Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Midnights in Bali by Carla De Guzman

Midnights in Bali
by Carla De Guzman

Synopsis:
Ava Bonifacio has always been the girl with The Plan —a life plan that would give her everything she’s ever wanted, including becoming a lawyer, a role she was sure she was born into. Sure, her determination may be seen as heartlessness, but Ava doesn’t care. What she does care about is getting into law school —but she doesn’t. She cares about her boyfriend Matteo—who breaks up with her.

In an act of desperation, Ava books herself a ticket to Bali and tries to get over her own failures. In Bali she meets Scott McLeod, a rude and grumpy Scottish traveler who thinks there’s a lot more to Ava than meets the eye.

But as Ava reveals more about herself, she finds Scott slowly pulling away from her. He was never part of The Plan, but Ava is determined to make sure he doesn’t slip away.



(cover image and synopsis lifted from Goodreads)


Series: Standalone
Publisher: Spark Books an imprint of Anvil Publishing
Publication date:  2017
Source/Format: Provided by the author in exchange for an honest review / Paperback
Purchase links: Anvil Publishing Online Store

My Thoughts:

They say bad things happen in threes: first, Ava had a bady day from work; second, her long time boyfriend broke up with her;  and third, she did not get in to her preferred law school. Everything was not going according to plan and Ava is a girl with The Plan. Feeling lost, she impulsively booked a ticket to Bali. There she met Scott, pours her frustrations on him, who in turn helped her nurse her broken heart. But everything that happens in Bali will surely end, including her adventures with Scott, who is altogether not part of The Plan.

“Midnights in Bali” both broke my heart and made me laugh right from the very first chapter and my feels could not stop since then, so I stayed up late and never let go of the pages until I finish. I fell in love with it right away. The first chapter really made a great job on milking my sympathy for Ava. Here is a girl just trying to make it in the world, planning for everything to work out but still falling short, and I’m like, “Hey, I can relate to that!” . So then clouded with emotions and influenced by the power of suggestion (corny airline seat sale promos can be pretty convincing sometimes), she decided to run away from it all, and I’m like, “Okay, if I were in this situation I’d totally do this, too!”.

Ava’s love interest is the right mix of lovable and mysterious. I honestly had an instant crush with Scott. He can get me weak in the knees just by reading about him. I imagine hearing the sound of his sexy accent in his dialogues. Plus he knows how to do hairbraids -- I want my own Scott who will play with my hair and braid it. I guess like Ava, I got affected by the Scottish vacuum of charm. I never for once doubted Ava’s strong attraction to the guy even though he is a stranger and does not reveal much about himself.

"Do not be too hard on yourself. Having a plan is great, but you have to leave a bit of wiggle room for the unknown."

The promise of Bali in the title did not disappoint. The novella transported me to the place with its rich description of its scenery, temples and delicacies. I’ve only seen Bali from watching shows featuring the place, such as The Amazing Race Asia, etc., but the place means nothing to me before. Bali now became some kind of a special place for me even though I’ve never been to, because of the things that happened there in the novella. It’s the same feeling that I have when being moved with a good kdrama set in such a beautiful backdrop.

The novella is not flawless. I noticed a discrepancy on Ava’s age: if she worked for a year after her pre-law course, she must be only be twenty-three years old but the novella mentioned in text that she is twenty-six years old. Also, if Ava is twenty-six years old, her sister Bee who is three years her junior and mentioned to be still in school would be a bit too old for college then. This is just me nitpicking but it did not have a major effect on my reading enjoyment.

“Midnights in Bali” reminds me a little of “That Thing Called Tadhana”, a well-received Filipino film. Both novella and film have women characters feeling lost following a breakup, taking a journey and meeting strangers who help them get over their heartbreak. The novella added a little extra by giving the male lead character more depth and sprinkling a couple of oh so sexy love scenes. Worth mentioning is the ending which is perfect for what everything the novella is trying to say about love: just leap and give in to the thrill of unknown. Read this if you are in search for a quick read and you love some travel and adventure in your romance.


My Rating:

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