To All the Boys I have Loved Before by Jenny Han

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This is a book that I have read some time ago, around a month or so ago. The cover is so cute and there’s this Korean girl in it so of course, being the everything Korean fan, it piqued my interest. I have been seeing it displayed in bookstores for months already before I decided to pick it up and read.

The basic premise of To All the Boys (the title is too long so from this point on, I’ll just shorten it to To All the Boys) is about the 16-yr old main character”s (Lara Jean) kept love letters suddenly mailed to each one of her previous crushes of whom the letters were addressed to. I would definitely be mortified if this happens to me. Who would want their deepest, made-for-self thoughts be out there in the open?

When I read the synopsis of the book, I didn’t know the name of the guy main character. And I am the type of person who wants to know their main character’s from the start so I won’t root for a character, only to find out later on that it’s the second lead and be heartbroken because of it. So, I did not know who I should root for when I started reading this book. I rooted for Peter Kravinsky only because he was the first guy that was introduced and Lara Jean’s first letter recipient. But glad that I did.

To All the boys is a light, fun read that will make you reminisce about your high school crushes and how you dealt with being in love and in a relationship for the first time (not that I have experience in that dept but I love my high school fantasies). More than the romance element, it also shows the dynamics of a single father with three teenage daughters and most especially, the relationship between sisters.

The book reminded me that first love is not usually the last love but sometimes, it works. It reminded me of the silly first days and experience – first crush, first heartbreak, first (in my case, just a fantasy) relationship, first time being far apart from someone you dearly loved, first fight with your bestfriend/sister, first major embarrasment, etc. To All the Boys is definitely enjoyable to read even if sometimes I don’t get why Lara Jean and Peter act the way they do. Sometimes, I just wanna bang their heads together and stick them together like glue so they can see that they are made for each other. But of course, the book shows how relationship and falling in love is never easy. Love never is.

To All the Boys I have Loved Before series with P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever Lara Jean (which I’ll post about later on) is definitely recommended for those wanting to be reminded of how loving someone for the first time and experiencing all new things with him feel. It’s a great read.

 

P.S. I just learned that this will become a movie. Hoping that it will justify the book!

The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon is, by far, one of the novels that took me a bit of a time to read. (It took me around a cumulative of 5 days in total, I read and finished Tangled in between). Not that it was not interesting or captivating enough. But somehow when I started reading it, I was not into the mood of reading such contrasting pairing (which made me love the book in the end though). It took its time to grow on me but when I was hooked. Boy, oh boy, I was wrecked.

The book is about two opposite and contrasting characters and an unusual pairing. One in which you won’t read much in the young adult scene. This pairing is what made me not to be much interested in the book at first but which also made me love the book to pieces in the end. It tackles and incorporates a lot of societal issues such as undocumented immigrants, racism, dream vs reality, to name a few. It has so much depth and shows how, in one way or the other, we are all connected in the end.

The Sun is also a Star tells the story of Natasha Kingsley and Daniel Jae Ho Bae and how destiny or fate brings them together in one faithful day. Do you believe in love at first sight? In meant-to-be’s and destiny? In coincidences and fate? I do. Yep, I am a certified hopeless romantic and this book solidifies it even more. Natasha and Daniel couldn’t be even more different from each other. Natasha is a science geek, a logical person. Daniel is the poetic, emotions rule kind of guy. Natasha doesn’t believe in true love and destiny. Daniel is all about fate and meant-to-be’s. Natasha is African American. Daniel is Korean American. It might just be Natasha’s last day in the US. Daniel’s just about to start a new chapter in his life.

****SPOILER****

The story goes that one fateful day when Natasha tried to stop her family’s impending deportation that night and Daniel’s on to his Yale interview, theirs stars collided and it seems like all the universe conspire for them to meet. Okay, not really, Daniel had to do a bit of action, but, nonetheless, their world intersect in a record store after Natasha confronted her ex and his girlfriend who she caught shoplifting. Daniel took the courage and invited Natasha to spend the day with him of which her answer is a blatant no. Daniel, though, being the emotional and fate-kind of guy persisted until Natasha and him spends time with each other a little bit just more each passing minute. Natasha’s wall eventually breaks down and she admits that she is now falling in love with Daniel less than 24 hours after meeting him (which might have been aided by Daniel’s questionnaire). And oh you know, when things finally seem to start going into their rightful place, suddenly there’s a BOOM that will bomb your hope of happy ever after. But maybe, in the end, if you’re meant to be, love will find a way.

There’s a lot of lessons to learn from this book as it touches on a lot of concepts.

One, believe in fate and destiny and meant-to-be’s. Nicola Yoon certainly ignited the fire for hopeless romantics. If you’re for each other, love will find a way. Even with all their differences and the time and distance that separated them apart for more than 10 yrs after that ONE AND ONLY day they spent and fell in love with each other, they still found each other in the same plane and who knows what happen afterwards.

Two, love can definitely change everything. It was for his love of acting that Natasha’s father – Samuel Kingsley – decided to move to US and stay as an undocumented immigrant. It was the love of Natasha’s mother for her father that she decided to follow him to US from Jamaica, becoming undocumented, and settling for the poor lifestyle for years. It was love that changed Natasha’s last shot for staying in the US when Atty. Fitzgerald missed the court appointment essential to reverse the immediate deportation of Natasha and her family just to be with his newly admitted love of his life, his Paralegal. And it was love that got Daniel to spend the day with Natasha, even with all the logical reasons he should not to, which changed his life forever.

Three, racism is still here. As much as we would like to admit that times have changed. Still, racism is still undeniably here as evidenced by Daniel’s and Natasha’s families” reaction to them dating. Need not to elaborate more.

Four, everything is connected and combined with butterfly effect can affect the future. We are all connected. What we do, how we interact with other people, strangers, or friends, our decisions, is related to something else, and the smallest of our steps, of our thoughtless actions, can ignite a bigger impact in the future.

Five, the unending debate of passion and dream versus logic and practicality.  This is certainly one of the themes of the novel as well. Samuel Kingsley’s acting dream vs the poor reality of his family, Daniel’s parents’ American dream which is not really a dream as it consists of attending a top college, being a doctor, and having a good life afterwards vs Daniel’s passion of poetry. Natasha’s practical future job – data analyst – vs her unknown passion or dream as she doesn’t believe in those anymore. We all want to have a work that is something we love, something we are passionate about. Success will come, we say. However, as we grow up and reality takes a toll in our lives, it is hard to live life the way we want it to. There’s so much responsibilities that most of the time leaves us to do what is practical, what is logical, even if it’s something we don’t like. The Sun is also a Star, though, is giving hope to the dreamers. If they have just the right attitude and enough determination, the difficulty of choosing your dream over logic will definitely pay out in the end.

The Sun is also a Star is a wonderful book, creatively written. The characters intertwine and even the side stories in between (which at first I think are not necessary) gives even more depth to the main characters that you’ll realize in the end. Aside from being not your usual, the characters are strong and you can see why they are the way are. Although i feel that towards the end, after Natasha and her family moved back to Jamaica, everything was rushed and was just laid out there straight-up, I still love the book over all and would recommend for everyone to read it.

One thing I still don’t get though is why it was titled The Sun is also a Star, maybe i missed that section, I read it in the chapters but maybe I just needed to re-read it again.

I haven’t read Everything, Everything yet, also by Nicola Yoon, but after this, you know i soon will. 🙂

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo

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When I first read the tile, it’s the popular Thai movie “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” that immediately popped into my mid. Oh, I so love that movie! Reading the plot which involves korean dramas and lots of it solidified my intention to read the book. So I did.

I am a certified korean-anything addict (you can also include japan-anything in the list). I am addicted to anything korean or japan. Dramas, music, culture, food, etc. Thus coming across a novel which does not only portray a Korean character but also revolves around the Korean drama scene in a way hooked me up!

The novel is actually not what I expected. It revolves around Desi Lee, a Korean American girl whose life is ruled by RULES, by precision, by steps. Everything can be achieved if it’s taken into perspective as an experiment. Identify the problem. Create steps and rules. Problem solved. That’s why falling in love, which she was the only thing she was never good at, also must have some rules to follow to achieve success, right? This is where K-drama comes in. After a random and unexpected day where she got to sit with her father in their living room binging K-drama and binging some more on her own after, she analyzed everything she has seen so far. Then came up with “THE K-DRAMA STEPS TO TRUE LOVE to win her current object of interest – Luca Drakos.

There were 24 rules in total. Some I agree with, some I don’t. But over all, it was pretty hilarious. K-drama fans can totally relate. There were a lot of K-drama references scattered across the novel. It brings back the feeling when you were watching those kdramas which makes it nostalgic. Desi Lee is a calculating character but will drive you crazy buy how ridiculous some of her plans are just to follow the steps.

In the end, Maureen leaves us the lesson that true love cannot be controlled. It is not achieved through meticulous steps and definitely not through crazy ideas. True love is built by interaction, by communication, by trust.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a funny and feel good read. Best for KDrama lovers!

 

Tangled by Emma Chase

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I am going through my phase of being under sensual novel frustration again. Under Her, as much as I don’t want to admit, opened up again my desire to read something sensual. Tangled by Emma Chase .was the latest one I’ve read.

So i’m really a bad girl in a good girl’s clothing. I am a closet girl hiding all her desire to explore the wild side – including sex. This is where the internal conflict starts though. It’s because I’m also trying hard not to, being a Christian and all and wanting to be worthy of God’s grace but I always fall time and time again but that’s a story for another time. Let’s get back to Tangled.

The book is about Drew Evans and Kate Brooks. I just love it so much when I like the names of the characters. It makes reading the novel more palatable for me. Drew Evans and Kate Brooks are just perfect for me. The story is about a douchebag, fuck boy, egoistic Drew Evans whose world turned upside down when he met Kate Brooks, the powerful, hot, . There’s really no much substance and lesson learned as I assume having a lesson learned is not the purpose of the book. It’s an easy read if you’re looking for a quickie.

What strikes me the most in the book was the way the characters are described and characterized. The characterization is awful, so sexist, so…… But maybe this is just the ways characters of novels of this genre works. I have read a few and yeah, mostly are worshiping the guy that does such dickward things and the helpless girl, even though described as strong, will one day cave in to the wiles and charm of the guy, and they will live happily ever after. The worst part is I still keep reading similar novels time to time. I can’t seem to keep my hands off of them if i tried.

Tangled is steamy but I don’t see much difference in the other novels of the same genre. Also, I was kinda annoyed about how it was kept being asked how the reader would get the drift, how the reader would know what to expect, how the reader should get this or that. I swear though that if a guy does to me even a fraction of what Drew did to get Kate back, I would be head over heels it’s not funny.

If you have nothing to do and is looking for a novel to pass time with and get you hot, then Tangled is for you.

Perfect by Maia Mayor

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Now, to all those expecting this is a book review, sorry to disappoint, but this slam poetry deserves its own post.

I’ve gotten into slam poetry after reading Slammed by Coleen Hoover. It re-introduced me to the beautiful word of poetry and I’ve been a follower ever since. It introduced me to poets like Olivia Gatwood, Neil Hilborn, Sandra Benaim, Maia Mayor, and many talented others.

However, across the poems I have viewed so far, Perfect by Maia Mayor resonated with me the most. The first time I heard it, I could not unheard it and I needed it to be replayed again and again so badly. That is how bad it hit home. It’s like Maia is describing my entire existence in under four minutes.

Let’s take a look at the verses. Here is also a link to the poem: PERFECT by MAIA MAYOR

Is there something wrong with you?
A lose screw or two that loses you’re ability to function?
Why…are you always so tired.
You’re life is uninspired and small. All you do is sprawl on the couch with outstretch limbs like a sloth in slow motion.
Where is your devotion to succeed Maia?
Did it drift out your window with a smoke from your weed? Do I have to force feed you discipline til you finally concede I cook and I clean and I don’t stop til the soles of my feet bleed
But I’m fine…
I’m perfect.
Be perfect Maia. Be perfect like me.

Stop wearing those god-awful ripped pants and that lipstick like a whore with double D implants.
You only get one chance. Stop acting like a cat with 9 lives left. Stop committing youself to songs and stories and spoken slam bullshit in a world where degrees and PhDs impede the need for poetry.
And stop chewing on your nails.
No wonder you never attracted any males.
Why do you do thhat? Do you like the taste?
Are they sweet?
You can’t eat sweets Maia. You’re ruining your teeth like you’re ruining your life.
My teeth are perfect.
Clean and pristine. They glean like a golden halo above my perfectly conditioned head.
I don’t need sugar Maia. I am above sugar.
Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other.
You’ll never be up here Maia. You act as if the act of listening is a crime or you would have hear me, the six hundred and sixty sixth time I told you to stop chewing on your nails. stop chewing on your nails like a goddamn piece of trash. You can’t be trash Maia.
You have to be perfect. Be perfect like me.

I get up at 5 in the morning everyday. I start my day the same way, worried that I’ll collapse as my bones start to decay from cleaning up your scraps. Why is your room such a mess? The clothes go in the hamper Maia. Not displayed on your bed like your lack of morals. Not littered on the floor collecting more dust than my withered expectations. You disregard my rules in a stubborn contempt in a substandard attempt at teenage rebellion. But you can’t be a rebel Maia. You can’t be interesting enough. you need to obey and say yes and okay. you need to do it with a smile on your less than average face. You need to try harder Maia. Make it wider Maia. Why don”t you know how to smile?
You disappoint me Maia. You never appreciate what I do for you. You never try to be a winner and you never eat your dinner. You never eat the dinner I consistently provide for you as I constantly remind you of the life I set aside for you. That meal doesnt pay for itself. I don’t care if it’s ideal. Stop telling me how you feel. You need to eat it. Eat it all. Eat it at a reasonable time with a glass of milk. You need milk Maia. You need calcium like you need a catalyst for growth. You’ll never grow to be tall. Be tall like me, I drink my milk Maia, drink your fucking milk.
Be tall. Be perfect. Be perfect like me.

You need to pay more attention Maia. Stop the daydreaming Maia. Stop staring at the ceiling as if you’re one redeeming quality lies hidden in the plaster. You need to organize your life, your life is a disaster just like your room. Just like your teeth. Just like your future which will soon come to an end if you don’t put down that pen. You need to stop writing Maia. Your life is not a book.
Don’t give me that look Maia. I’m just trying to help you. I’m just trying to love you. I’m just trying to love you. You have to let me love you so you can be perfect. Be perfect like me.

The poem is a direct reflection of the thoughts of my mother when talking about me, or so my feelings tell me. This is one of the major reasons why I feel that I am not good enough and never will be.

You see, I graduated with honors at the top university in my country. I didn’t like my degree though. I just graduated for the sake of getting out of the system which is sooo wrong. Just so wrong. Don’t follow me.

And now, I am working in a less than stellar (but mind you, stressful) job – call center – which is like looked down upon by most. Every time I go home, there’s always THE SPEECH. “You’re asleep again?” “Haven’t you just slept a while ago? You might not be able to sleep at night already.””Why are you always so tired?” “You can’t even do your own laundry. I am not your maid.” So yeah, I am guilty of being such a lazy ass. I wanna scream “Why can’t you understand that now that I’m working at night? Of course my body will feel tired than average. Why can’t you let me sleep as much as I like on my days off? Don’t you know how hard it is to sleep during the day?”But of course, these are all just in my head.

I’m also guilty of the nails biting, the not eating the dinner, the messed up and dirty room, the not being tall enough (coz I only stand 4’9″even at 24. I’m so damn guilty about a lot of things that the poem is talking about that it makes it feel much more intimate. Much more personal to me.

The verse “Why are you down here Maia? Why are down here when you need to be up here. Up here with the ones with promising career, who listen when information goes in one ear and doesn’t come out the other,”  really gets to me. Not only do I hear a similar voice from my mother, but it’s also my voice hunting me with the same thought every damn second. And it’s just so tiring, not to mention futile.

I know it’s not healthy to compare yourself to others but you know you just can’t help it. Call me immature and all those crap but this is still the way I’m feeling. I have failed to convinced myself time and again to not care what other people think especially when the people you call family are the ones making you feel this way the most. It’s like there’s a constant reminder, especially from my mother and younger sister, that I can do much better if only I try. Why am i in the call center? Why am i wasting my smart mind in a job that’s so not needing much brain. Why am i rotting away when my colleagues, high school classmates, cousins, are all soaring high with their careers? Purchasing houses and cars, travelling to all these gorgeous places? DON’T YOU THINK I DON’T FEEL THAT? DON’T YOU THINK IT HAS COME ACROSS MY MIND AND THOUGHT OVER ABOUT IT?

I know that you might say that maybe I am probably not trying hard enough, not working hard enough, not looking hard enough. Enough. Maybe indeed i am. But who are they to judge? It just lowers my about-to-hit-the-floor ego. And it freaking gets me depressed every time. This will then get me into this bad habit of mine watching indecent and inappropriate things which will further make feel guilty (coz i’m a Christian, or so I want to really become one), which will just repeat the cycle on and on. It’s not helping.

It’s hard to fight your battles alone. It’s even harder to change, to fight for life, and for the future when the ones you expect to fight along side is you is fighting against you. Some do succeed even when they’re on their own. But I am not strong enough yet. I just hope the day will come when I’m strong enough, strong enough to overcome all this mind crazies I have.

Perfect is one slam poem I will never get tired of watching. It makes me feel less alone. Hopefully, someday, I hope, when I come across it, it will only serve as a look back of the past I had once, far from the current one I have.

 

 

Under Her by Samantha Towle

under her.jpgIt’s been a really long time since I have read a novel like Under Her, erotic and sexual. And i’m not sure I was up for it over the weekend. Haha. I’m not in any way pure (at least in the mind) but it’s been a while since I last read a genre like this since I’ve only been reading cutesy, teensy novels for quite some time now.

Under Her is a story about Wilder and Morgan Stickford. Wilder is a certified fuckboy, no-strings attached guy, and soon to be CEO of his family’s lingerie business, which is also called Under Her. Morgan Stickford went to the same college as Wilder, had a secret crush for him, but most importantly, she is the newly hired, soon-to-be co-CEO of Wilder. Suddenly, Wilder has this hots for Morgan and turned his character 180 degrees. No more hooking up, no more weekend sex, just a hot, burning desire for Morgan.

Prolly I was not part of the target marker but I didn’t particularly like it. Haha. it was hot, yes. Steamy, yes. Funny, yes. And there’s a lot of fucking going on and swearing going on. The conflict also was like resolved for the sake of it being resolved and ending the story. It felt rushed and with not much substance. Wilder and Morgan’s characters are also all over the place. Maybe I was looking for something more. Maybe. Although if you’r looking for a funny, steamy novel, Under Her might be your choice.

The Rules of Persuasion by Amity Hope

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I had a sad end of the week. News came in that I did not get the job that I really was hoping to get so to lift up my spirits I wanted to read a feel good book.

I decided on reading The Rules of Persuasion by Amity of Hope (I discovered this after reading Taming the Rebel). The Rules of Persuasion is a quick, fun, summer read guaranteed to make you swoon and forget reality even for just a couple of hours.

Like Taming the Rebel, reading The Rules of Persuasion doesn’t require too much brain activity. It’s a good book to read for passing time and you want to go back to the high school cutesy romance feels.

The Rules of Persuasion is about Meg Matthews – good girl turned hot, cool, biker girl – and Luke Prescott – popular, rich, golden boy – and how their two different worlds got entangled by blackmail when Luke caught Meg vandalizing school property and how they made an agreement and created rules to persuade everyone that they are now together. What started out as a fake relationship turned real when both bare each other’s secrets and realized they cannot fight the feeling anymore.

The book is quite simple, not much messy relationship conflict, not too much drama. Just a cute, teenage, romance book you’ll enjoy reading. It’s a quick read too so you can finish it in just a couple of hours.

In a way, the book reminds me that we all struggle. We all have different problems. IT does not matter whether you’re rich or just the average, whether you’re popular or not, we all face difficulties in one way or the other. The gravity may vary but it’s how we confront and cope with these obstacles and people that help us along the way that bring us happiness in the end.