishes to have. He’s sweet, down-to-earth, thoughtful, and family-oriented. Huntley Fitzpatrick perfectly captures the rawness of their relationship. There’s nothing awkward about it and I’m truly entertained with their conversations mixed with wit, humor, and sweetness. I become too attached and invested in their relationship that I don’t want them to break up, ever!

But of course, this story is more than just Jase and Samantha’s story. Some issues are also explored in terms of families and making the right choices. The author also succeeds in portraying how politicians and campaigning work behind the scenes and how these things can affect the lives of people involved directly or indirectly.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read, but I feel the ending is a bit rushed. It ends too soon without having closures to some characters which I grew attached to. And I recently found out that there’s going to be a sequel to this book. Either way, this wouldn’t be my last Huntley Fitzpatrick book to read. I’m definitely looking forward to her other books.


I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Secret Histories by Pittacus Lore

Similar to The Legacies, Secret Histories also contains three novellas in relation to the main series Lorien Legacies. The stories are first released separately as eBooks and they are later on combined and published in paperback. Hence, when it was released in the market, I immediately grabbed a copy from one of our local bookstores.

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

I Am Number Four - The Lost Files - Secret Histories coverYou know our stories are true.

You know why we fight.

You must discover their secrets.

You must learn from our mistakes.

They are hiding, just like us.

They plan to destroy your planet.

They destroyed our.

We cannot let this happen again.

The release day of The Fall of Five is approaching fast. While I wait for its release date, I figured I’d read Secret Histories first. One of the advantages of reading these novellas is that readers can gain significant details which are not mentioned in the main series. Readers and fans will get a glimpse of some occurrences in another character’s point of view, or they can even attain a whole new knowledge about things outside the main series’ scope.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Secret Histories consists of the following titles: The Search for Sam, The Last Days of Lorien, and The Forgotten Ones.

The Search for Sam – Adamus’ story continues on in this novella. If you’ve read The Legacies, you have already known that Adamus has turned sides against the Mogadorians after an experiment wherein One’s memories have been transferred to him. This novella happened after Ivan tried to kill him. Adamus, Adam for short, survived the fall and since then, stayed at an aid camp as a volunteer.

It’s interesting to see Adam’s doubts, fears, and confusions as he contemplates on his decision to side with the Gardes. His weaknesses shatter his confidence of his capability to do greater things. One’s pep talks and persuasions are almost done in vain. But then, readers will eventually witness Adam’s bravery as he tries to save One and later on Malcolm and his son, Sam. I love how Adam and One’s friendship grows into something more meaningful. If it weren’t for One, Adam wouldn’t have found his greater purpose in life.

The Last Days of Lorien – Evident from the title itself, this novella takes place before Mogadorians conquered the planet Lorien. I have always wondered what Lorien looks like and how its people go about their lives in their planet. Everything is described as perfect – as in perfect in every aspect anyone could possibly dream of. This is told in Sandor’s point of view. If you can recall, Sandor is Nine’s Cêpan.  I love how Sandor’s personality is portrayed well in this novella. I describe him as a diamond in the rough in his community. He possesses unique talents, but is seen as a delinquent in the society. How he becomes Nine’s Cêpan and a techie person, everything is explained in the story. This makes me wonder how the other Gardes, especially Ten, survived the attack by the Mogadorians. If the author would write that story, it is something I would look forward to.

It’s quite interesting that this novella reminds me and is a perfect example of a lecture my history professor in college taught us – that once a place has attained its highest form of civilization, it is bound to fall sooner or later. And this is exactly what happened in Lorien. Moreover, one thing that sparks my curiosity is that Pittacus Lore still remains a mystery.

The Forgotten Ones – This novella is a continuation of The Search for Sam. After one certain “incident” of rescuing Sam, Adam finds himself fighting against Mogadorians and survives. Being a good-hearted person that he is, Adam saves the life of one injured Mogadorian named Rex. Along the way, they encounter some trust issues as evident in their different views in life, and a Chimaera. Some disturbing and worrisome facts about Chimaeras are exposed and it’s up to Adam to do what he can to save them. As I read through this story, I have become attached to Dust, the Chimaera Adam and Rex comes across. I wonder why Chimaeras are sent to Earth and I would love to find out why.

This book definitely did not disappoint. I couldn’t choose which one of the three is the best of all. Each novella tells a different story and every time I finish one, I thought it’s better than the last. And when I finished the whole book, I’m itching to read The Fall of Five next. It feels like my excitement doesn’t end and isn’t satisfied with just the three novellas. I actually wanted more. Moreover, it’s also a good thing I read this before The Fall of Five since two out of the three stories in Secret Histories have connections to the main series. I must say, Lorien Legacies series and its novellas are one of the handful Sci-Fi novels I enjoy reading through and through. I can’t wait to find out the remaining Gardes’ fates as they face the Mogadorians. This is exciting!

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

I first stumbled upon this title when Chachic @ Chachic’s Book Nook posted a review of it . And well, simply put, I was drawn into the passage/quote about story guys from the novella she included in her review. That alone convinced me enough to buy a copy online as it is only available as an eBook.

The Story Guy coverHere’s the plot description from Goodreads:

“I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.”

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

Yep, evident from the cover, this novella is a romance, but it’s not an ordinary romantic story you normally get to read out here or there. Mary Ann Rivers crafts a unique plotline while merely utilizing a common thing as a means for two people to connect. In this case, Carrie encounters the personal ad of Brian and in that ad, Brian indicates the day, which is Wednesday, the time, the place, the task, and its conditions. So it’s up to the other party if he/she is interested to accept his “challenge”. The immediate attraction of Carrie to Brian just makes her do it. And the story just flows from there.

It took me a while to get used to Rivers’ sentence structures, but once I got the hang of it, I found myself so engrossed in the story. Despite the length limit, Mary Ann Rivers captures all the emotions and feelings she intends to convey in it. It’s altogether sad, funny, sexy, bittersweet, love, longing… She perfectly chooses the rights words to use and I can’t help but root for the main characters more.

Two people are brought together, hoping to escape their harsh reality at first, but as they spend more time together, something kicks in when they eventually realize their longing to fill each other’s gaping hole in their hearts. I love how Carrie and Brian’s characterizations are elaborated. How it is revealed and developed is similar to a book – mystery at first and then it will slowly unravel the mysteries and secrets behind the façade as the story progresses. Moreover, I love how Mary Ann Rivers incorporate book-related themes and topics into her story: librarians and libraries, Carrie’s loves for books, and most specially the story guy.

The concept of story guy is what impressed me the most. Even some of the passages are insightful and can be applied in real life. At the end of the day, this novella makes me want to have my own story guy – someone who not only highlights and makes a big bookmark in my life with those big ol’ paragraph of neon pink, but someone who I want to read all the way to the end and make a story with. This novella definitely did not disappoint. It leaves me hungry for more of Brian and Carrie’s story. Nuff said.

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

I was in need of a good chick lit to read, so when I saw Tin @ Rabbitin posted a review of this novella and, at the same time, hosted a giveaway, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to be one of the lucky winners to receive an ebook copy for free (yey!) via Smashwords. The premise of the story looks promising and Tin’s review just got me intrigued enough to want to read the whole story.

Here’s the plot description from Goodreads:

All's Fair in Blog and War coverFive Cuevas @fivetravels

Three guesses to where I’m going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel

Travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when the Macau Tourism Board invites her over for an all-expense-paid blogger tour in exchange for blogging about Macau. But while she happily signs up for the trip, she didn’t sign up to be travel buddies with the infuriating Jesse. Will her dream vacation turn into a nightmare junket? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

For one, isn’t the book cover eye-catching? It surely catches my attention – the colors used complement one another and the font just fits the story’s mood and genre. Evidently enough, the background scene depicts a tourist spot in Macau and more importantly, the story mainly involves two persons. How they will affect the flow of the story is up to the readers to find out.

One of the perks of having a focused blog is getting free stuffs! Bloggers who focus on fashion could receive fashion-related products and items or be invited to fashion shows or events; food bloggers are invited to dine for free by the restaurant in exchange for featuring their food and beverages being offered on their blogs; book bloggers could receive ARCs from publishers or authors; and in this case, in Five’s case, her travel blog has given her the privilege to be invited by a travel agency to go on an all-expense-paid trip to Macau.

Travel and photography enthusiasts will definitely enjoy this book. Chrissie Peria narrates the story well as she successfully demonstrates how travel bloggers work and what photographers generally look for when taking pictures of landscapes. I also love how Chrissie Peria emphasizes the brands of cameras used by Jesse and Five. It’s quite funny that I have actually understood the competition between the two brands as it was discussed one time by our cousin who dreams of becoming a professional photographer someday.

Chrissie Peria has surely proven to be knowledgeable in the subject of the story. Macau is featured with all those places, restaurants, and food portrayed in the book. I have been to Macau only once and if I’m not mistaken, we only visited the infamous Venetian. After reading this, I wish to visit the place again in the near future – tour the other places and eat the highly-recommended signature food of Macau mentioned in the story. Moreover, readers would certainly get a glimpse of Macau’s cultural and historical background. However, I have expected more descriptions and details from the narration.

And of course, the story wouldn’t be complete without the characters. I am highly entertained with Jesse and Five’s growing friendship. As I read further through the story, I am more invested in their relationship. Their character representation is realistic and relatable to the readers. I just wish their characterization is explored more, especially Jesse’s. I would want to know his thoughts and feelings throughout their trip.

Overall, if you want something light, short, and fun to read, this is for you. Without a doubt, I enjoyed the book from beginning until the end. In fact, when I don’t have my iPad with me at work, I find myself wondering what will happen next. This would surely not be my last Chrissie Peria work to read.