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Archive for June 2010

Review: The Greatest Salesman in the World

One workday, a colleague of mine had this on her table, I immediately borrowed it after she had tried [but failed] in finishing the book.

It tells the story of how to be the greatest salesman in the world, following the principles that are outlined from 10 scrolls, passed down from one person to the next. These scrolls would teach the readers on how to become the greatest salesman in the world.

Thoughts: When you initially buy this book, you wouldn't get a synopsis at the back. And yes, you may initially be startled at how thin and small this book is! But it's full of inspirational tales that reminded me of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist - although, I know that Og Mandino wrote his books first.

There are some scenes that reminded me of the Bible stories, while there are multiple quotable quotes within the book. I wrote them all down in my notebook so I'll have something to look back on when I return the book to my colleague. Did this book inspire me? Definitely. This book came at a right time when I was not in the mood to read any book, no matter how good it is. I've just lost the knack for reading right now, especially when my trip abroad is looming closer and closer. *yipee*

I also found out that the quotable quote "Live each day with love in your heart" was from this book! I've been reading that line for so many times now, but never knew where it came from!

Quick read? Yes. But you have the option to read the book and/or the principles again and again if you feel like it, and you believe with what the author was conveying.

Unfortunately, I can't really delve much on any other details now, or else my review would have spoilers. So on to the summary!

Published: 1968 [that long ago, seriously?]

Publisher: Bantam Dell
Available from: everywhere!
Read it if: You need some inspiration
Book was acquired from: - actually, borrowed from my colleague

The post above is included in Cym Lowell's Book Review Wednesdays

Review: The Elf of Luxembourg

The Elf of Luxembourg centers around two teen girls, Alex and Jackie, who are currently on a vacation with their aunt and uncle in Luxembourg. Little did these girls know that they were part of a prophecy, and their happy go lucky lives of shopping and just living as teens would quickly turn. They find out they have amazing potentials, and of course, they get to meet paranormal creatures such as elves and vampires!

Thoughts: Who would have ever thought to put elves and vampires in a novel? It's just brilliant! Usually it's just wolves vs vamps, but hey, this novel provides a breath of fresh air in what has become a stagnant paranormal cliche.

I also love the fact that the author has decided to set his tale in a real city, and provides information on the places to see, and where to eat!  It honestly makes me want to go to Luxembourg, like, right now.

The presentation of the story is brilliant too. I love the author's writing technique. Every chapter is a breath of fresh air -- even if you're traveling from one story to the next, and you're presented with a specific scenario, you never get lost as you are reading the tale. It's easy to follow, plus the German and French phrases are also a plus. I learned a lot reading this book! Both geographically and language-wise, of course.

What I am not too happy about is the cover -- for a great tale, it needs a more striking cover, nothing like the one that is available right now. please change the cover to something else, something more eye-catching!

Published: 2010

Publisher: Tom Weston Media
Available from: Amazon
Read it if: You want a mix of vamps with elves with a touch of historical fiction set in a gorgeous European city.
Book was acquired from: the author - thanks.

 The post above is included in Cym Lowell's Book Review Wednesdays

TV Time: Gossip Girl S2 Finale & Flash Forward Reviews

So tv time with Ruby revolves around this telly series for the moment plus a glimpse of Gossip Girl. Please bear with me as I include both a summary of the episode and what I thought about it. If you haven't seen this episode yet and don't like spoilers then please be wary of the below! Though I don't any of you haven't seen what I've seen already. There's much more telly addicts out there than myself.

Gossip Girl Season 2 Finale.
Those of you who are updated with telly series must think that I am a loser! Lol. Yes, I've only just finished the second season, and yes, I am aware that the third season has finished a month ago. But who could ever find the time to watch all they want and do so much more? Well, I actually watched the finale through my iPod -- i try to squeeze in a bit of entertainment time whenever possible!

In this episode, Blair said I love you to Chuck again, which was not reciprocated again. Serena is waging a war on Gossip Girl, only to find that she was in vain and Gossip Girl dished out all the secrets of the posse. Blair also chooses the next queen of Constance -- Jenny! Hmm.. not surprising. Rufus proposes to Lily, and well, the gang are all preparing to go to college although Vanessa & Nate plan to go on a backpacking tour before the semester starts.

What I loved about this ep was how the gang all banded together. They're still strong, I only hope that they remain as strong as this for season 3 but whatevs. I'll get to watch what happens to them sooner or later when I've got the extra time to spare. What I loved? Well, the Chuck and Blair moments of course! And Blair's headbands. They are to die for! =P

And so I got a copy of Flash Forward from my old boss after asking him if it was any good. I saw previews of this in the Fox Channel when I still had it and it got me hooked. Too bad it got cancelled though :( It stars the dude from Shakespeare in Love and the other dude from Harold & Kumar.

Flash Forward - Pilot.
The start of this very addictive series. In this episode, at exactly 11AM, October 2009, everyone blacked out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and nearly everyone had a vision of what they were going to be doing 6 months from the date, on April 29th, 2010, 10pm EST. Now, knowing the future could be very, very scary. For me, I honestly don't know if i'd appreciate knowing my future or not, especially if the future is a bad one. Anyway, like everything else that we have in the present, the flash forwards that the people got were interconnected. As the FBI is starting to investigate what could have caused the phenomenon, they noticed something different -- during the time that everyone was supposedly blacked out, one person was awake! Creepy stuff! Is that person a mutant, an alien, or one who knows it all?

Absolutely brilliant Pilot. Sci-Fi at its best yet believable enough for you to think of the chances of that thing happening!!

Flash Forward - Episode 2.

And so, while I wait for my file transfer to be completed, I decided to go on through to the next installment in the series!
In this ep, most of the people are trying to cope with what they know from the future and Steve from Coupling is here! *squee*
Note: For those of you who haven't watched the telly show Coupling, DO! It's like, the British equivalent of Friends... with a mix of Sex & The City of sorts that was aired back in the early 2000s [or late 90s? i'm not sure!] Anyway, some of the people in the ep dealt with the future as a positive or a negative thing, which is realistic. But.... 30 minutes on to this ep and it gets kinda boring.... Mark [the main FBI character] is chasing after the clues he has that led to his flash forward. Oooh! Now things are picking up -- quote of the ep: "he who forsees calamity suffers them twice over" Okay - just finished the ep and it feels like I'm watching Lost season 1 all over again. So many questions that need answers! Gah!

Flash Forward - Episode 3.

A lead comes up from an ex-Nazi german which tries to explain why the Flash Forward was 137 seconds long [exactly 2 minutes 17 seconds]. The German asks for a get out of jail free card in return. Meanwhile, people have begun living for what would happen in the future, not what could happen in the future. huh. Anyhow, another mystery! The flash forward in the past already - in 1991, somewhere in Africa. Another great mystery was there was a boy who was awake when everyone was passed out! Hmm........

Travel: Macau and HK 2010 Itinerary

Posting here because my friends want to know where I'm going =) And to serve as a guide to other people who may be reading my blog who wants to go to HK and Macau =)

The below is just a plan - please post comments if you wish to correct or suggest something to the below =)

July 8
Arrive Macau 930pm via CebuPac
Ride bus or Taxi to Metropole Hotel.
Freshen up for around 5mins
Between 1015-1030 pm - walk to Wynn Hotel from Metropole
Watch Fountain Show & Tree of prosperity
camwhore in casinos around the area at night [wynn and grand lisboa, other casinos, maybe]

Estimated expenses - 15/MOP or HKD [bus from airport to ferry station; bus from ferry station to bus stop near hotel -- will research more on this]
OR cab -- between 80-100 MOP/HKD

July 9
around 6am - wake up!
between 7-730am - leave hotel. Either 1) eat bfast at hotel [baon of food] or buy [not recommended since tipid mode]

bus from hotel to: [3.20 MOP]
A-Ma Temple [opens at 7am] then barra fortress/hill
macau maritime museum

bus to historical area of macau [st pauls ruins, etc, bus 8 - 3.20 MOP]
explore historical area **consult MAP!**
explore some more =)
Guia Hill too? if so, another bus [3.20 MOP]

early evening/late afternoon
bus to macau tower [3.20 mop]
entrance to macau tower [100MOP] - includes skywalk and observation decks

bus from macau tower to fisherman's village
dinner at fisherman's village

at around 8pm - bus from fisherman's village to nam van lake [watch fountain show]

evening - camwhore around st paul's/senado square at night!

july 10
after eating baon of bfast or eat out -
bus from hotel to coloane [5 MOP]
explore coloane
coloane village
hac sa park/beach [optional]
a ma statue
seac pai van park
lunch at lord stow's macao

after lunch: bus to taipa [4.20 MOP]
taipa village, houses, hills, etc
bus to ferry terminal then ride free ferry to venetian or bus directly to venetian [if bus to venetian will do research]
optional: watch 5pm show of cirque du soleil [188 MOP]
explore venetian and watch shows

city of dreams [watch the dragon show]
explore venetian/other hotels/casinos in the area until evening

july 11
- check out metropole and leave items with concierge for pickup
- buy stuff to bring home, last minute sightseeing at macau
- guia fortress/grand prix museum/wine museum
- lunch somewhere
- ride 1pm ferry to HK [154 HKD]
- arrive in HK around 2pm
- checkin hotel at around 230pm
- around 3/330pm - leave hotel for TST by walking [20mins walk from hotel - cheapskate mode: ON] or ride MTR from Jordan to TST station - 3.6 HKD
- ride Star Ferry from TST to HK Island - idk how much

Stuff to do in HK Island:
Wan Chai - golden bauhinia square
HK Zoo & Botanical gardens [i wanna go here puhlease? :D]
Malls in HK Island


just hang around TST in the museums [except for the science one please!]

- 630pm - head to waterfront to watch Symphony of Lights [for Jego]
then malls again cos its sale.  =)

Cotton On

July 12
Bfast at Hotel
HK Disneyland from 10am-8pm!!! [350 HKD entrance] - avail of meal voucher too.
Temple Street Night Market/Mong Kok in the evening to buy something to bring home

July 13.
Early check out at hotel
Leave stuff with front desk
Repulse Bay & Stanley Market
Leave for HK Airport by around 430pm
Arrive HK Airport at around 530pm for 730pm flight back to MNL
930pm - arrive in MNL


Travel: Ruby's June 2010 Piso Fare Experience

Everyone in the Philippines knows about the Piso or Zero Fare Promo of Cebu Pacific.
It is a much awaited sale because the prices are really, really cheap!
So, when they posted that they will have a sale today, I was happy. It was to Domestic destinations only within the PH but nevertheless, a sale is a sale, and traveling is traveling. I can't resist missing out on new destinations!

I had a chat with my mum the night before the sale June 10th, and she said she was game for it!

And since I was too sleepy and can't wait until 12mn, I decided to wait until today to try my luck and book a ticket for myself and for my mum.

Lo and behold, I was one of the few lucky ones to nab a seat to Davao for travel on January 2011.

Only problem? I wasn't able to book for my mum! When I tried to book again, it was all sold out!

And so I'd wait for another domestic sale to book a seat for my mum. This is my second time in Davao, and my mum's first so I'd act as her tour guide. Woot Woot.

I can't wait for an international piso fare! I have a list of places I want to go to, with priorities and possible travel dates! I was also lucky enough to nab a piso fare for Macau this July. I booked it last October 2009, just in case you want to know, for a roundtrip total of P933. Whee! On to new adventures ahead!

Thank you CebuPac for giving us a chance to see the world for a fraction of what it would normally cost.
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Review: The Girl Made of Cool

The Girl Made of Cool is a series of three novels all packed in one.
Warning: the post below may contain spoilers so I suggest you do not proceed if you don't like spoilers. Frankly it's really hard to write an overview with this book. *sigh* And let's just say the review below would not entirely be positive.

The first story, "The Girl Made of Cool" could be summed up in a few sentences: Girl meets boy. Boy likes girl. Boy has a friend who also likes girl [let's call the other guy, Boy2]. Boy2 likes Girl. They go out. Boy2 cheats. Girl breaks up with Boy2. Girl realizes she's in love with Boy1. They end up together. The end.

The second story, "Hell has blue skies" revolves around a guy in an office, who falls in love with a girl from the office. He also deals with office politics.

The last story, "The Lovely lady in the Love Museum" is a story of an anthropologist trying to save the museum he loves by tricking some rich dude [who seems to me is modelled after Donald Trump] and well, he falls in love in the end.

Thoughts: I didn't like the book. Seriously. The book has no real plot. When I was reading the blurb, sure, it had promise. I thought it was a love story intended to make me smile and happy. You know, like a chick lit story. But it was not to my expectations. I was severely disappointed.

The novel is full of redundancies. Like, I do not need to read the word "one-up" four times in a sentence. It gets annoying. I am not that stupid to get what you're trying to say, you know? And well, some of the scenarios are out of this world, unbelievable to an extent. I can't expect the lowest ranking member in an office to suddenly have a meeting with the CEO of the company. The CEO would not waste his/her time on us minions. The love story factor I was so expecting was almost non-existent [except maybe for the Girl Made of Cool], and the love story did not provide that tingling feeling I normally get whenever I read or watch something sooo cute and sweet, it brings me to my knees. And well, get jealous because someone special never does that for me. Oh well.

Moving on to the good points. The presentation of the story is different. It is presented in a play [well, The Girl Made of Cool is], which is something new and refreshing. The novel is also portrayed in the point of view of the guy - and there's not much novels that are written and presented from a guy's point of view, I'll give him that. Would I see this story in broadway or in a movie? Maybe. Maybe not. Would I watch the movie or play if given a chance? Definitely not.

Moving on to the cover. As my boss at work would say when she saw it: "What is that thing you're reading? A textbook?" After I replied that it was a novel, she exclaimed: "That's a novel? The cover is horrible." And I would have to agree that the cover is indeed horrible. If I did not know this book and was just browsing through Amazon or a local bookstore, I definitely won't pick this up. Yes, yes, "Don't judge a book by its cover" but one of the factors why publishers spend all the time and money designing covers is to entice readers in. Some books I bought because the covers are awesome.

So, moving on to the wrap-up/summary:
Published: 2009

Publisher: StoryFocus
Available from: Amazon. Not sure if the local bookstores have this.
Read it if: I wouldn't really recommend reading this, but to each their own!
Book was acquired from: the author
fickle fan/overall rating:

Review: The Hunger Games

First off, I do apologise for not blogging and taking an unannounced hiatus. I had two events [non book blog related, mostly concerts] that I had to attend to - write blogs and upload photos, and a bit of sorting out some videos but I'm back to blogging about books now.

So, what happened when I was away? Well, I finally got to write my review on "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.

The first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, the story revolves around Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl who lives in Seam, the poorest region of District 12. In their world, North America has been destroyed, and the only liveable part called Panem, divided into 12 districts, each with their own trades/specializations, and being controlled, albeit unjustly by the Capitol. As a pasttime, and to remind people not to uprise against the Capitol, the Hunger Games are a yearly televised event wherein one boy and one girl from every district, between 12-18 years old are chosen, placed in an arena, and are asked to fight for the death until one winner would emerge. When Katniss' sister, Prim was chosen, Katniss volunteers in Prim's place, and along with the boy tribute from District 12, Peeta, fight for their life in the arena, and eventually, other complications arise.. will they make it out alive?

Absolutely amazing book. It's one of those books that I can't stop reading. The dynamic between Peeta and Katniss are soooo unbelievable, I can't stop imagining Peeta in real life. *sigh* Oh, young love. The way Suzanne Collins created her characters were so believable, they were so alive! The world she had presented in the Hunger Games seems so unreal yet real at the same time. Unreal because of course we don't know a country that forces their people to tune in to the telly to watch the tributes of the districts kill each other. That's absolutely horrible, and real because we all know that there are some people who are fighting for their rights against being opressed. The book truly is a page-turner. Just when you think one event is going to happen, the story completely takes a 360 degree turn and leave you hanging. As I finished the first book, I find myself looking for the second book, "Catching Fire" and trying to find out what will happen next.

The book does address a lot of real concerns that may be boggling society now: has reality tv gone too far? How far will we go for love? Do we just keep silent when we are being oppressed? Being a young adult book, I wouldn't expect these subjects to be tackled in, but it was presented in such a manner that makes the killings and the story lighter than what I expected and imagined. I totally feel for the characters and the situations that they are in, Suzanne Collins really is a wonderful storyteller. Definitely worth the time in reading this book, definitely worth thinking over the subjects that were being presented, and definitely, definitely worth getting a copy.

I can't wait for the movie! I hope that the screenwriters won't butcher the movie though! But given that Suzanne Collins is writing the screenplay I guess it's safe to say that it might not move too far from the book. I just hope that RPatz and Kristen Stewart NOT be cast as Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen. Puhlease.

Published: 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Available from: everywhere!
Read it if:  You have to read it! Everyone should read this!
Book was acquired from: Peter [KyusiReader] --> Thank you so so so much for introducing this book to me! Thanks also to Blooey!
fickle fan/overall rating:

The above post is featured in Cym Lowell's Book Review Wednesdays.

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