Monday, April 25, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Things To Do This Week

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.


Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!
----------

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Things to Do This Week
 
1.  Re-read some books I loved since I do not have any book on my TBR pile right  now.  How pathetic, right?  Yay!  I'm looking forward to reading some really great books that I've read in the past.
 
2.  Cook up something for About the Book in Four Pictures on this blog.
 
3.  Get some new books with The Boyfriend!

 
4.  Watch out for the newest Glee episode, Born This Way.


 
5.  Go swimming!
 
6.  Blog, blog, and blog some more!
 
7.  Cook tuna fettuccine alfredo for my Mom and bro.
 
 
8.  Go out with some friends come Friday night.

9.  Help my brother pick a book to write a paper on for his Lit class.
 
10.  Sing my heart out with the family when we go visit my uncle in the weekend.

A fun week to everyone!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Weekly Book Report: 4/18 - 4/24/2011


It's a wonderful day, right?  To everyone, let me just tell you:


I'm supposed to be really happy because I got a four-day vacation, thanks to the Lenten Season, but I'm a bit down right now  because I just finished all the books in my TBR and well, it's Sunday and tomorrow's Monday again and it's back to work for me too!  I love having vacations, I wish I could do them more often (with pay, natch!).

And blame it on my vacation, but I know I have not been very active this week.  I really maximized the vacay to do stuff I needed to do - like clean my room and take out all those clothes that don't fit me anymore.  Did you know that the last time I threw out old clothes was when I was 18 years old?  I'm 25 now so that's 7 years already.  I ended up with a really huge heap of old clothes afterward.

So on to the week in review:

Book Review:
Bandits by LM Preston - ARC review
 
Features:
Music Monday "Burning in the Skies" by Linkin' Park for Bandits by LM Preston
10 Good Things on a Monday  Ten Favorite Photos I Took

Other Posts:
None.

I know.  Pathetic, right?  

Currently Reading:  Nothing. 

New on the blog:  I have a new signature!  You may see this at the bottom of each of my posts:
I wanted a new  signature and thought that the monsters on either side would go well since I have ARGH with me on the blog.  I will not be changing the signatures for my previous posts so you may still see the old signature but from here on, all my posts would be using this new one.

Moral Lesson for the Day:  It is possible to live through a day without reading any book.  But it sucks.  Like you're living on artificial oxygen.

New Learning for the Week:  Finishing all the books in your TBR is possible.  And then it feels like your life is over.

Have a great new week!

 

Book Review: The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info

Title:  The Reformed Vampire Support Group
Author:  Catherine Jinks
Publisher:  Harcourt Children's Books
Language: English
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  368 pages
ISBN - 13:  978-0152066093
Source:  Purchased, Celina's Books and Mags

Summary

From Goodreads: 
"Think vampires are romantic, sexy, and powerful? Think again. Vampires are dead. And unless they want to end up staked, they have to give up fanging people, admit their addiction, join a support group, and reform themselves.
Nina Harrison, fanged at fifteen and still living with her mother, hates the Reformed Vampire Support Group meetings every Tuesday night. Even if she does appreciate Dave, who was in a punk band when he was alive, nothing exciting ever happens. That is, until one of group members is mysteriously destroyed by a silver bullet. With Nina (determined to prove that vamps aren't useless or weak) and Dave (secretly in love with Nina) at the helm, the misfit vampires soon band together to track down the hunter, save a werewolf, and keep the world safe from the likes of themselves."
Review

We've always viewed vampires as these beautiful, seductive, and dead-strong creatures of the night.  We're led to believe the stories of their cold, calculating murderous gazes and their ability to kill us in the blink of an eye (or a bite in the neck as is the case).  But have you ever wondered how an undead person, no blood in his/her veins, unable to ingest foods that provide protein and carbohydrates, unable to absorb vitamin D in sunshine -since they can't get out in the sun (Edward Cullen, et. al  notwithstanding), can survive and even posses superhuman abilities?  I just don't get it.  Pop culture's vampires just defy common sense.
 
Enter Catherine Jinks' The Reformed Vampire Support Group.  A new breed of vampires who are neither strong nor beautiful nor cunning - these vampires are totally eligible for hospice care and no human would even be harmed.  They are almost always tired, weak, unable to stare at bright lights for fear of hemorrhage, and none looks like the vampires of famous vampire books that have romanticized those beings.  Yes, I know the Everything you know about vampires is wrong thing has been getting old for quite some time already but I am overlooking that fact with this book since it's so funny.  And you know how I love anti-paranormal fiction.  In the great tradition of I Kissed A Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer, you probably get that I am that kind of reader who loves those hilarious books that poke fun at these romanticized creatures that most people would go crazy over. 

Which is why while most people would probably roll their eyes and think, Not another vampire book, I am totally endorsing this book to all readers out there who would just like to read a humorous, light story that pokes a little fun on perhaps one of the most formidable paranormal character out there.  And that's not just because this book is hilarious.  Other aspects of this book are very solid and spot on that it might lead you to believe, in some parts of this book, that the popular vampire lore is just so stupid and impractical and would even have an urge to hail Jinks as the new Anne Rice (or Stephenie Meyer?  Bram Stoker?) for the realistic portrayal of a fictional character that has for ages been believed as frightful and powerful, which is the complete opposite of these pathetic, down-on-their-luck beings.  The voices are captured in a way that you would think every character had their own chapter in the book when really, the whole story is told by Nina, this really apathetic and pessimistic vampire.  You get to know more about her through her narrative than through whatever she might tell you about herself.  The same goes for the other characters - they or the narrator would tell you something about them, but the way they would speak and act would help you better in getting to know them.  It's like watching their movie and reading their book at the same time because they appear so vivid in your head you're afraid you might be hallucinating (which I may be).  

As for the plot, it is simple enough to understand and too uncomplicated that no reader would think it's hard to wade through or very inconsistent with prior developments.  I like that Ms. Jinks once mentioned in her website:  "My mantra for writing fantasy/paranormal fiction is 'realistic, realistic, realistic'."  And it shows.  No need to use very intricate devices in bringing out a story to a thrilling climax and satisfactory resolution, she was able to bring the story to quite an undemanding but very vindicating close, and even though some would disagree that the novel is altogether devoid of 'complications,' all of them were dealt quite simply and the readers never get confused.

I would also like to point out that for me, the book cover totally hits the mark on how the characters looked.  My brother also noticed that on this book and it really helped us understand and appreciate this story and its characters more, and made it even more funny and vivid.

So go ahead and grab a copy of this book.  I heard that the new book off this series is out, The Abused Werewolf Support Group, and if I were you, better read this book first before getting the new one.  To help you laugh at and feel for them some more.

Rating
If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.

Notice

All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Funky Music Follow Friday!



Friday is upon us again, and here in another edition of Follow Friday by Parajunkee's Views is a pretty interesting question that we all need to answer.  But before that question, let me show you the featured blog for this week:



This week's question:

What is on your current playlist right now?


I listen to a lot of music, and I play them really loud throughout the house.  You can even hear it outside the house when you're just walking past.  Luckily, my mother and brother are cool about the songs I put on my playlist, and my brother actually uses them for his iPod.
  1. Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
  2. Rocketeer by Far East Movement
  3. Never Gonna Leave This Bed by Maroon Five
  4. Sara Smile by The Bird and the Bee
  5. Gimme Sympathy by Metric
  6. Chasing Pavements by Adele
  7. Some awesome Glee music!!!
Those are the common songs you would find on my playlist, apart from others that I would include in the mix.  

Have an awesome weekend, because I am having a blast with my vacation, lounging around reading while listening to my favorite music.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quiz: Which Harry Potter Adult Character Are You Most Compatible With?

I am back with another quiz!  I wanted to do something really book-related but have decided that 'How Much Do You Know About Harry Potter' quizzes are already too common, and besides, I've never read Harry so it's sort of inappropriate and unfair.  Maybe when I've decided to change my mind and read up on all the books then I might put up that sort of quiz here, using all that I have learned.  But for now, for something different, let's see who we are most compatible with among the adult characters from that famous series, thanks to ameliasnape12345678 from again, ProProfs.com.

Have fun and don't forget to share your quiz result in the Comments section all right?

I got Dumbledore, and though I haven't read any of the books, I have an idea about him during hour-long sessions of Harry Potter fan-girl talk between two of my friends. I think he's kinda cute, but I heard he's gay, right?








Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Bandits by LM Preston

Photo taken  from Goodreads
 Book Info

Title:  Bandits
Author:  LM Preston
Publisher:  Phenomenal One Press
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  348 pages
ISBN - 13:   978-0984198931
ISBN - 10:  0984198938
Source:  From the Author and Publisher

Summary

From Goodreads:

"Daniel's father has gotten himself killed and left another mess for Daniel to clean up. To save his world from destruction, he must fight off his father's killers while discovering a way to save his world. Time is running out, and Daniel must choose to either walk in his father's footsteps or to reinvent himself into the one to save his world."
Review

Ever wondered how a video game would translate into a novel?  Well, wonder no more because Bandits, the new novel by LM Preston, is coming out in June of this year! 

Bandits is about a young man - Daniel - whose father was killed because of a particular treasure that he has stolen and kept away in some hidden treasure trove.   Upon his father's death, Daniel, along with his younger brother Nickel, his best friend's sister Jade, and his cousin Faulk, decides to find the treasure in the hope that it will reveal to him who killed his father and commit revenge.  Little did he know that the road is treacherous and full of adventure, and the treasure itself will test his limits and challenge his views of his world, his heritage, and of his own self.

Part science fiction, part mystery, part young adult fiction, and part love story, once you prop yourself up to read this book you will find yourself in for a very intense and action-packed ride into exotic places, scary and intriguing planets, and death-defying situations.  Bandits is not for the faint of heart, as every chapter is riddled with flesh-heating trees, deadly beasts, and even more deadly traps.  You will not be given a minute's rest as if playing a video game where you advance to a higher level as you turn the pages.  Make sure to check your pulse rate before, during, and after reading this book to see if your heart can still take the hard-hitting, fast-paced, and dynamic scenes that will assault your brain and confront your imagination.

I really think that the elements of this book - the characters, the voice, the plot - all these combined to make a really fantastic, unbelievably believable story.  Each character contributed to the uniqueness of the plot and they were all very credible and responsive to the demands of the story.  Daniel and his brother Nickel's characters were very strong and dominated the novel's entirety.  The voice was also able to convey the appropriate feel for each character's point of view.

One concern I have though is the too-quick coming together between Daniel and Jade.  It felt like their love story was too hurried and a bit unemotional.  But maybe that's just me.  It's probably because since I got too used to this book's intense scenes, I had too high an expectation for the romantic angle that I was unable to fully appreciate the simple approach that the author used to bring Daniel and Jade together.

Overall, I would recommend this book to almost everyone else, especially those who love to play video games, as well as those who read fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian stories.  But for the faint of heart, better steer clear from this book - unless you are willing to risk a cardiac arrest.

Rating


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.

Notice 

I received this book free of charge from the author, LM Preston and the publisher, Phenomenal One Press, in exchange for an honest and truthful review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.
 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Music Monday: "Burning in the Skies" by Linkin' Park for Bandits by LM Preston


Thank you so much to Lah over there at Lazy Girl Reads for introducing me to this feature where we showcase music that reminds us of a particular book that we read.

About the Book
 

Daniel's father has gotten himself killed and left another mess for Daniel to clean up. To save his world from destruction, he must fight off his father's killers while discovering a way to save his world. Time is running out, and Daniel must choose to either walk in his father's footsteps or to reinvent himself into the one to save his world.

I received this book from the author, LM Preston, and actually, this is my first ever print ARC so I'm really treasuring this one!  Apart from that, I'm not telling you anything more about this book, you would have to watch out for my book review.




About the Artist

Who does not know about Linkin' Park?  I used to listen to them while I was living with my teenage angst in high school so when I read this book, feeling the angst emit from the book through Daniel's personality, I had no other go-to music but those of Linkin' Park's.  Check out what's new with this cool band on their website.  Visit their website for more awesomeness.  



10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Favorite Photos I Took

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.


Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!
----------

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Favorite Photos I Took

Last week, as I was hopping from blog to blog who shared their Ten Good Things, I came across Becky's Good Things on her blog, Becky's Barmy Book Blog and was struck with inspiration.  So, inspired by Becky's top ten photos that make her smile, I present to you my top ten favorite photos I took from my camera.

Taken from a five-megapixel digital camera:


I love it that the purple color was vividly captured in this shot.

I was riding on a bus when I took this photo; I just love the colors of the grass and the sky.

That woman sitting over there under the umbrella was actually my mother.

I love really fluffy clouds!

Do you see that little crab there?  Isn't the little guy cute?


This is the glorious view I see on the window behind my computer.

I had to enlarge this photo just so you can see what I doodled on it.  This was taken from the office window of my former job.  Upon taking the picture, I  found that the glass window reflected the glass light in the ceiling so it looked like there was a UFO seen in the picture

 And these were taken from my Holga 160 CFN Lomo camera:


I did tell you that I love clouds, right?

This is actually a Krispy Kreme store.  I loved the bright lights so I decided to play with it and came up with this.

My brother before his gym days.

How about you?  Care to share your good things for this week?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Weekly Book Report 4/11 - 4/17/2011


To all my fellow Filipino book bloggers and book lovers:
 
I bet your jaw just dropped like, on the ground huh?   I found Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler priced at Php 84.75!  That's just almost USD 2.00!  So go splurge now because the sale is on until May 5, 2011 only.

To all my other fellow bloggers who live outside the Philippines, happy Teen Lit Day!  How did you celebrate it?  I tried Rocking the Drop but I was too busy at work so what I did, I brought a number of YA books I own at the hospital where I work and let some patients read them.  These are the books I lent:
  1. Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers - that was passed from patient to patient (I tried to disinfect it every time a patient finishes with it - you can't get too sure it won't carry infection!) and everybody loved it because it was brief but very original and emotion-packed!
  2. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - a gay patient picked this up and was so glad to find a book about gay relationships.  
  3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - an older patient borrowed this, imagine that, and so far he said that it was really beautifully-written and found it very hilarious and powerful.
I was able to bring three books only because no matter how massive my bag is, it's always crammed full with stuff I don't even know I would ever use but all the same, it's nice to make people smile with books.

And now, for a recap of the past week's happenings, here's my Weekly Book Report:

Book Review:
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
 
Features:
Third Sentence Thursday from Zombicorns by John Green
10 Good Things on a Monday  Ten Books I Must Read Pronto!

Other Posts:

What Changed Since I Started Blogging 
About a Book in Four Pictures - Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers
From the Author:
      Wild Child by Mike Wells
      My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond
For Free:
      Zombicorns by John Green - which you can get here for free.

Currently ReadingThe Fire Inside by Raymond Rose

New on the blog:  When you click on an individual blog post, you will find this at the end of the article:

I thought it would be nice to put a description like that as if you were reading a feature off a newspaper.  Don't ask me how long it took me to write those stuff up there, but just to give you an idea, I had to rack my brain for days to try and make it funny.  Or not. 

Moral Lesson for the Day:  Book sales happen rarely.  Grab the opportunity to burn your budget on some really interesting gems.

New Learning for the Week: Do not let patients read books before taking their vital signs - especially if the books have hilarious plots.  Those blood pressure and pulse rates would skyrocket! 

Have a great new week!

 

What Changed Since I Started Book Blogging

Next week, April 20, this blog will be turning five months old.  I can't believe that I just wanted to do a blog for my book rants, and then came ARGH, and then the awesome followers, and now Brush Up On Your Reading has already been running for five months!
He does that every time.

Lately I have been noticing things in how I read books.  There were times when I would catch myself thinking to myself, "The voice of the narration sounds really inconsistent," or "Why is this book reading too slow?"  I also found myself itching to get to the computer as soon as I finish a book and start writing a review.  When I can't do that immediately, I feel so guilty, like I'm failing the book - especially if it was good.

So what changed for me since I started blogging about books?

The Good

Patience.  Before I started writing reviews and just reading for fun, I was ruthless when it came to slow-reading books.  If a book was unable to interest me in the first few chapters, I oftentimes would just stop reading it altogether.  When I decided to blog about books, I felt that I owe it to the book and the author to give it a chance and try to read it until the end so that when I review it, I am sure about what I am talking about as I already read the whole story.

The Eye.  I used to just go read without appreciating the small details:  Voice, characterization, writing style, etc.  A few months into my blogging, I noticed that I was noticing these elements while I am reading and in a way, it felt nice because I was allowing myself to have more reasons to appreciate (or hate) a book.

Confidence.  I am not much for speaking my mind about particular issues, like bad books, even the fact that I love books.  I used to only share my love for books with my mother and a few close friends that not even my co-workers know I love to read!  That has changed though, as I now am able to freely speak my mind about books I've read because I've finally found an outlet that isn't too judgmental, unlike when you talk about books to another person face-to-face.  But I am already beginning to open myself to that now, too.  I finally had the nerve to actively push people into reading because I have a better grasp of what that particular book is all about and how I could interest a specific person to read that story.

The Bad

"Are you saying I'm part of The Bad?"
The Eye, Part II.  With the acquisition of that ability to note the small details that make a story interesting, that same ability sometimes destroys my capacity to go ahead and just read something for fun.  It's like I am beginning to read like a reviewer, and not as a reader.  I consider myself first and foremost a reader and master MS Paint ARGH illustrator, and book reviewer second.  I would still like to have a lot of fun reading books and not just for the sake of having something to write a review on.  Which is why I sometimes write reviews in a different format - to remind myself that there is more to reading than just writing an in-depth review.  And also why I created ARGH.

The I'm-Not-Sure-If-This-Is-Good-Or-Bad

Hoarder.  Ever since I started blogging, I have found really interesting books and I began to keep a wish list.  What used to be a habit of passing time in a bookstore turned into spending money in a bookstore.  In just a few months, my very modest book collection tripled in number and I had to move some of my college textbooks into another storage just to make room for new books in my book shelf.  I have already began looking for a new book case in the event that my current shelf is not enough to hold my collection.  My books are beginning to rival that of my Mom's!

I know, but where do I put them?

Brother Reader.  My brother got into reading because of the books I own, especially those YA fiction titles.  Sometimes, I would find myself looking for a particular book I haven't read yet and would learn that he has been reading it - EVEN BEFORE I HAVE OPENED IT.  I'm not a really selfish sister and I love it that my brother and I have a new interest that we share but sometimes, it's a bit annoying to have him read a book first before I can even get to it.  But oh well, at least he would never ever laugh at my hobby and we even have more inside jokes because of the books we've shared.  He is even asking me for help  for a blog he is thinking of creating.  I'll be sure to share it with you when it's finally done!

We're as close as them, but they're way cuter.  Especially the little brother.  Mine is even bigger than me.

And that's what changed for me.  How about you?  Has anything changed for you since you began to blog?



Friday, April 15, 2011

Fabulous Follow Friday!

Friday is upon us again, and here in another edition of Follow Friday by Parajunkee's Views is a pretty interesting question that we all need to answer.  But before that question, let me show you the featured blog for this week:

 

Photobucket

And for the question: 

Q. Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her. 

I have lots of people that I discuss books with in real life!  They are:
  1. My Mom - she's sort of my 'pusher' because she was the one who really taught me to go read books.  In fact, she herself has about 100+ books in the house (most can be found in her room, the bookshelves in the living room, some in my room, and even some in my brother's), mostly romance novels.  Now, she is also reading some of my books and I sometimes act as the 'pusher.'  I just looked over to where she's seated right now and she is weeping over the ending of Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  Her  favorite YA book is Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers.
  2. My brother - ever since I started reading YA, he began to get interested in reading more of my books as YA books are generally easy to read and very light.  When we were younger, he was not too into reading books because he gets bored too easily.  His favorite among my books is Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
  3. The Boyfriend - who not only buys me books, but also borrows some!  He mostly likes thrillers and murder mysteries but he recently read Room by Emma Donoghue and was amazed.
  4. My two friends, Mimi and Ira - who love YA books so much.  They even visit this blog to check out new books I reviewed and to get an idea of what to read next.  There were times when they would go right up to me and say, "Hey, I read your newest review and I thought it was great!" or "Do you have any new books?"  It sometimes makes me think that majority of those 9,000 + page views of my blog were from them!  They both loved Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.
  5. When everyone else is not available, I always have ARGH with me.  Seriously speaking, my brother already thinks I have a split personality because of that cute monster.  The things a brother knows.  Oh wait, that's a book!
Have a great weekend!  And welcome to blog hoppers and new followers!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Third Sentence Thursday: Zombicorns by John Green

Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books for treating third sentences with the dignity they deserve!

This week's theme is Third Sentence Review.

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence here or if you don't have a blog, just post it in the comments!
4) Prepare for next week's theme: To be announced

My Third Sentence for this week is from Zombicorns by John Green that I got free of charge as John put it under a creative commons license so it could be shared.  It's his first zombie apocalypse novella so it must be really funny and interesting!

You may download your own PDF copy of this book here in his Eff Yeah Nerdfighters Tumblr blog


"I wondered what we had in common aside from having lived this long."
 
-page 55, Zombicorns by John Green

Review:  I have not yet read any part of this book apart from that sentence so as this is a zombie apocalypse story, living itself is such a luxury and these two people are very lucky indeed.