Friday, May 30, 2014

Just One Night by Gayle Forman: Book Review

Title: Just One Night
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication details: May 29, 2014 by Viking Children's Books

After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

It took them one day to start something new, and one year for them to fall in love.

They searched for each other, but found themselves, their true selves, instead along the way. After a year, they finally find each other. But what's next?

This e-novella by Gayle Forman tells of a perfect ending to Lulu and Willem's story. It was really amazing folks. I was smiling throughout my reading, and really screaming inside. It was a quick read, but the way everything was reconciled was really beautiful. 

Gayle Forman really did a great job with Just One Day novels. They are my favorites and I'm very happy I got my copies signed when she visited the Philippines.

The novels made me want to go on an adventure and find love. Or let love find me while I'm enjoying different beautiful places.

Oh goodness folks! You should really read Just One Day, Just One Year and Just One Night. I promise you will love them too.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver: Book Review

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication details: March 4 (my birthday!), 2014 by HarperCollins

Panic has been a tradition among graduating seniors- a legendary game in the small town of Carp, where the prize outweighs the risks.

Heather never really planned on joining Panic. She attends the opening night to support her friend Nat. But when she finds a motivation to continue and fight, she will make sure that she gets the prize.

On the other hand, Dodge is dead set on joining, but he has his own reason. He knows he will win. He's sure of it. But everyone has something to play for. And sometimes, things don't go the way they are planned.

Panic was okay. I have never read anything like it before, so I think it was kind of refreshing? Something new. However, I'm afraid I expected too much. Also, I didn't connect well with the characters, thus, affecting my general thought about the book.

But getting over my unmet expectations, it was a good (or so-so) read. Panic, I think, is more than conquering your fears, proving yourself, or getting even. I think it's about embracing yourself and appreciating the people around you, that there are people who care and people with good intentions. And sometimes, you just have to trust. Even if it's hard to.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Sonja Burpo: Book Review

cover from Goodreads

Title: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
Authors: Todd Burpo and Sonja Burpo (with Lynn Vincent)
Published: November 2, 2010 by Thomas Nelson Publishers

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed--a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how "really, really big" God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton's uniquely simple words, "Heaven Is for Real" offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, "Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses."

"Heaven Is for Real" will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

Heaven is for Real is about Colton Burpo who experienced heaven when he was three years old. Authored by his parents, it tells of their experience, as a family, before and after Colton's visit to heaven.

This book touched my heart. I cried in some parts because of how God spoke to me. The Burpo's story was very beautiful and touching. I cried because I was overwhelmed by God's message- how powerful prayers are, how forgiving God is, and how He loves me so dearly.

I was reminded of how undeserved I am of His love and mercy but still He supplies me with them. I was reminded to be still in tough times and seek for His voice and comfort. I was reminded to have a childlike faith. I was reminded that He is always there. I was reminded that the good always wins.

It was a very beautiful story, something I will reread in the near future. My words will not give justice to what I felt, to what I experienced. Read the book and experience it yourself.

SM's Donate-A-Book Campaign

Hi folks!

I saw this ad yesterday when I was at SM Bacoor. I am a book lover, and I value education very much so I felt obliged to help, not only by donating but also by promoting the campaign.

SM's Donate-A-Book Campaign is a joint project of the SM Store and SM Stationery in partnership with SM Foundation and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). This campaign aims to develop an interest for reading, improve functional literacy, and enhance comprehension and creative skills among children (Headline Gitnang Luzon, 2014).

SM has set up booths at all SM stores where shoppers can donate their old books, or even buy new books and school supplies from May 1 to June 30, 2014. In turn, donors will be entitled to Php 50 off coupon which can be redeemed with minimum single purchase worth Php 500 from SM Stationery (Headline Gitnang Luzon, 2014).

PROPharm had a library project in one of the DSWD centers, Haven for Children. And we saw how the kids and teachers are in need of updated books and other reference materials, especially now that K-12 is in place. This may not be true to all DSWD centers but activity books, coloring books and story books, I think, will be very much appreciated.

When I visited Haven for Children, I saw how many useless books were donated to them. Haven for Children is a center for small boys. Imagine seeing a medical, nursing and law books. Come on! So please people, donate UPDATED books or at least something REALLY REALLY USEFUL.

So there folks! Go through your books to see what you can donate. Or better yet, buy new ones. :)

Have a nice day folks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication details: May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I just finished reading Obsidian. And oh my goodness guys! I loved it!

Obsidian is sexy and funny! It's about Katy who just moved to West Virginia just before her senior year. She is pretty much resigned about the idea but then there's Dee, he├╝ber friendly neighbor, and her brother, Daemon, the hot boy next door. 

Daemon exudes confidence and sexiness in every physical level. Not so much about his character though. Katy finds herself in a nonstop hilarious battle of comebacks (and flirtations) with him. They definitely do not like each other.

Until she's attacked... and Katy finds the truth about her neighbors. Then things get more interesting...

I cannot really put my emotions into words other than I really enjoyed reading Obsidian. I liked Katy's strong character. She's funny, and a book blogger! You guys must find that amazing! :) It made me laugh and giddy from beginning to end.

If you're into reading supernatural, fantasy and romance young adult novels, then this book is for you. Oh! There's also a lot of sexual tension, so yeah, not for kids.

I'm currently reading the second book, Onyx. And so far, I'm enjoying it! :)

That's all folks!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: March 1, 2007

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear . . .

I loved it! Maria Snyder is super super amazing!

The story starts with Yelena's nightmare of being tortured, setting the mood for mystery. She is summoned by Valek, a well-known assassin, and is offered a job as a food taster of the Commander. To be one, she should be able to detect poisons. Her training sessions with Valek begin immediately, and so is Yelena's adventure towards discovering, saving and freeing herself.

There are a lot of things I liked about Poison Study. One was how unique the plot is. Sure we have the 'government', a female protagonist, a magical power, the greedy antagonist, and the love interest, but how these were connected together created a unique story.

As for the characters, the first one that got my attention is Commander Ambrose. More specifically, his way of making decisions (of course this was before the Criollo)- hearing all sides and weighing them before deciding. I wasn't actually expecting him to be that fair and actually nice. His life's background was introduced at the latter part of the book and I'm really looking forward to knowing more about him.

Next, of course, is Yelena. I liked that her character is full of hope. She'd been in her lowest. She knows that her life is pointless, and yet her will to live is there. I really admire her for that. She's weak but she has the initiative to learn. I liked that she's smart and very brave. She is kind and compassionate though if circumstances dictate she will not hesitate to defend herself.

Another character I liked is Valek. Again, I fell in love with another fictional character! I liked that he is always composed and in control. He is very loyal to the Commander yet he has his own convictions. I enjoyed reading his and Yelena's interactions. And I liked that their budding relationship is not obvious at first but is slowly and carefully built.

Ooh! Janco and Ari are my favorites also! Ugh! I want to hug them! Haha!

Poison Study was a very enjoyable read for me. The fluidity of the events, the way the ideas were connected, the way it was told- very beautiful! I definitely, definitely recommend this book! And I hope that the second and third book will not disappoint me.

That's all folks!

Friday, May 16, 2014

News: Book Signing Event: Stephanie Perkins

Hi fellow Filipino book lovers!

Stephanie Perkins will visit us for a book signing event! Yey!

I've read Anna and the French Kiss, and ugh, I loved that book! Lola and the Boy Next Door is in my currently reading shelf.  And I must finish it stat! :)

poster from National Book Store

I am super excited! The book signing in Manila will be on July 6! Ohmy guys!

See you there!

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Book Review

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Publication Details: December 9th 2003 by Simon and Schuster

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.

A Great and Terrible Beauty was a quick read for me. I'm always interested in historical fiction so I quite enjoyed reading this. It got me curious enough to continue with the trilogy. However, I think I found some semblance with The Mortal Instruments and Harry Potter.

Anyway, the build up of story was quite slow as only snippets of what's really happening were given chapter by chapter. I guess the way it was written gave way to establishing first the background without giving too much. Thus, it gave the reader something to look forward to in the next two books.

I'm also looking forward to finding out more about Ms. Moore and Kartik. As for Gemma, her character is still learning. I think her turning point was only at the last chapter, so I'm looking forward to more development in the next book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Harp's Song by Cassie Shine: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Harp's Song
Author: Cassie Shine
First Published: November 4th 2013
I got my request approved by the publisher (through NetGalley) last May 10 and I was really excited to read it. It was my first ARC approval!

In just a few months Harp Evans will be officially coming of age and graduating from high school. She will be free from the mother that never wanted her, the house that never felt like home, and the disappointment of the last seventeen years. What she doesn’t know is that her mother has been holding onto a secret that has the potential to derail her dreams and destroy her already faulty sense of self.

A self-proclaimed recluse, Harp spends most of her time practicing the cello, in the hopes of earning a full scholarship that will grant her freedom, but will also send her away from her best friend Connor Williams, who is becoming more than just a friend.

As revelations are made, will Harp still feel the same way about leaving everyone that cares about her behind? Or will she continue to pursue the life she’s been dreaming of, for as long as she can remember?

It was a short read but the message was conveyed really well. The way it was written made it impossible not to feel for Harp. I found myself smiling, and then frowning and then smiling again while reading. It was beautiful.

The supporting characters were also great- Ethan, Emma and Catherine. Though, I wished to see more of Emma. She's a really nice person. And of course, there's Connor. Again for the nth time, I do wish I have a Connor in my life.

Anyway, I would totally recommend Harp's Song! I can't wait to read its sequel: Harp's Voice.

Legend by Marie Lu: Book Review

Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Published: November 29, 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Copy: Paperback [bought]


What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I've heard good reviews about Legend and decided to give it a try. And am very thankful I did.
Okay, let me share my thoughts with you:
  1. The criminal-Republic agent combo and plot was not really unique but I think it was played out very well, especially since it has its own twist. (I'm not going to spoil you guys!)
  2. I liked that both protagonists' perspectives were given. It did not leave me guessing what the other was thinking or feeling. Well, you could say that I don't like uncertainty much.
  3. I liked that June and Day were rational beings but not really emotionless. I hope in the next two books, they will not be the too-cheesy couple.
  4. June and Day are fifteen years old! They're too young but some of their thoughts, Day's especially, were inappropriate for a fifteen year old kid. And perhaps yes, their circumstances matured them but still. I think it would have been acceptable if they're seventeen or eighteen? Or maybe it was just me coming from a conservative family? I don’t know.
  5. Anyway, I also expected Legend to have more action-packed scenes. I think the book focused more on introducing the characters, which was not really a bad thing. But yeah, I guess I expected too much.

I'll give this book 4.5 stars. Same dystopian elements, but it looks really promising. I will read Prodigy soon but not until I get a copy of Champion! :)

That's all folks!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now I See You: A Memoir by Nicole C. Kear: ARC Review

cover from goodreads
Title: Now I See You: A Memoir
Author: Nicole C. Kear
Publication details: June 24, 2014 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250026563

At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major--until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.

When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender - and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world grows blurred, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.

Told with humor and irreverence, Now I See You is an uplifting story about refusing to cower at life’s curveballs, about the power of love to triumph over fear. But, at its core, it’s a story about acceptance: facing the truths that just won't go away, and facing yourself, broken parts and all.

I loved it! I don't read memoirs as much because I'm afraid I might find them boring and dragging, but not Nicole's memoir, Now I See You.

I really liked her style of writing. I did not find any boring parts at all. Despite her RP and inner struggles, she was hopeful. Yes, she was in denial for a long time, but her love for her children won. The fact that she was able to write her story in a light manner made me admire her. She's humorous and very inspiring.

I also liked her grandma and mother. They're funny! Haha! And of course, David is so sweet and supportive. I do wish them the best.

What Nicole's life taught me was to never let fear interfere, to make memories while I still can. And most of all, it taught me to trust others, especially the ones closest to me.

So, will I recommend this book? Yes! Definitely!

Monday, May 5, 2014

News: Book Signing Event: Jenny Han

Another book signing event by National Book Store!

And this time it'll be Jenny Han, author of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy and the newly released, To All the Boys I've Loved Before! She is also the co-author of Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire together with Siobhan Vivian.

The event will be on June 21 at NBS Glorietta and on June 22 at NBS SM Cebu!

(poster grabbed from NBS Facebook page)

I'm really excited! I read The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy and I loved it! I will probably re-read it soon before the event. :) Aaaand I've read good reviews about Jenny Han's latest book so I will definitely read it once I have a copy. :)

That's all folks! I hope to see you on June 21! :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Trash by Andy Mulligan: Book Review

Title: Trash
Author: Andy Mulligan
Publication Details: October 2010 by David Fickling Books
Copy: Hardbound [bought]

In an unnamed Third World ccountry, in the not-so-distant future, three "dumpsite boys" make a living picking through mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.

One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It's up to Raphael, Gardo and Rat- boys who have no education, no parents, no homes and no money- to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.

It was an adventure with the three dumpsite boys. When Smoky Mountain was mentioned (in reality, spelled as Smokey Mountain), I knew that the setting was in the Philippines. There were other familiar landmarks like the Green Hills, McKinley Hill, the Ermita Police Station and even the cemetery (though the name was different). It, thus, made my reading easier since I was able to picture it clearly.

It's amazing how Raphael, Gardo and Rat were able to solve the mystery behind the Jose Angelico's case. Despite the lack of education, they were actually smart figuring out the pieces and staying ahead of the police. Young but matured. Small but brave. Andy Mulligan, the author, portrayed how the dumpsite kids, and even the street kids, manage their every day lives. People think they're stupid and only after the money, but they're more than that.

I don't know if it's intentional or not, but the book pretty much gave a glimpse of how corrupt officials operate, how large their network is, and how greedy they can get. Of course, it also tackled poverty here in the Philippines. I've never been in a dumpsite before but I see them on TV and newspapers. I encounter street kids almost everyday. And it is impossible to not feel for them.

Mission schools, volunteers, and non-government organizations are also everywhere in the country. Sad to say, but sometimes, they are our only hope. So I applaud Father Julliard and Sister Olivia in the book, and the many Father Julliards and Sister Olivias all over the Philippines.

The Philippines is a beautiful country. It has amazing places, very rich culture, and smart, talented Filipinos. But it also has this side, where people are living in poverty, crying for justice, screaming for equality. Trash will give you a glimpse of this side. Not only will it bring you an adventure but it will also open your eyes to the harsh reality our country is experiencing.