Friday, February 26, 2016

[Book Review] The God's Eye View

The God's Eye View
By Barry Eisler
February 2, 2016
Thriller, Fiction, Suspense

Let me start by saying that I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was interested to read this story because of its synopsis. And truth be told, it felt like Christmas came in February when I got this book, because I have been a fan of Barry Eisler since I read John Rain. That being said, I'll admit being guilty of slightly fan-girling on Twitter. That is all I'm going to admit.

Be warned. This is a very scary book. It will make you uncomfortable, but it will make you think. It is not scary in a horror, or paranormal kind of way, but scary in a conspiracy-theory-and-paranoia kind of way. If some aspects of the fiction in this book turned out to be real, the implications are astounding. And you have to read the whole story to understand that the fictional aspect of this book might not be that far-fetched from reality.

While reading this book, Sir Francis Bacon's famous quote kept leaping up at me. The quote says: "Knowledge is power." This quote probably sums up the whole story pretty well. The core issue in this story is this: how much government intrusion into private rights is enough and when is it too much?

I love that this book effectively weaves reality and fiction. It was so effective in doing so that many times throughout reading the book, I kept asking myself which parts are real and which parts are not. At the end of reading the whole story, I was reeling because I was effectively absorbed in a world that was not much different from reality, and learned a few things along the way. This book doesn't only tell a story, it also educates. This is what I really appreciate in this book.

The writing was steady, as was the pacing. I love that the author did not hold back on the gore, and was consistent in tying up together the intricate events one by one. The characters were dynamic, and there was growth for both Evie and Manus as the story progressed.

It was interesting to read about a really advance monitoring system that could have been the perfect surveillance tool if not for the people who run it; the ghosts inside the machine. Also, there was one persistent thought that kept occurring to me while I was reading about God's Eye. Essentially, the government leaders may change, and the name of the project/machine may change, but it's all just semantics really. At the heart of it all, knowledge really is power. And it is definitely better to know more rather than less.

Lastly, I really loved the list of resources and reading materials at the end of the book. I was thinking of researching people and events after reading the story, and the resources listed within the book was really, really helpful.

Kudos to the author for writing such a thought-provoking masterpiece! I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in an intellectually-charged suspense thriller.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

[Feature Filipino] Book Review: Plain Vanilla

Plain Vanilla
By Ines Bautista Yao
February 12, 2016
Young Adult, Romance

Despite its length, I think this is one well-written story about young love. This is actually my second young-adult story from Ines Bautista Yao, and she remains consistent in keeping her voice young and relatable, which is something I really appreciate.

Truth is, I got a little confused with the story when I began reading because I thought 'Plain Vanilla' meant something else. LOL. The fault was entirely my own, and partly because FSOG has given the term 'vanilla' a different meaning. It was funny because I got confused and thought, 'how in the hell is there going to be a love scene in this story?! WTF?!' When I finally recovered, I had the urge to smack myself senseless for my sheer stupidity. haha!

Anyway, I really enjoyed this Valentine offering! Tempest (Pesty! Great nickname, by the way.) is a really charming character even if she thinks she's boring and normal. I'd rather describe her as stable and grounded. She might not see herself this way, but I think her cousins did a great job at keeping Pesty from the brink of depression and hopelessness.

I don't have a crazy family as Pesty, so I can't say I can relate, but the way her family was described in this story was downright hilarious. I couldn't help but chuckle and smile while I was reading.

All in all, this was a really great story, which I wished my tween self could have had an opportunity to read.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

[Feature Filipino] Book Review: One Night At The Palace Hotel

One Night At The Palace Hotel
by Bianca Mori
February 14, 2014
New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Short Story

I was given a copy of the story for free in exchange for a review. It's a short story, and a quick read, so I said yes.

To be honest, I was a bit put off by the beginning of the story. Everything sounded so... superficial. I honestly don't know if there are any others who felt the same, but I'm pretty sure I was really put off. Nonetheless, I continued reading, because even if the background of the main character was off-putting, it was still interesting enough.

A family desperately clinging on to a family name, and a legacy that has long been rendered obsolete was pathetic, but the good thing was that the heroine recognized the futility of her family's actions. I was surprised at how much Consuelo was willing to bend over for what her family wanted. I had to resist the urge to bang my head in frustration several times over the course of reading this story. It wasn't funny how I wanted to shake Consuelo up to straighten her head. Then again, while she may be pliant and obedient at the beginning of the story, there was definitely growth in the latter part.

All in all, this story is solid despite its length. It'll be frustrating, and maddening at times, but it's a good read!

Note: The schedule for this blog post was supposed to be on or before January 31, 2016. In all complete honesty, the deadline flew out of my head. I didn't realize I missed it until I checked my email for posting details again. I apologize for my blunder.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

[Feature Filipino] Book Review: Just A Little Bit Of Love

Just A Little Bit Of Love
(Short stories set in the world of 
Only A Kiss)
By Ines Bautista Yao
November 18, 2016
Short Story, Young-Adult, Romance

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I thought, why not? I find short stories delightful because they're quick reads, and for a compilation like this one, you get several stories in one book. It's practically a steal!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories. I was reminded of my own high school days; football especially. Only that I wasn't a fan, I was a player, and I played against guys. It was really effective in bringing out nostalgic feelings of high school and early College years.

What this book contains are well-written tales of innocence and young love. I would have loved for the stories to be longer because I would have loved to read more. Also, I appreciate that the characters actually sound like teenagers. This is a little tricky to pull off, but readers won't have a problem with the characters in the stories. (*nudge* Full length young-adult story, perhaps? *nudge* )

All in all, this is a pretty solid compilation as far as young-adult short stories go, and I highly recommend it to everyone, who would like a quick read, or two. 

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