Thursday, December 31, 2009

My 2010 Goals



It's the New Year! It's a new decade! It's 2010!

Might as well have my first post of 2010 as a reminder to myself of my goals for this year.
To be honest, I'm very, very excited whenever there's a new year. There's 365 days of the unknown... new lessons, opportunities, and experiences! Woot Woot! A chance to grow!

Anyhow, my goals: 

1. Blog more. I'll be a better blogger this year compared to the past years I've had this blog up. I was a firm believer of notebooks before. I still am now, but I realized that my readers are very limited if I just keep them in a notebook. At least now I've got readers out there in the world who could share my views [I hope].

2. Read and review more. Oh yes. That was one of my goals for 2009. [which I didn't post online, see goal #1] I am starting 2010 with three books that I'm ready to review sometime in January. My initial goal for 2010 is to read 24 books. 2 per month. Kind of like 2009. Hopefully I could surpass that.

3. Travel more. See new places, experience different cultures. That would be one awesome thing to do. I already booked a ticket to Macau in July 2010. I wonder what other adventures await me this year?

4. Try to avail of my vices at a discount. Books, travel and shopping are my vices.
- Clothes/shoes --> only shop at the local Chinatown where there's lots of cheap clothes but are of good quality. For those high street brands, I would only get them on sale. Yes. No more paying full price.
- Books --> Sometimes the local bookstore has a table full of bargain books. Then there's the month-long sale where books could be availed of at a 20-80% off discount [usually around August-September]. I will hold off on buying books that are sold full price. If I really need to read something then there's the TBR or the handy dandy used bookstore. Or I could always swap books on BookMooch or Rosie, my new book buddy who also used to be my officemate!
- Travel --> I would avail of the crazy fares that the local budget airline is holding, and if there's no crazy fare sale anymore [ie P1.00 for a seat. That's cheap!], I would settle for a sale. Any sale, as long as I've got the funds and I'm free. "Have time and money, will book and travel. "

5. Spend more time with mummy and Goofybear the dog. I love those two. I'm planning on getting my mum to at least one new foreign country a year. In 2009, we went to Hong Kong. In 2010, hopefully somewhere else. She wants to go to Australia, but I don't think I've got the funds for that yet.

6. Save more. I need my nest egg to grow so I could have a happy retirement in 30+ years time. And well, those savings from goal #4 could come in handy for emergency or my travel vice!

7. Watch more theatre/musicals. They make me more cultured. :)

8. Watch more concerts. If they're free. =p

9. Go to more events. Book signings, parties, etc.

10. Make every moment count: read whilst stuck in traffic or in the bathroom, if its the evening, listen to an audiobook. Anything that would keep me preoccupied and just not bored. I will try to make every second count because I won't get that second back anymore.

And that's about my 2010 goals for now. Care to share yours?

The Last Day of 2009.




Wow. What a year 2009 has been. There has been too much loss of talent, a lot of misery in this year, as compared to what my 2008 has been. But nevertheless, I don't want to dwell on the negative parts, I'll just go through to the positive ones on this wrap-up post.

TRAVEL:
The year 2009 was the year I loved to travel. My eyes were literally opened in 2008 and in 2009, I realized that there are much more opportunities out there. The world is literally HUGE and I want to discovery every nook and cranny of it whenever I can.

I travelled to:
- Hong Kong
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Davao City, Philippines.
- trekked up Mt Pinatubo, Philippines
- and as usual, went up to Tagaytay, Philippines twice this year as its only around 2 hours away from my place.

More about my 2010 plans in the first post of 2010.

2009 was also the year I discovered that time is SHORT. Your seconds could not be given back to you if you've spent it, so make every moment count. There's no time to lose!!


BOOKS/READING:
So, I went back to reading. I was a prodigal daughter and would only read 1-2 books between 2002-2008. I was that lazy, and giving myself a whole lot of crappy excuses on why I would not read.
But with my new prospect in life that it's short and even time spent on traffic should be utilized, I went back to reading. And I realized... I loved it! I love being transported back into a new world, where my imagination would be working on overtime, and... learning new words and places as well.

To date, my list of places to go to has broadened because of reading.... my TBR pile has been growing, and I've gotten in touch with lots of book bloggers out there. I've learned more about new authors, and not just the mainstream ones. I've learned how to voice out my thoughts in the world more effectively through this blog, and well, I think I'm making my mark as well. Bit by bit.

I've finished 24 books this year. That's an average of 2 per month. Not bad compared to my previous stat of 1-2 per year. I am working on my reading. I'm constantly finding more time to read, to peruse the bookstores, to put into context what I'm reading and put lessons learned in my brain, things that I could use as I go about living my life. It's fun. It's lovely. It's brilliant.

Books finished this year [partial list]:
http://rubylovesadventure.blogspot.com/2009/01/2009-book-quantity-challenge.html

I've also taken reading to a different level. And what do I mean a different level?

Well, I joined the Fully Booked Book Geek - Dan Brown edition. To which I placed second [it was a tie for second!] but I didn't get to win the bacon. I totally spazzed [sp?] out on the last two challenge questions even though I bloody knew them! Anyway, kudos to the winner but I got a free book for joining the challenge in return.

I've also joined Dewey's 24-hour Readathon. It was my first time to join such an event, and it was fun reading and interacting with fellow readathoners and bloggers! I didn't watch any telly shows for a full day and instead concentrated on books! How cool was that?

I joined a book club. It's called Flips Flipping Pages and I've joined in two sessions. Quite nice fun!

I went to an author signing. It's the first time I've ever met an author up-close and got my booked signed. It was such a high, sort of meeting a celebrity but a much more down-to-earth celebrity!

CONCERTS:
2009 was also the year where I learned that some of the best things in life are free. I got to go to different events and concerts for free. But then, I wouldn't normally just ask for free stuff. They just fall whenever they are and I wouldn't bother anyone to get free stuff. They're a perk, not a necessity. I'm happy that my friends think of me whenever they get extra concert tickets... and I'm lucky enough that I have friends that are willing to share with me their experiences as we watch these bands/artists.

Concerts I've been to:
- Fall Out Boy [Feb 2009]
- Secondhand Serenade [March 2009]
- Red Jumpsuit Apparatus [March 2009]
- The Saturdays [August 2009]
- Akon [forgot when]
- Raygun [November 2009]
- Katy Perry [November 2009]
- Lenka [December 2009]

TELLY/MOVIES:
I've watched a whole lot more telly shows and movies this year. I watched the following:
- True Blood Season 2
- The Tudors Season 3 [ULTIMATE FAVE -- this explained my love for historical fiction]
- Secret Diary of a Call Girl [LOVED this as well... bought the books too]
- Merlin [LOOOOOVE this too]
- Gossip Girl Season 2
- Bones Season 1-4
- Criminal Minds season 3-4
- The Vampire Diaries
- The Beautiful Life [or two episodes of it]
- Lipstick Jungle

Is it just me or do the British telly shows do so much better on my taste rather than the American ones?

I loved Hugh Dancy as well in Confessions of a Shopaholic. I will always be a fan. And watched a whole load of movies as well, that I would not enumerate in this post.

Overall, 2009 was good, but not great. I am hoping 2010 will be better so watch out for my opening post/the goal list on January 1st.

Have a nice New Year's ahead! Here's to all of us looking forward to a bigger, better year/decade!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blog Direction for 2010!



It's nearly the New Year and since I'm spending much more time online and blogging, I might as well post on a goal or where my blog would be headed for this 2010.

Currently, I blog mostly about books, theatre, travel and concerts. It will still remain the same for 2010, although more focus will be given on books: it's the cheapest and most accessible form of entertainment for me!

There will still be the weekly memes: I will be participating on In My Mailbox posts as well as Waiting On Wednesday/On My Wishlist as well.

Reviews will be posted whenever I've finished a new book. I cannot entirely say what specific day I'll post a book review but it will happen. With my current schedule, I normally finish an average of two to four books per month, much faster than my early 2009 figures.



Books reviewed would be composed of:
80% old releases;
20% new releases [books released within 2008-2010]

The reason why there are more old releases being reviewed is because those are the normal type of books I normally get. Most of my books are acquired through bookmooch, book swaps or the used bookstore. I know that if I don't buy a book new, the publisher and the author would not get royalties from the book but I can't always buy a new book now, considering I now have other obligations where most of the paycheck goes to.


However, there are certain times in a year when the local bookstore here hosts a 20% off sale and when that time comes, I shall go around buying new books that are on my wishlist!
That's where the 20% new releases come from.

I also set-up my own Amazon A-store so if a particular book suits your fancy then feel free to buy from my Amazon store :) 

I hope most of you understand where I'm coming from. Here's hoping for a more fruitful 2010 to everyone! :)

In My Mailbox # 7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren
It features bought, borrowed, or received books as well as other cool stuff from the mail. Isn't it fun?

In this week, I didn't get any books! But I did get the following:


A journal from my Secret Santa at the office. I asked for a gift certificate but got an expensive journal instead. Thank you :)

I also got a goodie bag full of Johnsons Baby Lotion samples! Wheeee!! They smell soo good!

So, what did you get in your mailbox this week? Hopefully I get a few books here and there before the New Year -- the post office has been closed for the past few days!
 :) Till next week!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares

In the first installment of Ann Brashares novel of the Travelling Pants, four girls: Tibby, Lena, Bridget and Carmen, find a pair of pants that miraculously fit all of them. They believe that this magical pair of pants is enough to bring their friendship together even though they spend their first summer apart, and the pants were capable of bringing good luck and new experiences to these four friends.


This young adult book has got me interested in it when I first saw the movie. It was a story of growing up, and realizing that everything is changing around you and you just have to cope up with it. The story is told in a third person point of view and alternates between what's heppening to the four characters as they deal with problems and their new experiences. There's also quotations that separate a new chapter from each other, quite a good presentation to ensure that the readers would find something inspirational as well.

The book is a quick read, and as I have the mass market paperback version, the font size is quite big, with some large spacings between the sentences as well. I love Brashares poignant writing and the various real-life scenarios that each character has to go to. It makes the characters more real and can definitely influence younger adults as they read the book into making the right choices, stepping up to challenges, and being more mature.

Although there were obviously parts that got me bored and irritated [if you guys intend to read the book, you be the judge], and there are also some parts where it was obviously dragging a bit and you find yourself saying "Ugh. When will this annoying bit end?" This book is surely something you'll want to read over the summer or recommend teens as they go through real life.

I recommend this for:
Young adults or even adults who are facing tough times in their life [read Tibby's point of view with Bailey]
Someone who just wants a quick read
Someone who wants to read something about friendship.

Rating: 3.5/5

Copy: Mass Market Paperback.
Source: Bought from a used bookstore.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!




Hiya guys! Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I will be on vacation until the 29th but there would still be posts up in my blog as I'm trying to type up some reviews and scheduling them at the moment!

Have fun! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On My Wishlist #4

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, which will be posted every Wednesday. It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured.

I would normally post one book per week as there are loads and loads and loads of books in cyberspace and if I list more than one, I might get a headache!


This week, on my wishlist is Fallen by Lauren Kate. I saw this book at the local bookstore this week and I sooo want it! But again, it's in hardcover so it's quite a bit expensive as well!

Doesn't the cover look preettyy?? It's one of those books that are very highly buzzed about in the blogosphere this 2009 and I'm sure it will take off in 2010 as well. Aren't fallen angels all the buzz now?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quickie Update

Guys, I am so sorry for not updating my blog for the past few days!

Work has been so hectic [long story] -- friends, I'll tell them to you the next time we chat or meet up. And to cut it short, we are going on LOOOONG Overtime hours for the past 7 weekdays and it is NOT fun, especially with Christmas around the corner.

Books that I should've finished reading a week ago are still unfinished at the moment, gah! And of course, I haven't prepared reviews or uploads for the stuff I've done for the past few days.

Bear with me and hopefully all this work crap should be done by Christmas Eve. So I could FINALLY enjoy my Christmas holiday!

And yahoo.... Bank Holiday on the 28th so no work! More sleep, telly shows & movies to watch, and also books to read!

Until the next update. Here's hoping you guys have a Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: Take That Present: The Circus Live DVD


For those of you who read my blog before or know me personally, it is no secret that I LOVE boybands. One of my top two favourite bands is Take That! [I said top two because they're tied with Boyzone!]

Anyhow, since the DVD is not currently available in my country here in the far east, I downloaded a copy of this before I get a physical copy. [although I've no idea when I'll get my physical copy of this]

Let me just rate it outright: it deserves a 10 out of 5. Yes. It's that good! It's double than what I had expected!

Let me warn you first..... the below contains SPOILERS!

The theatrical quality of their show brought me to tears in the first part, the circus performers, the wonderful costumes of all the performers [and the boys], the elephant during "The Garden" [my favourite part so far], the rain effects during "Back For Good", the fireworks at the end, the band performing their songs whilst playing instruments during "Up All Night", "Wooden Boat", "How Did It Come to This", the guys in unicycles, painting their faces like mimes during "What Is Love", them singing my second favourite song "Said It All" [although a bit disappointed they didn't sing my ultimate fave TT song, "Reach Out". Another favourite part? "Hello!" Cute cute cute song! And also for "Hold Up A Light"


If you're a fan of the band [like me!], you must definitely get a copy of this DVD!! I was soooo gutted I wasn't able to see them live during this performance [and well, EVER], but with this DVD as well as the previous ones [Beautiful World Live and the Ultimate Tour], I'm able to catch a glimpse of how the band treats their shows. Go buy it and then watch it! :)

Okay, I'm sounding like a complete fangirl in here but I am a fangirl! Lol.



Buy the DVD and CD here:


Friday, December 18, 2009

In My Mailbox # 6

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren
It features bought, borrowed, or received books from the mail. Isn't it fun?
 

This week, I bought "Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke from a used bookstore in SM Mall of Asia.
 

It's hardbound and is in a very good condition. It set me back P170 [around $4]. It was pretty pricey for me, considering it was a used book but it was hardbound and there were cute illustrations, I can't say no!
 
I also found some World War I and World War II related books at that bookstore which costs around $4 as well. Buuuut I don't have the money anymore so I've kissed it goodbye and pray I'll see those books once again at a cheaper price and at a brach near my place!
 
What was in your mailbox this week?
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [Book] - JK Rowling


This third book has been my favourite in all the Harry Potter books so far! Although the movie version of this was the least of my favourites in the franchise!

Anyway, in this book, a dangerous murderer has escaped from the prison of Azkaban, Sirius Black. It was known amongst the wizards that he might be after Harry, and was a servant of Lord Voldemort. Harry, Ron and Hermione are then thrust in a new adventure where they'll be faced with time turners, new magical creatures, dementors, harder magical spells, all in their third year of Hogwarts!

I love that in this book, there is no appearance whatsoever of Voldemort! That means no intense fight scenes or whatnot between Harry and Voldemort but then again, I loooove the new characters and the depth they bring to Harry's past. I also love how everything intertwines and interconnects with each other. It's hard to post my exact thoughts/feelings without spoilers but one of them would be how to use a time turner -- excellent, excellent stuff!

My favourite character in this is Beaky, the Hippogriff! He's like a little dog of Hagrid [and we all know that Hagrid loves them weird and magical creatures] Fine. I think you're saying that Beaky is not that much of a character but my second favourite would be Sirius Black! Imagine all that we went through just to see Harry again. Awwww..... and it's amazing how he...... [SPOILER] could turn into a huge dog [END spoiler]

Looooove the part of the Patronus Spell as well to ward off the dementors!

And Malfoy was being a pest as per usual to Harry.

This is a very entertaining read, so I must wrap up this post before I give out any more spoilers.

5/5 rating for me!

Copy: Trade Paperback, bought by me from National Bookstore.
Date Published: 2001
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On My Wishlist # 3

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, which will be posted every Wednesday. It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured.


I would normally post one book per week as there are loads and loads and loads of books in cyberspace and if I list more than one, I might get a headache! lol.
 
For this week, I have two books! Hah! They're mostly British books and I think are only available in bookstores in the UK, so bear with me :P I'm not sure when I could buy these books online or physically [living in the far east sucks sometimes. If I have these books shipped, it'll cost me a LOT in shipping + in customs taxes :S ]


 
 
Take One 1990-1996 by Take That.
 
I love, love, love this boyband!! My love affair with this band reignited when I was back in the UK last year! Too bad I wasn't able to go back this year, but maybe in the next few years I could see them tour!
 
Product description from Amazon.co.uk:
The pop phenomenon that is Take That was formed in Manchester in 1990. Throughout the first half of the '90s the band sold an unbelievable 60 million records, resulting in two of the best-selling albums of the decade: Everything Changes (which was nominated for the 1994 Mercury Prize) and Greatest Hits in 1996. Their rise to the top was well-documented in the media but in Take One they tell, for the first time, their version of this incredible story of superstardom. Take One gains you exclusive insight into life on tour during those early years, with over 150 never-before-seen photographs. Glimpse at the world inside their hotel rooms, go backstage during their amazing stage shows around the globe, and see from their unique perspective the ever-present, overwhelmingly loyal fans that followed them everywhere – perhaps you'll recognise yourself... To accompany these exceptional unseen images, a narrative, written by the boys runs throughout, candidly and humorously documenting the highs and lows, the frenzy and hysteria – and the often surreal moments – of the meteoric rise of the world's greatest boy band.
 
And... the sequel book, which I absolutely have to get as well:

 
Take Two: 2005-2009 by Take That

Product Description from Amazon.co.uk:
When Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen released 'Patience' on November 20, 2006, over a decade since Take That split up, the world welcomed them back with open arms to their rightful position at the top of the charts. Their return to glory has become one of the most exciting stories in British pop music and in Take Two they tell the amazing story of their comeback for the first time. With over 150 exclusive and personal images, and accompanied by humorous and revealing commentary written by the boys, relive first-hand the exceptional, and often heart-warming, experiences that make up the second part of the Take That story.
 
They are making me drool already. Both of them costs around 20+ pounds already! eeeek!! I really have to save up for these then!
 
I hope some of my friends who get sent in the UK read this post so they'll know what to get me when they go back home! lol.
 
What's on your wishlist today? :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: Sweeney Todd, The Musical



Last December 6th, I was lucky enough to get second row orchestra side seats to Repertory's rendition of Sweeney Todd.

Starring Audie Gemora as Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker and Menchu Lauchenco-Yulo as Mrs. Lovett, the musical is about a British urban legend where a demon barber from Fleet Street goes around, seeking revenge, slashing the necks of his customers, and in turn, their bodies are being used as uh... filling for Mrs. Lovett's Pies.

Everyone pretty much knows the story of Sweeney Todd, right? Then I'd better not dwell much on the story and on to the review.  First off, the music -- I love, love, love it! I first saw the musical via the film adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter [which I dubbed "Sweeney Todd - The Harry Potter version, since the cast members playing Bellatrix, Peter Pettigrew & Severus Snape were in the movie] and I loooooooved it. My mom, on the other hand, thought that it was too gory so she stepped out of the room while I was watching it on HBO.

In this Repertory version, Audie Gemora played a wonderful Sweeney Todd. He had all the facial expressions of boredom and "I could not be bothered" looks to Mrs. Lovett while she is busy trying to profess her love for him! LOL! Menchu Lauchenco-Yulo was also brilliant, but of course, not as brilliant as Audie Gemora. The rest of the characters [Franco Laurel as Anthony and Lena McKenzie as Joanna] were also quite good.

The set was awesome. My favourite part was the steaming oven! Awesome, awesome! Plus the trapdoor where the dead people fall into from the barber's chair was nice! Lighting = superb! Sound = superb as well!
Soundtrack = ahhh... my favourite part! It's been a week since I've seen the play and the lines "I feel you Joanna....." are still stuck in my head.

If I had to choose which one's better between the movie & the local production, then I'd say the local production! Well, nothing beats the real deal, doesn't it? Of course, there's always the movie to fall back on everytime I need a dose of the musical [and Johnny Depp hotness amidst all that makeup too].
Quite a shame the run ended last Sunday [December 13th]. However, if it would be shown again on additional runs [I dunno when though], do watch it! :)

For next year, I am looking forward to the following repertory productions:
Romeo & Bernadette [February 2010 -- same month as I'm going to watch the local adaptation of RENT!]
Little Women [November/December 2010 -- their big musical and directed by Menchu Lauchenco-Yulo!]

Till then! :D


** all photos from Broadway World - Philippines **

Friday, December 11, 2009

In My Mailbox # 5

For this week, I didn't buy any books! Yay for my wallet! :) I can't say it will stay the same for next week though :P

But I did get the below in the mail -- they're Mythical Creatures Stamps that I've won from Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon last October :) Aren't they pretttyy??? :) I think they're only available in the UK and are mint condition!



What did you get in your mailbox this week? :)

On My Wishlist [the DVD edition] # 1

It's not part of the On My Wishlist posts I do every week but since I need a complete DVD list to look after when I go to the UK [someday, hopefully]


Boyzone: Dublin... Live by Request
-- I had a video CD of this a few years back but now I want a DVD to add to my collection! *sigh*

Product Description from Amazon.com
The boyz perform hits from BY REQUEST live in their home town of Dublin. Songs include: "Going Gets Tough," "One Kiss," "All That I Need," "Love Me for a Reason," "Different Beat," "Words," and more.




The next DVD on the list is a three-disc one:
Boyzone Live and Behind the Scenes.
It contains the DVDs for: Said and Done, Live at the Point and Live at Wembley.

I saw this at HMV when I was in London and it was worth 35 pounds! Eeek! Quite expensive. I didn't get a chance to go back to the store but if I could, I would and I'll get this!! :)

So, that's it for now, will post another batch of my wishlist of DVDs some other time :D

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On My Wishlist # 2

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, which will be posted every Wednesday. It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured.


I would normally post one book per week as there are loads and loads and loads of books in cyberspace and if I list more than one, I might get a headache! lol.
 
 
This week, its Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
 


This book is reviewed by a lot of book bloggers out there now who say it was a really good book!

My friend and I were just in a bookstore after watching Spring Awakening when we saw this in the shelf. It was in hardcover and the font was in blue ink! Awesome!
 
I didn't read the back part of the book at the time because the price of the book turned me off a bit [we all know that hard covers are more expensive than trade paperbacks or mass market paperbacks] but now I would really like to get a copy of this too [though I'll probably wait until it's in the used bookstore or in paperback form]
 
Product Description from Amazon.com:
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Apocalypse: The Second World War


Last night, I hurried on home to try and watch at least parts of the six-hour marathon of Apocalypse: the Second World Wary by National Geographic to commemorate Pearl Harbour.

I managed to watch episodes 3-6 last night and let me tell you, it blew my head away!

Filled with clips from collectors and other various sources, it is the definitive documentary that gives you an insight peek on what really happened during World War II.

I love, love, love, love, loved this documentary! If there's a DVD out I would definitely get it. Not only did I learn a lot about this historic event that changed peoples lives, I also gained an insight on how and why this war had happened and how it became a world war.

Now I'm not sure if this series will be airing sometime soon [believe me, I've just checked tonight's and tomorrow's programme listing on National Geographic], please do look out for it in National Geographic! It's the channel's highest rating documentary ever [and believe me, it totally deserves all the top ratings].

Now I don't have my own war story to tell, but my mom tells me that her brother died during the war. He was sick at the time and since going out of hiding during the war is out of the question, he passed away. :(
Another story was about the LaSallian brothers that were killed in the chapel in the university grounds when the Japanese trooped in to the school.
Trivia: Manila, Philippines was the second most affected/destroyed city during the war after Warsaw, Poland.
So, if you want to learn more trivia, do watch this series!

I vow to read more about World War II and find out what was in the mind of the leaders that were involved at the time, of course I'll TRY not to be unbiased and read more about both parties: the Allies and the Axis.

Any suggestions on books, both historical fiction based during the time and also non-fiction books? Would really appreciate it if you could comment below with your suggestions and I'll see if those books are available in the bargain bins or in local bookstores here in my country.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2010 Audiobook Reading Challenge



And so another challenge I've signed up for! This time, it's for an audiobook challenge :)

This one also runs from January 1 -December 31, 2010! And since I do "read" audiobooks, this one should be a breeze!

My goal is to reach at least the Curious or the Fascinated level:

-- Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.

-- Fascinated – Listen to 6 Audio Books.

Watch out for this space as I place the list of books I've read relating to this challenge :)

2010 Historical Fiction reading challenge



The 2010 Historical Fiction reading challenge is hosted by http://theroyalreviews.blogspot.com/

Now, seeing that I've signed up for a bazillion other reading challenges before and never really seemed to finish one yet, I thought I'd give this a try as some of my other TBR books are historical fiction! Plus, I seem to have a knack of reading them as it gives me a glimpse of history :) Also, it'll be nice to interact with other bloggers who are joining this challenge!

Since I am a slow reader, I am gunning for the Curious level -- read three books.

Challenge will run from January 1, 2010 until December 31, 2010.

I could probably do this in conjunction with the other challenges :) That's it for now!

December 2009 24-hour readathon

So I've joined in another 24 hour readathon on www.dreadlockgirl.com. It was slated from December 5th, 7pm [Manila time] to December 6th [Manila time]

Unfortunately my internet was acting up yesterday evening so I wasn't able to update at around 9pm Manila time and only got online today.

I love readathons, they give me a chance to cut down some of my Mt TBR list and interact with fellow bloggers out there :)

Unfortunately, with this December 5th readathon, I only found out a few hours before, and my weekend plans have been taken! I've been to watch New Moon at the movie theatre and a bit of shopping on the 5th and watch a local musical production of Sweeney Todd on the 6th.

In the past Dewey readathon last October, I managed to save at least an entire day for the readathon.

Sad to say, my stats for this readathon were dismal. Finished around 10 pages in total inthe books I'm reading *blushes*. I didn't stay up late to read any books, but got tempted and saw three episodes of Gossip Girl season 2, slept, and went to the shows I've mentioned above.

Not that I mind reading, but I've just had a very busy month-end at work so I took a very easy weekend off.

For those of you who entered this readathon, how was it for you? Was it more successful and productive compared to me? :P

Friday, December 4, 2009

In My Mailbox # 4

In this week's mailbox, I didn't buy any books [brand new or used]! Instead, I got the following as parcels from contests I've won from Cherry Mischievous and Bitten By Books! =)


From Cherry Mischievous:
"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman and a bunch of swag [postcards of "The Cracked Throne" by Joshua Palmatier, and a postcard from Cherry too]. This looks like a really awesome book! I can't wait to read it, although I'll have to find more reading time first!

"The Magicians" Synopsis from Amazon.com

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
 
The other book is MaryJanice Davidson's "Drop Dead Gorgeous" from Bitten By Books
 
It's a chick lit book, I think? Another genre I so adore! I have one of her Queen Betsey vampire series in my TBR too!
 
Product Description from Amazon.com
Ah, weddings - every single woman's reminder that she'll probably die alone, covered in cat hair and dressed in unflattering sweatpants. And as far as bad wedding experiences go, my friend Stacy's could take the cake - I'm dateless, I'm a bridesmaid, and someone just attempted to whack the groom (known, no kidding, as The Boss) in the middle of the ceremony. Whoa...hang on. I might not relish reception food or doing the Electric Slide, but anyone who tries to ruin a girlfriend's big day by bumping off her true love will have to go through me first. So now I, assistant hairdresser Jenny Branch, am helping to hunt down a real-life bad guy, and the prime suspect is Kevin Stone, who claims to be working undercover for a group called Covert Ops Protection. All of this is hard to believe - my new role as spy-in-training, the fact that I'm surrounded by people with freaky superhuman powers, and most of all, the way that this unbelievably sexy villain/double agent/whatever Kevin is makes every (and I mean every) nerve-ending tingle the second he comes into view...and it appears to be mutual. Living with flying bullets and constant danger is a long way from sweeping up hair at the end of the day. But if it means being around Kevin, a girl could get used to it...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treasure Island Musical


Last Sunday, November 29th, I had a chance to watch "Treasure Island" by Theatre Down South at the Insular Life Theatre here in Alabang.

Tickets were at P450 a pop, and was free seating.

I normally try to watch as many plays/musicals as I can whenever I'm free or have extra funds, and this play is much more special because a very, very good buddy of mine is playing a part!

It's actually my first time to ever watch a musical with my friend in a supporting role. Granted, I had a few sniggers here and there because my friend is not himself [ie in character], but it's part of the whole threatre persona!

The show was good -- it remained true to the original tale, based on a book by Robert Louis Stevenson. And I have to admit, when I was watching the play, I couldn't help but compare bits and bobs of the story from the Muppets version of Treasure Island. I can't help it! I loved that movie when I was younger! And who could top those cute little muppet characters?

The props were excellent! It showed the jungle scene very nicely as well as the bar and ship scenes!
There were lots of funny parts in the tale, the music is okay as well, but there were parts of the dialogue I wasn't able to listen [probably because I'm sniggering or whispering around with my friends lol]

At the front of the auditorium, there were numerous props that you could have photos in! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera and my mobile phone was low on battery so I wasn't able to take photos! Dang! Before and after the show, cast members also go around meeting the show watchers! Now that's effort!

Too bad the last run of the show was on the 29th of November, however, I'll watch more musicals by this group [well, mainly because my friend was in it] once the time and fund permits!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On My Wishlist #1

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, which will be posted every Wednesday. It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured.
I would normally post one book per week as there are loads and loads and loads of books in cyberspace and if I list more than one, I might get a headache! lol.


This week's On My Wishlist:



Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.

I've seen this book on various blogs and they gave it ace reviews! It just came out this week and apparently the rights have been sold to make this into a film! Wow! Something to look forward to!
This is the first out of a series of five novels! Yipes, another series we can drool on after Harry Potter & The Twilight Saga!

Book Description from Amazon.com:
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

It features bought, borrowed, or received books from the mail. Isn't it fun?

For this week, my hoards are as follows:

Bought

Demonata #5: Blood Beast. Got this from my favourite bookstore and was marked down! It's a hardbound copy and only costs $2.50 [100 PHP]. Who could resist it? Well... I'm still missing books 2-4 but I'll find it eventually.


Book Description from Amazon.com: 

Grubbs Grady has so far escaped the family curse, but when he begins to experience alarming symptoms at the onset of the full moon, he is scared that the jaws of fate are opening and about to swallow him whole.

He has cheated death, defeated demons, moved on with his life. But Grubbs is torn between the world of magic and his wolfen genes. Can he fight the beast inside or will he fall victim to his tainted blood?

Meridon - Philippa Gregory. [now I only need a copy of The Favoured Child to complete the series]
Hardbound copy from the user bookstore, bought at PHP50 [around 1.10 USD!]

Warriors - Into the Wild  by Erin Hunter. Cute children's book that caught my eye! It's about warrior cats! Whee! Who wouldn't love that? I could totally imagine both our cats becoming warrior cats too. And to top it up, I only got a paperback for PHP15 [around 0.25 USD]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Books on the Spotlight # 1

Books on the Spotlight is a monthly event I'm doing to highlight books that I've been reading and would feature reviews in the next few weeks.

For December 2009, the books I hope to complete and post reviews of are as follows:
*all images searched from google images; product descriptions from Amazon.com*


Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran
 The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
 
 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling
For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.
 
 
 
 

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares
Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn't look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they're great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they're fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: Me and Mr Darcy - Alexandra Potter

29-year old Emily Albright is a manager in an independent bookstore in New York City. After one disastrous date after another, her best friend decides to book her on an 18-30 tour in Mexico in order to meet new guys. But Emily, determined to escape that Mexico tour, booked herself a Jane Austen book tour in England.

However, the book tour is not what it seems: it's filled with pensioners, except for one journalist named Spike, who goes about interviewing people about why they think Mr. Darcy is the ideal man.

Until one day, during the tour, Emily meets the real Mr. Darcy.

Thoughts:
Hmm... Initially, I thought "Okay. This seems like an interesting book to read." It is a chick lit that deals with a Pride and Prejudice character -- Mr Darcy. I got it from BookMooch and read it as part of our October Book Club, where we have to read Pride & Prejudice and an offshoot book.

Anyway, lets now go on to my thoughts. First off, I really got confused with the story. Seriously. I had a few moments where I would scratch my head and go "What happened?" and "How did that happen?" Especially in parts where Mr. Darcy would magically appear out of nowhere.

Granted, there were dragging parts every now and again, but some parts were just sooo boring and full of useless details [at least for me], that I had to force myself to go read the next few pages of the book.

Character-wise, Emiy is portrayed as a romantic, idealistic girl, who had no fashion sense whatsoever. But the way the author described how she packed her things as she was leaving New York for London seemed unreal. I mean, packing a lot of books instead of clothes? Come on! That is so unreal. Bookworms usually pack around 3-5 books per trip and if they need to read some more during the trip, they head off to the airport bookstore or any other bookstore they could get their hands on, not pack everything that they have in the closet.
As for Spike, well, he was inconsistently described in the book. He's blonde and a bit dishevelled, but you don't have to go bashing him about saying he's got a potbelly or something.

There's also some characters that don't need to play a supporting role but is wildly described in the story. I don't need that much information, right?

Location-wise, I think it was well-researched, as the places described in the book are existing and do tie up to what is in Jane Austen's novels and/or screen adaptations! I know because I googled them myself too. :) Classic example: Sham Castle in Bath! I've been to Bath [well, for only a few hours] but never knew there was a Sham Castle that existed in the first place!! However, one thing that isn't feasible? The coach picking up all the tour participants in the airport. Of all the tours I've known, they normally pick up the people in their respective hotels or at a bus stop! It isn't feasible to be in an airport!

Plot-wise, It lacks originality. There are some parts which were just a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, albeit different circumstances, character names, and jobs. It does have some fantasy elements in it though [what with Mr. Darcy popping up every now and again and blank pages of a book] but definitely not enough to capture my attention.

Overall, I'm a bit torn on whether I liked the book or not, so I'll probably give this a rating of 2.25/5.
I'm surprised that for a chick lit book, the heroine was not funny enough for me, and the scenes between the hero and heroine lacked to give me that fluttery feeling in my stomach that I get whenever there were sweet and cute moments happening between them.

Oh, also don't be surprised that some of the spellings are different -- the author is based in the UK.

Read it if you're a Pride & Prejudice fan who wants to read the story told in a modern point of view, who wants to have a feel of how it would be like to have Mr. Darcy pop up in the modern view, and well, just want to read a chick lit book.

Book Details:
Published: 2007
Source: Bookmooch.
Final Rating: 2.25/5


Friday, November 20, 2009

In My Mailbox # 2

I'm on a roll!

Last Saturday, I was at the mall near the concert grounds where Katy Perry would have her concert.
Of course I had to stop by my favourite used bookstore chain to see if there was anything worth getting.
I did end up with one book. Then a friend of mine sent me a text message as I was walking to the concert grounds, she said that there was a 20% off sale at one bookstore in a mall on the other side of town.
I so wanted to get the Luxe Box set and with a 20% off incentive,I had to ask my friend to get it for me!

So, for this week, here are my buys:

The Luxe Box Set [actual photo not available since the books are still with my friend and I'm only gonna get them on the 28th when we meet up for a quick catchup! :) ]

Product Description from Amazon.com
Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. But when the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.


The first three delicious novels in the Luxe series introduce a world of luxury and deception, where nothing is more dangerous than a scandal or more precious than a secret. . . .


And, from the used bookstore, there's Sweep # 2: The Coven by Cate Tiernan
 
Product Description from Amazon.com
Cal, now Morgan’s boyfriend, helps her accept the truth: Wicca is in Morgan’s blood. As Morgan learns more about Wicca, she realizes that she needs to find out more about her parentage. The answers are there, but she doesn’t know how to find them.

That's it for now :) More reading ahead!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kissing Games Of the World Winners!!

Apologies for not announcing the winner earlier. I've just been swamped with work! *phew*

Anyway, using the help of a random line picker, http://mytexttools.com/Random-Line-Picker.html I finally got to choose the three winners of Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton



Congratulations guys! I'll send you an email in the next 24-48 hours to get your details :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Releases vs Older Releases

Just a passing note from me-- I've been noticing that most book blogs concentrate on new books being released. Granted, some of them are lucky enough to get Advanced Reader Copies [ARCs] or finished copies from authors or publishers, and some of them do tend to buy new books more often than the older releases.

Which leads me to the question: do you prefer reading new releases [ie books released just this year] or do you prefer reading older releases?

In my case, I prefer reading the older releases. Why? Well, because I love finding older releases on sale in used bookstores! Plus, I get to buy them for more than half the price that's way cheaper than the ones that are still brand-new. To be honest, books are just part of a huge set of addictions that I have so I tend to find something that will entertain me at the lowest cost I could possibly get. Meaning, I don't really buy every book I buy full price [unless I really, really, really, really want to read that certain book.] Plus, these used books have a lot of character in it.

My fascination with older releases is that I get to review books that other people have long forgotten or not have taken a good look at when they were first released. What, with all the hype regarding the new ones, someone has got to review the older ones, right?

That's just my two cents for now.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Granted I don't buy nor receive too many books in my mail, I'll only post In My Mailbox posts whenever I get or buy a book or two :)

So, for this week, I got a lovely package containing "Green" by Ted Dekker from Thomas Nelson for review.


Product Overview from Amazon.com:
AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called...Green.

But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest.

Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath.

But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter's cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all.

Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to GREEN. Book Zero.


FOUR NOVELS. TWO WORLDS. ONE STORY.




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter - A Virtual Tour Part I

I'm LOVING this book. Seriously. It opened my eyes up to the world of Ancient Egypt like it never had.
Granted, I'd always been biased to British history and literary figures but this book has blown me away.
Though it does have it's ups and downs [more of which I'll post when I've finished reading the book, I'm about 1/3 there], I constantly have to google and research to create a visual interpretation of what Michelle Moran was saying in the book.

So, hence, for myself [and any others who might be interested in Ancient Egypt], I created a virtual tour and guide of the times as based from the book of Michelle Moran. Well, mostly I did it to avoid having to google everything again, so I'll just post everything I come up here and credit as necessary. And basically I just want the readers of my blog to appreciate the same things I did whilst I was reading the book!

No spoilers below! But if I do slip, let me know in the comments so I could update this post!


First up, who are these characters from the Hellenistic Egypt times? Well, there's Kleopatra Selene. As per the book, she is the only daughter of Marc Antony and Kleopatra VII.
[Photo on the left from http://www.bible-history.com/] The book is told from her point of view [hence the title "Cleopatra's Daughter". No, it's not about the famous Cleopatra VII talking about her daughter] She was only 11 when her mother and father committed suicide when their empire was falling against Octavian's forces. [Previous sentence is not a spoiler because everyone pretty much knows that they killed themselves -- its part of Ancient History!]

She has a twin brother, Alexander Helios, whom I can't find a decent portraiture on the internet right now, who is more level-headed and is an excellent horseman like his father.

She also has a younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphius, described to look a lot like Marc Antony [now, I really have to look for photos of Marc Antony!!! Is he that much of a looker? Really?? I couldn't imagine although the bust pieces of him from the museums kinda look interesting -- he's got wavy [or curly] blonde hair, doesn't he?]

Anyways, the book was initially set in Alexandria, where Selene was recounting how lovely the place was. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was located there: The Lighthouse of Alexandria, to which Selene has drawn many wonderful views of the city [painting by Salvador Dali on right].

 Alexandria is on the top of Egypt, it is also known for their sea ports and was the capital of Egypt. Alexander the Great had founded this city when he conquered Egypt!

This city is also known for the Library of Alexandria, it was also stated in the book that it's filled with thousands of scrolls and Selene and Alexander loved to read through them. The book also describes the mausoleum of Antony and Kleopatra, and I would've loved to see the mausoleum as well as the Library of Alexandria and the Lighthouse, but unfortunately, they're all destroyed now :( Well, who would've thought it would survive after 2000 years [except for the pyramids of course]

My, my, who would've ever thought that people in those days would ever think that their works and legacy would still live 2000 or more years on?? Hopefully I would love to make at least a tiny bit of impact to the world as much as they did.

I left out my notes at home so I'll create a virtual tour part II when I come up with more interesting bits and bobs. I'm at the part where Kleopatra and Alexander are already seeing the sights and structures of Rome, so the next part would probably be longer than this!

Hope you enjoyed :) I'd already included Alexandria as one of my places to visit in my goal to see the world!




Monday, November 9, 2009

Monobooking vs Polybooking

Not even sure if there are "monobooking" or "polybooking" in the dictionary or anywhere else in general, but in theory, monobooking means reading only one book at a time, whilst polybooking means reading two or more books at one time.

I've realized over the past few days that I am at a loss at what to blog about. After Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, I haven't finished a book yet out of the many I've started to read. Granted, for the past week, I've done a million other errands at home and month-end work had just finished so I had no work-life balance at all during the past five days, only got to sleep, eat, get ready for work, and read for 45 minutes to an hour each day on my way to and from work. Ah. The downsides of month-end. But then again, that's really no excuse.

I figure that the reason why I'm really slow in reading books nowadays is that I've started so many books at once! For now, my current reading list is 9 books! Gah. Blame the up and down depression of my past week, I was at a loss of what to read and I wound up jumping from one book to the other when I don't feel like reading the subject anymore.

I've also got a weird habit where there's some books where I absolutely refuse to take out of my room[blame paranoia-- I can't stand the thought of that book being spilled on by water or juice if I brought it in the kitchen, of it being sat on when I bring it in the living room], whilst there are other books that I separate to bring out of the house and swap on bookmooch after I've finished reading. Weird, weird me.

Anyway, I've also got to thinking if any of you lot read one book at a time or read two or more books at any given time? Why do you want to monobook? Why would you prefer to polybook?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


Book One of Seven in the Harry Potter Series.

Harry Potter was an orphan, living in a cupboard under the stairs with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley. His life is pretty much boring, with not much privileges. Until one day, on his 11th birthday, a letter arrived at #4 Privet Drive, an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Then harry realizes he is not an ordinary boy. He is quite known in the wizarding world as the boy who defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named [Voldemort], and also became the youngest seeker for Griffindor in a century.

On his first year at Hogwarts, Harry is exposed to the Sorcerer's Stone - a stone that produces an elixr that can bring eternal life, and also has the capability to create gold. With new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry is thrust in a new adventure on their quest to find out who wanted to steal and usethe Sorcerer's Stone.

I have to stop my makeshift summary there as I don't really want to give away any spoilers.

I first read this book way back in 1999, when I was still a sophomore in high school. When I tweeted that I was reading this book, many of my friends asked why I was reading this book again when this is the third [or fourth? I've lost count]. Well, I wanted to read it as part of the Harry Potter Reading Challenge as hosted by GalleySmith. In the challenge, we're asked to read all 7 Harry Potter books and this is the first step!

Anyway, my review of the book.

I've always liked Harry Potter. The way JK Rowling wrote the story was so believable, you'd want to be transported to Hogwarts! The plotline was so cleverly constructed, and as I was first reading Sorcerer's Stone, I totally believed that Snape was the one after the Stone [although he was the Red Herring.... I was ignorant back then :P]

Do read the series if you haven't -- the movie is loyal to the book, although the book has far more details, which could explain some underlying questions that you might encounter in the movie.

Back when I was in London, I did a really quick Harry Potter tour by going to "Diagon Alley" [Leadenhall Market] and Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross. I will probably post that adventure up in one of my travel-related blogs. Haha. The experience of pretending to "push" the cart through the wall in Platform 9 3/4: Priceless.

Also got to Oxford where the Great Hall scenes were shot. I could just imagine being part of Slytherin or Ravenclaw or Griffindor or Hufflepuff and being excited of waving my wand and learning new tricks!

Overall, I'd give this book 4.5/5! :) It sure was a good fantasy book, and I can't wait to re-read the rest of the series.

My copy: A paperback, bought at National Bookstore way back in 1999 for P189.50 [around $4.50 in the current conversion]. The spines are creased, the pages are brown, but still something to keep in the personal library.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New layout

As you can see everyone, I've got a new layout. Yay! So happy about this :) Hope you do to -- With the two sidebars, everything is so much more organized!

I do apologise for losing the quick links and the books I'm reading on the side of the page but I'll try to get it up within a few days.

Work has been hectic for me, but so far I've read Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, the review of which I'll post within the next few days also [after I've finished editing the layout and trying to recover my lost widgets]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What to do in a blackout?

So, there was another storm that passed through Manila yesterday [Mirinae], and we've had a blackout for nearly 30+ hours.

And I got to thinking... what do you do when there's a blackout?

For me, I did the following:
- In the morning, while there was still light, I read! I made significant progress on "Cleopatra's Daughter" by Michelle Moran.
- I ate, ate and ate. I think I must've gained a few pounds.
- In the evening, I had at least 90%+ of battery life on my laptop -- I watched an episode of The Vampire Diaries and got to move a few files to my mobile phone before the laptop batteries' died out. My laptop is 6years old so the battery isn't exactly the best quality anymore.
- In the latter part of the evening [after eating dinner and helping to clean the dishes], I listened to some audiobooks.

So now, I've got another problem.

I think I've broken my universal remote control!
So, without any tv or dvd, what would you do? I need suggestions until I could get myself another universal remote control.
I'm thinking the following:
1. Read some more
2. Finish the scrapbook projects I have
3. Surf the internet [no matter how slow my connection is -- my WiFi says I'm only at GPRS speed]
4. Watch telly series on my PC.
5. Continue watching the telly but resort to the good old fashioned channel changing by getting my bum off the bed and manually pressing the channel + and channel - buttons.

Good enough? :)