Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Little Book Told Me...


                                                                                              from Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Monday, June 27, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Fantastic Book Back Covers

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 Fantastic Book Back Covers

Just recently, I did a list of Ten Fantastic Book Covers.  Obviously, it showed us the front covers of the books.  And while it's only common that we should show what's in front, I sometimes wonder how a book's back cover feels - if it could feel anything at all.  So to give tribute to the terribly underrated part of a book, let's see some back covers that rock my socks :D

1.  This cover of Wuthering Heights is already tons of awesome, but you see that back part?  I am love, love, loving that window!

2.  I can't exactly tell you what I like about this back cover - maybe the fact that there are some phrases that were enlarged and given more emphasis?  Maybe because it echoes minimalism?  The gray color?  Maybe all of the above!

3.  What I like about this one, I can definitely tell you:  The colors!  I like that it has those smudges of colors arranged in a very orderly way but still looks like it was just thrown together.

4.  I was initially confused about which goes in front and which goes in the back, then I figured it out (obviously the one with the title and author goes in front, stupid me), and although the back part just features words, words, and lots of words and less focus on the design, I loved the awesomeness that the written message tells me.

5.  I have never seen a frumpy cover for Brave New World, every copy of that book looks really cool, and this one by far looks really cool - it just screams 'Acid rock!' to me.

6.  I have this book and I just can't stop staring at the back cover.  It's so clean and really relates to the whole story. 

7.  Where are you?  Why not try asking me what I like?  Because I'm really liking this back cover.

8.  Those wings look really glorious!

9.  When have you ever seen a kiddie book that does not have a really attractive cover?  And this back cover looks whimsy and fun.

10.  Graffiti love! ♥

So tell me, what are your Good Things?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Weekly Book Report 6/20 - 6/26/2011

Missed this week's blog fun?  Don't worry, because ARGH and I are here to the rescue, with The Weekly Book Report! 

Book Review:
Mini Reviews Part One:
     The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
     Forget You by Jennifer Echols
     Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
     The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman 

Mini Reviews Part Two:
     Girl, Stolen by April Henry
     Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
     Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
     Wide Awake by David Levithan

Shelf Saturday featuring Tessa @From the Bookshelf of T.B.

Other Posts:
About a Book in Four PicturesWintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Currently Reading:   The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Have a great new week!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shelf Saturday Featuring Tessa @ From the Bookshelf of T.B.

We all love our books, and we want them to have the best shelves ever. Also, this is a new way to sort of show off your book collection, along with your funky shelves.

ARGH thought fitting himself in the bookshelf will help him sleep.

For this new edition of Shelf Saturday, let me feature the book case of this blogger friend of mine, Tessa @ From the Bookshelf of T.B.:

From The Bookshelf of T.B. Hi everyone!  My name is Tessa.  I’m fourteen years old and an eighth grader in middle school.  I’ll be going into high school this coming fall.  I love to run and I’m in track and cross-country.  I’m more of a long-distance runner, with my main events being the 3000m race and the 1500m race, but I enjoy sprints as well. 

Some random facts about me:
         -I’m the youngest of three.
         -I love, love, love the color teal.
         -My grandpa was the one who got me to start a blog.  Intrigued? :)
         -I could eat cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
         -Italian food is my favorite, especially lasagna.  Did I mention I like food?

Now enough about me, let me tell you a bit about my shelves.  I actually got my shelves from a Borders store that was closing nearby me.  It was the last day they were open so there wasn’t too much left.  Luckily, I was able to buy four bookshelves from Borders for really cheap.  The funny thing is, when I got home only two would fit in my room.

The feature I love most about my bookshelves is that they’re pretty tall and they’re double-sided.  It’s cool, because it feels like I’m in a library or bookstore when I go between them.  And I get double the shelf space, which I could always use more of.

This is what the front of my main shelf looks like.  The top shelf holds my books that are in a series, and are a mix of paperback and hardcover.  For some reason I just don’t like having a series with both paperbacks and hard covers.  I’d rather have only one or the other.  Next, my second shelf consists of my hardcover books. Then, my third shelf has all of my paperbacks that are in a series.  Finally, my last shelf holds my paperbacks (some might also be in a series, but I just don’t own the rest yet).  Other than that, I tend to organize my books by the ones that jut out the most on the far-left, and the rest just by the jacket color in an order that pleases the eye.  I know, a bit complicated and quirky, but it works out great!

Another shot of my bookshelf.

This is what the front side of my other shelf looks like.  On the left side of the top shelf are books that I’ve borrowed from my family or friends that I still need to read.  On the right side of the top shelf are books that I have read but still need to write reviews for.  I always tend to fall behind :p  My second shelf holds all of my books that I have bought and still need to read.  I really need to start reading all of these!  All of my ARC’s and books sent to me by publishers are on the third shelf.  Plus my painted ceramics and little chotchkies are on this shelf as well.

My mom made this for me, and it fits perfectly on the top of my shelf.  The letters spell the name of my blog, From The Bookshelf of T.B.  It was extremely thoughtful and sweet of her to make it for me.  I love seeing it everyday as a reminder on top of my bookshelves.

So that basically sums up what my shelves are all about!  Thank you so much Nina (and ARGH!) for this wonderful opportunity!  It was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed seeing my shelves.  I hope to have even more books filling them soon!

Eating ice cream the whole day!  I would love to try that some time!

Those are very nice book shelves you have there, Tessa!  They give this library feel which I'm sure most book lovers are crazy about!  Lucky you to be able to snag these shelves from Borders.  I'm sure a lot of the readers out there are now planning to scour their area for book stores about to close to get a couple of shelves (on one hand, I hate it when book stores close shop, but I love it when they sell their store equipment, especially the shelves and tables!).

And that name thing is awesome, your mother is very creative!  Same goes for those bookends. Your having a grandpa who would tell you to go make a blog about your books is amazing, I wish all grandparents are like that.  You have a really cool family, I can tell! :D

Thank you so much for sharing your bookshelves with us, Tessa!


Think this is a great idea?  Want to have your shelves featured?  Then fill out this form and ARGH and I will email you for details on how to be a movie star - er, how to be featured on Shelf Saturday :D

Friday, June 24, 2011

Follow Friday 6/24/2011

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. This week's question is:

Q. In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae? 

I've already talked about ten of my favorite fairy tales, but my most favorite?  The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen.  I just loved that story, and I found an animated film version of that and I just watched it again and again.

As for stories about fairies, my favorite would have to be Peter Pan, of course!

Hello there again!  This is another hop that I have decided to participate in.  This is my first time on TGIF!  Yay!  Since I am always looking out for the weekend, it only follows that I should do this to really kick off the weekend fun. 

This Friday's Question:

Summer Love: Where is your ideal place to take a 
summer vacation & get lost in a book?

This is a very easy question.  I have a favorite place here in the Philippines, it's near Tagaytay and it's called Balay Indang Red Ginger Farm.  It's a garden retreat place that a friend of my mom owns and she often invites us to come over.  I loved lounging around the different houses and cottages there, and there were even beds outside under the trees!  I once brought a book there and it was such a great experience.  And the food is awesome, too :D

Here are some pictures:
The Watch Tower.  This is my preferred place to hang out and read.  You can go inside and find a really comfy bed and a rocking chair, as if asking you to take your pick.

The Main House

The Dining Area

The Stairs to the Dining Area

How it all looks from afar.

Another cottage where you can find some bean bags to sit or lie on.
Would you believe that this is part of a toilet and washroom?  I'm standing next to the toilet, of course.
For other pictures (not taken by me), you can check out Balay Indang (The Red Ginger Farm and Garden) on Flickr.

So that's it, I hope you all have a great weekend, and happy reading to everyone!

Mini Reviews (Because I'm drowning in books!) Part II

Part two of my mini reviews feature more YA fiction.  I know, some might wonder if I'm already crossing over to mainly YA books but it's just that there were a lot of YA books lying around in my TBR pile so I went ahead and read them to make way for some adult fiction (like True Grit by Charles Portis, which I'm very excited to read).

Girl, Stolen by April Henry
Henry Holt and Co., 213 pages
From The Boyfriend, bought from Fully Booked 

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen—with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes — now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

Review:  After reading Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, it's no wonder that I would want to read something similar but entirely different, and in my opinion, Girl, Stolen by April Henry made that grade.  It was refreshing to read about a handicapped protagonist who, although burdened with a disability, was very resourceful and courageous.  It was great to read about someone that I know I and a lot of other people would want to look up to, someone who could be a role model.  Cheyenne deserves to be emulated by teens everywhere, as she tackles her situation and conquers her fear with her quick thinking, resourcefulness, and intelligence.  The second best character in this book in my opinion was not Griffin, but his father, Roy, who was so pathetic and scary and was nothing short of a monster.  I know that his presence - and the plot itself - might classify this book as from a darker YA genre, but there really are people like Roy who exist in real life, and his character was very spot-on.  Ms. Henry was able to write about a unique story with as much poignance, clarity, and emotion as possible.

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Point, 288 pages
Received via Random Acts of Kindness from Ashley @ BookAHolics Anonymous  

Nina was beautiful, wild, and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, Nina disappeared. 2 years later, everyone has given up hope that Nina will return, but Ellie knows her sister is out there. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.Then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing. Determined to find Nina, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance - her hot, adventurous new crush. Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Lies. And the most shocking thing of all: the truth.

Review:  Obviously, this is one book I would place on my wishlist.  Why?  For its title.  I'm such a sucker for books that has characters with the same name as me.  So I really thank Ashley @ BookAHolics Anonymous for including this to the books she sent me for RAK.  

Moving on, I really thought Lynn Weingarten's Wherever Nina Lies was such a joyride I had to read it thrice after the first reading.  It was that good.  Sure there were some elements there that do not add up in reality, but those were exactly what made it more fun to read, because it was written with such convincing clarity you would willingly step into its fictional world and accept it as truth.  I also loved the characters and their unique personalities.  Really great read, and cover too!

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
Bantam, 368 pages
Bought from Celina's Books and Magazines 

The news that he had incurable cardiomyopathy struck Ryan Perry as hard as any heart attack. The 34-year-old Internet tycoon felt that his days were numbered; but thanks to a transplant, he was able not only to survive but to move forward, enjoying every day with the gratitude of a true survivor. Then one day a gift arrives; a heart pendant accompanied by a Valentine's Day box of candy hearts. With it comes a chilling message ("Your heart belongs to me") and an even more frightening video. Suddenly, Ryan's healthy, throbbing heart has become the target of a madwoman.

Review:  I was really looking forward to my first-ever Dean Koontz book.  I was so interested in the story of Your Heart Belongs to Me that I did not hesitate to buy myself a copy.  The plot was awesome, the characters awesomer, the beginning was great, the middle was great plus one, but the end?  Not so much.  It began to get muddled and it was almost as if another story was spliced to the ending.  I thought that Mr. Koontz was trying to wax philosophical with this novel but it ended up being something entirely different.  Otherwise, I would still keep this book if only for the beginning and middle parts.

Wide Awake by David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 240 pages
Bought from Celina's Books and Magazines 

In the not-too-impossible-to-imagine future, a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States. Until the governor of one state decides that some election results in his state are invalid, awarding crucial votes to the other candidate, and his fellow party member. Thus is the inspiration for couple Jimmy and Duncan to lend their support to their candidate by deciding to take part in the rallies and protests. Along the way comes an exploration of their relationship, their politics, and their country, and sometimes, as they learn, it's more about the journey than it is about reaching the destination.

Review:  Background Music:  Imogen Heap's 'Have You Got It In You'

Wide Awake by David Levithan could have been a prequel to Boy Meets Boy, where equality in all sexes was already prevalent; except some scenes from the latter were obviously more dated and occurred earlier than Wide Awake.  Emotionally-charged despite less heavy and traumatic scenes, the story happened in less than a week and tackled some dire issues heavily debated among communities such as homosexuality, religion, and politics (which I almost never talk about).  This book would really help the younger generation to become more self-aware and keep their eyes open for social issues confronting their times, at the same time maintaining that patented David Levithan intelligent humor and appeal that will certainly captivate its readers and advance their vocabulary.

Four more books down!  

Check out my Mini Reviews Part One

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mini Reviews (Because I'm drowning in books!) Part I

Last time I checked, there were seven books that I needed to review, and as much as I would just like to not write anything, I thought it would be unfair to all those books (especially as I loved most of them).  However, Blogger gave me such a hard time that I gave up, and when I got back to this post, I already have nine books to talk about.  Nine.  I read way too fast these past few weeks but I was totally in a slump about what to write about books.  It's sad.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 266 pages
Bought from Powerbooks 

This extraordinary work chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful - but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time. Step by careful step, Sylvia Plath takes us with Esther through a painful month in New York as a contest-winning junior editor on a magazine, her increasingly strained relationships with her mother and the boy she dated in college, and eventually, devastatingly, into the madness itself.

Review:  I really loved The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  It's like old school chick lit, but with more sensitive, more serious themes.  Esther was such a lively presence, even during the times when she was at her lowest.  The story just got to me and there were times when I had to pause because it got too emotional.  The voice just messes with your brain that you are led to believe everything, even the parts where it's obviously wrong but you get convinced otherwise.  Way to go Sylvia for your awesome story.  Too bad she's gone now. I would have loved to write her a letter.


Forget You by Jennifer Echols
MTV Books, 292 pages
Received via Random Acts of Kindness from Ashley @ BookAHolics Anonymous 

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

Review:  There were some parts of the synopsis for Forget You by Jennifer Echols that was a bit misleading, but I still loved the overall story.  Some parts were a bit muddled, and sometimes I did not like Zoey all that much but the fact that I felt strongly about/against her just means that the writing style was very effective and made the novel really alive and realistic.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Penguin Classics, 453 pages
From The Boyfriend, bought from National Bookstore 

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

Review:  Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre was awesome!  It was funny, it was emotional, and most of all, it was powerful!  (OK enough of the exclamation points) I loved the dialogue, which was filled with humor and Jane's sarcastic wit.  She was snarky, smart, and had a lot of guts that had she been born in the present times she would have Girl Power written all over her.  The other characters were remarkable as well for contributing to a genuine feel to the novel.  The writing was a bit confusing at first, especially when Jane was describing what another person was telling her, but once you were able to wade through that, you're good.  I loved this book!

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman
Scholastic Press, 288 pages
Bought from Powerbooks 

June and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.

This is not that kind of love story.

Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.

Review:  I've been looking for a copy of The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman for so long that I was so overjoyed when I found one and bought it right away - regardless how much it cost (it was pretty expensive).  Fortunately, I was spared from regretting the purchase.  The story contained within this book was worth every penny I paid for it; even though this is mainly a very light read, it had a lot of great moments and I loved that the romantic angle was uniquely executed.  The characters were the type you would want to be friends with had they been real, and the writing itself was simple enough that you can really focus on the story itself and not worry about other details. 

It should be noted that after I read this one, my Mom went ahead and devoured this book, and she was all mesmerized by the cover.


Thought I'm done?  I'm just getting started.  Four books down, five AND MORE to go.  Watch out for the next mini review :D