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Archive for January 2011

In My Mailbox # 17

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.

I wasn't really planning or expecting to do an In My Mailbox post this week since I haven't requested any books to review from NetGalley nor am I expecting to buy books within this week [trying to cut back on my Mt. TBR]. But a funny little surprise awaitied me!

Last Jan 26th, Simon & Schuster UK tweeted: "Posting out lots of books for the @bookchickcity thriller and suspense challenge". It came with a photo too:

Lo and behold, when I got back home from work last night, there was a copy of The Survivor by Sean Slater on my bed!! I'll definitely can't wait to read and review this -- it will count as one of the books for the Thriller & Suspense challenge! I can't wait! :)

Blurb of the book from Goodreads:
In his first hour back from a six-month leave of absence, Detective Jacob Striker's day quickly turns into a nightmare. He is barely on scene five minutes at his daughter's high school when he encounters an Active Shooter situation. Three men wearing hockey masks - Black, White, and Red - have stormed the school with firearms and are killing indiscriminately.

Striker takes immediate action. Within minutes, two of the gunmen are dead and Striker is close to ending the violence.

But the last gunman, Red Mask, does something unexpected. He runs up to his fallen comrade, racks the shotgun, and unloads five rounds into the man, obliterating his face and hands. Before Striker can react, Red Mask flees - and escapes.

Against the clock, Striker investigates the killings for which there is no known motive and no known suspect. Soon his investigation takes him to darker places, and he realizes that everything at Saint Patrick's High is not as it appears. The closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his world becomes. Until Striker himself is in the line of fire.

On My Wishlist # 6

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.

I normally only feature one book a week because:

I want to limit the number of books I intend to buy in the future

It is much easier to update with only one book lemming a week

Easier for my friends to check if I already own the book or not.

For this week, I chose to put Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences on my wishlist.

Why? Because it's travel related! =) I love everything travel right now, so this book would be quite a guide for me to follow my dreams and serve as inspiration for things that I may want to do on my next trips, and possibly even where to go.

Only downside? The book is expensive. Oh, and I'm not even 100% sure if it's really worth it given some of the reviews being provided at Amazon. Oh well.

[Review] Take That - Take Two

This is my best read of 2011. Hands down. No other book could possibly top this. Yes, it seems I'm very biased considering that I'm such a HUGE effing fan of this band.

And so, this is my long thought-of review of Take That - Take Two. The picture on the side was taken when I saw the book on my bed [after the package was so conveniently opened by a member of the family]. I actually squealed when I saw this book on my bed, and made numerous blog entries about thinking of getting this book, from the Book Depository experience, to an In My Mailbox post, to the time I bought the book, and an On My Wishlist post. I really can't beleive I'm reviewing this book, and I own it. I really can't.

So, what's the book about? It's a photo book filled with photos of the band from the time they had reunited in 2005, and following their success until 2009. Why's it called Take Two? Because it's their second time to come back, I guess.
There are numerous photos in there, and some photos have captions that have been written [or provided, I dunno] by certain members of the band. My favourite quote though: "Ten Years On and Howard still does it. Bastard. - Jason" That cracked me up. Well, if you could see the photo that accompanied the quote or if you're a huge fan of the band then maybe you'll get what I'm saying as well. :)

My favourite photos from the book:
The photo that was given to the band and they all had framed. It's cute, reminds me of a Boyzone photo as well where they're in a round table!

And is it obvious that I am a huge fan of Jason? The other two photos I am featuring here are of him!

I did like several other photos from the book as well but I'm too lazy to take photos of it. =) Plus, I'm still busy drooling over it. teehee. If you're a HUGE fan of the band, get a copy of this -- if you could find one! It is a huge must-have for your collection. Get Take One too. Both books look like they're yearbooks of sorts, one that you would definitely want to keep. The book is HUGE and heavy, and definitely one that you would want to keep on your bookshelf, or beside your bed to drool over. harhar. That is, if you are ready to cough up nearly 20 pounds per book [around $40 per book. I was lucky I just got the book for $30, it was on sale].

I will review Take One when I get my hands on it from Dubai, and after reading it, of course. It would be nice to re-read Take Two after poring over Take One, you know, just to see the differences on how they look like. =p

Published: 2009
Available From: Amazon.
Publisher: Penguin books/Michael Joseph
Book was: bought from the Book Depository
Rating: Best.Book.Ever. [5/5]

[Review] Ragdolls are the Best by Elaine Landau

This book is a mini-manual of what ragdolls are. If you don't know, then rag dolls are a cat breed that can be quite expensive to buy, but are absolute darlings to take care of.

The book is divided into four parts: the first is an introduction to what the species is, the second on where it originated, the third on the cat behaviour and the fourth on what to do when you [or your parents] decide to get a cat for yourself.

This is quite informative, however, given that the target market is for children, seems to me that it is marketed to "convince" children to "convince" their parents to get them this cat breed. However, one must always be aware that getting pets is a responsibility, and if your pets don't behave as you expected, you have to deal with it and love it as your own.

What I like in the book is how the information has been presented. It was very clear and straight to the point. The pictures are okay too, the cat is cute, with its huge, blue eyes and fluffy fur!

Published: 2011

Available From: Amazon
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Book was: an ARC from NetGalley
Rating: It's okay, informative, photos are cute. [3/5]

On My Wishlist #5

Another book-related meme that I haven't done in forever. I decided to resurrect this because I realized that some of the books I blogged about on my wishlist have been bought by friends as gifts to me or I found that I bought myself eventually :)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City. 

I normally only feature one book a week because:
  • I want to limit the number of books I intend to buy in the future
  • It is much easier to update with only one book lemming a week 
  • Easier for my friends to check if I already own the book or not. 
This week, I want to get The Chancer by Shane Lynch. 

Why do I want this book? It's Boyzone related, that's why! And I love me my boybands!! As you can see from a previous on my wishlist post, I wanted to get a Boyzone DVD set.

On another On My Wishlist post, I wanted both Take That books, which I eventually bought after some months.

Who knows, maybe this book would be featured on an In My Mailbox post and on a review on this blog in the next few months, when I finally come around to buying this!


In My Mailbox # 16

I haven't done an In My Mailbox post for forever.

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.

So, for this week/month, I got the following:

  • Take One by Take That. Asked my friend's dad to buy this one from Kinokuniya in Dubai since it's sold out at the Book Depository, Play and Amazon.co.uk. Luck was with me because Kino still had this book in stock! Thanks Tito and Yam for getting me this! :) Why did I get it? It's TAKE THAT!!!
  • Take Two by Take That. My Book Depository order just arrived last Jan 21st. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I'm poring through the pages again and again and again. I <3 this band!
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. Got this from my favourite used bookstore for only a fraction of the original price. 
I got two more books from my favourite used bookstore but I forgot the titles :( One is about Josephine Bonaparte, and the other is a YA book. 

Got the following ebooks from NetGalley:
  • Bless this Mouse by Lois Lowry  - I've loved the Giver and when I saw that this galley is available for review, I immediately requested it! 
  • B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchcraft - a picture book. Perfect for days in the office where I'm not feeling 100% and as a pick me up. 
  • Ragdolls are the Best by Elaine Landau - I like cats, so this is a cute book to read and review too!
Share what's in your mailbox too! :) 

The Book Depository Experience

Living in Asia and away from England sure has its downsides, and hence, when I first went to England, I went back home to Manila with an additional suitcase filled to the brim with toys, books, and magazines that either a) are not available in Manila, or b) cost an arm and a leg to get or c) out of stock and would probably not be available anytime soon.

Anyway, thanks to the Book Depository, they have now opened up my world to England a bit more! This is a post of my purchase of a very limited edition book that I wanted to add to my collection.

If you know me and maybe if you're a follower of my blog, you probably know that I <3 Take That and that they're like, one of two of my favourite bands. [The other favourite band is Boyzone, but hey, that's an entirely different story].

So, woe is me, a book I wanted came out in England last 2009, and I'm too shy to ask some of my co-workers to get it for me from England and ship it to Manila [not to mention it would cost an arm and a leg to do so]. But thank goodness that Book Depository then decided to ship to the Philippines. And shipping is free!!

So, I got the book "Take That - Take Two" for $29 [approx], last December 14th as an early Christmas gift to myself. I promised myself I would then buy "Take That - Take One" once I receive the packet from Book Depository. 

I am a very, very impatient person. And you could just imagine that I check the website every day to see if my order has been dispatched,  all the while imagining "what it if's sold out? It's a rare book!"  My order was finally dispatched on December 20th, 2010, and finally arrived in Manila last January 21st, 2011.

It took a month for the book to arrive, but granted, there's Christmas and New Year breaks to consider, and of course, like an excited fan girl, I was waiting for the book to arrive in my house for days, and days and days.

I pored through the book last night [review coming up] and literally finished it in one sitting.
I went online today, and found that my worst fear has been realized: Take One is already out of stock. :(

I immediately placed my email address in the notification list, in hopes that if the book DOES get restocked that I would be notified, and I could then purchase the book.

Anyway, I'm more than happy with the book depository service. It brings a whole load of British books available to me, who is living on the other side of the world. The prices are quite reasonable considering that they provide free shipping, but it is definitely more expensive compared to just buying the book to other UK retailers, and if you live in the UK [Amazon.co.uk and Play.co.uk provide free ground shipping to UK addresses].

I love that Book Depository has a wide array of titles as well that you could select from.

Note to self, I need to get the following books:
1. Take That - Take One [HELP me find this book!!! I've already emailed a friend of mine who goes back and forth to Dubai to try and help me locate this one]
2. Shane Lynch - The Chancer [what kind of Boyzone fan am I if i don't get this book?]
3. Stephen Gately - The Tree of Seasons [again, the Boyzone fan in me is screaming to get this]
4. The Saturdays - Our Story
5. Cheryl Cole - Through My Eyes
6. The Wanted - The Wanted.

As you can see, my wallet will eventually be drained by the Book Depository. Ha ha.

Note also to others: If you want something really bad, just get it! This is the nth time this has happened to me: pondering over and over if I should get something or not, and when I finally decide to get it, it's now out of stock. Sadness!

2011 Debut Author Challenge.

Since I have recently discovered NetGalley, it is so much easier for me to sign up to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by The Story Siren. :) The goal is to read at least twelve novels from Young Adult or Middle Grade Authors.

So, on my list for now, a galley that I am currently reading is "Lost Voices" by Sarah Porter. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's.

I'll just blog about whatever 2011 debut I read, can't really think about any debut authors for now :)
Tag : ,

[Review] Chrissie's Shell by Brooke Keith

Chrissie's Shell is a story about Chrissie, a turtle. She is living in a forest, and on her daily life, she encounters numerous critters and imagines what it would be like to be that type of animal. While she does that, she checks her shell to see if she managed to transform in the animal she was imagining about.

The illustrations are some of the cutest things ever. And as you know, I have a bias for all things animals, and all things cute so plus, plus for me. Those sympathetic round us totally do me in! Awww. I could easily go back to all the pages, even without reading the text, just looking at the pictures! Oh yes, it definitely brought me back to my childhood.

The colouring is brilliant they are very accurate with nature, and so eye-popping!

The story is good too. It shows how Chrissie was struggling to come to terms with her real self. The part that moved me the most was when Chrissie was talking to God about how he could make her into a real someone, and how she said her shell was empty and could she make her into some of the other creatures she had seen. Little did she knows that she is one unique creature, with her own traits and advantages in nature.

What I love is that this book teaches children to be comfortable in their own shell - in their own skin, so to speak. Of course there are times when we people would feel insecure about what we have and normally compare it with the others who may appear more blessed or lucky or superior than us, but each of us is unique, and I love this lesson. Children should learn this early on and not get on the bandwagon of the plasticity of everything. Sometimes you just need to look in yourself to find out what's perfect, and what you are, and that you're beautiful inside.

Published: 2010
Available From: Everywhere! Locally, I'm not sure though.
Publisher: Warner Press
Book was: an ARC from NetGalley
Rating: Such a cute book. I loved the illustrations! [5/5]

[Review] The Little Prince Graphic Novel by Joann Sfar

Based on the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, it tells of an alien little prince, who explores various planets across the universe and eventually lands himself on Earth. He meets all sorts of people and creatures along the way, and discovers more about their traits and their quirks, so to say.

I started this back in 2010, when I was quite busy with getting ready for Christmas and parties. And yet, when I was reading it, it made no impact whatsoever. But as I was finishing the book, I was feeling quite down, and yes, each and every passage outlined in the tale hits me, hard. I wanted to cry as I was reading each line, and seeing the pictures added to plethora of emotions that have hit me.

The illustrations is cute, a bit crude, and as much as I honestly prefer the illustrations from the original book, this one would do. As I haven't read the original novel yet *gasp* I don't know how many parts have been removed in order to make this more interesting and more compact in a sense. Maybe once I've read the original, I could comment on what diferences there are between the graphic novel and the original.

I'm still a bit teary-eyed and I honestly don't know what else to write. It is just a brilliant novel, and this graphic novel version would probably interest the children who don't really like reading. Pick this book up [or the original novel, for that matter] and just try to read between the lines at what the quotes mean.

The original book would be discussed for our December 2011 book club discussion and I can't wait to partake in it!

Published: 2010
Available From: Everywhere! Locally, I'm not sure though.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book was: an ARC from NetGalley
Read it if: Just read it! It's my first book of 2011 and oh my gosh, it just blew me away.
Rating: I loved it, one of my favourite reads of the year [5/5]

[Review] Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Amazing Grace is one of the many novels of Filipino author, Tara FT Sering. In this book, Grace is your typical 20-something girl from a Chinese-Filipino family. She is constantly under pressure to get married and on one blind date, she finally met the one: Mike. Two years later, Mike popped the question, but there's a catch: Mike is suddenly assigned for two years in Singapore. Without a definite wedding date, and noticing that almost all the photos of Mike in Singapore was with a certain blonde, Grace races to countries in South East Asia, trying to go after Mike and saving her future marriage, and man, from leaving her.

Thoughts: Okay, the book was written in the second-person point of view, which makes me feel like I'm reading those Choose Your Own Adventure novels from way back, although this adventure has already been chosen and the ending is set. I honestly am not a big fan of this type of narrative, so I got annoyed more at some bits of the story.

True, I could relate to the character on most parts [the getting pressured to get married, settle down and have kids, having a successful career, among others], but I would probably never even consider running after someone in order to save a future that I so planned in my head. What happens, happens, and the time, effort, and resources it would take for me to undergo such a journey that Grace did would be unfathomable, and bordering on insanity [at least for me]. So yeah, to each their own. I dunno if I enjoyed reading the Grace's story, but the places and sights featured in the story piqued my interest, and yes, the descriptions of the places are indeed detailed and updated. It's either the author researched on the countries well or has been to the places too.

Okay, what I did like about the story - it was by a Filipino author, and I *think* I've read a chick lit of hers way back in college, but I don't remember now. It was quite nice that this book was first published abroad before it was picked up in the PH to be published. It's also one of the few Filipino books that I could easily recognize and can be seen in the shelves of the major bookstores. The cover is excellent - it's cute, and the accents in the pages: the airplane and what I suppose is Grace in the odd pages, is an excellent touch. The paper used in the book, I'm not a big fan of.

What else can I say? The book certainly lacked the goosepimply, awww moments that I was looking for in chick lit books. Maybe I was wrong in thinking this was chick lit, I don't know, maybe it was just plain literature? I was not really happy as I was reading the book and it took me quite some time to finish it.

Published: 2010
Available From: Locally - major bookstores. Internationally? No idea.
Publisher: Anvil
Book was: provided by Anvil for review. Thanks to Gege and Honey for compiling the list and offering =)
Rating: I'm completely between the fence here. I really could not make up my mind if I didn't like the book or if it was just okay. [2.5/5]

Reading/Bookish Goals for 2011

It's 2011! And I guess it's time for me to write some goals I want to accomplish reading and book-wise

1. Update my Goodreads and Shelfari accounts often.

I've realized during the early part of 2010 that I was a lazy lout and not updating my bookish-related social networking sites. I now look at my online bookshelves in both sites and realize that the number of books I've read for 2010 wasn't really updated :(

This 2011 will change all that though! I plan to be more active in updating my bookshelves and joining the online discussions too

2. Blog more often.

Looking back at the early part of 2010, I got lazy in writing reviews. Bah. I realize I should write reviews as soon as I finish the book [or maybe nearly finished with the book, like 20 pages or less to go] so my thoughts and opinions are still in my head and not floating off elsewhere. Note to self: if i keep on writing stuff in notebooks, only I could get to read it, and not be able to share my discovery with others :(

3. Use specific tagging for easier searching

I realized that my bookshelf tag in Goodreads and labels here in the blog is not specific. So, to make things easier for myself [and maybe for my readers, if I have them heehee] I'll do the specific tags!

4. Buy books that are only P150 or below[3.50 USD or 2.50 GBP equivalent]

I need to cut back on my TBR list and save the money for my travels and the essentials. So, I'll resort to borrowing books from my dear old bookish friends Haydee and Rosie and Yammie, and buying books from second hand bookstores [Yay Book Sale] or just buying discounted books =) Less space required too. Oh. And I'll also resort to BookMooch.

5. Attend more bookish events

Book discussions, group meet ups, book launches and the like. =)

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