Monday, December 31, 2012

[Personal Update] Good-bye 2012, Hello 2013

Happy New Year, Everyone~!

As has been my tradition every year, I look back on the year 2012 with warm feelings of nostalgia. Let me recount the events of 2012 which shaped me as a person.

1.) I started this book blog, Book Junkie Joint. I've always liked putting my thoughts into words, especially about things that I love. I happen to love books, so it was such a neat thing for me to finally have a place for my book reviews. Through my book blog, I also got to meet new people, interact with my favorite authors and get free copies of books! How cool is that?

2.) I got a perfect score on my midterms exams on Criminal Procedures and got the highest score on the same subject during the final exams. Law school is a bitch. It's the jealous kind of bitch because I practically can't turn my attention to other things. Acing exams in law school proved to me and my classmates that it's not impossible to actually thrive in law school. It is hard, yes, but not impossible. This was one event in my life that I would never forget. 

3.) I became class president. I'm a huge lazy ass. Given a choice, I would openly shirk away from responsibility and turn my attention to things that I actually enjoy doing. However, during the second semester, I became class president out of sheer coincidence and without being given any choice. I admit that it was an experience I don't want to repeat again, but I learned to manage stuff so I guess, it gave me valuable lessons.

4.) Headlining the debate organization in law school. This year, I and a couple of my friends from College who also go to the same law school as I do, organized a debate organization in law school. Way back in College, I was also part of the debate team. We were Regional Champions in the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges Debate Series. And bringing debate into law school was such a great experience. I love debating! It's a welcomed break from the monotony that is law school, and I get to intellectually beat my opponent's ass. Hellz yeah.

5.) The Quinta Tragedy was humbling. Just a week ago, we were hit by the typhoon Quinta. It was during this time that we experienced humbling events such as seeing people helping each other. I guess, the thing is, sometimes we need to experience tragedies to remind us of our vulnerability and to keep our feet on the ground.

6.) Reconnecting with relatives isn't so bad. I am an introvert. I don't like going out and meeting people, even relatives. Just last December, a few relatives from abroad came to visit and spent some time with me and my siblings. It was cool to actually have a big brother in the person of a cousin. I didn't think that I would actually enjoy their company, but I did. I hope to meet them again soon.

7.) I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time and successfully wrote 50,000 words in 30 days! For me, this is certainly an achievement worth bragging about because despite being so busy with law school and exams last November, I came through and finished on time. 

So far, these were the things that I fondly recall in 2012. I hope 2013 will be a better year for me. =)

Again, Happy New Year, Everyone~!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

[Book Review] Persistence of Vision

Title: Persistence of Vision
Author: Liesel K. Hill
Date of Publication: January 2013
Source: ARC from Author
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Rating: 5/5


 In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories. 
After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives. 
In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way. 
If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...
A well-planned and well-written, thrilling dystopian which is like a mix of the movie Push, and the hit TV series Heroes!

The beginning of the story was slow because of the confusion of the lead female from whose point of the view the omniscient narrator was telling the story. Perhaps, it may make the reader feel confused as well. I know I did feel a little bit off at the beginning, but giving the story time to take root and unfold would be the best course of action to take. I’m pretty glad I continued reading!

Aside from being a dystopian, young adult story, Persistence of Vision also largely incorporates sci-fi elements and political ideologies into the storyline. It’s literally a mish-mash of so many things, but the author was able to weave a compelling story in such a way that it wasn’t confusing or unclear.

The plot was very well-planned, and the whole book was very well-written. Even though I haven’t experienced living in the world where the characters in this book existed, I could picture out everything clearly. From the way the individualists live, to the Interchron compound, and even how David struggled to break away from the collective – everything was picturesque and very detailed. I could even picture this book being made into a movie!

As for the characters, everyone was distinct enough that I was able to differentiate one from another. By the end of the story, this may sound weird but I felt that I even personally knew each character myself. I especially adored David because he’s a combination of honesty, vulnerability and courage, and I loved how his growth was portrayed in the story. Also, I wish to know more about Nat and Doc because they are intriguing. I bet they know a lot more than they openly let on. Smart people can often be sneaky and conniving, after all.

By the end of the story, what was unclear at the beginning finally made sense, but more questions were left unanswered and I really wanted to read more!

What were Marcus and Karl planning to do? What made Maggie give up her memories? What was it about Marcus that made Maggie want to give up her memories? What about Colin and his blood-sucking whatever? Where will they find a replacement Concealer? Where will they find a Deceiver? And how were they going to complete the prophesied members? When will Maggie and the other individualist reunite? I have so many questions that I want answered, I’m already awaiting Book 2!

I highly recommend this book to people who are fans of super powers and super heroes! And also to those who might want to read a thought-provoking dystopian story!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

[Personal Update] Holiday Fever Got Me

(c) Dixie Allan
Well, it's not a real fever, but it got me bad.

It's the main reason why I haven't been posting book reviews. I apologize for the lack of new posts these past few weeks.

I'm currently trying to make use of what little free time I have left before law school steals me back again. I've been catching up on my reading so hopefully, I will be able to post a few more book reviews before 2013 comes. =)


Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Linking Up] Feature and Follow #09

Q: What have you learned from book blogging that 
you didn't know before about the publishing industry?

So much. I learned so many things from the actual work on the novel itself, up to the publishing process and even marketing. Plus, most authors are really very helpful in giving tips. I learned a lot especially in the marketing aspect of the publishing industry, and the effective use of social media. =)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

[Movie Review] Rurouni Kenshin Live Movie

“The Assassin in my Wallet”
(A super fan's review of the Rurouni Kenshin live version movie)

If you happen to open my beaten up wallet, you’ll immediately see the picture of an assassin. His name is Kenshin Himura, but he was also known as Hitokiri Battousai during the Tokugawa Era, and when he was a boy, he was called Shinta – the boy with a hole in his heart. He has been in my wallet for the last six years; in my heart and memory – way longer. 

The live movie version of Rurouni Kenshin hit the Japanese theaters in Japan last August 25, 2012. That was a day after my birthday. How badly I wanted to go to Japan just to be able to watch the movie. It was after all, the long overdue live version of one of my most favorite manga and anime.

I had to wait a few months before the movie was screened in theaters in the Philippines. Specifically, I was only able to watch the movie last December 9, 2012. And since watching the movie once wasn’t enough to satisfy the super fan-girl in me, I watched it again last December 13, 2012.

The movie was a combination of numerous arcs in the manga and anime. Specifically, four arcs became the major plot points of the movie: first, Megumi Takani’s story arc against Kanryu Takeda; second, Jinei’s kidnapping of Kaoru Kamiya to awaken Battousai; third, the introduction of Sanosuke Sagara and his role of wingman to Kenshin; and finally, the arc where Gohei Hiruma, a student of the Kamiya Kasshin style, poses as Battousai. 

In the manga and anime, Gohei Hiruma was different fron Jinei, and he was supposed to be a former student of Kaoru’s father in the Kamiya Kasshin style of swordsmanship. However, in the movie, this person was absorbed into the character of Jinei, who was the one responsible for kidnapping Kaoru.

While the movie became a compressed version of numerous arcs in the manga and anime, I was satisfied because there were no loose ends left, and everything was arranged neatly. 

As for the characters, I would have to say that Sato Takeru was perfect for the role of Kenshin Himura. In 2011, when the movie was still on planning stages, I’ve always imagined Shun Oguri to play Kenshin, but when I saw Sato Takeru in the movie, he played the role to a perfect tee. He was able to effectively portray Kenshin’s contrasting expressions from being a cold-blooded assassin to an adorable dork. I was quite a happy fan-girl when he maintained the “Oro?” and “de gozaru” expressions. Then, when he executed a perfect Soryusen, I had metaphorically died and gone to Rurouni Kenshin heaven. *swoon*

As for the two females: Kaoru Kamiya and Megumi Takani, first off, I find the actress playing Kaoru to be too pretty. Kaoru was supposed to look like this very ordinary girl who was even a tomboy. And she would speak a little crassly especially towards Yahiko, like how an older sister would take jabs at her little brother. I found Kaoru to be a little bit too tamed in the movie where she should be strong. 

As for Megumi, she was portrayed as a pretty woman in the anime who knew how to use her feminine wiles. She was supposed to be alluring and foxy, but in the movie, Megumi looked a little too young to play the part. And her eyebrows were just disturbing. *twitch*

Sanosuke Sagara was perfectly portrayed, as was Yahiko Myojin. The actor who played Sano maintained the character’s energy and recklessness, even the movements and the way he spoke. Yahiko was also spot-on. The younger character’s jabs at Kaoru were perfectly portrayed, and even the way he makes rude demands like a whiny younger brother at Kaoru were reminiscent of the anime.

Then there’s also Saitou Hajime or Goro Fujita. The anime version was a lot creepier than the actor in the movie. The anime version also sported a veiled bloodlust beneath the policeman persona, but the character in the movie version was a little too plain. I felt that he wasn’t really able to bring out Saitou as he was in the anime. The hair was slickly maintained though. *snicker*

Moving on to the villains, Kanryu Takeda was plain creepy in the movie. And his lower dentures were disturbing. Seriously. I cannot un-see what I kept seeing when I watched the movie. 

Hanya was waaaay off. The mask he wore in the movie was the only dead-giveaway that he was actually Hanya. I cannot say much about his fighting style using a wakizashi. He was supposed to be this fighter who used the illusion that his arms extended longer whenever he fought, but then that was not portrayed in the movie. His costume also didn’t even show his signature stripes.

Anji, the monk, was shown too early in the movie. He was supposed to be shown waaaay later in the anime, but he was made to be one of Kanryu’s underlings in the movie. The anime version of Anji was much more serious and frightening than in the movie.

And finally, Jinei. Surprisingly, they were able to accurately depict Jinei’s costume and even his eyes. However, movie Jinei was more serious than anime Jinei. The anime Jinei was a plain blood-thirsty lunatic. And he smiled while he killed people. In the movie, the only thing that was really creepy about the movie Jinei was the blood-licking. *shudder*

Cinematography-wise, the movie was quite well-made. The fight scenes were awesome, and many of the moves, poses and techniques were taken straight out of the anime. I especially loved Kenshin’s Battoujutsu and perfectly executed Soryusen when he fought Jinei, and of course, there was also Saitou’s fighting stance when they faced Kanryu.

Surprisingly, aside from the adrenaline-pumping action, there were also moments of subtle humor that got most of the audiences chuckling. Take the scene where Kanryu asked Sano and Kenshin to take off all their clothes at gun-point. I was pretty sure that most of the fan-girls squealed in anticipation during that scene. (I was personally having a hard time suppressing a squeal!)

Soundtrack was awesome, too, by the way! They didn’t try to copy any of the well-loved tracks from the anime, but they did come up with great sounds to go with the movie. The ending soundtrack (The Beginning by One Ok Rock) during the credits was especially eargasmic. The mixed English and Japanese lyrics in the song was also a huge plus!

All in all, I still really loved the movie despite the numerous inconsistencies with the anime. The whole movie was a super fan-girl’s fantasy-come-true for me! After all, they had a perfect Kenshin, and he still has his throne in my wallet. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #08

Q: What is the last book that made you cry? 
Tell us about the scene...

Well, I didn't really cry... I just got teary-eyed during the ending of the Priscilla Glenn's Back To You... The scene was after a time lapse. Lauren and Michael finally got together and it was Mother's Day. Erin, Michael's daughter, gave Lauren a Mother's Day card with the question asking, "Can I call you Mom?" It was sooo sweet, I got teary-eyed. =)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[Book Review] Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey

Title: Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: Various
Editor: Lori Perkins
Date of Publication: November 20, 2012
Genre: Literature, Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

Book Description:
Can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey? 
Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it's the book everyone is talking about.
Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first "discovered" Fifty Shades of Grey, to BDSM experts, to erotic fiction authors, romance authors, and a whole lot more—takes you deeper into the trilogy that has captured the imaginations of so many. 
From the books' sexual politics and its fanfiction origins to what sets it apart from other erotic fiction and romance (and what doesn’t), everything you ever wanted to know about Fifty Shades of Grey is right here. 
Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you!

" Is there a secret? Yes. Anaïs Nin and Pauline Réage and Anne Rampling and Erica Jong all knew it. E. L. James knows it.
It is the secret behind all of our writing. And our reading. Arousal starts in the mind. And grows in the mind. The brain is the most erogenous zone in a woman’s body. That is our secret. And it is what we share. "

This book is a collection of thoughts from fifty erotica writers, and their take on E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy.

Though the way they told their stories were different from each other, all fifty erotic romance writers share the same trail of thoughts: E.L. James’ hugely popular Fifty Shades trilogy widened the avenue for erotic romance novels to seek out audiences.

This book is informative and insightful. It narrated the story of fifty erotica writers way before E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy became such a hit. This book presented their struggles and their initial brush with erotic romances which ultimately spurred their love for the genre. They also openly shared their experiences on meeting people who were a little too uncomfortable about erotic novels, and how the Fifty Shades trilogy became a game-changer.

Some of the writers also discussed Christian Grey, the world’s most favorite sadist, and why he is adored by millions. They also provided their input on why characters like him were a huge hit with the readers world-wide.

Aside from bringing spotlight to a largely frowned upon erotica genre, the Fifty Shades trilogy also revolutionized the publishing industry through its effective use of e-publishing and social media. And through this book, fifty writers explained just how much of an innovation was caused by one “mommy porn” book which was frowned upon and sneered at first, but ultimately sold millions of copies world-wide.

Also, some writers in this book – mostly women – attributed the success of the Fifty Shades trilogy due to the sexual awakening of women around the world. It’s a repercussion of many women’s unexpressed opinions, views and fantasies about sex and sensuality. Perhaps, it could be because many women are more open to the discussion of sex today as compared before.

If you’re expecting to read a collection of fifty erotic short stories, then you’d be hugely disappointed. This book is not it.

I guess, the thing is, although this book was banking on the popularity of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, this book is vastly different. It is an expression of the story and struggles of fifty erotica writers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

[Cover Reveal] Priscilla Glenn's Back To You!

Title: Back to You
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Release date: October 20, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult with mature YA cross-over appeal
Cover Designer: CreateSpace
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours


Book Description:
When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her. Or that it would end so painfully.

Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.
As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

About the author:

Priscilla Glenn lives in New York with her husband and three beautiful children. She has been teaching English Language Arts at the middle and high school levels for the past eleven years.

Glenn has written three books, although Back to You is her first published novel. Her guilty pleasures include great books, good wine, anything chocolate, and Robert Pattinson :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

[Linking Up] Feature and Follow #07

Q: Activity! Who do you want to be? If you could choose any character from a book. What do you think that character looks like and what do you have in common?

I'm torn between Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton or Danny Valentine by Lilith Saintcrow. I've always been a fan of strong heroines who could kick some serious butt.

Anita Blake is a necromancer and vampire hunter while Danny Valentine is a bounty hunter and a Hedaira - the "wife" of Lucifer's first-born. Let's just say that Buffy the Vampire slayer had a strong influence in my childhood. Hee.

As for what's in common, well, I've always been regarded as the "tough boyish girl" by practically everyone I know so that's what we all have in common. 

[Book Review] Thee Stages of Love: Lust

Title: Three Stages of Love: Lust
Author: T.C. Anthony
Date of Publication: November 28, 2012
Genre: Erotica, Romance, Adult Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

Evangeline Chase is standing at the edge of a crossroad. After choosing to be blissfully ignorant for far too long and willfully ignoring what her life has been lacking, fate is about to intervene. When Alexander Mason, a striking and powerful venture capitalist, is introduced as her new boss, Eva is overwhelmed by an intoxicating cocktail of hormones and lust that leaves her struggling to maintain her composure and more importantly, control of her life. 
With an undeniable urge to dominate her new boss, her own lust-filled fantasies lead to a transformation that shakes her to her core. But when Alexander challenges Eva to satisfy her carnal urges, she is forced to choose between her career, her desires, and an unconventional and lustful relationship. Consumed by fear and forced to maintain control at all costs, Eva must decide if having it all is worth risking her career, her world, and possibly, love. 
Three Stages of Love: Lust is the first book in a suspenseful new erotic romance series that explores the questions that young women have while embarking on their journey through life and love. Eva’s transformation from prim and proper to fun and dominating proves to be one of the most erotically intriguing personal makeovers around. Her passion for her career and life goals ultimately gives way to uninhibited encounters that leave her intoxicated and yearning for more. Eva’s emotional battle between her heart and mind leave her juggling with a desire to have it all and a profound fear of losing everything. 
Written to illustrate the average, driven woman’s point of view, Three Stages of Love: Lust tackles the everyday fears and desires that young women have in an intoxicatingly erotic way. A gripping, palpitation-inducing romance full of underlying themes that are extraordinarily relevant to modern women, this enthralling erotic novel by T. C. Anthony is a must-read for women of all backgrounds.

A sinfully scorching erotica with a spunky heroine. And that’s about it.

The flow of the story screamed a typical erotic romance novel, and that’s just about what this novel is.

The only thing that I really found good about it is that it is very well-written. The words used were very vivid and detailed that it was easy to imagine what was happening to the characters.

I really did not understand where this story was going. Sure, there’s this liberated, alpha female heroine who has serious commitment issues, and she finally meets her own version of Christian Grey in the person of Alexander Mason, her new boss.

Then, I read the title. It says, ‘Three Stages of Love: Lust.’ That’s when I understood where this story was coming from. Eva – the heroine is a sensual woman who is not afraid or ashamed of her sexuality. In fact, she even embraces it. What this story would like to depict is that even something as fleeting as Lust could eventually turn into love. It’s not exactly something new but that’s the whole point of the story.

Sexual tension literally filled the air between the two protagonists when they were in the same room. They seem to always engage in a battle of wits and sarcasm whenever they meet. Well, either that or they end up playing a cat and mouse game of seduction.

Then they finally have mind-blowing sex. And of course, as in every erotica novel, there is a crash course on BDSM. Oh, and did I mention that all these happen in the span of a few days? Yep, just a few days. And in my personal opinion, that translates to Insta-Love, which is every bit as unrealistic.

It’s an erotic novel, that’s it. It’s the perfect reading material if you’re into erotica. Just don’t expect too much on the plot because a love story between a commitment-phobe and a dashing millionaire businessman is already very overrated.

However, since this is only book one of a series, I think that the succeeding books will dwell on how the two main characters grow. Would I give this series of book a second chance? Yes, I will, definitely. This book is only the tip of the iceberg. Digging deeper is naturally the next step. So then, I shall await for book two.

[Site Update] New Look & Feel~

Say good-bye to Book Junkie Joint's first look. It had been a fun run with this lay-out as it was the first one. I personally called it the Crimson Cove.

(How weird is it that I actually name the blog lay-out? LOL. I'm weird.)

It's a standard blogger lay-out, which I did not feel the need to tweak. The only personal touch I added to the lay-out was the header bearing the name of the blog.

And say hello to Prim Purple. Another standard blogger lay-out but aside from the header, I chose my own background.

I decided that the color red was getting heavy on the eyes so I settled for cool colors this time. The color scheme is of white, light purple, violets and grays.

While I do admit that I do know a little bit about web design, I haven't had time to actually make a personalized lay-out for this blog, so I guess I'll just have to make do with standard blogger lay-outs. They're easy to tweak, after all. And I'm lazy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

[Book Review] Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Title: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Author: Philip Pullman
Date of Publication: Nov. 8, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Classics, Fairy Tales
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5/5

Barnes & Noble

Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm. 
From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

The stories are the same, but the storyteller is different – this is what Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is all about.

It’s a collection of fifty fairy tales that were extensively researched and put together in one book that’s meant to celebrate over two hundred years of existence of well-loved fairy tales from the brothers Grimm.

Growing up as an avid reader, I remember having several fairy tale books which I read with much gusto when I was very young. Reading the fairy tales in this book was like getting re-acquainted with a long-lost friend. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic because all the fairy tales that I’ve enjoyed in my childhood were in it.

I loved reading about the stories I grew up with and compare it with the versions I’ve read in the past. It was also interesting to read other fairy tales that I haven’t had a chance to read when I was young. This book is definitely enchanting and fascinating! It brings out the inner kid in me.

The fairy tales themselves were written in simple words that were enough to describe what was happening without being overly descriptive of the whole setting like a novel. This makes it a perfect reading material for children. And since the stories are fairy tales, this book is tailor-made to be the perfect bed-time story book. I also appreciate the notes after each fairy tale because it listed the other versions of the tale, and explained some changes and points.

Also, what I really liked about this book is that aside from the collection of fairy tales within its pages, the author took time to point out the many differences between a novel and a fairy tale. I think that this was largely for the benefit of the adult readers who might be expecting something different.

The author also took time to narrate the story of the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and how they collected each story within the pages of the book. It was interesting to know what led to today’s infamous Grimm collection of tales.

Would I read this book again? Definitely! It’s like a reminder of my childhood. And I highly recommend it to people who would like a book of bedtime stories for children.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

[Book Review] Sedition

Title: Sedition
Author: Tom Abrahams
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Politics
Source: ARC from Author
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

The President of The United States is dead. There is no Vice President to take his place.

As the nation slips into a constitutional crisis, a small group of disenfranchised neo-patriots conspire to violently seize power.
They have the will. They already have someone on the inside. And they have the explosives.

Standing in their way is a woman who listens to conversations not meant for her to hear. She reads mail not intended for her to see. She knows their intention. But can she stop them in time?
SEDITION is a smart, fast-paced, modern day political novel woven in reality and based on the 1820 British plot, The Cato Street Conspiracy.

It navigates the thin line between good versus evil and patriot versus traitor, proving there’s always a reason behind treason

“Being a patriot and a terrorist were 
not mutually exclusive propositions.”

A riveting modern political-thriller with a smart heroine at its helm!

If I had to say just one thing about Sedition, I would say that the author of this book clearly knows his stuff, and he knows them very well, too!

When I began reading the book, I was literally mind-blown by what was written within the first few pages. The political, as well as the socio-cultural references in this book really hit my tickle spot, and I was hooked in no time!

So what is this book all about?

Well, Sedition is a synthesis of real US politics and written fiction, weaving them both in such a way that could make the reader take a pause to think critically. The story, being a slice of reality, actually gives the reader information about stuffs that matter, but which are mostly overlooked and ignored.

As for the characters, I really liked the fact that each member of the Daturan had his own distinct personality which made it very easy for me to distinguish one from another. They were like this group of intellectual gentlemen with extreme superiority complexes, which is actually only a coping mechanism for their inferiority complexes. I’d have to admit that they were largely the reason why I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

On the other hand, I haven’t really quite warmed up to Matti. She seemed a little too perfect for me. I mean, her guilty pleasure was watching hilarious videos on YouTube. Sure, it’s definitely a quirk, but there has got to be more to her than just being a mid-level intelligence analyst, with an eidetic memory and poor self-esteem.

Moving on, while this book may not be as action-packed as so many spy novels, what it lacks in action, it makes up for in intellectual stimulation and well-planned twists. The suspenseful pace was also consistently maintained throughout the story.

Also, fans of stories featuring conspiracy theories are going to love this book! Not only is it a smart read, it is also insightful and a definite brain teaser!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

[Book Review] A Hundred and One Reasons

Title: A Hundred and One Reasons
Author: Bianca Salindong
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama
Source: Purchased Paperback
Rating: 3/5

National Bookstore

There are still many things Ann needed to know, to explore and live the life she'd always imagined. But everything turned upside down when she learned that she is sick. Not cough and colds sick. No, something much complicated than that.

Ann decides that she'd rather fight when she knows she had no chances of winning. And then came a promise of a hundred and one reasons, from someone she never thought cared for her, and gave her the strength she needed to live. This is a story that goes beyond the boundaries of faith, family, hope and love... it may bring you to tears or give you the reasons to live than just to exist.

A cliché that was meant to touch hearts, but missed the bull’s eye by at least a good few centimeters.

Last night, as I was cruising along National Book Store to pick up a few school supplies, I found myself wandering towards the locally published books section. I wanted to try reading a locally published book to review it.

I browsed and contemplated over a few titles. I decided I have to buy just one book - a book that wasn’t too expensive as I was on a tight budget. I found A Hundred and One Reasons by Bianca Salindong. It was only a hundred bucks, fairly cheaper than the other books in the section. Plus, I read in the back cover that Bianca Salindong is only a twenty-something nursing graduate from Tarlac, which meant that she was about my age. That silly little fact got my attention, and so, I picked up the book.

Now, unto the review proper…

Like I said at the beginning, the story was cliché and it was meant to touch hearts, but it missed the bull’s eye by at least a good few centimeters.

When I started reading, I was easily reminded by those stories posted online; stories written by amateur writers and were posted within the forums of Candy Mag, on FictionPress or on Wattpad. Since it was stated in the book that it was Bianca Salindong’s first novel, well, I decided it was fine.

The writing was definitely raw, unpolished and sadly, it was lacking in so many aspects.

The protagonist came out strong at the beginning. From her own point of view, she was a strong and mean female, who plowed through anyone that dared to cross her. As the story progressed however, she wasn’t really that much of bad-ass. She was a smart-ass, with a mean mouth, but ultimately, she was a good girl.

What was good about this story was that the promise of a great premise was there. The idea of making a hundred and one reasons to live was a gem. But while the general idea was promising, it was not entirely something new.

Also, the technical aspect of the novel was very much lacking. The chapters were very short. There were several grammatical errors, misplaced words, typographical errors and tense-shifting within the sentences.

It was cringe-worthy to read the whole story when I itched to correct broken sentences every few minutes. Nonetheless, I pressed on because I wanted to get my money’s worth, and because I was determined to write a proper review for the story.

As for the story itself, well, the thing is, I love a good and effective love-triangle; especially if the love triangle makes me torn between two great, multi-faceted characters. Sadly, in this story, the love triangle was placed just because it was convenient. It wasn’t in the least bit effective.

The heroine easily gets attracted to guys who come to her one after another. First, there was Lee, to whom Ann harbored a secret love for a long time. Then, there was also Stan who was also her crush for the longest time. Then, there was also Lorenzo, who had a heart condition, and who conveniently appeared when Stan was out of the picture. Their attraction didn’t even get any build up at all. Insta-love was all over the place.

Then, what I don’t get is that James, Stan and Ann were supposed to be friends from when they were still kids as evidenced by the recollection of them playing hide and seek when Ann was only seven. But then, according to Stan, he and James never really got along at first because they were opposites. The narration gave me the idea that they met when they were already in their teens, completely in contrast to the later flashback scene narrating the hide and seek.

Another thing that was novel in this book was the use of quotes from series, songs and blogs. It was obvious from the quotes at the beginning of each chapter that the writer was very much active online. Although sometimes, I find the use of these quotes unnecessary.

By the end of the story, where I’m supposed to be touched and in tears, I wasn’t. What I wanted to do though, was to pick up my red pen and proof-read the whole book. It badly needed editing.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5 simply because everyone needs a hundred and one reasons to live even if they think they don’t need it.

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #06

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? 
What do you think they look like? 
Add an image to make us all happy.

I would have to go with Luca Andretti from
Louise Reynolds' Her Italian Aristocrat. =)

If I had my way, I imagine Luca would look something like this:

Yummy, right?

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