March 31, 2016

Review: Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

Any Other GirlAny Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips

*Digital ARC was received from Kensington Publishing through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: January 26, 2016

Get a copy here!

I read this sometime back in January and honestly it took me almost two weeks to finish it because partly I was so busy that I kept putting it off. And partly, maybe it’s because I didn’t really find any part of the book that made me want to sit down for hours, ignoring the world and keep reading non-stop till the last page.

Any Other Girl told a story of a girl who’s raised in a family a little different than others. It’s not that Kat doesn’t have such happy family because she did; it’s just that instead of having mom and dad, Kat was gifted with two dads and that’s okay for her. More than okay actually because her dads were both amazing, caring, and clearly dream parents. What’s not okay was how some people tended to judge her as a maladjusted girl just because Kat loved to play soccer and happened to be raised by men. This was a quite fresh theme for me and I was eager to find out how the issue would be resolved. Unfortunately this part that I thought was the main issue of the book was apparently not the main issue. People’s judgment of gay parents was apparently just a layer of background story of Kat’s personality while the rest of the story would mostly focused on Kat’s personal problem with her best friends and the boys.

I tried to understand where Kat’s coming from, why she’s so flirty and doesn’t even think the side-effect of her acts, and maybe at some point I think I did get it. I even felt sorry for her especially during that apology-scene with her bestfriend. But it’s her ignorant that I couldn’t quite tolerate. Kat did realize that she’s flirty, or at least that’s what I got from her narration, yet just because she didn’t have any hidden meaning besides casual flirts, she thought it was okay to do so to any boys―bestfriend’s boyfriend no exception. It’s a little selfish for her I think to ask people to understand her actions all the time. Also, when there’s an explanation telling the reason Kat loved to flirt and being the center of attention among the crowd was because she wanted to show that she was also like any other girl who’s raised in general family. I sensed a little of unfairness judgment here for teen girls. Does every girl love to flirt that much that you should be all flirty and attention-seeker to be considered as a ‘normal’ girl? I really don’t think so. But it might just be my opinion or I might misinterpret what the author actually meant so feel free to correct me.

I actually did enjoy some parts of the story. Like how I loved the side of Kat who could ask for an apology so sincerely, like how she apologized not because she wished for the forgiveness, it’s because she wanted the peace of letting the other knows that they could label her anything when she’s really not and that’s okay because she somehow was the one who plays the wrong move at first. I loved her friendship with her best friend slash cousin. I loved how sweet the romance scene could be. Also I loved how Rebecca summed up the story in the end that life goes changing every minute and that’s fine because after all what’s not? That you might got into a fight with your best friend and it changes your friendship that it’s impossible to go back to the ‘before’ state but at least you go forward to the ‘after’ state with new perspectives, new level of maturity, and new ways to solve any upcoming bumps together. It’s just too unfortunate that the story was actually very simple, with an even simpler ending and issues-solving, yet it’s all those dramas that stretched the story out to be that long.

The plot of the story might not what I would remember for a long time but the moral lessons I got from this book would definitely be something that I would keep in mind. There’s these words Rebecca wrote about family that was so beautifully true that I really loved.
‘Like any other family, we fought and scratched and drew blood and then kept on loving each other in spite of it all. The bonds we shared were strong yet elastic, like ligaments connecting bone―easy to injure and difficult to heal, but ultimately resilient.’
This is one of those books that you might enjoy to read in a lazy Sunday afternoon when you don’t feel like heavy-thinking or getting your emotion so worked up. It’s not really a bad book because Rebecca’s writing is good and even a bit poetic. But considering the whole factors, I’ll sum it up to an okay.

Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

You Were HereYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy

*Digital ARC was received from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016

Get a copy here!

Having a quite long break from reading in the past two months, I didn’t really have any particular expectation from the book that I picked up as my comeback. All I wanted was just picking up a book and taking my mind away to an exciting mental journey I hadn’t had lately. Thus I dove into You Were Here without reading any reviews about it, nor its blurb.

Starting out, the story was presented for the first time through Jaycee’s perspective. I was instantly drawn to her character fast because of the way Cori described Jaycee’s wrecked emotion so painfully beautiful. I felt like I was ‘forced’ to feel along with her and strangely I didn’t even mind it. Even before knowing the complete story of the tragedy, I could feel that it would be something unusually tragic looking from the way Jaycee’s grief seemed so intense. I liked that Cori didn’t withhold the truth for too long and how casually the source of grief was thrown into the first chapter. It broke my heart yet I sensed that Cori didn’t want her readers to drowning in sorrow that fast in the first chapter with the way she played the supposedly depressing character into such person who’s half sarcastic-half peculiar yet oddly amusing that I really enjoyed Jaycee’s voice here.

When the whole pack finally came out, the story just got even better. Not only because of the fact that the book was told from everyone’s (which means all five main characters) perspectives, but also because all of them got their own eccentricities that made me fall in love with all of them in different ways.

Like Jaycee whose sarcasm was over the top when really it was just a mask to cover the broken soul within. How she seemed like a reckless wild teen when she’s really just a lonely girl with no direction to go. Her anger, grief, disappointment, loss feeling all mixed up leading her to the only way she knows how to cope it with: retracing her brother’s steps. Then there’s Natalie, an ex-best friend who complemented Jaycee in such a way no one could. They apparently shared a rough past that seemingly would forever damage their relationship and they couldn’t even stand each other’s present in the same room but their circumstance told us just how reality really is. No relationship in this world, be it between best-friends or lovers, that never hit the bumps. It could be just a little misunderstood but it could also be so bad that people would even grow apart for years before coming back as one. I liked that Jaycee and Natalie could go on and on bantering for hours yet they couldn’t stop caring for each other. I liked that they could call each other an ‘ex-best friend’ yet they still remembered every little details from the good ol’ days and reminisced it together when the memories came rushing out in the middle of them exchanging insults. I loved that Jaycee was so ignorant and Natalie was so uptight and they didn’t need to change themselves in order to befriend each other. And I could go on and on with all these fascinating things about them but I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were also these other three characters that as interesting as the girls.

Zach, Bishop, and Mik were the boys who completed this misfit group of five. Following Jaycee’s morbid adventure was Natalie who was accompanied (half-heartedly) by her boyfriend, Zach, and (fully) by their friend, Bishop. Zach, a teenager with a drinking problem and too much baggage on his plate, was actually a lovely person if you just give him a chance. I didn’t know why but just like how Jaycee’s character pulled something in my heart, his also made me feel want to hug him tight and get mad at him for hurting himself. And there’s Bishop whose words of graffiti were so deeply moving. I liked how he could be so introvert around people sometimes yet he seemed to always be there when his friends needed him.
And Mik…

I loved loved loved Mik! Mikivikious was a character that’s so unique and absolutely mesmerizing. I could count just how many times he talked in the entire book but I swear every time he did, he took my breath away that I fell head over heels again and again for him. I don’t want to reveal much about him except for this saying Jaycee said about him that, well, summed up a little part of him…

“He was still the boy who’d rather bite himself than reveal too much.”
Also I found the dynamic of the relationship between these five teens were so naturally amazing. I loved that nobody’s perfect in this group, I even loved it more that everyone was flawed in the past, and together they embarked on this estrange journey and came out learning the best lesson of how to live a real life.

“What do I know about anything―other than how fast the world can break and how very long it takes to put all the pieces back together.”
Reading this book really played with emotions, while the story is actually about a grief of losing someone you love Cori tried to tell us that sad things were not always depressing if you just tilt your angle toward it a bit. I loved how real the scenes were, the characters, all those places they’ve been in…

I really really enjoyed reading this book. With an insanely good writing, great details, unique characterizations, and oh, those amazing graphic illustrations I almost forgot to mention, You Were Here made an awesome comeback read for me. I recommend those who love John Green’s Looking for Alaska to pick this book up and find yourself addicted with these awesome characters.

March 6, 2016

Anything Post: I'm (Hopefully) Coming Back for Good!

Let's Say It's a... A..Anything! is a feature where I post random things like some babbling or random discussions about anything.

HELLO.... from the other side!

I've been meaning to post this thing I want to say since weeks ago but things keep getting on the way so.. yeah.

I know I've been away for too long. Told I'd be coming back on February but it's only now that I could actually pull myself out of my work-cave to check my blog out and clean all the cobwebs in the corner... It's been a hectic month last February and a very lonely month as well without me being able to read any book properly in peace. And I could feel it within me that it started making me a little desperate each day that reading seems to be such a luxury these days for me. Not to mention all those ARCs that still sitting neatly untouched on my shelve...

So I'm making a change now!

Living as a banker is really fun. But I'm not letting it lessen my quality time with all my books!

I'll come back with my TBR list next week and will post reviews again as often as I could. I might not be able to post all the unique features here like I used to before but whenever I got some little free time I'll dedicate it for reading and managing this blog! (I'm so fired up here!)

I'm really sorry that I seemed to neglect this blog when maybe some of you still want to make some visits here. I'm THANKING all of you guys for that! While I won't blame those who left this blog as well. 
I know being a book-blogger requires high dedication and I'm trying my hardest here. I'm still pretty new in this book blogger-life so I guess I still need to learn more. Balancing my life here and the one on the other side of the screen is pretty challenging and could get very tough at times but both are my life and am not picking side here.
I witnessed so many book-bloggers out there who's successfully managing their blogs to be so big when many of them have jobs and even kids to be taken care of. Guess I can do it too? 

Thank you for all of your visits!
Hopefully we'll meet often here again from now on!
xoxo :)