The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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This is very……….. brain-stimulating. Clever and witty. Fresh, smart, and highly-engaging novel. One that deviates from my usual teen, cute, novels.

I actually was not able to finish the first chapter when I have tried reading The Rosie Project the first time. Not because it was not interesting. Oh, it is definitely interesting and a whole lot more. But prolly at that time I just want an easy read, no deep complications, no need for the synapses of my brain to exert more effort than they are used to. When I have tried reading it for the second time, given that I have allowed my brain to process my expectations and conditioned it to be able to take a more scientific approach to what I will be reading, I enjoyed it immensely.

The Rosie Project definitely is a whole new world to me. I’ve been the geeky type in elementary and high school but never pursued it in college and have never needed to use my stored knowledge afterwards. I did not expected a novel could combine science, wit, and charm all at the same time and produce such an intellectual piece of art. Praise for Grame Simsion, the Australian author responsible for this masterpiece.

The Rosie Project is about Professor Don Tillman and his Wife project in search for the perfect life partner. Being the kind of person that he is, queer, extremely organized, socially inept, it seemed impossible for him to have a wife at age forty. But then, being the person that he is, he had a brilliant idea to solve the problem, he tackled it the same he would an experiment. He created a set of questionnaire that would determine the compatibility of the person with him. However, an unexpected variable came into the picture, disrupting everything else he has in his perfectly manufactured circle – Rosie. Rosie is the opposite of everything Don is looking for as a partner. She is disorganized. She smokes. She’s a vegetarian. She’s a barmaid. Thus, being stereotypical, deducing from her job, she’s not good with high-level mathematics. The first time they met, Don thought that she was one of the women who has answered his questionnaire and was recommended Gene, her best friend and Head of the Psychology department in their university, upon going through all those who answered. However, he couldn’t be more wrong.

Nevertheless, they continued their meeting in light of a new project that came up – the Father project. Rosie is trying to find her biological father to go ahead and tie the loose ends of her childhood and move on. Don offered to help, given his expertise in genetics, he thought he can definitely be a helping hand. This is where it starts getting crazy. His schedule is thrown off with a lot of unpredictable events. He learned how to mix cocktails, be a waiter, be awesome in collecting DNA illegally and unethically and in some cases, the most gross way. All to help Rosie, which he still couldn’t figure out the reason why he is helping in the first place. He then later learned that Rosie did not even know what the Wife project is. She was, in fact, a PhD Psychology student under Gene, and that’s the reason why they met.

After a series of unethical, illegal, gross cases of getting DNA of people who might or might not be Rosie’s father, and a series of misunderstandings, mostly due to Don’s ability in not being able to comprehend social cues and how to best respond to them, they felt awkward around each other but then was later resolved along with the conclusion of both the Wife and the Father Project.

The premise is simple – opposites attract. It was presented though through a narrative like never before. It was engaging to read and I cannot stop reading. The story was relayed from the point of view of Don and was written with precision of how a character like Don thinks. Even though I did not understand some of the more scientific words and processes, it definitely did not prevent me from enjoying the novel as much as I did.

It also emphasized once again the notion that love moves in mysterious ways. There is no equation that even the most brilliant person can generate predicting who you should spend the rest of your life with coz sometimes even if someone is perfect on paper (like Bianca in the story), you cannot help that your heart will want what it wants ever if your brain opposes to do so.

Also, it’s a reference to the idea that someone out there is a match for you. He or she might not come in the way or form that you expected them to be but you will surely find the one. Maybe not now, maybe later but you will find the one. Even when you have given up all hope in finding that one special person because of how you are perceived to be different by society. As long as you’re open to possibilities, anything can happen. You just need to accept it when you come across it and work towards keeping it.

The Rosie Project is definitely one of the most brilliant novels I have read so far and one that created impact that one will remember. I hope I can see it in the big screen one day.

Taming the Rebel by Dawn Klehr

 

unnamed.jpgTaming the Rebel can be considered as one of your go-to books if you’re looking for a quick, easy, summer read which you can finish in one sitting. It’s one your cliche teensy romance books but still didn’t fail to grip me into reading. I am a sucker for romance. And cliche but still comes out as fresh read is my guilty pleasure.

Taming the Rebel follows the “star-crossed” lovers angle. Rebel Hart found herself in a summer camp with Justice Brody, her decided gorgeous and hot mortal enemy this summer because he’s her father’s ex-boyfriend’s son who might have been the reason why their fathers broke up. She planned to get revenge on Justice by pulling several pranks on him but she fails every time. As the summer went by though, with the pranks not working, Rebel found herself attracted to Justice which she has been struggling to accept since start of the summer. Justice who was the embodiment of perfection – football player, tall, built body, handsome face. But no, different plan was laid out for her. She cannot rebel with her heart anymore. The attraction was not one sided. Soon enough, both find themselves sneaking kisses behind cabins, hidden in the woods, deep within the camp. However, there is still one major problem to get through, Rebel thinks that Justice still can’t accept the fact that his father was gay thus creating an illusion in Rebel’s mind that what they share right now is just temporary. But when Parent’s day came and the conflict escalated, Justice being thrown off camp. they needed time to think apart. Still, since this is a feel good novel, they were able to resolve the conflict and got together in the end.

I found novels like Taming the Rebel a no-brainer, it doesn’t require much thinking. You just read for pleasure and enjoyment. I know I look for novels like this when reality hits me up too hard and I want to escape it even just for a few hours.

I was literally shouting in my head “Why can’t you just be honest with each other and be together already?” as if the characters are able to hear me. Rebel and Justice are just so cute I don’t want them apart any longer! They try to distance from each other, keeping their feelings in check, not wanting to admit it because admitting it would make it real. And they don’t want that. Fate, though, has a different plan altogether.

As cliche as the story goes, I found it a breathe of fresh air introducing older LGBT characters. When I first read the summary, I was like what? Was there a mistake in the pronouns? Coz I really was not able to grasp it. However, I read it again and understood that Rebel’s father was gay which I did not mind and which I find interesting to see in a teen novel. It also showed me a perspective of the world of teens with gay parents as this is a world not really familiar to me. Sure, I know a lot of gays, but only a few has a family of their own with kids in it.

Also, I like it for the setting. Even after reading a couple of novels set in summer camp, I still find the location amusing. Most probably because I feel that I am also there as I never grew up with summer camps as an option. So the idea is really new to me.

Taming the Rebel is a quick read, one you can enjoy while tanning on the beach or spending the afternoon in the balcony. It’s a nice deviation from all the worry I have in my reality.

Paper Hearts (The Heartbreak Chronicles #2) by Ali Novak

Despite my just so-so like for The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreak Chronicles #1), I decided to give Paper Hearts (The Heartbreak Chronicles #2) a chance. After all, this is Alec’s story, the cool character I have been intrigued by in the first book.

But much to my disappointment, I didn’t like the 2nd book like I have anticipated. Alec, the cool, shy, hard to figure out guy, obviously with baggage as well, in the first book seemed to disappear. And a whole new different Alec was seen in Paper Hearts. Alec, who was kinda straightforward, kinda bold, and kinda not shy anymore.

Paper Hearts is the story about Felicity and how her world intertwined with Alec’s in a sorry-i-have-spilled-coffee-on-your-dress-let-me-make-it-up-to-you kind of way. Felicity is looking for her “runaway” sister and Alec, being drawn to her, decided to help. They travelled together, along with her 2 bestfriends, Asha an Boomer, across San Francisco towards Seattle, stopping by at Oregon where the rest of The Heartbreakers currently are. Across the two books, I think only JJ’s pervert character and Xander’s allergy remained constant.

It’s a light read yeah but I didn’t enjoy it that much. I didn’t feel the sizzle or the romance I normally feel for the two main characters of the story. I skipped some parts and willed myself to finish the story still. Despite not really enjoying the flow overall, the story still has those moments when you’re imagining yourself as the character so that you’ll be able to experience that sweet, sweet moment the character is experiencing. However, those moments were not enough to outweigh the overall feeling.

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

My Life with the Walter Boys

Okay. So I decided to first read Ali Novak’s (aka Fallzswimmer)‘s debut novel which also happened to take form as a Wattpad story. It’s really a writer’s dream come true! She had started the novel when she was only fifteen. What a feat. Given that I’m a frustrated writer, I really admire and envy her at the same time.

I honestly liked My Life with the Walter Boys more so than The HeartbreakersThere is a certain theme the way Ali Novak writes her novels based from what are currently published (My Life with the Walter Boys, The Heartbreakers, Paper Hearts). There is this big problem which is supposed to be heart-wrenching, dramatic, which drives the protagonist of the story and wherein the guy will then get warped into. However, I can’t seem to connect with the “driving force”of the characters. Nonetheless, I’ve completed two novels and am halfway through Paper Hearts at the time of writing.

My Life with the Walter Boys is about Jackie and how she started living with her mom’s best friend’s family after her whole family died of car accident. Katherine, her mom’s best friend happens to have 12 kids (11 boys + 1 girl). And of course, romance ensues. She was caught in a love triangle between two of the brothers, Cole and Alex. Then, in the end, it’s Cole who won.

I still felt not much connection to the tragic story behind the girl protagonist because it’s not really showing much in the emotions Jackie is seen all through the novel and there’s not enough background with the family itself to invest my feeleings in but i honestly liked the story. With a lot of characters to work on, Ali Novak did a pretty good job tying everyone in the story more or less. I also liked the interactions between Cole, Alex, and Jackie, the three main characters especially. There’s a lot of buts and why is he/she acting like that moments but all in all, I think I liked this novel best so far from her. Recommended for those who wants a sweet, easy read.

 

 

The Heartbrekers (The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1) by Ali Novak

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I’ve been skeptical reading this book for various reasons. One, there were mixed reviews. Two, I’ve never read a book by Ali Novak. Three, One review compared it to Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl (which I really loved among her works) and the review is not that positive. Still, I decided to give the book a chance. Who knows? Maybe Ill have a different opinion.

A little background on the author, I have learned that Ali Novak aka Fallzswimmer is a famous Wattpad author. I am not that acquainted with Wattpad stories since I rarely visit the site but I know that’s huge.

Okay, going back to the book itself, The Heartbreakers is the story of Stella and how her life got tangled up with one of the most popular boy bands, ehem, rock stars, in the world, the Heartbreakers. Stella is not the girly girl. She likes to own an identity separate from her other siblings which also happened to be two of the triplets they are – Cara and Drew. She has nose stud and likes underground music much to the dismay of her identical twin Cara who is head-over-heels for the Heartbreakers. And you know what happens, a chance encounter with the popular boy band member and clueless Stella set the stage for the story. The two got further entangled when they’ve discovered that they are staying in the same hostel for the night and when Stella agreed to be an assistant to the publicist for the band. Questions about her loyalty, what the future holds, her sister’s cancer created the rift and distance for Stella and Oliver but nothing that prevents them from having their happily ever after.

I would love to say that this is not a biased review based from preview reviews I have read but I’m not entirely sure. All I can say is that it’s a cute read. Something that you can pass your time with if you’re bored and have nothing else to do. It does not leave that much of an impression for me because there are similar books I have read with the same concept of ordinary girl + hotshot idol such as Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl or When It’s Real by Erin Watt which I prefer more than this.

The character’s were not that really fleshed out and the big reveal for the reason behind Oliver’s actions is not really worth all the suspense and everything. It’s like the story is trying to go ahead and be deep with all those cancer talk and all but it’s not connecting with me. Still though, it’s a breeze through read. Cute, and funny at times. But one of the characters, Alec, got me interested and I want to know more about his story, more so than Oliver’s so I”ll read the second book on the series which is all about him. Stay tuned.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

i see london i see franceI looooove it!

I was drawn by the cute book cover (Isn’t it cute?!) but I stayed because of the places. Travelling, especially to foreign countries, is ultimately one of my goals in life and is currently my frustration. I haven’t been outside my country but hopefully soon I’ll be able to do so. Crossing my fingers.

I think Europe is in everybody’s bucket list, with all it’s history, castles, richness, and glamour. This makes me love the book even more because it was set in not just one place in Europe but in 11 places! It feels like i was also touring Europe alongside Sydney and Leela.

The story is about Sydney’s summer vacation in Europe which she spent with her bestfriend Leela and somewhere along the way with her other bestfriend Kat as well. It talks about their adventures both in the travel itself and in the romance department when they bumped into Jackson and Matt (Leela’s ex-boyfriend or whatever). There is not really much to tell about the story. It’s sort of a game of tag but the players have a wider playing field (Europe!). Sydney and Jackson felt attraction but then there’s Matt and Leela’s relationship problem and Sydney’s mother’s agoraphobia to think about. Sydney was not even sure if she’s in just for a summer fling or further develop a relationship with him. But everything seems to be taken kinda lightly in the perspective of their travelling. The travel served as a way to go ahead and think about things, about what she wants, and what she needs to do. With the help of her friends, everything seemed to worked out fine.

It’s one of the best YA romance travel books I’ve read so far, although it kept me hanging in the end, wanting for more coz i feel that there should have been more. Aside from that though, it sparked my want to really travel Europe again. It makes me want to fall in love even more than ever. I want also a Jackson in my life!

It’s a fun, light read if you want something to pass the time with and squeal here and there.

 

 

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

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I’ll go ahead and now start what i really intended to be one of the main staples of this blog – book reviews!!! Yey!

Let’s start with Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne for no apparent reason aside from it being the book that i just finished reading literally a few minutes ago.

The book has been on my radar for quite some time now but it’s not until yesterday that i’ve given myself the chance to read it. And I’m glad i did. It’s definitely different from the usual YA romance novels that i’m reading since most of them are just cutesy types or heavy dramas but romance is still the main point. Am I Normal Yet presented in the summary at Goodreads reeled me in because it gives the impression that romance still plays the biggest part of the story but the book uncovers a different world, tackling mainly mental health issues, OCD, and feminism and romance was a just a thing caught in the bigger story. Nonetheless, i’m still grateful i had the chance to read it.

Evelyn Crane, Evie, has OCD but all she wants to be is “normal.”But what is “normal?” For Evie, the last thing she needs to check off her checklist is to be in a relationship and everything will go well again. Everything will be back to once they were. Everything will be normal.

More than the boys Evie got tangled with, the book emphasizes more on the inner struggle of Evie coping to be normal again, the OCD manifestations, relapses, friendship, acceptance. The book was not able to delve much into the main characters’ background and premise such as why the boys in the story are such douchebags, except for Oli. But then we also weren’t given a background as to why Oli Oli or even Evie Evie. Why Jane, Lottie, or Amber do things they do.

If there’s anything that the book left me, it is the impression that we cannot define normalcy. Who are we to judge what is normal? We are all broken in one way or another. We have different ways we cope with it. Who are we to judge others?

Tears literally streamed down my cheeks towards the ending of the book. Imagine yourself reading the book at the wee hours of the morning, in your room (i wanna say alone but nope, i have a roommate sleeping in the lower bunk), lights off, feeling all the emotions of the story, plus listening to Logic’s 1-800-273-8255. Who wouldn’t tear up in that situation?

Am i Normal Yet is not your typical YA romance novel, i don’t even want to consider it a romance novel since the focus is not there but it’s a good read. Perfect if you’re contemplating about life and wanting to add more feels to your already existing feels.

Are you normal? Coz i know i’m definitely not. Cheers!

P.S. Here is Logic’s 1-800 song link. Watch it. Maybe it will create a difference to those suffering.

LOGIC 1-800