[Review] Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book has the most realistic characters ever. I like how imperfect Eleanor and Park are individually, and yet they are so perfect for each other. From the start, I already got so hooked that I kept on reading when I should be doing other things – like eating or sleeping. LOL. I just couldn’t get enough of them! I wanted to know what would happen next. It’s like every chapter is a cliff-hanger so you have to turn the next page immediately coz you’re dying to find out more.

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Actually, I could relate a bit to their love story. And I think everyone could. We all had that cute, innocent, young love back then. That boy that sits next to you or in front of you in class. Or, in my case, that boy who rode the same tricycle service as me back in elementary. That boy who lives in your neighborhood and steals glances at you as you pass him by. That boy who would pass a letter for you to your little brother… It was the kind of love that alerts the butterflies in your stomach – making them flutter around wildly. The kind of love that is pure and bittersweet. The kind of love that makes you smile for no reason and keeps you awake at night…

Eleanor is nothing like all those female protagonists in YA novels. I imagined her to be this ordinary-looking, chubby girl with wild, curly hair and sulky face. She’s no Bella Swan or America Singer. She’s not someone whom you’d see on the cover of a magazine… or the cover of anything, for that matter. She’s like that girl that you would have classes with but you would never really talk to, unless you needed to. Park Sheridan might have his cool circle of friends and he might’ve dated the ‘hottest’ girl in school, but I don’t think he’s ‘all that’. I think he was just lucky to have been included in that circle of friends. If he was not with them, he’d just be a typical Asian kid who would get bullied all the time. I do think he is charming, in a way, but not THAT handsome.

I just loved how their love story progressed. It was slow but not draggy. It was quick but not rushed. It was just right. Everything had just the right timing. Everything happened smoothly, albeit awkwardly. ^^ It leaves you hanging this time and then gives you so much the next.

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My fave moment was when Park finally decided to let Eleanor read his comic books and listen to his music. I had an enjoyable time imagining that scene, Eleanor stealing glances at the comic book and Park deliberately reading slowly to let her finish first. It was so adorable how they never really ‘talked’ to each other during the first few weeks. They just had this unspoken connection that helped them realize how much they like each other. And OMG when they first held hands — that made me kick and punch the air in delight!!! Their first kiss was even BETTER. I was so ecstatic with joy. Young love is so precious~

Every chapter has just the right amount of thrill, romance, drama, excitement and humor. The last few chapters were sprinkled with a moderate amount of ‘teenage hormones’, which is just normal and very realistic, I think. ^^ I mean, they might have liked the person inside the facade but you cannot dismiss the physical attraction. With teenagers, something is bound to happen of course…

Anyway, I just have to say I LOVE PARK’s mom! Hahaha! She is like the typical Korean mom. The way she talks, the way she acts and even her humor is so Korean. Hahaha! I also love the songs mentioned in the novel. I didn’t know much about them so I Googled and downloaded some. I fell in love with Joy Division’sLove will tear us apart” instantly!

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All in all, I guess it was just a simple story – they met, they fell in love, they faced some difficulties, they fight, they make up and then they break up in the end… It was genuine and simply heartrending. I said it before and I’ll say it again – it was so real, and that’s what got me so hooked. This book made me reminisce the old times… it helped me remember how it felt like to be truly in LOVE~ *sighs*

 credits: to whoever owns those adorable pictures… i love you guys ^^

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[Review] The Elite by Kiera Cass

This book is definitely “un-put downable”!!! If that is even a word. LOL. It’s been a while since I was THIS engrossed in a book, that I was willing to sacrifice watching my daily dose of US TV series, Korean dramas AND even sleep — just to finish it quickly! I’ve always thought that most of the book series that I’ve read before were a bit disappointing at some point. The first book would get me hooked but then the second or third would be so-so or somewhat uninteresting. BUT, The Elite totally dispelled such prejudice! The story just keeps on getting better and better. For want of a better word, it’s juicier. Haha!

This will definitely contain SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read it yet – SCRAM. ^^

Since I am on TEAM ASPEN all throughout The Selection, I was absolutely ecstatic to read MORE of him in book two. I just love the fact that he was somehow inserted into the picture in the most obvious, yet marvelous way possible! A royal guard! Why not? Haha! And I’m so sorry to all you Maxon Schreave fan  girls, but ever since book one I’ve always imagined Aspen Leger to be MORE HANDSOME than the prince. I mean, it would justify the fact that America wanted him so badly and she even mentioned how afraid she was of other girls stealing him away. And Maxon is already THE Prince so that gives him a different advantage than poor Aspen. So I guess they are both attractive, but without the TITLE, Aspen is WAY HOTTER.

I actually thought America’s days at the palace were repetitive in this book. There was a certain pattern to it. Like, in one chapter she’d be with Prince Maxon – getting showered with heart-fluttering compliments and mushy, romantic words, feeling like she COULD actually be his princess. Then the next chapter, she’d be having secret rendezvous and stolen moments with Aspen in some dark palace room. The next chapter she’d argue with Aspen and have her uber sweet/romantic moments with Maxon. By the end of that chapter, she’d be having a misunderstanding with Maxon, again, and go back to Aspen’s arms.

So in short, SHE’S ONE LUCKY BITCH. LOL. Okay, so this book was clearly about her confused mind and heart, whatever. XD This bitch needs to sort out her feelings. News flash, you can’t have them BOTH. You can only choose ONE. Actually, that’s just one minor thing that I’m kinda frustrated about in this series. There was actually NO COMPETITION. Right from the start, Maxon wanted America. End of story. Sure, Maxon TRIED to date the other girls and give them a chance. But we all know he was only being polite and fair. Okay, so maybe the competition here was between Maxon and Aspen… but not really. They are completely different and America’s feelings for them rooted from different circumstances and memories.

So, if I could summarize this series in an equation, it would be like this:

The Selection: America VS. 34 Girls AND America VS. her feelings

The Elite:  America VS. 5 Girls, Aspen VS. Maxon, The Royal Guards VS. The Rebels (North and South) AND America VS. her feelings… again.

The One: America VS. King Clarkson… and possibly America VS. Kriss

Yep, that’s about it. Pretty simple, yeah. BUT the details, actions, dialogues, scenarios and moments were too compelling for me to pass up. There are only a few novels that I’ve read which could make me read so fast just so I could turn to the next page and find out what happens next. There was never a dull or boring moment. Moreover, I’m NOT a big fan of politics or history but the author successfully, and creatively, weaved and sprinkled political and historical issues here and there without making it too heavy or draggy to read. I almost enjoyed it.

I like that the competition was not just about getting Prince Maxon’s heart (or the King’s, Queen’s, advisers, public’s, for that matter). They were actually being taught how to be a Princess – their actions, gestures, reactions, and more importantly, how to be a ‘lady’. It’s not such a bad competition, especially for someone like America who came from a lower caste, coz after all these, when they all go back home, at least they have learned something good from their stay in the palace. They might’ve lost the crown, but they gained something else. 🙂

Honestly, I saw myself in America in The Selection. If I was in this competition, and I had a gorgeous boyfriend (okay, ex-bf) like Aspen waiting for me back at home, I would just make the most out of my time in the palace. Enjoy the attention, celebrity status and grandiose dresses, meet new friends, and of course eat as much food as I am allowed to! Haha! I always thought I would’ve done exactly what she did… or said what she said… However, in The Elite… she kinda changed. Of course, she was bound to change at one point but I didn’t see myself doing the things she did anymore.

Anyway, just when I thought it was gonna be another boring day at the palace, Marlee’s ‘fornication’ (LOL, I just wanna use that word XD) with Carter happened. I was absolutely mortified while reading about the ‘public caning’ part. Although I kinda felt suspicious about Carter during the previous chapters, I never thought that his character was THAT big. This climax was so out-of-the-blue, so riveting and it put me on the edge (of my bed XD) . I was tearful while reading this part, almost as if I was there – witnessing everything. I wanted to scream and throw things at Maxon too. Of course, it wasn’t his fault but he’s the easiest person to blame and get mad with.

Okay, in all fairness to Maxon Schreave, he managed to make me ‘waver’ a little in this book. My problem with him is… he’s just too nice. He’s attractive, a gentleman, good-humored, well-mannered, and just everything that you could ask for in a prince. But he’s NOT my idea of a ‘prince’. He’s too nice and too likeable to the point of being BORING. I think if we’re gonna be realistic about the ‘prince’, he would have flaws here and there. You would have to hate him at some point. Maybe for being arrogant or a playboy or a brat – anything to make him more human. Maxon is FAR from perfection, but he’s almost there. I just didn’t like that. It destroyed my image and possible fantasy of him. It made me turn around and like Aspen more than him. And he might be the prince but, dude, you’re a GUY. At one point, he would break under all the pressure of having these beautiful ladies around him (some even throwing themselves AT him). That’s why when he did what he ‘did’ with Celeste, I was happy. Finally! He’s more human now. He makes mistakes. LOL. Nevertheless, my heart broke when I ‘saw’ the scars on his back… it was just horrible. 😦 I can’t imagine how America must’ve have felt upon seeing those… and it was partly because of her.

I was practically pulling my hair out by the end of the book! Of course. Maxon would find a way to make America stay despite everything that transpired. Dammit. Again, if I was America I would’ve gone home and waited patiently for Aspen. End of story. Haha. So now I guess Maxon got leveled up in her heart. And coz she’s a feisty redhead, she would never back down even against King Clarkson. Now, all I’m hoping to see in the next book is King Clarkson finding out about Aspen and America’s ‘relationship’ and of course his relentless efforts to bully her into giving up. Haha! I’m giving Maxon a chance too. But I’m still on Team Aspen. 🙂

[Review] The Selection by Kiera Cass

 

It was such an enjoyable read! I’m so glad I read this. So the whole thing about this being a ‘Hunger Games meets The Bachelor’ story is a bit ridiculous. Okay, I didn’t really read the former or watch the latter but I know a bit about their ‘plot’. The Selection IS futuristic and dystopic like The Hunger Games but I certainly didn’t feel like the girls are fighting each other to death. There was no brutal or morbid competition. It wasn’t like the Japanese movieBattle Royal‘ too. It was more like ‘The Bachelor: Prince Edition’. LOL. 

 

I loved how the writer depicted each character flawlessly into the plot without giving me a headache. You can actually imagine them – how they look, how they move, speak and act. Everything is so vivid and creative. The dialogues are so enjoyable to read and America Singer is now my favorite book heroine. 🙂 I just love her despite her flaws and inadequacy. She is as real as anyone could get. I think if I was in her position, I would’ve done the same things.

 

^ So these are supposed to play America and Maxon… hmm… fair enough. 🙂

 

I didn’t really get all gushy and mushy over Prince Maxon at first. I think it’s mainly coz I’ve been shipping Aspen and America right from the start. Aspen might be self-pitying jerk who’s a bit of a coward and doesn’t know what he wants, but I like that about him. It makes him more human to me. Prince Maxon, on the other hand, is a bit… I dunno, something else. I just don’t believe in his character. I mean, the writer did a great job in creating this character… but he’s not someone I would like to meet or get acquainted with. Honestly, I dunno why.

 

Moreover, when I found out that there was SUPPOSED to be a TV series based on this, I immediately Googled the rumored cast. I kinda got obsessed imagining Colton Haynes as Aspen Leger… And I’ve always thought, based on the description, that Aspen is supposed to be MORE HANDSOME than Prince Maxon. So yeah. I’m on Team Aspen. I’m sorry. There, I’ve said it. I just can’t seem to sympathize with Prince Maxon. So, okay, the guy’s not an arrogant, stuck-up jerk – like every other hero in YA novels nowadays. But still… I like Aspen more. ^^

 

^ Those bluer than blue eyes… COME ON! He is the perfect ASPEN LEGER! (Okay, so Aspen’s eyes are GREEN. SO WHAT? XD)

 

The endingwas a bit… lacking for me. I dunno but after reading it, I was like, “Oh, that’s it?” I mean, I would’ve expected something TERRIFIC or TERRIBLE happening at the end to make me wanna rush and get the next book ASAP. It was just… too simple. Maybe that’s what the writer wanted so I’ll let it be.

 

 

All in all, I LOVE THIS BOOK so much! It’s not over-the-top or mind-boggling or anything like that; if anything, it’s just a simple cliche-ish love story between a Prince and a commoner. But the simplicity of it all plus the likability of the characters made it such a worthy read.

Kiera Cass is now one of my FAVORITE authors. 🙂

 

~Lumayo ka nga sa akin by Bob Ong~

Bob Ong did it again! This time he criticized and chided the Philippine television variety shows, game shows, dramas, soap operas, reality shows and even the movies. What made me love this book so much was the fact that I could totally relate (once again) to the author’s expostulations and reprehensions about the status of the Philippine movie and TV industry nowadays.

How dismaying it is that what used to be enjoyable and something that is a source of Filipino pride became nothing but a laughingstock and shallow entertainment for idiots? Of course all these ‘kajologs-an‘ and ‘kabaduy-an’ are part of the Filipino culture and humor but whatever happened to the arts? Where did the producers’ and writers’ artistic and creative minds go? Why is imitation and piracy the ‘in’ thing when we can have the most talented and skilled minds if we just put them together. 😦 I think this book is an eye-opener not just for someone like me who’d rather watch Korean, Japanese and Hollywood TV and movies over my own country’s. It made me realize WHY I never watch Philippine TV in the first place. -.- The abundance of stereotypical characters and generic plots coupled with lame acting from second-rate young stars who are either a product of a talent search or some goddamn reality show on TV are just too frustrating and even disturbing. AND extremely eye-roll-worthy. 

I finished this book in like 4 hours and THAT is a record for me since I never finish anything in a day. ^^ I guess the long trip back home from Manila yesterday did something to my brain cells. Haha. Or maybe coz I didn’t have any distractions – like the Internet – to keep me from reading nonstop. 😀

This is probably one of his best works, IMO, and my second fave next to “Abnkkbsnplako”.

 Picture source: kingofdom.wordpress.com   

~Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl~ {Review}

FINALLY finished this wonderful novel! And my, was I totally stunned by the ending! 0_0 So, let me get this straight, it’s NOT a 3-part series? I thought it was! I was expecting that there will be a closure as the end drew near but there were still some stuff that needed to be explained. Not that I’m complaining. I like surprises. And this is THE GOOD kind of surprise. 😀 I admit, this series is definitely a page-turner. I’m not just biased towards ‘magic-centered’ plot okay. Yes, it kinda reminds me of Harry Potter in more ways than one but it’s the NOT-FOR-KIDS type I suppose.

So the whole world – or maybe just Gatlin county – is coming to an end. I can imagine how extremely agonizing that must’ve been for the high and mighty, righteous and selfish people there. In the last book, Lena broke the order by choosing neither light nor dark. We find out later on that there is ‘light and dark in all of us’. Basically, it’s a whole new story twisted around the same plot and involving the same characters.

What I like about this book was the fact that it can stand alone. Although it is of course advisable to read the two books before this, you won’t get so confused and lost when you read this. I like the fact that it didn’t just revolve around the main characters – Lena and Ethan. There was a story for every character, Everyone is equally vital to the plot. Each character evolved, not just physically but also emotionally, mentally and perhaps spiritually. I think another reason that made me love this was because it didn’t bore me with too much lovey-dovey scenes between Lena and Ethan or Ridley and Link. Everything was just the right amount — nothing over the top, nothing exaggerated. I like the mix of fantasy, romance, magic, action, drama and even darkness here. It was a complete recipe for perfection IMO.

I just adore Macon Ravenwood from book 1 until now. I love how he’s sort of like the equivalent of the ‘fairy godmother’ here who’s always to the rescue whenever the kids are in trouble. His powers are just amazing and it makes him an even more prominent and admirable character. There’s nothing ‘UNLIKEABLE’ about this man. He’s now on my top 5 best fictional characters ever.

In this book, however, I kinda started to like JOHN BREED. Before I just like him coz I kinda imagine him as this really hot and gorgeous dude. But now, I just love his personality. After finding out about his past and what REALLY happened to him, I felt sorry for the guy. I empathized with him. He is that irritatingly arrogant character who’d get on your nerves but you can’t help liking. I guess I can relate a bit to his character — what he went through and how he felt throughout his ordeal. The tension between him and Ethan cracked me up so much. XD And dang, John and Liv??? I never would’ve thought that! Genius!

I like the fact that, although Lena is still the main character here, it did not focus on her. It was all about Ethan. The story definitely progressed in a great way – from Ethan-Lena to more on Lena to more on Ethan. Sarafine’s past was equally as surprising and interesting as Macon’s past. I like how snippets from her past weaves in and out of the plot making every detail juicy and hauntingly beautiful. There might be some loopholes here and there but they were insignificant and I guess it would be explained in the next book. 😀

It was a wonderful love story between two innocent teenagers shrouded in mystery, doused in magic with a dose of mystery and darkness and a bundle of fantastic supporting cast! It kept me on the edge of my seat. A very compelling read and worthy of my precious time.

The only thing that bothers me is… I have no idea what’s gonna happen on the NEXT book. Dang. I REALLY didn’t see that coming! That caught me off guard! Haha. I kinda expected Ethan to die and that’s it. LOL. But then again, that’s a good one. Now I’m craving for more! ^^

Some quotable quotes from the book. 😀

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” ~ Winston Churchill

“I will love you until the day after forever.” ~ Izabel — I am so gonna say this to my next boyfriend. Haha!

When I fi rst met you, that’ s what I remember. I looked up at the sky and thought, I’m going to love this person because even the sky looks different.” -Lena to Ethan – Aww. I swear this moment was just… *sighs* I was totally moved. So, do I have to look at the sky the next time I meet a guy? 😀

“Do you believe in love after last sight, Ethan?” – Lena

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Macon

 

The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz

So I was reading this book and I’m almost halfway when I suddenly started imagining the Crown Prince of Japan (in this story) as INOO KEI of HSJ ~

 

I dunno why, I’m a Daiki fan… And my second fave is Yabu… but I’ve been seeing lots and lots of Inoo Kei on my dash so maybe that’s why… ~__~

The pacing of the story was REALLY slow since it has a very descriptive and detailed plot. The writer was a bit too verbose and at some point I was bored to death. But I get his point. He needs to establish each character, side story and setting first. He needs to let the reader know and understand the circumstances that led to the marriage between a commoner and Japan’s Crown Prince. It’s not some fairytale story where anything goes and everything is magic. I think most of the information provided were actual facts (maybe slightly distorted for creativity). Most events regarding the war and Japan’s history and tradition were of course true.

So the plot goes something like this. Haruko belongs to a middle class family. She’s the only child of a wealthy businessman. Despite her good background and education, she is still criticized and regarded as a ‘commoner’ when the young Crown Prince decided to choose her as his royal consort. It was just too sweet and kilig coz they only got acquainted through playing tennis (where Haruko mercilessly defeats him over and over). I think the Prince really likes her coz he was really persistent to marry her even after her family declined many times.

During these times, it is said that “a girl’s family was far more important than the girl herself.” 

I like Haruko’s family here. Especially her dad. They are not like those ambitious and conceited rich parents who are so obsessed in conformity with the society’s rules and standards. They are very realistic. They didn’t ‘sell’ their daughter even to the Crown Prince because they knew the consequences of the situation, with their family being considered as mere commoners. 😀 I actually like every word that comes out of Haruko’s dad’s mouth. He’s witty, full of sense and very hilarious without trying too hard.

There was a part when Haruko was a teenager and her mom was so obsessed with the Crown Prince and the Royal family. So she was blabbing on about how “the Prince has grown three centimeters over the summer alone”. Haruko’s dad answered with this.

Haruko’s dad: “By almost every account he’s a fine young man. I’m simply trying to figure out why I should care that he’s three centimeters taller than he was in May.”

And when Haruko’s mom got mad at him for being disrespectful to the Prince, he said “Better to be impossible than measured in centimeters!”

When he was asked by the nosy reporters about random facts about Haruko, his reply was this: “Can she cook? Why certainly, I said, she can cook seaweed. If you like seaweed then she’s your girl. Can she write beautiful prose? Of course not, she’s a terrible writer just like her father. Can she count? Only when she’s spending my money, I told them, which she does very well indeed. Well, what are her good qualities, they wanted to know. Good qualities? Hmmm. I said give me a few days, I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something.”

He’s very honest and he doesn’t take bullsh*t from anyone. He never conceals his daughter’s (or anyone else’s, for that matter) bad side. He believes in his daughter and his family. And most important of all, he sets his own policies and he goes by it. 😀 I just love this character. I hope he stays to the end.

Now back to INOO KEI~~~ errmm, I mean, the Crown Prince 😀

I can’t stop imagining this kid as the Crown Prince now  -,- Kill me now. Haha. I hope they make a movie adaptation of this so that my desires and overactive imagination can be fulfilled. Muahaha.

Well, I’m not yet done reading it. I think Haruko really like the Prince too but it’s still awkward between them. They talked on the phone for like hours and the Prince was just too shy and awkward! Haha! It was too cute. I can so imagine that scene. After the phone call Haruko only remembered saying a lot of “YES” to him, without fully understanding anything they talked about. 😀

So I’m looking forward to the budding romance between them and how they’re going to cope with their unimaginable ‘married life’ and overcome the awkward relationship under the public eye. And of course, there’s the fact that the commoner Haruko needs to learn the culture, tradition and rules that she must abide with inside the palace. Kinda reminds me of the Korean dramaGOONG~ 😀