Paper Planes Back Home

coverPaper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas
My copy: ebook/print
Number of pages: 147

When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she’s only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—”They’re thoughts of people who remember,” a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it’s hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home.

Gianna wakes up on a cloud, and she’s confused. What was she doing there? Then she meets Skylar, a soldier on another cloud, who tells her that the paper planes that were landing on their clouds were thoughts and messages of people who remember. It turns out they were in some kind of limbo, and the paper planes were their way back home.

I wasn’t really sure what to make of Paper Planes Back Home when I first read its synopsis, because it didn’t seem like the usual romance novel for me. But then again, it wasn’t really just a simple romance novel. Tara Frejas’ debut had love in almost all of its forms – romance, family, and friendship, and this is what makes this book the kind I think people will read regardless of the genre they usually try.

There’s something heartwarming with how Tara wrote this book, and you can see that there’s already a lot of heart in it. I loved the four main characters – Gianna, Skylar, Aaron, and Anna. They had very distinct voices, and they all had different goals and motivations in the story that tied up nicely when you get to the end. In a way, you can kind of see what’s going to happen after all the situations were laid out, but even if it was predictable in that way, you won’t really mind because you just want to have a good ending for all these people. They deserve it, after all that they’ve gone through.

And the world-building in this was on point, too. No one really knows what limbo, or after life is about, but reading this book would make you want to believe that what Tara wrote was real. It was easy to see that the world was lovingly created by the author, and I admit that I always liked it when the book was back on those clouds. There was also an element of fear there, but more of fear for the characters and what could happen to them there.

This book left me with a smile on my face, and some tears, too. It’s not sad, although the premise seems like it. But trust me, warm, fuzzy feelings and happy tears will be around when you reach the end of this. :) And if you happen to be in the same shoes as Aaron in this book, Paper Planes Back Home will give you hope that will make you send more thoughts and prayers, hoping that these will be strong enough to bring the person you love home.

The stronger the love, the stronger the plane.

You can read an excerpt of Paper Planes Back Home here!

Rating: 

Other reviews:
Jay E. Tria | Bookbed

What You Wanted

What You WantedWhat You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
Chic Manila # 5
Publisher: Bright Girl Books
Number of pages: 137
My copy: ARC from author

It’s the classic one-night stand: Beach wedding, bridesmaid, groom’s friend. When Andrea and Damon meet, sparks fly, and they give in to the attraction. Sounds simple, but Andrea’s still getting over someone, and Damon thought he’d be hooking up with another person that night. It could still be simple, really, if they chalk it up to a weekend tryst and move on.

But one night becomes lunch the week after, and then dinner the next weekend…and before they know it, Andrea and Damon are still together, dealing with the feelings they know they might still have for other people. How hard can it be to get exactly what you want? How do you even know what it is?

The moment I started reading Mina V. Esguerra’s latest book, What You Wanted, I thought: I missed this. I’ve read some of Mina’s Spotlight New Adult books and liked them enough, but there was something that felt like coming home when she’s writing something based in Manila again. And it helped that I read and liked the prequel to this book, Wedding Night Stand, so I was pretty excited to have first dibs on this book.

Andrea met Damon at her sister’s wedding. It was just supposed to be a one-night stand, but days and weeks after the wedding, Andrea finds herself seeking out Damon, seeing and spending more time with him. But it’s not a completely simple romance as both of them have issues of their own: Damon is pining over Geraldine, known as the ice queen who he has been pursuing for a while, and Andrea is still nursing a broken heart from Thad, who dropped her after a weekend together and got married to someone else. Andrea and Damon agreed to use each other to get what they want…but what do they really want, anyway?

I wasn’t even halfway through and I was already charmed by Andrea and Damon, and I was rooting for the two of them to get what they wanted, whatever that was! I mean, I sort of knew what it was, being the reader, but I had such a good time watching things unfold for the two of them. I was a little surprised with how some of Andrea’s angst with Thad resonated with me but I’m not going to go there because that’s in the past. Let’s just say I get what she meant about that, and how awful it feels when there’s a Naomi. I remember feeling all ranty whenever Andrea was alone with Thad and how I wanted to shoo him away. (But other than that, I still think I am more of a Julie, haha)

And speaking of Damon! I liked Damon a lot. There’s so much about him that’s easy to like, in an alpha-male kind of way. Like how he was focused, and how he didn’t resort to manipulation and instead just proved himself to show that he deserved to get what he wanted. I liked how he seemed so dangerous and in some ways, wild, but also can be pretty gentle at times. I would probably be intimidated like hell if I meet someone like Damon in person, but I think I will still be secretly watching him. :P (Haha, see, I’m a Julie.) I liked him so much that I told Mina that it seemed like there’s competition for Lucas of Fairy Tale Fail’s spot in my heart. Gasp!

I really liked What You Wanted. While most of the story revolved around the “extended” hook-up, there’s a lot more in their story that gives reader a chance to see how characters like Andrea and Damon change, find out, and eventually, get what they really wanted. :)

Also – lots of food in this book, so yeah, don’t read this with an empty stomach. Sushi, grilled fish, juice, and siopao. :D

Rating: 

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

“You’re never going to be able to introduce him to them as yours, Andrea. He burned that bridge when he chose someone else. Walk away.”

That was it. This was where my first attempt at relationship feelings went to die. At a table for six, in a restaurant that served really fat duck. It would die among my closest friends, none of whom knew what had happened to me, what I had lost, and who killed it.

Food and coffee, was how you became friends with anyone, I learned.

It was legitimately scary for me to even attempt anything with Thad because when we were good together, it already felt like we were us. Committed.

And now we were nothing.

…If there’s one part of him you pretend doesn’t exist, then you don’t love the man; you love the version of him that exists in your head.