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cienneolaes

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The End of the Story
Lydia Davis
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
Max Brooks
Fodor's Australia 2008 (Fodor's Gold Guides)
Adam Taplin, Mark Sullivan, Margaret Kelly
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)
George R.R. Martin
The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done
Peter F. Drucker
Good News Bible: Today's English Version
Anonymous
The Passage
Justin Cronin
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched
Meg Cabot

The Little Prince

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Katherine Woods I guess I owe this book a 5-star rating, not primarily driven by how others have mostly thought so but because right after I finished it, some words have been imprinted on me.

“One loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

“You mix everything up together… you confuse everything”

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

I admit to have had a difficult time reading the book mainly because of its metaphorical aspect. I was, at first, deceived by the short number of pages but overall, my verdict is that: it is not an easy read (one that demands time to be read over and over) but definitely something that is worth re-reading.
After finishing the last part of the book, I can’t help but skim back the pages and recall what once has been highlighted in my thoughts.
In my opinion, I think I am the little prince. The little prince is innate in all of us. I was once told that when we got stuck in life’s tangled life, there’s only one place to go -- to the basic. This is where we explore innocence, where we become eager to know, where we make baby steps progress and where we have a faith like a child.

The planets, I think are representation of the kinds of situation that we have to deal with. The people we engaged with could be different depending on the situation but the little prince have remained consistent.

Exactly, how the book ended, I will end this review open-ended. I need to re-read this book and see if I will either grow or change my perspective.

Fairy Tale Fail

Fairy Tale Fail - Mina V. Esguerra As posted in my facebook status: I love this book. I was so moved while reading. At first I cried, then was filled with anger, then I got stuck with this emotion and heard myself say out loud "he's an ass! he's an ass!" and then I think there's a couple of scenes that made me laugh out loud, some part where i was laughing out loud then was also teary-eyed at the same time. And then there were pages where I read over and over because it was so well written. And then out loud, I'd say "oh my god! oh my god!".

I don't know why some people would not agree but my verdict remains the same: five stars for Mina V. Esguerra! I'm such a fan!

Twenties Girl

Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella probably may not be the type that i would re-read again but this is one book i'd surely would love to recommend to chic-lit and sophie kinsella fans... i love this book -- so much witty and crazy stuff, and laugh-out-loud moments!

Bloody Valentine

Bloody Valentine - Melissa  de la Cruz i finally grew tired of Jack Force and Schuyler but surprisingly appreciated Oliver this time. Perhaps, the new twist in the plot helped. I want to know more about Freya, I'm seeing Alice Cullen in her (the only character in the twilight series that I like).

Good News Bible: Today's English Version

Good News Bible: Today's English Version - Anonymous I use this Bible, way back highschool days, a requirement for a subject. I've skip-read most of it. Only now have I had the courage to try to finish the most powerful book of all time.

Dog Days

Dog Days - Jeff Kinney I probably had too much of the wimpy kid series, I can no longer give it full 5 stars. I appreciate it and is still looking forward to reading the next book, in fact I am also considering getting myself the movie diary and the DIY book. No hard core laugh out loud moments probably because this seemed so similar with the last one I read.
SPOILER ALERT!

Table for Two

Table for Two - Marla Miniano Believe it or not and related or not, the plot kind of reminds me of an old Filipino movie, “Jologs”. It was a first Pinoy flick that I have come to appreciate. It was an automatic association upon learning that the book is about how people’s lives intersect and intertwine at one place. However, I can only give the book a 3-star rating because with creativity comparison between the said movie and this book, I still would settle on spending my time re-watching the movie than re-reading this. I know it’s not an apple to apples comparison. I probably have expected more or that I was easily out of focus with the sudden shift or change in the set of characters. If I would consider re-reading this again sometime in the future it was because I need to go back and review the characters that I have come to appreciate and the specific lines that I would agree to be declared as “quotable quotes”. There were so many beautiful words or can-relate-to words, that I haven’t moved on yet. I just couldn’t agree with how all this was assembled together in a book, in a supposedly one ending. I wish for relevant characters and more emphasis.



I skim through the pages again, so if you’re the spoiler addict like me, you might understand why I wanted to quote this (someday, I’ll probably read this again, I need some sort of motivation why, or maybe not because it only provokes bitterness and more depressing thoughts):



* * *



“There is an unmistakable vibe independent people give off, an enviable confidence that allows them to eat alone without looking pathetic. I am not an independent person. I do not give off that “I’m alone and I’m okay” vibe. What I give off, clearly, is an “I got stood up by my boyfriend so now I’m loitering and trying to pretend that I’m okay” vibe.”



* * *



“Guys are so easy to drive out of your life, especially when their interest in you has mostly been sustained by your blind, naïve, hopelessly hopeful interest in them.”



* * *



“If anything, I guess they disappeared on their own; their absence has been waiting to happen for a long time, postponed by my persistent belief that they could change, or that they could love me, or that they were just keeping their feelings hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered and nurtured.”



* * *



“…You tell me, “It’s never going to be perfect. It’s not even going to be as great as you imagined it would be. You need to be okay with that. There will be days when I’ll enjoy flirting with other girls, days when I’d rather hang out with my friends than with you. There will be days when the sound of your voice will irritate me, and the days when I wouldn’t care less what you’re up to. There will be days when we will yell and fight and I won’t love you at all.”

I nod, like I am agreeing with you, or considering agreeing with you, but I don’t think I ever will.”



* * *



““Liked,” I correct her, as if the lack of the letter D were the real issue and not the use of like instead of the more accurate love. Nonetheless, I emphasize the D because I want to properly divide my life into the past, the present and the future, and I’m trying so hard to categorize you as part of my past. I don’t want you to be the shadow always hanging over my head, haunting me every time I attempt to move on. I don’t want to hope and mope and whine and pine. I don’t want my mother to keep worrying about me, asking unnecessary questions like, Are you awake? Are you sad? I don’t want to have to keep answering her with the same accommodating optimism one would extend to a repetitive child: I’m trying to sleep, but come in, or, I’m fine, Mom. I can manage. I don’t want to be hurt, because I am, still, and the fact that you didn’t do it on purpose doesn’t cancel it out. I don’t want to be in love with you anymore. Because I can deal with you being the one that got away – at least that was your choice, your responsibility. But I won’t allow you to be the one who never left my mind because I never tried to forget.”



* * *



“Goodbye is a strange concept – if the person being left behind resents it and refuses to accept it, is it still goodbye, or simply a departure? I know now why you left. It wasn’t because of anything I said or did, or anything I didn’t say or didn’t do. It wasn’t my fault; perhaps, if I succumb to my unfailing instinct to be the bigger person, it wasn’t even yours, either. You left because I wasn’t a part of your past or your future – I was only a part of your present, and that wasn’t enough. You never saw me as anything else or anything more. You left because you could. And you’re leaving because you can.”

How to Be Single

How to Be Single - Liz Tuccillo I’m only going to give this book 2 stars rating because I am definitely not going to recommend it to all the single ladies. I will not recommend this book because it’s one that you can partly relate to especially at the part where you get to answer one of life’s toughest questions, “why are we still single?” Believe me, it’s depressing to hear your own thoughts at someone else’s words. Like a sharp knife, it could shred you into pieces.



I don’t know if I missed out that piece in the book where it was answered perfectly. Perhaps, there isn’t any perfect answer the same perspective as there isn’t anyone too perfect to decide a life or perhaps a commitment to a single lady. All of us have expectations; we learned it best in school to have this certain degree of standards. We envisioned our future and decide to live it the way we wanted it. Sometimes, what we do not want is intact, but gradually as we grow older we start to understand more that to survive the day to day struggle with loneliness we have to live less than what we have earlier designed ourselves to. It’s as if time is running out.



Maybe it’s true that miracles do happen. Maybe it’s true that happiness is not dependent on someone else.



Actually, after reading the book, I don’t know what to believe now. I only felt like whatever life’s outcome will be it doesn’t matter. What I put more value now is how much I’m learning to accept one scenario to another despite being the opposite of what I really want. Or maybe it’s more of an understanding that God’s plan is way better than what I have perceived. Love and commitment for a single lady like me may be a long shot but the way I see things now, dwelling on that fact is pretty exhausting. I don’t need to see the world to learn how married couples did it. I don’t need to compare and feel less of myself. To love someone and be loved in a romantic kind of way will remain to be beyond my control. To love life and to decide to be happy is in my hands. I learned that for it to be feasible one must learn to embrace change.

SPOILER ALERT!

The Last Straw

The Last Straw - Jeff Kinney Moms' do not know everything, very evident in the first two books. Well, for the third book it was concluded: Dads too or at least for Greg who was forced to engaged in "macho" activities his father had involved him.



Half-hearted, Greg thought it was best to just obediently follow as told so as not to get into more trouble. Apparently, things went beyond expectations again. More trouble happened and in the end this one last shot of trouble also saved him from the biggest deal he had to face: Military Academy. Is he really just clever? Or forces of nature just gives him a little bit of luck, sometimes?

Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 2)

Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 2) - Jeff Kinney First day of school can be exciting but can also be a source of stress for a kid. It is expected that first days are opportunity to talk about your summer vacation. Not all kids are fortunate enough to have that chance with their family. Sometimes, it may not be as extravagant, what’s overlooked is the fact that over chaos, family remains intact. No matter how things can get too crazy sometimes, you still go home to the same family and believe it or not, “NO” have never been an option (no matter how much you resist it at first).



When they say, Mom knows everything. When you’re a kid you always felt like they don’t. There would be days they would insist to be around but for some reason their presence could sort of embarrass you. You don’t get it sometimes when they try to discipline you, like say, “never lie” yet you’d see them do it the other way around.



Dads are neutral. They can be either a pro or a con.



Younger siblings are the untouchables in front of the parents. Big brothers on the other hand are naturally born bully.



As kids we tend to ask too much basically because when you were still a kid, you always don’t know. You just knew how to be a kid. You just knew your only agenda for the day and the day after that is to have fun and you’re only worry is when you’re in trouble; afraid your parents will scold you.



These are silly realities. All these realizations are creatively put together once again in the second book of the series, diary of a wimpy kid: Rodrick Rules and it’s hilarious!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney The first book in the series is hilarious and deserves 5 stars mainly because the book was designed to be a good read not only for the kids but also for the young at heart. I must say Jeff Kinney really pulled it off. I was literally laughing out loud. I recommend this book to those who needed a good break from the stress-induced reality. It makes me want to track back all the silliness way back childhood days. It was fun to remember all this stuff, wish I kept my diary. I must have burned every single one of them (including the autographs that me and my classmates consistently sign) more than a decade ago (couldn’t afford to embarrass myself).

The Truth About Forever

The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen When I saw Tina’s reviews of Sarah Dessen’s books in Goodreads, I figured this could be what I’ve been looking forward to read. It was recommended that I add in my list, the title, “The Truth About Forever.” It was five stars in her rating, so I said “why not?”

Amazing the timing was, I started reading this on my father’s birthday, to which I celebrate it by reminiscing good old memories. Every memory that Macy was sharing felt so nostalgic, one that I could relate even if it may not be too similar.

“I hated that I was in this situation, I hated that my dad was gone, I hated that I’d been lazy and sleepy and had waved him off when he’d come into my room that morning,”

I read everything slowly, trying to grasp every bit of it little by little. With the balance of different characters mashed with the lead character, I started finding it too shallow to read further. Truth is, I was in denial. All the hurt from the past came back and I became uneasy. I haven’t heard these thoughts when I was given a chance 7 years ago. It was a choice I’ve made, to move forward. As I read through, I realized the kinds of books that I have come to appreciate are those that speak for me.

“It’s not about being perfect, really. It’s about… I don’t know. Being in control.”

“When my dad died, it was like everything felt really shaky, you know? And trying to be the best I could be, it gave me something to focus on. If I could just do everything right, then I was safe.”

“I couldn’t believe I was saying this, not here, at a party packed with classmates and strangers. In fact, I couldn’t imagine saying it anywhere, really, except in my own head, where it somehow made sense.”

I treat my books as a companion in my solitude. They take me to fancy dinner, dance with me at a party, pick me up and drove me home, I listen to their share of story and afterwards I take my turn to speak when I do the review. Perhaps, any book lover would understand the kind of high felt whenever surrounded by thousands of books or racks with neatly piled books. It was like a never-ending mystery, boundless journey.

What I appreciate about Sarah Dessen’s books is that it talks about real issues and it somehow helps you deal with it.

“You’re just setting yourself up to fail, because you’ll never get everything perfect.”

It doesn’t preach in a judgmental kind of way, it touches the soul of the reader. Sarah Dessen has real talent; her books deserve no less than three stars.

If you want to know the truth about forever, you have to read this. It gave me a big smile when I found out.

Bad Marie

Bad Marie - Marcy Dermansky Marie is bad, or is she really? Marie just isn’t bad enough. If the author wanted to project the opposite, she didn’t do well on that either. The characters are all on the neutral side; no one has given a strong impact to the reader or at least to me.

Wish there was some brutal sense to it, so I could really feel how bad Marie is or that how bad things turned out for her. I did not feel for her all throughout the story. I just read page after page, always wondering what will happen next and every instance only seemed to be a disappointment. The author should have read Sidney Sheldon’s “If Tomorrow Comes”, for inspiration. It’s almost the same theme only more appealing, and indeed a good read.

The plot for Bad Marie lacks details and strong emphasis on the personality of the characters. Some of the characters just went out of the scene as if there was no significance in their existence. It was also a bad ending. It was abrupt the kind that doesn’t leave you wanting more.
SPOILER ALERT!

Dreamland

Dreamland - Sarah Dessen Dreamland to most of us is a venue where we could momentarily escape reality. It could be a place where a medium of communication for a lost loved one is possible. At least for me, that's how it is.

 

What happens if everything has been altered and there's nothing you can do but stay stuck? Perhaps, pray that someone would see things through and save you. Being stuck in the dreamland as Sarah Dessen had described, is like drowning. You can't just pull yourself up. Like gravity, it could be beyond control.

 

Caitlin is surrounded with all the people that she loved but she never recognized how much they too love her. She contained herself into believing that everybody’s too occupied when her sister left. She grew tired of dealing with people reminding her of her loss. She didn’t need sympathy. All she wanted is silence. She wanted to start clean slate and not a single trace of her sister and the memories shared with her. It’s when Rogerson’s perfect timing gets in the picture. He divides the world for her and in him is the so-called dreamland where she can find solitude in his company. It sets her free. She was willing herself to do anything just to stay affixed with that isolation. What she got herself into is not the typical dreamland but it sure has the same essence, an addicting factor, where comfort level’s been intact, it’s the kind where you can’t just stay away, like there are no other options.

 

Sure, it can be all that bad. Caitlin found another venue to cope with her loss – photography (one thing, I could really relate to).

 

“Behind the camera, I was invisible. When I lifted it up to my eye it was like I crawled into the lens, losing myself there, and everything else fell away.”

 

The photos had become instrumental to her “awakening”. Every single time she describes a photo she just took, it triggers her senses, allowing herself to rationalize what situation she got herself into. Rogerson doesn’t want his photo taken. His photos, accidentally taken, were described four times in the book, one is where both him and Caitlin looking very happy and in love, while the rest were all in parallel to the negative side of him. Rogerson doesn’t want his photo taken; the same way as he doesn’t want to show the real him. The other significant photo was Caitlin’s self-portrait, only in the late part of the story had she realized that she after all doesn’t want it and it was only after her recovery to that long slumber. She ripped it off until it was in tiny bits. She ceased from throwing it away, part of the healing process perhaps. Somebody had stopped her. I realized here that despite our imperfections and shortcomings, a life is still never wasted. At our own pace, we can decide to get it all together, piece by piece until we’re whole again. In the end, that’s all that matters and not how shattered we once were. As we continue to learn and accept, we are creating a masterpiece, a mosaic of all our past experiences beautifully put together. And we don’t do it alone, the presence of our loved ones are there to be taken advantaged.

 

What I especially like about this book is the fullness of its details and the personal touch embedded in it.  I could easily say what could have been done. I could have just said that the main character is plain stupid. However, I'm an escapist myself, and I clearly knew what trauma could give you. It slows down your pace. It numbs the pain, more like what happens with adrenaline rush. And most times, rationalization only comes after, Actually, I find the real beauty here in the mistakes, the what-if’s and the what-not’s. It gives us realizations, enabling its readers to get creative, take part and switch roles with the main character. In a different view, it gives me a different kind of inspiration.



Note to self: Wake Up! Wake Up Now!

SPOILER ALERT!

Mockingjay

Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne I couldn’t say I did not appreciate the book. Fair enough, Collins was able to give it a graceful ending (even if my bet remained to be Gale for Katniss). I think I expected way too much for the book, that a great part of the book specifically the early chapters, left me wanting more from Collins. I was hoping the last book was more thrilling, only it was a late bloomer. I wanted to keep Finnick alive towards the end, wished it was Annie they killed instead. There were just so many insignificant inserts to the plot that most times led me to wonder non-related stuff, or had me wondering what happened to the mother? I wished Collins had considered a strong emphasis on the mother’s character and its importance. It could have supported Katniss and Prim’s role in the Mockingjay. I find Katniss here less appealing, less of a hero and very weak to be “the mockingjay”.

Revelations

Revelations - Melissa  de la Cruz Okay, I admit that in this third book (Revelations), Jack Force has made it to become officially my obsession. Anyway, I still hope it’s never too late for this review. In the first couple of book reviews I did for the Blue Bloods series, I recall the fact that if not for Jack Force, I wouldn’t have made it to the 5th release of the books (Keys to the Repository) and would not have wanted to go on add the 5th book (Misguided Angel) on my TBR list.



The book in my opinion deserves 4-stars for 3 highlights that made me fascinated:



1) For more Jack Force and Schuyler appearances, their secret meetings and the torture or bottlenecks or whatever it is called that was developed as their love story progresses. I hate to write the latter, but I have to admit, it is indeed the kind that I appreciate, not blown away at one instant but more of a delayed or pending thing. And then I figured, I need to stop justifying since this is only my personal opinion and no one’s out there to counter.



2) For giving me a different perspective of Mimi Force, the character that I so willingly would nominate to take out in the next coming books for Schuyler. She is the bottleneck. She is perfect enough to make Schuyler defenseless and I hate her for it. However, in the last chapters, Melissa De La Cruz, introduced to me Mimi, in a way that I felt for her. I am still a Jack Force and Schuyler fan, but had to consider liking Mimi too, perhaps in a different time and not when the triangle exists.



3) For the unexpected revelation, one that I truly never EXPECTED. After, I close the book, I can only utter, “SHOCKS!” and then immediately opened the next book, a cliffhanger perhaps.