REVIEW: When Sparks Fly by Ines Bautista-Yao

when-sparks-flyAuthor: Ines Bautista-Yao
Release Date: August 15, 2016
Rating: 5/5
Source: ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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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?

When Sparks Fly can be read as a standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to Ines Bautista-Yao’s other book Only A Kiss.

I’m always on the lookout for anything Ines Bautista-Yao related (that Jothee, the 1/2 of Beauty and the Bookish, and I are thinking of interviewing her just because.) and when I found out she’s releasing a new book…

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…that’s also a prequel to Only A Kiss [4 stars], I knew I gotta read it before release day. And I did! And it was awesome! And as of this review, I’ve already pre-ordered the eBook AND the print edition even after finishing the ARC. Yep, am that greedy and #sorrynotsorry!

What to expect in When Sparks Fly, basically: on-point everything. Yep, that’s right.

Regina has gotten so used being the better compared to her best friend, Lana’s best. So she kinda felt off-balanced when Ben, the only guy who broke Lana’s heart started the moves on her. It just got so much more confusing because he’s the first and only one who’s consistent enough not to give up on her. She loves her best friend but she’s starting to like Ben already. So what’s it going to be?

If love triangle is not your thing, then congratulations you’re in the right track. Because two girls and a guy, right? But I’m telling you it is so not a love triangle. It’s friendship, love, self-discovery and encouragement in one awesome story. Everything about it won me over.

Lana is Regina’s best friend. And I absolutely do not hate her. I just can’t. Because even when she’s all beautiful and confident and gets what she wants most of the time, she is not mean, not a bitch. And that’s even harder for me, if you’d like to ask. Let’s face it—can you hate a kind person? Almost too perfect and kind person? On second thought… yes, you can. Life’s really unfair sometimes. Anyway! Lana got her heart broken because of Ben.

Ben who is a sportscaster. A cute, smart, mabango AND funny (translation: perfect) sports freaking caster who is also not hate-able. Not a d-bag, not an a-hole. Maybe a bit too caring but he’s okay. In fact, he’s so charming I want to squeeze his cheeks!

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Also a ninja (or a mushroom whichever you prefer) because he does things ninja-style AND he seems to appear in places you don’t expect him to. But only with and for Regina. If I could carry him with me all the time, I would. He’s that kind of guy… and not just that kind of guy.

Regina/Reg whose talent in photography is splendid. And so is her level of patience when it comes to things. (Eeep. Nerve Hit #1) I love how she brushed off Ben when they first met and how she put him in his place. Atta girl!! I understand her insecurities like the back of my hand and how she worked around it to not get it in the way. (Nerve Hit #2) She’s the girl who underwent a 180 degree development and I really loved her for that.

And then there were the secondary characters like Tita Beverly, little Katie and Chris, Tony, Mang Mario and Paulo. They just blended so well together in the story but not in the overwhelming kind of way. And the boys—Nicolas and company. And Alexa. (More of her later.)

To say that I enjoyed reading When Sparks Fly was an understatement because with the easygoing and funny banter between the characters, the familiar warmth of the settings (because Negros Occidental and breakfast), believable progression of the story, and even when my feelings were played once, twice, thrice, I pretty much savoured it. Savoured.

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It shouldn’t go without saying that it’s topped with the writing prowess of THE Ines Bautista-Yao like a cherry on top, and filled with these little cutesy things that made the story even cuter and more adorable. It’s totally light, very kilig (even when heat level is next to nothing and they’re already adults, I forgive you Ines don’t worry) and oh-so romantic. You don’t have to worry about which team you’re going to root for (#TeamBoyfriend or #TeamBestFriend) because it’s kind of predictable but Ines definitely thrown in a lot of things to make it interesting and definitely worth your while. Everything just played out so nicely and I loved every page turn.

Overall, When Sparks Fly is yet another proudly-Pinoy masterpiece that would leave you like…

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that you shouldn’t miss and must have in print! (Haha! What? The cover is so beautiful!)

And oh, before I forget—here’s a gif-appreciation dump for the Alexa girl who shouldn’t go unscathed. Because I say so. Based on intensity.

First appearance:

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Second:

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Third:

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Fourth and last:

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I love the book so much and I have three words for you: GET IT, GIRL!

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