29 November 2011

Book Review: You Against Me

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Book Details

Title: You Against Me
Author: Jenny Downham
Release Date: September, 2011

Book Summary

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge.
If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him.

When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offense, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author ofBefore I Die. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all, it's a book about love.

Book Review
After reading Before I Die, I was optimistic in reading this new Jenny Downham offering You Against Me. The summary is an interesting tease that points towards another modern Romeo and Juliet theme with a tinge of crime drama. Written in an alternating narrative between Mikey and Ellie, this book dealt with the issue of rape differently. Concentrating more on the people around the victim and the assailant, it gives reader a full view of the domino effect of one single event in the life of the people that surrounds them.   
What I like
©       The Characters. I love the characters because primarily, they are not really involved in the rape. Mikey, being the good brother that he is, had the intense drive to protect his sister and annihilate the boy who wronged her. On the other hand, Ellie chose to stick to her brother’s innocence and stay loyal to her family. Downham threaded the situation with the two families carefully and sensitively. I hate to place spoilers, but one thing is for sure - I am not a fan of people who condone mistakes.
©       The Plot. A modern tale of star-crossed lovers, the pacing of their romance was perfect. So many things came in their way, belonging to different ‘teams’. I just wanted the both of them to end up together, because they were so fun in each other’s company.
What I don’t like
There were weak points in the story and the end made me cringe. I think it was cut short just when the book was picking up. I wanted to know what would happen with Karyn and Ellie when they meet face to face? What will happen to the case?  What is the future for Tom? There are just too many important questions that are left hanging and unanswered.
You Against Me centers on choices and the consequences that comes with it. It is about loyalty to one’s family, the ones we love, trust, importance of truth and love. 

Favorite Quotes

“Sometimes if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. If you miss someone so desperately that it wrecks your insides, you say their name over and over until you conjure then. It's called sympathetic magic and you just have to believe in it to make it work.”

“It was strange how words meant something when they came out of your mouth. Inside your head they were safe and silent, but once they were outside, people grabbed hold of them.” 

“Do you want this to be a love story?” 

“Her skin tasted expensive.” 

Reviewed by

þ @ ChuCha

28 November 2011

Heart on a Chain

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Book Details

Author: Cindy Bennett
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 309 KB
Print Length: 324 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1456492411
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Book Summary

17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns. 

Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him. 

Kate can't figure out what game Henry is playing with her - for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her? 

Kate finally decides to trust Henry's intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever? (taken from goodreads.com)

Book Review

Heart on a Chain is a heart-wrenching page-turner. I couldn’t afford to put it down so I spent the whole night with my kindle until I finally reached the final page. The character-growth is brilliant, you can easily fill in their shoes and dig into their emotions. Cindy Bennett made sure that her characters are not far-fetched from reality.  

I love Kate. She’s one of the bravest characters I have read in a YA novel. At a young age, she have dealt with a lot of abuse than any person ever had. Kate’s home doesn’t give her any security at all, having an abusive, drug-addicted mother and an alcoholic father. School, which could have been a place of solace turned out to be another hell. But what is so different about Kate is that, she almost didn’t mind the physical part of the abuse. She had endured it courageously – but what will draw you to this girl is the internal suffering caused by the long-standing physical abuse.

Then Henry came along. He’s one hero without the supernatural powers. Who needs bad boys to love when a great guy who’s nice, patient, kind, loving and handsome comes along? Henry was her childhood friend. He was surprised to see the ‘new’ Kate – but it didn’t stopped him from wanting her to be his friend. Soon, his love and persistence allowed Kate to see beyond her world of pain and suffering. Finally, there was something good in her life – and that was Henry. Even his family loved her and made her feel she was one of them. I am so glad Kate has her happy ending, she deserves it.   

Heart on a Chain is an incredible book, a tear jerking, sad, touching story of survival. It could be true – the sad thing about reality is that not all Kate have Henrys. 

þ @ ChuCha

25 November 2011

A peek inside a bookmaniac’s brain: Choleric Chucha

I have taken the personality test for a couple of times, and I still gain the same results: CHOLERIC.

Choleric is just one of the four temperaments, a theory of proto-psychology that came from the ancient medical concept of humorism and suggests that four bodily fluids affect human behaviors and personality traits. Other three are: Sanguine, Melancholic and Pragmatic.

I have researched what kind of person possesses a choleric personality and found the following information – some are true and fits me like skin, some will just remain theory. Basically, people with choleric temperaments are ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, passion and energy and they try to inculcate it to other people. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially the phlegmatic types. A lot charismatic military and political figures were choleric. They like to be in-charge of everything.

What is good about being choleric (plus my personal thoughts on the matter)

§      Born leader, dynamic and active and have a compulsive need for change – I have been a leader since I was in grade school. It was nice to have the last say every now and then. Yes, I want change, but I am not the type of person who will march on the streets to gain it. After all, small changes start within yourself – I prefer it that way.
§      Often feel that you must correct wrongs – I am not perfect. But I have the compulsion to point out things that I think is wrong, to the point of rudeness sometimes. I really couldn’t help it. I know people hates to know the truth because most of the time it really stings – especially when they’re wrong. I just couldn’t stand there and witness something that is not right.
§      Strong-willed, influential, independent and self sufficient – okay, I am not sure about the influential thing, but I know I am strong-willed and independent. I can decide on my own and when I want to do certain things – nothing in this world will stop me… ummmm… except family emergency.
§      Not easily discouraged and can be unemotional if needed – as I have said, nothing can stop me. I think if you want to do something, there are a million ways to do it, if you don’t – a million reasons are available as well. Hormones make me more emotional than necessary.   
§      Capable of running anything and exude confidence – THEORY! GEEEZZZZ, I do have a very uncomfortable stage fright. I hate standing in front of people that I do not know. I am okay inside the classroom, and comfortable speaking in front of my classmates – but the whole school?! Not my thing.
§      Expert in exerting sound leadership, establishing goals and able to motivate the family in to action – Is this like making my family do whatever I want? Sometimes, but my mom is more persuasive than I am.
§      Knows the right answer and organize the household – most of the time, I may know the right answer, especially when I have burnt the midnight oil.
§      Goal oriented, see the whole picture and organize well I have goals that other people do not understand, but I have plans. I do not need to elaborate it further to people who seem to doubt if it works. IT WILL WORK, I am so sure of it. (Confident much?) I am not comfortable with people (especially those who aren’t close to me) suggesting much about my future. This is my life, my future, whatever I want to do with it is my choice, right?
§      Delegate work but insist on productivity- I will delegate work if I cannot do it anymore. Not to mention, I will recheck the work over and over again, it will probably end up being redo by me.

Why people hate choleric?

©       Bossy and impatient
©       Quick tempered, can’t relax and can be too impetuous
©       Enjoy controversy and arguments and won’t give up when losing
©       Come on too strong, are inflexible and uncomplimentary – THEORY!!!
©       Dislike tears and emotions and are generally unsympathetic - THEORY!!!
©       Tend to over dominate, are too busy for your family and will often give answers too quickly - THEORY!!!
©       Impatient with poor performance and won’t let children relax if you have any. You are likely to send them in to depression - THEORY!!!
©       Little tolerance for mistakes, however, you don’t analyze details yourself, are bored by trivia and can often make rash decisions.
©       Rude and tactless and often manipulate people
©       Demanding of others and believe that the end justifies the means.
©       Work may become the driving force in your life and you demand loyalty in the ranks.
©       Tend to use people and dominate others THEORY!!!
©       Make decisions on other people’s behalf and you know everything.
©       Can do everything better, are too independent and are overly possessive of friends and mate – I don’t have a lot of friends, I can still enumerate them by names. But I know they’re real and they stick to me no matter what. I do not manipulate them – swear!
©       Can’t say you’re sorry and, although you may often be right, you can become unpopular

þ @ ChuCha

24 November 2011

There You'll Find Me

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Book Details

Author: Jenny Jones
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 559 KB
Print Length: 321 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1595545409
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 4, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Book Summary
In a small cottage house in rural Ireland, Finley discovers she can no longer outrun the past.
When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.
But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley's plan.
When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.
Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.
Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett's new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends.
For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God. (taken from goodreads.com)
Book Review

There You’ll Find Me is a real-page turner without the usual vulgarity, and sex of a YA Novel. Yet, it never lessen the appeal of its romantic side. This is my first Christian Fiction and Jenny Jones didn’t fail me. Yes, it talked about scriptures and God but it wasn’t preachy – it won’t make you roll your eyes or uncomfortable in your seats.

Finley Sinclair lost her brother Will two years ago. Now, she is searching for something that Will have found in Ireland and hoping she could find it as well. Using her brother’s journal, Finley traced Will’s footsteps and saw Ireland from her brother’s POV. Her goal for coming to Ireland is to heal and pass the audition at the Manhattan Music Conservatory using an original piece. She was not searching a man or love – only to find it in the most unexpected place and person – the ‘Fang’ star, Beckett Rush.

Finley and Beckett has the most interesting love story I have ever read. I love their bantering and their exchange of dialogues. I am looking forward for the scenes that the two of them are together. Erin is a wonderful friend who only wants the best for Finley. Her brother, a young charming Casanova that will probably break a lot of hearts years from now. Mrs. Sweeney, the bitter old woman whom they helped. I love her story. Indeed, there is a reason for every action. Sometimes, you have to really open your eyes to what is happening rather than seeing what you only wanted to see. Sister Maria, the nun with the Facebook account, amazing. She has humor and intelligence that made Finley see that sometimes God speaks to us, but we just couldn’t hear Him. She also compared Finley to Mrs. Sweeney who keeps her anger and let it control her because it was easy to hold than to let it go.

There You’ll Find Me ends with Finley’s problem not totally eradicated, but her character shows courage and strong will that can overcome whatever that life will throw her. Love is just one slice of the whole cake. This book deals with four common problems that surrounds teen-age girls: grief, death, bullying, eating disorders and faith. It's a carefully crafted tale of overcoming grief, finding one's self, finding answers to questions and finding God in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Favorite Quotes

"To truly try means to accept God's love, his healing, to accept the world can be ugly, but your heart doesn't have to be. It takes courage, Finley the warrior. You haven't held on to your anger and bitterness in search of healing, but as a banner of your hurt. Because it's real and visible and strong, " she said. "But so is God's love and so are those arms he's holding out for you."

You’re a teenager. It’s all complicated.

You bite people for a living.

Does your love reach this far, God? And if it extends to heaven and beyond… why can’t it seem to find me?

This is Ireland, Finley. It’s rough. It’s wild. And it is holy.

My fate is like those envelopes – sealed and tossed aside. 

“You can talk to your old dad about anything, you know. Except boys. And bras. And that Bieber fellow.”

Reviewed by

Raw Blue

Book Details

Author: Kirsty Eagar
Paperback, 274 pages
Published June 29th 2009 by Penguin Books Australia
ISBN 0143011456 (ISBN13: 9780143011453)
edition language English

Book Summary

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week. 

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy? 

Australian author, set in Sydney. (taken from goodreads.com)

Book Review

Raw Blue = Australian Author
Accent + Waves + Surfing = Perfect!

The one thing I love most about Raw Blue is the set of characters. Carly, who’s desperate for peace and solitude, Hannah, her addicted-to-salsa neighbor in the midst of a midlife crisis, the 15-year old surf buddy Danny who has synesthesia (interesting word, huh?), Marty, the lost co-worker and of course, Ryan, the ‘guy’. The people that surrounds her compliments her, and I think, exactly what she needed.

I like Ryan because he’s really close to reality. He’s not one of those heroes who is introduced in the book to save the heroine. He’s not even the sweet, type who can knock you off your feet with his words. He didn’t push Carly, he just let her go figure for herself stuff and just made sure Carly knows that he’s still there for her.

An incident push Carly to dropped out of the university, live on her own, away from her parents and started to surf every day. I think she prefers to isolate herself from the rest. Then she developed a relationship with Ryan, another fellow surfer.

Raw Blue had me held my breath at its end! Gaaaahhhd! I wanted to know how the conversation ended. Was it finally a happy ending, or she decided to something else? What about the other characters? What happens to them? I wanted to know if Marty is fine, Hannah and the Salsa-guy, Danny and his surfing/work and Emilio too!
This book perfectly describes the uneasiness of having sex with someone for the first time. No metaphors or illusions – just simple, real sex: a little discomfort, fear of not being accepted, afraid of being clumsy or doing something wrong.

Raw Blue deals with many common issues like relationship, sexual abuse, and sex in an amazing way that will not shock or protect you from what is reality. Bad things happen, but do not dwell on them because good things happen too. If you let bad things eat you up, then you will never see the happiness that lies before you. 

Favorite Quotes

Am I worried about the future? I don’t know, when I think of the word it’s like seeing a cavity, a space where a tooth used to be.

And that’s humbling, knowing that your voice can mean so much to another person. 

Reviewed by

21 November 2011

Chain Reaction

Book Details

Author: Simone Elkeles
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 458 KB
Print Length: 319 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802720870
Publisher: Walker Books (August 16, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Book Summary

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill. 

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules. 

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge? (taken from goodreads.com)

Book Review

Finally, I’m on my last book of the Perfect Chemistry series, Chain Reaction. It was almost just as fun and steamy as the first two installments. Luis, the youngest of the Fuentes brothers was so much fun and a little reckless. I like him because he’s the smartest among his brothers, academically that is. Only that, one of his decisions in the book proved the previous statement wrong.

 Nikki, on the other hand, is my least favorite among the three girls. Fine, she was hurt in the past and was left with a broken heart but I think it wasn’t fair to stereotype all men. Luis had done nothing wrong to her, yet, right? In the end, she was pretty okay. I think it was pretty cool that she’s willing to learn the Mexican culture that wasn’t introduced by her family to her. I adore her friends Derek and Kendall, they were the spice that Nikki needed in her life.

Another thing that I like in this book is that the two brothers, Alex and Carlos are part of it. I think Carlos stole a little bit of limelight from Luis when he made the proposal, he still brought fun with him. Mrs. Fuentes found herself a love interest, much to the horror of her kids. The chemistry teacher is pregnant, but still the same. I think apart from the three Fuentes boys and Kiara, she’s one character I will miss most.

The climax-slash-twist in Chain Reaction is a bomb. I never saw it coming. I feel sad for Luis because he found out from other people. I hate that he lied, make decisions and then decide to do something else. The epilogue is still stated somewhere in the far future, it makes me want to read another Fuentes’ story.

What I love about this series is the fact that Simone Elkeles did not only focus on some guys finding true love but also the importance of family and being part of one regardless of any circumstances. 

Favorite Quotes

“Love. Is it just a word that boys use to manipulate girls?” 

Reviewed by

20 November 2011

Rules of Attraction

Book Details

Author: Simone Elkeles
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 460 KB
Print Length: 335 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802720854
Publisher: Walker Books (April 21, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Book Summary

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Book Review

Rules of Attraction is my favorite among the three Perfect Chemistry Series. Like the first book, the two main characters alternately narrate the story from their own point of views, which I personally enjoy. I want to know not only what’s inside Carlos’ head but as well as Kiara’s. Simone Elkeles knows how to capture the hearts of her readers, even those beyond the young-adult age, it makes me remember how it was to fall hard and be in love.

Even though I love Alex and Brittany, I like this two even better. Kiara – she’s the type of girl I’d hang out with. She’s smart, funny, strong, caring and determined. The only problem she has is that she stutters. She tried to overcome her speech problem and even volunteered to speak in front of the class. I think it takes a lot of courage conquer your weakness as well as your fears. She’s lucky to have Tuck as her best friend. He was a lot of fun. She’s even luckier to have a family that has an open communication with just about everything.

Carlos is pissed being bossed around by his older brother, and when he was sent to Colorado to go to high school and be with Alex, he got himself into trouble. He found himself in the middle of a drug bust and was arrested. He ended up living with Kiara’s family and doing the REACH program.  

Kiara was not Carlos type and vice versa. But after a while, they come to know and appreciate each other. There was a palpable change in Carlos as he falls in love with Kiara. The exchange of words between them is naughty, but fun. I love that Carlos found comfort with Kiara’s family. The action may not be as thrilling as the first book, but a twist in the plot was surprising.

I love the epilogue. It was set in the far future and somewhat a repeat of the past but it was really fun and a nice touch to end Rules of Attraction

Favorite Quotes

I want to make sure Kiara's got a boyfriend who has more to offer than a hot bod and a face that could make angels weep

“You're dangerous.” he says. 
“Because you make me believe in the impossible.”

“You're where I want to be.” 

“Thing is, I don't like ties. I like to win....by big margins.” 

Reviewed by