Hello All, Just a quick note to say that I haven't been blogging here for a while because Peter and I decided to get our own doma...
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- 2010 Wrap-Up: Books/Reading Related
- I got featured on an author's site! =)
- [Review] Death By Garrote by Ambeth Ocampo
- Merry Christmas!
- [Review] Percy Jackson & The Olympians - The Titan...
- [Review] The 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Ko...
- Everyone needs minty fresh breath, right?
- Okay, I caved in and all self control went out the...
- [Travel] The Inconveniences of Travel.
- [Review] The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick R...
- [Review] Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox by Tim...
- [Travel] Symphony of Parols at the Ayala Triangle
- [Review] City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
- Book Challenges: Mystery & Thriller from Book Chic...
- Dear Secret Santa
- [Review] Nola's Worlds # 1: Changing Moon by Mathi...
- In My Mailbox # 15
- [Review] Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince by J...
- Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1...
- Review: Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie Fri...
- [Review] The Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford
- In My Mailbox # 14
- Travel: A Gothic Tour of Chinese Cemetery, Manila
- Review: Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
- Fallen: The Event. Lauren Kate in Manila
- Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
- Trash Book Launch
- Halloween Hangover
- ► October (8)
- ▼ December (14)
- ► 2009 (115)
- ► 2008 (30)
Archive for 2010
So, in line for the beest and worst discussion of my book club for 2010, let me present my bookish highlights for 2010!
Some Awesome Things that Happened:
- Meeting Miguel Syjuco of Ilustrado fame during his book launch at National Bookstore. This was my first ever book launch and I'm surprised at how casual book launches are. Oooh! And the first book I got signed by the author. Whee.
- Getting involved with Lenore's International Book Blogger Mentoring Program. I got to read and review awesome books [Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King and Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser] that was not released in Manila [that I know of].
- Going to the Trash Book launch and getting to interview Andy Mulligan.
- Getting a chance to review books from Anvil Publishing, NetGalley, and thanks for the books sent by publishers to me!! Yaay!
Best Books Read for 2010:
- Trash by Andy Mulligan. I loved that this has a Filipino theme in the book. Yes, I am partial to the book because it presented the Philippines and revolves around Filipino people, but it shows a truth to what's really happening in the country today.
- The Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox by Tim Ostermeyer. Can I just say cutest little picture book ever?? I <3 animals!!
- Belle De Jour. Where the popular British tv show, Secret Diary of a Call Girl was based on. Lovely. Although I can't say I would love the second book, which is a bit bland and boring.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Reading about teens killing one another for survival has never been this interesting and addictive. Yeah, it sounds a bit morbid but you have to read the book to appreciate what I'm talking about!
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The one that got me started on the Rick Riordan reading addiction. Thanks very much Rosie, you are such a bad influence [in a good way =p ]
- Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. Best historical fiction book I ever read so far!
- Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding. I had such high hopes for this book. Oh well.
- Extravagance by Gary Kirst. I thought this would be excellent historical fiction. I thought wrong.
Book with the best cover [that I read for 2010]:
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I was not too impressed by the writing style, but dang, the cover is absolutely gorgeous! The one I borrowed from my friend has a holographic effect to it. It's tooo pretty!!
I reviewed Death By Garrote last December 28th and lo and behold, some friends from my book club, Flips Flipping Pages, informed me that Mr. Ambeth Ocampo shared a link to this blog on his Facebook site!
I was squeeing in happiness. Lookie! Lookie!
I was introduced in the Looking Back series when I was at Ambeth Ocampo's talk at the Ayala Museum last August 14th, 2010. I bought a copy of Looking Back 2 to have signed, and was instantly hooked!
What I absolutely loved about the Looking Back series is that they provide short glimpses of Philippine History without being too boring! They were written in such a way that is entertaining, informative, and fun! Unlike some of the other history books I read when I was younger [flashback of my Araling Panlipunan days back in high school where I fall asleep], this book would definitely interest you in Philippine history. I know it peaked my interest, and yes, I was also insistent on peaking my mom's interest that I kept badgering her with some questions about who was the president during her time, the food she ate, what it was like strolling through Quiapo and Sta. Cruz and how they compare to today. Okay, back to the book. I also loved that some old photos were incorporated in the book. Something that is very difficult to find now.
I learned while reading that these articles was researched thoroughly by the author, and maybe someday someone would browse through his notes and make a living out of his research [Hmm.... I may have to find those notes and trawl through them]. And yes, that particular note made me want to stand up from my seat and go directly to the Lopez Memorial Museum in Ortigas, and the dumdum in me initially did not know where it was until the wonder that is Google pointed me in the right direction. [Note: Rosie, if you are reading this, please can we go there on our historical tour this 2011?]
Oh, another noteworthy thing about the books, the title of Looking Back 2 and 3 is already an overview of the first few articles presented. In Looking Back 2, it was about Mabini's dancing [could you ever imagine, our most precious hero, dancing? Normally we just associate him with his wheelchair], and in Looking Back 3, it was all about the garrote. [Another note: Frankly, I also never knew what a garrote was. Uh.. dumdum moment again!! Thanks again to Google and this book to erase the stupid factor in me].
Can I just say - when is the next book out?? At 100 pages, it is enough to leave you hanging and wanting more. So, while there are no books out yet, you can discover some of the other Ambeth Ocampo books available in the local bookstores.
So, overall, this is a must read book. You may not be a history buff to appreciate all the articles, but maybe after reading this, you'll get to learn more about Philippine history and look at our heroes and past differently.
Available From: All local bookstores! [I checked National Bookstore & Powerbooks and they already have a copy of this. Not sure about Fully Booked but I'm sure they have this also]
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Book was: Provided by Anvil Publishing for review. Many thanks also for Gege and Honey for offering :)
Read it if: You want to know more about Philippine history. I know, I would!
Rating: I loved it, one of my favourite reads of the year [5/5]
I am loving this book!! It's quite different from the Sea of Monsters, where I know the basic plot of the story so its a breath of fresh air for me. Here, I meet the warriors of Artemis, and the gods that had no direct interaction with Percy on the previous books: Artemis, Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus. I'm loving the new characters too: the Ophiotaurus, and the Pegasus Blackjack, Porpie and Guido!
Although I'm not used to not having Annabeth around in the story, it is quite amusing to read about Percy trying to battle his feelings about her. Awww... it looks like he's growing up and likes Annabeth as more than a friend. It's amazing also how these new characters got injected in the book, which a part of my mind was saying "are they part of the Heroes of Olympus spinoff book?" Although there were certain elements in the story that I guessed easily [Atlas, for example], it is a fun and entertaining read as well. There may be some new characters and scenarios that are a bit hard to follow at times, but I guess they would all form a part of the final two books that would ultimately conclude in Percy's choice when faced with the prophecy. Oooooh.
I can't provide much thought on this book without giving too many spoilers, so I'd better wrap this up now.
Book was: Borrowed from a friend
Read it if: You want to continue the tale of Percy. This is the middle book, by the way
Rating: I liked it! [4/5]
I find that the second book is not as interesting as the first one. Don't get me wrong, maybe I'm just trying to get used to the writing style of this author, as it is quite different from Rick Riordan. There were some parts of the story that were boring, and predictable. I knew they would happen and what would happen before I even finished reading that particular chapter, would you believe? Also, the darker side of the Cahills are showing in this book - they would steal and make cunning efforts to try and get to the next clue, however, I guess they have to do that as they are obviously the underdogs, only relying on wits and information that Grace may have passed on to them. Thankfully the book picked up near the end, as they were in Venice and in Vienna. Those parts, I can't literally put the book down. Hmm... both cities, I would definitely add to my to-travel list.
One thing I can't take was how the other characters/teams seem to be non-existent in the book. Where was Irina, where were the Holts, what happened to Jonah after he had lost Amy and Dan during the chase? There were quite a lot of loose ends and I am not quite happy about that.
What surprised me about the tale was how Marie-Antoinette was included in the book. Oh, you'll have to read it how she was involved, but she is all right. One thing about the 39 Clues is that they mix historical facts to the storytelling, which I guess from what I read in a press release before was a goal of the publisher - to make kids love learning about history as they read the books. And I totally agree, since I can't help but research some of the facts and places mentioned in the book to add to my own general knowledge.
I can't wait to pick up the next book - it is currently in my TBR list, and although book 2 disappointed me for a bit, here's hoping that book 3 won't!
Book was: Borrowed from a friend
Read it if: You want to continue the story as outlined from book 1
Rating: It could get better! [3/5]
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Toms of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.
Another personal post for me, and this time, as per the header, it is a sponsored post and was compensated to write this but all opinions, insights, and anything under the sun is mine.
Living in the third world can have its limitations - of course, some products being offered in the US cannot be bought directly here. But hey, that's what my relatives are for! Anyway, this post is about Tom's Of Maine - a company that provides personal hygiene products, which everyone needs! I honestly have not tried their products yet but they do look promising. I have checked on the ingredients of their toothpaste [something that not all companies provide] and they offer peppermint flavoured toothpaste - I love peppermint!
After brushing your teeth, it's now time to use some mouthwash. Oh yes, additional freshness too. That way, you could have a wicked fresh moment with some friends, family members or loved ones, and have the chance to chat with them all day and not have to worry about your breath stinking. That would be so embarrassing.
So, to discover what Tom's Of Maine has more to offer, you could follow them on Twitter @TomsofMaine, or Like their page on Facebook. Other than being updated with the latest news about the company, you could also join the That's Wicked Fresh contest page. Just share a Wicked Fresh moment, experience, or discovery by tweeting using the contest page, and you might just win a $500 Target gift card.
After watching their youtube video performance of Never Forget with Robbie at Children in Need, I went out of my mind and pondered if I would really, really, really want to get a copy of this book.
And I did, BUT after I consulted a few websites.
Checked http://www.amazon.co.uk/ and the book is out of stock, checked http://www.asda.co.uk/ and its also out of stock - http://www.play.co.uk/ is also out of stock. Oh.My.Gosh. I definitely, definitely should get this book now!!!
And then I filled myself with thoughts and explanations on why I would get the book:
1. It's sold out in all the UK websites I'm expecting it to- I need this book NOW!
2. It's a collectors item
3. It's a book about one of my favourite bands, enough said!
4. Maybe one day I'll get the band members to sign the book when I stalk them somewhere
5. It's a book.
Everyday, I travel around 30km from my house in the suburbs to my office. A few years ago, when I first started going to university and traveling the same distance, it used to take me only an hour and a half and I'm home! Well, that was when I used to come home in the afternoon and if there was traffic, there's always the sun to help me out while I read some notes or a book as part of my homework or just to relax myself. Fast forward to now and I am averaging nearly 2hours just to get to work! And so it takes me 4 freaking hours daily just to get to and from work. Why? Because of the traffic, that's why! Gah. In my daily travel, I can go to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur by plane! On a weekly basis, I can go one-way to Europe or to the US West Coast!
*Sigh* Living in a third world country where the traffic is horrible and the transportation system is unreliable sure is annoying and frustrating but I can't really do much about it since duh, I do live here.
So, what do I normally do to make the most out of that time I've spent stuck in traffic?
If it's the morning or afternoon [whatever, as long as the sun is still out], I read. It's an excellent way to make some more book reviews to feature on this site, and well, it provides me with additional information too on where I could go travel next, or just get factoids of stuff.
In the evening, I listen to audiobooks. It's just like reading a book only someone reads the book for you.
Other things you could do whilst stuck in traffic:
1. Sleep. Not highly recommended if you've got a really expensive gadget in your bag or you've got something to lose. Just exercise sleeping in a public utility vehicle with caution.
2. Read. It's worth it. See my reasons above why.
3. Write. Sometimes, I write stuff on my journal or make lists of things I need to do. It is definitely a time saver.
4. Watch. Entertain yourself by watching downloaded shows or even tv on your mobile, iPod or other gadget. I wouldn't do this whilst living in a third world country as you may be mugged. Do this with caution!
5. Meditate. Talk to God, or just think of things you need to do, or just close your eyes and shut off the world for a moment. It's a very relaxing thing to do.
6. Talk to your friends/family. Either by text or by calling them, it sure is an easy way to pass the time.
7. Chat up the person you're sitting with. I'm not necessarily a nice person to strangers, but to each their own.
8. Eat. It's a good time to eat dinner, as long as you don't spill anything on yourself or the person you're sitting next to.
So, this is the first of the 10 book series. This is a great prelude to what might happen in the other 9 books which would take Dan and Amy around the world! The destination in this first book: Philadelphia and on to Paris!
I love the clues and the descriptions of the places. As my friend told me, "It's like Da Vinci Code, but for kids!" And I totally agree with her comment there! It is highly thought of, and yes, I admit that I spent some time thinking of what might happen next to Dan and Amy. It's just a bit hard not to spoil myself by turning the page to the middle and the last part of the book to see if my theories are correct! What's amazing also is that the book has these cards included. You log on to their website, http://www.the39clues.com/ and solve some of the puzzles that Dan and Amy encountered too! Brilliant, right? I think I read from a press release that this was done to entice more young readers to pick up books so I guess this is now the age of interactive book reading! Hmm.. I totally agree. The new generation of kids now have much smaller attention spans compared to when I was younger!
So, I'm not too keen on the death, the blackmail and the threatening each other part to get the clues, but then again, it's all part of their game and what makes the book more interesting. Good enough then. And can I just say that I <3 the title of the book??? I never even expected what it meant until I read the explanation in the book! Gah! How could Amy have solved it and I haven't?? Also, I do adore Dan and Amy - they both have their own specialties to add to the hunt. Dan is a math whiz and obviously can memorize vast amounts of information in a short span of time, whilst Amy is the bookworm and takes care of the history and geography part! Ahhh the perfect tag team!
Would I be reading all 10 books? Yes! Yes! Yes! I already have books 2-6 with me too, all happily borrowed from one of my closest bookish friends! And yes, I am playing the game too - I am in Ekaterina!
Book was: Borrowed from a friend
Read it if: You want an adventure story that's much like the Da Vinci Code [but for the YA market]
Rating: I loved it! [5/5]
So, anyway, a brief back story. When I got the pitch to review the book, I squealed because it was cute! And when i finally got the book from the post office, here it was, in fully glory and read it as soon as I opened the package. Then again, I would have read it sooner had I not come home from work late after a Christmas party.
Packed with photos of wildlife, the book is one of the cutest things ever! The author is also the photographer of the stunning photos you'll see in the book. It must have taken him hours and hours and hours of waiting just to get that perfect shot! What I do adore about this book is that the photos do tie up to the narration in the book. However, I would have preferred if the author has worded the narration in rhymes or rhythmic syllables so the little ones would appreciate the story more. Oh, and myself included. I guess it would help me remember the whole book if it was rhymed! Not sure if the copy I got is an arc or the finished copy but I found a misspelled word and a grammatical error but no worries - maybe it would be fixed in the future books to be released by the author!
Rusty and Ginger and their new friends are just so cute, you have to get this book and see it for yourself! I also love the fun facts on the side of the pages about the animals and even humans! Of course, any additional information on some of our furry friends is a big plus for me!
Publisher: Synergy Books
Book was: Provided by the publicist for review. Thank you =)
Read it if: you adore nature, animals, and children's picture books!
Rating: I absolutely loved it! [5/5]
So, this Yuletide, the Ayala group has launched the Symphony of Parols - a light & sound show every weekday from 6-8pm, where the shows last for 5 minutes, and there are shows every 30 minutes.
Thoughts: This book is much better written than the first book, where I got all confused. The narration is now more fluid, and it looks like what would happen next in the book are well-thought of [well, maybe the first two parts, the third part bored me a bit]. However, I do have a comment: I got confused with the names of the Seraph Blades. Why in the world would there be so much names? Honestly, I don't think it plays such a huge part in the story, it just adds to the confusion.
I noticed that this book has a lot of similarities to the Potter books too, given that this was written by someone who used to write Potter fanfiction. In the latter part of the book, the author also wrote something about Dumbledore: "Who would win in a fight? Dumbledore or Magnus bane?" "Dumbledore, because he's got that wicked killing curse." "But Dumbledore isn't real!"
Okay, other similarities:
The stele & the wand
The Inquisitor [Imogen] & Umbridge -- both horrible and annoying characters
A two-way mirror - the one Jace used to see Idris, whilst the one Sirius gave Harry to communicate with him before he was killed
The quest of both Valentine & Voldemort for a pureblood race, killing everyone who doesn't want to side with him
The Circle and the Death-Eaters
Mundanes & muggles
Agramon & the Boggart - where they shape shift to whatever you fear the most. I mean, come on! Waay too many ideas lifted from the Potter books. It could have been a coincidence but *shrug*
Can I just say I do adore Simon? He probably is one of the best characters in the book, and I loathe Clary, as much as I loathed Bella from the Twilight novels. THey are both whiny, helpless little girls who can't stand up for themselves. Argh.
My favourite character though is Luke -- he seemed like such a cool dad and would do anything for Clary's mum!
Would I read other books by Cassandra Clare? Yes, if I could find a friend who has the books and willing to lend a copy to me. I'm not sure I'd buy her books but maybe if I encounter something from the bargain bin.
So, on to the summary then.
Publisher: Walker Books
Book was: Borrowed from a friend
Read it if: you want to find out what happens to Clary after reading book 1.
Rating: It was okay. [3.5/5]
This time, I've enlisted on to Book Chick City's Mystery & Thriller challenge - minimum number of books to read for 2011 is 2 books [yay, just enough for me], and maximum has no limit!
1. Pledges for my travels please -- monetary values are more than welcome :) I need this to purchase more plane tickets on sale or for my pocket money!
2. A set of aqua shoes/socks -- for a nature trip to Palawan and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in 2011.
3. A set of hiking sandals -- for a nature trip to Palawan and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in 2011.
4. Hotel vouchers abroad or anywhere in the Philippines [except Manila]!
5. A North Face backpack that I can use for handcarry luggage and for backpacking around Asia/Europe/America/Australia in the future.
1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl -- because I love YA and paranormal books
2. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris -- such a cute concept! And I <3 animals too, so there.
3. The Guardians of Ga'Hoole set by Kathryn Lasky. All books, because I love these owlsies.
4. The TinTin books - by Herge. Because my auntie gave some books to me when I was younger and I want to collect these!
5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Another YA Paranormal find.
6. Elixir by Hilary Duff. Well, I used to like Hilary Duff when I was younger and I want to read her book.
7. Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. I'm such a loser. I'm hoping for a cheap copy of this to come out but I haven't found one yet!!
8. Soulless by Gail Carriger. Victorian London & Vampires - what more could I ask for?
9. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. The cover is perfect, and what drew me to the book in the first place
10. Gone by Lisa McMann. Because the plot seems amazing.
Review: The illustrations are very, very cute, although what I loved the most was the colours! They're so vibrant and eye-catching! As to the story, well, there's some open gaps that leave me thinking "huh?" and should have better explained how one character ended up in one place, and why they decided to go there in the first place rather than the reader trying to figure out everything, considering this book is marketed towards children. If they provided a bit more fluidity on the settings and the actions of the characters then it would have made this book so much better! So, yes, I guess the transitioning of the story would be a good thing to work on in the next few volumes.
However, on the story side, I do appreciate the fact that Nola is from a broken family, and explains a bit on how her mother isn't always at home [who is constantly engrossed in work], and her father is always away, and him giving her presents just to make up for the fact that he's never there. I haven't read much children's books wherein the main character is from a broken family [except maybe for the Princess Diaries, which I'm currently reading right now]. I guess it's a good tale for some kids who are from real-life broken families to know that they're not alone and no, the break-up is not their fault.
Illustrations - there are some scenes where I lost Nola, because she's in chibi mode or her appearance has completely changed but I guess it all depends on how the illustrator would interpret a certain scene in the tale! To each their own, I guess.
So, on to the summary.
Published: November 1, 2010
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: you want to read a new manga of sorts
Book was: provided by NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group
Rating: So-So [3/5]
So, what new books have I gotten this week?
- The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. Book # 1 of the Kane Chronicles. I've heard so much hype about it and my close friend swapped me her trade paperback copy because she wants to upgrade to a hardbound copy. Cool, huh?
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan. Book # 3 of the Percy Jackson tales. Yay. I finally can continue what happened to Percy.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan. Book # 4 of Percy. Just so I'll have some continuation on what happens to Percy
- The 39 Clues: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan. Heard lots of good stuff about the 39 clues book series, but I find the books a bit too expensive for my taste. Good thing one of my good friends has a complete set and let me borrow them! Wheee!
- The 39 Clues: One False Note by Gordon Korman
- The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis. Probably the shortest hardcover book I've ever seen in my life at 100+ pages, with huge fonts. Seems like it's a novella to me!
- The 39 Clues: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson. Awesome cover!!
- The 39 Clues: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman.
- The 39 Clues: In Too Deep by Jude Watson.
- Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel. HB. From National Bookstore's Book Bazaar -- it was only worth $2.50!! I can't say no to that, given that it was only published this year!
- Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony & Maureen Wheeler. TP. Again, from the NBS Book Bazaar -- bought this for one of my closest friends.
- The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. HB. From NBS Book Bazaar. I gasped when I saw this - I had to have it!! And it was only $2.50 too!
Review: I finished Book 6 after I finished watching the 7th Harry Potter movie and so, I was also in a rush to start reading book 7! I love that this book has a lot of back stories [and I am such a sucker for back stories], and provides more insights on the life of Dumbledore and Voldemort. This year, a lot of deaths and injuries also occured in some of the characters, so it has become darker, but I figure it is definitely needed to continue on in the story, after all, no one does love forever.
I love also that the 6th books intertwine with the 5th and provides a prelude to the 7th book. Often times, as I was speaking to some of my Potterhead friends, I confuse which book a certain scene was from - either the 5th or the 6th because of the organization of JK Rowling. I also love that elements from the previous books have been incorporated in the 6th book- so you do have to read the other volumes of Harry to get their meaning or if you've forgotten that particular aspect, you'll end up flipping through the older volumes. Brilliant, just brilliant.
What I also love about this is the return of Dobby and Kreacher. I am such a sucker for these two characters. I first loved Dobby in the second book and I can't get enough of them. So, after that shock I received after watching the 7th movie [oh dobby, dobby, dobby], I was happy enough to enjoy these house elves.
The book also showed Harry maturing - him falling in love with Ginny [see, there is also a happy element in the Harry books!], and well, I guess everyone has matured a lot. The DA members have been more than loyal to Dumbledore too!
What I don't want. Oh the ending!! Such a sad, sad ending, but life goes on. I also loved that Harry has been more determined than ever to carry on a task that was previously left to him. He has stepped up, definitely, and accepted that he may have been the chosen one to finally end the horrible terror that Lord Voldemort has been spreading in the wizarding world.
Overall, an excellent read. I would definitely read the Harry Potter series again after I've finished the 7th book, in order, and complete, before the 2nd part of the movie about the 7th book is shown in the cinemas! That way, I could also relate to some of my friends as they discuss more trivial parts about the book and comparison with the movie!
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: It's Harry Potter! You should read it!
Book was: bought from Fully Booked
Rating: Loves [5/5]
Anyway, as I went to work last Friday, I can't concentrate - granted, there is quite a number of things to do as I was out of office the day before, but I just can't stop thinking about Harry!!! There's a mini countdown going on in my head and when it was time to go home, I immediately bolted out the door!
Met my friend at a local bookstore to get my invites to the Lauren Kate event signing, ate dinner, and off we went to the cinema!
So, thoughts on the movie: AMAZING!!! I never expected it to be this good and all the more, I wanted to finish reading book 6 and go read book 7 now so I could compare and find out if there are any elements that I'm missing out on. My Potterhead friends tried to discuss the movie without providing me too much spoilers on the book [love you guys for that], which made me even curious! My favourite parts - Dobby.... oh Dobby... and Kreacher too... and the story about the three brothers! Only complaint? Gah, I wanted the movie and the story to go on but I just have to wait until July 2011, won't I?? That gives me 8 months to read book 6-7, re-read books 1-7 again, and watch the 7 movies. Oh my gosh, what a long to do list... and on top of that, read some of the TBR mountain pile that I have... jeez! Favourite character in this movie? Hermione, of course! She's so smart! Ooooh Oooh Oooh! And can I add that I love the effects on the movie?? It's brilliant!
So, apologies if you happen to read this blog and find that I'm not making much sense at all! I just wanted to share the happiness and giddy feeling that's still my hangover from Potter!!
So, till the next movie!
It's Valentine's Day and Ruby won't let anything spoil the celebration! In this follow-up to the popular Love, Ruby Valentine, Ruby's favorite day of the year rolls around again, and she and Lovebird work feverishly to plan the perfect party for everyone in Heartland. But when Valentine's Day arrives, an unexpected snowstorm threatens to ruin all of Ruby's plans. Will Ruby find a way to save the day, or will everyone in Heartland have to wait until next year to celebrate?
**Book Information from NetGalley**
Another children's book for me to read! Yay! Somehow if I read children's books during lag times at the office, I tend to be more relaxed and hyper and happy! Guess it's a stress-reliver for me. And I could review and preview new children's books too! Whee.
Okay, more serious stuff now: the review. I loved this book because the main character has the same name as myself - Ruby! Though the book is catered to elder children [ie Ruby has her own house and has the means to plan and prepare her own party], I also love that Ruby has a constant companion in the book - an anthropomorgic bird named LoveBird, who can talk and help Ruby out in her day to day life.
The book is very simple, yet the colours are soo striking, and would be a favourite for young girls - almost all the pages are coloured pink! How girly and cute! The book also provides scenarios on what happens in real life, and as all children's books go, a lesson at the end of the tale which everyone would enjoy and appreciate. I won't tell the lesson here though, just that you need to read the book to find out ;)
Can I just add that I love Lovebird? He/She seems to be one of the most loveable pets ever, and he knows how to talk too! How cool is that?
Published: November 1, 2010
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: you want to teach your child a valuable lesson that they could use in real life; oh and read it for the pictures!!
Book was: provided by NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group
Rating: Loves [5/5]
This book is very entertaining, especially for kids. I wish I had read one of this when I was younger, as it promotes individuality and lets you realize that inspiration can come from even in the older generations. It also drives kids to try and experiment on new things (with the help and permission of your parents or guardians, of course), and your uniqueness will shine even more!
The illustrations are very colourful and cute! I couldn't take my eyes off it, and the writing is very good as well - it provides the rhyme that will make the kids remember the story, and coupled with the illustrations, I'm sure these will always be something parents would love to read out loud to their children, and a book they would all treasure forever.
Published: April 1, 2011
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Available from: Everywhere! [starting April 1, 2011 tho]
Read it if: you want something to read to your child to teach them about individuality
Book was: provided by NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group
Rating: Loves [5/5]
Brief introduction though -- In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It features bought, borrowed, or received books as well as other cool stuff from the mail.
For this week:
- City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. I just finished the first book but since I'm a cheapskate to buy a full priced copy of this book I just borrowed from a colleague of mine! Yay for bookworm colleagues
- The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Borrowed from one of my closest friends who's also a bookworm! Wheee!
Quite a lot, I must say.
- Fallen by Lauren Kate. TP. Bought from National Bookstore. I've read lots of reviews and buzz about this and blogs. When I found out she's coming to Manila on November 27th and 28th, I couldn't resist buying a copy to get an invite for the event. Only to find out there's another event under Powerbooks for the 28th at a venue closer to my house x_x Oh well. Better be worth it though.
- Torment by Lauren Kate. HB. Bought from National Bookstore. Same writeup as Fallen! :) There was a 20% off as well from NBS and I just had to buy them both!
- The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd. HB. Bought for 50c USD from Booksale! Oh. My.God. I've been looking for this book forever and now I have it!!!!!!!!! And to top it off it was sooo cheap!! Squeeeeeeeee
- Madapple by Christina Meldrum. HB. I've seen this on the Random Buzzers website before. I was absolutely happy when I saw this again at my favourite bargain bookstore!!! It only cost 75c as well! Waah! I'm on a roll! Good reviews opn this book as well even though I've no clue what it's really about.
- The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd - Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer. HB. Again, from my favourite bargain bookstore. I saw this at a full price bookstore before and I was absolutely intrigued. Now I need to get book 1 so I can continue reading this.
- Wild Roses by Deb Caletti. TP. Again, from my favourite bargain bookstore. This was recommended to me by one of my closest friends and I just had to have it as well! It was only worth $1!
- This Lullaby by Sara Dessen. HB. Again, from my favourite bargain bookstore. This was recommended to me by one of my closest friends and I just had to have it as well! She said it was one of her favourite Dessen books, and believe me, she read all of them.
Pretty Little Liars # 4: Unbelievable. HB. Again, from my favourite bargain bookstore. I've seen the tv show, and have book #2 [also from the bargain bookstore], so just need books 1 and 3 too!
Being an avid traveler and since my plans for Ocean Park has been cancelled, I immediately accepted. I could not resist a chance to see other facets of Manila that I do not know about or haven't seen yet. I met the guys at Fully Booked Gateway [hah! I didn't get to buy anything - yay me for not succumbing to temptation], and ate lunch while waited for the rest of the party to arrive. Then, our first stop was the Chinese Cemetery!
It's amazing how the rich and the poor could also be divided in death. There's no apartment tombs in the Chinese Cemetery, compared to the ones that are more apparent in North Cemetery. Almost all the tombs are in intricate mausoleums, and since All Saints Day and All Souls Day had just finished the week before, there were coloured papers on top of the tombs, and the signs of burned material are still in the burners. Apparently the Chinese burn offerings [ie paper money, paper cars] to aide in the afterlife of their loved ones. [ie if they burn paper money, they in turn are sending money offerings to their deceased loved ones. Amazing.]
For me, there is something very enlightening in visiting a cemetery - never mind that it's full of deceased people, but it is a quiet area to meditate on your life as well. Facing death, how would you be able to make your life more worthwhile? And then the questions come in: if I die, would people look at my grave and visit me and pay their respects?
Anyway, moving on to the tour instead of my insights - we eventually got back in the car after walking through some gothic tombs. We eventually decided to try and find Andres Bonifacio's tomb, which was shaped like a pyramid. Then the questions pondered us: "Is Bonifacio Chinese?" Maybe. Maybe not. But we did find out for a fact that the non-Catholic people cannot be buried in La Loma or in North Cemetery so most Filipinos/Chinese were buried in Chinese Cemetery.
We eventually found ourselves in a memorial for General Yang Guangsheng. He was a Chinese Consul for the Philippines at the time, and as his plaque explained, he was shot to death in a grassy field when he tried to help the Filipino guerillas fight against the Japanese. Initially the Japanese wanted the General to call on his fellow Chinese to help the Japanese with their cause. His refusal ended in his and his entire staff's death. Way back in the World War II days, not much light has been given on the Battle of Manila, but it definitely is a shocking and interesting tale on how Manila has been a pivotal point in the War of the Pacific. I command the General for fighting with the Filipinos even though he himself is not of our race.
We saw a foreigner checking out the memorial of the General, and I was a bit happy to see that there are other foreigners who are touring Manila! By this time, one of our group saw a "tacky" crown on top of a mausoleum and we decided to check it out. They shrieked in delight when the mausoleum said "Ma Mon Luk." I honestly had no idea who this Ma Mon Luk was until Peter patiently told me that there is a restaurant named after him which serves the best siopao. Oh! So they paid their respects to Ma Mon Luk by having a photo in front of the mausoleum. I didn't join them because honestly, I'm a bit freaked of having my photo taken with a mausoleum -- I've seen some telly series where there are other people showing up in the photos and I'm not particularly keen on having that sort of experience if it does happen.
We then walked to Mabini's grave. It is found in Mabini St, but it is tucked in a little side street that's a wee bit hard to find, esp if you're not that familiar with the cemetery. Apparently the reason for the odd shape of Mabini's grave is that he was part of the Freemasons. Oooooh! Da Vinci Code, Philippine version anyone?? That would be a great book plot! LOL.
So, that's the first stop of our tour. We went to La Loma Cemetery after, which you can read in a different blog post once I've got over my laziness. Teehee!
Thoughts - The way the book was narrated and presented to the readers is awesome. With a mixture of blogs, comments to the blog, notes, and the narration of Madison, its certainly a new twist to me. Though the writer is male, he had presented the point of view of a female very accurately, in fact, I had to look at the back cover of the book to ensure that the author is indeed male and not a female since I throughly believed the female narration and what goes on in the mind of the girl, esp when they're attracted to someone.
The mystery component is presented with lots of red herrings. It drove me crazy that around 100 pages into the book, I snuck a peek at the last few pages of the book to see who the perpetuator was. I spoiled myself in the process and though this is not often the case, I was utterly disappointed that I did not get to figure out who the killer was by myself. Awww.. But anyway, just look at the clues presented in the book and I'm sure you'll come up with the killer too!
The characters were stereotypical to be honest - they are the rich, young kids who are living in private school and its set in a typical YA manner - a high school. It's all right though, as Tyler offered a breath of fresh air as well as Sharon and Laurie. Not many books delve in the topic of homosexuality too.
There is a second book out, called "Blood in Her Hands." Did I say this book was the first of a trilogy? If not, well, it is! As I checked out the blurb of the second book from Amazon, I think it's not related to the first book per se - ie, the characters are the same, but nevertheless, it does look interesting too! Although the series did not get as much buzz as I thought it would be, it's a nice read for Halloween as its a thriller and a whodunit type of thing!
So, on to the final summary of the review!
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: you want to read a whodunit book, or want a thriller of a book that's of a young adult reading level
Book was: provided by A.S King as part of Lenore's International Book Blogging Mentoring Program
Rating: Likes [4/5]
The launch started at 5pm, where he was introduced by a big boss of National Bookstore [NBS], and there was a brief question & answer by the audience and also by the host!
Some notable questions and his answers:
**What are you currently working on?
He's currently working on another book, due for next year. It's about a girl who falls in love with a boy from the streets. So Trash lives again [everyone laughs]. It was a work in progress but Mr. Mulligan's laptop was stolen so he has to rebuild everything from scratch!
Note: However, we should be able to get something new from him by Feb 2011! It will be a sequel to Ribblestrop, entitled "Return To Ribblestrop." Oooh! I can't wait for that! And ooh man, let's hope Andy gets to remember all the lines he typed when he was creating his new novel.. it's due to be sent to the publisher this December 2010 so here's hoping there's another book out after the Return to Ribblestrop novel!
**Will you hold another book launch when Return to Ribblestrop comes out? [personal question that I asked when I was having my booked signed]
Hopefully National Bookstore will invite me again, but we'll see how it goes.
**Will there be a sequel to Trash?
Unfortunately, no. The book in itself is simple and there's not much elements to place in a sequel.
**Will Trash be turned into a movie?
There is a British filmmaking company who has already bought the rights to the book. They are currently on pre-production and are scouting for the location. They did go to Brazil and were thinking of setting the movie there. He was trying to convince the film people to try and film it in Manila, but unless he is JK Rowling or some other money making author, he has no rights to the filmmaking process. And currently, he's not getting his hopes up too early as these film people tend to put the red light on projects very quickly and unexpectedly.
**Are the characters of Trash based on someone you know?
Yes, there is a boy in India from which the main character, Raphael is loosely based on.
**How did you make the transition from a light young adult read [Ribblestrop] to a more serious young adult read?
As a background, Andy Mulligan has already penned his debut novel titled Ribblestrop - it's about a group of kids in a school... well, they are very, very special kids and the school is quite special as well. Andy says that writing Ribblestrop was harder because there were too many characters involved and intertwining them in the novel takes far more time. Trash, on the other hand, only involves three characters and the story is far more simple than Ribblestrop.
**How do you feel that children reading your book may think how lucky they are that they are not living in the streets?
The novel wasn't written as a journalistic expose meant for kids to realize the realities of what's outside. It was just written as a tourist seeing what's real in MNL. If the kids realized that they are lucky then it's good that they learned something but the book definitely wasn't meant to be written in an expose form.
**No photos from the book launch from my camera yet! I've no idea when I'm going to get the time to upload them though!
Right now I'm reading "Wish You Were Dead" by Todd Strasser and watching "Harper's Island" on DVD. Since I'm alone, I'm dead scared but hey, it's the whole spirit of Hallowen, right?
I wanted to stay at home and continue my scarefest but sadly, I've got work and it's only a PH holiday tomorrow, not a UK holiday. But oh well.
Surprisingly, I'm loving the horror/thriller genre of books!! And for some reason, I feel very brave whenever it's Halloween that I tend to dive in this genre! teehee! Oh well, back to regular programming now. Hopefully I'd have done finishing a book after this so I can post some reviews!
Which reminds me -- I haven't done an In My Mailbox for the past x number of months! Eeep!!!
I first came across this at a Facebook post by one of my favourite bookstores here in Manila: National Bookstore. They were having a book launch and since there rarely are any book launches in MNL, I jumped at the chance and went with a colleague of mine from work!
Anyway, I have a bit of a soft spot for this book. First off, it shows the cruel reality of life here in MNL: the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer, and well, there are so many corrupt officials out here that it's hard for the country to actually rise up. Okay, enough of the dark stuff, on to the book. Although the setting was not specified, it is obviously based in Manila [as what Andy Mulligan said during his book launch] and some of the places he stated in his book are real: Green hills, McKinley Hill [which is just a stone's throw away from my office building and the British School Manila, where Andy used to teach], South Superhighway [which I pass every day as I go to and from work], while some places are loosely based on other settings in Manila. I believe Navaho Cemetery is the North Cemetery -- where yes, there is a divide between the poor and the rich, even in death. There are obviously those stacks of graves that he was describing, and yes, the 5-year lease is also true and if you can't pay, the bones would just be tossed out. And yes, there definitely are people who make a living by foraging in the trash, even children. The sad realities of life in Manila.
While the characters are not as well-developed as I hoped, their bonding makes it an ideal team as they tried to solve the puzzles in the book. At times I often wonder if I were in that situation, would I have been brave enough to complete the task and the mystery involved? Or would I have taken the money? It's such a huge dilemma! And yes, money definitely is involved in almost every aspect in everyday life here.
I loved this book, it took me just a few days to finish this, and since it's quite short [200+ pages], it is a quick read, but the message is deep. Although the plot can be quite predictable, and the writing is simple, I loved every bit of this book and I'm more than happy to have gotten a copy and had it signed by the author. It makes me want to say how lucky I am to be in a position that I am in and thankful for everything that I have.
Publisher: David Fickling books/Random House
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: You want a glimpse of life in MNL and the realities of the harshness of life picking up trash, how corruption works
Book was: bought from National Bookstore; signed by the author at the book launch.
Rating: LOVES [4/5 rating!]
So, what are my thoughts about this book? Uhmm... Let's just say that the descriptions of some of the pranks and things that happened to him are utterly disgusting, you'll be put off from reading after some time. The mere thought of their antics as well is enough to make a parent shake their head in disbelief and wish that their children would not be as troublesome as the Rams was when he was younger.
Was it entertaining? A bit, yes. Was it worth your time to read? I honestly don't know. To each their own, I guess. Did I learn something new from the book? Uh.. maybe more tricks to terrorize adults? Okay, I did not entirely like the book, but there's this area where I could totally relate to the Rams: it was college, and he was broke. I experienced the same hardship when i was in university and my funds were very limited, and yes, I have to come up with ways to earn more moolah! I also can relate to him when he was feeling down and depressed as he was searching for a job after university. And finally landing a job he really likes!
So, okay, what else? I wouldn't really bother spending some money or time on this book, but read it if you're curious about rural Ireland in the 80s/90s.
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Available from: Amazon
Read it if: Huh. I don't know.
Book was: provided by the author for review.
Rating: So-So [2/5 rating]
Another action-packed Percy Jackson novel! I can't write my own summary without giving too much away! Teehee. This book has got a lot of family values, a lot of action, and a lot of adventure, all in 279 pages. I love how Rick Riordan manages to combine reality and Greek mythology in his Percy Jackson novels -- it sure can encourage the young ones to remember their mythology [if it is still required for school].
However, I've got some rants about this book. I find it too predictable... the stories obviously have been mashed from some of the mythologies that are already known -- Jason and the Argonauts, and most of the plot is from Odysseus. I've managed to watch a documentary of sorts about Odysseus one time from the History Channel and everything is plotted out there. Down to Circes, and all the other characters from the quest -- I guess the Sea of Monsters is a retelling of sorts? [Uh, Duh, Ruby?]
**May contain spoilers**
I looooooove Tyson!! He is such a cute little character -- as well as Hermes's snakes, George and Magda!!! "Rats are delicious." Hmmm... not that I like rats too but it's become my favourite tag line for the whole of the Percy second tale! Magda is the more serious one but George and Magda combined offer a lot of laughs for me. I hope they would make some other cameos in the other books!
Honestly, that part about the golden fleece and Thalia? I kind of thought that would happen. Oh well. Predictable. But nevertheless fun.
So, on to the ratings then!
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: You want to learn about Greek mythology, or you want to know what's next in Percy's adventure
Book was: Borrowed from a friend