Posted in Book Review, Series Review

2018 Is A Great Reading Year!

“We’re not even done with the first week of January 2018, and you’re already claiming it as great reading year?”, you might ask…

As I’m writing this blog post, it is currently January 7, 2018 (Sunday) and I have already finished reading 8 books!!!

Now you see what I meant by already claiming 2018 as a great reading year?

I should say, though, that said books are fairly short and easy to read because I have gotten into reading graphic novels and mangas.

Nevertheless, they’re still books. So let’s talk about them, shall we?

Here are mini, word-vomit, reviews!

#1 Alex + Ada (Vol. 1)

Technically, this isn’t the first graphic novel/comics I have read (I got Saga Vol. 1 on the last week of December 2017 and that’s the very first one I ever bought and read and it was amazing).

I craved more graphic novels and I decided to pick this one. I regret nothing because I really loved it!

It’s set in our future world where AIs and robots are part of the norm. Our main character, Alex, has just been left by his girlfriend and is bored out of his daily routine. On his birthday, his rich grandmother bought him the latest robot that one can buy and it looks and acts like a real human being, with the hopes that Alex will move on and enjoy life with a companion — albeit an artificial one.

Although the robot is smart beyond belief, it doesn’t have an opinion and Alex is quick to tire of it. But when news of “rogue robots” being found and destroyed by angry mobs surface, Alex decides to search for someone or something to help him improve his robot whom he decided to call Ada.

He doesn’t just want a robot that follows his every will and whim, he wants a friend. But of course, you don’t always get what you wish for.

I loved the story and the art style! Ada is beautiful. I especially love the color palette of this one. Can’t wait to continue on with the series.

Rating: 4/5

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
128 pages
Published 16 July 2014
Image Comics

#2 Orange (Vol. 1-2)

First ever manga that I have bought and read! Once again, I regret nothing.

I admit, I used to see manga as a waste of money. Not only are they expensive, they are also short (per volume) and easy to read through. I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth.

However, I’ve gotten curious about this particular manga due to some BookTubers’ insistence that it’s really good and that it has a great set of characters. And I am all about books with great friendships on them. So I caved.

Each book cost me $20! But it’s fine… because it really is beautiful! The art, the characters, the story. I love all of it! And from this day on, I will forever talk the ear off anyone who will listen about this series.

It’s about this girl, Naho, who one day receives a letter from her future self. There it says that their new friend Kakeru will commit suicide and that even 10 years after his death, she and her friends will still be so full of guilt and that in order to avoid that kind of future which her future self is suffering from, her present self should do her best to help Kakeru. The letters contain a day-to-day recount of all that they’ve done and some tips on what to change.

Honestly, the time travel aspect of this wasn’t focused on. It also ended quite abruptly in my opinion.  But I still loved it because of the friendship! The characters were the best part of this story and my favorite is definitely Hagita. Whenever he’s around and talks (which is rare), he says something funny and logical. Suwa is my next favorite character. Naho is definitely my least liked character. She just seemed so stupid to me. She already has the letters from her future self and yet she still does the exact same thing even if it told her to avoid doing this and that. Also, I’m pretty sure she’s told Kakeru her feelings more than once…and yet every now and then she doubts him and herself on whether she’s gonna come out or not? I don’t get it! Still, though, I really enjoyed this manga.

Rating: 5/5

Book Details:

Paperback
523 pages
Published 31 May 2016
Seven Seas

#3 The Wicked + The Divine (Vol. 1)

More, graphic novel? Surprise! I really enjoyed reading comics now so I continued on with the streak and started this series. I’ve heard amazing things about this, especially from some of my favorite BookTubers.

It’s about this girl who gets tangled in all the drama that is the modern gods. Apparently, every 90 years, gods are reincarnated into teenagers and that they rule over the modern worlds. But the world sees them as shams and nobody really believes that they are divine beings. Except their fans. Because apparently, being a god equates to being a pop star.

I admit, this volume confused me a little. Just because information for later on in the series were already being thrown at you. No back stories yet, just the now and it’s hella confusing. The art and characters, though! Really beautiful. It ended in a cliff hanger as well… so I need volume 2 asap.

*Trigger warning for violence and gore*

Rating: 4/5

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
180 pages
Published 12 November 2014
Image Comics

#4 Locke & Key (Vol. 1-3)

Why did I pick this series up? I don’t know.

Is it because Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King and is a renowned author by his own rights? Nope. I didn’t even know these details until after I read this.

Something just guided me to it.

And boy am I ever so grateful!

This comic series is definitely a favorite of mine!

It’s about the Locke family who has had a series of violent and traumatic events happen to them lately. In order to turn over a new leaf and live a fresh start, they transferred to their ancestral home called Lovecraft. But danger follows them. This time, though, they get a little help from their house which contains doors and keys that have different magical abilities. Together, they discover and uncover the secrets of their father’s past and their mansion.

This is really amazing. It made me want to read a Joe Hill novel but I don’t know where to start. I’m kind of sad that this only has 6 volumes. But I’ve already read half of them and I honestly can’t wait to finish it and see where the story goes. I may not have read a lot of comics/graphic novels, but this one for sure is the best for me. The art and characters were so fleshed out. They were so genuine without it coming off as trying too hard. I am rooting for all of them!

*Trigger warning for rape, violence, suicide, and gore*

Rating: 5/5

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
152 pages
Published 14 March 2012
IDW Publishing

#5 Geekerella

First novel to finish reading in 2018!

A contemporary, retelling of Cinderella in a modern day setting…with lots of fandom, geekiness, and nerdiness.

What is not to love?

I don’t think I need to tell you the premise of this because, Cinderella! There are references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and a whole bunch of other fandoms.

You should definitely read it. This is one story retelling that I will never get tired of reading about.

The only thing I didn’t like about this was the insta-love. I’m so over that.

Rating: 4/5

Book Details:

Paperback
320 pages
Published 4 April 2017
Quirk Books

 

**All photos are grabbed off of the internet**

Posted in Book Review

Whichwood

At thirteen years old, she’d long lost that precious, relentless optimism reserved almost exclusively for young people. She’d no sense of whimsy, no interest in decadence, no tolerance for niceties.

Whichwood is the first book I’ve read by Tahereh Mafi.

Why did I start with a 2nd book to a series and why have I not read Shatter Me yet, you might ask?

I have two reasons:

  1. I was craving for a middle-grade book. Sometimes, to get out of a reading slump or lazy-to-read mood, you have to pick up a simple and easy to read book.
  2. I really like the synopsis of this book! “…destined to spend her days scrubbing the skins and souls of the dead in preparation for the afterlife,” — who wouldn’t want to read about a 13-year-old girl with that kind of job??? Right?

To answer your question why I haven’t read Tahereh Mafi’s more famous series, I already have. I’ve read the first book to that trilogy after I read Whichwood. Only because I fell inlove with Tahereh Mafi’s writing style. I don’t know how to describe it, but know that I am not a fan of overly flowery descriptions and words. I like them simple and precise like my book reviews. But for some reason, she made me appreciate her writing because it goes so well with the story she is telling. It made the whole reading experience so much better!

I started with this particular book because for the longest time, I was adamant on not reading Shatter Me trilogy. I heard the main character was annoying as heck and I really have no time for main characters like that. But I have read it and I will write a review on the entire trilogy once I finish reading all 3 of the books.

As for Furthermore (book 1 of this particular series), I didn’t read it because I wasn’t interested with the story. Also, people who’ve reviewed the book mentioned that Alice, the main character in that book, can get annoying. So nope. Unfortunately, Alice appeared in Whichwood and I have witnessed how melodramatic and annoying the kid is. I very much prefer Laylee.

But Laylee had little patience for sadness, and though deep down she felt a great deal of pain, she much preferred to be angry.

This book had a lot of lessons on how one should appreciate the people and things around them lest the day arrives where these are taken away from you. It also focuses on how people can’t really live angry all the time and push people away because everyone needs somebody. Friends are as important as family — they are family that you get to choose for yourself.

The magic system, although not entirely elaborated, was very beautiful. It left me thinking how much I would love to learn more about “mordeshoors”, the people with the responsibility and ability to clean the dead physically and spiritually in order for them to move on to the afterlife. Failure to undergo care of the mordeshoors will result in very nasty consequences. Laylee learned that the hard way.

This book was definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017 and I am sure that no matter what your age is, you will enjoy this book because it has a little of something for everyone. Also, the cover is beautiful!

Rating: 4 stars

Book Details:

Paperback,360 pages
English
Published November 2017
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Posted in Book Review, Personal

Autoboyography

It hits me like a slap across my cheek that I’m his safe space… I get his real smiles.

Hello, hello, hello! 

Did you miss me and my usually unpopular opinions and word-vomit book reviews? 

I hope so because I missed all of you! 

Christmas has come and passed. I haven’t read much during my most favorite time and the busiest time of the year. Not only was I distracted by happily shopping gifts for my family and friends, I also fell into a sort of book slump.

For some time, I couldn’t read anything that wasn’t a reread. When I did manage to get engaged in a book, it’s of the contemporary genre. More than ever, I am behind on all the fantasy series that I wished to start and finish in 2017.

But alas, like every other bookworm on this planet, my TBR pile shall carry over onto 2018. So many books, so little time!

Enough of that, though.

Let’s talk about this beautiful book that a lot of people I personally know will tag as inappropriate and blasphemous.

I will say this now: I am a Mormon. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been one since I was born. And I will be one until the end of my mortal days.

STORY 

This book revolves around Tanner who is bisexual and is “out” about his sexuality. That is until he was forced by his parents to keep it all under wraps again because they were moving to Utah — the land of the Mormons (not my words! But you know it’s kind of true).

Trouble ensues when Sebastian, a Mormon prodigy, mentors a class that Tanner is taking on his final year in highschool where he needs to write a novel in order to pass.

With “trouble” being secret meetings, hiking, holding hands, and romance budding between two boys: a Mormon and a non-member.

OPINIONS

 

I don’t want to focus on the part about this being about what Mormons can’t and can do with their lives or how the book depicted us as a community 100% accurate — because its not! Just know that I accept this book as fictional and so should other people.

Yes, there are so many sensitive topics discussed in this novel, but I appreciate the honesty, rawness, and bluntness of it. We tend to shy away from talking about this and that’s why I think it’s refreshing to read.

I absolutely love how the authors (yes, Christina and Lauren are two different women) balanced out their revelations of some of the Church’s “dirt” with what we’re really all about.

I honestly believe that this book is helpful in letting non-members to know of our Church. It covers the basic facts and shows how we interact with other people. We’re not that uptight all the time, though. So fear not!

Autoboyography wasn’t even just focused on the love story. It was so much more than that. It focused heavily on family matters, on self-discovery, on figuring out your career, and friendship.

I cannot recommend this book enough!

Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017.

TO MY READERS…

If you’re a member of the Church, please don’t judge too quickly and dismiss this book as inappropriate. We are not supposed to be those kind of people. Nobody’s forcing you to read it, so if you have negative feelings about it, turn the other cheek. Don’t prove the people who see us in a negative way be right. This is a fictional work.

If you’re a non-member, please don’t judge us too quickly and dismiss all of us based on the negative things we were meant to look guilty of from this book or your research. We’re not all the same. We may not be as open to these things as the world is, but trust me when I say that we generally love all people and if you ever had a negative experience with one of us, I ask forgiveness and hope that you will not take it against all of us.

 

BOOK DETAILS
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
FORMAT: Paperback
PAGES: 416
PUBLISHER: Saga Press
PUBLISHED ON: September 21, 2017
Posted in Book Review, Reread

The Raven Boys (Re-Read) 

The thing was, Henrietta looked like a place where magic could happen. The valley seemed to whisper secrets. It was easier to believe that they wouldn’t give themselves up to Gansey rather than that they didn’t exist at all. 

— Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys)

It’s already November and 2017 is almost over! Can you believe it? I can’t.

But to overcome my stress over the fact that this year is already ending, I decided to participate in Missmareadsalot readalong of The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. Basically, we all just have to read or reread the entire series within the month of November. There’s no strict schedule or rules on how to do it. Just make sure to read the books this month, and tweet some of your favorite quotes and use the hashtag #missmareadalong!

If you want to win some of the wonderful prizes that go along with this readalong, click the like I’ve provided and watch the video to learn how to participate and get the chance to win the prizes.

I really want to win the signed copy of The Raven Boys! But even if I don’t win anything, I honestly will just be happy and feeling fulfilled since I have been given the chance to reread and marathon read one of my favorite book series of all time.

The moment I finished reading the 4th and final book to this series, I already had the urge to start it all over again and read it in one go from book 1 to 4. But my drive to finish my Goodreads Reading Challenge was stronger at that time, so I didn’t. Now that I am 40 books behind my goal with less than 2 months to accomplish it, I kind of just lost all hope and decided to reread some of my favorite books.

OKAY! Let’s talk about the book, shall we?

Writing Style

When I first read The Raven Boys, it was also my first time to encounter Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. I have heard of her other book series but I honestly didn’t care about werewolves anymore (unless they belong in the Harry Potter world).

So imagine my surprise at how decadent and a little poetic the writing was.

If you’re a fan of dialogues (like me!), this might put you off a little bit. Especially at the beginning when you’re still getting used to it.

I admit, although I found it beautiful, I wished there were more dialogues and conversations since the best part of this book and series is the set of characters!

After rereading it, though, I have more of an appreciation for it.

So yes, I get it if some of you may find it slow and a little hard to get into. I guarantee that it’s the writing style. It’s so atmospheric. It makes you wish there were more conversations between the characters rather than just reading their individual thoughts and feelings.

You’ll get used to it, I promise!

My rating for the writing style when I first read it would be a 3/5. But as a reread, I’d rate it a 4.5/5.

Story 

This is where things get a tad bit more confusing. I have no idea how to share what this book or series is about without giving too much away. It’s one of those books that have so many aspects to it that if you miss discussing one portion, it wouldn’t sound as appealing or interesting.

Just know that it’s about this girl, Blue, who lives in a house filled with women who are psychics. She’s the only one who seems to have no clairvoyant abilities whatsoever. She has a general rule of keeping away from Raven Boys (the spoiled sons of senators, actors, and generally rich families) who study at the private school in town called Aglionby Academy. Ironically enough, she ends up befriending 4 Raven Boys who, in her opinion, have everything one could ever ask for, but are searching for a dead king who they believe is just asleep somewhere in Henrietta, hidden in what they call is a ley line. Adventure ensues, friendship blossoms, and trouble follows.

Yes, there were times that it gets kind of boring. I myself like the first book the least. But best believe that this series gets better as it progresses!

Characters

The best part of the entire series, is the characters.

If it weren’t for Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, I would’ve abandoned this series after the first book.

Each of them reads so real and authentic. I feel like they exist somewhere in our world and is really looking for a dead king in Henrietta as I type this review. I want nothing but the best for each of them! They’re like my babies.

Usually I develop crushes on fictional literary boys, but for these four, I love them like children (even if I don’t like kids in general). I want to keep them safe and happy.

My favorite is Ronan (obviously). He’s the biggest jerk there is, but I love him to bits.

Book Rating: 4 stars

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

ORIGIN

Tonight, let us be like the early explorers.

Those who left everything behind and set out across vast oceans…

Those who first glimpsed a land that had never before been seen…

Those who fell to their knees in awestruck realization that the world was fr greater than their philosophies had dared imagine. Their long held beliefs about their world disintegrated in the face of new discovery.

This will be our mind-set tonight.

— Dan Brown, Origin (2017)

I wanted to start this post with that quote which is part of a speech of one of the main characters in the novel because it feels appropriate. One really must go into this book with an open mind because this is one of those books that pit religion versus science.

This plot line is without a doubt Darn Brown’s forte. It is tastefully done and not at all disrespectful on any side. We hear both arguments from religious sects involved and the science community.

If you’re one of those people who take such books seriously (enough for you to have your “faith” questioned), I advice that you stop reading any Dan Brown books at all. You people already got some of his works banned in places and made me miss the premiere showing of The Da Vinci Code movie because it was R-18! And I was only 15 at the time which really frustrated me. That quote at the beginning is for you.

But if you’re like me who just want to read a beautifully written book that is so rich in atmosphere, history, and random facts that make you question what you even learned in school (because Robert Langdon is a far more effective teacher that actually says interesting facts about politics, art, and history), then continue reading on!

Truth be told, I am intimidated to write this “book review” for this one. I don’t know if I’ll give it any justice at all and I really don’t want to sound like I’m just rambling. So readers, again, let’s remember the tag line of this blog: I tried writing a book review.

In this 5th book to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, we follow our favorite (and probably the only one we know) Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, Robert Langdon as he attends a super vague and secretive party at Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain where his student-turned-friend, the futurist Edmond Kirsch is said to announce his latest discovery.

Nobody, not even the head curator of the museum where the exclusive event is taking place, knows what this said discovery is. At the start of the presentation, Kirsch revealed that prior to today’s worldwide revelation, he has discussed his discovery with three leaders of different religious sects around the world. Not because he has deep respect for these people (he is a self-proclaimed atheist) but because he thought it fair that science warn religion for its coming demise. For what he is about to reveal tonight will forever change, and hopefully, destroy all religions.

Tonight, he will answer life’s two most pressing questions:

Where do we come from?

Where are we going?

However, before Kirsch can reveal his discovery, he was assassinated in front of his guests in the museum and in front of all the millions of viewers watching the live feed of the event.

Robert Langdon, with the help of Ambra Vidal (the museums head curator) and Winston (a super advanced AI that Kirsch has secretly created), they go on a wild goose chase around Spain where the monarchs of Spain get involved, a conspiracy theory website is revealing secret communications, and the race to reveal or forever bury Kirsch discovery begins.

I absolutely loved this book. I don’t know why I was even surprised since Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors. But it still surprised me. It took me 5 days to read and I’m sad that I wasn’t able to read it in a 24-hour readathon because I definitely could have done it. I’ve waited 4 years for this! I should’ve been excited to read it and finish it. But alas, I am in that certain mood where you just want to read all the books so you end up starting a lot of them and end up abandoning them 1/4 or 2/3 of the way. I now have around 7 currently reading books.

Aside from my trouble getting through it, not because it was boring but because I wasn’t in the mood, I have no negative thing to say about it.

This plot of religion versus science is one of my favorite plot lines ever, especially if it’s written by Dan Brown. At first, Origin reminded me so much of the atmosphere, plot, and overall feel of Angels & Demons. You may think “Well, isn’t he just recycling his own previous works now?”, but trust me, my comparing it to Angels & Demons does not take away anything but rather adds a certain something. If you must know, A&D is one of my all time favorite books. So to have a similar book is a joy for me!

However, in Angels & Demons, we focus mainly on the religion aspect. For Origin, we get to focus more on the scientific aspect. You’ll understand what I’m saying if you’ve read both books.

As usual, Dan Brown has managed to create a masterpiece that despite being a fictional story, was very much thought provoking and isn’t hard at all to forget that it isn’t happening in the real world. The reason why I think people shun his works is because they read so real, they get afraid of the truths behind his research and overall story.

But keep in mind that even if the places, organizations, and some people mentioned are real, his story isn’t. So don’t get lost in it too much.

We cannot deny, however, the fact that zealots and over conservative people do exist in our world and they may not go through the extreme cases of hiring someone to kill or silence scientists who may endanger their church’s followers’ belief (I certainly hope not!), it is safe to assume that once, they did exist.

Personally, I grew up going to church every Sunday, attending Sunday school, and participating in church youth activities. I have my beliefs. I don’t question the existence of God. I already know and believe where I came from and where I’m going after my time in the mortal world comes to an end.

But that doesn’t mean I am ready to shun all scientific progress and discoveries! Not even if science proves to me how Jesus Christ was able to walk on water and raise the dead. I will read your discovery and be proud at how science is able to give us proof. But I still wouldn’t shun my religion because of it.

I also wasn’t offended at how Kirsch questioned how intelligent people believe in religion. I understand his points. All I can say is, it’s great to have hope, faith, and belief that something, someone, somewhere is watching over us. Just because someone is intelligent, does not mean that they need all the physical proof for every tiny detail of their lives. Don’t ever call religious people as simpletons.

I admire how Dan Brown was able to sell us Kirsch’s discovery and not hate religion by the end of the book. Unlike his previous works where it’s really a war between science and religion, in this book we got a beautiful balance.

And we got Winston!

This brilliant artificial intelligence is probably my favorite character in the book. I loved all the scenes where he was in. I loved how he tried at humor and perception like humans do. It scary to think that science in real life is attempting to create someone like him. But for the story, his character was integral in the overall plot.

Let’s not even begin to talk about the morality of creating an artificial intelligence. That’s a whole other level. Probably science versus humanity.

That is probably all I can share with you without going into spoilery details. I also want to end it here so it wouldn’t be obvious how I’m just rambling now. I really loved this book and I hope you get to read it too. Especially if you love history, adventure, art, and basically just science versus religion things.

I also would just like to mention how I’m only now noticing Dan Brown’s favorite trope for his Robert Langdon series: Langdon always gets entangled in crazy adventures and he always manages to find a beautiful lady sidekick to tag along after him. But we never hear from any of them or his previous adventures in the next books. Which is odd. If I were Langdon, I’d never shut up about how he once chased a serial killer who stamped cardinals with Illuminati symbols onto their burning skin, or proved that the Holy Grail is in fact not a cup but a lady.

Book Rating: 5 stars! 

 

Book Information:

Title: Origin

Author: Dan Brown

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publishing Date: October 3, 2017

Edition: Hardbound, First Edition

Pages: 461

ISBN: 0385514239

 

STORY TIME (HOW I GOT THIS BOOK)

You know how I always complain and mention that we Filipino readers can’t necessarily celebrate a book’s birthday or publishing day? Because the bookstores here don’t release them on time or same as the world? Well, I was taken by surprise that on October 3, 2017, Origin was released here!

I wasn’t going out that day and then I saw it online that they’re available in the Philippines NOW, I got stressed.

I called my mom (who was out that day) to buy me the book. She checked the price and told me to go to the bookstore myself so I can use my bookstore card which accumulates points with every purchase.

So I waited and waited for them to get home so I can borrow the car and head to the bookstore and it was nighttime when I got it and I was so happy! I didn’t even care that it was my last money.

Priorities, guys.

Posted in Series Review

DAN BROWN BOOKS: Least Liked to Forever Favorite

In honor of the release of Origin (Robert Langdon #5) by Dan Brown today, October 3, I want to take the time and share with you all what I think of each of Dan Brown’s previous works by rating them from my least likes to my forever favorites. 

Those who know me well (not just as a reader but on a more personal level) know that Dan Brown is my favorite author. Ever. It’s been that way since 2008.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve read (and loved) each and every one of his published works.

Today I rushed to the bookstore after discovering that for once, a book is released on its actual release date here in the Philippines. We tend to celebrate book birthdays later than the rest of the world because bookstores don’t respect actual book birthdays here. *rolls eyes*

But before I stay up all night long to read and finish Origin within 24 hours and write a hopefully cohesive book review for you, allow me to shine some light on his previous books and how I thought of each of them.

As of today, Dan Brown has 7 published books. I have read 6 of them at least once before. I’ll be excluding the latest release for obvious reasons.

Let’s begin from my least favorites, shall we?

——————————-


#6 – The Lost Symbol (2009)

I can’t tell you why this is my least favorite of all of Dan Brown’s books. Why? Because I can’t remember anything from it. That’s how irrelevant and forgettable it is. At least to me. It didn’t make an impact on me as a reader, much more as a Dan Brown fan, whatsoever. According to my Goodreads review, I rated this a 5 star. But let me be clear now that that’s not true. I was probably biased when I rated this after reading it. Needing to support my favorite author.

I really don’t know who the characters are in this, what the plot is, and what happened.

All I remember is it’s set in Washington D.C. But don’t quote me on that! Maybe even that tiny memory is incorrect.

I really must not have enjoyed it if I completely forgot about it.

No wonder this is the only Robert Langdon book that didn’t get a movie.

I’m probably not the only one who found it unmemorable.

——————————


#5 – Deception Point (2002)

I remember a good portion of this. But mainly because I have lots of complaint about it. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy a Dan Brown book. Twists and turns. Secrets and deceptions.

The main point I remember about this though is how boring it was. 

I was in highschool when I read this. So it’s no surprise how utterly uninterested I was with political intrigues. Which is basically what this book is about.

It’s also not part of the Robert Langdon series! That’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I prefer it when we’re reading from the historical art professor himself.

——————————


#4 – The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Are you surprised? I bet you are. Especially since this novel is the one that blew up Dan Brown’s name…enough to make it a household name.

Everyone and their mothers probably read this book.

I mean, everyone loves a scandal. 

I’m going to be honest with you (not like you have a choice): I hate the people who claim that this book shook their faiths. 

If this book shook your said “faith”, then that faith of yours is weak!

I’m sorry, but it’s true.

You better ask yourself why.

This is a fictional work. Yes, it mentions real places, real works of art, real historical events.

But if you actually based your real life religious beliefs in this? To have it alter your outlook in the greater power you used to believe in? Ha!

You’re ridiculous.

Up until now, I still hear people commenting about this book in a bookstore, saying how they steer clear from it because it’s sacreligious. I want to laugh at their faces, honestly.

It’s not a favorite book of mine, but I still feel the need to defend it and my religious beliefs. Simply because people are so wrong about it. On so many levels.

I loved the idea that there are religious books out there in the Vatican Archives that they don’t release to the public because it’s too powerful for our mere mortal ears. I’m a huge fan of knowlege so complicated that we’re not worthy of knowing them.

And that is basically what this book is.

——————————


#3 – Inferno (2013)

The movie bored me. But really, the book’s better! It focuses on one of the biggest cause of turmoil in our world and in humankind’s existence: overpopulation.

The antagonist in this actually convinced me how his way of thinking is the right one. That his solution is the only way there is.

If we get to control, cure the sickness that is overpopulation, we’ll probably solve a lot of other problems too. Like famine, global warming, and animal extinction.

It is so profound with the political intrigue that I disdn’t even mind.

Add to that Robert Langdon’s knowlege and problem solving regarding Dante Alighieri‘s Inferno.

When I was in college, there was a time we read and discussed Dante’s original work and it spiked fear and intrigue in me. Imagine if it’s used as a clue for you to go on a hunt for the threat that is out there.

How exciting!

——————————


#2 – Digital Fortress (2004)

One of the best standalone book I have ever read.

I’m really dumb when it comes to mathematics. I flunked basic algebra twice! So it’s a surprise even to me how much I enjoyed this book.

Dan Brown’s writing style is so beautiful and concise. You have no fear that the complicated details will go over your head.

I probably should reread this soon because I don’t remember much of it other than the fact that codes and numbers were used. I was so awed at how the codes were cracked! I wanted to study codes in general and maybe even invent one myself. I was that obsessed!

It was also action-packed. The characters were under a time restraint to stop whatever is happening and there’s an assassin amongst them.

Read it!

——————————

AngelsAndDemons

#1 – Angels & Demons (2006)

One of my favorite books of all time, everybody!

I did a report on this in highschool. I recommend it to anyone interested in delving into the general fiction genre. I obsessively (up until now) research and study anything I can find about Vatican City and Illuminati.

Not the Illuminati that people think they know about just because they see a triangle somewhere!

I hate how people think they know Illuminati just because there’s a random triangle somewhere. Or an eye. Or think that Lady Gaga is one of them.

No.

I’m not claiming to be an expert on said topic because I honestly don’t even believe that the Illuminati is real much more talk about it in depth.

But Dan Brown’s version of it just blew my mind. The enlightened ones, they were called. I desperately wished I was smart enough to know atleast 1/4 of Robert Langdon’s knowlege.

I also want to go to Vatican City someday and go to all the places they went to in this book! How I researched the places and art pieces and studied about Bernini!

This book made me want to study European Studies in college!

I read this book in 2008. I remember it well because in the book, we learn about Catholic’s history, rules, and beliefs. I was so intrigued by the Conclave and Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica!

Especially since as I was reading this, I was watching a live news report of how the real life conclave is inside Sistine Chapel at the moment, voting for who the next Pope will be! 

I’m not saying I was excited over the death of Pope John Paul II…but this book was so similar to my reality at that time. You have no idea how the experience had an impact on me.

I have an Illustrated Edition of this book because I still hold on to the dream that someday, I’ll get to see those places and art works in real life.

Someday.

And lastly, have you seen the Angels & Demons logo that when you flip upside down, it still spells out Angels & Demons??! I am still obsessed over that.

I forgot what it’s called but I used to draw it incessantly. I memorized it by heart. How to draw Air, Earth, Fire, and Water in the same way. It’s as close to magic as you can give me.

———————

I can’t wait to finish reading Origin and see where in this list it will fall.

So far, from what I’ve already read, it reminds me a little of Angels & Demons, which I love! Therefore, I am enjoying it.

Have you read any Dan Brown books?

What are your thoughts about them? Let me know!

Posted in Book Review

The Upside Of Unrequited

 

 I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend.

It just seems like the most impossible odds.

You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back.

A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It’s almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does.

— Becky Albertalli, The Upside of Unrequited

I don’t know why I was even remotely surprised that I loved this book. It’s by Becky Albertalli. The same Becky Albertalli who wrote Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda a.k.a. one of my all time favorite books of all time.

Aside from being surprised, I am also feeling regret that I even hesitated to pick this book up from the moment it was released. I shouldn’t have doubted Becky Albertalli. I guess I was just scared that this’ll disappoint especially after how much I loved Simon.

I was wrong and I absolutely have no qualms of admitting that.

Pretty sure this book was not meant to make you cry but I cried

Literal silent tears streaming down my face.

It wasn’t sad. On the contrary, the reason why I love Becky Albertalli’s books so much is that despite it being sold as your typical teenage love story, it most definitely isn’t just about that. And because of that, there are no unnecessary teenage angst and drama which usually annoy me. So basically her books are just fluffy an happy books.

I feel like 80% of each of her book is focused on family matters, friendship, self love, and character developments. The love stories, despite how cute they are, take the back seat. It’s refreshing, really. It makes you realize how your teenage love story isn’t your entire world.

Nevertheless, I cried. I feel no shame on admitting that.

I related so much with Molly Adele Peskin-Suso.

 

Molly has had 26 crushes in the past. But despite that, she never had a boyfriend, much more a first kiss. 

She’s fine with that, though. Until she accidentally paired up her twin sister with a gorgeous girl she met in a bathroom. Now her sister seems to be in love and Molly’s never felt so alone. 

But then again, this gorgeous girl seemed to come in a package deal with a hot hipster boy. 

Is he going to be crush Number 27 and eventual first boyfriend?

Probably the reason why I cried was the fact that I know what it’s like to be scared to put yourself out there. To acknowledge that you can’t just wait for someone to come in your life and decide to stay. You have to work for it too. It hit me on a personal level how Molly struggled to be the independent young lady her parents raised her to be and know that she doesn’t need a boyfriend to make her life complete…but she still wants one.

On a daily basis, she sees couples all around looking happy and content with their person. How can people find their perfect match in this world? She feels like she’s the only one who isn’t good enough. How can she when even her grandmother calls her fat and tells her that the reason she’s perpetually single is because she isn’t doing anything to lose some weight.

Same, Molly. Same.

Pros

  • Light and fluffy. Life is already hard and unnecessarily dramatic in real life sometimes. So why read a book that’ll only add to your emotional baggage, right? I appreciate how this book was such an easy and fast read. It deals with a lot of important topics but it still managed to just make me feel happy reading it. Despite it making me cry.
  • Diversity. Okay, this is where I learned the word pansexual. I wouldn’t have known that word and its meaning have I not read this book. Also, the inter-racial characters are amazing. Even religion-wise, this book was diverse.
  • Character Cameos. I literally screamed when Simon was first mentioned. Molly has been incessantly mentioning her cousin Abby and her boyfriend Nick. But I didn’t put the two together to realize that that in itself is character cameos from her other book (for shame!). Not until “Simon’s house” was mentioned and then it clicked. After that I was just keeping my eyes peeled for the word Simon. I have never been so happy to read character cameos in my life.
  • Focused on self love. It may sound cliche but this is very important. Especially in Young Adult books! Most books focus heavily on how a girl is proven beautiful when she has a boyfriend that has abs or is wanted by other girls too. That shouldn’t be the case and that is so wrong on so many levels. This book made it clear how you should definitely love yourself first and that it isn’t wrong to go out there to get what you want.
  • Cute flirty moments. I may hate the drama, but I live for cute flirty moments between our main characters.
  • Family focused. I love how more than half of the book involves Molly’s family. Even extended family. It is shown how much she’s so loved by everyone. Yes, there were misunderstandings, but which family doesn’t have those?

Cons

  • Standalone. Like most contemporary books, this is a standalone. By the end of the story, I was forced to say goodbye to this set of characters and I’m just not ready for that! I want more!

Book Rating: 5 stars

 

 

 

Posted in Book Tag

Disney Song Book Tag

Hello everyone! One of my favorite bookish friend, Avy, tagged me to Disney Song Book Tag on Instagram the other day. I guess I’m supposed to answer it there as well, but knowing myself, I have a lot to say and the limit of characters in the caption will most probably be not enough to answer these 8 questions.

Also, I know one answer per question is enough, but you can never get me to pick just one when you ask me questions like these!

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

(Photos DO NOT belong to me and I apologize to the artists if I don’t credit them properly. I got all the photos on Pinterest and I clicked on the links there to see who the photos belonged to. Sadly none pointed me to the right direction, other than showing me who pinned the photo before me.)


1. A Whole New World – A book that made you see the world differently.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline definitely made me see the world differently. It made me realize how near we are to preferring to live in virtual reality than deal with daily normal life. Whether you’re a computer player, tech savvy or not, eventually, everything will exist online and you’re going to be forced to live the way everyone else is living.

Another book that scared me of how fast technology is evolving is 1984 by George Orwell. I’m not gonna pretend that I fully understood that novel. But one thing’s for sure: it made me sit back and analyze the way I’m living my life. If I’m just succumbing to subtle brainwashing of the media, consumerism, and all that jazz. So yes, it was definitely a book that made me see the world differently.


2. I Won’t Say I’m In Love – A book you didn’t want to admit you loved.

I’m normally unabashed about the books I read and especially books I love. So I don’t think this is ever a case for me.

However, one that comes to mind right now is Warcross by Marie Lu. I really hate (mind the tense) her The Young Elites trilogy. After that disaster, I swore to never read any of her books ever again. But then it was dubbed as Ready Player One-ish and I couldn’t not give it a try because I’ve been searching for similar books to RPO and have been failing.

Oh and another came to mind just now: Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I just had it with DC comics for producing disappointing films time and time again. So when the Wonder Woman movie came out, I didn’t watch it. I was finally at my nope land with DC heroes. But then I couldn’t resist Leigh Bardugo. I mean, have you read Six of Crows?! That is a masterpiece. Of course I will read whatever book she produces from now on.


3. Gaston – A character you couldn’t stand.

I have my top 3 most hated characters ever. Numeber one is, Adelina of The Young Elites. She is the reason I swore off Marie Lu books. How can anyone stand her (Adelina, not Marie Lu)??? Second is Feyre of A Court of Mist and Fury. I specifically mention the 2nd book because this is where I finally had it with her. She’s so dramatic! She also thinks she’s all that. May I remind you, Feyre, that you chose to deal with your problems for the sake of Tamlin. So don’t go crying about killing innocent lives now. You chose to do that, boo. She’s the reason why I can’t look at any Sarah J. Maas books and not roll my eyes anymore. I can’t even stomach finishing Throne of Glass anymore. Such a waste. And lastly, Cath of Fangirl. Umm, this girl looks down on people who have different likes than she does? What a special snowflake. Also, stop being clingy. That is why your twin wanted out of your life for once!

Okay. Gotta stop now. I am being triggered just thinking about these characters.


4. Part Of Your World – A book set in a universe you wish you could live in.

Let’s get this out of the way: everyone wants to live in the Harry Potter world! Including me! Especially me. But preferably to the time after Voldemort is gone.

I also want to live in the Grishaverse. To live in the world where Kaz Brekker exists? Yes please!

Also, Red London. I want my king to be Rhy and my government’s magician to be Kell. And that’s how Red London is. Need I say more?


5. A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes – Describe what the book of your dreams will be.

A book where all my bookish pet peeves, clichès, and tropes that trigger the inner war freak in me DO NOT EXIST.


6. I See The Light – A book that changed your life.

Of course Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling! Those books made me believe in magic. That’s the best thing you can get from reading fictional books.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell also changed my life. I used to not read books with LGBT characters. Not because I’m a homophobic person. I just didn’t think I’ll be able to ship people of the same sex together. But then I read this book and now I can’t read any books without gay characters in it. Really.

And Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. That book made me realize how people’s opinions of you should never matter. Just live your life. So long as what you’re doing makes you happy, then go for it!


7. When You Wish Upon A Star – A book you wish you could start for the first time again.

Definitely Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. My favorite book of all time! I absolutely love this book. It really encompasses what your first love will feel like. It reads like my personal diary, actually. It makes you want to relive through it over and over again. But to read it again for the first time will be the best, in my opinion.

Also Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. Probably the first adult fiction book I’ve ever read and appreciated. Have I read this earlier in my life rather than when I was already a senior in highschool, I would’ve pursued careers that resembled that of Robert Langdon! I am dead serious.


8. Colors Of The Wind – A book with beautiful color.

2 of my absolute favorite book covers that are perpetually facing out on my bookshelves are Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling and the 10th anniversary edition of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch!

Here are photos if you need proof of how beautiful they are!



THE END!

If you’re reading this, then tag, you’re it! I would love to read your answers to these questions.

I’m sad that there isn’t any Mulan songs mention. She’s my absolute favorite Disney character and movie!

Posted in Book Review

Murder As A Fine Art

This ‘Fine Art‘ thing describes the Ratcliffe Highway murders. The Opium-Eater went on and on about them.

The bloodiest thing I ever read. Gave me nightmares.

He piled on so many gruesome details, it’s like he was there.

— David Morell, Murder as a Fine Art

This was a random pick from the bookstore. I can’t remember the last time I simply picked up a book from the shelf and read the synopsis and liked it and decided to read it without doing any further research.

I remember when I was in 5th grade (the time I developed my love for reading books without photos on them. a.k.a. novels), I will always ask my grandparents to accompany me to the bookstore (we used to have one just walking distance from our house) and they’d allow me 30 minutes to 1 hour just scanning all the books in the shelves and reading each of the synopsis of the books that caught my attention.

We didn’t have smartphones then. So we didn’t have Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, or blogs to see how other readers reacted to said book.

Sure, some said “New York Times Bestseller”. But as a kid, what do I care if it’s a bestseller?

Anyway, my point is: I picked this book up the old way. The synopsis was so good, I knew I had to read it. I don’t need to hear BookTubers to hype it up for me or see the cover of the book splashed all over Bookstagram. I just felt like the book was for me.

And I wasn’t wrong.

The Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 were the most notorious mass killings in their day. Never fully explained, they brought London and all of England to the verge of panic.

Forty-three years later, the equally notorious Thomas De Quincey returns to London. Along with his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, he is infamous for a scandalous essay about the killings: “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.”

Days after his arrival, a family is killed in the same horrific way as the earlier murders. It seems someone is using the essay as an inspiration—and a blueprint. And De Quincey himself is the obvious suspect. Aided by his brilliant daughter Emily and two determined Scotland Yard detectives, he must uncover the truth before more blood is shed and London itself becomes the next victim.

In Murder as a Fine Art, gaslit London becomes a battleground between a literary star and a demented murderer. Their lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

You’ll believe you’re in 1854 London.

Do you see what I mean by the synopsis making you want to read the book???

If not, let me break it down for you:

  1. Thomas De Quincey is a drug addict, author, and suspect of a series of murders
  2. A series of murders were committed in 1811 but now similar murders, down to the minute details of every crime, were repeated in 1854
  3. Thomas De Quincey’s published work regarding the first murders became as a guide to the murderer at present time

Doesn’t that intrigue you? It intrigues me!

I love true crime murder mystery novels. I even have this book called 501 Most Notorious Crimes by Paul Donnelly. It’s this compilation of a lot of famous criminals, their personal lives, profiles, and detail to their committed crimes. They’re sectioned into crimes to like robbery, murder, mass murder, etc.

Believe me when I say that I got that book as a gift for myself on my birthday! It even served as my bedtime stories for a time. But I’ve since finished reading all of them.

If that doesn’t tell you my love and fascination for true crime stories, I don’t know what will.

BACK TO THE TOPIC.

Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell was definitely a great read! Usually I try to avoid Victorian era set books because the language and society of that time is difficult for me to grasp. But this book read so easily and smoothly, I felt like watching an episode of Criminal Minds! But set in Victorian era London.

It read so real that I got scared and couldn’t sleep at night without the lights on sometimes. I usually don’t read ghost books and this isn’t one, but true crime stories are actually scarier, in my opinion.

The monsters in these books are human beings.

It will make you wonder how some people can do such horrible things to fellow humans.

It delves into the psyche of people and makes you think if monsters are born or created.

However, it was so brutally detailed. So if you’re sensitive to gore, violence, and blood, please go into it with caution. The author didn’t shy away from the gory details. It worked best that way because when we’re reading through the eyes of the murderer, it was made to feel like De Quincey was the one sharing the story. NOT because he’s the murderer (or is he???) but because that’s how his character’s published works were. And people hate him for it. Imagine living in conservative times where mentioning a bathroom (or privy) in front of a lady is shameful! What more if you described a murder like you’re praising it?

I don’t think that I’ll be writing pros and cons of reading this book. Simply because I can’t think of anything bad to say about it. Also because I loved everything about it, so if I enumerate everything in detail, this’ll be such a long post.

Just know that I loved the writing style, the characters, the setting (although I’m not a fan of how society dictates every little thing a woman can and cannot do during those times), the plot, the pace of the story, and just everything!

I also loved how at every beginning of a chapter, the author states seemingly random facts but will then correlate it in that chapter as you go reading. I feel like I’ve learned quite a lot about London in the 1800s.

Finally, this book made me afraid of pigs! Why? I didn’t know they eat people when they go hungry enough! I generally avoid eating pork nowadays because I feel sad about the pigs and piglets but this book changed the pity to fear.

Don’t judge me.

 

Posted in Book Review

WARCROSS

Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.

— Marie Lu, Warcross

Okay, THAT quote does not appeal to me and doesn’t really show the book the way I saw it (which is usually how I want a quote to be to begin my blog posts), but I didn’t mark any while I was reading the book.

I was too busy enjoying it!

I want to specifically address 3 types of readers right now, before we start talking about the book:

  1. Those Afraid To Read A Hyped Book Because They Fear Disappointment. Please stop. Get this book if you haven’t already. Start reading it if you haven’t already. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
  2. Those Who Feel That This Is A Rip-Off Of “Ready Player One“. I was one of you. Yes, it had elements similar to it but it goes on a different direction. So stop your being a rebel and read this. Aren’t you glad that there’s something remotely similar to one of the greatest geek novel of all time? I am! I’ve been searching for years since I’ve read RPO and haven’t found anything of its caliber. Here you go and you’re welcome.
  3. Those Who Don’t Want To Read Any Of Marie Lu’s Books Anymore Because You Hated Her Previous Works. I am one of you, people. Trust me. I am numero uno on the list of people who hate Adelina of The Young Elites. I advocate for people to stop reading that series because it’s bad for your health and mental stability. So trust me when I say: Marie Lu managed to salvage her reputation to me, a reader who has already publicly sworn to never pick up a book by her ever again. I’m asking you now to give her a chance. Give this book a chance. It’s worth it.

I was really hesitant (more like against) reading this book. Even reaching for it. You don’t know how deeply I hate Adelina of The Young Elites. I used to be the kind of reader who separated the artist from their work, meaning I’d still read an author’s work despite not liking their previous works. But after reading that cursed book, I started being wary and eventually stopped picking up other works of the authors of books I hated.

So when National Book Store gave away free chapter samplers of Warcross during Pierce Brown’s book signing last August, I didn’t really care. Not until some of my friends took some and started handing them away. I decided to get one just for the sake of using it as a prop for my Bookstagram account.

But the night before the 38th Manila International Book Fair (click here to read my blog post about the event), I picked up the sampler and read it.

Those 3 types of readers that I enumerated at the beginning of this post? I was all three of them.

I didn’t want to read Warcross because I hated Marie Lu’s other works. I didn’t want to read Warcross because it’s so overhyped, I’m surely going to be disappointed. I didn’t want to read Warcross because I was insulted at how blatantly Ready Player One-ish it sounded.

However, the fact that it sounded remotely like RPO made me rethink my decision. So I read the chapter sampler.

I was intrigued.

So when it was time to go book shopping at MIBF, I actually went back to the convention center where it was being held, just to grab a copy of Warcross at the last minute. I was on my way to the car when this nagging feeling crept up to me. I can’t possibly turn away from a book that sounds like one of my favorites! Even if I swore to never read one of that author’s works ever again!

So I got it and I read it and it was great.

Pros

  • Ready Player One. This is a pro for me because I’ve said it a dozen times now how it’s one of my favorite books of all time. Some may think that me comparing it to one another is unfair but I don’t really care. I must say, though, it may start like RPO and read like it, but it Warcross is definitely a book entirely its own. It had elements of RPO but it isn’t a rip-off, I don’t think. So let’s let go of all our grudges and just enjoy a book for what it is. Also, it reminded me more of Wreck It Ralph (yes, the animated film) and The Matrix (yes, as in the movie starring Keanu Reeves). So if you like those, then you’ll probably like this too.
  • Characters. This is a wow moment for me. To admit that a girl protagonist, especially one written by Marie Lu, did not annoy me in any way. I kind of even think that Emika is a badass. She kind of made me wish I was her at times, with the hacker skills and the unlimited credit card she was given. Also, Chinese and Japanese main characters? Yes please!
  • Setting. Yes, we were mostly in the virtual world but mostly it was still set in the cities of New York and Japan. I love New York and it’s one of my favorite cities of all time, so I will never get tired of reading anything set in there. But Japan? I want to go to Japan! It sounds wonderful and my favorite cuisines are Japanese. We need more novels set in East and Southeast Asia!
  • Writing Style. This is something I can never (and never have) take against Marie Lu. Her ability to write either a fantasy, sci-fi, or contemporary (which I don’t think she ever has?) stories in such a concise and easy-read way is amazing. I’m not a fan of flowery writing styles so her works are easy to read and have all that you need to know and that’s what’s important. I can’t wait for her Batman: Nightwalker book to come out! Also now I’m looking forward to the sequel of Warcross.

Cons

  • Predictable. I don’t know about you, but I literally called all the shots the author made before they truth was revealed in the end. I was talking to a friend of mine while I was reading this and told her how I saw this and that probably happening and they all did happen in the book! I kid you not. From the love interest, to the truth behind the antagonist’s plots, to the identity of the said antagonist. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of reading the book overall but I still would’ve liked a better “plot twist”.
  • Title of the book is misleading. Going into this, I was expecting it to focus on Warcross because, hello, it’s entitled Warcross. It’s a virtual game that 90% of the world either watches or play themselves. Our main character is player in said game. BUT WE RARELY PLAY THE GAME IN THE BOOK! What was the purpose of creating a complicated virtual game, introducing it to us, making up 15 teams and over 60 players, and describing arenas, if we don’t get to read about the game and championship?!

I can’t believe I have to wait for a year or more for the sequel. This is one of the downside of  reading a newly published book: the waiting.

I hope this review gave you a little push into picking up Warcross.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve already read it! Doesn’t matter if you enjoyed it the way I did or hated it. I’d still love to hear your thoughts and opinions. 🙂