Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 in Books

We're barely 3 hours before the new year breaks in, and I just wanna say that it has been such a wonderful year for my reading life. :)

I've been setting a pretty low book count with regards to my reading challenges because of time constraints. This year, I vowed to read at least 10 books -- and I'm so glad I did it, and more.

There were a bunch of recurring authors, specifically John Green and David Levithan. Well, John Green is always a staple in my reading choices so that comes with no surprise. But, Levithan -- I was so glad that I decided to pick up one of his books. "Everyday" broke me in all these unexpected places. Definitely trying out more of his works next year. As for Sara Craven, that was merely a random pick. I liked the first book I read, so I decided to pick up another. Besides, these books were just a few pages away so I finished fast. There were also revelations like Lang Leav's Love & Misadventure. I am so glad that poetry is not at all dead. :)) Also, one of the highlights of my reading experience this year is picking up Mario Puzo's The Godfather. It was a revelation in its own, and I was really surprised that I liked it so much because I am not really into this type of genre. This has been a pretty adventurous year! :3

The Books I've Read This Year 

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer | The Forced Bride by Sara Craven | The Virgin's Wedding Night by Sara Craven | Everyday by David Levithan | The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan | Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav | Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan | Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan | Coraline by Neil Gaiman | It Had to Be You: The Gossip Girl Prequel by Cecily von Ziegesar | Sabriel by Garth Nix | 5 Centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai | The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | The Godfather by Mario Puzo 


You can click the link for a review-of-sorts of the books. Most of these, I've read after October. Why it turns out I've been too lazy writing reviews and got really busy catching up. Haha. Pardon me, but I hope I could finish filling up the gaps at least this January if my schedule permits me to do so.


Based on my stats, I've read a total of 4,187 pages this year. Yey. It was a far cry from 2012, because of the gigantic books from the ASOIAF series... but it was fulfilling all the same. There's this certain thrill of knowing you completed something. Now I know why it's really important to put goals in everything you do - it pushes you.


 I figured I should post a Top Pick of sorts, so here goes:

5 Books That Made My Year
(in particular order)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Everyday by David Levithan
5 Centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer


I definitely missed reading Haruki Murakami this year, and George R.R. Martin's absence in my system is pretty noticeable. I would be doing some re-reads especially when the Game of Thrones Season 4 is coming this May 2014. 

Well this has been fun. :3
I'll probably post a wish list of the books that I wanna read this 2014 in the coming days so watch out.
In the mean time, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Twenty Two

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Maybe it's the detachment to something you've grown so used to. Maybe it's looking back and realizing how many times you've screwed up when you shouldn't have, as if seeing reason for the first time. Or maybe, it's the fact that a year has just passed and you don't know if you made it worth it or you just let it pass by, wasted.

It's all these negative things creeping in your mind, shadowing the good old times. And perhaps, they're stronger than ever today.

The thing is... so many things have happened. And I'm not exaggerating if I say that I have one hell of a roller coaster ride this year, even going so far as say that I've had a few more turns more than others.

Graduating. Passing the board. Getting a job. But then... losing someone so precious forever. And drastically changing the way I live my life.

This has been the worst, and yet the best year of my life. And I know I'm supposed to understand why it's all been too confusing at times, but there are moments when I don't - and somehow, that takes all the fun in a perfectly good day.

But I now I truly understood that "life is not a wish-granting factory" and that things don't always come easy. And that this is one of those moments when you just simply realize that, no it doesn't always have to be perfect. Because learning to live with all these struggles is one way of making your life a little more closer to perfect than before.

I don't exactly feel old, just not young enough to dwell on the things that I enjoy before. This all feels a little new. There ups and downs... but I'm definitely loving this new life. And it scares me, and thrills me all at the same time.



I am seriously having the urge to post Taylor Swift's 22. But no. Just no.

Book: The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

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Plot:
What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?
With overtones of Jane Austen’s Emma 
and brimming with humor and heart, this sweet, frothy debut will be savored by readers. (via Goodreads)

One of the young adult books I've read this year that has a definitely catchy and unique premise. The idea of Espressology was quite interesting, I wonder if it's possible. I grew up only drinking instant coffee on a daily basis, and I've just been recently discovering the experience of drinking "real" coffee and this seems like the perfect book to read. Well for starters, I've been searching for coffee-themed books or books where coffee plays an important role in the plot to end my 2013 reading adventure. Two books came up, The Espressologist and Coffeehouse Angel. But since the latter contains supernatural elements, naturally I would pick this -- and I was so glad I did.

This was such a light read. Years spent on reading books with very heavy drama (Norwegian Wood, in particular), complicated story lines (ahem, ASOIAF), and depressing themes probably tired me -- not that I don't like them anymore. Maybe I just needed a little time to break the monotony. That's why reading this felt like a breath of fresh air. The story was almost cute. There were little issues regarding character development, especially with the main character Jane. The second half of the book was pretty promising but I guess it didn't actually maximized the potential where it can go. And maybe, dealing with the problem at the latter part of the book and the ending scene felt a little fast-tracked for my taste. This little book is not perfect, but I think what's more important is that it entertained me. I stayed awake until I guess 3 am to finish this book in one sitting. But it's okay, because I got to sleep with a smile on my face. :)

I am in love with coffee shops even before I started visiting one. I don't know, they just seem so romantic, so quiet...feels like a pretty fitting place to write... or better yet, meet someone special. I've always had this illusion of reading a book in the far corner of a coffee shop, sipping a cup of joe.... and suddenly someone would talk to me because of the book I'm reading. Hah! Seems like a pretty cliche setting, but that's just me being dreamy. #excusemeforthat

All in all, this heightened my love and respect for coffee and coffee shops. This, for me, is a perfect book to read and to keep you occupied in the holidays. It's fun! Definitely recommended. :))

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! (And a perfect holiday gift from BBC) #SherlockLives

Why, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! 

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And with the festive mood and everything, BBC gives us the perfect gift to warm up the holidays and keep the anticipation to the highest level. And of course, with all the canonical references from the source material, the writers of BBC Sherlock prove once again that they know what they're doing. 7 minutes...and that's all it took to capture everyone again (not that they ever failed to anyway).

Watch the video below, and enjoy!

Rejoice, because #SherlockLives! Many Happy Returns!


Book: The Virgin's Wedding Night by Sara Craven

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Plot:
A bride for the taking Harriet Flint must marry before she's twenty-five if she is to claim her inheritance. She turns to sexy Roan Zandros, who agrees to a marriage in name only.
Their marriage vows exchanged, Roan reveals he is a billionaire whose every demand is granted.
Harriet realizes that Roan has every intention of claiming his inexperienced bride.
via Goodreads

Cliche as this may seem but this book will definitely stick with me. It's been almost a day since I finished this but my mind still kept going back to that final scene of realization, acceptance, and most of all reunion. Of course there's the obligatory love scene as a romance book should have, but the character development was awesome especially with the main protagonist, Harriet Flint, which came off as a convention-bending lass with a passionate heart. Also, it's not hard to fall head over heels with the male protagonist, Roan Zandros. I love how everything unraveled beautifully at the end.

I can't say the title was misleading...but it definitely wasn't its strongest part. Don't let it get to you because this book is more than all of that. This book is kinda sweet and all.. and coming from me, that itself says something.

I've overlooked this genre since forever. But after reading this, I realized how much I missed reading light and romantic story lines. Definitely trying out others of this kind. Any suggestion? :)

Quotable Quote:
"He has never understood that sometimes real love requires one to let the beloved go. Probably he never will." ~ Roan Zandros

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Uncertain

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She was there, sitting at the bench, arms stretched,  hands resting at her sides. He sat beside her, and did the same. Her hands twitched at the slightest moment of contact but she didn't move.

And neither did he. He kept it that way, aware of each other's soft breaths against the cold wind that brushed their skin. They settled to watch and marvel at the night sky.

He looked at her. She's smiling still gazing at the wide horizon and he wondered if anyone ever looked that beautiful in the soft light of the moon.

Feeling his gaze, she turned to him and saw something in those eyes -- eyes that she grew too used to in the past few months. It's coming, she said to herself. She knew that he would ask something that has been bothering him - both of them, for months now. She wanted to take a deep breath, but is too aware of his presence to even do anything.

"What are we doing?", he asked. Seeing him getting this serious felt weird and confirming all at the same time. It took a moment to answer, but she said it anyway. "I don't know," said she, thinking how those three words are the only thing that can perfectly reflect what she's feeling at that moment.

He looked at her still, and in that very instant, it felt like time somehow stopped. He wished for that moment to freeze, for him to just hold that gaze forever, swim in the ocean of her eyes....but he can't.

After what seems like forever, he broke his gaze and looked up again. She did the same.

Those words hurt, he thought, but uncertainty is better than nothing.

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Something clicked, and they smiled. This is the start of something wonderful. And both are aware of that.

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