Monday, October 15, 2018

Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden: Book Review

Title: Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Author: Blaine Harden
Publication details: 2015 (first published in 2013) by Penguin Books
Genre: Non-fiction, biography, memoir


A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.

North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.

In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden's harrowing narrative of Shin's life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world's darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Book Haul #27: 39th Manila International Book Fair and Book Binge Bazaar

Alright folks! As mentioned in my previous post, here's my book haul from the 39th Manila International Book Fair and National Book Store's Book Binge Bazaar.

It was hard to control myself, so there were books I bought that weren't in my list. But it was still a score because I'm pretty sure I'll read them. In time. 😂

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

39th Manila International Book Fair and Book Binge Bazaar 2018: Photo Diary

Hi folks! How's September so far? Mine has been quite relaxed but we'll see how it goes. 😎

Last September 12 and 14, I went to the 39th Manila International Book Fair. It is an annual event which I've been going to since 2009 or 2010. Lol I cannot remember. 😅

Every September, bookstores, publishers and different organizations gather for this book fair to cater to students, educators, parents and book lovers! And every year, they've been improving and getting bigger.

National Book Store also decided to have a Book Binge Bazaar aside from their MIBF booth! Ha! The bazaar was also in SMX where MIBF was held. So yay! 😁

Alright folks! Here is my photo diary of last week's 39th Manila International Book Fair and Book Binge Bazaar!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I Was Here by Gayle Forman: Book Review

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication details: January 29th 2015 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Contemporary, YA


When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


A poignant story of friendship, hope, loss and moving on.

I read I Was Here during my solo travel in Cagbalete Island, Quezon. I know I should've brought a lighter read with me, but this book seemed fitting at the time.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Book Haul #26: To All the Books I Did Not Haul Before

Hi folks!

As I have mentioned in my last post, September is Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) month. And when there's a book fair, there's a book haul.

MIBF is not happening until September 12, so this is not a MIBF haul. Haha! Of course, I'll have a post for that. But looking at my archive, I noticed that my last book haul post was March! 😱 And so to fill in the gap between March and my future MIBF haul, I figured I'd do this. 😁

From April to August, here are the books I got and some of my thoughts on them:

Sunday, September 2, 2018

What Happened: August 2018

Hi folks! How are you? September marks the start of Christmas season here in the Philippines! Haha! Finally, holiday season!

Aaand September is Manila International Book Fair month! More books for me! 😁

I am glad August is finally over. If I'll have one word to describe August, it'd be toxic. Physical and mental exhaustion took over from the last two weeks of July until August, because of work. The results were missed period (sorry, TMI), bad break-outs, and less time for self-care, reading, blog and travel. Aaaaah! 😷

But thankfully, it's over now, and we got multiple wins at work. Of course, there'll be new challenges in the coming months, but I'll face them when the time comes. Haha!

Last month, I only finished one book- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I brought it with me during my staycation last July 29, then finished it in August. I really liked that book! Refreshing and moving. I'll review it soon!


I also started reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas some time in August, but only finished it today, September 2! I'm still torn between Chaol and Rowan. 😕


For blog post, I only posted one book review- The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking Trilogy #2) by Patrick Ness. I still have a few lined up, but I haven't got the time to write them.

Reading-wise, that'd be all. Haha! In my travel life, I only went for a staycation with my cousin last July 29-30 at Balconahe, Baras, Rizal. Will post a photo diary soon! 😁

Speaking of travel life, I am thinking of transferring all my travel photo diaries here in this blog. That way, I will only manage one blog. What do you guys think? 😊

As I've mentioned, September is Manila International Book Fair month, so that's one exciting thing to look forward to this month. I haven't prepared my list of to-buy books yet, but I'll get to it soon.

I also do not know what to read this month. I'm planning to reread Red Queen and King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard, and then continue with the series. I don't know. We'll see. 😊

-o-

Alright folks! What are your plans for September?

'Til next time!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness: Book Review

Title: The Ask and the Answer
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking
Publication details: May 4th 2009 by Walker Books Ltd.
Genre: YA, science fiction, fantasy



We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men...

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

"The Ask and the Answer" is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second title in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy.

The adventures of Todd and Viola in finding the truth and freedom continues with The Ask and the Answer.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What Happened: Midyear 2018

Hi folks!

How are you all doing? It's already the middle of the year, and it's time to recap what happened in the first half of 2018.

My reading life was good at the beginning of the year. I was on track with my reading goal of 3 books per month, and I post frequently on this blog. However, my activity dwindled toward the middle because of, well, work and other adult things. Haha!

Let's see what I have accomplished!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Book Review

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication details: June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books
Genre: Magical realism, fable


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.


Peculiar and gripping.

Since I went in blind with my reading, I did not know what to expect. I just knew that it is a popular Gaiman read, and since I found a copy at a cheaper price, I bought it. Good for me though, because it was a beautiful read.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Fairs: How to Have the Best Experience

Who doesn't love sales and discounts?

And us book lovers? I believe some of our magic words are book sales and book fairs! Aaaaah!

Personally, I am a sucker for book sales and book fairs. Give me an event here in the metro, and I will surely attend.

In line with Big Bad Wolf's comeback here in the Philippines (this time in Cebu), I want to share some tips I have "acquired" over years of book fairs. I know these may not be new, but for those first-timers, let me help you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: Book Review

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication details: February 12th 2013 by Philomel Books
Genre: Historical fiction


It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.


A beautiful read about family, friendship, and identity.

Buying this book was not planned. I read Ruta Sepety's Between Shades of Grey and really liked it. So upon seeing this book at a sale (50% off the original price!), I immediately grabbed it.

I had no idea what the book is about when I read it. I was actually expecting a war historical fiction just like Between Shades of Grey, but I got a different kind of historical fiction- a good one too.