Local Book Reviews

I figured I won’t be able to reach my goal of reading 50 books in 2008 as I’m still at books # 45, 46 and 47 (This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, Fast Food Fiction edited by Noelle de Jesus and Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado respectively), but I figured I should be able to reach my resolution to review 25 books. I removed my progress counter from the previous layout already, but if my count was right, I think I’ve reviewed 20 books already, including the last three ones I reviewed (The Thirteenth Tale, City of Bones and Privileged).

Anyway, the next reviews will be on the local books I picked up late this year. I started reading some local chick lit for research on my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel, and I ended up buying and reading more than I originally planned to. It was…entertaining. It’s interesting to read some local chick lit, and I’m glad there are some, but I wish they’re longer. Reading really thin books makes me feel like I’m not reading anything at all. But then again, who knows about the market here?

Here are the books I’ve lined up for review for this post:

Since they’re all relatively short novels, I thought I’d bunch them up in one post. :) Before anything else, please note that the contents of this post are purely based on my opinion. My opinion is bound to be different than others’, so no offense to anyone. :)

No Boyfriend Since Birth by Claire Betita (Summit)

Junior marketing executive Rudie Bermejo can’t figure out why she’s never had a boyfriend, and why no one seems interested beyond being friends. All her friends tell her she looks great, her boss thinks she’s got the smarts to make it big, and guys think she’s a cool chick to hang with. That should make her a catch, right? Determined to graduate from the No Boyfriend Since Birth Society, Rudie decides to take matters into her own able hands. And the dating spree is only the beginning…

Rating: [rate 2.0]

I picked this book up because it’s the one with the closest premise to my 2008 novel. The idea is typical: pretty girl with no boyfriend and no one seems interested in being more than friends with her, so why is that? I wish the book had been more than typical, but it was. It was a bit entertaining, but there was something about the book and the protagonist that just irritated me. It may be with the cheesy lines or how flat the characters are, but somewhere in the middle of the novel, I want to strangle the characters already. I’m also NBSB, but I didn’t feel like doing what the main character did here…so. It’s not something I’d like to read again. :|

The Hagette by Katrina Ramos Atienza (Psicom)

Self-confessed “Hagette” Cynthia de la Rama seems like the perfect girl: she’s tall, thin pretty, charming, and fashionable. So why hasn’t she found the right man? Her gay friends thing it’s her defective gaydar to blame. Most of her exes were in the closet. She’s right about ready to give it all up for a well-dressed celibate existence. That s, until two men enter her life at the same time: the bad boy ex who disappeared without a trace many years ago (and whom she hasn’t gotten over yet) and an aloof, handsome model with a knack for doing the laundry. The problem is, will her gaydar let her down yet again?

Rating: [rate 3.5]

Now this is more interesting. I like how the story flowed seamlessly from the flashbacks in Cynthia’s life to the current time. The secondary characters were vibrant, true to their gay selves. I loved the scene where Cynthia and her gay friends were dissing the restaurant they were eating at — I could just imagine them yelling “CRUSTACEAAA!!!” in their gay voices. The characters have their own voices and I love that Cynthia had her own back story, which made her more human. There was enough tension in the story between Cynthia and Ramon, and the ending, although expected, was quite satisfying. Oh, and the best character of all? Mario’s mom. :D

Every Girl’s Guide to Heartache by Marla Miniano (Summit)

When Anna is dumped by the love of her life, the perfect guy, the only one in the world who truly meshes with her, she is devastated. She’s angry, she wants revenge, and most of all, she wants him back. But when life throws her a curveball in the form of Miguel, literally The Boy a Few Houses Down, Anna thinks she can be happy again — or is her heart just playing tricks on her?

Rating: [rate 4.0]

I bought this book because Macy blogged about it, and even though I thought local chick lit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore, I decided to give this one a try out of curiosity. I read this within a day! It’s mostly for teens, so I found some of it a bit too young for me already (too young — as in, “I’m over this part of my life already”), I thought the story was nice. The premise is solid, and even if I’ve never been through what Anna went through in the book, I can relate in some parts. The story is fluid, and the characters are interesting enough to keep me hooked. The story’s lesson is something a person coming from a relationship should really learn, regardless of their age. :)

Vince’s Life by Vince Teves (Summit)

From the pages of Seventeen magazine comes the book that chronicles real college life: making the grade, forming friendships that will last the rest of your lives, charting your future, and falling in love possibly for the first time. For regular guy Vince Teves, every significant experience during the four years that would shape the rest of his life was worth remembering. This is his story.

Rating: [rate 4.0]

I’ve been meaning to buy this book since I saw it at Powerbooks before, but only after recommendations from friends that I finally got it. This is probably the first lad lit in the country, if I am not mistaken? This book is cute, mostly because it’s written in a guy’s point of view. I can feel Vince’s sincerity in the various parts of the book, which made him more endearing. The story is a bit typical, but I liked how he described his relationship with Andrea when they finally got together up to the point where she had to go away, since it’s something I’m not familiar about. It got a teensy bit dragging somewhere in the middle, but it got me curious enough to finish it until the end. My friend thinks the book is a bit emo for a guy, but then again, don’t all guys go emo when they’re in love? :)

Every Girl’s Guide to Boys by Marla Miniano (Summit)

Chrissy thinks her life is problem free (she even set up an online advice column to make use of all her good girl talent) til her best friend, the boy she’s been in love with since she was maybe five, comes back from the US. Now this would be a good thing if she wasn’t already in an unofficial, sort-of relationship with her long-time crush Nathan. Is it finally time for Chrissy to trash the good girl image and follow her gut? Or is she making the biggest mistake of her life?

Rating: [rate 3.0]

This is the second book in the Every Girl’s Guide series, and this one features Anna’s friend Chrissy. Chrissy is a solid and believable character — in fact, I can relate to her quite a bit. ;) She’s a good girl who’s always done good things, and everyone expects her to do the same thing, until her best friend comes back, and things go haywire from there. Nico’s character (the best friend) seems a bit of an extreme, like a bad boy who is not really supposed to be a bad boy since you can’t really see Chrissy with him. The story is okay, but a bit too typical: bad boy vs. good boy and girl picks bad boy and she gets into trouble. There’s the cheesy “Did you come back for me?” line, which reminded me of Serena and Nate in Gossip Girl season 1. The story is good, but it just didn’t really sit well on me. I think the first one is still better.

Vince’s Life The Next Chapter: Getting Over Andrea by Vince Teves (Summit)

After Andrea leaves for the US, Vince lands his first job in an award-winning ad agency. Nursing a broken heart, Vince doesn’t think he can meet anyone who can compare to his first love. Then he meets sexy, fun, and vibrant Cat and life is wonderful again. Till Andrea says she’s coming home…

Rating: [rate 3.5]

Vince returns with his life post-college, and it’s a different world out there without his best buds Connie and Spider and his ex girlfriend Andrea who he hasn’t really gotten over yet. Vince starts working for an ad firm, meets new friends and is surrounded by girls who are very single. Vince meets Cat, and then it seems like romance from there, but then Andrea starts being sweet again and announced she’s going home. It’s a perfect follow up to Vince’s Life, really, only it gets a bit dragging somewhere in the novel. I like how the conflict was presented, and the emo parts where Vince has this unsent email for Andrea on how he never got over her and all that. I liked the ending, though, as it presents the reality of life that, well, you have to move on. And you can’t keep pining for one person and hope that nothing’s changed when in fact, everything has changed. It’s a good sequel. :)

Odd Girl Out by Anna Ishikawa (Psicom)

Half a year after parting from her first real long-term relationship, former heartbreaker Cerisse finds herself ready to begin anew. She moves into a new apartment, starts a new business routine, meets new friends and seduces a new love. But when her high school and college circle of fashionista friends express their disapproval of the guy, telling her she can do better, she realizes she has to make a decision: will she drop Ethan in favor of her old rep, or will she choose to confront love in all its weirdness?

Rating: [rate 2.0]

I kind of expected this to be a good book, but I guess I also kind of expected too much. Cerisse is a heartbreaker back in college who is ruthless among guys she didn’t like, going up to the point that she’d give them nicknames and laugh about them with her friends. Thing is, after experiencing her first heartbreak, she gets hit by karma when she sees and falls for Ethan, one of the guys who she labeled back in college. The initial premise was okay, but it kind of went downhill when Ethan and Cerisse got “together”. I have to keep on remembering that a lot of time has passed since the time they met and the time they got together, but it didn’t feel like it. The other characters were too cardboard and generic, so I didn’t really feel their impact in the story. The ending was, well, typical, too, and I kind of expected that already. I kind of wish the story focused more on Cerisse’s liking Ethan but not going for him since her friends seem to think he’s not worth her rep and then finally going for her gut in the end, instead of being in the relationship and then suddenly thinking about it. But then again, that’s just me. *shrug*

Well this is a really long post, but I actually enjoyed it! I wonder how it feels like to be paid for reading books and reviewing them? Haha, I hope I can run a home based business like that. :P Anyway, there’s a party at the street right now, and it’s free dinner, so off I go. :D

2 thoughts on “Local Book Reviews”

Comments are closed.