Monthly Archives: August 2014

Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Thirteen Wedding signed copyAfter reading Paige Toon’s previous books, I’ve been eager to get hold of this new book of hers. I decided to buy a copy from The Book Depository once it was released. Fortunately, the Project Manager of Books and the City hosted a podcast interview with Paige Toon. She announced on Twitter that whoever’s question will be chosen to be answered by Paige Toon, he/she will have the privilege to get a signed copy of Thirteen Weddings. Surprisingly, my question was one of the chosen questions, so I was grateful to have received a personalized signed copy! Thank you, Paige Toon and Books and the City!

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

Thirteen Weddings coverSometimes you have to step out of the light to see clearly again…

Bronte never expected to see Alex again after their one night together, but she never stopped thinking of him. So when she arrives at work one day to find that Alex is a new colleague, she’s secretly thrilled. The only problem is that Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from the night they met.

Determined to move on, Bronte becomes a part-time wedding photographer, alongside her day job. Surrounded by loving couples, tearful bridesmaids, mischievous pageboys and interfering mothers-in-law, she struggles through wedding after wedding whilst her heart is slowly torn apart.

As Alex’s own wedding day draws ever nearer, their chemistry becomes harder to ignore. Bronte must decide whether to fight for the man she loves, or to let him go forever.

I undoubtedly enjoyed Lucy in the Sky, Pictures of Lily, and The Longest Holiday, and this book also has that same effect on me. The title itself already attracts my attention and the synopsis triggers my curiosity more. How would Paige Toon center her storyline on weddings? And what would be Alex’s role in Bronte’s life? As a person who admires weddings, I’m fervently sure this title would be included in my favorite books list.

Getting married has been my wish and dream ever since I was in my teenage years. Of course I haven’t reached that point in life yet, but most of the time, I find myself looking at wedding photos in the internet taken by professional Filipino wedding photographers. I am always at awe by the quality and the picture-perfect moments of the couples in the photos shot by photographers. Who would’ve thought that a lot of effort still has to be exerted by the person behind the camera? In Thirteen Weddings, Paige Toon successfully portrays how a wedding photographer works. I always thought only one photographer is in charge of taking photos, but I was wrong. Apparently, there’s so much hard work and surprisingly, a photographer can witness a lot during the process of his/her job.

Bronte works at a weekly celebrity magazine wherein she has proven to be an asset to the company. Aside from that, she has taken the job as a part-time assistant wedding photographer, despite being a non-believer of marriage. But those are just the tip of an iceberg. Thirteen Weddings centers on Bronte’s life and her journey to find love – love that might tear her or make her whole again. From the moment I opened the book, I was already immersed into the story. The storyline is realistic as well as the characters. I love how Paige Toon delivers the story, incorporating Bronte’s experiences as a wedding photographer and how, one way or another, some of these experiences slowly reveal her mysterious character.

Just like in Paige Toon’s previous books, this book also involves two men – Alex and Lachie. Bronte finds herself confused between these two amazing, unique men, but in the end, she has to choose one and let go of the other. As I am in the process of reading, just like Bronte, I have my fair share of love-hate relationship with one of the two men. There are times when I like his and Bronte’s chemistry, but there are times when I also want to chew his face off. I don’t know, I just feel like that person confuses Bronte more and leaves her hoping and ends up disappointing her. Thus, the more I read about him, the more I am in favor of the other over him. In the end, I’m actually happy with the outcome and who Bronte chooses.

The dynamism in the characterization of the main characters surely adds to the uniqueness of the story. I have come to empathize with them and understand their feelings. Moreover, the supporting characters also play significant roles in the story. This book wouldn’t be complete without them. It’s also been rewarding to see old characters appearing in this book and how they are connected to the main characters. Overall, Thirteen Weddings exceeds my expectations. Paige Toon’s captivating writing style has me devouring this book in just three days! I find myself laughing at certain parts and sitting at the edge of my seat as the story progresses. I’m impressed with the way Paige Toon unravels Bronte’s childhood life. It’s both surprising and unexpected. I truly had fun reading this book. This is not just about finding love, but it’s also about forgiveness, letting go, and moving forward. Paige Toon fans will definitely not be disappointed. I can’t wait to read more of Paige Toon’s books.


Blast From Two Pasts by Kristel S. Villar

I got this book from a giveaway that the author hosted wherein I was one of the three chosen winners. The premise of the story sounded interesting, so I was excited to read the book after I downloaded it on my iPad.

Here’s the synopsis taken from Goodreads:

Blast From Two Pasts coverFate’s been playing tricks on Cara Nicolas lately. She agrees to go on a blind date with her best friend’s fiancé’s cousin, only to discover that the guy is her first love from high school, Lucas Lobregat. Now that would have been a charming story, except that the date turns out to be one of the worst ever. And they can’t even pretend it never happened, because they’re both suddenly part of the wedding preparations.

Just as she is starting to get to know more about the boy she used to love, Oliver Sta. Maria, an old flame who owes her some closure, surprisingly shows up. With two pasts resurfacing, which will Cara choose to rekindle? Or can she have the chance to choose at all?

The idea of meeting two past loves almost at the same time intrigues me. I am curious how the main character would handle the situation and at the end of the day, who she will choose eventually. The beginning of the story presents us with Cara’s unsuccessful blind date and its unexpected reminder of her childhood crush. Kristel S. Villar surely describes Lucas vividly as I find myself swooning over him as well. But Cara’s memory of him doesn’t seem to fit what he becomes now. Disappointed, Cara has to get stuck with him for Ayen’s wedding. And then comes Oliver, the ex-boyfriend, who suddenly returns home from being MIA without any warning.

As I read through the story, I slowly begin to be invested in the characters. Even the minor and supporting characters are fun to read as well. Lloyd and Ayen prove to be true friends for Cara and it’s entertaining to see how each of them helps Cara make better decisions. As for Lucas, he seems to be distant at first, but midway, he begins to reveal his true self to Cara and I love how they share the connection which leads to something more special. The conflict of the story is presented in the form of Oliver’s character as he brings confusion to Cara and almost ruins the good things that are happening in Cara’s life. Even I got curious why Oliver suddenly disappeared in the first place which left Cara with a gaping hole in her heart. Reading Cara’s thoughts and feelings makes me want to find closure as well. After hearing Oliver, I feel that everything is not worth it with him.

Yes, I’m Lucas all the way! His character is more likeable and once again, swoon-worthy. I love how Kristel S. Villar portrays him that it greatly influences my favor of him over Oliver and I couldn’t help rooting for Lucas and Cara to bring their relationship to the next level. Overall, despite the shortness in length, I very much enjoyed reading this story. If only there were no distractions, I would’ve read it in one sitting. I kept turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next and if Cara will get her happily ever after. I truly had a blast reading Blast From Two Pasts. This is definitely something one would like to go back to and reread once in a while.

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Hidden Enemy by Pittacus Lore

I’m actually glad I made the right decision to read The Lost Files while waiting for the release of the succeeding books of the main series, The Lorien Legacies. The Lost Files novellas serve as back stories or spin-off stories of some characters and events that are never revealed in the main series. So far, two 3-novella compilation paperbacks have already been released and Hidden Enemy is the third compilation.

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

I Am Number Four - Lost Files - Hidden Enemy coverYou know we have been betrayed.

You must discover why.

You must learn the truth.

They have put a plan in motion.

They have infiltrated your government.

They have already turned some of you.

They will do whatever it takes to have your planet.

The battle lines have been drawn.

Whose side are you on?

To give you a brief background, Hidden Enemy consists of another three (3) novellas: Five’s Legacy, Return to Paradise, and Five’s Betrayal. Just like what I did with the previous The Lost Files books, I’ll be reviewing each novella separately for a better discussion. (P.S. The following paragraphs may contain spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.)

Five’s Legacy – After reading The Fall of Five, I’ve been wanting to find out how the Mogadorians got hold of Five and how Five becomes their ally. In this novella, readers are given the opportunity to read about Five and his “adventures” with Rey, his Cêpan, as a Loric before he decides to side with the Mogs. The narration is told in Five’s point of view, so Five’s feelings and thoughts have been made apparent to us. To be honest, I’ve already disliked Five since his appearance in The Fall of Five and reading this has strengthened my hatred towards him. I just don’t like his way of thinking and the way he copes with things. I find him too whiney and a person who doesn’t take things too seriously. It truly makes me wonder if he deserves to be a Garde. On the other hand, I can’t blame Five fully. His interpretations of the advices given to him are just different as compared to what the other Gardes do. And this greatly affects his decisions and actions. However, despite that, I’m actually impressed with his legacies.

Return to Paradise – Now this novella has caught me off guard. Surprisingly, the story centers on Mark James. Remember him? He appeared in the first book of The Lorien Legacies series. It narrates the changes that happen after the Mogs attacked their city. From being a jerk, Mark James has matured and opened his eyes to things he never imagined would exist. He now becomes a participant rather than a spectator. I like the change in his personality that he’s willing to help Four and the others by gathering information and going through great lengths despite risking his life. As the story progresses, I come to like Mark James’ character more. I hope he’ll play a significant role in the main series. One more thing that sparks my curiosity is the mysterious identity of this GUARD username whom Mark James has been conversing with in the blog he joins. It’s never revealed in this novella, but I hope it will soon.

Five’s Betrayal – And so it begins. Five stays in a Mogadorian base and trains to improve his legacies. In order to earn the Mogadorians’ trust, he is tasked to kill Nine and eventually Ethan whom they suspect a spy for the Lorics. My hatred starts to rise again as Five’s insecurities and jealousy cloud his judgment. It seems that I couldn’t handle Five’s immaturity and pride. As much as I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, I can’t help but be pissed off at him. Here, we also see his enhanced legacies, one of which is having the ability to take on the quality of the objects he touches. This would make him powerful if used strategically. I have yet to witness how he’ll fight against the other Gardes. Moreover, Ten is vaguely mentioned in this novella, but it was never revealed what her role would be, which makes me even more curious. I wonder what her true identity is.

Once again, Hidden Enemy does not disappoint. But of the three novellas, I like Return to Paradise best. It’s something I did not expect to read. Comparison aside, I enjoy reading this book. The stories have just the right amount of pacing and the suspense pushes me to turn page after page. These novellas truly help in filling the gaps in the main story. After reading this book, I’m now more excited to read The Revenge of Seven.

You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

YTOTIWsignedI came across this title on Twitter as book bloggers had been talking about it endlessly. I decided to follow the author and it just so happened that she planned to do an almost-month-long giveaway of her new book before its release date. I checked the synopsis and got intrigued by it, so I joined the giveaway, hoping that I would be one of the lucky winners. Plus, it would be a signed copy! It was as if my prayer was answered because gratefully, days after the start of the giveaway, I was one of the chosen people to receive a signed copy of her book!

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

You're The One That I Want coverMaddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive, Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

After reading the synopsis, I could already feel the complicated situation Maddy faces. She’s torn between two men, so it’s intriguing to find out who Maddy eventually chooses. On the other hand, I’m also curious how Giovanna Fletcher would deliver the story that would push readers to weigh in who among the two men they would root for for Maddy. I’ve been seeing people on Twitter expressing their support either for Ben or Robert. So I’m curious myself who I would like Maddy to be with for the rest of her life.

The beginning of the story introduces us to the wedding day of Maddy and Robert. Told in Maddy’s point of view, we see her mixed feelings towards both men she loves. She has chosen one, but I wonder if she’ll have a moment of doubt and change her mind. As she walks down the aisle, the present time seems to have stopped and the readers are then transported to the past – back to when everything has started. Robert and Ben have been best friends ever since, but it’s only during their ninth year of age when they meet Maddy. Since then, they’ve become inseparable.

I love the way Giovanna Fletcher narrates the story chronologically. It gives readers the taste of the things that happened during the different stages of the characters’ lives – from youth, adolescence, to adulthood. All these phases are evidently seen and readers are able to witness how the characters are being shaped as they grow older. It’s kind of reminiscing to read their experiences during their youth to adolescence phase. I can understand what they’re going through and I can clearly see the rawness of their emotions and feelings. Oh, how nostalgic it is. In the middle of my reading, I find myself feeling giddy and smiling secretly.

Friendship blooming to love is not something new to us, but this kind of concept always gets me and is close to my heart. I’m impressed how Giovanna Fletcher revolves the story along this line, while at the same time, adding twists and complicated conflicts that would put readers at the edge of their seats. You’re The One That I Want is not just written in Maddy’s point of view, but in Ben’s point of view as well. This strategy adds to the uniqueness of the storyline in which the book tells two love stories instead of one. During the span of my reading, I become attached to the characters, hence making me more confused like Maddy. I have empathized with them, making me feel happy at some parts, while feeling sad and hurt at some. Their emotions truly reach my heart that I can’t help but hope for all of them to have a happy ending.

You’re The One That I Want is a mixture of both sweet and bittersweet stories of Maddy, Robert, and Ben. You’ll smile and laugh and cry and ache. You’ll yearn for the outcome of their stories. Giovanna Fletcher really does an amazing job creating such a remarkable story between three best friends and the love that enfolds them. How each of them proclaims their love is inspiring. I truly enjoy this book from beginning to end.