Vince’s Life: The Wedding by Vince O. Teves

Vince's Life The Wedding

“It’s funny how things turn out. You think you know what’s going to happen, but you don’t. You never really do.”

Vince thinks his life is over when he loses Cat – the girl who turned his life around after Andrea broke his heart. Then his friend Connie drops a bomb on him telling him she’s pregnant and that she wants him to come to her wedding in America – where Andrea is. His first love. Does this mean Vince and Andrea finally get another chance? Or does Vince land an ending that even he never expected?

Buy a copy from Amazon

Personal Thoughts:

The first two books of Vince’s Life series focus on Vince’s romantic relationships. In the first book, we saw him as the hopeless romantic guy who is head over hills in love with the woman of his dream. We saw fell in love and tried to fight for his love. The second book shows a post-breakup Vince who is trying to move on and run his life on his own. Now on this third and final installment, we are not only getting Vince relationships issue but also his relationship with his friends, Connie and Spider. As Vince and his gang went to a new adventure in a distance place away from their home, you’ll see a solid camaraderie between them. A friendships that helps Vince to finally fight for his happiness.

Vince is still romantic but not much the same hopeless romantic guy I’ve met from the first two book. Obviously he grows. I can’t believe that a decade has already passed since his story started from the first book. Vince’s in this final installment is more practical and realistic but still sentimental and a bit daring sometimes. You won’t believe some of the things he did while he was in Las Vegas with his friends. There are part of those adventures that feel contrive but nevertheless fun to read. Vince’s is so lucky for having a supportive friends who will do anything to see him happy and successful. I really respect the friendship they share.

“There’s only room for one in your heart for one. That’s just who you are. It’s not possible for you to love two people at the same time. You’ve got a big heart, kiddo, but there’s only on chair inside, and we both know who’s sitting there. She’s been there all along.”

One of the good things about this book is you won’t know how the story was going to turn out exactly. Even you got some vague idea and hints you can’t really sure what will happen next, who Vince will choose, how will he do it and what are his reasons. Not that those things isn’t easy to guess, but because when you put yourself in Vince’s situation, you know that it will not be easy. The fact that what you are reading a true story of the author, you can only expect a common or realistic ending for Vince but at the same you can’t help but hope for more for this guy who ultimately grow on you as you read. Personally, I want his story to have fireworks and hoping that somehow it will end with a bit of magic too. Not the fairy tale kind though.

The whole series is just a quick read. I think I finished this last installment in more than two hours, running through the end, while absorbing every words and pages of Vince’s life. His story telling skills is still absorbing even there are some changes in his writing style. I particularly like reading all his analogy and metaphors about relationships, love and life. Most of the times it makes me pause and think things or just simply want to read them again and again till I absorbed every words and form all the meanings I can in my head.

“You and I,” she said slowly, saying each word with care, “are a pair of scissors.”
“A pair of scissors…” I replied, unsure of what she meant.
“Alone, we’re knives. Sharp and nasty, made to hurt others. But together, we are scissors. Better, safer, more useful. But more than that, we are our missing halves. And whatever comes between us, we destroy.”
“I like that,” I told her.
“You don’t think it’s creepy?” she asked tentatively.
“No, it’s not creepy. Because I love you.”

If there’s anything that slightly missing is the break-up details of Vince and Cat. Not that it is actually needed because honestly even if Vince didn’t lay out in detail what really happened between him in Cat, you will still understand what really happened. My inner curiosity just want to know more to fully understand the depth of the situation. I know and understand Vince’s regrets and happiness every time he remember his past with Cat. But I think if Vince allowed the readers to peak a little bit more, we may not only just able to understand him but also feel the same intensity and feelings that he undergo. We can grieve with him even technically it all happened in the past and maybe Vince is already happy in the present.

“When it’s right, love isn’t difficult. It’s the easiest thing in the world. All the differences and the hardships doesn’t matter, and there’s only one answer to every question.”

Overall, Vince Life: The Wedding is a satisfying ending for Vince Life series and a great start to a promising happy life to the real Vince. I am really thankful to this awesome guy for sharing his life and wisdom. He not only offers entertainment or lots of “kilig” moments, but also leave examples to remind us some of life realities. Just like his life and story, everything in life consist of choices and it is really up to us to make one. Whether it is a small and simple choice like getting out of bed or not up-to choosing our dreams over the one we love and other life changing choices we need to make.

* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Summit Publishing Co., Inc. via Jieneb in exchange of honest review.

Don’t Let It End Reading Challenge


I’ve been meaning to join this Don’t Let It End Reading Challenge hosted by my friend Rachel of Fikshun ever since she posted the idea on her Facebook account. But then I realized I don’t have much books to read from my TBR pile that will fit for the challenge. Until recently that I visited my goodreads shelf, I found out that few books are actually enough since Rachel didn’t include a minimum requirement of books to read. And the best part is any genre is acceptable. The challenge will run from February 14 to July 14, 2013. You may check the complete list of rules and regulations from her blog, Fiksthun.

Below are my target reads so far. And since there are some series that I’m planning to start reading early this year, their final books might be added too for the challenge.

My Target Reads

If you want to know more about the reading challenge or simply want to sign-up go to this link.

Rapture (Fallen Book #4) by Lauren Kate

“Was their love worth the erasure of the world and all its stories?”

The sky is dark with wings . . . .

Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.

For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Personal Thoughts:

I remember picking up the first Fallen book of this angel series by Lauren Kate few years ago. It all started with an intriguing and gorgeous art cover of the book that caught my attention. Then the author book tour went in my area which actually push me to wait and read the whole series. Now I’m on the fourth and final installment and I have to say the journey is quite worth it.

“Tell them it’s happening. That an endgame has been initiated”

Since this is the final book, I won’t discuss here anymore the characters. I think I pretty covered their development from my reviews for the first three books of this series. We all know how Luce, Daniel, Cam and the other angels, nephilim and mortals behaved and grow. I’m also pretty sure I already told my opinions for each of them, specially the major characters. So in here, let me discuss more about the plot and how the turn of events evolved throughout the story.

As every reader of this series know, the story focus on Luce and Daniel finding a way to end their curse. The unending curse of their love story that is meant to end tragically every lifetime. They are lovers since old days who happens to always find each others in every life. But in this present life everything has change because Luce and Daniel might only have one last chance to be together. In this life they need to end the curse before it ended them and the whole world or its history.

From the previous books we know that Daniel is an Angel and with all the hints we also know that he is one of the highest rank. We also get to know that his decision to choose love or Luce between Heaven and Hell is the start of their curse. But what we don’t know is what is Luce’s exact role in all these? That’s the major question always left hanging from the previous books. So now that we are on the final book, of course we all expect that it will finally revealed. We expect Lauren Kate to deliver us the whole story – how the curse started, how will it end and how Luce become part of it.

So in order to know all those things Lauren Kate put Luce, Daniel and all the other angels in a mission to stop Lucifer from erasing history. The strange alliance of angels have nine days to find three artifacts that will lead them to the exact place of the original fall. A place where Daniel and Luce can possibly end their curse.

During the quest, Lauren Kate introduced some nice crafted plot devices like the three relics and patinas. Personally, I like the concept of patina, I think it is a pretty clever little addition to the story. Lauren Kate also brings us to different beautiful places such as Italy, France, Austria and Egypt. Like in the third book, Passion, she creatively use each place and its history to merge in the story. She also introduced new characters like Dee and bring back some of the old and important one. There were the Fallen, the Elders, the Scales, the Outcast, the Throne and Lucifer which all played important roles in finding the relics and ending the curse.

Being the final book, I expected Rapture to answer all my questions from the previous books. Though it holds most of the answers there were few things that’s still left hanging. Some revelations were surprising, like the most important angel that can tip the scale between Heaven and hell. All along I assume that it is Daniel who holds that power but I am surprised when it was revealed in here. Though I see what Luce real identity ahead of time I didn’t expect what her true value is. I under-estimate her, because from the start of this series I am not really a fan of her. Rapture also finally reveals how and where Daniel and Luce first met as well as how their curse started and how important their choices will be.

I don’t necessary like everything portrayed in this book especially the religious part, but I think the way Lauren Kate crafted the soul mate story is beyond the usual. The choice between the Throne and Lucifer, and how mercy played in the story is neatly layout. The story also shows that sometimes the price for love and happiness is not simple. Daniel and Luce as well as the other characters faced Heaven and hell literally. It cost them too much but just like in any situations, sacrifices are necessary in order to get our happiness.

Rapture is a fitting finale for this angel series. I am glad that Lauren Kate didn’t push the story too long. Her writing grew incredibly well from the first book, Fallen. The only issue I got is the lack of development for the side characters. As much as I want the story to focus on Daniel and Luce, I also want to know what happened to the other characters specially Cam. I did expect that Cam will get a bigger role in this final installment. His tortured past from Passion seems a nice plot to follow. There are many possible character arc to be thrown in him but unfortunately this final book didn’t give much room to Cam’s story. I didn’t see enough of him in here. Either Lauren Kate don’t have much time to developed Cam’s character or she’s planning to create a spin-off story for Cam. Whatever the reason, I really think Cam deserves a proper closure.

More than the angels plot line, Fallen series is really a story about Love. A love that spans eons of years and countless lifetimes. No matter what it cost Daniel and Luce are bound to find each other and fall in love again and again. It is a love that is meant to be no matter what.

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

“No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens.”

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Personal Thoughts:

Last year I read so many books with a dystopian theme and Divergent is the book that cement my love for dystopian books in YA. I highly anticipated its sequel, Insurgent hoping that my craving for a good read will be solved by Veronica Roth’s writing. I keep bugging some local book stores ever since Insurgent’s international released last May 1st. I already lost count how many times I called and drop by trying to buy a copy of Insurgent. So when I finally get a copy I wasted no time start reading this book.

The story begins immediately after the shocking events at the end of the previous book, Divergent. Tris, Four (Tobias) and the others who managed to escape the attack of Erudite were on their way to other factions to find a shelter while they are planning what to do next. Tris lost almost everyone she love during the attack and one of them is by her own hand. As she suffers the consequences of her actions, doubt and guilt surrounds her while she keeps to everyone what really happened.

“People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets.

You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.”

In Divergent we get to know how the Dauntless factions operate inside and out. Now in Insurgent Veronica Roth give us the chance to see the other factions particularly Amity, Candor and the Factionless. She opened the door to each faction and let us understand their motives and beliefs. The conflict between them become more clear as each groups become more visible to us. There are secrets, betrayal and questionable alliances.

Like the first book Divergent, Insurgent is also about choices and beliefs. Though, Insurgent put everything in a higher level. The consequences are much riskier and the stakes are higher. It is no longer about a single person anymore. It’s not about Tris nor Tobias but more on the society they live in. The choices someone makes can change not only her/his future but also the future of the entire society.

Like everyone else Tris needs to choose her side. As a divergent her decision is critical because she is one of those who can make the difference. She can build or break the future. The impact of her decisions and movements affect a greater cause. But clearly she is not fully aware of it. As she make her decisions you’ll see her fall, confused and struggled but in the end she proves to everyone that she is a true Divergent – making her choice apart from what the factions create them to be.

As I said from my review of Divergent, Four is someone who can make other character shine without losing his own bright. And in here he continue to do the same. He keeps pushing Tris to reach her maximum potential and be the best of what she can be. Even in desperate times when Tris is loosing her own hope, he never give up on Tris. He always believe in her even if Tris doesn’t believe in her own self anymore.

“I love Tris the Divergent, who makes decisions apart from faction loyalty, who isn’t some faction archetype. But the Tris who’s trying as hard as she can to destroy herself … I can’t love her.”

I want to scream. But not because I’m angry, because I’m afraid he’s right. My hands shake and I grab the hem of my shirt to steady them.

He touches his forehead to mine and closes his eyes. “I believe you’re still in there,” he says against my mouth. “Come back.”

Veronica Roth successfully crafted a thrilling & action packed adventure of her version of dystopian society. Like most dystopian books, Insurgent gives us glimpse of alternative future. It makes us question our society and our place in it. I wonder what is installed to the final book of this series. How will Veronica Roth will conclude this fictional society she created?

My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers #3) by Rachel Vincent

“There were a million What Ifs that could have stopped the whole thing. A million things I wished I’d done differently. But in the end, I was left with what actually happened. With my mistakes and his.”

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.Until something does.Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.And so is someone else…

Personal Thoughts:

One of the benefits of joining a reading challenge that gives opportunity for rereading is reviewing a book that I haven’t reviewed before for some reason. Now that I got the chance to re-read My Soul to Keep I also got the chance to put my thoughts into writing. A chance I missed when I marathon the first four books and two novellas of this lovely series.

Going back to Soul Screamers world is always a treat because of its unique setting and strong world building. The netherworld continues to get more complex as Rachel Vincent bring us the darker and dangerous side of the demon world. Kaylee and her team are on quest of fixing her friends addiction to a substance that only exist in Netherworld. A substance that  is more dangerous than any kind of drugs available in human world.

My Soul to Keep is a daring book where Rachel Vincent took the risk turning around Nash character. A major character favorably adore by most of the readers of the previous books of the series. When Rachel Vincent decided to go to the unexpected and unusual route to her plot she took a step higher and riskier. She dare her readers to trust her and her plotting skills. Nothing is the same in the series after this book. The stakes are higher, relationships are tested and danger is everywhere.

I never thought I can hate Nash more than I already did. Rereading this book proves that no matter how I justify all his actions I still despise him. Even Kaylee and Tod contribute a little to Nash problem, in the end it is still Nash choice and decision that counts. Maybe it is not his fault that he was exposed to demons breathe but what he do after, is his own actions. He chose to hide his real condition and never seeks helps even he is aware what it can do to him. He lied to everyone and put everyone around him at risk. He chose all those things and no one is to be blame but him. His actions and wrong doings are quite unforgivable and unforgettable but hopefully redeemable.

Kaylee as usual is the heroine who wants to fix everything for others even how impossible and risky it is. Because of this, sometimes I find her too good to be true as a character. I admire her persistence and eagerness to help but her motivations in saving almost everyone around her is more than I can bear. I love her determination but sometimes I wish she just stay put for once and stay away from trouble. Everytime she decided to help someone she is also putting most of her closest friends & love ones in danger. These persons won’t actually just leave her alone while she goes to netherworld. They are obligated to help her and secure her safety.

With riskier and daring plot Rachel Vincent deals with different issues such as addiction and betrayal. My Soul to Keep is a thrilling, emotional and heart wrenching installment on the soul screamers series that put boundary between the previous books and the next books of the series.

If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent

“I’m not supposed to feel the fire. I’m not supposed to want it. But I do. I want you, Kaylee like I’ve never wanted anything. Ever. I want the fire. I want the heat, and the light, and I want the burn.” 

The entire school’s talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee’s no ordinary high-school junior. She’s a banshee—she screams when someone dies. 

But the next scream might be for Kaylee. 

Yeah—it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee’s going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend’s needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human, either. 

But Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life. 

Personal Thoughts:

The first thing I notice in this book is the title, If I Die which breaks the pattern of the previous books of the series that all start with “My Soul To”, (My Soul To Lose, My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, My Soul to Keep and My Soul to Steal). So why this fifth book doesn’t follow the same formula? Well, aside from the fact that the title If I Die perfectly describes the whole story, wherein Kaylee is facing her limited borrowed time, If I Die also tend to break the rules. Not just the title but the story itself. Rachel Vincent put everything in a different level, from her characters to the conflicts, and relationships. This is the game changing part of the series, everything you know and you expect will take a different twist and turns.

Even with Kaylee’s limited time there are so many things happening in the story. From Kaylee’s impending death, to the mystery of the new professor in their school, to Nash and Kaylee’s relationship issue. Every page is essential to the story and you can’t help but stuck yourself reading from start to end.

I really like how Rachel Vincent crafted her characters in this series. They were the kind of characters that just grow in you as you read. It is easy to care for all of them even the one you are not supposed to care. They are far from perfect, they make mistakes and do stupid things but you will never hate them because no matter how bad they perform you still care for them.

“I think it doesn’t hurt to let someone else do the rescuing every now and then, when your own armor starts to get banged up.”

Nash is so good in book one (My Soul To Take), and book two doesn’t give me anything to be against him but when I reached the third book I am so pissed with him. In book four he gets my sympathy back for trying to be clean for Kaylee and for wanting Kaylee back as if he can’t really live without her. In this book, I just don’t know what to do with him anymore. I feel sorry for him at one point but I also dislike some of the things he did. But in the end as much as I want to hate him I still want him to be happy whether he end up with Kaylee or not.

Finally Tod got the spotlight. I’ve been waiting for him to be on center stage since book one. This guy is really spot on everytime he appears in the story. If I Die give him the attention he surely deserves. In here Tod is not just the sarcastic, witty and annoyingly charming reaper, he also show his soft side. He shows a lot of emotions and you can’t help but love him more and more.

Kaylee finally knew how Tod feel for her. Though I expected this to happen since book one, I still can’t say that I’m prepared. In fact I think I am not prepared at all, even how obvious it is with all the hints from book four, My Soul To Steal. When I’m reading it from this book, I got a mix feeling. Because as much as I like Tod I don’t want him to be the cause of someone else heartbreak. Like what I said in my review for the first book, My Soul To Take, I want Tod to be the selfless one. I want him to get his happiness without hurting someone he loves.

“You’re not pulling the trigger. But you’re not taking the gun away, either.”

This is really a roller coaster ride for me. At one point I’m cheering for one character then the next I’m cheering the other side. Why they can’t belong in the same team and save my sanity for good. Since book one, I already pick my side. But I choose my side base on the character alone and not as a love team to anyone. So when this book put my chosen character in a battle I can’t help but cheer for him but as much as I want him to win I also don’t want to see his opponent suffer. It’s not that I can’t make up my mind, it is just that I care for all of them that I don’t want any of them to get hurt.

Every actions and decisions they make I go along with them. I feel the tension around these characters. I feel their heartache, confusions and even their delusions. So when Rachel Vincent  put them in this crazy hell ride of personal conflicts I swim to the dept of emotions and almost lost every ounce of oxygen in my lungs to survive.

Filled with humour, heartache, frustration and hope, If I Die is an emotional thrill-ride read. An achingly beautiful addition to the Soul Screamers series. I am really amazed by how Rachel Vincent develop this series, every new addition surpass the level of the previous book. Just when you thought you already read the best you’ll be surprise by the next. As I said this book is the game changing part of the series, it’s like a new series were born out of the big twist that Rachel Vincent delivered. It makes the Soul Screamers more exciting and edgier. I’m really looking forward to the next book, Before I Wake.