Friday, January 25, 2013

This is one of those times... :/

Ever felt like you're not good enough at what you WANT to do? For years now, I've believed that if I live in a perfect world, reading and writing would be the only things that I want to do for the rest of my life. We all had these kind of days... when you feel inferior all of a sudden and you, at a snap of a finger, realize that you've been wasting your time believing you're good at a certain thing. Well, I'm probably feeling it right now. 

It is really disheartening. It sucks. I don't always fool myself that I'm an impeccable writer. In fact, I'm far from it. I've written amateurly through the years. And unlike most of those who venture on this path, I didn't have that much of a background when it comes to the basics of writing and writing as a whole. I have grammatical errors and misspelling in my posts, but I try to keep them low to the best of my abilities. (And no matter how cliche it sounds) I'm not perfect.

The bottom line is that I admit that I'm not that  good of a writer, but I chose to think that it's because I love what I am doing that's why I still push through. But to borrow a quote from one of my all-time favorite Kseries, "Being 'good' and 'trying hard' are two different things." Oh well...

I know I promised to just fill this blog with all the things that make me happy, but there's just too many negative thoughts in my head right now -- and I know I have to vent it out.

In hopes of cheering myself up, I decided to look back on one post that made me smile regarding this matter:

I recently joined a community in Google+ called Writer's Discussion Group, and such short stay already proved to me that writers are the most sensible and insightful bunch of people -- ever!


So there goes the conversation...
Thanks +Cyndi Shively! You really made my day. :)

So that's that I guess. I just have to remember that whenever I feel things like this again. You cannot fake passion, and even if I'm not that good at what I want to do, I still can't deny the fact that I love what I am doing and writing (+ reading) will always be a big part of myself.

 *inhale exhale* 
I just need to stop and breathe in order to let all of these frustrations disappear now. :)

Update:

I can't believe this simple post had an effect to these lovely people. Here's some snippet:

I just thanked them, but they're thanking me now. I'm really really glad I'm part of the WDG family! :)

These and the comments below are what keeps me going despite setbacks. I promise, I won't stop. :))

Another Game of Thrones Season 3 Teaser!

Well, HBO is teasing us as March is approaching -- and they're doing it quite successfully. So here's another taste of Game of Thrones' Season 3 coming our way:

See that, see that? I have so much thoughts about this 2-minute video that I think my head will start to hurt any minute. So in hopes of coming across as comprehensible, I'll try to put them in bullets:
  • The Queen of Thorns in her full garb! I never imagined that to be that way, but it's still awesome!
  • I still think Tyrion's scars are a little lacking to begin with. (Check the book.)
  • Richard Madden's (Robb Stark) Irish accent! *swoon* @.@
  • Charles Dance! Such a brilliant actor. Him saying: "Plots are not public knowledge. We need to act first." is enough for me to keep raping that replay button every time that line comes up. :D
  • I really believe that Natalie Dormer's voice adds up to Margeary's sophistication as a character. I could never get tired of that voice of her's.
  • Mance Rayder! Not what I have imagined him to look like, but I'm still pretty excited.
  • I love Michelle Fairley's enthusiasm in the interview.
I agree. Any fan who've read the book looks forward for this season more than anything. I can't blame them, Book three is my favorite in the whole series, too. Anyways, I'm just really excited how they would execute all of this and amaze/shock fans on everything that would be going on this season. I can't contain my excitement, I wish March would come sooner. :)


On a side note: Why am I so thrilled spotting Thomas Brodie-Sangster's Jojen Reed in here? I really think casting Thomas for this part is indeed spot-on! I mean, you can just look at his eyes and you'll know that is he perfect for this.Oh oh, I think a new subject for fangirling is on its way. XD

Ps, though; Don't bother viewing this on YouTube. There's so much evil going on in the comment section. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book: Forever Me by Thomas Amo


Another late post, but hey, as they say, it’s better late than never. :) This time, it’s about Thomas Amo’s Forever Me.

This is a relatively new title and I’m afraid it’s not that much known here in the Philippines (there’s always Amazon, btw) – but this book is really a must-read.




Plot:

Hannah Richards isn't your typical 16 year-old at Wichita Falls High. Fashions, trends, cosmetics and style are unimportant to her. An avid reader, guitar player, classic movie and television buff, Hannah marches to the beat of her own drum. Visible only to her Father the town Sheriff, and her two best friends. Hannah lives a simple, un-pampered life as an "Eastie."
After coming to the aide of Taylor Monroe, a popular member of the ultra snobby "Stilettos" at school, Hannah's life beings spiraling out of control. As she starts spending more time with Taylor, her best friends abandon her, after a series of misunderstandings, causing Hannah to re-invent herself.
Hannah quickly gets caught up in a life much different than the one she knows, where status, glamour, makeup, appearance and acceptance become her masters. And what of the dark secret that haunts the streets of Wichita Falls?
Can Hannah survive the lies, deceit, jealousy and rage that are now waiting for her behind every corner? Will she succumb to the pressures of popularity? Or will she be crushed under the heels of the "Stilettos"?
~High school is hard enough just being yourself, let alone being someone you're not~ via Goodreads


This is technically YA in genre, a coming of age story of coming to terms of who you are and what the society expected you to be – and it  discussed one of the most common problems nowadays with young adults: bullying. My country has enough bullies on its own, but it is not considered such a relatively huge problem compared to other countries, well, except in the worst cases. So I really am surprised one time I talked to Thomas when he said that this is how high school really works back  in his place, no matter how incredulous everything is. It’s sad. Personally, I disapprove bullying big time (well, who wouldn’t?). I have experienced being bullied in the earlier time of my studies and I don’t really understand what those people (bullies) are thinking that they even try to do those things. Maybe it’s the feeling of being superior, or maybe they just want to let out their frustration – nonetheless, it’s not healthy and it doesn’t benefit anybody.

I never really expected this book to be so close to my heart. Yes, I love YA fiction – but this book really hit home. Besides the main issue of bullying, it tackles one thing that most of us, one time or another in our lives, experienced --  that is, coming to terms with who you really are. The less dramatic people would say that it’s part of growing up so they don’t really concern themselves much with it ; but there are those who find it really hard to adapt to, and in turn, end up just hurting themselves or the people around them. That feeling of inferiority, the pressure of getting along with everybody, the efforts in trying to fit in – sometimes, you start to lose yourself in the process and you’re really lucky if you’re able to pick it up again. Yes, there are people like this, and somehow, I find myself relating to it.

Well, to start, I’m in my early twenties (I don’t know if I’m still a YA), but, still, I loved this book. If that doesn’t tell you anything, I don’t know what will. And I honestly think that it is because of how surprisingly relatable it is, even if I’m in such an age where high school is so old school. The generality of it it simply amazing that you come to realize that, maybe, people are not really that different from each other no matter what their age is.

The first part of the book is a little kinda Mean Girl-esque to me and I don’t know if that’s my cup of tea, but it’s necessary.  And as the story progressed and we get to know Hannah more, as well as the people around them. It’s a thrill to get to know these characters and just get caught in the flow of the whole story. I’m a slow reader but I can really snuggle in bed all day with a cup of hot coffee reading just this. It’s been quite a while since I last read a YA heroine/protagonist who is not, in a way, emotionally troubled/disturbed (Haha, as dictated by my choice of books to read for the past year) – so Hannah Richards is like a breath of fresh air for me. It’s been a really great thing witnessing Hannah (and also, Taylor) grow up. The character development was really awesome. I can’t remember where I read it, but I heard that one of Amo’s literary influence is Stephen King – and it showed! I loved the thrilling [side]storyline and the twist + [somehow]climax scene at the end, it brought action to the already enjoying plot. The scenes were well executed, and I can almost picture them zooming in and out, transitioning to another as if it were a movie in my head. And must I add, the last part really did made me cry. I’ve gushed about it in Twitter/Facebook, and I’ll say it again: I can’t believe I cried in a public transport. That was when I was reading the last chapter + the epilogue. The last speech was really moving  as it is inspiring, I can’t help but shed a tear or two. I was deeply affected, maybe a little too much than necessary. XD But I really felt for them, and I think that that moment really deserved that kind of connection because it’s where everything came together. I can’t really say this enough, but if I haven’t spoiled it that much for you, I recommend you go read it – especially you YA lovers out there. It may not be that well known, but it is a deeply affecting inspirational story that made me realize that you should not let standards and societal pressure get in the way of being the best you can be: YOURSELF.

To the generous Thomas Amo, my friend, thanks for letting me read this book and touching me with this simple yet heart warming story. It has been a privilege. Good luck on your career, and may you have many more published books in the future. Keep in touch.  :) ~ R.

Quotable Quotes:
But if you’re going to lie, you have to ask this question, who are you lying to? Them or yourself?”  ~ Mr. D’ Aiuto 

“Being popular really sucks, sometimes, no matter how cool it looks on the outside.” ~ Taylor 

[I especially love Hannah’s last line in the book but including it here would, in my opinion, spoil the ending for you guys. So just watch out for it when you read it. :)]

Monday, January 21, 2013

A New Year Treat for Ice and Fire Fans!

Calling everyone who has read the A Song of Ice and Fire Series from Book 1 to 5! Mr. Martin has a gift for us. :)
Loving this illustration of Arianne Martell!  So freakin' accurate. // source
I should've posted this a little earlier so this is probably old news. But last January 8th our beloved author released another sample chapter in his website from the upcoming book, The Winds of Winter (Book 6). If this is not good news, I don't know what is.

Anyways, here's the link of the sample chapter -- CLICK HERE.

George R.R. Martin has also released a sample chapter from the book in the past in Theon's POV -- it appears the sample has been removed from the site. But through the wonders of research and eager fans who back them up, I found it: Click HERE for that. If you haven't read any of it, well, you've been wasting much precious time my friend.

The latest sample chapter, which was in Arianne's POV just left me really wanting for more (even more!). I'm really interested with where everything is going especially now that it seems that Doran is taking his chances and has even sent his daughter to confirm if the news sent from Griffin's Roost is true. I'm really, really excited -- especially now that Arianne is technically Dorne's only hope if you know what I mean.

Anyways, I just don't know if Martin published it simply for his fans enjoyment. I was just thinking that he would do something to somehow ease the impatience of his fandom -- because it seems that it would still take a couple of years before Winds will be finished. What do you think? :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quick Thoughts on Mario Puzo's The Godfather

I'm not really into the mafia/crime genre (I haven't read much in the genre, is what I'm trying to say) -- so I was really surprised that I'm really enjoying Mario Puzo's The Godfather. I've read almost 25% in it, and I'm loving EVERYTHING so far. It's fast-paced, riveting, action-packed -- and the killing scenes! Gawd, how I love graphic killing scenes.

I've already heard about the book ever since I started digging for classics (it's considered a classic, right?) but I've had second thoughts on whether to read it or not because of the genre. I figured if I'm to invest my time into something, it has to be good. (Yeah, that's how I decide on what to read next) But now, I'm really regretting that I am just reading it now It's like cheating myself of the good things that I can readily have in life. (Like being 21 and not being able to read any book in the LoTR series + leaving the movie adaptation unwatched. Don't worry, I agree. I'm a horrible human being.)

Plus the movie adaptation of this much-talked about book is intriguing me. I've been frequenting list/ranking sites lately, and this title always comes up. It's even listed as the No.1 Gangster Movie and Top 2 in the Greatest Films of All Time by American Film Institute, right under Citizen Kane. I figured I'll be downloading the film trilogy right when I finished reading it. 

I've already promised not to distract myself from my accounting review this first quarter of the year, but as expected -- I broke my promise. =/ I was still in a withdrawal state, resigning myself to the fact that it would take years before I read the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and was still adjusting to my dorm life again -- it's just too much to start depriving myself of literature. So as as to somehow comfort my desperation, I decided to pop open The Godfather and my view on things have changed. It was such a breath of fresh air and I love the action and all.

I'm thinking of giving it a 4 or a 5 even before finishing it -- and to think that I'm still 1/4 in the book so far. Weird. Must be The Godfather Effect (I don't even care if I used that wrongly, I just have to.). :P

Booktique x Rzzzp Blog Giveaway Winner!

At last, the #Booktique giveaway has finally ended! Thanks to everyone who took their time to join my simple giveaway. To be honest, I'm kinda jealous of the winners because I actually want those items for myself. XP 

CONGRATULATIONS to the two winners:
Say Yap and Karla Nitura!

Ms. Say Yap (winner #1) got the following: 
Heaven Tee, available at 350 Php each
A Set of "I'm Here!" Bookmarks, available at 150 Php per set
 While Ms. Karla Nitura (winner #2) got the following:

Booktique Bookstrap, available for 395 Php each
A set of Paris and London Bookmarks, available for  250 Php per set
I already e-mailed the two winners, and is looking forward for their reply. If you guys won't reply within a week, I'm afraid I would have to pick another one. Anyways, congratulations! May you put these wonderful items to good use. Spread the joy of reading, one person at a time! :)

Don't forget to visit Booktique's Official Facebook page by clicking HERE. Check out their vast collection of merchandise that would really make a bookworm giddy with joy. Who knows? Maybe you could get the perfect gift for your loved one this coming Valentine's Day. :)

Join my other on-going giveaway:
Accessories up for grabs! Join my Shop o' Jewels giveaway by clicking HERE.

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's the Liebster Blog Award! :)

Well, a while ago, I just received a comment from Patty of Patty Grace Kelly that she had nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. It's an informal blog award, but I am really, really grateful about this. It's my first! :))
To start off, the Liebster Blog Award is for those bloggers who have less than 200 hundred followers who one thinks deserves more attention. In short, this award gives an opportunity to these bloggers to spread their presence in the blogosphere and consequently, be able to find some new and awesome blogs to follow.

As a way to say "yes" to this nomination, there steps are really easy:
  1. Tell 11 things about yourself.
  2. Answer those 11 questions which you get asked of from the blogger who nominated you. 
  3. Post 11 questions you want to know from the bloggers you want to nominate for the Liebster Blog Award.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers whose followers are less than 200.
  5. Get in contact with those 11 bloggers to let them know that you have nominated them.

source
Thank you so much, Patty! :)
So...let's get rolling!

11 Things About Myself
  1. I love to read but I'm really picky when it comes to this. I often write my thoughts on the books I've read in this blog.
  2. I'm a certified chocoholic! I love them to death and dark chocolates have a really, really special place in my heart. The more bitter, the better. 
  3. I also have an unhealthy relationship with caffeine, though I'm slowing down with it in the past few days.
  4. I'm a massive A Song of Ice and Fire addict, and I'm not ashamed of it. Not even a bit. The TV show rocks, but the books rock better!
  5. I was born on December 30, 1991 -- (our national hero) Rizal's Day here at the Philippines, thus my name. :)
  6. I'm a sucker for Japanese Anime and Korean Dramas. :P
  7. I don't eat vegies.
  8. I can't swallow capsules and tablets so being sick is really a bother to me. >.<
  9. I 'fan girl' shamelessly at almost everything that caught my attention. XP
  10. I love to eat... and then sleep.
  11. I'm pretty random. Obviously.

11 Questions from Patty Grace Kelly
  1. What is your ultimate aim you want to achieve in your life? Be simply happy and contented. This is pretty plain but is a really hard thing to achieve. Whether it be having a high-paying job, or just a simple life with wimple needs... I want to like that. I just have to find our how.
  2. Do you have special plans for this year 2013? I will be graduating from college this year, and after that, I will be taking the CPA board exam. These are not reallly special per se, but these are major milestones in my life -- and if I'll be able to accomplish them, that would really make a huge difference in my life. :)
  3. Why do you write your blog? I write about almost anything! :) Since this is a personal blog, I just put everything I want to say and share. But mostly I write about all the books I love -- I'm a nerd y'know. XD
  4. Would you love to live in another city/country? Though I really love my country (It's more fun in the Philippines!), I think if I would want to somehow live (for just a shirt period of time) in another country that would be Japan or South Korea. Their culture is very rich, and I'm a fan of everything about them. They fascinate me. So I guess, they would do.
  5. What was your most beautiful moment when being an infant? Haha. Well, I can't really remember since I pretty much won;t be able to recall most of the moments during those times... but if I would think about it, I would definitely say it's the first time I opened my eyes. Though I am not aware what and how I felt during that moment, well, hey, of course nothing beats being able to see the beauty of the world for the first time.
  6. Dress or Jeans? Definitely jeans, because I grew up in a place where jeans has been the staple everyday casual wear. It's much comfortable. Though I've been wanting to wear more dresses lately.
  7. Love or Career? Career? Hehe. I'm a workaholic when work comes, but I don't think I ever thought about it. :P
  8. What is your routine to get rid off the (daily) stress?  Reading and writing.... and sleeping at times. XD
  9. What is your favorite candy? Kopiko Black! All time. :)
  10. Do you remember your first EP? I don't think I ever had any. >.<
  11. What is the last book you read? A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin! Check out my review here.
My 11 Questions to my nominees:
  1. Do you think blogging adds something to you as a person?
  2. What is your favorite book and why?
  3. What's something you know you do differently than most people?*
  4. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?*
  5. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?*
  6. What is your greatest fear and has it ever came true?*
  7. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?*
  8. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?*
  9. If you would relive your days 2 years from now, do you think you will remember what you did today?
  10. Doing the right thing, or doing things right?
  11. If there's a word that would describe how you want this year to turn out, what is that word?
*questions I got from "50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind". Sorry if they're a bit mind-bugging, but I do believe that they are really good questions. :)

And now, my 11 nominees. Congratulations to you, guys!
To my nominees, please feel free to link up your posts in the comment box below. Congratulations, and happy blogging to all! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book: A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5) by George R.R. Martin

Okay. Spoiler alert. Do forgive me. For the life of me, I can’t get to the bottom of my feelings for this monster of a book without dropping one spoiler or two. And I fear that if I won’t, I think I will be stuck in writing this post more than I intended to. So after a month (the shortest time I’ve read a book in this series!), I finally got over with A Dance with Dragons... and here I am, as with the previous ones, writing all my #feels for this book. I won’t call this a review – totally. There’s a reason why I don’t put the word “review” in every title of posts I make immediately after I read a book. So... here are my thoughts regarding the fifth book of my favorite book series ever (yes, I declare that loud and clear):
Source

Plot:
“In the aftermath of a colossal battle, Daenerys Targaryen rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. Fleeing from Westerps with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way east – with new allies who may not be the ragtag band they seem. And in the frozen north, Jon Snow confronts creatures from beyond the Wall of ice and stone, and powerful foes from within the Night’s Watch. In a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics lead a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, to the greatest dance of all.”
The whole of the book was told, as per tradition, through the POVs of several key characters. If A Feast for Crows and A Storm of Swords have 12, well, try not to be surprised as this book has 16 POVs which includes: Jon Snow, Bran Stark, Davos Seaworth, Theon Greyjoy, Asha Greyjoy, Lady Melisandre, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Quentyn Martell, Jon Connigton, Ser Barristan Selmy, Victarion Greyjoy, Arya Stark, Areo Hotah, Ser Jaime Lannister, and Cersei Lannister; plus two one-off characters, each for the prologue and epilogue, which includes Varamyr Sixskins (a skinchanger, north of The Wall) and Ser Kevan Lannister (younger brother of Tywin Lannister), respectively – totalling 18 POVs, all in all.

The same as his presentation with AFfC, Martin referred some of his characters through different “title”s. The following were used:
  • Reek, the Prince of Winterfell, the Turncloak, a Ghost in Winterfell: Theon Greyjoy
  • The Wayward Bride, the King’s Prize, the Sacrifice: Asha Greyjoy
  • The Merchant’s Man, the Windblown, the Spurned Suitor, the Dragontamer: Quentyn Martell
  • The Lost Lord, the Griffin Reborn: Jon Connigton
  • The Queensguard, the Discarded Knight, the Kingbreaker, the Queen’s Hand: Ser Barristan Selmy
  • The Iron Suitor: Victrion Greyjoy
  • The Blind Girl, the Ugly Little Girl: Arya Stark
  • The Watcher: Areo Hotah

This book was pretty packed with characters – if you just consider the POV’s alone. But then again, new characters (and some pretty interesting ones) were also added to the already big number existing in the series. Honestly though, even though the use of titles was a pretty interesting choice in terms of delivery – I still find them too spoiling at times, in the sense that I sometimes can immediately know how the said chapter would turn out, i.e. the Kingbreaker and the Dragontamer chapter. But I think I can live with that, I just prefer the old original presentation than this one.

This book mainly follows the characters from the North and across the narrow seas, with the event happening simultaneously with that of Feast. At some point though, at the latter part of the book, characters from the Seven Kingdoms (particularly Cersei and Jaime) started appearing which means that the timeframe have moved past from that of AFfC. Though I don’t really think the division of AFfC and ADwD was a huge bother for me (well, except for the absence of my favorite character), reading through Dance was a little disorienting at first. We bear witness as the seasons slowly changed from autumn to the start of winter at Feast and to start in autumn again with Dance was really something that I find myself a little harder to adapt to.

I was a little alienated too when the characters from the Seven Kingdoms started to appear in the latter part of the book because I think they somehow felt a little detached to the whole narrative of almost all of A Dance with Dragons. But I guess their inclusion was pretty necessary in order to at least settle some of the cliffhangers that A Feast for Crows have left in the readers’ minds. The last chapter, the epilogue which was through Kevan Lannister’s POV, truly disturbed me though. That was just a chilling image that I can’t stop thinking about it. It's like reading about it and imagining every minute of it vividly, as if it was being shown on screen. Oh well, I think that would be Martin’s doing. XD

And Varys! Varys, Varys, Varys. I got such mixed feelings for this eunuch ever since but I felt it more especially here. Sure he was absent for the most part of the narrative but boy did he know how to make an entrance – an impactful appearance at that. I can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling for him so I’ll just leave it for you to decide once you read the series.
Just because I missed him that badly. I swear, Peter Dinklage will always be Tyrion Lannister for me. // source
Fan favorites Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen are finally present -- With them leading the charge in the first chapters of the book. I swear, Tyrion’s presence in the books really did add something great in the narrative – it took his absence for me to fully realize his impact in the whole reading experience. He is, without a doubt, Martin’s greatest creation in his world of betrayals, lies, backstabbing, hardcore politics, and real characters. He was such a busy character in this book, and I think he’s been travelling a lot that sometimes it's so hard to keep track – but no worries, because his mind is such full of wonder (I think mainly because he’s an avid reader and such critical thinker) that reading through his POVs is already a rewarding experience in itself. The events that he’s been up to were anything but boring, especially during that part that he somehow psyched a future player that will, I think, change the way the game is seen -- drastically. I missed his wit and sarcasm, and this book filled me with it. His was the first chapter right after the prologue, and it’s been quite a delight. It’s been really a treat going through his mind as he struggles to come to terms with what Jaime told him back at ASoS, and one thing that made me sad is one that he’s been asking himself and anyone: “wherever whores go”. It’s really heartbreaking to see him hold on to something that has long been ended. I don’t know if he’ll ever find Tysha, and I don’t know if I would want that, but that would be a very interesting scene if ever that would happen. His somewhat (overly) brooding over the things of the past was a little uncharacteristic of him, but I guess he can’t help that – especially with everything that he’s gone through at ASoS. Plus! I really really love him whenever he plays the cyvasse. :)
One of the most heartbreaking scenes in the whole book, for me. // source
Back in action is Theon Greyjoy. Ever since I read his POVs back at A Clash of Kings (Book 2), I can’t deny that he’s seriously grown on me – I can even go as far as declare that he’s one of my favorite characters in the series. I didn’t expect him to come this far, but it’s sure is something that I really looked forward to. Before I read ADwD, my friend already gushed about how cruel Theon’s fate have been after the abduction. And yes, she’s not wrong to build up my expectations. After being physically and psychologically abused by Ramsay Bolton (bastard in every sense of the word =/), it’s quite disturbing how Theon transformed into someone almost unrecognizable – even the way he thinks. I can only just imagine everything that Ramsay has put him through in order to force him to take up Reek’s identity. The whole experience was dreadful, extremely painful, gross...and whatever unpleasant words you could use to describe it. I never thought flaying would be that bad, that painful. And here I am thinking that Joffrey may be the single most cruel (without any reason or driving motivation) character in the series, when the Bastard of Bolton was twisted at such greater lengths than him. He was evil in his face. And to quote the book, “evil runs in his blood”. I don’t know if it’s the pity, but Theon in A Dance with Dragons leveled up my attachment to him as a character – almost tying up with Jaime in my second-favorite-character spot. Reading into his POVs, goodness, I love to imagine Alfie Allen portraying everything that has happened to Theon up to this point. I have so much respect for him as an actor especially with his work during the second season of Game of Thrones, so that would be a pretty interesting thing to see. :)
Just disturbing. // source
One of the more interesting characters that surprised me in this installment is none other than Bran Stark. While everyone is busy handling everything across the continent, there he is journeying North of the Wall. It was quite chilling, and revelatory at most. Especially the part where (spoiler alert!) he came face to face with the remaining Children of the Forest. I swear, I was really wide-eyed with amazement when I read that – that proves that the wildlings are really more knowledgeable and that the people in the “south” really knew nothing when it comes to the wonders sleeping in the North. I really like where his character is heading and I got really really excited when I read that he can see things from the past. Ned is dead and gone, and up until now, I’ve been wondering how I could at least see what happened during the times when Rhaegar allegedly “kidnapped” Lyanna. Well I don’t want to spoil more than I did, but I must say that Bran’s adventure in Dance is almost at par with what Arya is experiencing at Braavos.

And of course, Arya is as bad-ass as she’s always been. I love her adventures in being a part of the House of Black and White. And though the process of learning (or making) a faceless man kinda creeps me out, I still find it kinda cool. Really. I loved the last task that they have given her and how she fantastically accomplished it. Yes, I was really amazed at how cunning and smart she is. And with that, she has officially become my female hero in this series.

I got pretty bored with Asha and Victarion Greyjoy – except the part where it is revealed that Victarion have something that might turn the game into a new direction. I’m pretty interesting how he would use what he have to win the throne or win Daenerys. Davos Seaworth’s narrative was a bit boring because I think he’s one of the men in this game who are straight as a stick in doing what’s good. I love Wyman Manderly. And when he said that “the north remembers”, I swear I had goosebumps all over.
Just goosebumps at the conclusion of this chapter. Finally! // source
Daenerys’ storyline was kinda boring for the most part for me (don’t judge me) until everything picked up and that scene above happened. It was truly an exciting thing to read. You know what I want? For her to just journey back to where she really belong all this time – at Westeros. Well, I don’t think we’re anywhere near that as her storyline proved to be really slow-paced for me. While everyone is at their feet vying for the throne, there she is, several miles from home, making her own trouble and her own problem that doesn’t have anything value-adding to the important narrative at hand – making everything worse. It was quite boring, but I guess it is necessary for her to evolve into something far from the Daenerys that we’ve met way back at A Game of Thrones. But at least, I know that she knew how to dance with dragons. XD

The rest were kinda predictable? Except the addition of Barristan Selmy, Jon Connington, and even Quentyn Martell. It was interesting to note that Ser Barristan is one of the few characters who knew (and almost an eyewitness at that) of the things that transpired before Robert’s Rebellion. I’m a sucker for Rhaegar (and Lyanna) facts so you could imagine how delighted I am when I found out that Ser Barristan and Jon Connigton had their respective POVs. Connington is a practically (well, almost) a stranger to those who haven’t read ADwD, but he is a pretty interesting character. I am really excited about how greyscale (THE disease) would affect the whole narrative. (One thing though: I think Connington is gay. Haha.) Quentyn Martell didn’t really caught me, if you won’t mind me saying... he may just be fulfilling his mission, but I just wanna point out that he’s a very foolish bastard to have done such blunder – and he paid for it. A side note to Areo Hotah though: I am pretty sure Princess Arianne is who he is referring to whenever he say “my little princess”, so I’m kinda curious about his relationship with her.
Just because... // source
And Jon. Yes, Jon Snow (for me) provided some of the more interesting storyline in this book. I just have to note that reading Jon’s 1st POV alongside Sam’s 1st POV chapter back at AFfC side by side was a pretty rewarding experience. I don’t think POV’s merged so closely like that in the past, and it was really wonderful witnessing how one mind works from the other. I have to commend Martin for putting it that way. J It’s really heartbreaking to witness every step Jon takes for the Night’s Watch. Being a Lord Commander sucks, and he sure learned it the hard way. (Tormund:”Whatever happened to the sweet lad I knew.” Jon: They made him lord commander.) It’s really hard to watch Jon “kill the boy and let the man be born” – forcibly, just for the Night’s Watch. Somehow, I never expected it to be that way. But then again, being at the top is lonely and is a treacherous place to be so I can’t really blame him. (I wonder if this is how Robb took everything when he led the North’s rebellion – we’ll never know.) The last scene with Jon though... I’m really desperately wishing that it is really not what it appears to be. Please GRRM, I don’t know if I could really stand the trauma (not again) – and at such a long wait at that.
THIS FAN ART. @.@ // source
If I look at it at a whole, A Dance with Dragons is not really that  eventful as I expected it to be – but considering the fact that it came after A Feast for Crows, it was really an upgrade! It’s really a treat to at least see that some of the pieces are finally coming together. This book, in my opinion, though uneventful as it is, presents us with enough back stories and clues that will surely tickle our mind for it to start making strings of theories to satisfy our hunger, i.e. what really happened to Rhaegar and Lyanna. It's amazing how those who are already dead hunt them until now. And how each are regretting their mistakes that they think led up to all the things that had happened since then. It doesn't necessarily provide closure (as there are more cliffhangers presented than solved) but at least it has the sense of continuity that AFfC somehow lacked. Though the whole narrative of this book was kinda anticlimactic in relation to its title, this is still a satisfying read – at least for someone who has become so engrossed and addicted to the series. As some would say, this is a “necessary book” – and it sure is. So prepare yourself for some (maybe not action-packed battle scenes and not much of the gruesome death scenes that we’ve grown accustomed to) shocking revelations that would surely change how the game would turn out, how the game would be played. If you want to be engrossed deeper into the wonder that is A Song of Ice and Fire, this book is a must.

P.S. I love the fact that this book provides us with an impressive number of maps! Seems silly, but it's the first time I've used the maps while reading and they've proven to be so helpful.

Fast Facts:
The title "A Dance with Dragons" was originally the planned title of the second book of the series when Martin still envisioned it to be a trilogy. The book includes new maps in addition to those published in the previous books. Though it is the fifth book, it is (in actuallity) the second half of A Feast for Crows wherein Martin decided to split the book geographically, instead of chronologically, when it became too big to be published as a single book. In some areas, the paperback edition of the book was published in two parts: Dreams and Dust (Part 1) and After the Feast (Part 2).

Quotable Quotes:
“Reek. My name is Reek, it rhymes with ____ (whatever description Theon thought of)” ~ Theon Greyjoy
“I hope Your Grace will pardon me. Your king is trapped, Death in four.”The prince stared at the playing board. “My dragon—“ [Young Griff]“—is too far away to save you. You should have moved her to the center of the battle.”“But you said – “ [Young Griff]“I lied. Trust no one. And keep your dragons close.” ~ Tyrion Lannister
“The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer’s farce is almost done. My son is home.” ~ Wyman Manderly
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,” said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ Jojen Reed
Ever choice had its risk, every choice its consequence. ~ Jon Snow
“Some men had faces that cried out for a beard. Ser Clayton’s face cried out for an axe between the eyes.” ~ Asha Greyjoy [never failed to make me laugh everytime I read this]
Not all men are meant to dance with dragons. ~ Ser Barristan Selmy
xxxxx
This has been part of my 2012 Reading Challenge. 16th book I've read that year. And part of The Lit Bitch’s A Song of Ice and Fire Reading Challenge. This is the 5th book of the series.

Note: I apologize if this post has grown to be too long! I never intended it to be this way, but I just have so many feels for this books (and this is the last book review for ASOIAF that I will do in the coming days, plus I don't know when the next book in the series would be released). I personally I haven't posted all of my thoughts for this book -- they're just too many that cramming them (if I haven't done that enough  >.< ) in one post would prove to be a bother. But still, I'll make do with what I've made for almost three days. I hope you do, too. Again, sorry for the spoilers! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Starting off the year good -- with papers, stickers, and prose.

I don't know... but the first few days of the year always makes me wanna be creative. I want to write, to make scrapbooks, to read. Well, unsurprisingly, I just spent the first day of the year just that.
That's my newest quote book + my BDJ planner at the bottom.
Well, 2013 has finally arrived and that means one thing: I need to change into my 2013 planner and start filling it up with all the goodness that I can muster. My BDJ planner has been a very important part of my daily life these past year and I mean to continue doing that this year.
And to add a little color, I printed some "I'm not beautiful like you, I'm beautiful like me" stickers ( I really love the idea/quote) from the BDJ Box collection  I haven't ordered mine yet, so what's left is to improvise. It's so much fun doing these things, and I sure hope BDJ won't mind. XD
I'm currently loving the new customizable space at the beginning of each month. I finally figured how to post some memorable pictures which I really really want to do since forever. >.< To start off my January pages, I decided to print out a little photo of our family at our NYE party and put that Happy New Year word art below. It sure added some flair in my journal/planner. Plus I figured it would be something that would make me smile every time I see it at the start of my day.
I also put a new-year's-reasolution-of-sorts beside it. I tried to keep it down to 5, and they're quite generalized. At least I have a vision at how I want to spend this year. And I forgot to include there: SAVE. SAVE. SAVE.

Well, I'm not one to talk but I don't usually do these resolution thingies. But I'm now at a point where I somehow want something to change in my life instead of the daily routine that I grew accustomed to over the years. I know these are pretty basic -- but hey, I'm just starting these off so I figured I should start with things that I can easily adapt to and practice. At least, I know that they will somehow yield results.

It's weird, but I think putting it into ink, into paper, somehow make them more... tangible? Does that even make sense? It's like a more legitimate statement when you write it down instead of just thinking about it and making mental notes on practicing them everyday.
A page in the book. :)
On another note.... I don't know if I already blogged about it but I found this amazing vintage-looking notebook which I immediately bought and made into a quote book of sorts. I'm a sucker for quotes and anything prose so I figured I should go collect them in one place so that I could go back at them over and over whenever I feel like it.

So, it was around New Year's Eve and I was scanning through my Instagram feeds when I stumbled upon a post from the amazing Tyler Knott (@tylerknott). Check it out here in his page. 

I've been an avid follower of his, waaaay back during my Tumblr-addiction days -- and Tyler never failed to provide me with prose and poetry that I sorely love. His typewriter series, random picture + quote posts, and his daily haikus were all breathtaking.
Talk about kicking off the new year with an amazing prose.
This quote, accompanied by a lovely black and-white picture of birds flying in the sky, really plucked at my heart strings. It was both sweet and sad for some reason, and I can't help but wonder when will I ever find someone to say those words to. Hihi. (Aww, there goes my hopeless romantic self again. It's been quite a while -- hi there romantic me!)

I immediately printed a copy of the quote plus the picture and posted it in my collection. :)
And what better way to start off the year other than heeding the words of God. :) As I've mentioned in my last post, I am really loving Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment. It's amazing how everything seems pretty timely. Just when you needed them. I'm really tempted to go on reading page by page in one sitting but I know that I must restrain myself. :P
Especially loving the January 2 message as this is something that I can strongly relate to. Those moments when your self-esteem feels really low, or worse, non-existent at all. I know that many girls, not only me, had those days at least once in their lives. This is really a lovely message to ponder with at the first week of the year.

Well to sum it up, my first day has been pretty laid back, I know, but I surely enjoyed it. It's really nice spending quality time with, uhm, youself. XD But hey, sometimes, people need to be alone in order to settle down everything that's been going on in their heads, right? If you would ask me, it's really important that each person get to have their alone-time; although in my case, I do it a lot more than necessary. Hehe. But it's just always a matter of preference. Agree?

So, what about you? How did you spend your first day of the year?

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