BOOK REVIEW: The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters

Title: The Summer of Everything
Author: Julian Winters
Genre: Young Adult
Diversity tags: own-voices, authors of color (black author), poc representation (black biracial), lgbqtiap+ representation (gay, m/m romance)
Publisher: Duet Books
Publishing Date: September 8, 2020
ISBN: 9781945053917
Page count: 312 pages
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Bago ako magsimula, gusto ko lang sabihin na I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.

Anyway, The Summer of Everything. Ang libro kung saan susundan natin si Wes, an 18 year old stunner (char) na naloloka kung paano magtatapat ng feelings niya sa bestfriend at long-time crush niyang si Nico while at the same time ay namumroblema sa adulting, start ng college life, relationship with his father and his brother Leo, at ang pagsasara ng Once Upon a Page, ang bookstore na minahal niya mula pagkabata at kung saan siya kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho kasama ang iba’t-ibang characters na very diverse at talaga namang nagdagdag ng kulay sa istoryang ito.

Una sa pinakanagustuhan ko talaga dito ay ang mga characters, they have different personalities and are very diverse and sobrang enjoyable lang ng interaction nila sa isa’t-isa; their banters, debate about music, their I-hate-you-but-I-really-treasure-you-as-a-friend relationship is just everything! This new-found family kind of trope just warms my heart and while reading it, the fire in my heart, the gusto kong magtrabaho sa bookstore or magtayo ng indie bookstore as a business ay talaga namang nag-aalab ng bongga.

And now na nabanggit na natin ang indie bookstore kung saan nagtatrabaho si Wes, it’s also the perfect time to say na I luuuve na most part of this book happens sa Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore where they are working. As a bookworm, sobrang nakakatuwa na nangyayari ang istorya sa isa sa pinakapaborito kong lugar sa buong mundo and their group conflict will revolve in that bookstore.

Now let’s go to the romance. The romance in this book is suuuper slow burn to the point na gusto ko nang sigawan si Wes ng “JUST FUCKING SAY IT!” Kasi, jusko naman, ang lala na ng romantic at sexual tension sa pagitan ni Nico at Wes. Kaloka! Pero I can understand Wes’ internal conflict din naman when it comes to having doubts sa pagcoconfess ng feeling niya kay Nico because there is the possibilty na baka masira ang matagal na nilang pagkakaibigan. So in a way, I am okay na hindi siya nagcoconfess tapos minsan gusto kong magconfess na siya so… pati ako naging conflicted! Hahaha.

I can also relate a lot kay Wes in the having-a-crush-tapos-minsan-nagseselos-to-the-point-na-hindi-ko-alam-kung-may-karapatan-ba-akong-magselos kind of moment. I relate so hard sa nararamdaman ni Wes kay Nico. Very close to home!

Ang isa lang na medyo hindi ako makarelate is kapag nagtatalo na sila about music, which is marami dito sa librong ‘to, so medyo lost ako sa part na yun.

BUT ALL IN ALL, I enjoyed this light, sweet, and fluffy gay romance book. I like how this ends and I also appreciates how this is not just about Wes and Nico, there’s a lot of issues and factors about gender and slight discussion about racism that adds flavor into this book.

If you’re into a slow burn but cute gay romance, diverse characters, lots of talk about music that is set in an indie bookstore, then you should give this book a try!

STAR RATING

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Related links for this book

Bookshop.org
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Julian Winters is a best-selling and award-winning author of contemporary young adult fiction. His novels Running with Lions and How to Be Remy Cameron (Duet, 2018 and 2019 respectively), received accolades for their positive depictions of diverse, relatable characters. Running with Lions is the recipient of an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award. How to Be Remy Cameron was named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection and received a starred review from School Library Journal.

A former management trainer, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta where he can be found reading, being a self-proclaimed comic book geek, or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer. His third novel for Duet Books, The Summer of Everything, will be released in September 2020, to be followed by Right Where I Left You from Viking Children’s/Penguin in 2022.

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Review: They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Clair


Title: They All Fall Down
Author: Roxanne St. Clair
Publisher: Ember
Date Published: March 8, 2016
ISBN: 9780385742726
Page count: 352 pages
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It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination as this group of high school elites uncover who’s plotting to off each and every one of them.

Every year, the lives of ten junior girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can’t imagine how she’s been voted onto a list of the prettiest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you’re on it, your life changes.

Is this on my May TBR? No.

As a mood reader, ano pa bang aasahan ko sa sarili ko? Ano pa bang point ng paggawa ko ng TBR at pang-aabala ko ng mga authors at followers ko sa Instagram just to have my TBR for May 2020. Maybe a drive to finish and diminish my unread books sa bookshelf ko? Baka nga ‘yun. Okay, bakit ba ako napunta sa discussion na ‘to? Let’s talk about this book.

Mackenzie is a nobody in Vienna High not until her name was included in the Hottie List, or the list of top ten hottest girls na pinagbotohan ng mga lalaki sa school nila. Her life did a full 180, Dua Lipa whomst? and she got invited sa mga parties na hindi niya napupuntahan before, nagtagalog na napalibutan ng mga “kaibigan” na hindi naman siya pinapansin before, at niligawan at nilandi ng lalaking hindi man lang siya tinitingnan before. But there’s a catch mga mamsh, lahat ng nasa Hottie List ay isa-isang namamatay. Is it a curse? An accident? or… murder? That is what Mackenzies going to find out. tama ba grammar? Bahala na nga.

To satisfy my rebel side, sa hindi pagsunod ng TBR, dumampot na naman ako ng libro sa bookshelf ko at binasa ito without knowing what this book is all about. Ang alam ko lang is mystery/thriller ‘to and I miss this genre already. Right off the bat, alam ko na Mackenzie is not like other girls type of girl. She doesn’t care about the list and hindi rin siya makapaniwalang kasama siya sa list. “Deserve ko ba ‘to? Nagandahan sila sa akin?” Tanong niya sa sarili but in English. Pero sa most part ng libro, hindi naman mawala sa isip niya ang tungkol sa list. Ayaw mo ba talaga ghorl? For me, napakagulo ni Kenzie, magulo or pretentious. Mackenzie is sooooo frustrating mga kababayan. Dumating sa point na binaon ko yung kuko ko sa page kasi naiinis ako sa kanya.

Isa pa ‘tong kaibigan ng bida, si Molly, na kating-kati na maging famous rin sa school nila sa tulong ni Mackenzie. Uhaw na uhaw makapunta sa mga parties at makihalubilo sa mga famous people sa school nila. Pilit ng pilit sa sarili niya kahit na alam naman niyang mapapahiya siya or worse, itataboy siya ng mga ‘pOpUlAr KidSz’ sa school nila.

And then we have this love triangle na obvious na obvious kung sino ang pipiliin ng bida. Pero pota, and insta-love, wala man lang build-up, pagkakita sa locker room, may koneksyon na agad? And I forgot, required ba talagang full name lagi kapag binabanggit si Josh Collier at Levi Sterling? Like after telling us their full name, hindi ba pwedeng Josh at Levi na lang?

Kung napapansin niyo, medyo frustrated ako pero masasabi ko rin naman na inintriga ako ng librong ‘to. I want to know who is behind this killing and nahahot-an din ako kay Levi, ewan, iba rin naman talaga ang taglay na hagod ng mga lalaking parang bad boy na kaya kang protektahan sa masasamang tao na gustong manakit sa ‘yo pero parang i-spank me daddy ka once na kayo na lang mag-isa sa kwarto. HOY NAPAKAKALAT!

Nagustuhan ko rin naman yung thrill na binigay sa akin ng last part of the book at yung twist sa dulo nung nalaman ko na kung bakit ba nangyayari ang lahat ng ito. I am also somehow satisfied sa naging ending ng isang dimunyu dito sa istorya. Gusto ko rin yung element na may pasolve ng mga something in Latin parang obstacle courses mga ganyan.

All in all, this is a 2 stars for me, pero dahil sa last part, umangat siya ng 3 stars, Nagustuhan ko, may mga part na nanggigil at nainis ako, but this book entertained me. I don’t think that I will reread it or use this as reference in the future pero oks na rin.

MY RATING

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Roxanne St. Claire | Victory Editing--Helping you put your best ...

Roxanne St. Claire is the “New York Times” bestselling, award-winning author of nearly thirty novels of romance and suspense, including the Bullet Catchers series and the Guardian Angelinos series.

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BOOK REVIEW: Want by Cindy Pon

Want (Want, #1) by Cindy Pon

A very easy to read dystopian sci-fi set in Taipei with lots of neon lights, flying vehicles, and smog of pollution. With a main character who loves to read books, and set of diverse side characters that are eager to take down a corporation that stops people from demanding a better world without pollution.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

What I like

🌟 FIRST OF ALL. Jason Zhou, our main guy, is a bookworm and loves to use book characters as reference. I mean– ugh!

🌟 This is sooo relevant lalo na sa pandemic na meron tayo ngayon since there’s a subplot of an epidemic in this book. Nakasentro ang librong ‘to sa topic ng pollution and on how people can easily choose not to look at other peoples struggles as long as it is not affecting them and as long as their priviledge are protecting them.

🌟 It shows how leaders or higher-ranked officials can manipulate shit that causes sufferings sa ibang tao.

🌟 I like the friendship and the characters that are within our main characters group. They are being composed by a very diverse set of characters. We have Filipino, Indian, Chinese, and F/F romance. They are like family and sobrang natutuwa ako kapag magkasama sila sa iisang eksena doing family things. Each one of them are also playing a very important role in this mission. Ang perfect nilang lima.

🌟 Victor, our Filipino guy, is my favorite character. He’s smart, charming, and has a good instinct for survival. He’s critical pagdating sa mga plano that can risk their lives. I also feel for him when it comes to loving someone you can’t have. Aww, my poor Victor.

🌟 Daiyun is an interesting character tho halfway, alam ko na kung anong magiging role niya sa story.

🌟 The world building is good. Taipei in neon lights with this suits and flying cars and brown smog of pollution. Very futuristic but at the same time, hindi nalalayong maging future natin.

What I don’t like

✨ This book is skippy. The scenes are cut short and then we will be on our next scene without giving me the satisfaction of finishing the previous scene. Alam mo ‘yun? The excitement or emotions are cut short ng hindi ko pa masyadong nananamnam.

✨ Nakulangan ako sa pagpapakita or execution. Like, the mission is to destroy the Jin corporation, all right, pero the process of putting the bombs, the planning, the execution was not shown. Instead we came into the scene where in they are already bombing the place. Skippy… not the peanut butter.

✨ There’s not much of a challenge sa book na ‘to. Madali nilang nakukuha ang lahat. Madaling nalalagpasan ang mga lubak kaya walang masyadong action that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

📚 All in all, this is good. I love the message and the focal point of this book but I am not mindblown. I enjoyed reading it; I enjoyed being in this world; I enjoyed following this characters pero kulang talaga eh.

I am not excited to read the second book and baka hindi ko na rin basahin because the interest is not there.

Ps. Jason Zhou… the guy on the cover… is so damn good looking! Ugh!

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

3 STARS

“Parang avocado shake na kulay green at amoy avocado pero hindi ganoon kalasang avocado.”

Image result for cindy pon about the author

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix, which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by Booklist, and one of 2009’s Best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA