Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fortunately, The Milk

Fortunately, the MilkFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another twisting, adventurous, funny story for kids and adults alike that is truly Neil Gaiman. If a reader lacks the imagination to bring a Gaiman story into life, the amazing artwork will help a lot.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's DictionaryThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is something unique about this book that makes it interesting and refreshing to read. It is a love story between a nameless couple, but David Levithan searched for seemingly random words and alphabetized them like entries in the dictionary. Interspersed are moments or memories of the roller coaster ride that a romantic relationship can bring.

This quote from the book describes it best:
"Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough."

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Monday, December 09, 2013

The New World

The New World (Chaos Walking, #0.5)The New World by Patrick Ness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short book is the prequel to the Chaos Walking series. It tells the story of Viola's bits and pieces of experiences before she landed in New World. I found it engaging and emotional and it kept me wanting more. I recommend this to those who are hesitant to read the series. It might help decide whether to continue or not.




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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Love & Misadventure

Love & MisadventureLove & Misadventure by Lang Leav
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read bits and pieces of Lang Leav's poetry way back and I was one of those who were excited after knowing she's going to publish a book. Recently, I have admitted to reading mostly e-books, but I told myself that I would really prefer getting the actual book, so I can turn the paper pages.

Poetry is not for everyone, including Lang's work. Some people may think it's just hype or very Hallmark card-y, but the thing is, her words are formed to mean something that a lot of people can relate to-- life and love. There are bite-sized poems that are simple, even bordering on so-so, but there are poems that make me want to read out loud. After reading some of these poems, I find myself staring at the page, thinking of events in my life, then reading it all over again.

I never thought I would appreciate poetry this much, but people change. Words are powerful.

P.S.
I hope she continues her work and I hope one day, I can also own a book by Michael Faudet dedicated to Lang. :)

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3)

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3)Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a bad idea to finish reading this book in a public place. My loud sniffles attracted questioning looks, but I couldn't stop reading until the end.

This took me a really long time to finish. I was a bit bored during the first half of the book. I don't know why as I couldn't put the first two books down. The pace picked up during the second half. I appreciate 1017's point of view in the story. The familiar fast and stressful pace came back and this final book gave me the closure that I needed.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Ask and The Answer

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like any other second book of a three-book series, there is a palpable monotony in the plot during the first two-thirds of the story. It felt like everything has settled down and the characters have made their choices. There are a few more quotable quotes from the main characters. Then again, this is Chaos Walking. I expected more twists and I expected to be kept hanging at the end of it. I was not disappointed. Now, on to book three...

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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Darn this book for making me shed tears in a public place only after reading a few pages. Darn you Ben for always breaking my heart! When I get my pet dog, I shall name him Manchee. Thankful to a friend who recommended this series. Oh, why don't you just die, Aaron?! I can't stop reading and I have to read the next book. I have to. It is weird imagining a Western movie style setting in a dystopian world with two moons, full of adventure and fantasy and sci-fi and awesome heroics and action and coming-of-age stuff and drama and death. What if Noise is real? How will we cope? I'm sure there will still be a lot of lies and deception. I cried some more because some scenes hurt and touch, some make me frantic and stressed and scared. Oh Viola! That scene when she was reading the book to Todd was awesome. I love how fast-paced the book was because I find myself skipping some words, sometimes lines just to know what happens next. I wish I have another long weekend to finish the series..."

That's probably what (some of) my Noise would sound like while reading this book. :)

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Fangirl

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor & Park" and "Attachments", I know that, somehow, I have gotten used to her writing style. These two books have different plots, so I did not have any set expectations on "Fangirl". I just know I'd enjoy it. Well, I did and I am placing this book on the same level as "Eleanor & Park" when it comes to my books-I-adore list.

As a fangirl, this is my kind of story. Although I am not into fanfiction, I know how it feels to intertwine my love for the fictional world to my reality. There's a level of passion that some people will not understand and will find funny or weird. Cather is a typical fangirl whose college freshman life is told in this coming-of-age story. She goes through changes in life and love. Between her struggle to find herself, maintain her scholarship, make friends with her roommate, worry about her dad, think about her twin sister and fall in love, she writes her own version of a very popular series of books.

Interspersed with Cath's life is the story of Simon Snow who reminds me very much of Harry Potter. Think a story within a story. I would often find myself skipping through the Snow stories just to know what happens next in Cath's. That's a good thing -- her life is more interesting for me than what happens in her books.

Rowell has this tendency to write lines that melt my heart or make me want cuddle and kiss and fall in love again. I would like to believe that I can be jaded about love at times, but her books will completely reveal the heart on my sleeve. It's the thought of young love's innocence, the kindness of the characters and the way the story unfolds that make me want to get lost in them. The characters are flawed and the ending is not all perfect, but that's what makes the story relatable and effective.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[WARNING: SPOILER ALERT]

I love the movie and watching it compelled me to read the book. I did not really think of it as science fiction. I viewed it as one of those coming-of-age novels. It's a story of life, friendship and love in a setting so peculiar it would only come from someone with great imagination.

I think I expected too much romance in the story that I got disappointed. There are moments when I got bored because the story seemed monotonous and the pace unvaried. Maybe I was not used to the style of writing. There were times when I did not agree with the opinions and decisions of the main protagonist, Kathy, but I guess that's what made her real and... human. My favorite parts of the story were the last few pages. There is one scene in the book that I would have wanted to not be changed in the movie-- when Madame friend while watching Kathy dancing to the song "Never Let Me Go". It made the ending more emotional. This is one of those rare instances wherein I appreciate the movie more than the book... or maybe I am just biased because I adore Andrew Garfield as Tommy. :)



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Monday, August 26, 2013

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular NowThe Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(WARNING: May contain spoilers)
I wanted to finish reading this book because I was curious. They made a movie adaptation of the book and I wonder how they're going to show this on the big screen. They would probably focus more on the romantic comedy part, but this is such a sad story.

The party does not start until Sutter Keely, God's own drunk, is in the house. He's charming and confident. He's a hero and a loser. He's smart and philosophical, but he can be stupid, annoying and selfish. He drowns his life in 7Up and whisky. He's someone I love to hate and I hate to love. He's my ultimate oxymoronic fictional character.

The story can be exhausting but there are unexpectedly funny parts. I was a bit disappointed with the ending. It felt abrupt. Yes, it was realistic but I guess I was really hoping for a happy, fairy tale ending for someone who held this machismo fa├žade, but has really suffered so much.



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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke UpWhy We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the longest break-up letter I have ever read.

The outcome was a bit expected. I found it unnecessarily fast-paced. It seemed like I needed to catch my breath every time I read Min's (Minerva Green) narration of what happened. When I remind myself Daniel Handler is Lemony Snicket and he is indeed "wordy", I continued reading. It might have helped if I were a fan of classic films because there were a lot of movie titles mentioned. On the other hand, I like the way Min's raw, honest and heart-wrenching confession of her feelings. The premise of this story is weird in an interesting way.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Room

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like books written from a child's point of view such as "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". Children see the world from a different perspective. There is innocence in the way the characters digest and share their life experiences. It was refreshing to read "Room" from a 5-year old's point of view, especially since it has a harrowing and dark theme. Jack's story is heartbreaking, but hopeful. Some may not appreciate or like the way it was written (I have to admit, there were dragging moments), but this is a story that would be unforgettable for me.


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Monday, August 05, 2013

Attachments

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book delivered warm and fuzzy feels. The writing is clever, charming and hilarious. The plot is in tune with my stalker tendencies. Ha. I love the geeky, fangirl and pop culture references! I know I am into romance and all that but the ending was a bit too cheesy for me, thus, only 4 stars. This is the second Rainbow Rowell book I've read but this is the first one she wrote. She does not disappoint me. I hope she does not stop writing. :)

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story may be fictional but it is far from a fairy tale. It is not the typical high school juvenile romance. The main characters are flawed. Perfectly flawed in their own ways. The story has moments that can change my mood in more ways than one-- from feeling morose to having a stupid smile plastered on my face to stifling a laughter.

If I were to write a story of how I wanted to fall in love for the first time, this would be it. Maybe I see some part of myself in Eleanor. Maybe I wanted to have a boyfriend, no, a champion like Park. Maybe I want to fall in love with someone who understands my weirdness and loves it. Maybe I want to have someone to talk with. Just have meaningful conversations about music, books, movies, the tragedy that is life with a little bit of sarcasm in between. Maybe I want to hold him and I want to be held by him and kiss him. A lot.

Reading this story is like ripping my side that is jaded and believing again in the purity of true love. But it can't really last, can it?

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first third of this book has a similar pace to "The Casual Vacancy" and I have to admit, I found it dragging. When I got to the middle part, I was reminded of all those Agatha Christie novels I used to read. The writing was very descriptive. The protagonist is this macho, wounded war veteran and private detective, but his story has heart in it that makes him endearing. If I hadn't known it was JK Rowling who wrote this, I still would have doubted it was a male author. The ending was a bit predictable, but the twists and turns before reaching that ending made it an interesting read overall. There are still characters with odds and end that I want to know more about, so I can say I look forward to Cormoran Strike #2!

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have always loved stories like this. It's another one of those books that I couldn't put down once I start reading it. There is an innocence when the story comes from the memories of a child. There is also truth to it. It makes the horrors and nightmares more real. The story also reminded me of the comfort good food and a warm hearth can bring. It also reminds me of the secure feeling a friend's hand can offer. Maybe it is true, "grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside". Reading the story kept me in touch with my inner child-- the one who still long for adventures and opening doorways to another realm and fighting monsters.

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is truly mystifying and seriously creepy, with a hint of warmth that targets a soft spot in me. The story tells about boundaries, friendship, family and sacrifice. Only a Neil Gaiman novel can bring out a combination of these.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of those instances wherein I wanted to read the books after watching the movie. The first book of the Caster Chronicles was surprisingly funny. It's a teenage love story but the plot did not make me want to puke and that's a good thing. There are more to the characters and more to the story than what the movie showed. Although there were slow-paced moments, the ending of "Beautiful Creatures" still kept me interested in knowing what happens in the succeeding books. I hope the ending won't be a disappointment.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Me Before You

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

"Live boldly. Push yourself. Don't settle."

There are books that affect my life and my outlook in life after I read them. There are books that will stay in my thoughts days or months or even years after I read them. This is one of those books.

My sister recommended this book and I know from the beginning that it will make me cry. I like books that make me emotional. I have anticipated it, but that didn't mean I was prepared for it.

Jojo Moyes created a story of love, life and friendship revolving in one of the most difficult and even controversial topics to discuss-- the decision to end one's life. The author tackled the topic with unforced humor and sensitivity that made me admire her style of writing. This is not my typical love story and the way it was written offered a fresh, albeit heartbreaking, plot.

This is a story of two people, not unlike many stories out there. Their lives intertwined for six months under unconventional circumstances. Their story made me laugh and cry. Their story broke my heart and made me want to fall in love again. Their story reminded me to live well.

Just live.

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Friday, June 07, 2013

The Truth About Forever

This Lullaby/The Truth About ForeverThis Lullaby/The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If my forever ends tomorrow, what will I do today? Am I happy with whatever I'm doing now?

The past few months have reminded me that life is fleeting. In the story, Macy, the protagonist, adjusts to life and changes after her father passed away. I think I can relate to that when it comes to having my beliefs and foundation shake. Life slapped me in the face and told me I cannot control everything. It will never be the same, but we have to move on. People have different ways of reacting to and coping with grief.

This book made me realize a lot of things. It's easy to get lost in the everyday routine. Once in a while, something happens that would make me realize that everything is temporary.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

The Time Keeper

The Time KeeperThe Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a hard time getting hooked to this story during the first half of it. Maybe because it has something to do with my current personal experiences. Maybe simply because I was not in the mood to read this kind of story. I found it slow-paced and a bit boring during the beginning. I was not as touched as "Tuesdays With Morrie" or not even "For One More Day". The last part, somehow, redeems the novel. Like most, if not all, Mitch Albom books I've read, it boasts of life lessons-- the importance of family and the value of time.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Papa


It was the first Sunday of March and the promise of summer was broken by an early morning downpour. The sky was crying. It would be the last day that I would see my father's body. Did he like rain? I am not sure. I know he loved nature. He always made sure the birds that visit our house get their small parcels of bread. There are many aspects of my father that I didn't know. Some of them were revealed through the words and memories of his friends, relatives, people he loved and people who love him.

Consistent to his personality, the sun shone while a group of people went to the crematorium, where we would eventually get his ashes. He never wanted to make other people suffer for his benefit. He was a kind-hearted man, probably the kindest I've ever known.

A week before that, I remember watching one of his favorite television shows with him. I was lying on the sofa and he was stroking my hair. I will miss those moments. Those simple, yet treasured memories that will fill my heart with longing. Our home is not complete without him. I woke up earlier and felt like everything that happened was a blur. I could write a book describing the kind of life he lived. That is just from my perspective. I know that there are others who also grieve because we lost a man who touched a lot of lives. These people also have their own fond memories of my father.

He will always be loved. He will always be remembered. He is already missed. Papa, wherever you are, I know you are happy. Thank you for teaching me more lessons... Life is fleeting. Life should always be treasured, no matter how deep I get in my daily routine. Do not always worry about the little things because life has its way of taking care of itself. Relationships should be treasured. It always pays to be kind to others. Thank you for the life you lived. I am grateful for having a father like you. I wish I could have told you all of these when you can still hear me, but I am sure you still know how I feel. I know you will always guide us. Have fun on your next adventure, Papa! I love you very much!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings PlaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn't believe that I am typing this with Kenny G.'s "Songbird" playing in the background. I'll probably play "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (original version) in a while. When I feel optimistic that my life will end like a movie with a happy ending, I read the pages and I feel like reality just punched me in the gut. When I feel like I'm stuck in a rut, I read the pages and hope for silver linings. Maybe I am neurotic.

Aside from the songs I mentioned, I also encountered a lot of literary classics in this book - "A Tale of Two Cities", "The Great Gatsby" and "The Catcher in the Rye" to name a few. It also reminded me of the different levels of fanaticism and its effects on the fanatics. I got few pointers on American football (I have no idea how it is played!) and general psychology.

I notice that I love reading books with "special" lead characters. I love Pat's story as much as I love reading the point-of-views of the narrators from "Flowers for Algernon", "Perks of Being A Wallflower" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time". Maybe I do have a penchant for people with flaws - flawed yet true to themselves.

I've seen the movie. I applaud the actors and I believe they are well-chosen. But I think the main characters, especially the male protagonist - Pat Peoples, could have been developed more. The movie is very loosely based on the book, but I still had my own expectations when I started reading it. Reading this book is like reading Pat's diary. The way he thinks is simple yet fascinating. I would consider this story a light read but embedded with heavy emotions. I bawled in the end. Matthew Quick wrote a funny, witty, refreshing and very atypical love story. Don't get me wrong, I love Jennifer Lawrence and gorgeous Bradley Cooper, but the book just did it for me.

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Life of Pi

Life of PiLife of Pi by Yann Martel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of the book left me laughing with the witty writing. On the other hand, there are times when it gets too wordy for my taste that I get bored. The second half of the book is a different story. There are more twists and turns. Pi's philosophical musings help, too. I have seen the movie and I believe it is one great adaptation of the book. =)

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