Catching up with my review backlog before the year ends! I cannot not post anything about a book I’ve read, even for a few lines, because that’s the way I am. Haha. Here are quick thoughts on three books I read several months back:
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Summary from Amazon:
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.
The Peach Keeper is such a sweet, poignant, and heart-warming story of friendship, courage, and second chances. I am very vocal about how I really love Sarah Addison Allen and in this book, she has given me her usual brand of magic that never fails to give all the good feelings every time. The characters in this book are very interesting to read about and the mystery surrounding the Blue Ridge Madam has added to the intriguing flow of the story. There is humor and wit, too. I love Rachel. I would love to have a friend like Rachel. And of course, let’s not forget those feels. There are just so many feels in this book. Willa and Colin. Paxton and Sebastian. Ah, there is really something about SAA’s characters and stories that make me swoon each time, without fail.
The Peach Keeper cautions us about how we deal with other people because most of the time, people are not we make them out to be. They may appear tough and frightening on the outside but are really hurting and lonely inside. Or, he may appear very sweet and charming outside but is actually a devil in disguise. I highly recommend this book.
One favorite quote (there are too many quotable quotes!):
Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way.
My Rating: 4/5 stars.
Buddy read with Ingrid.
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Summary from Goodreads:
Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list),
lost her best friend (Kim),
lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket),
did something suspicious with a boy (#10),
did something advanced with a boy (#15),
had an argument with a boy (#14),
drank her first beer (someone handed it to her),
got caught by her mom (ag!),
had a panic attack (scary),
lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie),
failed a math test (she’ll make it up),
hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends),
became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!).
But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.
The complete title of this book is actually The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver #1). I’ve only read one other book by E. Lockhart — The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks — which was a pleasurable reading experience and since I read too may good reviews about the Ruby Oliver Series, I gave this first book a try. Just like Disreputable History, this book has a strong female protagonist. Well, not at first, but a tragedy, in Ruby’s case, a series of tragedies, has made her take a closer look at herself and what she wants to do with her life. I love this book because even though I am not the target audience, I can still relate to the main character. Reading about Ruby did not make me feel *old*, rather it had me rooting for her. I enjoy reading Ruby’s lists except that I got distracted reading those footnotes (although this style may work well for others).
I definitely recommend this book to young adults. Ruby’s message is clear: Don’t let tragedies define who you are. When you fall and get broken, slowly get up, pick up the pieces, hold your head high, and keep living. The world is big and full of wonderful things.
My Rating: 3/5 stars.
My copy: A hardback gift from Cary.
Cities by Carla de Guzman
Summary from Goodreads:
Celia has dreams.
She dreams of going to Seoul for that scholarship she never took, of leaving everything behind and moving to New York.
In all those dreams, she finds herself attached to Benedict, the boy she has always loved, who didn’t love her back.
Ben believes in parallel worlds.
Worlds where the things you didn’t do come true—worlds where he went to London and fell in love with Celia, where he shows up on the day she needed him most. He believes that dreams are glimpses into that parallel world, and it’s not a coincidence that Celia’s been having them too.
It’s the day of Ben’s wedding, in the middle of a typhoon in Manila. How will these dreams and unmade decisions change their lives? Will they bring them closer together, or just drive them further apart?
It was the cover and the blurb that made me decide to get this local novella. I must confess that I do not really know what parallel universes means until I read Cities. And the concept confused me, at first. I couldn’t identify easily which one is the dream and which is the reality. But the writing was easy to follow and the pieces started to fall into place as I went along. I loved reading about the different cities in this story, especially the parts set in London.
Cities explores the idea of what ifs and why nots. Heartbreak is something that everybody wants to avoid if possible, but if it happens, how do we cope? Others may resort to dreams (daydreams?) and if these dreams can help them accept their reality, then well and good. I still believe that it’s so much better to live in this real world than to be stuck in limbo forever.
Truly good writing here and I definitely am looking forward to reading other works by this Filipino author.
My Rating: 3/5 stars.