ARC Review: Midnights in Bali by Carla de Guzman

Rating: 4/5
Published by: Spark Books under Anvil Publishing (Philippines)
I voluntarily reviewed a paperback ARC from the author.
(Not available as ebook yet.)
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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.

Ava Bonifacio’s life basically revolved around The Plan. The Plan which she created to keep her focused on life and set her eyes on the prize, somehow making her a woman with so much backbone. But plans don’t always go the way they should be. Case in point, her boyfriend dumped her because he couldn’t stomach the idea that she has plans (spoiler: I think he’s a jerk) and her dream of going to law school came spiralling down the drain. A girl’s got to do what she’s got to do so with a sign that was an airline promotion, she went off to Bali to regroup. Only, life’s got other plan for her like getting sucked into a certain Scottish vacuum of charm on the way there.

I really liked how this book just fell under the quick escape read category where the story’s enjoyable, the characters a little flawed and believable and the setting that might as well rival some travel magazines.

Ava’s characteristics were easy to relate with. She’s determined, confident, a little anal because of her plan but I liked my MCs fierce, thank you very much. She’s also a bit rigid to be honest. I admired how she was unapologetic when her ex broke up with her. And how she felt she could let go of herself when she’s with Scott. Scott who was very adorable in every way though a little bit mysterious. Scott who was a total match to Ava’s careful personality. Scott who was such a funny, happy-go-lucky guy having fun going places, doing touristy and not-so-touristy (wink wink) stuff with Ava. Until his walls came going up because of the thing he wouldn’t tell anyone.

The pacing was quick but not rushed–you can finish the book in one go. The chemistry between Scott and Ava was comfortable, cute and at some point went a little hot. (Yay!) The mystery that Scott kept hidden was nicely done in a way that I wasn’t able to predict what it was, though I would’ve liked the confession to come directly from him, not from his friends. It was painful and heartbreaking but not in the intense kind of way that you’d end up with swollen eyes from crying after you read, no. I would’ve liked the characters to have more depth (not that it didn’t have that but I felt like there could still be more to them but because of the length of the book, it wasn’t explored well). I would have liked more. Scott. And. More. Sex. (Fade to black so not included.) I couldn’t connect to their choice of music because I’m not really big on that but the author made it a common ground for the characters so it was still good, not a filler. The story, overall, was truly fascinating and I really enjoyed journeying through Bali with the characters.

Midnights in Bali would successfully transport you to one of Indonesia’s top tourist destinations, thanks to the author’s firsthand experience on travelling around the place that the narrative and the setting were truly authentic. Bonus? You’d be buddy travelling with a charming Scottish guy–get ready to swoon.

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