My Bookcase

I received a free book!

I review for BookSneeze

I saw this badge on a blog awhile back and signed up. That first time I was on the site, I didn’t understand how things worked; did they deliver to the Philippines? I wasn’t sure. So I didn’t order. A few weeks, maybe a month, later I saw a longtime blogger friend post a book review on her site for the book Why You Say It. Right at the bottom of her post, she mentioned receiving a copy to review via Book Sneeze. Well what do you know, they do deliver to the southeast!

So I logged back on to the site and ordered this book:

This morning, I finally received it.  A few days shy of a month after requesting for it.

I started reading it at the doctor’s clinic, while waiting at her lounge. In return for the free book, I just need to write a review which really is no chore. I like the book already. Stay tuned to my book review site, Between the Covers. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then you’ve missed my review of one of the greatest graphic novels in recent history. 🙂 So head on over to Between the Covers. Now! 🙂

I think this is a great service, any way I can get books at no cost to me, is a brilliant service 🙂 If, like me, your trying to cut back on expenses (after doing a whole lot of shopping), then Book Sneeze might be the answer so you still get your book fix. I heard that Apple’s been shipping those new iPhone 4s all over the place, and if you just upgraded to one, then you’d probably want to save up for more iPhone 4 accessories, I know I would if I just got a hot new phone. Heck, I almost bought myself a pair of Sennheiser earphones the other week just because it matches the look of My S Phone. The boyfriend actually stopped me though. Anyway, get your book fix without spending a dime, checkout BookSneeze. 🙂

Between the Covers

… of a book, that is.

I’ve launched a new blog with that title. I figured, since I spend so much money on books, I might as well dedicate an entirely new blog for them. Checkout the banner I used, courtesy of Zoe Pearn’s Blog in a Box:

For a change, I used Blogger for this new blog and I’m actually liking it. I finally have a blog design that has a scrapbook feel, much like how my old blog was. There are already quite a number of posts on there, and you may be familiar with some of them. Naturally, I simply migrated posts here tagged with My Bookcase. I did add a note at the bottom of each post that they were being reposted – I wouldn’t want to be in trouble with Internet cops for duplicate content, lol. 🙂

What’s next kaya? I mean what other blogs will I give birth to? Haha. Maybe one for causes and charities, or maybe we can improve the blog of Baby Jon Angelo! Why not?! 🙂

Anyhoo, please go checkout In Between the Covers!

The Year of Secret Assignments

Have you ever wondered how the ladies of Lipstick Jungle must have been like as kids or teenagers? Probably just like Em, Lyd and Cass from Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments. Or not.

This book was again one of those books I picked up at my favorite second-hand store. That’s what I love about those places, they just get me to be so open about books that I would normally have snubbed at full price. Haha 🙂 In the past, I would only buy books by authors I’ve read before and liked. Or I’ll stay safe and go for those referred by a friend. When I started frequenting second-hand bookshops, I was more daring so to speak. The good thing is that I have only ever regretted buying one book. I picked it up (a novel that  a tear-jerker of a movie was based on), tried to read it, couldn’t continue. It was soooo slow. Anyway, it wasn’t this book.

I enjoyed reading this book. A lot. It’s for kids/young adults as the characters are in high school. There’s no magic here, or mythical creatures. Rather, you’d read about kids who cut classes, pick locks, and play pranks. Very nice, haha. 🙂

The girls in the book go to Ashbury, a private school for girls. Their parents were all friends, and lawyers. I could imagine them with their book bags, binders, maybe even with their blazers/jackets, hair bows, or beaded lanyards, walking the corridors of their school just talking about the boys they’re exchanging letters with. I also imagined them on their sleep overs, talking about their hopes and dreams 🙂

They had a penpal project for their English class and their pen friends were to be from another English class from the rival school (seems to be a public co-ed highschool). The story is told through the letters exchanged by the girls and their pen friends Matthew, Seb and Charlie. Lyd’s special notebook and Cass’ diary also come into play. It was interesting to see how their relationship developed through the letters, until they all met in person. It was also interesting to see how their characters developed as they continued corresponding with each other.

Friendship and loyalty was, not surprisingly, the central theme in the novel. It also showed how friends help one cope with the death of a parent.

I’ve laughed a couple of times while reading this book. These kids are cool! Haha. And I might just pass this one on to my niece for a bit of reading. 🙂

Voices by Ursula Le Guin

Anyone reading my blog, and most everyone who know me, also know about my propensity to hoard books. Specifically second-hand ones. In fact, if I take the time to look for them, I’d probably find any number of blog posts talking about this, and how it takes a lot of effort for me to stay away from book shops for fear of spending too much on books (like what happened this time). Most of the time though (98% of the time), I do not regret shelling out the money. I find solace in reading. When I’m in a bad mood, or a bit out of whack, or just bored, books keep me company.

Reading also wakes up my mind. 🙂

In one of my book shopping sprees, I came across this book:

My copy doesn’t actually have this cover 🙁  It was hard bound and cost half as much as what a paperback copy would have. It’s my first Le Guin book. I read one of her short stories back in College but I can’t remember the title. I think it’s the one with Mr. Underhill. :S Anyway, I just knew I would like her writing, and I wasn’t wrong.

It amazes me how stories are written, and ones like these that are set in a totally different reality than ours keep me in awe. Le Guin built a whole new world with its own belief system and there created conflict that was so believable, and surprisingly, relevant.

Set in the city of Ansul, Voices tells the story of young Memer who was born in the year that her city was occupied by foreign troops. The invaders have banned books for their demonic nature, and because Ansul was the seat of learning it was especially ravaged and its great university was torn down. All the books that the Alds could gather were burned and those who possessed them were persecuted. The head of Mer’s household, the Waylord, was among those who were thrown into prison and tortured.

Voices is about Mer’s discovery of many secrets. First, of the hidden library in Galvamand, then of her own abilities and her role in the larger scheme of things. She grew up learning to hate the invaders, but she later learned that not all of them are despicable. In the reviews that I’ve read, this one echoes my sentiments: 

Perhaps the strongest element of the novel, however, is the way it moves from black and white to shades of gray. Orrec believes that all people have some good in them, and as Memer is forced to get to know the invaders she despises, she realizes that they are not all terrible and cruel. Some of them are simply different, and unable to understand her way of life. The message seems to be that it is far better to reach an understanding with others, even if you dislike them, than to take revenge. In a time when cultural and religious clashes make news almost every day, this should hit home with many readers.  – Review by Lynn Crow, on the website

I can’t ever imagine living in a world without books! I guess though, if you grew up without them, then you don’t know what you’re missing. The people of Alds relied on Makers, storytellers, like Orrec. He travels far and wide not only to tell stories, but to learn them too. Much like how our ancestors kept culture alive, by passing on our stories by mouth, so does he.

Only by the end of the novel did I realize that Voices was part of a series. It definitely stands on its own, but I would be very interested in finding a copy of Gifts too, along with Powers. And you know what? If I find a copy of The Wizard of Earthsea, I’d definitely buy it.

Lady Killer

Normally, when I write-up a post about a familiar theme, I run a search on my blog so I can make references to earlier posts on the subject. I was surprised that a search on my blog with the keyword Scottoline only brought up four posts. I mean, isn’t Lisa Scottoline one of my recent favorite authors? Have I really only read four of her novels? But I feel like I know the girls of Rosato & Associates so much. Haha.

I searched via Google too, and my post on my Bravejournal for Courting Trouble showed up, I mentioned Devil's Corner there too.

Anyway… I recently read another of Lisa’s novels, and Mary DiNunzio once again takes center stage.

For me, it was the usual Scottoline experience. There’s the familiarity with the characters, and the very comfortable and homey feel when Mary goes to her parents’ house. Judy wasn’t in the picture so much this time around though, it was really about Mary going her own way and dealing with the skeletons in her closet. There was a lot of mention of her husband Mike who had passed away, but I couldn’t remember Mike at all! 🙁

It was not surprising how the book touched on the what ifs of life. Mary was wondering how life could have turned out if things were different in high school. Sometimes I think of crossroads I’ve gone through, and wonder how things could be had I chosen a different path. The good thing is, I have no reason to really regret any of the choices I made. Mary shouldn’t regret any of hers either.

If there was something I didn’t like about Lady Killer, it’s that none of the Mean Girls turned out to be okay in their adulthood. No, scratch that. They apparently were happy with their lives and they probably even consider themselves successful. But it’s so obvious that Mary was being held on a higher ground because she’s now a lawyer and all that. The Mean Girls all worked in a beauty salon. They still had each other though, and they were still for the most part, Mean. Why couldn’t Mean Girls have turned out to become lawyers too? Why couldn’t they have made something else of themselves? Not ALL geeks turn out okay, and not all meanies turn out to be losers when they grow up. Haha.

Hays. I thought that if I tried focusing on something like a book I read, I would write and it would make sense. Apparently, it doesn’t make a difference. I’m still stuck in a rut. Pfft.

I hope my awful writing doesn’t turn you off on Lady Killer.

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