Monday, October 29, 2012

The Rise of Nine

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have read three books of the Lorien Legacies and so far, this is the book I really want to see being adapted into a movie. I started reading the book and even though its pace is fast and the story is action-packed, I couldn't help but procrastinate. When I got to the middle part though, I couldn't let it go. I wish I could read straight up to book 6 and know who indeed is Pittacus among all the Garde and who would end up killing Setrákus Ra.

I like the way the author does not forget that these are alien kids who are similar to human teenagers. They probably have hormone rushes, too. I like the way Seven kissed Eight and then said, "There's no time like the present!" I like the way Four finally found Sarah. I hope they also find Sam, so Six can have her share of the love bug. I am also interested who Nine would end up with and how they would be able to find Five. Is Five a he or a she? Is there still a living Cêpan left to help them?

The thing about reading a book series is that there is a possibility for the author to lose his grip on the story. There are instances when a reader gets lost in a lot of useless information and unimportant characters. I hope this author would keep the momentum going and would formulate an ending that would not be a disappointment. I have high hopes for this series. As long as the books maintain their being unpredictable, I believe they will remain appealing to its readers. =)

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour 2012

Fan-girling after the concert.

I got a week off work. From all the weeks this year, I chose this week because October 24 is Big Bang day. I saw four of the five boys July of last year during the Korean Music Wave Singapore. Seeing them again did not make the experience less enjoyable. It was actually a memorable one because (1) they are complete, (2) they are in my home country, and (3) I was able to share this experience with fellow Pinoy VIP's.

Since words cannot explain how I felt before, after and during the concert itself, below are my favorite memories captured in photos and videos.

Two of my favorite shots from the Big Bang Official Facebook page:

Big Bang opening song

Filipino VIP's at the SM Mall of Asia Arena

Here is the official encore video from the Big Bang Official Youtube page from Seungri's point of view:

My fantastic babies! 
Seungri's panda gift at 00:03 . Little dragon at 00:36 . Half-naked and dancing YB at 01:03 . Choom TOP at 01:38 . Jiyong kiss at 01:59(mwah!). Wet Daesung at 02:53 . I think I saw a blurry me at 03:12 (OMG!!!). "Salamat" and "Mahal ko kayo" at 03:59 .

This is the "Cafe" video my sister took:

Last but not the least, this is one of my favorite "goosebumps" moments during the concert. All my feels just happened. T_T
[Note: This video is not mine.]

Filipino VIP's don't do fan chants. We sing the whole song! ^^

If you are a friend on Facebook, my sister uploaded an album of the shots we took. Please click this link to view the album. Yes, I am grateful to the people who made this possible. You know who you are. =)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Crying Over 501

I bought a pair of these a few years back. It was a tight fit but since I swore to lose weight, I still bought one despite it being pricey for my income. I saved up. If there is such a thing as a "dream jeans", this is probably it. Button-fly. 501. Levi's.

I've lost a few pounds for the past months and I have been able to wear this pair (even with a belt) and I couldn't have been any prouder. I love the fit and the comfort. I love the style.

A couple of days ago, by some mean circumstance, this pair ended up in my brother's closet. It was probably misplaced. Due to a lapse of judgement on his part, my brother thought this was my cousin's old pair of jeans. My cousin used to live with us but he has been away for a long time. Without asking anyone, he went to the local tailor and cut my pair of Levi's so he can wear it as a below-the-knee shorts (sort of board shorts for his highly-anticipated beach vacation a few weeks from now). Since he has been busy in the gym for his beach escapade, he was able to fit his waist into my jeans! Without knowing the pair is mine, he flaunted the shorts and I was aghast! No, I really can't imagine how I felt the moment I laid my eyes on the pair I know so well. There was a moment of panic, then silence, immediately followed by a severe headache. I can see his reaction when I tried to explain it to him-- those are my pair of dream jeans! I would never be able to get something like that again. Ever. I know he was sorry, but I can't help it. It was his birthday a few days ago and I was thinking of something positive like giving the jeans to him as a birthday present but no...

I cried. I spent my entire Sunday thinking about it. I cried and cried until I fell asleep and I dreamed about Levi's jeans.

I hope blogging about it would help me get over it. That happened a couple of days ago. I get similar reactions from my friends-- pity combined with giggles. I even got the same reaction from my mother! Either I am overreacting or they just don't get what it means to have something I wanted and worked hard to get. =(

Monday, August 20, 2012

For One More Day

For One More DayFor One More Day by Mitch Albom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?"

I needed a short book that I could finish reading in a few hours and I've had this on my to-read shelf for quite some time now. I have read a couple of Mitch Albom books and "Tuesdays With Morrie" will always have a special place in my heart. I started reading "For One More Day" without a lot of expectations. I just know that this is going to be another sentimental, inspiring and family-oriented plot. I also know that I would cry my eyes out. I am not wrong.

As someone who thinks losing a loved-one is one of her greatest fears, I took notes. Days may seem mundane and I might be swallowed by routine, but I hope I learned the value of an ordinary minute.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've read too many dystopian YA novels and I couldn't help compare the stories to each other. "Divergent" is enjoyable to read, which means that there were fast-paced moments especially during the latter part of the story. I am looking forward to the movie adaptation of this book as well. I think creating the factions-- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent)-- and their characteristics are interesting. It took a lot of imagination describing how a world would work with those distinctions. I would want to know how they would evolve and which faction would survive, if any would survive at all.

On the other hand, the beginning was a bit dragging. I guess I expected too much and I found it overly-simplistic. Beatrice (or Tris) is not the main female protagonist I expected her to be. Maybe it's the author's style of writing, or maybe it was really meant to be her personality, but she can be predictable bordering on boring. She's supposed to be this kick-ass girl undergoing a sort-of initiation rite to be Dauntless and it felt like she isn't complete without her love interest. Don't get me wrong, I am a sucker for mushy love stories , but maybe I was looking for a more substantial plot or an emotional twist that dystopian books usually give me.

If the next book, "Insurgent", would get me hooked as much as the last few pages of "Divergent", then I am looking forward to finishing it soon.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will GraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not really a fan of collaborations especially when it comes to choosing a book to read. I have been enjoying all of the John Green books I have read so far that I didn't mind giving this a try.

Try-error-try? Try-error-it!

I can note to differences between the writing styles of the two authors, yet they blend in well together. This book is about two intertwined life stories of distinct characters with the same name. There are moments when I prefer the writing style of the other author because it's funnier, but it would also change when this other author would write something that makes sense and hits home. The styles complement each other.

I have this soft spot for coming-of-age, young adult themes because they would revolve around love, naivety, friendship, heartbreaks, family and, well... life. I can relate to this book in a lot of different levels (and I'm sure a lot of people out there would feel the same way too) despite the fact that I am a straight so-called "fag hag". Sometimes, I find life depressing and I think nobody understands how it feels to be me. I feel ordinary that I don't deserve something special. I have longed for/pined for someone I could never have and who could never love me back. When I feel alone, I realize my family and friends are still there, waiting for me or helping me to get back on track. Also, music is an essential part of my existence.

I have also had my fair share of reading (mostly comedic) books about homosexuality and this is, by far, the most touching one. I wish they would make this into a movie. I'd be crying my heart out at the end of it. I never expected it to give me all these mixed and crazy emotions. I thought I'd just laugh out loud but I found myself wanting to give a standing ovation.

"Maybe tonight you're scared of falling, and maybe there's somebody here or somewhere else you're thinking about, worrying over, fretting over, trying to figure out if you want to fall, or how and when you're gonna land, and I gotta tell you, Friends, to stop thinking about the landing, because it's all about falling."

It is all about soaring and yes, your name may not be on the title but I adore you, Tiny Cooper! =)

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Paper Towns

Paper TownsPaper Towns by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will. But then again, if you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all.

The protagonist, Quentin (a.k.a. "Q") loves Margo Roth Spiegelman. That or he just loves the idea of loving her. They're next-door neighbors and have known each other since they were little. They found a dead body together. That would have meant sharing something deep that will bind them forever, but life happened. They went on their separate social circles, until they picked each other again for one unforgettable and vengeful adventure.

She's a mystery to him and he would go through exhausting journeys to find her without entertaining disappointment and near-death experiences. But did Q just misimagined her and thought of her more than just a person or a girl? Maybe he loved her for the way she made him let go of his fears, which liberated him. She was like a mirror he needed to face so he can see the real him. Without that mirror, he's lost.

Everything started from a story written on a black moleskin notebook. It turned out, they were not paper girl/boy after all. They discover that they're more than just flimsy, foldable, two-dimensional beings living in a paper town. The middle part as slow-paced. The characters were in the middle of a sleuth to solve the enigma that is Margo Roth Spiegelman. There was a roadtrip. This part builds up towards an ending that would shed light on it all. It was bittersweet.

"Paper Towns" deals with the usual coming-of-age themes like hope, love (even unrequited ones), family, friendship, fear and the feeling of belonging. But it was told in a way that is not like the usual YA novels I read. There were psychobabble, poetry and a lot of metaphors. It was not really a happy ending. Some people may hate that. I guess I like it because the goodbye makes it more real. We can't have everything we want. Sometimes, we must all go through our journeys apart.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The thing about chameleoning your way through life is that it gets to where nothing is real.

There is this child prodigy who tries to explain his penchant for girls named Katherine with some graphs and mathematical equations to form The Love Theorem. Then, there is this girl (not named Katherine) who thinks she is not living the life she wanted to live. All she wanted is to matter. They meet. They become friends. They shared laughter, tears, adventures, misadventures and a secret hiding place.

I am not into tangents and equations. Learning a new language is cool, but reading through a book and checking the meaning every so often of a word I don't understand can hamper my groove. On the other hand, there are still quotable lines. I like the Hassan-Colin friendship and the way they click. I think this is also the funniest John Green book I have read so far. I rate it 3 and a half stars.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Looking for Alaska

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken.

Miles Halter, a.k.a. Pudge, is the main protagonist of the story. His story started when he decided to change his boring existence. He left his parents for boarding school, made friends, fell in love and coped with the death of someone special. He met other colorful, clever and funny characters including Alaska Young. He goes through this roller-coaster journey where there's a lot of smoking and booze, with a dash of pranks and heartbreaks, sprinkled with teenage angst and hormones.

This is the second John Green book I've read. It still has its winning combination of witty and funny, which made me fall in love with his writing, but this one is also unexpectedly philosophical. Like his other book "The Fault in Our Stars", "Looking for Alaska" is another young adult/coming-of-age novel that touches similar topics such as friendship, love and death.

Yes, this book still has a lot of quotable quotes that really touched me. No, I did not cry as much as I cried in "The Fault in Our Stars" probably because the discussions about religion and spirituality did not really make me want to bawl out. This book made me stop, stare and think, "How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?" The next thing I know... Poof! Another John Green novel off my to-read list.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Before I Fall

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess that's what saying goodbye is always like-- like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.

Imagine reliving the last day of your life over and over. You may not change the final outcome, but you get a chance to redeem yourself, make your last day more special and make your existence more meaningful. That's what happened to Samantha Kingston (Sam), the protagonist of this story. She needed a "wake-up call" in order to let go of her shallowness and realize the important aspects of life-- family, real friends, true love; and the lessons she needed to learn-- acceptance, non-judgement, respect.

The book began at the end and revolved around it. Initially, it was a bit slow-paced for me. The middle part became more intriguing and dealt with emotions I never anticipated. It's one of those young adult novels that deal with death but is not really as morbid as it sounds because the story is told from a young person's perspective. I developed a love-hate relationship with Sam as I read through her story. The ending was a bit abrupt and predictable but the cycle I had to go through before reaching that ending is unexpectedly enjoyable.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Fault in our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[WARNING: May contain spoilers]

My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations.

I am still attempting to think as the story replays in my head and I wait for my eyes to un-puff themselves. If someone witnessed my outburst a few minutes ago, they would think I was crazy for sobbing and laughing at the same time. I cannot remember ever reading a book that made me react that way. This is not my regular young adult love story. It is also not the usual coping-with-dying or death plot I am used to. It's funny, witty, endearing and heartbreaking. This book made me feel a myriad of things rolled into one.

Sixteen-year-old Hazel and seventeen-year-old Gus, both terminally ill with cancer, fell in love amidst their battle against human consciousness. Their story is neither mushy nor morbid. They met in a Cancer Kid Support Group, shared their interest for a novel by a reclusive author named Peter Van Houten, and planned a trip to Amsterdam. This charming, sarcastic and intelligent couple are surrounded by supportive parents and a surprisingly goofy friend named Isaac. This story narrates how they found forever within their numbered days.

If you want to know why time is a slut, read this book.
If you want to know how some infinities are bigger than other infinities, read this book.
If you want to know how pain demands to be felt, read this book.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012


Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[WARNING: May contain spoilers.]

If you want something, if you take it for your own, you'll always be taking it from someone else.

It's four and a half stars.

This is a rare occurrence but I like the second book better than the first. The beginning part was a bit slow-paced, but after a few chapters, reading Lena's story from different chronological perspectives got me tightly caught between "Then" and "Now". The Resistance builds and becomes more intriguing.

The way this book was written was a tad more direct, with a more violence and death and depression, which goes well with the way Lena slowly sheds her old self and finds a new one hidden deep within her. Then, there's this love triangle. I knew I had to choose again between Team Julian and Team Alex. I don't know why I always go for the guy who needed saving, the guy who would influence a crucial change in the girl's character and the same guy who never left. The ending of this book is interesting enough that I would want to know more what happens next.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

An animation that is undeniably Miyazaki, "The Secret World of Arrietty" is based on Mary Norton's classic "The Borrowers". This latest film from Studio Ghibli shows wonderful details, colors and a story that will capture those who are young and young-at-heart. =)

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"I love you. Remember. They cannot take it."

"Delirium" can be taken either as a cautionary tale or a romantic inspiration like Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". That view would (literally) depend on which side of the fence you are in. I think the you-and-me-against-the-world theme will never get old especially when the subject of love is what makes it work. I may sometimes skip or maybe even cringe at the lovey-dovey moments, but they also take me back to the teenage series I used to pore myself into. This dystopian novel reminded me of some Sweet Valley characters, but this time, their story is set in a world similar to Panem (The Hunger Games).

The plot has its plateaus and crescendos. If I were watching a movie instead of reading, the last ten pages of the book would really keep me on the edge of my seat. It works as the first book in the series because it makes the reader crave for more. There are questions left unanswered and characters still covered in mystery.

If you think love is overrated, this may not be the book or series for you. The book may seem to target a specific age bracket, but if you're the type of person who, deep inside, just wants to be rescued from indifference, then amor deliria nervosa is something that is worth knowing and taking a risk for.

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I love a book, I would usually breeze through it and skip on some sentences just to know what happens next. I usually don't llke wordy and overly-descriptive narratives. Well, this book is an exception.

Reading "The Night Circus" made me crave for caramel and apple cider. I can smell the circus just by reading the lines. Sometimes, I wish I wake up and find black and white tents just billowing outside my window. It made me imagine the intricacies of the clocks, the mysterious contents of the tents, the elaborate costumes and the geniuses behind the masterpieces.

The pacing may be a bit slow and the ending abrupt, but the story itself is unexpectedly captivating and heartbreaking. The main characters are well thought of. Most are victims of circumstances. Le Cirque du Rêves is a world in its own. It's a dream-like prison I do not want to get out of and in it hides a love story that is not unlike "Romeo and Juliet". The entertainment and magic mask the sadness and frustration. A lesson or two can be learned. Read this and rev up your imagination. It will be a pleasant experience.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Greatest Irony of Love

(Author unknown)

The greatest irony of love: Loving the right person at the wrong time or having the wrong person when the time is right; finding out you love someone after that person walks out of your life. For some, they think that letting go is one way of expressing how much they love that person. Some are afraid to see the one they love being held by someone else. Most relationships tend to fail not because of the absence of love, but because love is always present. It's just that one was being loved too much, and the other was being loved too little. Most often, we fall in love with the person we think we love, but to only discover that for them we are just for past times. While the one who truly loves us remains either your friend or a stranger. 
When you think of your past love; you may view it as a failure; but when you find a new love, you view the past as a teacher. In the game of love, it doesn't really matter who won or who lost. What's important is that you know when to hold on and when to let go. You know that you love someone when you want him or her to be happy, even if their happiness means that you're not apart of it. Everything happens for a reason and for its best. If the person you love doesn't love you back, don't be afraid to love someone else again, for you'll never know unless you give it a try. 
You'll never truly love a person, unless you risk for their love; love strives in hurting. If you don't get hurt, then you won't learn how to love. Love doesn't hurt all the time; though the hurting is there to test you, to help you grow. Don't find love, let love find you; that's why it's called falling in love, because you don't need to force yourself to love, you just fall. You cannot finish a book without closing the chapters. If you want to move on, then you have to leave the past as you turn the pages. 
Love is not destroyed by a single failure or won by a single caress. But why is it that the greatest irony of love is letting go when you want to hold on, and holding on when you need to let go? You can never find the right person if you can never let it go of the wrong, but at the same time the moment you feel like letting go, you remember why you held on for so long. Sometimes you have to forget what you want and remember what you deserve. 
To love is to risk rejection, to live is to risk dying and to hope is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing at all. To reach for another is to risk involvement, to expose your feelings is to expose your true self. To love is to risk not being loved in return. 
How to define love: Fall but do not stumble. Be constant but not too persistent. Share and never be unfair. Understand and try not to demand. Hurt but never keep the pain. 
Love is supposed to be the most wonderful feeling. It should inspire you and give you joy and strength. But sometimes the things that give you joy can also hurt you in the end. Loving people means giving them the freedom; whom they choose to be and where they choose to go. Loving someone means giving them the freedom to find their way, whether it leads towards you or away from you. 
Love can be a painful risk. To love means that risk must be taken, no matter how scary or painful, for only then will you experience the fullness of humanity of what we call love. If you're not ready to cry, if you're not ready to take the risk and if you're not ready to feel the pain, then you're not ready to fall in love.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Books are Friends

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)

Wonderful 15-minute animation for those who love books and think life would be empty without them.

UPDATE | 27 February 2012
I'm just happy when this was announced Best Short Animated Film in the 84th Academy Awards. =)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Blueberry Girl

"Blueberry Girl" 

Ladies of Light, and Ladies of Darkness,
and Ladies of Never-You-Mind,
This is a prayer for a Blueberry Girl
First: May you Ladies be kind.

Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen;
Let her stay waking and wise.
Nightmares at three, or bad husbands at thirty;
These will not trouble her eyes.

Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen;
Let her have brave days and truth.
Let her go places that we’ve never been;
Trust and delight in her youth.

Ladies of Grace, and Ladies of Favour,
and Ladies of Merciful Night,
This is a prayer for a Blueberry Girl,
Grant her your clearness of sight.

Words can be worrisome, people complex;
Motives and manners unclear.
Grant her the wisdom to choose her path right,
Free from unkindness and fear.

Let her tell stories, and dance in the rain,
Somersault, tumble, and run;
Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep;
Let her grow like the weed in the sun.

Ladies of Paradox, Ladies of Measure,
Ladies of Shadows-That-Fall,
This is a prayer for a Blueberry Girl,
Words written clear on a wall.

Help her to help herself, help her to stand;
Help her to lose and to find.
Teach her we’re only as big as our dreams;
Show her that fortune is blind.

Truth is a thing she must find for herself,
Precious and rare as a pearl;
Give her all these, and a little bit more,
Gifts for a Blueberry Girl.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Fairyland 1

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"You can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief."

After reading the first book of the Fairyland series, I cannot wait for the next books! This is a story of a young girl and her adventures in Fairyland and it was highly recommended by my sister. I can find influences from some of my beloved stories like "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".

Valente has a unique style of writing. I agree with my sister when she said it reminded her of Lemony Snicket's style except that this book is more whimsical and poetic and that there are no explanations of difficult words. There are a lot of unfamiliar words in the book, but I found it very distracting to look them up every so often. Despite this, I think the book would make a perfect bedtime story for both kids and adults alike.

Having mentioned that, I think this book is an adult story masquerading as a fairy tale. It is enchanting and wonderfully written. It felt like being in on a secret that only I, as a reader, share with the narrator. The story is funny and touching in unexpected ways. Even the ending caught me off guard.

To know more about the book, you can watch the book trailer here.

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