And I’m off to the beach!

Now, before I go and bask in the sun from the beautiful island of Cebu, let me tell you that I had an awesome, AWESOME time with my Goodreads – The Filipino Group buddies!

GR-TFG Group in an archery range!

See, we had our book discussion of The Fellowship of the Ring last Saturday. Well, i was the moderator for that Face-to-Face, but I still enjoyed it. 🙂 I kinda expected i will be tired and grumpy (like Bilbo when the ring was not with him, lol), but i was not. Yeah!

Also, I just finished reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King and i am floored by it! Review to come, but expect high praises from me for this one. Am starting to think i need to read all the Printz Awardees and Honors. Some of what i read are really good. 😀

Being a Kid at Talima Adventure and Water Park, Cebu

Enough chat. I am on vacation mode like Right. Now.


Book Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Rating: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult| Children’s > Fantasy

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.


This rating is very hard to give to Liesl & Po. First, i am obsessed with Oliver’s beautiful writing. Second, she wrote it to cope with a dear friend’s death (i hope i got that right, it was written in the acknowledgements page). Third, it’s just hard because Lauren Oliver is a nice person in real life. But i want to be honest. there was nothing in it for me. There was no surge of emotions on my part. I might as well have been reading a newspaper because it was so monotonous.

I only liked the part where Po remembered his own name in the end. 🙂 And of course, i like Mo. He’s a sweet, dumb guy i want to be friends with. and yeah, the relation between the thief and that old bat of a woman was quite funny, too.

There was nothing special with the story. It was just okay for me. I am not looking for action scenes (Oliver’s books seemed to lack them), but the characters just doesn’t seem alive. they don’t jump out of the pages like i expected from a fantasy children’s book!

You need little imagination if you are to read Liesl & Po. I would gladly give away this book, but it was a christmas gift. a granted wish list. So i’ll keep it. Perhaps my niece will like the illustrations. 🙂


Splurged: LOTR, Blackout, Ready Player One

For the month of June, I spent $100 in books. Waaa!

This coming Saturday, Goodreads- The Filipino Group will discuss book 1 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. Guess who is the moderator for our discussion? Yep. That would be me. *throws confetti*

Well, i read the trilogy already way back in college. Back then, i borrowed my older brother’s paperback copies. But they are long gone (we were flooded last 2006 and that’s the end of his LOTR collection, including his HP series too). I never imagined i would need new copies because i never intended to reread Tolkien. And yet, here i am (currently at p255 of book 1). =)

A buddy read on our GR group is the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. I loved Feed (even if it broke my heart into zombie-llion pieces). Naturally, i will buy Deadline. But i have to admit i am still plucking up the courage to read this second book. Ha!

And there’s also City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (which up to now I haven’t bothered to pick up). I’m still miffed about the previous book’s ending, so no excitement here. Boo! lol

Then my officemates who travelled on business came home from the US. Obviously, i’d take the opportunity to buy books from Amazon then ask them bring the books home with them. First batch is Genesis by Bernard Beckett, Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Both Genesis and Lips Touch: Three Times gained 4 stars from me. Yay! I have yet to read Ready Player One this July. 😉

Second batch is Blackout by Mira Grant, When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen, and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. Yeah, you like them, too??? Nice!

At a nearby bookstore on sale, I spotted a copy of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett in very mint condition! See, i already have a mass market paperback copy, but i just can’t help but admire this edition. 🙂

By now, I am promising myself that i would not buy books for a month or two. Unless it’s on sale. Whoopee!

Which books have you read? Can you recommend them?


Book Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Rating: StarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last…


Thank goodness for Bug, Josh and Dani, or else i’ll be trashing this book completely. Hudson has no balls, so to speak. and what an awful, awful friend! Bittersweet started out good for me (esp her first meeting with Josh). Then lets-make-out-with-Will episodes came in. followed by i-like-Josh-but-Will’s-here-so-let’s-make-out-some-more scenes. And after all she’s been through to get back to skating, she realized it was not her dream in the end. Screw you, Hudson Avery! Grrr.

I like Ockler’s writing. It was so easy to get into. But the story was unbearable! Let’s see: Hudson wants to get back to skating. In the process, she disses her best friend (dissing friends is her hobby), disappoints her mom, and completely abandons her brother (just to sneak into a New Year’s Eve party!). All this, while baking to-die-for cupcakes, flirting with Josh, and… oh! tonsil-hockeying with Will. and yeah, a little skating practice here and there. Yet, when skating stares at her head-on, she bails. Again. WTF.

If Hudson making a fool out of herself was not enough, her Mom and friends at the diner gives her crap when she finally decides to pursue her so-called dream, skating. Great way to appreciate Hudson, Mom.

I believe this is my first book that i would like to be rewritten. Major overhaul on the plot, please. Gah. There are swoon moments, yes, and Josh is… let’s just say i’ll give him my kidneys too if he wants it. 🙂

Bittersweet. Three parts bitter, two parts sweet. Man, i was ready to fall in love! Sigh. Hudson ruined it for me.

C’mon, Bug, how about you and I play with Mr. Napkins, instead?


Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult | Children’s > Realistic Fiction

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?


For parents who are expecting a child (whether their first or not), normally what would they fear at that stage?

Me? When I was pregnant, my big worry is that my baby will be abnormal. deformed. I did not wish for a beautiful child, I only wish that he will be healthy when he’s born. When I saw my son, not only is he perfectly healthy, but he is beautiful. whole. normal. so much more than the things i prayed for.

Auggie’s parents were not so lucky. But despite his facial deformity, Auggie is as normal as it gets. he’s smart, witty, and hilarious. I love Auggie! His personality just leapt from the pages and tickled my fancy. I thought this is a depressing story. It’s not. Just a lot of reflections from a boy who just want to be remembered (and loved) but not because of his horrible-looking face.

I want to embrace his Dad! The most striking scene he has with Auggie is this. In two years, Auggie wore a helmet and never took it off. one day, the helmet has gone missing.

Oh, Auggie, don’t be mad. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t stand see you wear that thing on your head anymore, you know? i didn’t think it was good for you.

Come on, Auggie, please try to understand, you were wearing that helmet all the time. and the real, real, real truth is: I missed seeing your face, Auggie. I know you don’t always love it, but you have to understand… I love it. I love this face of yours, Auggie, completely and passionately. And it broke my heart that you were always covering it up.

What a WONDERful father. 🙂

You’re gonna love all the characters here (well, except Julian, maybe). Wonder is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, heart-everything!

People can be cruel to Auggie almost every time. But he found comfort, love and triumph in his family, and his new friends. He never expected the universe will be kind to him. but it did.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Imprint: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR

Pub Date: 02/14/2012

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for granting my galley request.

Book Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Horror | Fantasy

(The Monstrumologist #1)

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will’s world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus—a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest—and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

Literary Awards: Printz Honor (2010), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2010), Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Finalist (ALAN/NCTE) (2010), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2013)


I am not an easy person to scare. I like horror books; more so on movies. The Monstrumologist is not that really scary to begin with, but with the overall creepiness of the story, it gave me this horrific effect that i should be scared of monsters. real, eat-you-alive-in-the-grossest-way-possible monsters. Mr. Yancey, I was afraid of the Anthropophagi, not because of the monstrosity, but because of the cunning and intellect that came with that monstrosity.*shudders*

Will Henry‘s life was not easy. Watching your parents burn to death is not something short of a nightmare. Then, you spend your life with a man whose eccentricity and brilliance shuns everybody around you. including you. not to mention your services are indispensable to this (sometimes) crazy scientist. your services, not you.

I like Yancey’s writing. With a story so unique, his characters and monsters became vibrant through his easy storytelling.

Kearnes is my favorite character! His madness is infectious. Oh, he has faults, yes, but i can’t help but admire him. he’s a formidable hunter, but as a person? Ha! Better ask Will Henry. or Dr. Warthrop for a more definitive response. Also, the Sanitorium scenes are alive! Sanitorium: that one place that i’m the scariest. 🙂

If you are into horror and gore, you’re gonna love The Monstrumologist. Monsters both literal and psychological, you will find it here. To those who have read this: whose life is sadder, Will Henry’s or Dr. Warthrop’s?

Full of fascinating lore and heart-buckling scenarios, Will Henry will make your nights worthwhile. Read this at night time! it adds to the suspense. *winks*

Monsters are real. That’s a fact. =)

Check out these other reviews:

Silence means YES…

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal with his 7th French Open trophy 🙂

Well, Yes to tennis, anyway. =D

Hey guys! I know my blog’s been silent for two weeks now. Hmmm… if you are a tennis fan like me, then you know why I decided to ignore my blogging (I have 4 books pending for review!). It was the French Open tournament! I am a big Rafael Nadal fan (so big!) and his highness demanded my utmost concentration throughout the competition. =P

Now that Rafa won the tournament (his 7th!), I can now move on with my blogging life. Thank you for waiting. *winks*

I just finished The Monstrumologist and it was gruesome! Hey, if you are of the faint-hearted, don’t read this! You will just be grossed out. Me? Rick Yancey’s book is awesome-gruesome. Ha!

But I will admit that the creepiness of Will Henry’s horrific adventures affected me somewhat. So, in order to stabilize my mental reading state, I am now reading Bittersweet. I hope this contemp will bring me back to sanity! *fingers crossed*

June TBR pile

Because our book club is having LOTR’s The Fellowship of the Ring, I am re-reading it. I super love this high fantasy trilogy, and reading it again is a pleasure! Unfortunately (and I don’t know why), I am trudging with my progress. Seems to me I am having a hard time finishing (but really, I’m not)! Still my progress is slow. Oh, well. I will finish this first installment this week!

Moving on to my TBR pile, I have 3 books that need to be shaved off from the list before June ends! I have Pathfinder (gotta return it to my GR friend Rollie so my other GR friend JL can read it), Deadline (I am so behind from our buddy reads in GR!) Last Sacrifice (need to wrap up VA series). Whew! I am confident I can finish them all this June. A Clash of Kings, do not tempt me to read you!!!

So. How about you? What’s keeping you busy lately, huh? ;P