Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: My Year in Books and Blog

Hi folks!

2016 was a meh year for me in terms of reading and blogging. Yes, I did read a number of books and I did publish blog posts, but I was not able to reach my goals. -_- (I promise to do better this 2017!)

But anyway, here's a recap of how my year was in books and blog. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Haul #17: Last Book Haul for 2016 [Really]

Hi folks!

Two consecutive StS posts! Haha! I just couldn't help it guys. Here are the books I bought... and a little explanation on why I bought them. :)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Book Haul #16: Last Haul For 2016

Hi folks!

2016 is almost over! Finally. Whew!

Anyway, here are the two books I bought since my last StS post.

Frost Bite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
I already read an ebook copy ages ago, so when I saw a physical copy in Book Sale, I immediately bought it. :)

Tree (Rosales Saga #2) by F. Sionil Jose
I already read the first book and loved it. When I visited Solidaridad Book Shop, I bought the second book. I can't wait to read this one! :)

I'm actually itching to buy more books before December ends. Hehe. But we'll see how much control I can muster. lol

Have a nice day folks!
And Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Solidaridad Book Shop: Independent Book Shop in the Philippines #1.5

Hi folks!

As mentioned in my second Independent Book Shop in the Philippines post, here's an updated photo diary of Solidaridad Book Shop.

I had a quick visit last November 30 since I was already in the area. And I also bought the second book in the Rosales Saga (Tree), so I can finally continue my reading. (Here's my review of Po-on, the first book) :)

Nothing much has changed except for their Christmas decor. They still have a wide selection of books from different genres, both fiction and non-fiction. Here's a quick tour, folks. And for a short write-up, here's my old post on the book shop (Click here).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

War Historical Fiction: Book Recommendations

Hi folks!

How are you? It's been a while, eh? I hope you are all doing fine. And if you aren't, I am virtually sending you my hug! :)

For this post, I want to give you folks book recommendations. I don't think I have done anything like this before, so here's one. Hopefully, I will be able to do this in other genres. ☺


One of my favorite genres is Historical Fiction. I especially enjoy those set during the war because they are mostly character-driven. I like how the genre reflects the many facets of humanity, and how it shows the dynamics between characters and/or events that may sometimes be complicated but nevertheless, interesting. They are also full of lessons about love, friendship and life, that will surely leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Here are my recommendations (in no particular order): ☺

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: Book Review

Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Publication Details: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Link: Goodreads

Crown of Midnight follows Celaena as she fulfills her duty as the king's Champion. Threatened with the lives of people she learned to care for and love, she must win the approval of the king without compromising her values. Until the truth reveals itself, and Celaena found herself again in the pit of betrayal, making her leave behind the future she is hoping for.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bookshelf Tour November 2016: Photo Diary

Hi folks!

It's been a while since my last bookshelf tour. The last one was in August 2015 (click here)! And since we all know, without a doubt, that I've accumulated more books since then, it's about time for a new tour!

PS: The nook where my shelves are has poor lighting, so apologies for the low quality of the photos... :) Also, the titles of the books will be in this page (Cataloging Books!) to avoid a very lengthy post. :)


I re-organized my shelves by separating my TBR books and read books. The following shelves contain my TBR:

tour 2016_1

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Book Haul #15: Preloved Edition

Hi folks!

Happy November! As I have said in my previous post, I did not go home empty-handed when I visited Books from Underground. Thus, here's a quick haul post. :)

I bought two books from Books from Underground:
  • Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah
  • Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic.
I also dropped by my favorite secondhand bookstore- Book Sale. And I bought:
  • The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis


I'm planning to visit Solidaridad Book Shop next, and of course, there'll be another book haul! :)

Have a nice day folks!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Books from Underground: Independent Book Shop in the Philippines #3

In this time when everything can be sold online, it's becoming rare to see physical independent book shops where you can overwhelmingly browse books. And fewer still are independent secondhand bookshops where you can without a doubt haggle books.

This is especially true here in the Philippines where majority of readers/book lovers buy from commercial bookstores like National Book Store, Fully Booked, Power Books and Book Sale.

Don't get me wrong! I love those big bookstores. And I, too, buy from them. But there's something about independent book shops that made them extra special. Their vintage-y ambiance, the wide selection of books- new or preloved, their relatively lower prices, and simply the rarity of their existence will surely attract any book lovers.

Thus, I want to start a new blog series where I will try my best to visit independent book shops here in the Philippines, and post photo diaries here on my blog.

I've already posted about one, the Solidaridad Book Shop. (Post is here.) But since it's been a while since my last visit, I will revisit it soon and have an updated photo diary.

But for now, let me take you to Books from Underground, a secondhand bookshop located in Lagusnilad Underpass/Manila City Hall underpass, Padre Burgos Ave., Manila.

books from underground 1

They may be cramped in a small space but Books from Underground carries a wide range of books- both fiction and non-fiction.

I don't think there's a particular system to their arrangement, so you have to patiently browse each stack/line of books. You can also ask the seller/caretaker of the shop if you're looking for a specific title.

books from underground 3

More books across the "main shop"...

books from underground 4

books from underground 5

books from underground 8

books from underground 9

books from underground 10

books from underground 12

They have new arrivals of preloved books almost everyday but they get sold/reserved fast. (One has to be quick!) They also post some of their items on their Facebook page. You can message them if you want to reserve books. And you can also ask them to look for specific titles, and they will inform you once available. How convenient eh?

books from underground 2P_20161022_151340


There you go folks! That's all for my short trip to Books from Underground. And of course, I did not go home empty-handed. I bought two books from them, which I will show you in my next haul post.

Have a nice day!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Haul #14: 37th Manila International Book Fair Book Haul

Hi folks!
Happy October!

September was a blur (I'm not even going to explain anymore). However, I was able to buy books from the Manila International Book Fair! Yey! I exceeded my expense limit, but most of what I bought are those I'm really dying to read. :)

 I bought 10 books! Most of them are YA.

Just a quick, FYI about me- I am a Christian and my ministry is teaching. Thus, I bought these Bible Study Guides as references. :)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman- This chunk is so intriguing! I can't wait to read this!
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
I also got free bookmarks from National Book Store! :)

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas- I'm currently reading this one.
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey- which I finished reading last Saturday. :) I was quite apprehensive to buy a copy since the size is smaller, but I really want to read this ASAP so I bought it anyway.
The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey- I'll probably read this after Crown of Midnight. :)


There folks! Those are the newest additions to my shelves!

Have you read any of these? How did you find it? :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Po-on by F. Sionil Jose: Book Review

Title: Po-on
Author: F. Sionil Jose
Series: Rosales Saga #1
Publication Details: 1984 by Solidaridad Publishing House
Genre: Historical fiction

A beautifully written story about freedom, courage and perseverance.

I bought Po-on in 2013 because the synopsis sounds interesting, but I never had the chance (and mood) to read it until last August. I rarely read Philippine historical fiction but I should've picked this one up sooner.

Po-on is set in 1880's Ilocos during the last years of Spanish occupation in the Philippines. It tells the story of Istak, a former sacristan and a farmer, who, together with his entire family and relatives, left their hometown to run away from the Spaniards.

Though the events following Istak's time as a sacristan, to his newfound life in Pangasinan and his last journey were quite intense, the book, in my opinion, is more character-driven. Po-on mainly focuses on the development of Istak's character as he, throughout his journey, lost and formed relationships, and changed views about freedom and bravery.

The book also tackles the seemingly lack of nationalism by some people, especially those living in remote areas. I liked that one of the affirmations of Po-on is that there really are people who may seem indifferent to the cause of the country. But it's not really the lack of nationalism, but more of self-preservation. And who could blame them really? Life, as it is, is already difficult to thread by without thinking of other things.

I also liked the presence of Mabini, Jacinto, del Pilar (real life heroes) and Aguinaldo (first president of the Philippines) which gave the book a realistic feel to it. The plight of the Filipinos also gave me feels, and it just made me love being a Filipino more. (Shouts: Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!)

Though Po-on has a bittersweet ending, I liked how Istak came to a realization to do his part in the fight for freedom, no matter how fruitless it may seem.


Overall, I really liked Po-on. Kudos to the author for writing a beautiful story that is not only rich in culture and character developments but also in affirming nationalism.

Istak's story is one of the stories of ordinary men, who chose to look, chose to listen to his mother country's cry. Istak may be indifferent at first, but in the end, he heard and he answered.

I can't wait to read the next book in the Rosales Saga which will follow a different character but, I believe, still fights the same cause.

The map included in the book. Oh how I love books w/ maps! :)

Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organizations, notably International P.E.N., the world association of poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists whose Philippine Center he founded in 1958.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I Read YA

For short answers, they would be "because I can" and "why not". But since I wanted to get in depth with my reasons, I decided to dedicate a post about why I read YA literature. :)

Before anything else, what is YA or young adult literature?

In the 1960's, the Young Adult Library Services Association used the term "young adult" to represent readers aged 12 to 18 years (Strickland, A., CNN). At the time, it referred to realistic fiction set in a contemporary world and addressed issues or circumstances of interest to young readers (Cart, M. for YALSA, The Value of Young Adult Literature).

Robert Carlsen, a pioneer in the field of young adult literature (Nilsen, A.P. and Donelson, K.L., Literature for Today's Young Adults), gave a simple definition: "It is that literature which adolescents read" (Hipple, T.W. and Bartholomew, B., Review Essay, College English). The definition was later expanded to:
Young adult literature is literature wherein the protagonist is either a teenager or one who approaches problems from a teenage perspective. Such novels are generally of moderate length and told from the first person. Typically, they describe initiation into the adult world, or the surmounting of a contemporary problem forced upon the protagonist(s) by the adult world (VanderStaay, S., Young-Adult Literature: A Writer Strikes the Genre).

Over time, young adult literature has evolved. Though the given definitions still hold true today, the genre has adopted a wider age range of readers and has taken more subject matters other than contemporary realism.

Despite these changes, many are still adamant about their idea of young adult literature. Thus, I want to share with you folks why I read YA. And hopefully convince you to read them too. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

What Happened: August 2016

Hi folks!

Time flies so fast, eh?

I apologize for my inactivity here on the blog. Aside from my never-ending workload, my laptop also gave up on me. -_- But it's been quite a good reading month. I managed to read 4 books! Yey!

Books I Read:

Po-on (Rosales Saga #1) by F. Sionil Jose
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas (re-read)
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Half Bad by Sally Green

I still have to write my reviews, but I'll get to them soon. (Hopefully this month.) Currently, I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield.

Also, I bought 3 books last month. Hihi. My justification haul post is here.

For the non-book related stuff, my friends and I were able to watch one Cinemalaya film, Pamilya Ordinaryo (very nice independent film!). I was supposed to watch Dagsin (another entry in Cinemalaya) but the weather and traffic were crazy. So yeah...


That's all folks!

I hope you'll have a lovely September!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Haul #13: Detox Edition

I was doing good in my book buying ban until the PowerBooks Power Sale. But seriously, who could pass up on a 50% off sale?! Definitely not me. :) Thus, I bought:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (hardcover): This one's on my list since its release. I'm excited to read this soon. I've read good reviews about it.

Half Wild by Sally Green (paperback): I bought the first book, Half Bad, last year also from the PowerBooks Power Sale. :)

Also, I was browsing through a secondhand bookstore, and chanced upon a hardbound copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin. I don't know the original price but I got it for only Php 130 (~$3). That's a deal folks! And besides, I already own a copy of the second book so it's perfectly fine to get the first book (in a much lower price). :)


September is Manila International Book Fair month, so expect another haul post soon! :)

That's all folks!
Have a nice day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Currently Reading: This Is How You Lose Her

Title: This Is How You Lose Her
Author: Junot Diaz
Publication Details: September 11th 2012 by Riverhead Books

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness--and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own.

In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”


Re-reading Throne of Glass has gotten me back to my game. I still don't have Crown of Midnight, so I cannot continue with the series yet. But upon looking at my shelves, I decided to go with a small book, somehow light, non-YA read.

This Is How You Lose Her is a short yet entertaining and poignant read. I only read this during my commute to and from work, so I'm not reading as fast as I normally do. But so far, I really am liking this one. It's a collection of short stories and/or brief memoirs about love, relationship, and the daily struggles of life.

I'm excited to finish reading this; and hopefully I will be able to review it soon. :)


What are you reading folks?

Have a nice day!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Feature & Follow #29: Favorite Character Archetype

Feature and Follow 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!


This week's prompt:
What is(are) your favorite character archetype(s)?

I am very picky with characters, because they can sometimes make or break a book. My favorite character archetype, therefore, is someone who has a balanced emotional and rational intelligence. This may include a character who is independent, brave, smart, and who is not only capable of making rational decisions but is also capable of showing/feeling love and compassion.

(Note: This may also apply in real life. Haha.)

Of course, no character (and real life person) is perfect, but this balanced intelligence will guarantee  a character a spot in my "I like" list. :)


How about you folks?
What is/are your favorite character archetype/s?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Currently Reading: Life After Juliet

Title: Life After Juliet
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Publication Details: July 5th 2016 by Entangled Teen

Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people...

Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.

As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world...and happy endings aren't always guaranteed.

The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.

I've read Love and Other Unknown Variables(my review) by the same author, and liked it. What happened to the secondary characters of that novel intrigued me especially after that sad ending. Thus, I gave Life After Juliet a chance.

So far, it's okay. It's quite slow in the beginning but I still want to know how things will turn out for Becca, especially her character development.


That's all folks!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Book Hangover: How I Nurse Myself

We book nerds have already experienced a book hangover, and I am pretty sure that we will experience it over and over again (hello, TBR pile). You know, that feeling of longing that comes from finishing a book or a series. It doesn't matter if the book ended on a happy note, or in two or three buckets of tears, book hangover is real.

We each have our own ways of dealing with this hangover. And I want to share with you how I nurse myself back to "health" after the fateful book hangover...