Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by JANDY NELSON

Twins Jude and Noah lost bearings on their fraternal connection the moment they thought they destroyed each other’s lives. Young and reckless, they did stupid things that distanced themselves from each other with their secrets kept away to just themselves as well. While art would find a way to set them apart and reunite them, so will the revelations of their secrets when they come undone with the help of the new people in their lives.  
When twins are separated, their spirits steal away to find the other.

A story about family, love and the coming of age, I’ll Give You The Sun is an all-in-one heartwarming read that would very well be interesting and insightful for all ages, from teens to young adults to adults. It is in more aspects than one a moving story.

There was that sensitive issue of homosexuality too. It was rather extra sensitive and more complicated since it was taken from a teenager’s point of view. It was a beautiful part and definitely one of the highlights of the novel with a very eye-opening and dramatic storytelling.

Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people. – Jude

I’ll Give You The Sun was so descriptive. It was fascinatingly made up of concrete and abstract at the same time. There were mentions of natural elements, biblical notions, superstitious beliefs, earth colors, and art forms. There was so much of these things that they sometimes felt weird, but they served their purpose well. There were parts left to the imagination while there were also things discussed in utter detail when it comes to representation. They were all a part of the story and were truly connecting with the characters’ back stories.

I would say I enjoyed how this novel was more dramatic than romantic. This one, though it didn’t make me cry, was undeniably good. The emotions felt real, too real actually. A lot of things also happened here that kept the story moving. Though it was sometimes back and forth, but still, it was always moving.

Mothers are the parachutes.

Furthermore, despite having a very specific story, it felt as though it was very easy for any reader to identify with the characters or think of something that may somehow be similar to the plot situation.

For me, what was so amazing about this book was how the narration managed to still be gravely serious and profound while also using the voices of teenagers. This was I guess where the power and depth of the story came from. And now that I think about it, this isn’t the first book I read that used this storytelling approach.  

After reading I’ll Give You The Sun, I realized this is either a reflection or an invitation for reflection for anyone reading to evaluate or re-evaluate how he/she is doing in life, with the family, with the self. There are a lot of lessons to be extracted from Noah, Jude, Brian, Guillermo, and Dianna. Additionally, the point is, this book is an explanation as to why people do what they do, and in every way, how people are given another chance.

Are you done reading this book? What are your thoughts? I’d like to know them! Feel free to share them below!


Photo source: http://jandynelson.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

NOVEMBER 9 by COLLEEN HOOVER

Fallon and Ben found a way to turn their November 9, that date every year they used to despise, into something they would both look forward to. They both agreed to only meet once each year to spend the whole day all to each other. As an aspiring writer, Ben used their unusual arrangement as an inspiration for his debut novel. But as their meetings progressed, Fallon became unsure about how much he knew about Ben and how much Ben actually knew about her.
You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else. – Fallon’s mother

There were two things that stood out for me in November 9. First, the unique plotline that gave birth to the book title. It was really interesting and hooking that I even caught myself looking excited for that date to appear again in the book because it entailed new possibilities and unexpected things for Fallon and Ben. Second, I liked its concept of this exact novel being also the novel in it, some sort of book inception, cool stuff. It got me feeling extra immersed in the story.

Because when you love someone, you owe it to them to help them be the best version of themselves that they can be. And as much as it crushes me to admit this, the best version of you doesn’t include me. – Ben Kessler

As usual, the heart-melting romance that made me like Colleen Hoover’s other works in the first place was ever self-evident. The modern knight in shining armor approach was a good starter for one while the little sweet gestures and the huge actions of love combined would make every reader want to have the same guy. That and the fact that Ben’s character also had a way with words – a romantic and a writer, kill me now.

I liked how likable and relatable Fallon and Ben were. It was easy to say they were all nice and good-natured people despite all that they had done and been through. It was also a plus for me that with all the misfortunes they faced, it didn’t feel as though everything that happened was too much for their age and situation. The story neither overworked nor barely worked the central characters. And it could all be actually associated into reality.

My flaws are draped in her mercy
Revered by her false perception
And with her lips upon my skin
She will undress my deception. – Ben Kessler

And in fairness with the plot twist towards the end, I didn’t see it coming. It was a good twist coming from a romance novel. It had a good foundation related through the characters’ background stories. It was the extra zing this book needed that made it more than just a love story.

When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it. – Ben Kessler

While this novel is basically about love, it also discussed family issues and self-esteem issues as well. Suffice it to say I had tons of fun following Fallon and Ben’s story. From their unusual relationship arrangement, over-the-top displays of affection, unanticipated twists and beautiful reunion in the end, they were exactly what I wanted in a romance.

As much as I’d hate to admit this, cheesy novels are my thing. They are such light, fun-filled, sweet, and hopeful reads, and there are days when those are all I want in my life. Colleen Hoover has won me over several times through the aforementioned elements. And for the same reasons, I am excited to read more from her.

Are you done reading this book? What are your thoughts? I’d like to know them! Feel free to share them below!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015!

There are no better people to celebrate Christmas with in this world other than one’s FAMILY – the only people who will stick with you through everything.

My December 25 didn’t start out well. I was losing interest, but the company of everyone in this photo and the rest of our family turned my bad day into a happy one for which I’m thankful as always!
It’s not always easy for everyone to overlook negative things. People are people. They have reasons, but it’s good to know that there’s at least one day every year that makes it a little less hard and more doable. Christmas is the day that becomes an encouragement for people to respect differences, forgive shortcomings, forget bad pasts, and rekindle lost relationships. More so, if we can do these with others, it should come easier with our family. It’s also worth mentioning that, if anything, it should all actually begin with the family.

Merry Christmas to and from this bunch of humorous, un-boring, ageless, candid yet loving and caring people in my life!

Happy birthday, Jesus! It’s your birthday, but You’re the one showering us with gifts and love! You’re awesome! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tagaytay 2015: Pre-Christmas Eve Party Uphill

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY 2016, EVERYONE! :)

But first, two more backlogs from Christmas 2015 before I completely move on to this awesome new year! :)

SO! With only a day left before Christmas Eve, I was able to squeeze in coming with my extended family for an overnight party in Tagaytay City. It was a spontaneous trip to the hills just to really get us into that chilly and breezy Christmas mood. Brrr!
Tagaytay did not disappoint. We arrived there late in the afternoon just in time for the beautiful changing of the clouds’ colors with the mountain view below them. The blowing winds swayed the trees. The only sounds I could hear were those from the moving leaves, the birds, the insects, and the humans. It was so quiet. Being in a high position and along a cliff, our location provided for great viewing of Taal Lake and the rest of Batangas and Laguna, and I took advantage of the opportunity.  
It was like we were out on camping. Our location was part of Tagaytay’s secluded area. Houses were few and far from each other. There were more trees than there were people. Water was scarce. Our food was basic. Internet was almost nonexistent. Some of us slept in a tent. Some stayed in a little unpolished church. We all relied to each other to have a good time.   
Whilst the night was still young, games were played and gifts were exchanged for gifts. Meals took place more than twice. And as the night turned deep, we were able to feel just how cold it could really get up there this season. The wind was so strong that it felt like we were being hit by a typhoon even when it was just like any other December night in Tagaytay.   
The following morning, we woke up to the foggy view of the mountains from afar, and it was beautiful. The cold wind slapping my face was enough to completely awaken me. That morning was basically allotted for packing.
Before heading home, we stopped over at Picnic Grove for a quick lunch and sightseeing. Then off to our own homes we went to celebrate Christmas Eve!
Thank you to the kind residents/caretakers of the church who attended to all our needs! Thank you also to my extended family for the invitation. I hope it won’t be the last. :)
Photos by EJ Dela Cruz and yours truly! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Diamond Christmas Dinner 2015

Tradition is tradition

Even when all of us already lead different lives – family, work, business, school, etc. – we still couldn’t let this Christmas pass without spending even just a few hours of our time to each other.
Unlike the parties from previous years, my high school friends and I opted for just a simple Christmas dinner this time. It was the most ideal thing to do since none of us could work on organizing a party anymore and everyone’s schedule was so packed. Also, this arrangement was what guaranteed an attendance of more than five, so we grabbed it!
It was a nice dinner on a Sunday evening at RSM Lutong Bahay. With a very nice, un-crowded, relaxing, and homey ambiance, we were so at home the whole time we were dining there. It was like we were the only people there with all our noise and wildness, and we had zero care what others would say.
Though there weren’t any program or parlor games, what was good about this kind of gathering was we were able to leave more time and space for the talking and kamustahan part since there weren’t any other things to distract us anymore. This was a welcome idea because I believe that that was the most important thing about this Christmas dinner. Every second spent exchanging words became our priced gift for each other.
The regulars like Joson, Katrina, and Faith didn’t get to come, but good thing the other classmates of ours like Josan, Vangie and Sarah showed up and saved our night. :) And there were even kids, baby KC and Misha! You know how get-togethers with children mean – kiddie cuteness overload. It felt strange how all the parties I’d been to have been kids-filled, but I am not complaining! :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my St. John Colleges’ Diamond Batch 2008 Family! :)

Photos by Rochelle Mangilin and yours truly!

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