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. :)

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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. -_-

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That's all folks for my recent DNF list.

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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. :)

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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...

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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.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Feature & Follow #22: Funny Reads


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 one of the meme's hosts, Alison Can Read:

What are the funniest books you've ever read?

Hmmm. Sophie Kinsella books made me laugh but I don't think I have ever read a solely humorous book. I've also encountered characters with good sense of humor. :) The one on top of my head right now is Rose Hathaway from The Vampire Academy series. I'm sure there are others as well, but I can't recall them. Haha!

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How about you folks?
Maybe you can recommend some funny books? :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #18: Salt to the Sea


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


Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Details: February 2nd 2016 by Philomel Books
Genre: Historical fiction, young adult


The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.


Two reasons why I would want to read this:
1) Historical fiction- one of my favorite genres
2) Ruta Sepetys- I'm currently reading Between Shades of Gray and it's very stirring and beautiful. I also have a copy of Out of the Easy and I can't wait to read that one too.

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How about you folks?
What are you waiting on?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pile Be Gone #1: November Reading List


Hi folks!

In an attempt to reduce my TBR pile, I set 5 books for me to read this month of November. I am a mood reader so I am not sure if I'll stick to my chosen titles but I have to read 5. :) My reading list includes:

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Gone by Michael Grant
Hunger by Michael Grant
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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Hopefully, I will read more than 5 books. But we'll see. Haha!
How about you folks? What are you planning to read this month?




Edit: To include another book, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys