Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chatterbooks: PopFiction Books

Hello, there! Chatterbooks is a new feature here on my blog in which I will discuss and share with you interesting and various book-related topics.

For my first Chatterbooks post, I think it’s only fitting to discuss something Filipino-related. Recently, I’ve been  much of a book store wanderer. Even though I only intend to go to the mall to shop for grocery, I always somehow manage to end up wandering in a bookstore. Typical.

Lately, I keep seeing these colorful graphic novel-ish books on stands (sometimes beside the counter). I have to admit that when I first saw a glimpse of them, I thought they were mangas perhaps because of the illustration. Then, I discovered that these are actually books and are published by PopFiction Books (imprint of Summit Books).

There was one book, though, which completely grabbed my attention when I accompanied my friend to a local bookstore —She’s Dating The Gangster. The title rings a familiar sound to me as well as the author’s name (or rather her username) and then I saw this line: FIRST SEEN ON CANDYMAG.COM

A couple of years ago, I was part of Candymag.com’s TeenTalk forum in which teens gather and talk and share stuff with each other online and if you’re lucky, make new friends. By the way, being part of Teentalk was my life for, like, three years. I loved that forum!

Anyway, back on topic, on TeenTalk, there’s a thread called Creative Corner in which members of the forum are free to share their original written stories and, you may have guessed it already, it was from Creative Corner thread where I first saw She’s Dating The Gangster. It was a total hit on the thread, one of most read and popular. Although, I didn’t really read it before because it wasn’t my kind of story, but it was part of the hype back then.

From what I've read, Bianca Bernardino (aka SGwannabe), the author, also posted her story on Wattpad which gathered 500,000+ reads and 9,000+ votes. Then, Summit Books contacted her and told her they want to publish her story. And now, Bianca Bernardino is a published author and became one of the best-sellers nationwide. Oh, and her book is going to be seen on the silver screen soon as well.

It's really strange but when I first discovered this news it made me really happy and for some reason proud of her (you know like a sister-proud kind of thing) even though I don't really know her personally and vice versa.

I think Bianca's journey in writing is really inspiring and motivating and it's a wonderful reminder, especially for all young aspiring Filipino writers out there, that if you persevere and work hard enough, your dreams can turn into reality.

Aside, from She’s Dating The Gangster, PopFiction Books published other several Wattpad stories written by Filipino authors such as The Bet, Operation: Break The Cassanova’s Heart, 548 Heartbeats and a whole lot more!

You can visit Summit Media website for more info or follow their Twitter: @SummitMedia_PH and like their Facebook page for more latest updates.




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Published by: Katherine Tegen
Pages: 335 (Paperback)


Summary via Goodreads:
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Hello, there! It’s been a long time since I was here. So many things had happened over the past year, which are mostly good things, but no matter, I’m happy to say that I’m back into blogging now and I think it’s only fitting to start off by reviewing the book that reminded me of how much I love talking about books.

My first encounter with The Beginning of Everything was December of last year. I was on a local bookstore to finally grab my copy of Anna & the French Kiss (which was on my wishlist since, like, forever). Truthfully, the book title didn’t grabbed my attention as much as the cover did. I remember reading the synopsis on the back and my first thought was ‘I think know how this story will go.’ (oh man, I was sooo wrong about that).

The second time was on Twitter when a local bookstore tweeted a quote from the book which wholly grabbed my attention. The quote was: “The way I figured it, keeping quiet was safe. Words could betray you if you choose the wrong ones, or mean less if you used too many.” So when I went to bookstore again to grab a good friend of mine a birthday present, I ended up buying myself my own copy (happens all the time).

The moment I started reading The Beginning of Everything, I was instantly hooked with Ezra’s strong and unique voice. He’s a very interesting guy. I just love every single moment I spent with him and just feeling everything he has in his mind. If you think about it, the plot of the story is quite simple—the popular jock in high school loses the spotlight, his social life, even his promising athletic career, then he meets a mysterious girl. Perhaps this is the reason why, at first, I thought the story is a bit predictable. But like what I said, it’s not. It’s not predictable at all.

My favorite aspect of the story are the characters. I love all of them and it was so easy to connect with them. Ezra Faulkner, the protagonist, isn’t the typical one-dimensional popular guy we used to read or see in movies. He’s wonderful, smart, truthful and funny kind of guy, but above all, it’s the complexity of his character that makes me like him even more. I absolutely enjoyed joining him in his bittersweet discovery toward the meaning of his tragedy.

The story of Ezra and Toby’s friendship was also something I genuinely like about the story. Perhaps because at one point in our lives there’ll be this one person whom we used to do things with and then in just a snap everything changes. I thought the way they rekindled their friendship was very nice, it just feels natural and I was also glad to discover that even after everything that’s happened, there were certain things that didn’t really change between their friendship.

And then there’s Cassidy Thorpe, the elusive love interest. She’s everything Ezra hadn’t met before. She’s intelligent, speaks her mind and unconventionally beautiful and she’s a Harry Potter fan. I also love the way she perceives the world and her cleverness and the way she understands Ezra in ways some people don’t and in ways Ezra himself doesn’t. Ugh I love her.

While I love everything about this book, there’s no use denying that, for me, the best part of the story is Ezra and Cassidy’s romance. I rooted for them the second they met in that hallway. I adore every moment they spent together, every witty remarks they shared with each other. My feelings were everywhere whenever they touch. I’m so obsessed with them it’s disgusting! I used to think their relationship is kind of reverse, but now that I thought about it, Ezra and Cassidy balance each other out. They have this strong emotional connection with each other and it was simply beautiful.

The Beginning of Everything is unquestionably one of my all-time favorite books. There’s so much depth and realness in this book and it can either make your heart swell in delight or rip your heart into tragic little pieces. Every dialogue, characters and emotions are so compelling, they’re impossible to forget. I’m giving this 5 out of 5 stars and I strongly recommend this to every YA Contemporary junkies, especially those who fancy character-driven ones.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Fanmix Friday: Graceling

Hi, there! It's been ages since I featured something on my Fanmix Friday. All apologies. But good news! I'm bringing it back and everyone can now listen to the tracks I included. Yay!

As I have mentioned on my review of Graceling (which I absolutely love) I'll be featuring the story for my Fanmix Friday this week. I'm not yet sure if I'm going to make a fanmix for each book I will be reading but we'll see. If inspiration strikes me, why not?

And with no further ado, here's my fanmix for Graceling:


Tracklisting:

01. Assassin Muse
02. Fire Ingrid Michaelson
03. Breathe Me Sia
04. Megalomaniac Incubus
05. Who Am I Living For Katy Perry
06. Outside Staind
07. Winter Bones Stars
08. Soldier Ingrid Michaelson
09. Werkin' Girls Angel Haze

I chose the following songs by sticking to the aspects I really liked about the story such as Katsa's independence, her fierce and unstoppable personality.

Muse's Assassin is first on top of the playlist because this is the song I imagined being played while Katsa was rescuing Grandfather Tealiff. I thought the intense atmosphere during that moment completely fits the song! I picked out the songs which reminded me of certain characters, for instance, the songs Outside by Staind and Megalomaniac by Incubus strongly reminded me of King Randa and King Leck.

Meanwhile, Ingrid Michaelson's songs Fire and Soldier reminded me of Katsa and Po's relationship. The tracks Who Am I Living For by Katy Perry, Winter Bones by Stars and Breathe Me by Sia reminded me of Katsa's discovery of the true meaning behind her Grace and these songs reminded me of her vulnerability as well. And finally, I really, really think Angel Haze's Werkin' Girls is Katsa's jam. It sound so much like her—hardcore and plain wicked.

That's it for this week's Fanmix Friday! I hope you enjoy my mix and I would love to hear what you think about it! Feel free to share with me the songs Graceling reminded you of!

Happy Weekend everyone :)



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Published by: Harcourt
Pages: 471

Summary via Goodreads:
His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....

Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.

Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.


In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

As far as I could remember, I’ve been dying to read Graceling ever since I saw it being reviewed on my favorite book blogs. It received so many raves and high praises which made me all the more excited to get my hands a copy. Having said that, I got a teensy bit worried as well that if I started reading the book, it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.

Fortunately, Kristin Cashore proved me that the hype on her book was worth it!

Graceling was extremely fantastic and simply engaging! The plot was fast-paced, don’t expect any dull moments at all. I always found myself eager to turn the next page for more. Another aspect I truly love about this book was the brilliant and elegant writing; it has that timeless quality to it which completely shunned my assumption of this being a high fantasy book (I think most people thought this was a high fantasy book, or is it just me?). The descriptions were detailed and neat, including the time in the story, so I never felt disoriented or lost.

For the characters, I absolutely enjoyed reading them and I connected with them instantly. They were all very well-developed. I have so much respect for Katsa, the main character of the story. I thought she’s inspiring and I love how flawed she is. I absolutely admire how she value her own principles, how she fought for her independence and how she set aside her own desire for the welfare of the common good. Katsa’s fierce and almost invincible, simply put, she’s a badass but at the same time, she’s vulnerable which I love about her! She has a sensible mind and big, warm heart especially to those people who knows her truly like Raffin, Helda and of course, Prince Po.

Katsa and Po’s relationship, on the other hand, was definitely one of my favorite aspects in the story—heck! they’re one of my all-time favorite fictional couples! I just love the natural flow of how their relationship bloomed, like they were truly meant to be together. Sigh, their moments are definitely all gushworthy!

I thought the plot twist was very interesting too! Just when I thought I figured it out, Kristin Cashore changes her mind. Ugh! I just love getting that feeling!

Graceling have everything I could ever want in a Fantasy lit. There’s action, romance and humor and the best thing about these elements were Kristin Cashore managed to successfully balance them all, thus the story was epic! This story gave me so much inspiration that I managed to make a fanmix for it. I will be posting the fanmix tomorrow for my Fanmix Friday!

I’m giving Graceling a solid 5 out of 5 stars and I HIGHLY recommend this for any Fantasy lit lovers. I swear this is a must read for y’all!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #45: The Vow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

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The Vow by Jessica Martinez

Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Published by: Simon Pulse


Summary via Goodreads:

No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

Why I chose this: I personally love Jessica Martinez's Virtuosity, it's one my favorite Contemporary stand-alones, and so I'm very pleased when I discovered The Vow! I absolutely love the thrill in this one, the idea of something forbidden always excites me. And I'm really curious on how Mo and Annie's relationship will turn out after this proposal. Plus, one of my favorite reviewers found it great so I'll definitely look forward to this!