Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It Ends with Us: A Short Note to Colleen Hoover


Title: IT ENDS WITH US
Author: Colleen Hoover (Twitter | Facebook) 
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books

SYNOPSIS


Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.



A Short Note to Colleen Hoover
Just a note, since I believe that it is best to dive into this book - blind and freely allow Colleen to give you chills through her words. 


Dear Colleen Hoover, 

I don't know what to say about It Ends with Us. But what I do know is that I want say great things about it to encourage more readers, more people, to hear your voice - to hear your story. I've been staring at my laptop for quite some time now and words just went out the window. You've literally left me speechless. That last chapter + epilogue + note combo you pulled in this book was a sure killer. I also know that I'm barely coherent to be typing in this note but whatever. I'm just going to wing it from here and tell you something. 

Thank you for being so brave and bold. Thank you for deciding to share the story that enfolded in It Ends with Us to us. I am, we are, lucky. Now, I finally know why you're so nervous about the release of this book and why IEWU means a lot to you. 

A huge part of you, of who you are, bleeds through these pages.

Your honesty on how you intricately wrote this story brought in how raw, profound, moving and deeply personal this book is. It is all too real. It Ends with Us is like Colleen Hoover by Colleen Hoover. You've left marks everywhere - from the major events that transpired in Lily's life down to the littlest of things mentioned. You've left a "Colleen Hoover" imprint all throughout the book.

And now, you've left an imprint on me. Once again.

Thank you. 

An avid reader of yours, 
Amanda 



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes


Title: GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE
Author: Paula Stokes (Twitter | Website)
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Publication House: HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS


Maguire is bad luck.


No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.


It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.


From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.


Purchasing Links: AMAZON | B&N | iBooks






            I recently decided to get acquainted with YA Contemporary again and randomly picked Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes from my TBR list. This is actually the first book that I own written by Paula Stokes and so I don’t know what to expect or if I’ll like it. Color me surprised, guys. I might have to check her other books and rectify my lack of it on my Kindle because wow. I love how she writes and how her words make me feel. GAtU presented a unique storyline and conflict which revolves around a girl named Maguire, thinking that the universe is conspiring against her. She firmly believes that she is cursed (because of several events that happened to her in the past) and performs all kinds of rituals to somewhat secure her luck and the people around her. See? I think, this is the first time that I've read something with this concept of luck. But mainly it delves into a certain mental illness/fear yet how the book was written gives off an air of lightness to it. It was actually a fun read. Maguire’s thoughts and logic were very easy to get into and I immensely enjoyed reading through it. I could've read this book in one sitting if only I had the time to do so. 

           
           Girl Against the Universe’s strongest points lies on how the book showcased family, friendship, relationships and Maguire’s self-journey.  Every single one of those aspects that I’ve mentioned affected and aided the book to be shaped into perfection and for Maguire’s character to develop through its course. This book has one of the most realistic situations when it comes to dealing with deaths and someone stepping in as a step-dad. Her mother was very realistic. It was something that I expected from a person who encountered losing her husband and son. But you better watch out for Maguire and her step-dad’s interaction in this. I love the points that he raised on how someone being in his shoes thinks and feels like. I got all choked up. Being a step-dad is surely a tough position to be in. There’s one scene with the two of them that really stood out for me and which I consider as my favourite. It was realistic, adorable, definitely tugged at my heartstrings and made me want to hug his character.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | GOOD (Too Good #1) by S. Walden

Title: GOOD (Too Good #1)
Author: S. Walden (Website | Twitter)
Publication Date: August 25, 2013
Publisher: Penny Press Publishing


SYNOPSIS


Cadence Miller is a good girl. She just happens to make one terrible mistake her junior year in high school which costs her ten months in juvenile detention. Now a senior, she's lost everything: her best friend, the trust of her parents, driving privileges, Internet access. It's a lonely existence.


But there is one bright spot: Mark Connelly, her very cute, very off-limits 28-year-old calculus teacher. She falls hard for him—a ridiculous schoolgirl crush headed nowhere. She can't help it. He's the only good thing at Crestview High. She doesn't expect him to reciprocate her feelings. How inappropriate, right? But he does. And he shows her.

And that's when her life goes from bad to good. 






It actually started out so well (sneaky forbidden stories often do) but then as I delve deeper into the story, I cannot help but feel being stuck on a loop. Over and over again I was going through the motions with both protagonists' issues: insecurities and control. It just got dragged through the entire book and character development at the end is weak.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Jonaxx … ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!


Hi, Readers! 

Before we delve into the interview proper, I would just love to share with you how this interview came to be. Actually, it was a few months back since I sent in the email which includes all of my interview questions for Queen J. Knowing that she’s a very busy person, what with her work and writing our favorite stories, sending it in didn’t mean I’ll really be able to snag an exclusive interview with her and that she’ll immediately be emailing me back with her answers. I took a chance. I was just happy with the thought that I have an email sitting pretty on her inbox. A message that hopefully she would be able to read and reply to once she has some free time.

Months have passed and on …

January 26, 2016.

10:44pm.

I was already lounging in my bed, relaxing and getting ready to continue reading the book that I picked out that afternoon. That’s how my usual night life goes. When a notification suddenly popped on the topmost part of my phone’s screen saying that I have an email coming from Jonahmae Pacala.


Me: ENTERS IN A DREAMLIKE STATE

I found myself abruptly standing up, opening and reading the content of her email. When I saw that she indeed answered all of my questions, I cannot help myself from constantly chanting, “What? Seryoso? Nagreply siya? Sinagutan niya?”.  I was shaking. I was fangirling so hard and I need people to talk to me. I ended up sending messages to some of my friends and sharing the news over the JSL main group and Bicol chapter about this blog interview.

I couldn’t believe it.

It may have taken her some time in replying to my email but it was definitely worth the wait. This surely is going down as one of my surreal blogger and fangirl moments: Interviewing one of my favorite authors. And it truly is a pleasure to share this interview with you, blog readers and Jonaxxstories Lovers.

Since I already formatted my interview questions in a conversation-type of way when I emailed it to Queen J, I won’t be editing it out (just a little tweak here and there) and I would really love to share it with you as it is. My questions, my thoughts and her answers – just out there for you to read. Let’s get started!


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Amanda (A): Thank you so much for giving me and my blog this huge opportunity of having you here and at the same time interviewing you. If only I can squeal and be heard by my readers here in this blog just for them to know how I’m reacting to all this.  Seriously, I’m such a big fan of yours so this all seems to be so surreal for me. Enough of me and my fangirl ways, though.

I’ll start off this interview by asking you a little bit about yourself. You’re widely known as The Royal Writer, the Queen or Queen J by your royal readers, but what is it like just being Jonahmae Pacala? What are your favourite: songs, movies and books?  

Jonaxx (J): I have so many favourite songs and movies. Genres like EDM, slow love music, pop, and alternative. It’s difficult to mention it one by one. Haha! For movies, I like the Divergent, the Harry Potter Movies, and all movies with medievalish setting. And for books, I’ve read HP series and it was very nice. I am always amazed by how J.K. did it. She’s a legend. And then I also like Paulo Coehlo. I like books with deeeeeep messages.

A: When you aren’t writing, where would we most likely find you? What are your hobbies aside from writing?

J: Malling, sleeping, going out with friends, roadtrips, beaches… etc.

Friday, January 22, 2016

[PH BLOG TOUR] BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAYS | IN THIS LIFE by Christine Brae




Title: IN THIS LIFE
Author: Christine Brae (Website | Facebook | Twitter)
Publication Date: January 22, 2016

SYNOPSIS


It started out so simply. Anna runs away to Thailand, drags her best friend Dante with her and spends a few weeks away, taking on other people’s problems while getting away from her own. She meets the enigmatic Jude Grayson, and for as long as it’s clear to both of them that it ends when they leave, she thinks she’s got the perfect fling planned out. 

Or does she? 

Anna returns home to find that her life is no longer the way it once was, and that she can’t stop thinking about him. She learns through tragedy that nothing she’s ever believed in has turned out to be true. The worst part? The people she loved were keeping a secret from her. And that no matter what she does, no matter how hard she fights against it, every path she takes keeps leading her back to Jude. 

This is a story about love, found in a faraway place by two very unlikely people. It is also a story about friendship and loyalty and fighting for what you have despite the illogical mystery of fate. And with the struggle between morality and guilt, faith and acceptance, there comes a learning that even the best-laid plans are powerless against the alignment of the universe. 

From the beaches of Thailand to the streets of New York, three friends, Anna, Dante, and Jude will learn the hard way that once providence steps in, there is nothing in the world that can change what is truly meant to be.




In this life, I hope you can take time and read In This Life by Christine Brae. It’s emotional. It’s real.

One of the simple joys that I have when I read all the works of an author is being able to witness the growth taking shape when it comes to their writing style. Just like her previous works, Christine Brae’s prose for In This Life is that of poetic and beautifully weaved truths. But this time around, her words packed a lot more punch which resulted for the emotions of her characters to freely flow to us, her readers. Brae’s thoughts and words is the perfect match to flawlessly execute such a plot line as with In This Life. It’s a story that truly requires a certain bravery and sincerity to radiate through the words and pages of the book for readers to fully feel and grasp its vital points. Aside from those, I do think that one of Brae’s strengths lies on how her words leave marks, make people think and reflect about their personal lives. In This Life may be about Anna’s self-discovery journey but a bonus to this is having our own self-discovery journey while reading the book and beyond that.  

“Don’t you ever just want to forget who you’re supposed to be and just be who you really are?”

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