Book Review: Throwing Rules to the Wind by Thessa Lim

Title: Throwing Rules to the Wind

Author: Thessa Lim

Rating: ★★★★☆

“We prepare to lose in love, sweetie. We choose our battles to get what is most important to us. And when you gain the heart of your beloved thoroughly, unconditionally, you have won in every sense there is in winning.”

synopsis

A complicated office romance is not what scrupulous travel writer Zara Castillo has planned for, especially not when her career is finally taking off, but her easygoing colleague Matthew Villanueva is everything she wants in a man. When their relationship is tested by distance, issues she thought she had long buried emerge once again. Zara delves into her past in a quest for answers. Now she must face her demons or lose the love of her life.

With trips to tropical islands boasting beaches, rolling hills, and windmills, Throwing Rules to the Wind explores the lights and shades of seeking closure, forgiveness, and love.

review

I received an e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Throwing Rules to the Wind is the second book in Thessa Lim’s Of Heads and Hearts series which is set here in the Philippines. Although this is a sequel, it can also be read as a stand-alone.

I find office romance stories really enjoyable to read. And even though the intimate relationship between the main characters should be kept a secret, this book did not disappoint.

I think that a lot of woman will find Zara’s character relatable. Yes, she can be very annoying at times especially when she puts up a wall between her and Matt. But it’s understandable since she’s been through a lot and obviously, she’s not totally over it. But  when she eventually learned to trust again, to forgive those who have hurt her, to accept that she had made mistakes too, and to let go of the past, she earned my full admiration and respect. Zara’s character development is one of the highlights in this book. She deserves a huge hug and a pat on the back for facing and overcoming her issues and insecurities. I was really proud!

And let’s not forget Matt. Oh the dearest, Matt! I love everything about him. I swear, you can’t not love the hell out of this guy. Handsome? Check. Supportive? Check. Has a stable job? Check. Gentleman? Check. Talented? Check. Loves his family? Check. Approved by your friends? Check! Seriously? He’s flawless! I need a Matt in my life! Haha.

There are so many things to like about this book. Zara’s friends (Laine is my favorite), Matt’s friends and bandmates, they are so much fun and they made this book more interesting! Plus the foods and the places that were mentioned in here are to die for. It will make you want to travel around the Philippines instantly and will make you crave for Filipino dishes big time!

I would have liked it more if it was written in a first-person POV and not third-person POV. I think it will be more engaging to readers. Also, this may be a stand-alone sequel, but it lacks in history of Matt and Zara’s relationship. So I would suggest for you to read the first book, Of Heads and Hearts in the Metro, first before digging into this amazing book. Overall, I love how this book tackles family, friendship, career, coming-of-age and doesn’t completely focus on the romance side.

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Book Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Title: Without Merit

Author: Colleen Hoover

Rating: ★★★☆☆

384 pp.

“Your emotions and reactions are valid, Merit. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You’re the only one who feels them.”

“Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”

synopsis

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

review

I have ALWAYS been a fan of Colleen Hoover and Without Merit is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I dig into this book without reading the synopsis so I really have no idea what this book is all about. I just know that the name of the main female character is Merit. That’s all.

The characters in this book are so different from the characters you’ve seen on Colleen Hoover‘s previous books. You can clearly see what she is trying to point out in this book as all the characters have their own different issues and are so flawed and messed up. This book will make you realize that each of us have our own battles. No matter how big or small, a battle is a battle. And it takes one tough person to fight and get over it.

I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the main characters, Merit at Sagan. Don’t get me wrong, I do not hate them, I just can’t relate and I wasn’t completely engaged to them as a pair. Merit is this loner, judgemental and insecure teenager with a messed up family. And Sagan, I don’t find him swoon-worthy at all and I kind of dislike him on a certain part of this book *no spoilers*. However, I get to like them a bit more as the character development arises towards the end of the story.

Unpredictable plot twist. It’s one thing I like about Without Merit. I don’t know if it’s just me or maybe I’m just not paying too much attention, but the plot twist was a huge surprise for me. I never expected any of those, so when it was finally revealed, I was like “Wait, what?”.

This isn’t really my favorite Colleen Hoover book. I like that the book tackled different social issues but I think it’s just too much to handle, TOO MUCH. Because she addressed too many issues in this book such as mental illness, depression, anxiety, suicide, infidelity, sexuality. And to be honest, these issues were poorly executed, it was really really disturbing when you put it all together. These are serious issues that must be handled with sensitivity and full understanding.

It’s my first time to  give a CoHo book a 3-star rating. I really don’t think a lot of readers will enjoy this one. But it’s still worth a shot. The book has fun and good moments too.

If you have read this book as well, I’d like to know your thoughts about it. 🙂

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Book Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Title: Wallbanger

Author: Alice Clayton

Rating: ★★★★☆

384 pp.

“But as close as friends and lovers could be, there was something about belonging to someone completely that gave you roots―roots you sometimes needed when the world battled against you.”

synopsis

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

review

It’s my first Alice Clayton book and I’m so glad it didn’t disappoint. If you are looking for an easy and steamy read, this one is for you. The cover and the title say it all.

I read this after reading a *very* disappointing book and it’s totally worth it. I can’t remember how many times I laughed while reading this. This is very fun and entertaining. I love that this isn’t your typical insta-love book. The story is basically from enemies to friends to lovers. The main characters, Caroline and Simon, hated each other’s guts at first and their banters were hilarious! Until they call a truce then suddenly became friends, a good and genuine one. Their relationship isn’t rushed and that made the book so much more interesting.

I love Simon and Caroline’s characters individually. Simon was this sweet, charming and cocky guy whom every girl would definitely want as a boyfriend. He’s probably the manwhore type of guy but you’ll get to understand his tactics as you go through the story and learned his background. And then here’s Caroline, I love how straightforward she is and how funny her inner monologues are. I adore their character development all throughout the story.

Overall, it just started a little bit slow, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed reading this one. Will definitely recommend this one to those who want to get out of their reading slump.

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Event Recap: #AmyEwinginPH Book Signing

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When: November 13, 2016
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1, Makati, Philippines


BEFORE THE PROGRAM

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I was supposed to meet my book signing buddies at 6AM/7AM but I got home at around 3AM (working with a shifting schedule sucks) and I’m friggin’ tired, I need to get some sleep. Okay, so long story short, I woke up at almost 8AM and arrived at the venue at almost 9:30AM. To my surprise, the queue for the book signing wasn’t too long when I arrived, I was on 80-something.

National Book Store is giving away several ARCs through their twitter account. This is one of the most enjoyable part of this booksigning event because of the anticipation it gave to the attendees. Before the registration starts, my book signing buddies (Pam, Aileen and Clang) already won ARCs from the twitter giveaway. I finally joined them inside the bookstore after I registered my books. I can’t be thankful enough because they saved me a seat in front row with them. Clang, who won the one-on-one encounter with Amy Ewing, went to their meeting place together with Aileen. My signing pass was no.81 but Pam had a company who also got a signing pass for remembrance (they were no. 7 and 8). Pam suggested for me to switch my pass with her friend so we went to the registration booth to settle it. I don’t know what happened next but the staff needs to get my pass (no.81) and gave it to someone else. So from signing pass no.81 to no.7 real quick! 😀 (I gave the signing pass to Pam’s friend after I got my books signed.)

When Clang and Aileen were back, the twitter giveaway resumed. I literally shrieked with excitement when I won for the first time!!! I immediately get my ARC on the registration booth, which is Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. The fun part here is that my friends and I all won an ARC. #SquadGoals!


DURING THE PROGRAM

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Photo Credit to National Book Store

Book signing program will start at 2PM so we had our lunch first at Greenwich and went back to the bookstore before 2PM. There were more people now than earlier, I guess more than a hundred.

After few minutes, the program starts and we welcomed Amy Ewing. She’s so tall and petite. And her hair is so cool, it’s color purple (or bluish-purple? Idk lol).

1st Part: Q&A

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The Q&A portion came next right after the introduction. Here are some of the Q&A that interest me. (Note: The answers below are not the complete answers she gave. I picked the highlights of her answers.)

  • What inspired you to write the story of Violet or 197?
    “The inspiration actually came from the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson…”
  • Was Violet inspired by you?
    “We have similarities…I play the cello when I was a kid..we’re both stubborn and we’re both hopeless romantics. I think she’s quite selfless and she’s brave and I would like to exactly be that way,  I’ve never challenged the way she’s been.”
  • What was something that you learned about yourself when you were writing the story?
    “I learned that I have the capacity to fail…at some point, you’re going to suffer rejections, you’re going to fail…and I found that I could keep working and then I would learn that this experience is like growth.”
  • Did you consider Violet and Garnet in the first place? (Romantic relationship)
    “No…”
  • What happened to Lily?
    “She dies..”
  • What happened to Carnelian?
    “I would like her to find happiness…I would like to think that she finds love, that she is loved.”

2nd Part: BOOK SIGNING

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Amy Ewing is so adorable. When it was my time to get my books signed, I was totally speechless and I told her that. So she initiate the conversation and she’s so genuine, I love that she’s talkative and jolly. You can see that she genuinely loves her readers and it’s amazing. I’m really glad to meet her! ♥


AFTER THE EVENT

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We didn’t finish the entire book signing event, we decided to went home after we all got our books signed. But before we separate ways…we took our chance take photos since we barely see each other. LOL. It’s been a year since I met them during the CTCinPH booksigning event last year and we easily became friends. ♥  These girls made this book signing event extra special! ♥

So I went home with a signed books, an ARC, Polaroids and a lot of fun memories 😉

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Thanks to National Book Store for this opportunity. Here’s to more book signing events in the future!! ♥

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Book Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Title: The Hating Game

Author: Sally Thorne

Rating: ★★★★★

384 pp.

“I love him so much it’s like a thread piercing me. Punching holes. Dragging through. Stitching love into me. I’ll never be able to untangle myself from this feeling. The color of love is surely this robin’s-egg blue.”

synopsis

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

review

First of all, if you haven’t read this book yet, please read it. You are literally missing a lot of fun.  This is really really good in so many levels, you won’t regret it.

It’s been weeks now since I read this book and I’m still swooning over it. I don’t think I can write a proper review for this that will give justice on how much I love and adore this book. It’s just too much to handle! I’ve been drafting a review for this and I always ended up re-reading my favorite parts of the book in which I still the get same (or more) delightful feeling I felt when I first read it.

Sally Thorne’s debut novel is just so amazing from the very catchy title and book cover to the entertaining and undeniably refreshing content. Her writing style is perfect! I haven’t seen anyone not liking or loving this book so I guess it’s safe to say and I actually believe that this book will be enjoyed by everyone, or even become a new favorite. This is such a fluffy read that would give you all the positive feelings on earth! It could put you on a cloud nine!

I have read some books with a hate-to-love relationships and this book is, no doubt, my favorite. I got easily hooked from the very first page and more and more and so much more until the very end. This book is one of those books that I really don’t want to end. And if you’ll ask me what’s the worst feeling I had when reading this, it was disappointment. And I meant that as a compliment because the only reason I was disappointed was that it has to end, that it had ended and I want so much more, it’s crazy! I feel so devoted to this book. I love every single thing about it!

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are the best example of a “perfect combination”, an “opposites do attract” and “the more you hate, the more you love.”  I especially love the sarcasms and their banters. It was so entertaining and hilarious, you wouldn’t control yourself to laugh or giggle like a fool. And their games are to die for!! The mirror game (this is so cute!!!!!), the staring game (I’d melt if I were in Lucy’s shoes), the “How you doing?” game (I find it sweet), the HR game (hilarious!!!) and the “or something” game (ahhh! I just died)…these games gave this book so much life! That idea was just so fantastic.

And oh, I haven’t mentioned how wonderful and gorgeous Joshua Templeman is! Gaaaahd!!!! HE’S THE MAN OF MY DREAMS!!! HAHAHAHA!!! I CANNOT EXPLAIN HOW MUCH I ADORE HIM!! I NEED MY OWN JOSHUA TEMPLEMAN OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I CAN’T STOP SWOONING OVER HIM!!!! HE’S THE ULTIMATE BOOK BOYFRIEND EVER!!! I CAN PERFECTLY PICTURE HIM IN MY MIND!!! THIS IS INSANE!!!! I LOVE YOU JOSHHHH!!!! HEARTS AND BUTTERFLIES AND SPARKS AND CLOUDS AND EVERYTHING!!!

PS. I intentionally put my Joshua Templeman fangirling comments on the last part of this review because the reason I always failed to completely post a review earlier than today was that I put my fangirl comments on the first part of my review and I can’t finish it because I always have an urge to re-read. I’m obsessed! LOL

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October Wrap Up + Book Haul

Better late than never, right? Haha! I was supposed to write my October Wrap Up last last weekend but I can’t put down the book I’m reading. My October wrap up wasn’t as productive as my September wrap up because work has been eating most of my time and it’s getting stressful than ever.


 

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Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow
Rating: ★★★★☆

Read full review here.
This is the first Melanie Harlow book that I’ve read and boy, I was really impressed. She was able to portray the main characters so vividly into such beautiful chaos. Sebastian and Skylar were far, far away from being perfect, they were both complicated in their own ways.

 

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The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Rating: ★★★★☆

This is the first book in The Lone City trilogy by Amy Ewing. This book reminds me of so many dystopian books such as The Selection, Hunger Games and Divergent. This series has a lot of potential. I can’t say that I love this book so much and I was so sure that I’ll give this book a 3-star rating until the very last page. The ending totally blew my mind that I have to pick the 2nd book right away.

 

Girl Online: On Tour Girl Online On Tour by Zoe Sugg
Rating: ★★★☆☆

This is the sequel for Zoella’s Girl Online. I can’t decide if I like this book more than the previous one. I love Penny’s character development on this book. On the other hand, Noah has been a bit off for me. I adore Penny and Noah together on Girl Online but I believe that the ending of this book is acceptable, it should have to end that way.

 

19377619.jpg (317×475) Dare to Love by Carly Phillips
Rating: ★★★☆☆

My first Carly Phillips read. I honestly find it cliché. It’s somehow similar to Fifty Shades of Grey. However, the writing style and the flow of the story is good. Plus the main male character is sizzling hot. Well, he should be! LOL. This romance book is also a fast and easy read.

 

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Rating: ★★★★★

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! So if you haven’t read it yet, I feel sorry for you because you’re really missing A LOT. Read it! It’s an order!! (Loljk) But seriously, once you start reading it, you can’t stop. You’ll smile like an idiot, laugh like crazy and totally swoon over Joshua Templeman. Read it, pretty please? You won’t regret it. I swear!

 

This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson
Rating: ★★★★★

I cannot fathom the anticipation that this book gave me. There’s so much reality in it. This book is so bloody good it became a favorite. The writing style was just amazing and brilliant. But let me warn you, you need a lot of patience if you’re going to read it.  Check out my review here.

 

 


book-haul

I promised myself last September that I will be on a book-buying ban but I guess promises are always meant to be broken? LOL. I’ll blame it to our local bookstore for having a Cut Price Book Sale on payday! Smart move there NBS!

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So here’s my October book haul:

1. Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter (from Book Sale)
2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (from Book Sale – not on the photo)
3. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland (from National Book Store)
4. The Jewel by Amy Ewing (from National Book Store)
5. The White Rose by Amy Ewing (from National Book Store)
6. The Black Key by Amy Ewing (from National Book Store)
7. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (from National Book Store)
8. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (from National Book Store)
9. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (from Fully Booked)


My Favorite October Read?

This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson and The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. ♥ These books are so worth it! You should definitely give it a try! 😉

Have you seen a favorite book of yours on this post? If yes, what is it? And what’s your favorite October read? I’d love to know! Comment below and maybe we can discuss a little?😉

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Book Review: Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow

Title: Some Sort of Happy

Author: Melanie Harlow

Rating: ★★★★☆

345 pp.

“And loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do. But it does mean you forgive them a little more often, a little more easily.

synopsis

Skylar Nixon. She’s even more beautiful than I remember. Ten years ago she was an impossible dream, and now she’s right here in front of me, offering everything I ever wanted.

But happiness never lasts, not for someone like me.

I have to protect us both.

****

Sebastian Pryce. He’s the most complicated, frustrating, beautiful man I’ve ever met, and my body craves his with a hunger I’ve never known.

My heart is his completely.

Why won’t he let me in?

review

This is the first Melanie Harlow book that I’ve read and boy, I was really impressed. She was able to portray the main characters so vividly into such beautiful chaos. Sebastian and Skylar were far, far away from being perfect, they were both complicated in their own ways. They’re flawed yet strong, so strong. Struggling yet trying. Hurt yet fighting. Skylar has been dealing with how adult life seems to turn her down in every possible way. It’s like her life turned out to be a huge disappointment. And Sebastian has been struggling and dealing with his OCD for almost all his life. Life hasn’t been easy for both of them and they deserve all the chance in the world for a good life and love.

This book tackles a serious issue which is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. And for a book that discusses such a serious matter, I was lost for word on how I don’t find this book nothing but an easy read. Most of the books that I’ve read that discusses mental health issues were too deep and heavy. But this…there’s nothing too much heaviness, this is such a feel good book. I got easily hooked, I even laughed on some parts of it. It made me understand the characters, their behavior and decisions. And I love that it’s not too cheesy yet it gave me butterflies, tons of it.

My favorite line from this book was “And loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do. But it does mean you forgive them a little more often, a little more easily”.  This line mirrors how I see a healthy relationship…how relationships should work. Well mine goes like this, “If you love someone, you have to embrace and accept their flaws.” Funny how upon reading this book, I realized that it’s easier said than done. I imagined myself in Skylar’s shoes, and to be honest, even if I’ve lived with that relationship mantra of mine, I wouldn’t be as patient as Skylar. If I were in her shoes, no matter how I feel for the guy or even how hot and handsome is him (LOL), if he’s like pushing me away or intentionally making moves that will stop me from loving him, I’d easily give up. And I love and adore Skylar so much for being brave and understanding, for not giving up on Sebastian.  The romance in this book is just so real and honest.

I also love that this book was inspired by the Poetry Slam performance of Neil Hilborn called OCD. All throughout reading this book, I was thinking of that piece and was really surprised and glad when I read the author’s note and found out that Sebastian’s character was inspired by that certain piece.

If you’re looking for a sweet and sexy romance book, something that’s emotional yet humorous, I would highly recommend this one.

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