The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Book Review

 

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Date Published: June 5, 2018

Date Read: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

No. of Pages: 323

Setting: Palo Alto, California

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Source: Copy provided by the publisher

Get Your Copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

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One of my favorite books of 2018!!!

I broke yet another rule I have set for myself – that is not to join in with the hype. You see hype highly affects the reading experience for me, and I wanted to enjoy it with the least influence as possible. But damn, the hype surrounding The Kiss Quotient is so real I’m so happy I jumped right in. I am afraid there’s no getting over it anytime in the foreseeable future. I’m even too scared this book will put me in the biggest slump, but know what? I’m fine with it. I’ll use that time to savor every moment, go back to the pages I have tabbed, and boy I have tabbed so many, it’s almost the whole book. A reread is definitely in order. And when I’m through with that, I’ll proceed to googling Daniel Henney our Michael Larsen and dream about him too. I LOVE THE BOOK SO MUCH, IT IS ALMOST AN OBSESSION.

Steamy, oh boy, why does it feel so suddenly hot in here?

The Kiss Quotient is more than what meets the eye. And boy I didn’t expect it to be too steamy! Too steamy, I literally felt I needed air whilst I am inside a fully air-conditioned room. The steamy scenes were perfectly and vividly written that you can very well feel the temperature go up. That’s some serious talent there, and not everyone can do just that. And don’t get me wrong, it is not just these steamy scenes that sold me. It was so, so much more, it was also sweet and tender, and ahhhh all the good stuff. It was not smut, it was adorable and fun! The hot and steamy scenes were played just right.

Asian Representation

Let’s admit it guys, asian representation is still something the publishing world needs to work on. So much so that an asian like me is too delighted to see an asian character portrayed well in a book, this shouldn’t be something we should get excited about. It should be a normal thing — to see asian everywhere and not just some fancy thing that happens once in a blue moon if we are lucky. Right representation truly matters and The Kiss Quotient was able to let us in on a fraction of Vietnamese culture, which is not far too different from other culture in Asia. Asians are big on family, we put too much value on our family so much so that we will do almost anything for them. This was portrayed in this book, and it was an amazing depiction. Michael Larsen, our male protagonist is half Vietnamese, and the way he made sacrifices for his family especially his mother was truly remarkable. True signature of Asians, if you ask me.

Autism and Own Voices

Another topic that needs more attention and more representation is Autism. The Kiss Quotient gave us a glimpse of what it is to have autism and how one manages her day to day life with it. I specifically commend this book since it was written by an author who is diagnosed with autism. I am drawn to own voices books, there is authenticity and rawness you couldn’t find anywhere. And that is the case here, the author was able to provide us with a character with depth and realness about her that is hard to miss. Stella is a very smart and successful woman who had struggles when it comes to socializing which leads to having troubles having a romantic relationship with someone. She’s being pressured to have a boyfriend and eventually settle down, but all these seemed to be a challenge for her, and so she hired a male escort – which was Michael, this half-Vietnamese, half Swedish mighty specimen of a man, And the story took off into this steamy, swoon-worthy and all things amazing reading experience. Their first encounter? I was seriously contemplating to take a half day and go home and just read the day away, (yeah I was reading at the office, rebel). Don’t you just love when that happens? The book is so good you just don’t want to participate in life even if it is something that pays the bills! Hahaha

Many may not be aware of the Netflix series Atypical, the lead character has autism as well. This is why I was able to understand Stella in this book. Also the reason why I enjoyed it so much more than what I had anticipated. There are actions that may put someone off, but it is what the book required, it is what it is, and I had no problems with how Stella was portrayed. To me it was just spot on and amazing, again the authenticity is really palpable. And might I add, I love how Michael didn’t even bat an eye when he knew that Stella has autism, because he understood, he has this level of maturity that men seemed to lack these days (haha), he was patient and just the most logical person there was. He understood Stella in a way two people in love can.

This is how romance should be done!

The Kiss Quotient is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It was everything I needed and everything I truly enjoyed. It was yes, predictable, because duh this isn’t a thriller, but the best part of the reading experience is how everything leads to that ending. The story chapter per chapter, the build up and all those sweet moments between Stella and Michael. It has been a month since I last read the book and I’m still thinking about it up to now. I can see myself rereading it whenever I need some pick me upper or when life has been unbearably stressful. Helen Hoang instantly became a favorite author, I vow to read all her books until kingdom come! So this goes without saying, this book i worth your time, go ahead and pick it up!

 

 

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“Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go”
― Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient

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Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish. Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

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{Thank you @berkleypub for this free book.} . THE KISS QUOTIENT by HELEN HOANG . Synopsis: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position… Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic ••• Oh my freak yes!!! I have been eyeing this book for a while now since almost everyone I trust for book recommendations has been raving about this book. It’s is all over my bookstagram and twitter feed, not to mention the great reviews it has been getting over at goodreads. This may be too hyped up, but I can already feel it in my bones I will totally love this one! Thank you so much Berkley for sending me a copy!!! You guys are amazing! 💙💙💙 ••• #TheKissQuotient #HelenHoang #BerkleyPublishing #BerkleyBookstagram #partner

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Date Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Read: September 2, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Setting: London, England; Bangkok, Thailand

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository  | Book Outlet

 

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Disturbing and intense! I couldn’t put it down!

Behind Closed Doors will suck you in this vortex of twisted story behind what seemed to be a perfect marriage. I love how the blurb went on as vague as possible without any shred of a clue. I loved how it could toy with your mind and let your imagination go wherever it wishes to go and then smack you in the face of what really was the story all about. None of what you have expected, not even remotely close. I would try to be as vague in my review, without touching anything that could give the book away, so bear with me on this one. Just hold on to my word, this book is really good.

I was hooked from the very first chapter up until that last sentence. I loved that our narrator, Grace, was dropping subtle hints here and there, letting you picture out and keeps you guessing what is so wrong with her marriage and her husband — Jack Angel. This is what got me hooked, the small hints thrown in between. It’s like you’re given a purpose, that goal to figure out at the earliest possible opportunity what is really happening. Maybe Grace is crazy, maybe Jack is the ever loving husband. All the possibilities are there, and they are endless. Understandably, this book isn’t for everyone. There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters.

(I would not go in detail about the characters, as it would give too much of the book away. But know this, the characters will surprise you, may it be in a revolting way or in an oh-yes-i-am-so-rooting-for-you kind of way. Each character had depth and complexity within them that complements each other and the whole plot. And so sorry George Clooney, you were dragged into all this mess!)

And though I have few issues myself, I didn’t dwell on it too much. The plot wasn’t as solid or as fool-proof but it was more than enough to satisfy its readers. The characters needed more of a back story as well, they could have been presented in a more complex way, but again, I didn’t dwell too much on that, because despite all this, the book was able to deliver, more than what you have bargained for.

You see, a psychological thriller will never please everyone. There would be people who may be appalled by it, and in the same vein there may be people would love it so much. Psychological thrillers can be a hit or miss, depending how the cards are played. Behind Closed Doors was executed well. It definitely had the ability to constantly put its reader at the edge of their seats. The shift of chapters from past to present made the book more appealing. It sets the tone of the whole book, how one chapter in the Present correlates to the chapter in the Past solidifying the plot and making the book more coherent. Each chapter served to be a glimpse of what happened before and what is about to transpire. Giving something for the reader to look forward to and something to ponder on.

That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice. It was everything done wrong back fired! It was vindication, and I felt triumphant with the character! When I wasn’t sure whether to give this book full five stars, it was the ending that closed the deal for me. It was so good, I was mentally giving BA Paris a high five! Uttering to myself, that is how psychological thriller should be made – with vindication. Truly, revenge is a dish best served cold! It has been a while since I last read a psychological thriller. It was that kind of book that I never knew I needed. Now I vow to read every book she has ever written. This goes without saying, I found a new favorite author and a new favorite book! Highly recommend.

 

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“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”
― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Date Published: March 20, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date Read: August 31, 2018

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Charlottesville, Virginia

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble  | National Bookstore 

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Movie was way better than the book!

I went against the unwritten rule of every reader: to read the book first before watching the movie. It was actually the movie that pushed me to read the book. I wanted to know if Movie Peter was just as dreamy as the Book Peter.

Verdict: I liked Movie Peter way more than the Book Peter. Movie Peter was less of an asshole than the book counterpart. I know we only get the sugar-coated version in the movie, and maybe that’s was what I wanted. Book Peter did a lot of things that frustrate me. Him being head over heels Gen, kind of put me off. At least in the movie it was down-played. Okay enough with the comparison with the film!

While I did get the whole dimension of the characters, understood why they acted the way they did, I was looking for something more. YA can be a bit tricky for me, there are YA books that really wow me, and there are others that fell short. Much like any other kind of genre. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fell a little short for me. It was a little childish for my own liking. Our narrator Lara Jean, sounded like she was 12, and I almost cringe to know that she’s almost 17. Also, why does it feel like YA books written around 2012-2015 revolved around some high school drama. Like high school is the be all and end all of things. My adult self couldn’t stop rolling her eyes, but I’m aboard the train, so might as well enjoy the ride right?

If you like fake boyfriend-girlfriend trope, then this book will satisfy your cravings. I am so drawn to this kind of trope it has become unhealthy haha.  It feels like I needed to get my hands on every book with this kind of trope. But can we please stop with love triangles? It was so 2012, let’s just move past it can we? Nope? Okay.

The plot of the whole book was preposterous, but I bought it anyway. (But was that the whole point of fiction, to get us out of the crushing weight of reality? hahah) It was so ridiculous you’ll get curious how will the author pull it off. And curious, I’ve been. But after reading it, I instantly needed something more mature to cleanse my palate. So much so, that I immediately jumped into reading a psychological thriller. The shift was a breath of fresh air.

And can we talk about the ending? It ended in a cliffhanger, which leaves you with no choice but to read the sequel. Which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would or at least maybe not in the near future. That ending could have been so much better, at least in the movie there was a period or at least a semi-colon, the book ended in a comma or ellipses, which frustrated me. It could have been better. There could have been one more chapter to tie everything up and make it more put-together. Truly, it was the ending that was a total let down. But all things considered, the book was easy to get through, fun and light to read, cute too! Especially the Halloween part, that was my ultimate fave, sad it wasn’t included in the movie. This book is the perfect companion when you needed to pass time and just for once forget about the complications that is your life. Ultimately did just that for me! And for that, I am grateful.

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“Do you think there’s a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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❝Do you think there's a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?❞ ― Jenny Han; To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ••• Done reading! Verdict: 3.5⭐️ I liked Movie Peter than Book Peter. Book Peter was just hard to like. I hate it when he kept on insisting that he and Gen had history and blah blah blah. He does things that frustrate me, at least in the movie it was kind of sugar-coated already and he was less of an asshole 😅 Also I didn’t like how the book ended 🙃 it was requiring you to read the sequel, which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would. Or maybe I’ll just see what the fuss is about John Ambrose McLaren or I could wait for Netflix sequel 😁 ••• Also thank you @keepreadingkim hahah for kind of buddy reading with me! Hahah I suck at buddy reading! I’ll do better next time 😉 ••• #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore #PeterKavinsky #LaraJean #Covinsky

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All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Date Published: July 17, 2018

Date Read: August 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Setting: 

No. of Pages: 320

Genre: Romance

Get your copy here: Book Depository | Amazon

 

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Colleen Hoover has done it again! 

I know I said in my review of Confess that I wouldn’t want to think my relationship with Colleen Hoover’s works has already run its course, that I could salvage it. All Your Perfects was my salvation. It was redemption, and a very sweet one. After reading November 9 and Confess, I kind of shied away from CoHo’s books, I thought that was enough for me already, that I should move along and enjoy other authors. And I was wrong. All Your Perfects was a reminder why I loved her writing since 2012.

Imperfect Marriage as its highlight

All Your Perfects is about an imperfect marriage, of two people trying to work things out but is so close to failing. It has flawed characters and a plot that might hit home to most of the people. It was a struggle some married couples undergo.. This is where it will hit you the most, that vulnerability of it possibly happening to you, or might have been happening to some people you know. It tackled something so raw and real. Admittedly, I have been always drawn to books with dysfunctional marriage/family. I loved how the characters deal with their problems and whether they were able to push past it or how they completely drift apart. For me, there is some sense of beauty in dysfunctional people, how they perceive life and the situations they were dealt and how they manage to navigate though life despite it. That’s how a good book connects to people, how it presents not just the good parts but more so the ugly ones. How it highlighted imperfection and flaws, ultimately what makes us human.

Flawed characters

At one point I was so frustrated with our female protagonist – Quinn, but at the same time understood where she was coming from.  Quinn’s predicament plagued her marriage with Graham. The book was written in her perspective. Colleen Hoover was able to write something profound through Quinn’s voice. I commend how mature this book was compared to CoHo’s previous works, it truly is something different. The book highlighted the struggles of modern day woman, and that’s what makes it beautiful, it delved into something not all books willingly talk about.

Then we have Graham, our male protagonist who had flaws of his own but managed to come out of it well. These two characters really complemented each other. Graham oh Graham, he was just so good to Quinn, sometimes I feel like Quinn doesn’t deserve him. Yet another book setting high expectations for men. (This is why I’m single, lol). Graham wasn’t perfect, and so is Quinn, but Graham was the one who came through for this relationship to work, and I love how he was just so patient with Quinn. Graham was never perfect, from the onset he was presented to be as vulnerable as everyone else, but he always rise through the occasion and makes wise decisions. He was the one who stood stronger for the both of them. And though he made a mistake as well, you’ll just understand where all of it was coming from. I love how Colleen Hoover did not romanticize that part but presented it in a no-nonsense approach.

Two perfectly flawed characters who gave me the worst heartbreak. Ahhh I still remember the letters and I am seriously welling up right now. This book was just heartbreaking, I didn’t know what to do with myself from Chapter 20 down to the very end. I was inconsolable to say the least. I felt like I have cried a year’s worth of tears.

Fast Pacing and Unconventional presentation of each chapter 

The Then and Now chapters definitely set the mood. I was happy reading Then chapters and I dreaded reading Now chapters. It gave off this balance, but kind of will put you in a confused state. You don’t know if you’re going to be happy or if you’re going to cry. It made the book a lot faster to read. The pacing was just right. I love the correlation of every events, not one event was unnecessary. It was well put-together.

You’ll cry river of tears

All Your Perfects truly wrecked me. I have cried over books before, yes, but All Your Perfects took it to a whole different level, that kind of level where my flu came back because I cried so hard. Hahah I am not even kidding. And it is a wonder because nothing in the book relates to me, I am not married nor I’m in a relationship. But this book pierced through my heart and set a camp there. I was already warned that I should not be reading this book in public, that I needed to be alone. Well, I guess thanks for the warning, because all the tears came without preamble. Before I know it my shirt was already soaked in tears. It was so dramatic, that I didn’t even wipe any of it, I just let it, one teardrop after another. I was a sight to behold really, and I felt the pain, really, truly felt it. I don’t know why I was so affected by the Now chapters, I have nothing in common with the characters, I haven’t gone through whatever they have been through, but I was so immersed in the story that my heart completely ached for them. I think that’s the gauge of a good book, how it able to transcend from the pages through the reader’s emotions, whether the reader could relate to it or not. Colleen Hoover truly evolved through the years. She always has something new to offer in the table, and everything is different from the last. I mean, where does she get her inspiration from? She is truly talented, no doubt about it.

This may very well be my favorite Colleen Hoover book among the ones I have read. Imagine, Maybe Someday and It Ends With U were dethroned. That is saying quite a lot because I loved those two books so much. That said, please find the time to read this book. I am offering support should you need it, you know where to find me! Go get a copy now.

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“Until then, I will continue to love you more and more with every struggle we face than I loved you when all was perfect.”
Colleen Hoover, All Your Perfects

 

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❝Until then, I will continue to love you more and more with every struggle we face than I loved you when all was perfect.❞ ― Colleen Hoover, All Your Perfects ••• 💜Mini Review:💜 Colleen Hoover has done it again. There was a period when I shied away from CoHo books, (Confess and November 9 wasn’t really a big favorite), I was afraid my relationship with her books has already run its course, but boy was All Your Perfects the sweet redemption! . All Your Perfects completely wrecked me. I cried so much, my flu came back 😅 The puffy eyes and lack of sleep were all worth it. All Your Perfects was different from other CoHo books. I might be a little biased here. I think I love All Your Perfects more than Maybe Someday and It Ends With Us, and that is saying alot. This book tackled a topic I couldn’t fully relate to, but the way it was presented was amazing it pierced through my heart. I guess that’s the gauge of a good book, how it can transcend from the pages through the reader’s emotions, regardless if the reader could relate to it or not. . ✔️Imperfect Marriage ✔️You have the CoHo’s signature weird/extraordinary first meet-up ✔️It will make you cry, like literally river of tears ✔️Fast read 5/5⭐️ . Should you ever need someone to talk to after you’ve read it. My DMs are open. Hahah I know the feeling, because after I’ve read it I immediately needed someone to pour and share my feelings with. Thank you @jayne.vs.books and @booksandacupofcoffee for being my support through that inevitable book hangover! 💜 ••• #AllYourPerfects #ColleenHoover #CoHorts #QuinnandGraham #Atriabooks

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata | Book Review

Review:

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If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Date Published: February 1, 2018

Date Read: July 2018

 

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Okay let me just say this first, before everything I’ve been meaning to say slip out of my head. WHY DO THEY BLINK SO MUCH! THEY BLINK SO MUCH AS IF THEY WOULD HAVE A SEIZURE OR SOMETHING IS AWFULLY WRONG WITH THEIR HEAD. There I said it. Never have I read a book that the characters’ blinking is given too much emphasis. NEWS FLASH, people blink, it is no rocket science, you need not be gifted to be able to blink. WHY IN THE WORLD DOES THIS BOOK HAVE TO MENTION THAT THE CHARACTERS ARE BLINKING? DO THEY HAVE SOMETHING IN THEIR EYE? IS THEIR A ROCK IN THERE OR SOMETHING?

Okay. In case you were wondering, yeah, I was shouting.

Now let’s get down to what we are all here for. From Lukov with Love is maybe the first and only book I have read about figure skaters. What attracted me to read it is the glamorous review it has been getting. Who could blame me? It was constantly recommended to me by people whose judgments I really trust. But then again, and I always forget this, we all have different tastes in books and there isn’t any guarantee that what the majority likes, you’ll like too, or even what the majority hates, you’ll hate too. Such is the case with this book. I went ahead reading this book with a very high expectation, an expectation, unfortunately that wasn’t met.

The book is about Jasmine Santos, she’s a half filipino, so yayyy! She’s a figure skater whose career is hanging by a thread. And then we have Ivan Lukov, the golden boy, he has won a lot of championships in figure skating. They were both partnered up to compete together. Sounds like a solid premise, if you ask me. This book revolves around Jasmine’s self-discovery and coming to terms with the hands she was dealt. It was more of a book about loving one’s self despite the flaws, letting people love you despite of it, put some family drama and solid friendship and tadaaa that’s basically the whole gist of the book. And the romance? Well, don’t let it mislead you, it wasn’t really a romance book, partly yes, but it was only at least 70% of the book that Ivan and Jasmine’s romance were emphasized. Is there something completely wrong with that? Well none really, I just wished I wasn’t led to expect a passionate love affair to bloom between the two, when in fact I am not getting any of it. It was a slow burn kind of romance, so slow you’ll get tired waiting for it.

Jasmine Santos’ character is the epitome of the word stubborn. Her character is way too immature for her age. I tried really hard to wrap my brain around everything she did, from those immature banters with her siblings, and with Ivan, down to the repetitive whining, angst and self-pity, boy, one can only read so much of it until she rip her hair off. Then we have Ivan Lukov, the way he indulges in these banters with Jasmine sometimes put me off. It was off-putting, it is borderline problematic. But I pushed past it and tried to read through all the bickering, and tried to appreciate the book for what it was.

Also can I just say how every small details were given too much emphasis and the ones that should be given emphasis  fell extremely short? The movements of the characters, i.e., blinking, cocking his head to the other side, and all these menial acts were so magnified that it truly affected the way I read the book. I tried to move past it, but how can I, when every other page it was mentioned? I was annoyed when I should really be appreciating the story. To be honest it completely ruined everything for me. I was looking for emphasis on the actual figure skating of Jasmine and Ivan, I want it to be so vivid as if I am watching some Olympics competition in my head but I was disappointed. It was just mentioned in passing, and I was like, that is what I am here for and I didn’t get it. It was a let down. Maybe it was so wrong of me to think of VirtueMoir, maybe that added up to the already high expectation. But damn, I was imagining a Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir level of intensity and passion in my head and I got nothing.

Also it felt like the book was preparing you for the biggest surprise, it keeps on building up one scene after another and you are sure something is going to happen but when it did happen you’re just like “????”, I wish there was the word for it hahah but I came out empty. There are moments that are anticlimactic, so much so that it affected the whole reading experience for me.

I hoped for more, maybe that’s what went wrong. I craved for something that would satisfy my thirst for romance books, but this only filled a quarter of the glass. I appreciate Jasmine’s relationship with her family, and Karina also Ivan’s love for dogs, but the story itself was a let down, that ending was cute though, I would have to give it that. It was a good plot, yes, it was the execution that didn’t sit well with me.

 

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“You are who you are in life, and you either live that time trying to bend yourself to make other people happy, or… you don’t.”
Mariana Zapata, From Lukov with Love

 

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Just finished FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE by MARIANA ZAPATA. . ••• Let me first share the synopsis: ❄️ If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one. After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close. But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything. Including Ivan Lukov. ••• Rating: ⭐️⭐️.5/5 Slow burn romance: ✅ Haters to lovers trope: ✅ Flawed protagonist: ✅ Sports romance: ✅ . So I just finished From Lukov with Love this afternoon. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. I admit I went ahead reading the book with a very high expectation, but sadly it wasn’t what I had expected. This is always a lesson I keep on forgetting, never ever expect too much. Applicable in life too! Hehe. Going back, this book had its flaws but also had its redeeming qualities as well. I had the biggest issue with the “BLINKING” yeah, you read that right. I swear every other page “the blinking” would be mentioned, do they have something in their eyes? Are they okay tho?? And I keep on rolling my eyes at that. The tiniest movements of the characters here are overemphasized, it is borderline unnecessary. And the parts where the emphasis should be placed came out short. It could have been a solid 4 stars were it not for the BLINKING. You’ll get me should you decide to read it. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Full review to come! . ••• #FromLukovwithLove #MarianaZapata #figureskating #romancebooks

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Folsom (End of Men Book 1) by Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster: Book Review

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The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Folsom is book one of the End of Men series.

Date of Publication:  May 29, 2018

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 276 pages

Setting: Post Apocalyptic USA

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Get Your Copy here: Amazon

 

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Folsom, where do I even start? I am really on the fence with this one. A part of me tried really hard to like it, a part of me finds the whole premise obnoxious but clever at the same time and a part of me just wants it to be over. It was a post-apocalyptic setting where men go extinct, and there are only 12 men left to impregnate as much women as possible to be able to repopulate. I know, me too, I had to process all that and I was more skeptical than hopeful. I was scared how will the authors pull off something like this. But I went ahead and read the book.

And oh my goodness, Felicia.

Let’s just say it isn’t my cup of tea (anymore). I’m not the right audience for this. It is with this sad realization that I don’t find joy in reading too much smut in a book anymore, or maybe it was just this one time, or maybe not. I hope this is just a one-time thing. Don’t get me wrong I love romance books with alpha-male and all that jazz, but this one didn’t do it for me. I was cringing half of the time. Maybe it is the way everything was presented, it was too literal, too right in your face (if that even makes sense), there’s just a little room for imagination, like everything was served in a platter and you’re given no choice but to devour it as is. Oh goodness, I hope I am making some sense here.

The characters, those unbearable, annoying characters. We have Folsom, the most sought after End Man. I was equal parts disgusted of his character and at the same time pity him for the hand he was dealt. Yes he was basically the Society’s highest paid prostitute. And believe me this doesn’t sit well with me. THERE WAS SOMETHING PROBLEMATIC but I shrugged it off and read on. I KNOW, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Believe me I was so tempted to DNF it, but I had to give it the benefit of the doubt, and so here we are. Then we have this love-sick puppy Gwen. She was too smitten I want to rip her hair off. Her character was this poor attempt to be noble, but failed miserably (at least for me). And can I just say how frustrating the women in here, they were like deprived, crazed sex addicts. And just nope, we don’t need that kind of portrayal. The world has doled out too much of it as is, thank you very much.

The book’s attempt to be unique, was just that, an attempt. It failed to sustain the obnoxious yet clever premise it promised. The delivery wasn’t as solid as I expected it to be. It could have been better, oh boy, it definitely could. I can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong, and because of this it overshadowed any good aspect of the book, and believe me there were few as well. You just have to see past the cringe-worthy parts and the too smitten characters. In summary, the book was a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, erotica that could have been better if the cards were played right. I was looking for more, something that could redeem itself, a silver-lining perhaps, but found nothing.

And yes, I find it hard to believe it was by Tarryn Fisher – an author I love so much. As per Willow Aster, I can’t say much since I have not read anything by her until Folsom. I felt like Tarryn let me down, it is with a heavy heart to say and accept it. What is happening? This is definitely not the kind of book that made me fall in love with her writing. It was just sad. But what I’ll do is just stick around and wait for that book that will make me say “Oh yes, this is the Tarryn Fisher I loved.”, but until then I am not having any more of this End Men series. Folsom is enough I think.

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“It was the truth! For the truth to make a difference, it needs to be said by one person at a time, until there’s a noise loud enough to make a difference.”
Tarryn Fisher, Folsom

 

phonto

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Book Review

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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Date Published: February 3, 2015

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 388

Setting: Creek View, California

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book Depository, Amazon

 

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This is it! This is the soft safe harbor amidst all the chaos that is life.

I’ll Meet You There has been sitting on my shelf for a good year now, always looking at it and telling it “I’ll read you one day.” To be honest, it wasn’t on my top to-be-read list, it wasn’t a priority, but boy was I wrong not making it so. I’ll Meet You There brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bedtime to finish up a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading, that old self who’s happy hunkered down in her little corner not minding the world outside, and how I’ve missed that! I miss it so bad I was starting to believe I will never be able to bring her back.

I’ll Meet You There is a mixture of depth, great character build-up and realistic life-lessons. It was everything good and then some. It wasn’t your typical YA book, it has this sense of maturity that was hard to miss. I don’t know why but I am always drawn to books with Marines, I think I have mentioned this quite a few times already. This was angsty, but it was well-played out, it was perfectly incorporated in the book making it more engaging that what the premise had promised. I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar who couldn’t wait to get out of Creek View and Josh Mitchell who was able to get out but was back to the hell-hole as an amputee. This was the story of loss, healing and young love.

The romance was slow-burn, something I would choose over insta-love at any given day. I loved how Skylar and Josh complement each other, how their characters manage to navigate through the ins and outs of their hard life. How they are able to get by and deal with their own respective demons. The push and pull that is their love story, was definitely not lost on me, I blurted out loud at one point how they should just fall in love already, I was the one being frustrated how they manage to make the infamous one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance, but despite this frustration, I was glued to my seat reading as much as I can before the world borrows me to do the most mundane stuff, like you know, sleeping and eating. I finished it in two days, that’s saying a lot since I haven’t finished a book in a long while for such short period of time. It only proves how good this book was. And though the story line isn’t as original, I’m still giving it the full 5 stars. It was that good for me, it made me ugly-cry – something I haven’t done in a long while and ultimately this book helped me forget the complexities of my reality – it was indeed that safe haven amidst this chaotic world. So yep, it definitely deserved my five-star rating.

What I loved most about I’ll Meet You There is its quality of sincerity. How the characters felt real as if they were just ordinary people you could meet in your lifetime. I loved how flawed they are too, especially Josh. He was just this shell of a man he used to be because of what happened to him in Afghanistan. What transpired was a real depiction and sometimes too raw and honest description of how war can fck a person up. And it was painted in such captivating yet angsty light. Then we have Skylar Evans, who deals with her own demons. I liked her character, how sometimes she has this no-nonsense approach in life and sometimes she’s too calculated or guarded. I loved how they ease into each other’s lives. I loved how their love story was well-played out, and was not rushed at all. It progressed just right, and when they finally admitted to themselves what they truly feel for each other it was beautiful. I love that in a book, it’s power to suck you into the story and you just willingly immerse yourself into it. And though the ending was somewhat open-ended, I love that it gives room for readers to imagine more, it does not limit itself, it gives power to the readers to make out something more out of the story.  This book now has a special place in my heart. Highly recommend!

 

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“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages–no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
― Heather DemetriosI’ll Meet You There

phonto

 

 

 

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❝And maybe some people are like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.❞ – Heather Demetrios, I'll Meet You There ••• Finished I’ll Meet You There the other day and boy did I miss reading books like this one. It brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bed time just to finish a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading. Sadly these days, I hardly have time and to be honest I am not as enthusiastic as before. So reading this one is such a breath of fresh air, it’s like the universe conspired for me to end up reading this book. . I’ll Meet You There is an honest, beautiful and realistic story about two flawed characters trying to deal with their own demons. I love how the romance was played out well, it was a slow burn and just right. Full review on the blog! Rating: 5/5⭐️ ••• Have you read this one? Can you recommend something like it? ••• #IllMeetYouThere #HeatherDemetrios #SkylarEvans #JoshMitchell

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