Monday, August 15, 2016

WHEN SPARKS FLY - Ines Bautista Yao {Review}

TITLEWhen Sparks Fly
AUTHOR/s: Ines Bautista Yao

PUBLICATION DATE: 15th of August, 2016
Happy book birthday, When Sparks Fly! (*cough* and advanced happy birthday to me *cough* hahaha!)

Anyway, I first learned of this story a couple of months ago from Miss Ines Bautista Yao herself when I first met her personally (check it out HERE!) I was so thrilled to know that she was working on another full length piece since it's been a while since she released a book (not considering the shorts she published occasionally) and I was even happier when I learned that it's the story of Ben and Regina which I first saw - and liked - in her last work Only A Kiss.

Fast forward to a few weeks later, I saw that she was looking for a street team to help promote and announce the release of her latest book. Of course, I wouldn't dare miss the chance to help out :)

So if you still haven't hit that purchase button yet, allow me to show what you've been missing ;)
Twenty-four-year-old photographer's apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana's heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

Without any biases, I can say that Miss Ines writes really ~interesting~ characters. All of them were realistic, relatable and FUN, not just the leads but the secondary characters as well. I believe that the people in the story are actually the highlight of the book.

First of is Regina. She's the character that I have been able to relate to the most. I liked how despite seeing herself as the "dull orange" beside the "shiny apple" that is her best friend, she didn't let it get in the way from doing what she loves - photography. Also, I love that she's in the "media" industry! It perfectly portrays how DIFFICULT it is to work behind the scenes. Whew!

Next up is of course, Ben - oh sweet, charming, irresistible Ben. I'm not much into the "playboy" guy trope but he proves himself worthy of the kilig. I know some of his initial ~moves~ were just his ways to get the girl but of course, eventually, you can see him genuinely trying. Yes, he might be a bit "naive" and "gullible" at some point but I think it proves how much of a nice friend he is. Despite his "credentials" with girls, you just couldn't help but be won over just like Regina as you see him genuinely try. As what Regina has said, "someone catch the drops from my melting heart."
But of course, fascinating as the leads were, the supporting characters added so much to the story too. Personally, I don't understand how things are from the side of the "perfect" best friend and I didn't really ~fully~ liked Lana at first. I mean, I don't think I could handle her as a real life friend haha! However, by the end, I realize that despite their differences and conflict, Regina needed her best friend by her side and that the two of them complement each other. 

A side character I actually really enjoyed was Paulo Javellana. I liked how his relationship with Regina evolved from simply just coworkers to being friends and that despite his facade, he's really a guy with a soft heart. However, <spoiler> I didn't really expect that he could be a potential love interest for Lana 'cause I honestly though he was gay. </spoiler> I don't know, maybe it's just me and my overreading haha!

The one that I considered pairing up with <spoiler> Lana </spoiler> was the swoony Nicolas. He was like a big newsflash to Regina (and maybe to me???) that sometimes we have the tendency to underestimate ourselves and that leads us to pushing away people and things that we actually deserve. I liked him a lot especially with the cute backstory hahaha! And I totally did not expect him to <spoiler> re-appear again in Regina's life! When he did, I expected Ben to see them together and get jelly lol </spoiler>

Last but definitely not the least is Stacey. Oh this bright ball of sunshine! There's nothing to be said but I simply adored her and her passion for the thing that she does. Plus points 'cause she helped play matchmaker :3

When it comes to plot and/or themes, I broke it down to three aspects:

(1) Romance - this one is a bit tricky because being in Regina's shoes is definitely tough. I don't really agree with some of her decisions but I guess I couldn't really blame her. On the other hand, her banters with Ben are just adorable but it felt real. Also, they actually had tough waters in their relationship especially that incident with Alexa (who btw, I think is an amazingly written antagonist 'cause you just will ~hate~ her, you guys.) I wouldn't elaborate but you need to see for yourself! Just a word of advice: prepare for the swoon and kilig from Regina and Ben you guys!

(2) Friendship - another heavy weighting aspect for me. The book didn't solely focus on #1, but rather, balances it with themes of friendship. As mentioned before, I liked how Regina and Lana had managed to get through their conflict and be there for each other when they needed it (even if they're in good terms or not.) Reading about them would make you wanna hug your best friend and just tell him/her how special she is and how blessed you are to have him/her.

(3) Self - although the first two took up most of the focus, Miss Ines did not forget the importance of loving and believing in yourself too. This aspect actually hits home to my heart the most. It may not seem like it but I actually have self confidence issues and like Regina, I have the tendency to see others as simply ~more~ and thus, deserving the better things. Like in Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, "We accept the love we think we deserve" and I realized that maybe it's time that I accept that I may not be perfect but there will be people believing that I deserve good things in life too :)
Aside from this, it showed me how important it is to pursue your passion even though it may seem impractical (like, you don't think it will be enough to earn you a living and/or you see your bank account deflate.) Both Stacey and Regina made me see that yes, it's still important to rake in some cash but it is equally (sometimes even more) important to listen to your heart and do what you want to do even though it seems impossible. Lastly, I realized that occasionally wanting things for yourself and doing mistakes don't automatically make you a bad person. As Paulo has said, "It's normal to feel that way, Regina. You aren't up for canonization." Don't be too hard on yourself for feeling things you ~think~ you shouldn't but is really just unavoidable.

Overall, upon reaching the end, it left me with a smile on my face. It was a rollercoaster ride that made me feel ~feels~ and get annoyed and realize so many stuff without me even knowing it. I was really happy to see familiar faces in the story too! But I just really need a Nicolas spin-off right now haha! :D

"She had an idea of what he was going to say, but she wanted to hear him say it. So much that she held her breath."

"It hit her the way it did each time she put her eye through the viewfinder how vivid life became when she could harness one brief moment and isolate it this way. On film. Like holding a little bit of sunshine in your hands."

"It was just so comforting and encouraging to know you had someone by your side, willing to take up the battle axe once you couldn't lift it anymore."

"You can't pull people's strings as if they were puppets (...)" -Regina

Other pretty quotes (that I actually bookmarked while reading!) edited by Miss Ines herself! 

I know that auto-reading anything that Miss Ines writes is one of the best decisions I've ever made and When Sparks Fly is a proof that she deserves all the adoration that her fans give her. Flawless writing, realistic characters, and of course, the dose of kilig and swoon-worthy things are definitely her thing :) 

Five out of Five rating for Ines Bautista Yao's When Sparks Fly!

5/5 Rating! :)

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