Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Melisa Kantor - "Maybe One Day" -- Book Review

Maybe One Day
Melissa Kantor

Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

This novel was masterfully done. And you know what the best thing about it is?  It's not your usual YA book that deals with love or romance. This time, you'll be reading a story that focuses on friendship, growing up, and all things in between. 

When Zoe finds out that her BFF, Olivia, is diagnosed with Leukemia, her world crashes. What is she to do without her best friend? How can she manage to deal with life, and deal with how to be around her best friend when she has no idea what to say or what to do? It's tough being a teen, dealing with things that teens have to deal with, and to actually deal with the idea that your best friend, the person you've spent most of your life with and the person whom you trust more than anyone else, is dying.

I have to say that what I liked most about this book is how honest it was. How it makes you realize that being a teen and having to deal with mature stuff like this will make you grow up fast. How experiences like this may make or break you, and what you can choose to do.

Sure, Zoe may have made mistakes, but being in a confusing and conflicted position that she is in, it's also hard to judge. You'll feel for her and you'll also feel for Olivia and how her sickness makes things complicated, or how, rather, her sickness becomes a symbol of how you should act towards your friends and how it should not define a person.

This book was certainly hard to put down. Sure, there is a love angle, and some relationships get to be explored, but more than that, it will remind you of your childhood bestfriend, or your BFF. It will remind you of the great friends you have in life, and of the people you should treasure and trust. And most importantly, it will help you understand the beauty of life, and that even though it may sometimes be hard, when you have great friends around, and when you know how to appreciate what you have, life will be simple; that even though there may be trials and hardships, in the end, what matters is how you choose to deal with them--and how you choose to be yourself through it all.

Teens, and even teens at heart (yay me) should read this. It is a breath of fresh air and a reminder of the importance of friendship, too. 

Between who you are and who you could be

Switchfoot - Dare you to Move

"Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be"

It's been TOO LONG since I last wrote a personal post here and God, I don't even know what to write. Let's see, life's been crazy busy the past couple of months with work, reviews, stories here and there and what-nots and I'm pretty exhausted. 

It's not that I am complaining. I wanted this job and I do love this job, it's just that I've been in such a rut lately and it's not really easy. It's not easy to focus when you feel like you don't know yourself anymore and you have no idea what you are doing or where you are going.

I know it sounds insane to be in this position again and I'd be the first person to tell you how shitty that feels. To feel like you have found your purpose and to feel like suddenly, you have no idea anymore. Maybe, the sadness is eating me up again and maybe, hopefully, sooner or later this'll pass, but right now I guess I have to accept the fact that this is where I am, this is who I am right now and this is how I feel. Maybe, by accepting that this is how I feel and that I am sad again, I'd be able to get past this and move on.

Hopefully sooner rather than later. x

"Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Liv, Forever -- Book Review

Liv, Forever
LIV, Forever
Amy Talkington
When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want. 

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride. 

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.
Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.

This is one of the best books that I have read recently. 

LIV, Forever is the story of Olivia, a girl who makes her way to the Prestigious Wickham University and enjoys her time there only to be cut short by death.

But Liv's story does not end there. She begins to live again, well, in the afterlife, and begins to understand what happened to her and what happened to the school. She begins to understand that something has been going on for a couple generations now and that there are people out there who she needs to save--and who are willing to help her.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that it was such an easy read. You really would have a hard time trying to put it down because it was quite enjoyable and the story was just well put-together.  It's not one of those books that you'll get tired of reading in one sitting because it's too complicated or because it's not really your thing. Whatever your "thing" may be, you'd still get to like this one, for sure. 

This is a book that has all the elements a book needs to be great: Great characters, wondrous imagery, a really well-written story, a good plot, plus romance, friendship, suspense and mystery altogether. It doesn't get any better than that.

For a first novel, this was really good. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead -- Book Review

Love Letters to the Dead
Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaira

***Thanks to Edelweiss for the Net Galley Copy***
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

I'm pretty much obsessed with obsessing over dead people's lives and so I was really glad when I came across this book. 

Laurel is dealing with the surprising death of her sister, May, who used to be her best friend, too. She also has to deal with her parents' divorce, and with school, as well. They were tasked by a teacher to write some letters to a dead person, and so Laurel saw this not as a chance to write to May, but to write to dead famous people such as Elizabeth Bishop, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, etc. Just like talking to the pages of a diary, Lauren begins to tell them her fears and inhibitions; the things that strengthen and weaken her, and the things that make her who she is. Because she never gets to talk to anyone else, she uses the letters as a way to come to terms with how she really feels inside. 

But Laurel discovers that life is more than just writing letters to the dead. She also has to come to terms with the problems in her life on her own, and by learning how to start dealing with other people again. 

What I really loved about this book is that not only will you get to know more about Laurel, you'll also get to know more about these famous dead people; their flaws and pains, and who they were like in life. It's a good way to revisit the past and realize that the future can still be yours. It's a good way of realizing what's important in life.

Also, there are some twists in this book that you may not have expected. Somehow, the story gets to drag on a bit longer than expected, but it's understandable because Laurel's story is not simple. It's a colorful, layered story that's meant to be told. 

If you're addicted to pop culture, are obsessed with the dead, and want to read a book that will make you think, this one is for you.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sara Shepard - The Heiresses -- Review + Dreamcast

The Heiresses (Heiresses, #1) 

***Thanks to Edelweiss for the Net Galley copy***

The series follows one of the most prestigious and wealthy families on the Upper East Side who have built their entire fortune on the business of diamonds.

Due to a clause the grandfather placed in his will, only his granddaughters are set to inherit his massive fortune…these are the heiresses. After the death of their cousin, the remaining heiresses try to figure out if the family curse is real or not, and if not, who killed their cousin, and more importantly, which one of them is next on the hit list?
Sara Shepard is back with a brand new series that will surely entice you.

When I first heard about this book, I seriously said, "Omg, I NEED a copy". Not even "Want", it's definitely a need.

I'll admit that I'm one of those people who still reads the Pretty Little Liars Series because they're just too entertaining and mysterious and even if they have gotten so long, well, I still wait for the next book like a madwoman.

Anyway, The Heiresses is quite different from Pretty Little Liars in such a way that it deals with a more mature cast of characters and a more mature setting. See, it's set in New York City, and is the story of Rowan, Poppy, Corinne, Natasha and Aster Saybrook--the hottest, and most controversial set of cousins in the Big Apple. 

And, in typical Sara Shepard style, there are lies and craziness that go around in this place. You'll find yourself wondering who said what, who hurt who, and gasp--who killed who. But what's good about this is that you'd notice how Shepard's writing style has matured in some ways; this is pretty much more believable than PLL or The Lying Game combined, and I think that's why it will make you more excited for the next book.

With twists and turns that only Shepard can make, The Heiresses is a book that's certainly hard to put down. Be sure to get your copy once it's available.

Oh, and because I'm crazy for this book, I made a dream cast, too! *wink*

Dianna Agron as Rowan
Hayden Panatierre as Aster
Naya Rivera as Natasha
Rachel Mcadams as Poppy
Emily Blunt as Corinne

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Unseen Moon -- Book Review

Unseen Moon
Eliza Victoria - "Unseen Moon"
Get the book on Smashwords or Amazon

Ghosts in a mansion. A home invasion. A group of friends haunted by a murder. An unlikely friendship, a dead body in an abandoned house. A girl falling to her death, and another falling into the viewless darkness.

Unseen Moon collects five suspenseful stories by award-winning author Eliza Victoria.

A collection of Horror Stroies from Eliza Victoria, a brilliant and undeniably good Filipina Author, Unseen Moon is something that every Horror/Mystery/Crime fan must read. 

First in the collection is Needle Rain. A story of a barkada and how they try to uncover the mysteries of a murder that happened in their hometown. One of the most mysterious stories in the pack, this is a good way to build the tension and suspense that one should feel while reading the book. However, aside from being scary, there's  bit of sadness and surprise here, too. What's good is that the author was really able to capture the old-skool Filipino neighborhood--she was able to build the feel and imagery that was needed.

And then comes my favorite story in the book: The Ghosts of Sinagtala. Oh, god, this is the perfect thing to read right now as the Holy Week is coming up soon, and aside from being "Holy", we all know that it's also the time when they say that bad spirits are all over the place. This (and I told the author about this) SERIOUSLY. CREEPED. ME. OUT. It's not about monsters or the usual white ladies or whatever, but the kind of horror depicted in this story is so psychological that it would really rack your brain. (And I'm getting goosies again while writing this). Read it and you will know what I mean. It's really something you'd have to put down and continue once the sun shines again (yeah I read it late, late at night and god my mind worked so bad) because it's so scary. Watch out for rats. 

Summer Evening, meanwhile, is brutal. You never know how twins' minds' work these days. You might be disturbed by this story and by the brutality, but all in all it was good. I like how different and creative the author can get.

A tale that will surely tug at your heartstrings without losing its mystery, December, is about an orphan named December, who makes friends with a boy named Gabriel. Together, they discover secrets and mysteries about a dead body in the lake, an abandoned mansion and the people around them. 

Finally, there is the Viewless Dark. If you're a student and are frequenting the library, you'll be afraid. Okay seriously, this was one of the best. It's about finding out about someone's death and learning what you need to learn about that person. It's scary, it's suspenseful and it's a work that's just definitely top of the line. If you're fond of trying to solve mysteries, this story is for you.

Give this book a chance because you will not regret it. And you know what? I think I'm going to re-read these stories sometime soon. They're THAT good. 

New Adult Quick Reads 1: Say That Things Change - Book Review

Say That Things Change
New Adult Quick Reads 1: Say That Things Change
Jhing Bautista, Jonnalyn Cabigting, Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla, Leng de Chavez, Rachelle Belaro, Rayne Mariano, and Mina V. Esguerra)New Adult is an emerging literature category that focuses on themes of discovery and independence for characters in college to their mid-twenties.

Buy the book HERE
First up, if you're looking for a fun, kilig and quick read, (or I should say, "Reads", as there are a couple of different stories here), THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU! And I am not kidding--it totally is. And, get this: Most of the stories are in Tagalog, so if you're the type who has no time or patience to read heavy English reads, you can try this baby out. 

Actually, at first, I was like, "Ayy tagalog yung iba", because with the exception of Bob Ong, I have not really tried reading tagalog novels/stories, especially those that are all the rage right now. Not that I'm judging, it's just not my thing, but boy oh boy did I enjoy this one. 

First, you have Jhing Bautista's "Six Degrees of Separation" and omg, I seriously posted this on Twitter, "Tagos talaga sya!" haha. The story was refreshing in such a way that it gives a voice to people who have loved and lost and have been crazy and heartbroken at some point in their lives. (You know we've all been there) I like the honesty of the story and the fact that two different points of view were used to show how each of the characters felt. It was so good, I swear.

And then there's Jonalyn Cabigting's "Prince Charmee". Ay My god, RIOT ITO. The title in itself already says so much about the story--so think what you want to think--but I'd have to say, I really enjoyed this one. It's funny in all the right places and so kilig and cute, too. If you're having a bad night or a bad week, read this. You'll feel all the good vibes, definitely.

Next up is "Before I Do" by Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla. This one was also quite enjoyable and refreshing. It was frank and honest and perfect for every woman out there who's in a relationship that's either stable or stale. It's perfect for those who are in dire need of some thinking and decision making. What's good is that the protagonist is not api-apihan. She's fierce and she's awesome--as each and every woman should be. 

"Everything Is In Line" by Leng de Chavez meanwhile is perfect for every person out there who's connected to his or her mobile phone. I'm pretty sure teenagers or teens at heart can relate to this. Hashtag alam na. *wink* 

Rachelle Belaro's "Almost but not Quite". Awww, With love comes surprises? Sure does. Those who have not tried being in a relationship--yet--will surely be able to relate to this. Plus, you'll also be able to relate to it since well, we've all been there.

Rayne Mariano's "Sharm's Side" is about the fact that while you may feel like you are often in the sidelines, or that someone else is put in the limelight more than you are, it doesn't mean that you will no longer get your time to shine--who knows? Sooner or later, you will be placed in the spotlight and who knows what happens? So, friend, di pa huli ang lahat! 

And last but definitely not the least, Mina V. Esguerra's "My Muse Apollo 1: Creation Myths". There's always a magic that comes with stories revolving college. Mina has woven her magic wand once again with this one of a kind story about two people from opposite ends of the spectrum. It's kilig, it's lovely and it's interesting. The perfect way to cap off such an entertaining book.

Say That Things Change is a reminder that women these days are strong--and are totally worth loving. 

Bravo to this! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Olivia Besse - Etoile: Book Review + Playlist and GIVEAWAY

Hello and Welcome to Olivia Besse's "Etoile"'s stop on my blog!

 Series: Mannequin #1
Release Date: July 25th 2013

Publisher: Wunderland Press
Purchase: Amazon

The Mannequin series is an exciting erotic romance journey that gives readers an intimate look into the not-so-glamorous sides of the fashion and modelling industries. This book contains explicit content and is not intended for younger readers!

From afar, Elodie Marais is just a typical 19-year old girl roughing it in Manhattan. She hates her job, her love life sucks and she's totally getting ripped off by her landlord. Like most of her starry-eyed peers, she'll do anything for the Triple P's—Prada, a Promotion and the elusive Perfect Boyfriend. But Elodie and her friends aren't your average new adults who are bored to tears by their uninspiring lives—they're fashion models.

So what's a girl to do when her life is turned upside down as two irresistible bachelors vie for her doe-eyed attention, just as she's starting to make waves in the modelling world? Will she go with charming and sensitive James, a handsome financier, or reckless and unpredictable Tyler, the stunning male model du jour?

Follow Elodie's adventures from Manhattan to Paris as she navigates the terrifying worlds that are the modeling industry and her love life, one effortlessly chic outfit at a time.

Fame. Fashion. Money. Sex. Romance. That's what's in store for Elodie, the world's newest supermodel. 

This book is basically sexy as sexy can be. It's great that the author chose to delve into the crazy, messy world of modelling and its highs and lows. While we may never really know what's going on in the real world of modelling, this is a good start.

Just like real life, models have friends and enemies, too. Actually, more enemies than friends, because you know, it's a glamorous and crazy life they live and people are almost always gonna want to have what they have--and that's what Elodie experiences.

But what she also experiences is romance--the good and bad side of it. The mellow and nerve-wracking, possibly heart-wrenching sides, too. It's an unpredictable world that she's living in and that's what she realizes--and that's also what you'll realize as you read this novel.

it's a fun and sexy book to read--a good way to pass time, especially if you've always liked the world of modeling or the world of celebrities.


1. Sophie Ellis Bextor - Murder on the Dance Floor
2. Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
3. Sophie Ellie Bextor - Summer in Snowtime
4. John Legend - PDA
5.  Foxes - Let go for tonight
6. Lea Michele - You're mine
7. American Authors - Luck
8. Lana del Rey - Born to die
9. Britney Spears - If you Seek Amy
10. Lorde - Royals
11. Arctic Monkeys - Do I wanna know?
12. Miley Cyrus - Adore You
13. Coldplay - Midnight
14. Katy Perry - Dark Horse
15. Selena Gomez - Come and Get it

Olivia Besse is a rookie to the literary scene, moonlighting as a writer to keep what's left of her sanity! Stay tuned for relatable New Adult novels penned by an actual new adult! 


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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin--Book Review + GIVEAWAY

Kuwento ni Bernadette Villanueva Neri
Guhit ni CJ de Silva
Salin sa Ingles ni Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo
Layout ni Jennifer Padilla-Quintos
Inilimbag ng Publikasyong Twamkittens (2012)

Tungkol sa Aklat
Aklat-pambatang tumatalakay sa mga di-kumbensiyunal at di-tradisyunal na pamilya ang Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin (2012). Partikular nitong tinutuunan ang mga hámong hinaharap ng isang batang may dalawang nanay.

Marami nang nagawang librong pambata sa Pilipinas ngunit bukod-tangi ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin sapagka't tinatalakay nito ang isang bagay na kinukunsiderang "taboo" o bawal ng nakararami, lalo na kung librong pambata ang pinaguusapan: Ang pagkakaroon ng dalawang nanay.

Maganda ang pagkakasulat ng librong ito. Napakatoo dahil ipinakita ang maaaring maranasan ng bata sa ganitong sitwasyon, pero sa kabilang banda ay ipinakita rin na kahit ano pa ang isipin ng iba, normal pa rin ang ganitong sitwasyon. Yan ay dahil ang bawat pamilya, buo man o hindi, may magulang man na magkaiba ang kasarian o wala, ay may kanya-kanyang pinagdadaanan, kaya't hindi nararapat na husgahan ang isang tao base sa kung ano ang tingin ng nakararami na tama, ngunit sa kung anong klaseng tao sya.

Ipinapakita rin ng librong ito na maaaring mabuhay ng normal ang isang bata na lumaki sa isang di-kumbensyunal na pamilya. Kung puno ng pagmamahal ang isang tahanan ay siguradong lalaki ng masaya at lalaki ng tama ang isang bata. Kailangan lamang ipaliwanang ng mga magulang ang kanilang sitwasyon at kailangan palakihin ang bata na puno ng pagmamahal at pang-unawa.

Nakatulong rin ng malaki ang mga larawan sa librong ito upang gawing mas makabuluhan at mas nakakaenganyong basahin ito. Ang paglalarawan sa mga magulang ni Ikaklit ay tamang tama upang ipakita na ang iniisip mong imahe ng isang "tomboy" ay mali, at maaari pa ring ipakita ng isang tao ang kanyang pagiging katangi-tanging indibidwal, ano pa man ang kasarian o sekswalidad niya. Napakamakulay at napakaganda ng mga larawan dito kung kaya't siguradong matutuwa ang mga mababasa, at mabubuksan ang kanilang puso sa mga ganitong usapin.

 Ma-eenganyo rin ang mambabasa na magpunta sa Baguio dahil sa paglalarawan sa nasabing lugar sa librong ito. Mula sa pagkain at iba't ibang tanawin, at sa mga napakagandang bulaklak, talagang maeenganyo ang mambabasa.

Karapat-dapat bang ipabasa ito sa mga bata? Oo, dahil habang maaga ay kailangan nilang matutunan na nararapat na irespeto ang iba't ibang klase ng tao, at iba't ibang klase ng pamilya. Habang maaga ay dapat mamulat ang mga kabataan sa mga ganitong isyu, at kung paano ito dapat kaharapin. Dahil tayo ay nabubuhay na sa makabagong mundo kung kaya't nararapat rin na mas maging bukas ang ating isipan sa mga ganitong bagay.

Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin ay maituturing na isang magandang ebolusyon sa larangan ng literatura. Ipinapamalas nito na may mga Pilipinong handang tumanggap sa katotohanan na di lahat ng pamilya ay pare-pareho, at ninanais nito na mabuksan pa ang isipan ng mas maraming Pilipino sa mga ganitong usapin. Upang maging malaya ang isang bansa at ang mga tao nito, nararapat lang na maging bukas ang ating isipan, at matuto tayong tanggapin ang isa't isa sa kung ano at sino pa man tayo.


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Tungkol sa mga Manlilikha

Nagtapos ng MA Filipino: Malikhaing Pagsulat si Bernadette Villanueva Neri sa UP Diliman at BA Mass Communication major in Journalism sa UP Baguio. Kumakatha siya ng mga kuwentong pambata, sanaysay, dula, at maikling kuwentong lesbiyana (na binansagan niyang “naratibô” o naratibo ng mga tibô). Kasalukuyan siyang nagtuturo sa UP Diliman, kasabay ng pagkuha ng duktorado sa Malikhaing Pagsulat sa parehong paaralan. Kasama niya ngayon sa bahay ang limang muning na tulad niya’y mahilig din sa ikaklit at iba pang mga halaman.

 Si CJ de Silva ay nakilala bilang Promil Kid sa mga commercial nito noong 90s. Ngayon, si CJ naman ang gumagawa ng mga patalastas bilang Art Director sa isang advertising agency. Hilig pa rin niya ang magpinta at gumuhit.

Nanay ng dalawang munting binibi si Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo. Siya ay isang manunulat, editor, mananaliksik, at aktibista. Nag-aral siya ng peryodismo sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho sa isang internasyunal na organisasyon. Mahilig siya sa tula at potograpiya, at nait matutong maggitara.

Si Jennifer T. Padilla-Quintos ay nanay ng dalawang masayahing batang sina Gaby at Joaquin. Isa siyang graphic artist, art teacher at manggagawang pangkultura. Nagtapos siya ng Fine Arts sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman.

Panayam sa mga manlilikha
Manunulat (Det).
Gumuhit (CJ).
Nagsalin sa Ingles (Ate Jeni).
Nag-layout (Ate Poti).

Mga Video Blurb
Vlad Gonzales (Guro, Kritiko, Manunulat).
Rose Torres-Yu (Guro, Kritiko, Manunulat).
Poti Padilla-Quintos (Nanay).
Ging, Rose & Roni (Rainbow Family).
Roni (Batang may dalawang nanay).