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October 2017 24 Hour Readathon Updates

I normally use this blog to just post random stuff about books and OK I lied, the book reviews have migrated into the new blog but I still keep this old blog up because of all the other articles I posted here.

Anyway, I mostly use this blog to update my 24 Hour Readathon Stats, so here it is:

  • Woke up at freaking 4:30AM (Eastern Time) to get ready to catch my 6:15 Megabus to Orlando. 
  • 5:15 - 5:35 AM: Started freaking out because I can't get an Uber to get me to the bus station. Called my husband up in a panic as I tried to find other Ubers. 
  • 5:40AM: Finally found an Uber. Yay 
  • 6:05AM: Got to the bus station (which is just a bunch of benches without roofs with a parking lot in a dodgy part of Downtown Jacksonville) 
  • 6:20AM: Bus left and I fell asleep 
  • 7:45AM: Woke up because the bus slowed down. Saw an accident on I-95 South where a truck filled with packages caught fire. Some packages did not survive. I wonder how many of them were books 
  • 8:15AM: Can't go back to sleep but there's enough daylight for me to sleep and start the Readathon. Crap, forgot my magazines in my checked luggage in the bus. Never fear, I have a backup book in my bag. Crap, I forgot my other graphic novel that I was supposed to bring. *This is what happens when you wake up super early in the morning: you forget stuff*
    Reading Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists
  • No internet in the bus. There usually is. Oh well, can't update blog, so back to reading. 
  • 9:30AM: Arrived in the Megabus Station in Orlando. Waiting for my bus to Tampa. 
  • 10:00AM: Checked in to my bus
  • 10:15AM: Bus arrived. Queued up for boarding. Oh wait, there's an issue with the tires of the bus. Back inside we go as we wait for a replacement bus 
  • 10:40AM: Replacement bus arrives. Yay. 
  • 10:50AM: We get to leave Orlando. Time to start reading again. Wait, let me check if there's WiFi. Nah, no WiFi. 
  • Got distracted most of the time by staring out the window. I did manage to read a few pages of my Kiplinger October 2017 magazine issue though, and charged my phone and tablet. 
  • 12:45PM: Bus stop. Finally saw my husband and brother-in-law. 
  • 1PM: Hungry. Got to Cracker Barrel to eat. Marie Kondo's book was on sale at 60% off. Should I get it? 
  • 1:45PM Didn't get Marie Kondo's book. Convinced myself that I don't need it. Off to Plant Museum in Tampa (with a Groupon)
  • 3:45PM Done with the Plant Museum/University of Tampa. Off to Hyde Park 
  • 4:45PM Strolled around Hyde Park and got an old school world map (like, think USSR, Czechoslovakia and the Philippines still being under the USA. That old). I grew up with those countries so bought the huge map for $5. 
  • 5:45PM Arrived in my in-laws house in Sarasota. Started lamenting that I've read 30+ pages of the Minimalism book and it finishes at page 110. Did an inventory and I still have a Lonely Planet Magazine and a Money Magazine that I can potentially read while I stay for another week here. 
  • 6PM  Browsed through Amazon and put two books in my shopping cart. Did not check out yet. Should I? Still paranoid I'll run out of things to read (not good) 
  • 7PM Started typing this blog update. 
Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists
2. How many books have you read so far? Big Fat zero.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists (I don't have any other books to read and my husband's vast collection of fiction books are not interesting to me - I tend to only read graphic novels or non-fiction now)
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

See above :)

  • 7:51PM Ended up buying a book from Amazon: a graphic novel - Sailor V (it's not available in the library and I've been eyeing it for a bit -- also it's a good backup in case I finish all my magazines and this book I'm reading before Sunday) -- I just can't stand not being without a book when I travel! 

And... after 8PM, I got distracted by watching Addams Family movies (two of them) and fell asleep, exhausted after waking up super early in the morning.

I woke up the next day at 8:30AM and the readathon was done.

Overall, I read:

60+ pages of Kiplinger's October 2017 issue
50+ pages of the Minimalists book

Not so bad, given I'm a slow reader and get distracted very easily!

Review: The Simpsons Family History

The Simpsons Family History The Simpsons Family History by Matt Groening
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Super cute book. Initially bought this as a gift for Peter for Valentine's Day - mainly because I saw it on sale at Barnes & Noble and thought it would look great in our family library.

We're both big fans of the Simpsons, and we love the series so if you have a book dedicated to them with lots of photos and cool text we're all up for it.

While the photos look like they're screen captures from the TV show itself, the book tells us the story of the Simpsons family - how Homer and Marge met, all the way from when they were first at camp, to high school, to getting engaged, married, and having Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.

The book also explores Homer's many jobs along the way and shows how dedicated of a husband and a father he is. It also gives a brief background on Abe Simpson, who is the son of an immigrant, I would have to say! If America's most favorite family comes from a line of immigrants then surely that will say how diverse America is and how open the country is (or was, depends on when you look and read this post).

I would say, this book gave a bit more color on Homer, and how he sacrificed a lot of things just to be with Marge and his family. The final part of the book coincides with the first episode ever of the Simpsons, on how they acquired Santa's Little Helper (their dog).

Overall, a great book that can be a great addition for any library if you are fans of the TV show.

View all my reviews

Review: Rich Dad's Retire Young, Retire Rich: How to Get Rich Quickly and Stay Rich Forever!

Rich Dad's Retire Young, Retire Rich: How to Get Rich Quickly and Stay Rich Forever! Rich Dad's Retire Young, Retire Rich: How to Get Rich Quickly and Stay Rich Forever! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is good for changing your mindset, and while I don't really agree with everything the author says, he did drive a few good points in the book.

Things like there are three types of income:
1. Earned
2. Passive
3. Portfolio

Earned is what you get when you work for your money.This type of income is taxed the most (at 30% and higher, because you also get taxed when you buy groceries, and when you live in a house like property taxes-- at least in the US context)

Passive is the least taxed - this is income that you get when you have real estate investments or other intellectual property income like books, or music, or anything else you may have invented and own the trademark/patent for.

Portfolio is taxed as well, but not as much as earned and not as little as passive. These are your stocks, bonds, and even interest that you get from your bank accounts. You get these by investing, which most people do.

What he wants to drive a point is: you can't get rich nor retire young if you are solely surviving on earned income. Too often people go to work because that's what the norm dictates us to do: go to school, go to college, graduate, find a job, get married, stay at home with the kids and then it repeats itself again. Occasionally, you switch jobs to get a higher salary or even a higher position in the company and vie to get a bit more out of your 'career' in the future.

But the above doesn't really work: instead you're enslaving yourself more and more and becoming more dependent on your employer.

What the book does is it tries to switch off your mindset from the earned income perspective and gradually move to the passive and portfolio income perspective in able to retire young and retire rich.

To be honest, I have no intention to retire rich where I will have a problem on what I'll spend my money on (like the author claimed), but I want to retire early and have enough income generated by my assets enough for me and my husband to live on. It could be less than 2 Million dollars, to be honest.

That part of the book says that is a middle-class mindset. The ultra rich apparently earn at least a million a month in income generating assets, and the middle class earn less than a million a year or something of that sort.

I don't agree with that. Not all people want to become rich, some people, like me, just want enough. Enough to be able to do what we want - to be free from the cubicle dwelling life and to pursue other pursuits and passions: be it staying at home with the family, or traveling the world, with just enough extra coming in that you can afford to shop or spend on your guilty pleasures.

That's the main reason why I gave the book 4/5 stars. Too much money can lead to greed, and for some people, enough is well, enough. While I do like some of the tips that he presented in the book, I'm not sure that some of them are still available or are still useful in this current year (2016/2017), as the book was initially published in the early 2000s, I think before the real estate market crashed.

Overall, I would say the subject of the book is to move your mindset from an earned income one to a passive/portfolio income one. This means you should invest in stocks/bonds, and other paper assets, as well as maybe real estate or create something that other people may buy from you.

Solve a person's problem for life and maybe you will get money for life. Not sure what it is exactly in our context right now but maybe we'll get there.

Good book to change your mindset and your context/content. It is also great reading for those who want to retire early

It's the last day of the year 2016 as I type this so hopefully everybody had a great 2016 and here's to 2017 and the other years ahead of us. May it be as prosperous for everyone.

Oh, and now is a great time to actually think about what you do want in life, and focus on achieving it in the years to come.

View all my reviews

Review: Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 1

Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 1 Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 1 by Yoko Kamio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Super, super cute graphic novel. This reminds me of the Meteor Garden days when i was watching it religiously while in school, even though it was in Chinese and I had to read the subtitles. A time when there was still dial-up internet, or the wires were a bit too slow and it takes a few hours to download an episode online and video CDs were all the rage.

I find it funny how the manga was initially wrote in 1992, was made into the Meteor Garden series in 2001, and of course the manga spawned other versions too: Boys Over Flowers from South Korea, an anime series, and a few other franchises too.

So, I picked this up randomly while perusing through the library and you won't believe my delight when I actually saw this in the shelf. It was totally unexpected and the library near my house actually had all 36 + 1 volumes of it. Back in the Philippines, I would have to search for these manga volumes one at a time and actually buy them. Because, you know, we don't have libraries. So thank you Jacksonville Public Library for helping me save some money and keeping me entertained.

Anyway, this manga gave me all the feels that I had felt way back when I was still at school. It's insane. Though Tsukasa (Dao Ming Si) didn't look as good looking as the character who played him in Meteor Garden, Tsukiji (San Cai) in the drawings actually looked pretty too!

So, after I was nearly halfway through volume 1, guess what? I decided to go back to the library and pick up volume 2! Since Volume 3 was in a different branch, I proceeded to get our library to move it to the library's branch near my home. Sweet! So yes, you'll definitely see more of my reviews of the other volumes within the next few weeks!

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Review: Archie: Rockin' the World

Archie: Rockin' the World Archie: Rockin' the World by Dan Parent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nostaligia to the max! Grew up reading Archie comics and I picked up a Betty and Veronica graphic novel and Archie with Josie (or something of that sort) a few months from the library. Was browsing the graphic novels section again and saw this.
This book is basically a story about the Archies, Pussycats, and two other bands going around different countries (India, Australia, Canada, among others) to perform for various venues to adoring fans around the world.

There is a love twist (in typical Archie fashion, of course), and this book must be read before you do read the Archie and Josie output. Because, well, it adds more dynamic to other graphic novel as a whole.

Would I buy this from a store? Probably not - it has a tag price of $10, but it is quite short for the price. While there are additional stories in the end, mostly older ones about the Glads, and the Pussycats and how they started, it certainly does not give me liberty to open my purse strings. Pick it up from the library if you can!

Of course, my review is quite high because, well, Archie comics... and nostalgia. And anything Archie Comics is quite good in my opinion!

View all my reviews

October 2016 Readathon

It's that time of the year again! Another readathon! I've signed up and I couldn't be more excited. It starts at 8AM on Saturday, October 22nd, and will end around 8AM on Sunday, October 23rd.

While I won't read the whole 24 hours (I need my nap time and my nighttime sleep as well as breaks for food, snacks, and whatnot), I will try my best to unplug from working online (except to make little updates every now and then and participate in some mini challenges), so hopefully my productivity book will work.

Throughout the day, my TBR is: 

  1. The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing - Bigger Pockets
  2. Retire Young, Retire Rich - Robert Kiyosaki
  3. The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau 
  4. The Book on Managing Rental Properties - Bigger Pockets 
While the first book is not technically a real book-- it's actually an e-book that I've printed out and is only around 80+ pages, I still consider it a book to read!

If you've noticed, my list is mostly non-fiction books and about personal finance and other investments. That's because I have devoted most of my time to studying and reading things that should help improve my life. You can read some of the best non-fiction books I've reviewed & recommended here.

Hope to connect with you guys at the readathon! This page will also be the place where I will post updates (instead of A Journey We Love, which is a blog I share with my husband).


Mid-Event Survey

 1. What are you reading right now?
Nothing. Still Retire Young, Retire Rich (stopped for a few hours to run errands and do grocery shopping, and meet up with a friend... in Barnes & Noble!)

2. How many books have you read so far?
Big fat ZERO

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Still the same book as above.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Meeting a friend, running errands, and all the normal stuff.  I just live like it's a normal day (even though it's not)

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
That people are so active on social media! It's just insane!


Hour One Challenge: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from sunny Jacksonville, Florida!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Mostly Retire Young, Retire Rich by Robert Kiyosaki - mainly because I am a few pages in and definitely taking notes (most of the books I'm reading are non-fiction and I take a lot of breaks to write down what I'm learning in a notebook)

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
No snacks! My husband won't let me eat junk food

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Let's see, together with my husband, we blog about travel, financial independence, and occasionally books on our other blog, A Journey We Love. You can also see some of our photos from our travels & everyday life on our Instagram and on our Facebook page (would love it if you guys can follow us!) - We both read a lot of books if we're at home (after work, or whenever we are in airplanes or just on vacation)!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Looking back on my answers from the April 2016 readathon, I didn't really do much last time because I was in a travel seminar. This time, I don't really have much to do in the morning so I'll concentrate on reading, learning, checking social media updates that others posted (I love seeing their TBR piles), and pretty much getting ready for our afternoon appointments.   

Review: Me Before You

Me Before You Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - just, wow.

I'm not a fan of romance books but this is definitely something that was interesting. So, most people have probably seen the movie trailer (or the movie) by now, so it isn't really a spoiler anymore.

The book is the tale of Louisa & Will, Louisa being a woman who feels content living in her small town in England, while Will lived his life to the fullest - a traveler, a lover, an adventure seeking man who actually loves his job and knows what he wants... that is, until a freak accident ended up with him paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

Louisa then gets hired as his caregiver and the rest is history.

I love the chemistry of the characters: from people who would never even think about mingling with each other, to eventually becoming friends and maybe more. To the both of them teaching something to the other without even knowing it- Will teaching Louisa how to be more adventurous and giving her the gift of choice, which she didn't even think she had. To Will making Louisa think that there is more to life than the four walls that she had confined herself to. To making Louisa think that her past is definitely not something that would define her.

To Louisa teaching Will that there is hope and love in the world even in the most desolate and unfortunate situation you can be in. To patience and learning. To loving and living.

And well, I love this book because of the travel aspect, because well, travel is my life. And reading is a good second to it.

I was lucky enough to borrow it from the local library (twice)- which now has a 100+ person queue in order to borrow it - so good luck if you want to save a few dollars and not buy the book from the store.

It's definitely a great book.

View all my reviews

Review: Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much

Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much by Tony Crabbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As part of my new way of 'reading' and 'learning' something even on a busy day, I decided to focus more on non-fiction books. Whilst browsing at the local library, I happened to pick up the book Busy by Tony Crabbe.

The premise starts out easy enough -- in a world where people are being bombarded with information and other distractions, how can we avoid being 'busy' in a bad way? How can we stop ourselves from making 'Busy' an excuse that we just use for everything else that we can or can't do?

The whole book is less than 300 pages, enough to keep your attention, and is written in layman's terms that you will easily relate them to your own lives. It mentions some key facts like spending more time with your family, developing more productive habits to follow daily, and how to manage your time wisely and not just say you're 'busy' because you're looking at emails or text messages on your phone just because you heard it chime.

It reminds us that we should take time where our brain is recovering from the bombardment of data and information it has to process and from thinking all the time and not really processing what it really needs to process. To embrace idle time (every now and again) as a way to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

The last chapter you can skip reading altogether - it's just a recollection of the author's thoughts and how he applied his own suggestions he outlined on his book into his daily life. You don't really need to read about that. What you'll need to do is skim through the topics and see if you can put that into practice in real life.

So, would I recommend buying this book? Probably not. Head on out to your local library or second hand bookstore to see if this book is for you. Better at the library because you know, it's free, and you just return it if you get tired of it.

**This book has been borrowed from the Jacksonville Public Library **

View all my reviews

April 2016 24 Hour Readathon

It's another Read-a-thon day again! Early this morning, I woke up and got ready for the Family Travel for Real Life seminar. I've been here since 9AM, meeting new people and learning new things about travel hacking. It was only through a break that I happened to check upon Twitter and saw an update about the Read-a-thon.

I completely forgot about the event!

We still have a two hour drive from Orlando back to Jacksonville so I'll read then.

On the reading list:
  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - I've read 100+ pages so far out of 270+. 
  2. Busy by Tony Crabbe - nearly done, last 20+ pages remaining! 

Hour 15 Update:

I finally got home and had dinner after the big travel seminar I went to today. I napped in the car and finally got to pick up Big Magic a few minutes ago, then put it back down again to catch up with social media & memes I've missed while traveling.

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Still the same as the starting meme answer - well, because I just typed the starting meme around 5-10 minutes ago! 
2. How many books have you read so far? Big fat Zero!!!
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?I'm hoping I could make a dent on Big Magic, we'll see
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? A lot - my fiance is working right beside me on our blog, and he is asking me a few questions about other things. I just deal with it normally, I multi-task. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That people are super super active on social media -- I can't keep up!! 

Starting meme answers: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Jacksonville, Florida

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Big Magic

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Nothing. I don't eat snacks while reading, just water. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm Ruby, originally from the Philippines, but moved to Florida more than 2 years ago. I have a dog named Rosie, a future husband named Peter from Slovakia, and love to travel. You can keep up with our travels on our new blog, A Journey We Love and you can read more about us here

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I participated in a couple of other ones, from when I was in the Philippines and from a few months ago. You can see an archive post here. The one thing I did differently today was nap in the car during a long (2+ hour) car ride, and well, tried to keep up (but failed miserably) on social media as well. 

Book Review: How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is

How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is by Teresa Ghilarducci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was an okay book, not something I will want to read again though.
The book's premise revolves around how to plan for retirement. As an early 30-something year old, why am I planning for retirement as early as now? Surely I can do this later on when I'm old(er) and wiser?

The thing is, myself and Peter are aiming to become Financially Independent as soon as we can, just so we can be "retired" and we can use that spare time in pursuing other interests, like traveling the world and building businesses that we are passionate about. So, picking up this book is adding to my agenda of learning more about retirement, and properly preparing for it.

First off, this book is catered to the US setting - so, sorry if you live in another region, you may not be able to relate much to the tips, such as:

1. Putting the maximum yearly in your 401k.
2. Maximizing your contributions to IRA (if you don't have a 401K)
3. Investing in low-fee funds (hello Vanguard)
4. Hacking away at your debt (in our case, we only have a mortgage which we are starting to hack away slowly by putting a quarter of our side hustle money in it)
5. Having an emergency fund of at least 3 months to tide you over (in our case, we are saving 6 months of our home emergency fund as a couple. I already have my own personal emergency fund, and we're working on Peter's) - having an emergency fund is a lifesaver!
6. Saving for a car as early as now - because where we live (Jacksonville, FL), it's almost impossible for us to get anywhere without a car. We are going to do the bicycle route eventually when our workplace moves closer to our home, but I'll need to learn how to cycle first (yes, I don't know how to bike) and we'll also need to buy bikes, which is an additional expense.
7. Being more frugal and only living within our means

While those tips seem great, we've already been putting them into action for the past two years, so I'm not sure how the book changed my mind or convinced me to do a change in lifestyle otherwise.

However, the book is fairly thin and is a quick read, so might be worth perusing over.

I'd give this book 3/5 stars because it may help other people, but I for one, don't find it so useful or life changing to entail a 5/5 stars.

The book was borrowed from my local library (Jacksonville Public Library)

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Book Review: The 39 Clues Cahills vs Vespers: A King's Ransom

A King's Ransom A King's Ransom by Jude Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading the first 11 (12?) (13?) 39 Clues Books a few years back when I was still living in Manila, I decided to give it another go because I was looking for something fun and light to read when i was having such a bad month. This time, it picks up where book 1 left off - Vesper One still has Amy & Dan's family/friends hostage and they still have to steal another priceless artifact for him, in this case the Da Virga map. It takes them through Europe - Geneva, Neuschwanstein Castle & Prague in search for the map, along the way trying to dodge people who may want to harm them (the Vespers), and Interpol.

While it is an interesting read for me because I've personally been to Neuschwanstein and can definitely imagine the characters running around trying to find it through the passageways, the book tackles murder and well, sabotage - which I don't think is great for really young readers. I do love the fact that it tackles historical people & of course, the travel part from city to city.

Reading this book made me pick up the next book in the series from the library, which I'm due to pick up sometime soon. Now, this book is also one of a few more published/planned to be published in the franchise, so I think those who like the series will have something to look forward to.

I gave the book a three stars mostly because I'm getting annoyed at having a lot of questions yet not enough answers to them. I'm sure it'll be revealed during the last few parts of the book (or on consequent sequels), but it just hooks you to it. It kind of sucks if you have to buy the books as there are so many of them, but hey, I've got my local library to help me out!

Book was borrowed from the Jacksonville Public Library.

View all my reviews

**Would I recommend this book? Why yes, it is a great series -- but would only do it if you have a public library that has all the books. It's going to cost too much time & resources (ie money) if you want to collect all the books yourself! What if it never ends, you know?

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