Quick Reviews: Welcome to Envy Park, Finding X, Hot Like This, Fall Like Rain

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One of my reading goals this year is to read more local works, and I think I am faring well on this. Most of the Filipino books I have read recently are contemporary romance novellas which never failed to take me out of a reading slump or provided the necessary breather in between reading more “serious” books. I am also glad that almost all of these stories were really good ones (there was one which I totally disliked, I won’t even bother to write about it because the mere thought of it makes me want to tear my hair out of frustration)) but since they’re quick reads, my blogging skills cannot catch up and write separate full posts for each ones. So, here’s a quick recap of the local novellas that I have read recently (and the reasons why I loved them):

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Welcome to Envy Park | Mina V. Esguerra

Welcome To Envy Park

Summary from Goodreads:

Moira Vasquez is a doer. A planner. A get-up-and-goer. At twenty-two, she left her hometown to work in Singapore, to satisfy a need to travel as well as give her savings account a boost. Five years later and she’s back in Manila, with a shiny new apartment to her name, but no job, no career, no boyfriend. She meets Ethan Lorenzo, the quiet hunk of an IT consultant on the ninth floor of her condo building, and he’s a welcome distraction during this period of having absolutely nothing going on in her life.

But she has a plan – of course she does – and this is just a short layover on the way to the next country, the next job, the next big thing. Or will she be missing out on something great that’s already there?

Quick thoughts:

This is my most favorite Mina Esguerra book to date. I loved how Moira was able to finally make wise choices and to set her priorities right. Moira and I aren’t exactly alike but I can relate with how she wanted to plan out her life — and to consistently work towards achieving her goal. I was that, once, when I was younger, but as I’ve grown older, I realized that life cannot be put inside a box and that changes will always come and shake us. This where I’ve learned to be flexible and unresistant to change, and as long as I keep my values and am aware of what really matters most in life (i.e. relationships, people), then I must learn to embrace change. And I’m glad that Moira was able to realize this.

Plus factor: Ethan, the love interest, is an IT guy and of course, I have to squee. 😛

Favorite quote:

“But you know, things happen. People change. You shouldn’t force yourself to stick to something if your circumstances change, and maybe you need someone else to remind you of it.”

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Finding X | Miles Tan

Finding XSummary from Goodreads:

Is there a science to falling in love?

Carlisle Santiago is through with men. After the devastating end of a seven-year relationship, she’s trying to put her life back together. What she doesn’t know is that she is the subject of the patient and methodical observations of blue-haired scientist Matteo Villegas, who just wants to find love himself. She must decide whether she’s ready to give love another shot or if this is doomed to be one failed experiment.

Quick thoughts:

This is one of the three stories included in Love is the Answer, a chick-lit bundle composed of #romanceclass novellas, and I must say that Finding X is one of the sweetest geeky stories I have ever read so far. I loved how science and romance beautifully blended in this novella, and of course, who wouldn’t like the blue-haired, journal-writing Matteo? Squee! <3 Another thing that I loved about this book is the relationship of the main characters with their respective siblings. I find it very sweet and funny at the same time. Finding X is really one of the best ##romanceclass stories I have ever read so far, and I really look forward to reading more of Miles Tan’s stories.

Plus factor: those corny geology jokes really had me laughing coffee out my nose. :XD

Favorite quote:

Matteo leaned back in his chair. “I don’t understand though. Sounds to me he’s taking a lot of things for granite.”

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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Hot Like This | Chris Mariano, Chrissie Peria, and Miles Tan

Summary from Goodreads:Hot Like This

Self-proclaimed manang Elaine Antonio is restrained, cautious, and used to taking care of people. Gorgeous Brazilian-Japanese model Luis Inoue is laid-back, impulsive, and totally out of her league. But when they’re thrown together at the same island resort one summer weekend, things unexpectedly heat up.

Elaine knows that once the vacation is over, they’ll be returning to their two very different worlds. Is this destined to be just a summer fling? Or will she finally learn how to take a risk for love?

Quick Thoughts:

Hot Like This is a collaborative story by three authors whose respective works I have already read and loved and a companion story to All I Want For Christmas which I also read and liked. I loved the setting in this book — the beach was beautifully depicted, it made me want to go to Boracay haha! Elaine is a bit stiff and cautious and I understand why she is hesitant to let her guard down when it comes to Luis. I would love a little bit of background about Luis and a back story about how he and Elaine first met, and also, I felt that there were times that the scenes became hurried and quick, but all in all, this was a fun summer read, perfect to bring along with you on a beach trip.

Plus factor: Elaine’s  draped back turquoise sundress

Rating: 3/5 stars.

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Fall Like Rain | Ana Tejano

Summary from Goodreads:Fall Like Rain

Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it’s a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend’s happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

Quick Thoughts:

When I first read the blurb for this book, I thought that this will be a typical bestfriends-turned-lovers story where I’d get the expected conflicts of communication (or the lack of it) which I would always see on local TV shows featuring teen stars. Well, I did read that, but Fall Like Rain was so much more. I did not expect to be so attached to Rain’s character, to the point that I cried with her during that terrible heartbreak.

It was amazing how Ana Tejano was able to weave a story that does not only deal with the romance, but also provided ample depth into the main character’s personality and her relationships with her friends and family, despite the obvious limitations in length required by a novella. I liked how the story captured the rawness and reality of the emotions felt by the main character, the struggles she had whether to let go or hold on, and the apparent conflicting forces that pull her –whether to say her feelings out loud or just keep them to herself. Rain’s fears were real, her confusions were real, in fact, she is so real because I saw myself in her (note: although I didn’t have a guy bestfriend, I knew what unrequited love feels like, heh.)

This is such a good story every girl can easily relate to and can get enough life and love lessons to learn from. I am looking forward to more stories by Ana Tejano. 😉

Plus factor: I love it that the story does not dwell too much on the character’s looks.

Favorite quote:

“But what if this doesn’t work out?” I asked, my voice cracking a little. “What if he still doesn’t choose me?”

Meah reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze as she smiled sadly. “Then it’s really time to let go.”

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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