Blog Tour: Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore [Review + Playlist]

Just Like The Movies coverTitle: Just Like The Movies

Author: Kelly Fiore

Publication date: July 22, 2014

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

Pages: 300

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Synopsis: Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

*Book cover from Bloomsbury and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Just Like The Movies thoroughly encapsulates every teenage girl’s dream: to have a love life that resembles the kind seen in movies. The book’s realistic, vibrant, and entertaining prose reeled me in right away so putting it down was very difficult. I just wanted to read the whole day! Blending reality and fiction together, Just Like The Movies’ quirky concept is wonderfully clever.

The story is about the friendship that transpires between Marijke Monti and Lily Spencer. Having the same objective of making their love life just like the movies, Marijke and Lily bond over romantic comedies and in formulating a game plan on how they would achieve their goal. Marijke and Lily’s friendship is natural—the kind that a girl must have: enjoyable, down-to-earth, and most of all, real. Even if the girls don’t know each other for so long, both managed to establish a dynamic and worthwhile relationship.

Told in alternating POVs, Just Like The Movies contains everything I look for in a romantic comedy novel: funny dialogues, good-looking guys, and a one of a kind story line. Main characters Marijke and Lily both have compelling personalities and believable voices. I love them! I have no doubt that many readers would relate with Marijke and Lily or see pieces of themselves in the characters. Another thing I loved about the story is the authenticity of the romance in each of the girls’ lives. Marijke and her boyfriend Tommy’s relationship show the complexities that a typical teen couple goes through such as jealousy and trust issues. On the other hand, Lily and her crush, Joe Lombardi’s attraction is the ideal true to life picture of a developing high school love affair. Joe and Lily have a magnetic chemistry that is quite sweet and heart melting. This light and appealing YA contemporary made me laugh, smile, swoon, happy-dance, and happy-cry! It is the first Kelly Fiore book that I read and I’m downright satisfied. The author’s witty and dynamic style will keep you flipping page after page!

Undeniably enticing and too cute to resist, Just Like The Movies is a story that speaks the truth about friendship, love, and imperfect real life happily ever afters.

Rating:

4/5 stars

For today’s Just Like The Movies tour stop, author Kelly Fiore shares her playlist for the book! Happy listening, everyone! 🙂

Movie Soundtrack Playlist for Just Like the Movies 

  1. In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (Say Anything)
  2. (I’ve Had) the Time of my Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes (Dirty Dancing)
  3. If You Leave by OMD (Pretty in Pink)
  4. I Say A Little Prayer by Burt Bacharach (My Best Friend’s Wedding)
  5. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (Titanic – DON’T HATE. THIS SONG IS AMAZE-BALLS.)
  6. Kissing You by Des’ree (Romeo + Juliet)
  7. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve (10 Things I Hate About You)
  8. Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls (City of Angels)
  9. It Must Have Been Love by Roxette (Pretty Woman)
  10. Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
  11. Independent Love Song by Scarlet (Bed of Roses)
  12. Come What May by Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge)

-The odd numbers are Marijke and Tommy songs.

-The even numbers are Joe and Lily songs.

About the author 

Kelly Fiore headshot

Kelly Fiore has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA. Forthcoming books include Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, in 2014 and The People Vs. Cecelia Price from HarperTeen in 2015.

Kelly teaches college composition in Maryland, where she lives with her husband and son.

Connect with Kelly via:  Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Website

*Author bio from Kelly Fiore’s website

ARC Review: Rain by Amanda Sun

RainTitle: Rain (Paper Gods, #2)

Author: Amanda Sun

Publication date: June 24, 2014

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 304

Source: e-ARC from publisher and author via Netgalley

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Synopsis: 

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She’s started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can’t imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she’s fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She’s flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo’s dark ancestry, as well as Katie’s, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

With a riveting and utterly striking plot, Rain is everything I hoped for in a sequel. Amanda Sun’s writing is as vividly beautiful as it is in Ink. Her captivating words paint an authentic and breathing picture of Japan. Aside from the author’s writing, I love the rich and well-developed backstory that explained the connections of Katie, Tomo, and Jun to the ink. Also, the thorough illustration of the Kami history helped reveal the true identities of the characters. Clarity and understanding of the Paper Gods world ensued after the revelations that resulted to my greater appreciation of the series. Moreover, Rain exhibits brilliant character development as the pressure-filled situations in the story highlight each character’s capabilities and vulnerable points. Tomo, Katie, and Jun have come a long way as characters but I feel that there’s a lot more to discover about them in Book 3. Katie’s struggles of living in a foreign country are also given attention in Rain.

The romance in Rain brings forth an exhilarating emotional rush that will set readers’ hearts drumming in a buzzing rhythm. As Katie and Tomo’s connection escalate from puppy love to a mature romantic relationship, both characters learn more about each other on a deeper level. Readers would really feel the love between Katie and Tomo as expressed in their tender moments. Their unquestionable chemistry clearly defines how significant they are to each other. What’s more, the strength of Katie and Tomo’s relationship gets tested when problems arise in the form of Jun and Shiori. Jun’s intriguing strategy to win Katie’s attention (and heart) is unbelievably insane, for me, at least. Jun’s motives show his immense desire for power. On the other hand, Tomo’s pregnant friend Shiori puts her jealousy toward Katie on display. Her character totally surprised me! It turns out Shiori’s not the girl that she was in Ink. But honestly, I think it’s a genius twist to increase the tension in the story.

Emblazoned with an electrifying and magnificent cinematic vibe, Rain is a sequel that’s definitely worth the wait! Amazing from beginning to end! 🙂

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

A Very Perky Sunday: Stephanie Perkins in Manila!

Bright and euphoric is how I would describe July 6, 2014. Why is that so? It’s because International Bestselling Author Stephanie Perkins was in Manila for a book signing event!  For those of you who don’t know the author, she wrote the popular contemporary YA novels, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. Both books are beautifully written, uplifting, and swoon-worthy! I absolutely adore them!

My book blogger friends and I attended a Q & A with Stephanie Perkins where she answered questions from bloggers. I had a question for her, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to ask because of limited time. But it’s okay! I had a great time listening to Stephanie talk about her books, Etienne St. Clair (SWOON!), inspiration for her stories, she and her husband’s love story (*happy sigh*), travel experiences, and more. Stephanie’s supportive and super cool husband, Jarrod, was also present at the Q & A. He and Stephanie were so adorable! Definitely a OTP! ❤

Here are a few details I gathered from the Q & A:

*Stephanie’s new novel is under the horror genre. Hopefully, it will be coming out next year!

*Stephanie will definitely write more romance again. The horror novel was for her soul. She said, “Yeah, I’m writing something terrible and gross for my soul.”

*Someone asked Stephanie if one of her characters were to walk into the Q&A, who will it be and what will that character say, Stephanie answered, “Isla and Josh are both very big readers so it’s gonna be them who will probably be coming here together and keep to themselves. They’re pretty private people so you have to kind of get close to them. And they would be hanging out in the graphic novel section.”

*Etienne St. Clair was patterned after two actors. One was height and confidence based and the other one was facial, looks-wise. And then a lot of it was her husband, whom Stephanie put into all of the boys in her books. 🙂

*Stephanie draws inspiration from her own life, movies, and books that makes her swoon and fall in love again. It’s all about trying to capture that moment. She said, “When I write these things, I get to live them. I get to live in that moment and so I try to get that onto the page the best that I can.” It’s a combination of her husband and inspiration all around her and wanting to keep feeling that repeatedly as well as getting that in fresh ways.

*Stephanie is a people watcher. “If I see like a sweet moment between a couple with one tiny thing, I like to blow that tiny little moment like a huge thing,” she shared.

The public signing was held at National Book Store Glorietta 1 but I had to leave early so I was unable to attend. From what I have heard, the public signing was a huge success. 664 people showed up at the event and everyone had fun! Hooray!

Thank you very much National Book Store for making this perky event possible! All of us experienced the best kind of happiness. 🙂

PICTURES!

SP1

The Stephanie Perkins book display

SP2

The NBS author throne, eagerly waiting for its “queen” to arrive

Stephanie Perkins Q&A

Q & A with Stephanie Perkins

SP5Stephanie Perkins and National Book Store surprised us with a very special gift:

An ARC of Isla and the Happily Ever After! *FLAILS*

Stephanie signing books

Stephanie signing books

With Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie is like a ball of radiant sunshine! Her warm, charming, and optimistic personality dazzled the whole room. Just looking at her put a smile on everyone’s faces! 🙂

SP14PH YA Book Bloggers with Stephanie!

Blogger selfies with Chad and JBSelfies with a few blogger friends & Chad and JB of National Book Store

Signed books

Thanks Stephanie and Jarrod Perkins for signing my books! You are both AWESOME!

Anna.Lola.Isla

Anna, Lola, and Isla all look so pretty together, don’t you think? 🙂

Stephanie has a message to her Filipino readers! Watch the video below:

 

 

 

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

LandlineTitle: Landline

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publication date: July 8, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 308

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Whenever it comes to Rainbow Rowell books, there’s a spark within me that catches fire every time. I couldn’t explain what it is but it feels like I’m set to acquaint with truths of a vulnerable world. Reading a Rainbow Rowell book is not just going through pages of words. It’s experiencing life and its inevitable reality in a fictional setting. It is also meeting people who reflect who you are or people who open your eyes to possibilities you never knew existed. With its attention-grabbing description, Landline became one of my most anticipated 2014 novels. Not only that, it’s by the phenomenal Rainbow Rowell! I know for certain that I wouldn’t go wrong with a book written by her.

Giving readers a glimpse into married life, Landline illustrates the harsh reality of when a couple’s marriage is on the rocks. I’m not married yet (or even in a relationship) but this book contains everything a person could expect in a complicated marital situation. I wouldn’t expound more on this matter to avoid spoilers but here’s what I can say about the story:

Landline is a stark reminder that people are susceptible to being blinded by their desire to fulfill their passions in life. Hence, forgetting about the things that matter most like family and even their self. Does your life revolve on work alone? Sometimes we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “What is my reason for living?” There are people who love and care for us that we have taken for granted. Just because our family understands our determination to succeed doesn’t mean that everything’s fine that way. They also need us in their life because that’s what living is all about—devoting our time and sharing our life with the people we love. At the end of the day, family always comes first.

Main character Georgie McCool is wonderful. Realistic and vulnerable, readers could identify with her easily. My favorite features in Landline are the flashback scenes of Georgie and her husband (then boyfriend) Neal in college. Those give the novel a fresh YA feel that makes Landline even more entertaining to read. I actually didn’t feel the shift from YA to adult fiction because of that aspect. It was a totally genius idea to take readers to memory lane and relive the youthful and fascinating start of Georgie and Neal’s relationship. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is a winner, as usual—truthful and dynamic in form and essence. She is so amazing particularly in evoking happy, swoony feelings! I look forward to reading her future books!

Beautifully uplifting and legitimately remarkable, Landline is a novel that brims with hope, love, and lasting magic.

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

ARC Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss GoodbyeTitle: The Things You Kiss Goodbye

Author: Leslie Connor

Publication date: June 24, 2014

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 368

Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Bathed in raw and organic emotions, The Things You Kiss Goodbye is a heartbreaking novel that opens readers’ eyes to the powerful impact of love, loss, and grief in one’s life.

Although I liked some parts in the book, the story overall didn’t work for me. The Things You Kiss Goodbye has a promising storyline but what threw me off was the soap opera-like mood that is dragging and heavy for me. Honestly, there were times that I wanted to DNF the book but then I gave it another chance hoping that events in the story would get better. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As I read on, more drama and melancholy unfurled before my eyes. I guess this story is not my kind of contemporary YA. Furthermore, what annoyed me was how main character Bettina dealt with what she went through. Despite the fact that her relationship with an older guy she calls “Cowboy” is passionate and sweet, I’m still not a fan of entangling with another guy while in an on-going relationship.

Regardless of my aforementioned thoughts, there are uplifting moments where readers witness Bettina’s transformation into a hopeful and happy character. It’s truly a far cry from the bothered and wounded person that she was when she encountered problems in her relationship with Brady. I think Bettina’s transformation is a notable detail in the book.

Leslie Connor created beautifully complex and flawed characters that paved way for readers to understand abuse and its effects to anyone who experiences it. Aside from that, this book also highlights love of family, courage in the face of tragedy, and letting go. The Things You Kiss Goodbye is certainly a novel that’s realistic in its essence. People who are fascinated by stories with this kind of plot would love this book.

Rating:

2/5 stars