Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: Until There Was You


Summary:
Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-lookingsomething like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas.


Review:
Rating: 5/5

Until There Was You was not on my reading list - just came across this book when a friend mention the author. For my first Kristan Higgins read - this particular book had me in tears half-way!!!

I'm a sucker for bad boys who're in need of redemption. Liam was the epitome of the perfect bad boy then - just got out of juvie, owned a motorcycle and was sleeping around. But then he fell in love and he just lost it. The only problem is that, he didn't fell in love with Posey back then, he fell in love with another girl. Someone a bad boy usually fell in love with, a good, sweet girl namely Emma. When Emma moved from home to go to college, he followed shortly.

Years later, he came back with his teen-age daughter. I love his fatherly figure. Since I'm not the one he's fussing over with, I find it cute. The possessiveness and uber-protectiveness had Nicole (the daughter) exasperated, but she didn't love him less. This is what I love about Nicole - although she may act like a normal teenager and may have disagreements with her dad, she always reassure her father that she loves him.

Now, Posey. I envy the fact that she couldn't gain weight even she eat loads of ice cream. Although this pose to be a problem for her since she looked like a kid even at her 30s. She's still single and in search of a meaningful relationship to end in a happily ever after. She had her shares of mishap, some bad dates and hook-ups, until Liam came back to town again.

I like her humor and exuberance mixed with innocence and sweetness. I also adore the family and friends that surround her. Jon, was simply an amazing friend, not to mention was the root of humor throughout the book. I love the relationship he had with Posey's brother Henry. And Henry - if he's not gay, I would have been in love with him as well, being Posey's knight in shining armor and despite the fact that he rarely shows emotion, he just knew when her sister needs him the most and was always ready to help. The rest of the cast, from Kate, one of her closest friends was great was well. Her overprotective family, her obnoxious cousin Gretchen, everyone was completely adorable at some point.

The plot was great, and involves a lot of fun and an equal mix of drama on the side. The past issues were brought up - and was given a closure, this includes the prom incident and of course, Posey's adoption. The scene with her mother at the near-end of the book had me in tears.

This book is sweet and really, really nice. I will gladly recommend it to friends who loves a sweet, nicely-paced contemporary romance that will leave them in tears and sweep them off their feet.

After reading Until There Was You, I believe Kristan Higgins added another fan to her list. I will surely check some of her books as well!



Favorite Quotes
“But you know, if you're looking for love, there's always the mirror.” 

“But they're family, and you forgive them, even if they are human equivalent of hyenas. Because that's what you do, Posey. Forgive.”

“It’s just that sometimes you love a kid just because they need it. Not because they deserve it, not because you really like them…just because they need love.” 



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Chasing Nikki



Book Details
Author: Lacey Weatherford
File Size: 389 KB
Publisher: Moonstruck Media (February 27, 2012)

Summary:
Chase Walker used to be a good kid--charming, athletic, and with a bright future ahead, but that was before travesty struck his life, sinking him into deep despair. Caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol, he doesn't notice time slipping away until he's arrested for underage drinking one night.

Fed up with watching her son destroy his life, Chase's mom relocates him to live in a small ranching community with his ex-military grandfather. Chase is far from happy about the situation until he meets, Nikki, the cute cheerleader who won't give football players like him the time of day.

Chase enjoys a good challenge though and sets out to claim Nikki for his own. He soon discovers she's more than a pretty face--she's a balm to his troubled spirit also. But when tragedy strikes Nikki's life too, suddenly Chase finds himself put to the ultimate test. Can he trust Nikki, and all that she's taught him? Will it be enough? 

Review:
Rating: 4/5

Reading reviews from fellow bloggers made me want to read Chasing Nikki first. So despite the fact that it was just newly added to my Kindle, I made it my priority read. I was expecting myself to cry, and be heartbroken by the end of the book – after all, everybody seemed to be talking about placing a box of tissue right beside them.

Well, I didn’t cry. So I gave it a 4 instead.

The death of his father had changed the used-to-be-a-good-boy Chase. Now, he was doing drugs and booze. When Chase’s mom finally had it with him and his bad boy ways, she decided that they should go to her parents’ place and stay there for a while. Chase didn’t like the idea one bit – until he met Nikki. Now, the quarterback football player who lives and breathes a stained reputation had his jaw dropped for Nikki, a sweet cheerleader. The only problem is that: Nikki doesn’t date football players. Her refusal to give him a chance made him want her more. When he knew the reason behind her refusal and her inability to trust a jock like him, his determination grew to win Nikki and prove to her that he was different that he was a changed person.

Every character in this book has their important roles. I love the moms – both of them care for their children, despite the fact that the two of them lost their husbands. The twins Brittany and Brett served as very good friends to Nikki and Chase. I also adore Chase’s grandparents. They support him at the same time understand the phase that he is going through.

Another thing that I loved in this book is that it is written from a boy’s POV. Indeed, a plus factor. I like seeing the love in his eyes – which made the whole book much intense and more real.

For those people who loves HEA – sorry to tell you, but this book is void with it. The ending isn’t bad. If you pay attention to other reviews, it would recommend you to prepare a box of Kleenex and be prepared for the big blow at the end of the story. The end part was perfect to close a heart-wrenching powerful novel.

Death changes a person, especially when you lose someone who was very close to you and served as your strength. Some find it hard to move on with life. When you seem to finally get a hold of your life and then another tragedy strike – one that you don’t anticipate and you haven’t prepared –  just as when you have thought you finally have your happy ending is so much painful. Lacey Weatherford offers a novel that is heartbreaking (for some, to the point of shedding tears) that is about losing someone who meant the whole world to you, getting a fresh start, and moving on with life despite all the circumstances that is thrown at your way.


Favorite Quotes
“So stop looking at the past and all the things you can’t change. They’re done and over with. Now is the time for you to look to the future, grasp it by the hand, and decide where you want to go. I told you once before, and I’ll say it again—this is your life, Chase. Only you can decide what it’s going to be like. Don’t let outside forces dictate it for you.” 



Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars


Book Details
Author: John Green
File Size: 526 KB
Publisher: DUTTON CHILDREN'S (January 10, 2012)


Summary:
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Review:
Rating: 5/5

"Men, at some time, are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Julius Caesar
Act I, Scene II.


I hate books about death and dying – and I always prefer those novels that makes me feel good and would make me stay in the clouds for quite some time. Now, what made me grab this cancer book (base on the book description)? First, I haven’t read anything written by John Green (Yes, poor me). Second, the title sounds good. And lastly, The Fault in our Stars has 4.63 stars on Goodreads.

What I so love about The Fault in our Stars:

Hazel Grace Lancaster. She’s a 16 year old who adores reading, watching weird TV series, her mom and dad and lastly, Augustus. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which metastasized to her lungs that made an oxygen tank a necessity to her existence. She regularly attends a cancer support group that meets in the heart of Jesus (literally). Then she meets Augustus (I love the name, and I loved the owner even more).



Augustus Waters. He’s sweet, optimistic, intelligent, amazing, 16-year old boy who had lost his one leg due to cancer. He’s a smooth character and I find him really cool in dealing with both the disease and dying. He has a big heart filled with love for everyone especially for Hazel Grace.

Plot. Cancer Book? I stand corrected. Although Cancer plays a very important role in the story, I think that The Fault in Our Stars simply talks about a near-real story about two teen-agers who are both suffering from a dreaded disease when they found each other. Taking each day at a time and sharing all the love that they could for each other.

Together, the two main characters had the most fantastic combination of wit and humor, coupled with literary conversations which I think is just so deep (I’m thanking the dictionary installed in my kindle for a very big help). The love story isn’t cheesy nor uber romantic. Instead it was sweet and heartwarming. Couldn’t help to sigh – and wished that the ending would not result in death of any of them.

It made me laugh at first, then it made me cry.

In addition, I’ so glad John Green made his research and did it well. Being in the medical field, I could not find a single loophole (or if ever it has one, I have overlooked it because the novel is quite fetching).

Not to mention the dialogues – geez, this will probably be the longest review I ever had because of too many mushy-sweet-super-nice words John Green wrote on this book.

The Ending. Nicholas Sparks moved to the second spot once I got to the last few pages of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. My heart ached so badly, and I couldn’t help a few tears to escape my eyes.

I would gladly recommend this to my friends and urge them to make The Fault in Our Stars their next read.



Favorite Quotes
The world is not a wish-giving factory.

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

“That's the thing about pain...it demands to be felt.” 

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” 

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” 

“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

“It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” 

“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)”

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” 

“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” 

“I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” 

“You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you. All efforts to save me from you will fail.” 

“It occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.” 

“But I believe in true love, you know? I don't believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should last at least as long as your life does.” 

“Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon.” 

“You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect.” 

“Sometimes people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them.” 

“I will not tell you our love story, because-like all real love stories-it will die with us,as it should.” 

“I’ll give you my strength if I can have your remission.”

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

“you say you don’t want pity, but your very existence depends upon it.”

Even cancer isn't a bad guy really: Cancer just wants to be alive.

You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.


*Photos from Tumblr

Friday, April 6, 2012

Printed Books VS EReaders




I love reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s printed books or e-books – as long as I get to read and the pages are complete, I really don’t care. The end point will still be reading. But some people could not get over this argument.

Well, after almost a month long of hiatus and occasional reading, I’m back writing again and the sound of tapping keyboard is music to my ears. I’ll start with this one first. I am a lover of books. My shelves are filled with it: from young adult novels to regency romance and some nonfiction. Then I discovered Kindle – an E-Book reader sold by Amazon. I was instantly hooked to it. But don’t get me wrong, I still adore printed books and did not clear out my shelf.

Now, here are the reasons why I love my Kindle and E-books:
  •  I can have E-books almost immediately. I really don’t have to wait before our local book shop can have a copy as soon as the book is released. I can buy easily at Amazon on the same day that it came out of the market. No need to fall in line since purchases and download of a brand new book is done within minutes or seconds (all depending on the file size of the book)
  • I can carry more than a hundred books with me all the time! Of course, I carry around my charger just in case my bat gets empty. E-readers like Kindle weigh less than one pound and no matter how many pages there is in one book – it doesn’t get heavy.
  • I help saving trees! Paper books are made of trees. They are printed utilizing an assembly-line system that involves a lot of toxic chemicals. Not to mention, it needs to be delivered to a bookstore for customers to buy them.
  • They’re user-friendly. Most ereaders has zoom built-in functions as well as letter resizing.
  • Note-taking friendly. You can write notes but you can erase them as well.

But, let us not forget the disadvantages:
  • Since I am reading on my Kindle, portable book light is needed when it becomes dark.
  • For people who are using their computer to read ebooks – EYE STRAIN is your main problem. Good thing Kindle is similar to a paperback. Eye strain problem due to glare is minimized.
  • Battery life – that is why I carry around my charger
  • Software bugs/virus in ereaders can be a very big problem
  • If you spill something on it, drop it – pray that it will still work. 





For the Printed Books
  • I started reading my cousin’s paperback novels – because E-reader was not that popular eons ago and if ever it exists, I could not afford it. What I like about a printed book is that
  •  I can find them at the bookstore
  • They’re portable (compared to a laptop)
  • No eyestrain 
  • They’re cheaper – especially if you’re going to buy in secondhand book shops or over the internet.
  • There is a distinct smell in paperbacks that makes me sigh in contentment.

 BUT….
  • They’re heavy and bulky. I cannot and would not normally carry 2-3 books (unless on a shopping)
  •  I need a light source to read them
  • Note taking is a confusing task – would I or would I not write a note? Since inks are permanent and even in pencils, imprints are visible. For an obsessive-compulsive person, notes on my books are simply a no-no.


Me?
As I have said on my opening paragraph, as long as I can read the books that I want to read, it doesn’t really matter. 

good thing I'm careful with my Kindle

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Leibster Award

My blog was on hiatus since I was back in the hospital. Working hours demands energy, and I tried to cope - but I guess I was too tired to write for a while. I'm still reading, but I could not finish one book in a day as I used too.

To my great surprise, I got an email from two friends and they gave me an award. (This is long overdue and I apologize for the delay). Better late than never!! :)

I received the "Leibster Award" from my fellow blogger Milka Bago and Myrth Alegado. The Leibster Award means "favorite" or "beloved". This award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers and the blogs are called "the best kept secrets". Many thanks to both Milka and Myrth for giving this award to me.

You can check out Milka's blog at:
http://couchpotatoism.blogspot.com/

As well as Myrth's Blog at:
http://180luci.blogspot.com/

Now, its my turn to give out the Liebster Blog Award to some of my friends who share my passion for books and blogging:
1. Milka Bago: http://couchpotatoism.blogspot.com/
2. Myrth Alegado: http://180luci.blogspot.com/
3. Yui Santos: http://yuiproject365.blogspot.com/
4. Junix Malongga: http://imsopelicanfly.blogspot.com/
5. Vonn David: http://ninjaworldamouthfulofmanythings.blogspot.com/

For the Winners, here are the rules to participate:
1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog spot.
2. Nominate up to five other blogs
3. Let them know via comment on their blog
4. Post the award on your blog