The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

10766509Title: The Best of Me

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Genre: Romance, Women’s Lit, Contemporary

Published by/on: Grand Central Publishing/ 2011

Length (HC): 292 pages

Synopsis: 

THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

Rate: 3.5 of 5

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You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same.

I didn’t anticipate the lengthy amount of time that I would be reading this! It took me five weeks, five weeks, people! This is the second book I’ve read by Nicholas Sparks, and though I love most of the plot of his books (those that I’ve read and watched, I mean), this one in particular leaves me this particular sense that I’m missing something–as if there was a part in the book that I skipped; I’m not particularly sure if that’s the intent of the author. I just am not so fond of the ending of The Best of Me, perhaps.

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Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins

6936382Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna and the French Kiss#1

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Number of Pages (Hardcover): 372

Date Published: December 2nd of 2010

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Synopsis (through Goodreads):

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Rating:  (4 of 5)

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This is like one of the most recommended YA romance novels so I won’t really go far with my notes but I just loved it and whatever you’re assuming about it because of the title and the cover and what-not, it doesn’t hold. Because this might perhaps be the most well-written teen romance book I have read.

I have been passing by on this bookstore which has a lot of stocks of this book for the longest time. I always thought the title was so cheesy and the cover didn’t really entice me all that well. It’s the alternate cover, not the one above. As years pass by, I have found myself to be taking less and less fancies on cheesy, teen-y books. With that in mind, look at that title and that cover and tell me if I was the type to pick this up. So, I always didn’t put my attention on this book even though many people say that it’s great.

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Book Review + Giveaway: Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

9781492647553-PRTitle: Secrets of Southern Girls

Author: Haley Harrigan

Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Contemporary

Page Number (Paperback): 320

Date Published: June 6th of 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Synopsis:

In this powerful, affecting debut, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 of 5)

I want to thank the publisher for making it possible for me to have an access to the book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley. Additionally, this giveaway is in partnership with the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark. 🙂

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I would keep this review short and to the point. But first, look at that cover and tell me you agree with me–it’s gorgeous! I feel like it ultimately packages the story of the book very well. I got an e-copy of this book through Netgalley and I remember requesting it because of the beautiful cover (it was a different cover). But might I just say, the cover improvement is stellar.

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

26221374Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things

Author: Whitney Taylor

Series: None

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Number of Pages (Kindle edition): 336

(Expected) Date of Publishing: April 4th of 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.

Rate: 4 of 5

Get a copy: Book Depository (Hardback)

I want to thank the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group to have given me the chance to read an advanced reader copy through Netgalley.

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Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

256003Title: Life on the Refrigerator Door

Author: Alice Kuipers

Series: None

Genre: Women’s Literature, Fiction, Contemporary

Number of Pages (Hardcover): 220

Date Published: August 28th of 2007

Publisher: Harper

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Claire and her mother are running out of time, but they don’t know it. Not yet. Claire is wrapped up with the difficulties of her bourgeoning adulthood—boys, school, friends, identity; Claire’s mother, a single mom, is rushed off her feet both at work and at home. They rarely find themselves in the same room at the same time, and it often seems that the only thing they can count on are notes to each other on the refrigerator door. When home is threatened by a crisis, their relationship experiences a momentous change. Forced to reevaluate the delicate balance between their personal lives and their bond as mother and daughter, Claire and her mother find new love and devotion for one another deeper than anything they had ever imagined.

Heartfelt, touching, and unforgettable, Life on the Refrigerator Door is a glimpse into the lives of mothers and daughters everywhere. In this deeply touching novel told through a series of notes written from a loving mother and her devoted fifteen-year-old daughter, debut author Alice Kuipers deftly captures the impenetrable fabric that connects mothers and daughters throughout the world. Moving and rich with emotion, Life on the Refrigerator Door delivers universal lessons about love in a wonderfully simple and poignant narrative.

Rate: 3.5 of 5

Get a copy: Book Depository (PaperbackWordery (Paperback)



‘I think I’ll leave this letter for you here. In this empty kitchen. So you’ll know if you come home that I love you and I miss you. Please don’t worry about me.
Your daughter,
Claire

The presentation of this book is really unique because it is presented in notes left on the fridge door. It was such a fast read since I finished it in practically one sitting. This was a very random read since I wasn’t able to find the book I was opting to read, and I saw this instead.

My heart hurts. This was one of my impulse reads and I didn’t anticipate it would have such an impact on me. It is very inspirational and heartfelt, especially the parts approaching the end.  This book is deeply moving that it just seemed so real. I liked how the author let the reader decide what was really happening in the background instead of spoon-feeding us with a to-the-point scenario. However, I love-hated how there’s this air of impending doom, but then again, the said attribute really makes for a great book.

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One qualm I have is that I feel like the pain of having a cancer patient in the family wasn’t showcased thoroughly. Instead of talking about the disease, the events around it were tackled which is, I suppose, in some way correctly portrayed the thematic intent of the book since it is just made up of notes. Personally, I’ve had numerous loved ones who had gone through this path (my grandpa died of cancer, as well.) and I wished the story was more well-developed rather than the manner that this book has gone through–too many things happening in the ends and too fast.

While the story is deeply moving, and really cry-worthy, I didn’t see the merit of making it a 4 of 5 rating. So, I’m going to settle with a 3.5 rating because  cannot say that I loved it straight-away. BUT, I see the moral and  the efforts of the story-telling. Now, excuse me. I’m going to go cry again read a new book.  

‘The worst part about coming here was that I looked on the fridge door for a note from you, and there wasn’t one. The door was white and empty. I cried for ages.’
Do I recommend it? Yes. 🙂
Be my friend on Goodreads!


Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads; Gif via Giphy.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

827610Title: The Wasp Factory

Author: Iain Banks

Series: none

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Fiction

Number of Pages (Paperback): 244

Date Published: April 1st of 1992 (first published in 1984)

Publisher: Abacus 

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outside a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank’s mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric’s escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother’s inevitable return – an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly.

Rate: 3.5 of 5

Get a copy: Book Depository (Paperback)


If I said that I was “conflicted” with my rating on this book, it would be a huge understatement. It’s a good book but I don’t know if it’s cut for my tastes just yet. I do acknowledge the fact that this is one of those controversial books to which my reaction was purely a roller coaster ride.

I thought the synopsis was really interesting and that got me hooked into it in just a snap. Needless to say, I had high hopes for this book. The copy I had acquired was a 25th anniversary edition so I was confident that this would wow me since it has managed to survive for more than 25 years now. What left me was a conflicting reaction to it.

This is certainly not for the soft-hearted reader. If you just want a light-hearted read, well then, get off this because my friend, this is not cut out for you. This has left me, perhaps eighty percent of the time, feeling disturbed–as if there was something over the horizons. It’s really not a nice feeling, I’m gonna tell you that.

There were so many channels of “mystery” for the story to go through and I was a little disappointed because I felt like there were too many pages that were wasted to the everyday life processes of Frank. I wanted to know more about his dad, his mom, Eric, his friends, etc. So many channels that may have been given the chance to be explored. But oh well. Half the time, the prospect of Eric and his backstory was the motivation for me to finish this book. I’ve picked this up and chucked it off in my bookshelf more than three times because I found myself as someone who cannot handle it. But then! Sixty pages away from the end of the book, shit started going down! THAT WAS A PLOT TWIST I CANNOT HANDLE AND IT CERTAINLY IS EXPLOSIVE (wink, wink). I didn’t expect that, no, it didn’t even pass through my mind–not once.

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Don’t get me started on the last paragraph of the book. It is so–just what an ending. It’s weird how the novel comes together in just that simple way, even a little childish in some sense. HOW?! *warning: don’t read the quote below if you don’t want spoilers*

“Poor Eric came home to see his brother, only to find (Zap! Pow! Dams burst! Bombs go off! Wasps fry: ttssss!) he’s got a sister.”

If there was any redeemable thing about it, I would say the ending. The beginning of the book up until the middle was kinda idle for my taste.  It didn’t keep me engaged all throughout it. But, I refused to make an opinion of a book if I didn’t even had the guts to finish it. Sometimes something is there in the end. And that proved to be right in this book’s case. So yeah, even though the ending was fire, I sure did hope that the beginning was more of a throat-getter.

Further, I must confess, I am still confused as to what really constitutes “the wasp factory” here. I know there is some sort of symbolism somewhere there but I’m still trying to reconcile my thoughts on this because so many ideas are swirling around my head as of the moment.

This was certainly a horrifying read. There was something about the particular deeds of killing that seemed to pass it off as something ordinary, e.g. doing the laundry, doing the dishes, taking a walk, etc.. It was even deemed as a “phase”. God, that gave me goosebumps.

I give this 3.5 because it was certainly more than something that’s okay but less than something I would deem 4-star worthy. I guess I still am not in that stage where I can further appreciate this. Or the genre is not something I would really fancy but it’s a book that I know is good, but did not like at the same time. But I must tell you, this. This is certainly literature. There were some sense of reality in it and I loved how raw it is and how it did not romanticize things but something that certainly made you think; disturbing, thought-provoking.

Do I recommend it? You know what? I don’t know, really. Okay, let’s come to a compromise. If you think you’re not too soft-hearted and you want to think, sure go on ahead and pick up a copy, trooper. On the other hand, if you think that you are more of a light reader, don’t even dare. Because, my man, your head will be twisted in odd directions. You have been warned; this is hard–straight-up. Although, maybe picking this up would heighten your horizon in some way. Well fuck, even in the recommendation part I’m still conflicted.

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*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads; Gifs via Giphy.