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! :)

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