Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Just One Night by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5)
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: May 29, 2014 by Viking Children's Books

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.

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That's all folks!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: 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.


My thoughts:

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.

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That's all folks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Sonja Burpo (with Lynn Vincent)

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

From Goodreads:
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.

My thoughts:
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.

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Have a nice day folks!

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!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo Diary: Batch 2013 Yearbook + Other News

Hi folks! Yesterday, May 24, was the release date of Batch 2013 Yearbook! Yey!
The yearbook was soooo beautiful folks! Congrats to the yearbook team! :)

 Beautiful, right?! :)

The back cover! :)

ph source: Krizia

ph source: Krizia

ph source: Krizia
There, there... Sorry for the mess. We were at McDonald's. Haha!

And here's my page! :) The anecdotes my friends wrote were also amazing! Thank you Vico, Anj, Carlo and Daryl! :)

So yeah, it was a happy day! :)

For other non-yearbook news, I am going to attend the Philippine Fashion Week Holiday 2014. Yey! :)

Also, I am one of this week's #PhilStarGlobeProjectWonderful winners! Yey! My winning entry:
And the caption was: "It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse."- Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Lastly, Sarah from Goodreads sent me a copy of Divergent Quiz- Interactive eBook version. She asked me if I could have a look at it and if willing, review also. And since I'm a Divergent fan, I would totally try it out! :D

That's all folks!
Have a blessed Sunday!

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!

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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

Book Review: Harp's Song by Cassie Shine

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.

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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.