Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brand-Changing Day Book Review

Oh, look, another book review post!

I can't promise that this will become a regular thing here but I'll try my best.

For this post, I'll be reviewing Shawn Mihalik's upcoming book entitled, Brand-Changing Day which is set to be released on November 19, 2013. So without further ado, let's start with the blurb;

In the world of the casual American chain restaurant, brand-changing day signifies the start of something new—new menu items are rolled out, logos are redesigned, service procedures are updated, and old uniforms are traded for hipper, darker, flashier styles.

But for employees at The Grill in Youngstown, Ohio—including twenty-something server Scott Pelletier and forty-something general manager Geoffrey McCree—brand-changing day might be when everything changes. Forever.

I'm more of YA tearjerky junkie, though I also enjoy reading classics like Austen, Brontë and Salinger, (He's considered a classic, right? No? Eh?) and while I enjoyed Shawn's writing style, I wish I can say the same with the story itself.

Shawn is a terrific writer and I like the way he developed each of the characters, and their corresponding backstories. But these backstories also served as a distraction to the overall flow of the story. There were times that I felt that there were too much details that weren't really necessary. While I appreciate that Shawn was able to capture the mundane aspects of everyday life by giving us blow by blow accounts of characters doing something as simple as showering, or eating a greasy croissant, I'd rather concentrate on the bigger picture.

Brand-Changing Day started out real slow, it wasn't until the third part of the book that I truly understood the message it was trying to convey. It's all about change. Change can come in two ways. It can come gradually, giving you time to adjust and prepare yourself, or it can come in an instant. Leaving you flopping like a fish out of water as you try to figure out what went wrong and how you missed it. Shawn was able to connect these two, and I while I didn't particularly like the story itself, I appreciate the concept and the philosophical message behind it, especially after knowing that some parts of the book seemed to be derived from the author's actual experiences.

Overall, I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

While it's not particularly my cup of tea, I still recommend Brand-Changing Day to anyone looking for something different. If you're tired of reading badly written erotica, vampire related love triangles or a silly sci-fi novel forced to look like a dystopian series, this is a book for you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Short and Very Delayed Review of If I Stay

If you're like me who's a sucker for tearjerking books, you might have heard of Gayle Forman's novel, If I Stay and it's companion sequel, Where She Went. If you haven't then please go buy yourself a copy before proceeding below.

Bought your copy? I hope so.

But if you've already read it, then congratulations! I consider you my new friend.

I read this book about two years ago after browsing a list of tearjerking books. I downloaded the eBook format as I don't go around buying a physical book not unless I find it really great, into which I'd prefer having the book so I can caress its smooth pages. Book fetish much? Yeah.

Basically, If I Stay tells the story of a 17 year old music prodigy Mia Hall who lost her entire family in a fatal car accident. She herself is under comma as a result and she has to choose whether to stay, continue living as an orphan, or let go and join her family in heaven. It wasn't really pointed out that they're in Heaven, but her family is too perfect for hell. At least that's how I feel about it.

Along the way, Mia wanders the hospital in a ghost-like state as she watches her friends and relatives go about their lives after the accident, which would affect her decision of staying or not. We get to meet Mia's spunky best friend Kim, and Mia's emo-core-yet-softie boyfriend, Adam Wilde.

The story alternates between the present and flashbacks from Mia's childhood which gives us a concrete idea about Mia's life. 

If I Stay is a short yet emotionally packed novel that will make you smile and cry at the same time. It will make you fall in love while breaking your heart in the process. I remember crying out loud when I read it the first time, especially when Adam gives a heartfelt speech on why Mia should stay. I Remember thinking, "Damn you Gayle Forman! I love and hate you at the same time!"

This book is achingly perfect. I immediately downloaded the sequel once I finished it, and proceeded on buying the physical books afterwards. I even forced my Mom and my best friend to read it, it's just that good. The emotions Gayle Forman had created is raw and honest. Something that's hard to find in a YA book these days.

I also remember thinking that if this book turns into a movie, I would definitely watch it. I don't care who the actors they choose or how long I'd have to wait.

Fast forward two years later, (which is uh... Like now) they're actually filming the movie staring Chloë Grace Moretz (a.k.a Hit-Girl/Carrie) as Mia, and Jamie Blackley as Adam, and I couldn't ask for a more perfect cast than these two actors. Though I must admit that I didn't actually liked Jamie at first, but then after looking at some of his photos, I think I'm starting to like him. I actually felt the same way when it was announced that Ansel Elgort was cast as the great Augustus Waters for the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars movie, yet one of the greatest books I've ever read!

So there you go. I know this isn't really a good review, but I seldom do reviews not unless I really really liked the book, not to mention that thinking about the upcoming movie sends me to fan girl like crazy. I mean, I made a movie poster for crying out loud!

Granted it's not that great because I had a hard time looking for suitable photos that would represent the actors as the characters they're playing. But hey, I made an effort!