Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature & Follow #11


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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This week's question is suggested by Natalie Hearts Books.

Is there a book that you were required to read in school that you actually loved?

Disclaimer: In general, we have a different education system/curriculum here in the Philippines. :)

Hmmm, I remember when I was in Grade 5 or 6, our English teacher required us to read Harry Potter. The class was divided into groups and each was assigned a specific book. Our group was assigned with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. That was the first actual novel I read. I was 11 or 12 at the time. I like to think that reading Harry Potter sparked my love of books. :)

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How about you folks? Let me know in the comments below! :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

These are the Moments by Jenny Bravo: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: These are the Moments
Author: Jenny Bravo
Publication Details: April 30th 2015 by Bravo Publishing
Copy: eARC from Bravo Publishing through NetGalley

A stunning read about love, hope and moving on.

Ten years ago, Wendy Lake and Simon Guidry fell in love. From friends to lovers, they started as a happy couple, promising to be together no matter what.

Present day… Wendy Lake told herself that this time she will move on, that she will never go back. Until her best friend's engagement brought Wendy and Simon back together and Wendy finds herself in a situation where she has to make a decision whether to finally move on or fall back again...

These are the Moments follows Wendy and Simon as they fall into a vicious cycle of love and heartache. But the question is, is love really enough to make two people stay together?

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I got a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. When I read the synopsis, I thought it sounded cliché but I requested for it anyway because I was feeling for some contemporary romance. And boy, oh boy was I thankful I did!

Plot
The first few chapters can be cliché and predictable- Wendy as this goody-good, typical girl who came from a Catholic, happy family, meeting new friends from a youth camp, then falling in love with a mysterious guy. At first, I thought Oh I know what will happen. But how the elements of a contemporary read were placed and connected together created a somehow refreshing take in telling not just a love story but also one of restoration and moving on.

Wendy and Simon's cycle of love and heartache can be quite exhausting, but as I read, I saw that this shaped both characters. It made me felt their struggle and connected me to the story more.

I liked how other aspects of Wendy's life was also incorporated into the story. Her side as a friend, a sister, a daughter and a student were told to create a three-dimensional character. It made Wendy more relatable, and I was able to understand her more.

The ending was a bitter-sweet one. And that's all I'm going to say about it. :)

Characters
I loved the characters- the main and secondary. They can be difficult to understand at times, but it showed how realistic they are.

I was able to relate to Wendy especially. She is smart, talented and a good friend, sister and daughter. I liked how I was able to see both her strong and vulnerable side. And I especially liked her character development.

I enjoyed reading about Claudia, Reese and Vivian. I liked how they influenced Wendy's life. Their support and love for Wendy is just heart-warming, even though most times they weren't able to express it very well.

And yes, Simon. What I really, really want is a book or just a novella told in Simon's perspective! He is still a mystery to me, to be honest. It's clear, however, that he loves Wendy with all his being but I still do not get what is up with him?! Like really Simon?!

Okay, calming down. Simon has issues. What issues? I have no idea. But I know that he's a good guy, smart, sweet and let's not forget, good-looking. So yes, dear author, I want to know what is up with him. Pretty please? Haha!

Writing
I really liked the writing style of the author. These are the Moments is written in a first person voice, in Wendy's perspective. Told in an alternating Then and Now chapters, I was able to fully immerse myself into the story, follow the events easily and feel the Simon and Wendy "feels".

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Overall, I really enjoyed reading this one. These are the Moments is a stunning read about love, hope and moving on.

I definitely recommend These are the Moments to anyone who wants a very good contemporary romance read.

PS. I've read from Jenny Bravo's blog that These are the Moments will have a prequel, Those Were the Days. Aah! I'm excited for that! :)




from Goodreads

Jenny Bravo is a writer, singer, and caps lock enthusiast. She writes books, and These Are the Moments is the first one. When she's not writing, she's blogging about writing at Blots & Plots blog. Or singing. Or tap dancing.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Bibliophile's Dream

Hi folks!

Every book lover has his or her own dreams. Whether it to be a famous author or have a huge library, there will always be something or some things a bibliophile will dream of doing or being.

For my Bookish Thoughts and Feels, I would like to share with you the things I want to do in the future as a book lover.

Bookstore/Library and a Coffee Shop
First dream I want to be able to do in the very near future is to have my own bookstore/library and coffee shop. I want to be able to share my love for books by providing fellow bibliophiles a place where they can buy or borrow books while sipping their favorite cup of coffee or tea and while munching on a delicious pastry. I want it to be a haven for book lovers, where everyone will feel at home.


I am yet to plan the layout of my bookish place but I want to have different rooms for when people want a quiet place to read or study, and a big room where friends can talk and enjoy each others company. I want a very relaxing ambiance where even non-readers will be tempted to dive in the crazy yet beautiful world of books.

I really, really want for this to happen. I just need to have a very good business plan and a business partner! Haha!

Visit Bookstores and Libraries
We don't have a lot of bookstores here in the Philippines. We have the big ones but in essence every branch of a particular bookstore is the same. We don't have a lot of independent bookstores either. And our library system is far different from other countries.

Thus, I want to visit as much, if not all, bookstores and libraries as I can not only here in the Philippines but also in other countries. Selexyz Bookstore, The Last Bookstore, Shakespeare & Company and Atlantis Books to name a few.

Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France (photo credit: Flavorwire)
I want to explore these places and learn their story. I want to be able to touch the books and shelves, to smell the environment, and of course, to buy books from them. :)

Library Project
We do not have a very good education system here in the Philippines. And it's a very sad truth. Most public schools do not even have a proper library. I want to change that.

I want to build a library, especially for the kids. To instill to them the importance of reading and how great it feels to read.

When I was in college, I was able to head a library project sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Inc. I did a blog post here. :)

Photo from Aklat Mo, Sagot Ko Library Project of PROPharm
Of course, I'd need manpower and funds. A lot of funds actually. So for now, I will just stick to voluntary works if I can find one that deals with building a library. I have to smart somewhere, right?

Book Expo America/ BEA
BEA is one of the largest bookish events I know. An event with books, authors, book lovers, book bloggers and did I mention, books?

BEA (photo credit: Author One Stop)
Living in the Philippines, I obviously cannot just go there and participate. Unless, someone will buy me a two-way ticket plus a place to stay, then that would be more than nice. For now though, this will stay as a dream. Soon though. Soon.

Book Blogger
I want to be a successful blogger. Not necessarily famous, but successful. My objective in starting up my blog is to share my thoughts about books and reading to others. I want to be able to talk to people about the books I'm reading and those that I will read, the events I will go to and just about any other bookish things. I want to be able to interact with other book lovers and know their thoughts and recommendations.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm doing in that department, but I'm just doing my best here. :)

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I guess that's it folks! I'm really praying for these things to happen. What are your dreams as a bibliophile? I would love to hear them! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley: Book Review

Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Publication Details: May 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Copy: Paperback bought from Book Sale

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter's senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and, most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. And when those two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.


When I saw this book at Book Sale, I immediately grabbed it, not because it was on my TBR or wish list, but because of its bright blue pretty cover. Haha! Plus, it's an award-winning piece so I was really intrigued by it.
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Plot
When I started reading, I had no idea what the book is about so I was guessing how Cullen's and Benton's stories are connected. The development of the story can be a bit slow, but Cullen's sense of humor made up for it. His POV is reflective and introspective but it isn't dull and dragging.

There was a lot going on in Cullen's life, not to mention the woodpecker that turned Lily into an instant tourist spot, but the flow of events and how they influenced Cullen is really remarkable. I liked how everything was tied in the end, giving an amazing conclusion.

The story was easy to follow, light but at the same time, moving.

Characters
Where Things Come Back did not only focus around Cullen's life and the issues he's facing but also in the secondary characters' lives. I liked how in a 228-page read, I was able to know them.

Every character is likeable despite the poor choices some of them might have made. They are easily relatable and thankfully, none of them is annoying.

Writing
I really liked the style of writing. The narration is divided into two: a first person POV, that of Cullen's, and a third person POV for the other characters.

I've never read anything like it before, so it was refreshing for me. I think it also helped in avoiding the monotonous (and dragging) tone that other first-person-POV-books usually have.

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Overall, I really, really liked Where Things Come Back. More than a book about a boy making his way into adulthood, Where Things Come Back is a story about relationships, life and hope.

Funny yet poignant. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who wants a light, funny yet heart-rending read. :)


"It never hurts anyone to think life gives you second chances."

"We don't have to be so anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can."

"We can be comforted in the fact that life will always be a struggle. There will always be false hopes."

John 'Corey’ Whaley grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories. He has a B.A. in English from Louisiana Tech University, as well as an M.A in Secondary English Education. He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was around ten or eleven, but now writes realistic YA fiction (which sometimes includes zombies…). He taught public school for five years and spent much of that time daydreaming about being a full-time writer… and dodging his students’ crafty projectiles. He is terrible at most sports, but is an occasional kayaker and bongo player. He is obsessed with movies, music, and traveling to new places. He is an incredibly picky eater and has never been punched in the face, though he has come quite close. One time, when he was a kid, he had a curse put on him by a strange woman in the arcade section of a Wal-Mart. His favorite word is defenestration. His favorite color is green. His favorite smell is books. He currently splits his time between Louisiana and Los Angeles.

Where Things Come Back is his first novel (Source: Author's blog).