[Book Review #56] November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Continue reading “[Book Review #56] November 9 by Colleen Hoover”

[Book Review #47] Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

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“Never forget that I was your first real kiss. Never forget that you’ll be my last.
And never stop loving me between all of them.
Never stop, Charlie.
Never forget.”

Silas races against time as more truths unravel, while others twist tighter together. And now, the stakes are higher as Silas’ control slips and others begin to point fingers. Charlie is in trouble and he must be the one to bridge the chasm between their past and their present. Because somewhere between I love yous and Never Nevers and Never Agains, a truth they can’t imagine, beckons to be found.

“Where are you, Charlie?”

Continue reading “[Book Review #47] Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher”

[Event Recap #8] #CTCinPH

EVENT RECAP

Last September 13, I got the amazing chance to attend a private Q&A with authors Christine Brae (Filipina author of The Light In The Wound, His Wounded Light, etc.), Tarryn Fisher (New York Times bestselling author author of The Opportunist, Dirty Red, Thief, Never Never, etc.), and Colleen Hoover (New York Times bestselling author of Confess, Ugly Love, Maybe Someday, Slammed, Never Never, etc.). After months of intense anticipation, the day of finally meeting these lovely women have arrived! If you’ve been following me and my blog for some time now, you would be aware of my reader-author friendship with Christine Brae. She’s actually the one who got me an invite to the private Q&A. This post wouldn’t have been as awesome without her. Christine, I love you!

Before I ramble on and on about what went down in the private Q&A, I’m offering you a short version of this recap:

I fangirled so hard all through out the day!

I’m not even kidding. I did. Not only did I get the chance to meet the lovely authors, but I also met some wonderful Philippine YA Bloggers. Getting to know those with whom I share a passion for is indeed a very satisfying feeling. Some of the bloggers I saw, I already met during the #BookwormsUnite event last July, and some I just met that day. Wow. I can’t even describe how it feels right now. Well then, I should probably get this started.

Everyone was all cheers and smiles as the three ladies arrived. Not a single mouth was left unopened. Either the people were screaming with joy and excitement, or they were basically mesmerized by the three. God knows I was both. Afterwards, the Q&A immediately started and it was hosted by Sir Chad Dee of National Book Store. Listed below are the notes I took as it happened.

Photo grabbed from Chyna Go of Lite-rate-ture.

Luckily, I got the opportunity to ask my good author friend, Christine Brae, while I was at the private Q&A! My question was:

For Christine: What made you want to write about an elite for a protagonist? I am aware that Isabel, from your books The Light in The Wound and His Wounded Light, is a high profile character. What made you want to tell your readers about her? Is it something you have first-hand experience in? (You may read her answer below.)

Photo grabbed from Kate Manalo of The Bookaholic Blurbs.

Christine Brae

  • Christine wrote about an elite protagonist because it’s something she has first-hand experience in. In addition, being a US-based Filipina author, she wanted to give the US a glimpse of what life was like here in the Philippines.
  • As of now, if given the opportunity to co-write with an author, Christine will say no because of her busy schedule. Being a full-time mom and business woman isn’t easy and she just writes while riding public transportation, while staying at a hotel, and such. She actually wrote The Light in The Wound while travelling.
  • According to Christine, writing and trying to get published is a very lonely process. You need your own publishers, editors, and you basically have to do everything by yourself. On the plus side, however, you get to publish any time you want. You can avoid deadlines. And in a nutshell, self-publishing is all about you.
  • As for her writing process, Christine uses her feelings and emotions as basis in writing stories. She needs to feel something and write a story out of it. It’s a simple process for. Write, then publish!
  • Christine’s character names all have their meaning. Like Alex’ last name, Ailey, means “light”, which signified that she was the light in Isabel’s life. (I fangirled so hard when she said this!) She also sneaks in names from her street team every once in a while.

Tarryn Fisher

  • For Tarryn, co-writing Never Never with Colleen was a very easy experience. They get along perfectly fine, even if Colleen pretends that they don’t. They actually wrote it for fun and decided to share it with their readers. They completely avoided dreadful deadlines while writing Never Never, and it’s part of what made their writing experience enjoyable.
  • The self-publishing process is so badass for Tarryn. The hardest part for her is people not taking her seriously and they make you feel like you’re not good enough and it’s a satisfying sensation when you prove them wrong.
  • For Tarryn, she just waits for the emotion to come to her and once it does, she runs with it to write. She actually has a different writing schedule with Colleen and Christine. Also, she puts herself in the mindset of her characters which makes her stories more authentic.
  • Tarryn’s writing style is a combination of believable characters, good story, and beautiful words. Style is important too. She writes about bad people because that what she is. (Or what she at least thinks she is.) It’s a new perspective on something that has beend done millions of times before.
  • The names of Tarryn’s characters just fall in her head and it has always been this way ever since she started writing. She never thinks too hard about it.

Colleen Hoover

  • For Colleen, the publishing process is a life changer for a lot of people. The best part for her is not having a boss, and it feels less like work. And in addition, trying to get publishers to notice you is probably the hardest part for her.
  • Regarding the plot twists in Colleen’s books, she usually doesn’t have an idea as to how she will incorporate the twists into them. She first lets her characters speak to her before developing the plot line, which may sometimes get difficult because her books usually falls on the same genre.
  • Colleen didn’t know what genre her first book was when she first published it, and it really doesn’t matter to her. And to add humor, she told everyone that she thought that the “NA” acronym meant “Not Applicable”, when it actually stands for “New Adult”.
  • Colleen spends days locked up while writing. She doesn’t want to end her books in a sad or depressing note because it will, in turn, make her feel that way. That’s why she incorporates humor into her books: to take a break and end it happily.
  • Regarding the characters for her books, Colleen said that she can’t write a book without having an idea as to who the characters are. She currently has a writer’s block because she can’t think of an idea for her next set of characters. She feels that the characters are most important in a book. Her vision in naming guy characters is to give them a name that no one else has to make him recognizable and unique.
  • With regards to the importance of music in her books, Colleen actually spends hours driving to nowhere while listening to certain songs. Afterwards, she spends hours writing. She’s actually in to 21 Pilots right now.

The Signing Proper

The signing came up right after the Q&A and at this point, my hands were sweating like a sinner in church! I was very excited about meeting these ladies and I didn’t want to seem weird around them so I composed myself very quickly and just kept my cool.

Before standing up to finally have my books signed, Christine approached me and gave me a very tight hug! I’ve been waiting to meet her for 9 months and I think it’s safe to say that we’re both so happy to have met each other finally! She was the first one to sign my books. Since she’s already a great friend of mine, we talked about a lot of things as she signed my books! I asked how her homecoming was going, and she was as sweet as I expected.

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Signed and dedicated copies of The Light in The Wound (with a very sweet message), His Wounded Light, and Insipid.

I approached Tarryn next. After I introduced myself, I was completely honest and straightforward with her. I confessed that I, unfortunately, haven’t got the chance to read her books yet, but told her that I’m trying to grab a hold of her other books, mainly Mud Vein, and Marrow. She was stunning, just like Colleen and Christine. Also, her dress? Simply breathtaking!

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Signed and dedicated copies of The Opportunist and Never Never parts 1 and 2 (also signed by Colleen Hoover)

I went for Colleen last. I had lots of her books and I am more than lucky to have all of them signed by her. I was able to talk about her books with her, and she was happy to know how much I loved Confess and Slammed. She also told me that Point of Retreat is her favorite, and she’s not a big fan of This Girl. She also told me that she was so flattered to have been told so much compliments. I love her accent and she was very, very sweet! Also, I asked her to write her favorite quote from Confess and she chose my most favorite quote!!!

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Signed and dedicated copies of Confess, Maybe Someday, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, and Ugly Love.

After having my books signed, I got the chance to say hi to some of my blogger friends and talk about some books with them. I also met a lot of long-time bloggers and I am so honored to have met them yesterday. They were very friendly to a new face and I hope I could meet them again next time.

We took photos with the authors afterwards. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to have photos taken with these stunning ladies so, of course, we wouldn’t let that chance pass us by.

Philippine YA Bloggers with Tarryn Fisher, Colleen Hoover, and Christine Brae. Photo grabbed from Kai Agito of Amaterasu Reads.

Here’s a thank you message from the 3 lovely ladies for their Filipino readers!

Video grabbed from Kate Manalo of The Bookaholic Blurbs

Once the private Q&A was finished, I went to SM Megamall for the public signing event. I have to say, I really am more than lucky to have been invited to the forum, because there are hundreds of people waiting at SM to have their books signed! My friends were there waiting for their turn to meet the lovely ladies and have their books signed as well.

Photo grabbed from Queenie Josol from Facebook

At this point, I would like to send my sincerest thanks to Sir JB, Sir Chad, and National Bookstore for inviting me to the forum and for accommodating me with open arms. It was my first time to attend this forum and I’m hoping I could attend another one soon. You guys are heaven sent! Thank you!

And to the bloggers who I’ve met, thank you for making my first forum memorable. I am so happy to have met you guys and am looking forward to reading more books with you!

And to Christine, who I’m sure I will see again, I love you! I owe you another hug! I really am so happy to have read your book way back, and your friendship means the world to me! I love you!

I know a lot of people went to SM Megamall to have their books signed. Were you there? Tell me all about your experience! Also, tell me who’s your favorite among the three and what’s your favorite book by her!

Before I end this post, you might want to check out these recaps by some of my blogger friends! You know you want to!

Until the next one, folks!

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[Book Review #32] Slammed by Colleen Hoover

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Layken’s father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn…

Layken’s mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across the country. However, a new home means new neighbours… and Layken’s new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper.

Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt. Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart…or learn to live without each other.

Book Specifications:

Author: Colleen Hoover

Format: Paperback

Part of a Series: Yes. Slammed #1.

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Publisher: Atria Books

No. of Pages: 321 pages

Price: 609.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Contemporary

Book Review:

The Cover: Featuring a brown curtain for a background, reminiscent of a stage setting, with a stool on the right side, this cover perfectly fits the idea of a club in the story, where people perform slams every week. It’s kinda bland, and rustic for my taste, though. But I love the idea of the black frame where the title is written. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: The story was all about the heartbreaking lives of Layken Cohen and Will Cooper, our star-crossed lovers who, at first, seemed to be the most perfect pairing, but as reality starts to sink in, turns out to be a couple greatly dismissed by faith. But then again, with their hanging on their ways, finds out that their is no greater force than what they feel for each other. Below are some of my comments:

  • The family’s background story is written perfectly. They were a perfect family, until Layken’s father died, and they had to move to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where her relationship with her mother began deteriorating (but it did work out fine). But all thanks to the combined efforts of their family to work everything out, in the end, everything turned out fine. *sobs internally*
  • The relationship of Kel and Caulder, the brothers of our protagonists, is absolutely pure, innocent, and very moving. Nowadays, gone are the friendships that were formed through personal contact and eventful discoveries of mutual interests. Unlike these kids, who in just mere seconds upon their introduction, became instant friends. I wish I could make friends as fast as they did. I envy kids, really. They just don’t seem to weigh much problems. They’re pure, innocent, and absolutely carefree.
  • The importance of slams and/or poetry was emphasized in this book. People, nowadays, aren’t as interested and involved as they were before. It’s a good thing that this novel made use of slams and poetry as a medium to get readers to be interested and hyped for forms of art like these. I have to admit, this novel seemed to have exerted no effort at all in trying to tickle my interest towards poetry. I was hooked the moment the first slam was performed.
  • The doubt and mistrust between Layken and her mom was absolutely heartbreaking. A mother must be your first best friend. She should be the first to know what’s going on with your life, and vice versa. But during the middle of the story, Lake grew hatred for her mother, considering the things that her mother wasn’t telling them. I don’t want to compare, but if I had that kind of relationship with my mom, that would break my heart.
  • Layken’s friendship with Eddie, on the other hand, fills my heart with joy. Friends like Eddie don’t come every now and then, and she’s the kind of friend who, as far as I know, won’t judge you. She will be able to understand your thoughts and life’s dispositions. She’ll know what you’re going through without her having to experience it. I need a friend like Eddie!

I am more that satisfied with the story of this novel. I’ve been wanting to read Slammed ever since some of my friends recommended it to me, since, according to them, said novel is indeed full of feels and all. And I have to agree. Being Colleen’s debut novel, she certainly did mark a territory on the literary world.

The book was interesting all through out my reading experience. The opening was great, one that a reader would definitely remember. The plot was absolutely remarkable. Written in a complex, yet totally understandable way, the story was one that would get you hooked up from the start. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* The ending was, as I expected, impeccably heart-wrenching. Typical. But I loved every single moment of it. The death of Lake’s mom was predictable, but it was utterly painful either way. And her letter to Lake? THAT BROKE ME DOWN ENTIRELY. That letter gave me chills and I was sobbing and crying like crazy! It was 2AM when I finished this. That was such a heart-wrenching letter. Although, I am extremely happy that Lake and Will finally had their chance at happily ever after. But then again, there is a sequel. Did they really live happily ever after? We shall see once I read the sequel, Point of Retreat. (5 out of 5 stars)


The Verdict: A fast paced read which can help anyone recover from a reading slump, Slammed is honestly a great start to Colleen’s literary career. It’s a well-recommended book, and it’s one that I will re-read through and through. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

Instead of sharing quotes like I always do, I want to share with you guys the poem that Layken’s mom wrote for her after she died.

To my babies,

Merry Christmas. I’m sorry if these letters have caught you both by surprise. There is just so much more I have to say. I know you thought I was done giving advice, but I couldn’t leave without reiterating a few things in writing. You may not relate to these things now, but someday you will. I wasn’t able to be around forever, but I hope that my words can be.

– Don’t stop making basagna. Basagna is good. Wait until a day when there is no bad news, and bake a damn basagna.

– Find a balance between head and heart. Hopefully you’ve found that Lake, and you can help Kel sort it out when he gets to that point.

– Push your boundaries, that’s what they’re there for.

– I’m stealing this snippet from your favorite band, Lake. “Always remember there is nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name.”

– Don’t take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.

– And Laugh a lot. Never go a day without laughing at least once.

– Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life.

– Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passions. If you don’t have questions, you’ll never find answers.

– Be accepting. Of everything. People’s differences, their similarities, their choices, their personalities. Sometimes it takes a variety to make a good collection. The same goes for people.

– Choose your battles, but don’t choose very many.

– Keep an open mind; it’s the only way new things can get in.

– And last but not least, not the tiniest bit least. Never regret.

Thank you both for giving me the best years of my life.

Especially the last one.

Love,

Mom

Okay, now excuse me while I cry aggressively in the corner of my room.

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