Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge


Hi folks!

2015 had been a slow one for my reading challenge, and reading in general. I first set my goal to 70 books thinking that I would have more time to read. Then in the middle of the year, I lowered it to 50 because I got busy. I thought I would be completing my challenge, but nope. Life got busier. Haha!

But anyway, I still had a fun, amazing 2015! And book-wise, here are the books I read.


Push by Eve Silver (4 stars)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (5 stars)
Gone by Michael Grant (5 stars)
Paper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas (4.5 stars)
The Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges (not reviewed)
Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerrra (4 stars)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (4.5 stars)
Quanta by Lola Dodge (4 stars)
The One by Kiera Cass (trilogy review)
The Elite by Kiera Cass (trilogy review)
Reboot by Amy Tintera (4 stars, not reviewed)
One Fling to Rule Them All by Deanna Dee (4 stars)
What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi (4 stars)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (trilogy review)
The Compass by Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis (4 stars)
Everything You and I Could Have Been If We Weren't You and I by Albert Espinosa (4.5 stars)
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee (3 stars, not reviewed)
These are the Moments by Jenny Bravo (4.5 stars)
Don't Tell Me I Can't Do It! by Dr. Erika Miller (4 stars)
Marry Me, Charlotte B! by Carla de Guzman (4 stars)
Missing Era: The Emergence by A.O. Khalil (4 stars)
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (4.5 stars)
Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett (3.5 stars)
Undertow by Michael Buckley (3.5 stars)
The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner (4 stars)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (5 stars)
Rot & Ruin (Graphic Novel) by Jonathan Maberry (3 stars, not reviewed)
Cities by Carla de Guzman (5 stars)
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (3 stars, not reviewed)
Jesus, Jihad and Peace by Michael Youssef (5 stars)
Where the Road Takes Me by Jay McLean (5 stars)
The Thirteenth Tower by Sara C. Snider (3.5 stars)
How to Love by Katie Cotugno (4.5 stars)
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares (3.5 stars)

34 books in total! Currently, I am reading Hunger by Michael Grant and The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. My original plan was to finish them before January. But I don't think that's happening. Haha! I am still busy with other things. But, I am almost finished with them- a few more chapters to go.

Anyway, that's all for my 2015 Goodreads challenge. For the 2016 challenge, I will still set my goal to 50 books, and just hope for the best. I will try to manage my time more and plan things ahead, especially with my blog posts. :)

How about you folks? Did you complete your challenge? How many book did you read? And how many books will be in your challenge this 2016?

-o-

Have a nice day!
And happy 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #19: A Drop of Night


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme where we will showcase that one book we can't wait to hit the market!


Title: A Drop of Night
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Publication Details: March 15th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Link: GOODREADS (Source)

Five gifted teenagers are selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace was sealed after the aristocrats fled there. No one has set foot in it for over two centuries.

Or so they thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teenagers—bitter, iron-hearted Anouk, gentle Will, bubbly Lilly, and crazy Jules— soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

You cannot escape the palace. You cannot guess its secrets.

-o-


Sounds like a thrilling read! I want to read more suspense/ mind-boggling books and this sounds like the right one. Plus, it's set in Paris! :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Wishlist: Books Edition

I just have to post the list. Haha! Here are the books I really, really want to have ASAP!

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

-o-

Though it's very unlikely that I'll be receiving books (or any gift), I just have to hope. Haha!

That's all folks!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Book Review: Push (The Game #2) by Eve Silver

Title: Push (The Game #2)
Author: Eve Silver
Publication Details: June 10th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Copy: eBook (ePub format)

Miki Jones lives her life by her own strict set of rules, to keep control, to keep the gray fog of grief at bay. Then she’s pulled into the Game, where she - and her team - will die unless she follows a new set of rules: those set by the mysterious Committee.

But rules don’t mean answers, and without answers, it’s hard to trust. People are dying. The rules are unraveling. And Miki knows she’s being watched, uncertain if it’s the Drau or someone - something - else. Forced to make impossible choices and battling to save those she loves, Miki begins to see the Committee in a glaring new light.

And then the Game crosses a new boundary, pushes harder into Miki’s and her friends’ lives, and there’s nothing in the rules that can save them now.

Push is the sequel Rush fans will be screaming for.



After a very long time, I finally managed to read Push, the second book from The Game trilogy. :)

-o-
Plot
Since Rush (the first book) ended with a cliffhanger, I was quite eager to know how things will go. My memory of the first book is a bit rusty. Good thing though, I enjoyed reading Push even though it's been more than a year since I read Rush.

Plot-wise, Push is more action-packed and fast-paced. I liked how the events blend in together, creating a gripping story. No dragging part unlike in the first book. And there are more information about the Game and the Committee, thus I was able to get into the story further.

I also liked how the story equally focuses on the reality part, the life of the characters outside the Game. It helped Miki, the main character, with her development and in setting her stand in the two worlds she's living in.

What put me off a teeny bit were the cliche parts. The first book was a refreshing read but this one turned out to be predictable, especially the revelation in the end. But other than that, Push is an entertaining read.

Characters
Miki is more put together in Push. She still has struggles but I liked how she fights not only for herself but also for the people she loves. Her relationships with the secondary characters are given more emphasis in the book. I also liked how, despite being in the Game for quite a while, Miki's character development is not too sudden. These made Miki more relatable and her story line believable.

As for the other characters, I couldn't remember them well from the first book (Haha!) but I still liked all of them nevertheless.

Writing
The writing style of the author is okay. I liked how I enjoyed Rush and how easy it was to get back to the flow of things despite reading the first book more than a year ago.

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Overall, Rush is a good read. And I'm definitely looking forward to reading the third book, Crash.



PS: My review of Rush is here. :)



National bestselling author Eve Silver has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Her work has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Quill and Quire, two RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Library Journal’s Best Genre Fiction Award, and she was nominated for the Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. The first book in Eve’s new teen series, THE GAME: RUSH, is available now. Watch for PUSH, coming from Katherine Tegen Books, June 2014.


Eve lives with her husband, two sons, an energetic Airedale terrier and an exuberant border collie/shepherd. (Source: Goodreads)



Friday, December 11, 2015

Feature & Follow #24: Non-Bookish Site


Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It is where we, book bloggers, can meet new people and gain followers as well!

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Hi folks!

This week's question is suggested by Cornerfolds:

What's your favorite non-bookish website hangout?

Hmmmm. Excluding Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook (since they have bookish community), I'd say Pinterest and Look Book. I visit them for fashion and make-up inspirations. I also visit fashion and beauty blogs. :)

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How about you folks?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pile Be Gone #2: Christmas Reading List


I know I'm bad with reading goals. But you know what folks? A girl has got to try. Haha! Last month, I only managed to read 2 books out of 5. I know. I was busy. -_- This December, I will again try to read 5 books. *fingers crossed* Haha! They are...


The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
Hunger by Michael Grant
Push by Eve Silver (e-book)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I want to read My True Love Gave to Me (by a bunch of authors and edited by Stephanie Perkins). However, I'm in a book buying ban, so it's not going to happen, for now at least. :)

-o-

That's all folks!
What are you planning to read this Christmas season?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Happened: November 2015

Hi folks!

Happy December! Christmas is in the air! And I have to update my wishlist! Haha! Anyway, on to my recap.


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From my reading list, I only managed to read 2 books. Haha!

Books I Read:
Gone by Michael Grant
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

I am currently reading Hunger by Michael Grant. :)

Reviews Posted:

Photo Diary:



Book Haul:


Others:

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Outside my blogging and reading world...
November 14- Team building with office mates at Ten Cents to Heaven, Tanay, Rizal

November 28-30- Ilocos tour with friends/workmates! It was such a nice and fun experience minus the problems we had with the tour agency (ahem, Travel Galore)!

-o-

That's all for my recap!
How's your November?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tag: The Bookish Alphabet Tag


I was not tagged by anyone, but I saw this post on Alahna's blog @ The Charmed Reader

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Instructions: See if you own books beginning with every letter of the alphabet. The only rule is that you have to own it, or you’ve read it but don’t own it anymore.

Let’s see what I have!

A- (The) Age of Miracles by Katherine Thompson Walker (read)
B- (The) Book Thief by Markus Zusak (read)
C- Cipher by Aileen Erin (read and reviewed)
D- Divergent by Veronica Roth (read)
E- (The) Elite by Kiera Cass (read)
F- (The) Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (read)
G- Gone by Michael Grant (read and reviewed)
H- Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (to be read)
I- I Want It that Way by Ann Aguirre (to be read)
J- Just One Day by Gayle Forman (read)
K- (The) Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory (to be read)
L- Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (read and reviewed)
M- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (read and reviewed)
N- No One You Know by Michelle Richmond (read)
O- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (to be read)
P- P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (to be read)
Q- Quanta by Lola Dodge (read and reviewed)
R- Reboot by Amy Tintera (read)
S- (The) Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (read)
T- Trash by Andy Mulligan (read and reviewed)
U- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (read)
V- (The) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (read)
W- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (read and reviewed)
X- None
Y- None
Z- None

Hmmmm, I have none for X, Y and Z. Now, I'm challenged to look for books beginning with those letters. :)

-o-

There you go folks! :)
Feel free to do this tag!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Did Not Finish #1

Hi folks!

For today's post, I want to share with you those books I did not finish. If you will notice from my review index, I only review those books I give 3-5 stars to. And of course, I don't like everything I read.  Most of the ones included are review books that I was not able to finish for various reasons. This is the first time I will be posting such a list, so here it goes...


1. Don't Forget Me Bro by John Michael Cummings- The book is about mental health and child abuse. I have no problem reading about such topics, but the way the book is written made my reading experience dragging. It also made me feel really heavy. Thus, I had to stop reading. I may pick it up again, though, some time in the future. But I'm not quite sure.


2. Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs- This one is a biography. I liked reading about Jonas Salk's life. It was actually inspiring, but the book is about 500 pages. And it's something I only read whenever I was in the mood. My copy was from NetGalley so it just expired. But if given a free copy, I would read it again. It'll probably take me a long time to finish, but I will read it. Haha!


3. The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya- This book is an okay read. It's character-driven and thought-provoking. However, it got dragging towards the middle, so I decided to give it a rest.


4. This is the Night by Jonah C. Sirott- The premise sounds nice and interesting, thus I requested it on NetGalley. But when I started reading, I just couldn't connect with the characters. Thus, I had to put it down.


5. What We Salvage by David Baillie- What made me request this book was the cover. Haha! The premise is also interesting. But upon reading, I couldn't understand the events. I could not follow what's happening. And if I remember correctly, there were words/slang I couldn't understand.


6. Lament for the Afterlife by Lisa L. Hannett- Same reason as What We Salvage. Interesting plot. Couldn't understand anything. -_-

-o-

That's all folks for my recent DNF list.

-o-

Thoughts?
Have a nice day! :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Photo Diary: My Small Bookmark Collection

Hi folks! November's coming to an end already! Time flies so fast, eh?

Today, I want to share with you guys my small bookmark collection. Well, they're not really a "collection". I never intended to have many bookmarks. It just happened. Haha!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #14: The Book Buying Ban Edition


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Let's take a moment of silence, as I recall what I have done. *silence* Yes, I know. *silence* I bought books during my book buying ban. *silence*

But you know what folks? It happens. It's normal. Well okay, probably not. But let me assure you that these books CALLED me. I was in a local secondhand bookstore, looking for books for my nephew... and then these 2 books. They presented themselves, called me and made me gasp. When a book makes you gasp, it's a clear sign that you have to buy the book. It's the rule.

Anyway, here are the two books I bought at Booksale, Mall of Asia branch. :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Feature & Follow #23: Teleporting Into the Story


Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It is where we, book bloggers, can meet new people and gain followers as well!

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Hi folks!

This week's question is suggested by Life is Reading:

If you could teleport into ANY story, which would you chose?

The question reminded me of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (review here). It has the same teleporting element in the plot. :) Anyway, I'm pretty sure I will have the same answer as the other bloggers. I would choose the world of Harry Potter sans Voldemort. Haha!

I would also want to be in the Uglies world solely because of hover boards. :)

-o-

What about you folks?
What story would you choose?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant


Title: Gone by Michael Grant
Series: Gone #1
Publication Details: June 24th 2008 by Katherine Tegen Books
Copy: Paperback bought from Fully Booked

The first in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's breathtaking dystopian, sci-fi saga, Gone is a page-turning thriller that invokes the classic The Lord of the Flies along with the horror of Stephen King.

In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.

There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

-o-

Gone was first introduced to me through Tumblr, I think 2 or 3 years ago. I do not know what the book is about, just that a lot of people say it's underrated and that it's really good.

I only bought the book last year, I think. Because it's not always available in my local bookstore. And then I let it sat for a year, before finally reading it.

Plot
Fast-paced and gripping.

Gone follows the lives of those 14 years old and below in Perdido Beach as they strive to survive, after the adults mysteriously vanished and a barrier appeared. It was a refreshing read for me as I've never read anything like it before. And though there are a lot of weird things going on, I find it really entertaining.

The switching of scenes and POVs made my reading not dragging and the action maintained throughout the book. It also kept me wanting to know more about the characters, what they're up to next, as well as their back stories.

At first, I did not know what's happening. I was clueless as the characters. But I liked how the pieces slowly came together and made sense. There are still questions and loose threads, which I am looking forward to finding out about in the next books.

World-Building
The world-building is unique, in my opinion. Perdido Beach and The Fayz seem complicated to understand, but thankfully, maps were provided. Using the maps, I was able to picture the events more clearly, and follow them more easily.

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The Fayz is a refreshing element to a sci-fi, dystopian read and I'm looking forward to knowing more about the barrier- what caused it, what other things are in it and how it will end.

Characters
Gone has a lot of characters. But even so, it was not hard not to follow each of them. I liked how each key player in The Fayz was explored and given a story. It made my reading experience more enjoyable as each characters has different qualities and perspectives. And it was fun to read their interactions with each other.

I was not able to fully relate to the main characters though. But nevertheless, I am looking forward to how they will progress, and what will happen to them in the end. I am especially looking forward to the character developments of Sam, Caine, Drake and Little Pete.

Writing
I really liked Michael Grant's writing style. He used a third person, omniscient POV giving me a wider view of what's happening. The choice of words are simple, no technical words, so my reading was easier. And the flow of events and the transition are smooth, maintaining the pace and the action.

I've read 2 books in the BZRK trilogy of the author, and liked them as well. I therefore conclude that Michael Grant books will be in my automatic buy list. :)

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Overall, I enjoyed reading Gone, the first book in the Gone series, and I am very much looking forward to the next books. If you're a fan of sci-fi, dystopian, then I recommend this series.



ph source: guardian.co.uk
Michael Grant has spent much of his life on the move. Raised in a military family in the USA, he attended ten schools in five states, as well as three schools in France. Even as an adult he kept moving, and in fact he became a writer in part because it was one of the few jobs that wouldn't tie him down. His dream is to spend a whole year circumnavigating the globe and visiting every continent. Even Antarctica. He lives in Marin Country, California, with his wife, Katherine Applegate, their two children, and far too many pets (Source: BZRK back cover).



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Details: June 9th 2011 by Penguin Books
Copy: Paperback, purchased
Genre: Historical fiction, YA, war


Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (Goodreads)

I've been wanting to read Between Shades of Gray since I laid eyes on it years ago. And finally, I did!

Plot
An inspiring and moving story about hope, survival and love.

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray tells the story of Lina and the other Lithuanians, and how they suffered in the hands of Russians- how they persevered, fought, faded and survived.

This was the first time I read about the deportation of Lithuanians (as well as of Estonians, Latvians, and Polish). I've read a lot about the Jews, the labor camps, the Holocaust, but never of those (non-Jews) who suffered under Stalin's hands.

Based from the stories of the families and friends of survivors, and of the survivors themselves, Between Shades of Gray was able to show the different faces of humanity, especially in times of adversity. The events blend in together, and each of them brings about emotions. I liked how the book is full of meaning- of what it means to live, to survive, to hope and to love.

I liked how art was incorporated into the story and how Lina uses her talent to express emotions and show experiences. And of course, the little flashbacks of Lina's memories from before the deportation. Each flashback follows and is in relation to what Lina is currently thinking and/or experiencing. It made Lina more relatable and her experiences more heartbreaking.

The ending was a bittersweet one. It was open-ended but perfectly understandable. It would take more than a book to read the stories of the deportees and refugees. But overall, plot-wise, Between Shades of Gray is definitely worth reading.

Characters
Aah the characters! Lina, the main character, is smart, talented and brave. She's easy to relate to and very likeable despite her shortcomings.

The other characters are also well-written: Jonas and Andrius, who despite being young like Lina, were able to show courage and were able to face the difficulties that lie before them; Lina's mother, Elena, whose love not only for her family but also for other people is truly inspiring; the other deportees whose resolve may have weakened but still supported each other; and even the Russian soldier, Kretzsky, who did not forget his heart despite the war.

Writing
The story is told in the eyes of Lina, a 15-year old girl who at a young age, tasted what it's like to be in the face of death. When the deportation started she's at that point in life when she's starting to figure out her future; thus, making the story-telling quite raw and innocent but deeply moving.

Overall, I loved the style of writing. The fluidity and relevance of the events, how each events relate to the others, and the strong, three-dimensional characters. Between Shades of Gray is indeed beautifully written.

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I definitely recommend Between Shades of Gray. It's such a bittersweet, inspiring read; and I can definitely see myself rereading this in the future.




Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. As an author of historical fiction, Ruta is drawn to stories of strength through struggle. Her award-winning debut novel, "Between Shades of Gray" was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania and is published in 45 countries. Her second novel, "Out of the Easy" is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950, and her third novel "Salt to the Sea" exposes one of the greatest hidden disasters of World War II. Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.


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