I thought it would be shallow, and would have a happily-ever-after ending, but it didn't, and I liked it. It was poignant, and I found myself rooting...moreI thought it would be shallow, and would have a happily-ever-after ending, but it didn't, and I liked it. It was poignant, and I found myself rooting for Jennifer/Jenna and Cameron all throughout the book. :)(less)
I wasn't sure what Austen to read this year until my book club did the choosing for me. Emma won as this month's choice...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I wasn't sure what Austen to read this year until my book club did the choosing for me. Emma won as this month's choice of read, so I knew I was going to read it early this year. Then I came across Miss Match by Erynn Mangum and found out it was based on Emma. I didn't really like the former, and that made me wary with this book, thinking maybe I wouldn't like this either (but I kind of doubted that, since this is a classic, and I've liked Austen so far).
Emma is about Emma Woodhouse, a 21-year-old woman who's swore never to marry not because of past hurts but because she feels that she is perfectly content with her life. This doesn't stop her from meddling with other people's affairs, though and she's decided to appoint herself a matchmaker for her new friend Harriet Smith, after she had proven that her matchmaking skills are good based on her old governess getting married to someone she matched her with. This meddling starts the mess in all of Emma's life as she finds her carefully laid out plans unraveled, and she realizes that maybe she doesn't always get it right. With a cast of other interesting and sometimes annoying characters, Emma finds out a thing or two about love from the most unexpected people.
Talk about a slow reading. I know I read classics very slowly because of how it was written, but Emma is probably the book that I took the longest time reading, since it takes me about 2-3 days to finish a book. Emma took me more than two weeks. At times I wanted to stop reading and pick it up sometime else, but I know that if I do that, I will get completely lost in the story and would have to start again.
Emma is highly amusing, even if it can get boring sometimes. I had to laugh at the long lines of dialogue -- and I mean pure dialogue since there wasn't much action being described as the characters talked. It made me imagine that they were all just standing around and talking in their long skirts and suits without really doing anything else but that. Sometimes I wonder if there was a point with all the dialogue and the number of names mentioned in the first few chapters got me so dizzy that I couldn't keep track anymore.
Here's a not-so-secret: I spoiled myself with the ending. Somewhere during the first part of the book, I decided to go on Wikipedia and read about the novel just so I know what to expect. I read the summary and continued reading the novel, watching out for the key scenes mentioned in the synopsis. I don't think it made the novel less of a fun reading experience for me, but it did remove the surprise factor a bit.
The thing I realized about Emma is how different the heroine is from the two Austen heroines I've read: Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Elliot. I read in a review once that people always read and liked Pride & Prejudice first, enjoyed Emma more but loved Persuasion. I find that I have a different type of relationship with the books because of the heroines. Elizabeth Bennett is someone I'd want to be friends with while Anne Elliot is someone I wanted to be. Emma Woodhouse, on the other hand, is someone I know I am before I can become Anne Elliot. It's like Emma is younger version of these two other heroines -- the not so mature yet still smart heroine that grows into a character you'd love if she decides to learn from her mistakes. Emma is flawed and annoying at times, and I can say that I related to her more than I expected I would. It's almost like looking in the mirror sometimes, and it's funny because it lessens the annoyance I had with Emma at the first parts of the book.
I can say that Miss Match was definitely a lot like Emma, but even so, I find myself less irritated with Emma than Laurie. Maybe Laurie was really just irritating to me, period. It makes me wonder again if I was/am anything like Laurie, and if I saw the things I hated about myself in her. Maybe I did. The difference between Emma and Laurie is Emma seemed to have learned how to be a proper lady in the end while Laurie just kept on being...meddling. But that may be because it's a trilogy, and there's more character growth in the next books.
But I digress. Emma is an enjoyable read, despite its length. Was I ever so glad when I finished it! It does get better by the third part of the book, so if you're reading it, just keep on because it gets interesting. While it's not my favorite Austen novel (this still goes to Persuasion), I liked Emma a lot more than I expected I would. Like the other Austens I've read, the ending made me sigh in happiness, and made me close the (e)book with a smile. :) (less)
My teammates and I saw this book while browsing around Fully Booked and the concept of the book got me hooked immediately. After vampires comes angels...moreMy teammates and I saw this book while browsing around Fully Booked and the concept of the book got me hooked immediately. After vampires comes angels and I think angels are more interesting than vamps, right? (Feel free to disagree haha)
So when I finally got a copy of this book, I was excited to read it. The first few pages were really interesting, as Meridian tried to explain the deaths around her and why she was always alone. It was a very captivating start for a novel, good enough to get me hooked and try to find out what was up with Meridian.
But that was it. It was a good start, but as the story went on, it wasn't that good anymore. I felt like I wasn't really into the story, like I was watching it from the sidelines. I liked the idea of the Fenestras and the Alternocti and the Sangre, but there wasn't enough explanation on the background of things. I just know that the Fenestras are good and the Alternocti are bad and that was it. There were some references to religion and a possible background or mythology of why they were that way, but it still lacked.
I liked Meridian as a character, but I wished there was more depth shown to her. Tens as a protector is a good character too, but his background wasn't explored either. He was called a prophet, but there wasn't much of him being a prophet in the story except for his dreams. And the romance between Meridian and Tens? Sorry, didn't work for me.
I still liked the concept of the story, though, and I hope it gets explored more if there is a companion novel coming out.
One of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid was the anime Peter Pan, the one they showed every 10:00am on TV during...moreOriginally posted at One More Page
One of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid was the anime Peter Pan, the one they showed every 10:00am on TV during weekdays. I remember watching that show religiously in ABS-CBN everyday, and especially the extended story, the one with Luna and the mirror and the dark queen. Anyone who was a child during the 90's surely knows this show, right?
I know not all of that cartoon came from the book, but I was curious to read the book nonetheless. What's cool with classics is that there are free ebooks around, so I downloaded an ebook of Peter Pan and started reading it in between Persuasion.
My first impression with Peter Pan is that it was an easier read compared to the other classics I have read. I didn't have to read it slowly to understand the text, unlike how I read the other books. There was a certain playfulness in the way the book was written that made it fit the characters and the nature of the story, of making believe. I found the characters endearing, especially Tootles, in all his awkwardness.
However...I don't know, it's just an okay book for me. I liked it a lot, but that's it. It didn't give me a huge sense of amazement, unlike when I read an Austen or To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe it's because I read it from an ebook? Or maybe because I need to believe in fairies and Neverland more? Or maybe it was because I was trying to make sense of the story too much -- is Neverland all in their imaginations? Is Peter just a figment of all of their imaginations, including Mr. and Mrs. Darling?
Yeah, I probably did too much over thinking again with this. :P I don't mean to be cynical, maybe a re-read would change my mind to make me appreciate this. Or maybe, Peter Pan is the type of book that I'd really rather watch on TV.(less)
I hardly ever start reading a book without first having some idea of what it is about. More often than not, the book’s c...moreOriginally posted at Pinoy Pop
I hardly ever start reading a book without first having some idea of what it is about. More often than not, the book’s cover and title do a good job of that, and if they don’t, the blurb at the back definitely will, and these factors determine whether or not I buy a book. That wasn’t the case for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (first book of the Caster Chronicles). I’ve been seeing this book around but I didn’t pick it up because I couldn’t figure out what it was about. It was always shelved beside the other vampire young adult (YA) romance books, and I wasn’t in the mood to read another Twilight. The cover was beautiful, like its title, but neither told me what those "creatures" were. The blurb wasn’t enticing either – it still sounded too much like the other supernatural YA romances out there. I only picked it up when I heard that a sequel was coming (with an equally beautiful cover) and when I saw that almost all of the book blogs I followed were excited about it. I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Beautiful Creatures is narrated by Ethan Wate, who hails from Gatlin, a small Southern town where everyone knows everyone. His mom’s death caused his father to become a recluse who left him under the care of their superstitious housekeeper, Amma. Unknown to Amma, Ethan had been having strange dreams about a girl he had never met, dreams which left physical evidence even when he woke up – dirt on his bed, water around him, and even a song on his iPod. When Lena Duchannes moves into town, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her, even when all his friends were ostracizing her. Despite Lena’s attempts to push him away, Ethan presses on, determined to find out the connection between him and Lena, and maybe help her blend in. But in the town of Gatlin, it’s never easy to fit in, especially if you have a secret as big as Lena’s.
Vague, I know, but after I finished reading the book, I understood why the book’s summary wasn't any more detailed: revealing any more would spoil the story. Beautiful Creatures has an excellent plot, one that even some of the most critical book bloggers praised. At first glance, the book seems like it’s the typical boy meets girl--with an added dose of superpowers--but it's much more than that. While the romance is an integral part of the story, it wasn’t there just for the sake of having the characters fall in love, as it connected Ethan and Lena to their pasts. Underneath the romance is an intricate web of details: the social groups and hierarchy of the town, the history of the curse that links Ethan and Lena, and most of all, the supernatural world that lies under the unsuspecting eyes of Gatlin residents. Aiding the plot significantly was the setting: Gatlin is a living, breathing setting that almost felt like another character – and perhaps it was. Garcia and Stohl definitely took time to build this small town, complete with histories, eccentricities and secrets. It was almost as if the residents of Gatlin (save for Ethan, Lena and her family) were one entity being represented by different personas, united in one purpose: to drive away anything that tries to shake things up. Click here to read the rest of the review. (less)
If I were to base it all on first impressions, I would not have wanted to read this book. The cover came off too much like a manga, or a novel based on an anime, and it’s really not something I am too keen on reading. However, I read some good reviews on this book, so that was enough to make me pick it up and read it.
Eyes Like Stars is the story of Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, otherwise known as Bertie, who has lived inside the Theater in her entire life. It’s not an ordinary theater, though. Théâtre Illuminata is where all plays are staged. It is like the mother ship of all the musicals/plays ever written, all bound together in something that the cast members call The Book, which is set on its own podium. The different characters of all the plays in the world are there, from Hamlet, to Peter Pan to Ophelia to the little fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The theater is run by the Theater Manager, the stage is set by the Stage Manager, and there were people who takes care of the wardrobe, props and set as well.
But Bertie isn’t a part of a cast or any of the managers, either. She’s just someone who was left at the theater and grew up there. Having nothing to do, Bertie became the cause of a lot of trouble in the theater, causing her to be asked to leave by the Theater Manager.
Eyes Like Stars is a very interesting read. At first, I had a hard time catching up with all the characters since I don’t read Shakespeare and I’m not too familiar with any other classic plays except for the ones I’ve watched. The language was also almost like classic language, with different accents and ways of speaking that sometimes it was hard to keep track. After some time, I was able to get into the flow of the story, and it was loads of fun. It kind of reminded me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, where book characters come to life, except this is for theater characters.
The story is quite solid, and the characters had their own quirks based on what their role is. Bertie is a fiesty protagonist, sometimes a bit too impulsive, but she’s a smart and strong girl. I didn’t really feel that much of a connection between her and Ariel though, and somehow, I felt that their ending scene was a bit too contrived. Or maybe that’s just because I like Nate for her better?
I guess one reason why I had a hard time getting into it, as I mentioned earlier, is because I’m not a theater geek. It does make me wonder, though — are the characters of the modern plays/musicals, like Avenue Q there too? Possibly. ;)
Apparently, this is a trilogy, and the next book, Perchance to Dream, will be out soon. I wonder if they’ll be able to fulfill their mission…hm. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next curtain call. :) (less)
A good chick-lit is always a thrill to read, but finding good chick-lit is a hit-or-miss, at least for me. I never really liked reading chick-lit with...moreA good chick-lit is always a thrill to read, but finding good chick-lit is a hit-or-miss, at least for me. I never really liked reading chick-lit with too much sex, so I was wary of picking up anything without checking its reviews and such.
The blurb of this book was interesting from the start, which caused me to get this book. I’m a lot like Nora, the main character of this book, who lives in “meta-life” half the time. There was a solid cast of characters behind Nora, not to mention all her “clients”.
It was a fun read really…but it didn’t really work for me.
I don’t know. It was interesting at first, but as I read the book, I started getting disinterested with the book. I wanted to get to the point of the book, and when I read the blurb again, that’s when I realized that the point of the book was for Nora to figure out what were the five things she couldn’t live without. Duh.
But that’s the thing. I didn’t feel the need for Nora to find out those five things. There wasn’t anything pressing in the story for Nora to find that, except that she was asking them to her clients — which didn’t really show in the story, really, except for the profiles. If anything, Nora was more concerned with her boredom with her “work”, and her relationship with Dan. It was almost boring, save for some fun stuff with Nora’s friends, especially Larissa.
I liked the ending of the story, though, with all that Nora learned from her overthinking and her experiences. However, it just wasn’t life-changing or earth-shattering for me. It was a sort of enjoyable read, but not exactly something I’d like to re-read.(less)
I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and all of them told me to waste no time and read it. I was curious because I...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and all of them told me to waste no time and read it. I was curious because I’ve never really read a book with zombies in it. Zombies are kind of a joke to us, you see, for several reasons: friends from NaNoWriMo use zombies (together with ninjas) to propel our plot forward when we have run out of things to write for our 50,000 word novels, and Plants vs. Zombies. I’ve never really thought that there’s a zombie book out there, and YA, no less. I’m curious.
Interestingly, the word “zombie” was never used in this book. In Mary’s world, the zombies are known as the Unconsecrated. There was little explanation on how their world became that, so the reader would just have to accept the truths that was presented in the context of the book. You can’t go near the fence. The Unconsecrated thirst for blood. The Sisterhood protects the village. You have to follow or else you’re dead.
But after Mary’s mom falls to the hands of the Unconsecrated and everyone leaves her behind, Mary starts questioning these “truths”. She wonders of the outside world, if there was an outside world at all. When things fall, she and her friends had no choice but to get out of the village and try to see if they can survive outside.
This book had a generally depressing mood, so it’s not a book I’d recommend to be read when you’re already down. There’s a feeling of doom in the story, and you just know that not all of them will make it out alive. Even so, I couldn’t help but be sucked into the story and hope for more revelations about why the world came to that, and hope for the best for the main characters.
I had mixed feelings after I finished reading this — it was really good, but it was also very depressing that I don’t really know if I really like it — after all, I choose fluff over anything. :P But it is one of the best books I’ve read this year for sure. I’m not sure if I’d like to re-read it as often as I do for the other books I like. Did that make sense?
Oh, and the sequel to this book, entitled Dead Tossed Waves is coming on March 9, and I can’t wait to get to read that, too. I hope it sheds more light on the other unanswered questions in the first book. In the meantime, stay within the fences. :P (less)
There are books that don't seem much at first glance. They're the ones that have only a few copies on the bookstore shel...moreOriginal post at One More Page
There are books that don't seem much at first glance. They're the ones that have only a few copies on the bookstore shelves, ones that rarely gets featured in its own section, ones that people (including me) would have ignored if it weren't for some other thing. In my case, I have read the author's other works.
I can't say I'm a fan of Sara Zarr, but I have read her two other books, Sweethearts and Story of a Girl and liked them well enough for me to notice her new book, Once Was Lost. It took me a while to finally crack its covers though, and once I did, I couldn't get out of the town of Pineview and from Sam's life.
Once Was Lost starts out one hot summer day, when everything in Sam's house seemed to be broken. Just like the book, the introduction was quiet and unassuming, but we know from the start that Sam is trying hard to deal with her situation without totally breaking down. Her mother has been in rehab for three weeks because of drinking, and instead of finding solace from her dad, she finds him more distant from her as he seemed to care more for his congregation than the sad state of their family. The thing was, no one knew about Sam's situation and she didn't want to talk about it, not even to her youth group leader Erin or her best friend Vanessa. It would have just been a sad summer, but when thirteen-year-old Jody Shaw is abducted, Sam's life is turned upside down. As she grapples with the tragedy that affected not only her but the entire town, Sam finds herself asking questions she had never thought of asking before, and wondering if she will ever find the answer to them.
This book is poignant. That's the term. There is something about Sara Zarr's writing that immediately touches the heart and leaves a mark, urging the reader to not just read but think. Zarr wasn't afraid of lay it down hard on the reader and the use of such a scary ordeal -- abduction -- was an effective device to make all her characters grow. In a way, I felt like I was one of the residents of Pineview when Jody disappeared -- I wanted to join them in the search, I wanted to join them in the prayer vigil, I wanted to send some comfort to the family in a trying time. At some point, I felt like praying for Jody, too, even if she was just a fictional character.
Sam is a sad character, but sad for the right reasons. You'd expect that a pastor would know how to be a good father, too, and I was annoyed for Sam as I see how her dad treats her, or did not treat her. But in a way, I can also understand why her dad acted that way. If you're a person of importance, particularly in a church community, everyone expects you to always be okay. People looked up to Sam's dad for spiritual guidance, and the pressure of having to be the God's representative to the people is hard, and sometimes it's easier to just not acknowledge the situations or ask the question when you're not sure of what the reactions or answers will be.
But still, we're only human. I think that was one of the important lessons in the book: that we are all just human. And God understands if you can't bear everything that is happening -- in fact, I don't think He expects us to bear it all, at least on our own. Sam tried to hide it all, and just go along with whatever's happening, but in the end, she learned that she didn't have to carry it all on her own, and her family doesn't have to either.
This isn't a Christian book, but it read like one because of the setting and the situations. I liked how it showed community, and how people cope in the face of such a scary tragedy. I liked how it showed how Christians aren't always happy (because we aren't), and I liked how it wasn't afraid to ask difficult questions, questions that I am sure everyone of us asked at one point or another. Some examples:
I want to close my eyes and ask for what's right, and open them and have everything fixed. As I try to form the words, I only get angry. Why should I even have to ask? You don't have to be all-powerful and all-knowing to figure out that this is a tragedy in need of divine intervention. (p. 38)
Perfect love drives out fear, is what it says in the Bible. Perfect love. And who, my dad included, really knows anything about perfect love? Anyway, if God loves Jody so much, how could he let this -- whatever it is -- happen to her? And what else is he going to let happen to me? (p. 62)
In a way, I could relate my experience of the flood last year with this book. I don't think I doubted God then, but I had a lot of big questions, and I had no answers. I often relied on my own strength during those times when the strength I needed was freely offered to me, I just didn't know if I should take it. Sometimes I think we'd rather just keep asking questions and focus on our fears and problems rather than see that there's Someone who's willing to not only share the burden, but actually take it from us.
But I digress. Sara Zarr's writing was spot on, just like in her previous novels. Lines like these just make me stare at the page and wonder how can such simple sentences have so much impact?
And love can't be the answer to everything. If it was, us loving Mom should have kept her from falling apart. Her loving us should have made her want to change. (p. 61)
There's a blue ribbon around the Hathaways' mailbox. When we're sitting out here two weeks from now, in a month, in a year, will the ribbons still be up? I wonder how you're supposed to know the exact moment when there's no more hope. (p. 101)
I think that's enough to say that I thought this was a remarkable novel. This isn't just your ordinary contemporary YA novel. Once Was Lost makes you think, makes you ask, and in the end, makes you believe that no matter what the tragedy is, no matter how hard things are, there will always, always be hope. :)(less)
When I read Susane Colasanti's When It Happens, I wasn't terribly impressed. The story was cute and the characters were believable somewhat, but I di...moreWhen I read Susane Colasanti's When It Happens, I wasn't terribly impressed. The story was cute and the characters were believable somewhat, but I didn't really like how the story was written. I guess you could say it was too young for me, but then I've read other novels set in high school and liked it just fine.
But I wasn't about to write Susane Colasanti off. I picked up her second book, Take Me There just recently and finally cracked its covers when I looked for a fantasy break. Take Me There tells the story of three friends: Rhiannon, Nicole and James, on the week that supposedly changed their lives forever. Rhiannon just got dumped, Nicole dumped her boyfriend and James is Rhiannon's best friend and he wanted to be there for her. The first three days were told in Rhiannon's point of view first, then the three days were recapped in Nicole's POV and then James and then the next days were repeated in that order again.
I honestly don't know how to go about this review without sounding too mean, because I felt really torn about this novel. There were cute moments, and there were a lot of things that I liked somewhat, but they were all shadowed by the glaring annoyances I had while reading the book. Let me count the ways:
1. I brought this up in my Teaser Tuesday post: I had a hard time reading this book because of the way it was written. True, it's in written in a lot of detail, but half the time I found the details irrelevant, or at least they didn't make too much impact in the story. It's like I was in a mind of, well, a teen whose attention shifts from one item to another too quickly. ADD, but not quite. Yes, this is a book about teens, but the way it was written didn't really appeal to me. Maybe that's how teens speak, but why write it that way?<
2. The story didn't make sense (at least to me) up until about 100 pages into it. I know Rhiannon's brokenhearted, but I didn't want to read 50 pages of all that and only that. And it didn't help that Nicole basically repeated what happened when it was her turn to tell the story, except that she did say something that Rhiannon didn't know.
3. Rhiannon's voice and Nicole's voice sounded too similar for me, and they were both annoying, IMO. James was better, almost normal, but that was it. Rhiannon seemed to go around and around, and Nicole? Is like, absolutely annoying. With the way she talks? Like this. See what I mean?
4. It felt like there were a million characters in the book, because the other characters just kept on pointing out other people around them. Sure, they only pointed to characters that made sense in the story, but their purpose was dragged out up until the end. It may have been an attempt to put more depth in the story, that it's not only just about Rhiannon's heartbreak or Nicole's ex or James' love for Rhiannon, but it was hard to keep track of all of them, especially when they all sound alike.
5. By the end of the story, everyone was talking about karma, and all I could think of was, "Where did that come from?" Suddenly everyone seemed to sound like hippies, with all the "I feel so good with him and I realize he could take me there" thing. Maybe I just can't appreciate it?
However, Take Me There's story did pick up quite well at the end, and I kind of liked how the last few chapters were written, because it made me want to know what happened next. I do have to give credit to Colasanti for creating a story that sounded real, despite its shortcomings. Maybe I couldn't appreciate it as much because I'm not the target audience of the book.
Will I read more of Colasanti's works? Probably, but not too soon. I kind of need a break from it, so maybe next time.(less)