Title: Just Like the Movies
Author: Kelly Fiore
Publication: July 22nd 2014 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC, 292 pages
Source: from Netgalley (Thanks, Bloomsbury!)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads / The Book Depository / Amazon

Synopsis: 

Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques? Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

Review:

Books like Just Like The Movies are meant for me to read, I swear. As expected, I had so much fun reading this book. From the plot summary alone, I kind of knew that already and I’m so glad that the story delivered exactly what I was hoping for. About two girls who decide to make their lives as cinematic and romantic as the movies, Just Like The Movies was an enjoyable contemporary YA story from start to finish!

‘Have you ever wished you could fall in love like they do on screen?’

While the story plays an important role for a book to catch my attention and make me want to turn pages, it is the characters that can really anchor me and truly captivate me. Nothing beats solid protagonists that are realistic and dynamic. Just Like The Movies offered just that. We get a duo of awesome female MCs: Lily and Marijke. The two each get their own POVs in the book and I liked even more that their voices, not to mention their personalities, were very distinct.

‘Falling in love means two, not one. You can’t get someone to love you through sheer effort or desire.’

Marijke has everything a girl could want: she’s popular, good-looking, the star of her track team, has parents who support her at every meet and the hottest guy in school is her boyfriend. Despite her perfect image, Marijke fears that she loves her boyfriend, Tommy, more than he loves her. Pressured by her parents’ own perfect romance and by the challenge it takes to keep Tommy, she tries to rekindle the fire in their relationship by huge gestures of love inspired by the movies, an idea of Lily’s.

‘It’s kind of weird to be a big part of things but not a part of things at all. At least not enough to be recognized. Most of the time, I just try to convince myself that I don’t care.’

Lily is pretty much my favorite character in this book. She’s sarcastic and snarky but is quite the hopeless romantic, deep inside. She’s crushed on Joe Lombardi forever, but he’s never noticed her. For most of high school, Lily has stayed invisible to everyone. She’s the girl whose name most people don’t know, the girl without a clique she belongs to. I understood her character a lot because of this as she reminded me of myself. However, when she meets Marijke at a movie theater by chance, things start to look up as they uphold their promise to help each other make their lives like the movies.

‘The last aspect of the perfect movie romance: chemistry. It’s the one thing that movies capture that real life has in common. It’s the one thing you can’t fake, because it’s as certain as science.’

Marijke helps Lily to get noticed by Joe and Lily helps Marijke with her plans to romance Tommy. No matter how cheesy (and a little bit cliché) the romantic plot was, I still liked it a lot. As for the love interest, Joe was my favorite. I pretty much crushed on him the way Lily did too. Sa-woon. Tommy, however, failed to charm me until the last part. His and Marijke’s relationship were a little bit frustrating but I wouldn’t change a thing since their problems as a couple helped me understand Marijke, who I couldn’t really connect to at first. Anyway, the romance, especially Joe and Lily’s, was so delightful.

‘They say you can fall in love at first sight. What about falling into friendship? Can you become BFFs over the course of a few short weeks?’

Having said that, what I really liked about the Just Like The Movies, aside from the characters, was the fact that the friendship Lily and Marijke form was given much importance. It was lovely watching their friendship grow, with Marijke being comfortable confiding in Lily and Lily learning to just be herself (her smartass, funny self) around Marijke. I just love books with positive female friendships and I was fond of seeing it in this book.

‘Life isn’t predictable like a movie. There isn’t a formula to follow.’

If this book were a movie, it would totally be my favorite kind. Quick to devour, absolutely sweet and a completely fun read, I definitely recommend Just Like The Movies for fans of rom-coms!

Rating:

four

why read

About a month ago, I received a letter from my fave local seller of pre-loved books online, Bookbed. I actually shared a post last year from the foundress of Bookbed, KB, who had the initiative to start a fundraiser for typhoon victims by selling books for charity. And this is exactly one of the reasons why I adore Bookbed- it was run by a true blue bookworm who cares not only for her fellow readers, but the rest of her nation. In the letter she wrote me and a few others last June, she talked about how she wanted Bookbed to be more than what it was. She wanted to build a community. And she was inviting us to join her and help her work towards this vision.

My answer? Hell yes.

Earlier this month, on its 4th birthday, Bookbed was relaunched at Bookbed.org! I am proud to say that I am part of this rising community. And I hope you’ll join us too! (You can sign up here.)

One of our first initiatives as the new Bookbed was the to start our #readingnation campaign. If you’re a reader, blogger or author, you know very well that Filipinos are a huge part of the bookish community. We fangirl hard and we love books with a fierce passion. And we want our nation to feel that, to want to be a part of that. That’s what our campaign is all about. So to start, we asked around: #whyread?

why read

I read to seek a great perhaps. Why am I echoing a French poet’s last words, you ask? I came across the line while reading Looking For Alaska (as I know most of you probably have), and at the time, it made me stop and just think for awhile.

Let me get personal with you. I used to feel really restless and stuck. I was (and still am, really) a shy, awkward girl. But then, I had about a tiny speck of exciting life experiences. (I knew I was still young but I felt like I wasn’t making the most of my youth, you know?) Life was dull. When I read that line in Looking For Alaska, I remember asking myself- ‘Do I seek for a Great Perhaps?’ I knew in me that I did. And I still do. I first found my Great Perhaps in books. Through fictional characters and imaginary worlds. Through reality written in words. Reading books has inspired me to work on also seeking that Great Perhaps in my own life. I’m putting my trust in that person who said ‘What you seek, you shall find.’ And so, I will read until then and even after.

How about you? #whyread? What are your thoughts, suggestions, and comments on Bookbed’s #readingnation campaign?

Visit Bookbed at our website and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

To join the #readingnation campaign, just answer the question “Why read?” and put it on a sign. Then, take a photo with it and upload online with the #whyread #readingnation and #bookbed.

signature new

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publication: July 15th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: eARC, 207 pages
Source: from Xpresso Book Tours, for blog tour
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Sports
Goodreads / The Book Depository / Amazon

Synopsis: 

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Review:

I’ve been a long-time fan of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, ever since reading Catching Jordan. Until the day I read this one, the first book had always been the closest to my heart. However, to my surprise, I fell very much in love with Breathe, Annie, Breathe. It took me a while to truly embrace to the story but I eventually was enamored by the book. The more I got into it, the more I realized that I’ve finally found a new favorite.

I’ll give the book’s storyline straight to you: Breathe, Annie, Breathe is about Annie Winters, who is training for a marathon to honour the memory of the guy she’s loved all her life. The story behind that isn’t initially told but as you read on, you find out more about Annie’s relationship with Kyle, her boyfriend who passed away. The book revolved around several things and one of them is Annie learning to open up to the people around her. Through the writing, I felt like she was opening up to me as a reader too.

‘Maybe you don’t have to figure out life at all. Maybe it just is.’

There are so many things to say about Annie. I easily liked her and enjoyed her narration. I also grew to admire her as I discovered her incredible determination. Aside from running, Annie also keeps a job as a diner waitress and I just commend her for being so hardworking. Mostly importantly though, I related to Annie so very much. I think that has a lot to do with the grief she felt. I only recently lost someone and like Annie’s boyfriend, my friend was too young to be gone. Because of this, I deeply connected to how Annie missed Kyle- how it’s so hard to move on, how it sucks when you don’t get to say goodbye, and how, in Annie’s words, ‘you can’t enjoy the future knowing that that person is missing out.’ There were so many times I found myself tearing up because feels. Aside from this, I also identified with how Annie was trying to make sense of who she is, what she wants to do and just trying to make sense of life in general. So yes, in so many ways, I felt like Breathe, Annie, Breathe spoke a lot to me.

‘It’s like the world is open to me, the sky is wide and blue, but clouds are threatening in the distance.’

It wasn’t just Annie’s character that got to me though. There’s also the relationships she forms and rebuilds as the story moves on. As always, Miranda doesn’t forget to show the importance of friends and family. Annie is estranged with her ex-bestfriend Kelsey and has also grown distant with her mother. Both had a lot to do with her relationship with Kyle but I think what matters is how the book talks about how your world gets really small sometimes, maybe because of a boy, maybe because of your grief, and you just need to let in other people and find a balance. Again, I related so much and I loved it. I loved how Annie works through things and I feel like I learned so much from her. Annie soon connects with new friends (note: the female friendships here are fab) and I just really enjoyed how these allowed several cameos from the other characters in the previous books namely: Matt, Savannah, Jordan, Vanessa, Kelsey, Colton and more! Seriously, I loved the cameos!!!

‘If I get wet, I’ll have to run back with soggy clothes and I’ll get chafed-’
‘Wouldn’t want that.’
‘I’ll finally get to take your brother up on his kind offer of Vaseline.’
‘I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that.’

Matt is actually Annie’s trainer, the one helping her to run a marathon. One of the things I just adore about Miranda’s books is how they involve sports. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a sporty girl- the very opposite in fact. (Another thing I related to with Annie- she actually hated running until she resolved to finish her boyfriend’s marathon for him.) That’s probably why it’s nice to read about Miranda’s books’ insights on the sports they focus on. Running is actually one of the sports I sorta like and almost enjoy doing. I’ve done a few fun runs myself but I loved that Breathe, Annie, Breathe elaborated about the training part of running marathons. It’s not just constantly running- it also involves a diet and a very serious program. The book even includes a chart of Annie’s running progress/schedule which is awesome. Truth be told, this aspect convinced me to take up running more seriously. (Now, if only I had a hot running coach..)

‘My life moved too fast to slow down for anybody. But this entire summer, I’ve been going slow. I’ve been waiting for you.’

Last but definitely not the least, I loved the romance in Breathe, Annie, Breathe. OHMYGOD, did I love it. When the story starts, Annie is hung up on Kyle but then Jeremiah comes along. Hot, gorgeous, flirty, charming, adrenaline-loving, backwards-running, Jeremiah. From the first moment they meet, there is an instant, very explosive, attraction between him and Annie. What I love though is how this attraction gets back-tracked and Jeremiah and Annie actually take things slowly when they realize things started too fast between them. This works perfectly and I just totally swooned over the bond they form. They actually become friends and it was just amazing seeing their relationship grow with such strong foundations. I absolutely enjoyed their banters and dialogue, the way they handled disagreements and talked maturely, their amazing chemistry, and just the way they are. But really, I just totally loved Jeremiah (who is definitely on my book boyfriend list already). 50% of my highlights in the book are ‘I want a Jeremiah’ and I’m not even kidding.

‘Anything can happen. Anytime, to anyone. We have to live now. Now, now, now.’

If you read through this whole review (you deserve a cupcake for that), you probably know that I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about Breathe, Annie, Breathe. I really did. In case you skipped through my rambles though, here’s the main idea: READ THIS BOOK NOW. If you love young adult books, if you love the contemporary genre, if you are interested in sports or running, if you feel like giggling or laughing out loud, if you want to fall in love, if you’re trying to figure out life, if you’ve read the previous books in the Hundred Oaks series or not, READ THIS BOOK.

Rating:

five

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway