Reading and Blogging: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On May 31, I challenged myself to write a blog post here every single day for the month of June. Well, it's the end of the month now (can you believe it?!) and I think I did it well. I have to admit, while it was sometimes challenging to come up with blog posts for everyday, I actually had a lot of fun. I felt like a responsible blogger for once, haha, and it was nice to hear from you everyday.

So for June, I wrote 34 (counting this one!) blog posts. And for the most part, they were mostly book reviews and reading-related discussions. I also was able to read 8 1/2 books!

The Green Mile by Stephen King

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Genre: Fiction - drama/thriller
Rating: 5 stars

Review: To be frank, this review might not be fair because I honestly can't think of anything else to say about this book. The Green Mile, to put it simply, is an incredibly great read. It's unlike anything I have ever read before! And I've read quite a few Stephen King novels, but this seriously tops it all for me. It's far from his typical genre, which is 'horror,' but he shows here how complex and fantastic he is as a story teller. The plot line itself was so deep and meaningful, and like I already said, was so unique, creative, and original. And the characters - so memorable that I can't rave enough about them and their believable personalities.

But all those technical and literary elements aside, the best thing I could say about this book is the experience of reading it itself. Getting to know these characters, feeling for them and getting my heart broken for some.

So to sum up this semi-review, all I can say is, whether or not you "love" this book or count is as your favorite, I think you would still appreciate it. I believe any reader would. It is compelling and will reach out to you from the first chapter to the very last page. 5 stars and nothing less.

the Secret Garden inspired.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last Friday, It was a gorgeous, sunny day with the perfect amount of breeze and my best friend and I thought, what better way to spend it than at a beautiful estate here in the Bay Area. What we really went there for was to see its huge and gorgeous country garden.
Filoli Gardens - it reminded me so much of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett! Flowers, trees, and plants everywhere, cobblestones, chickens and roosters everywhere, and of course, secret passages and doors. I tried to pretend I was Mary Lennox! The place even inspired me to start reading Villette by Jane Eyre for some reason. Perhaps
it was just the gothic-like the house/mansion itself had - I don't know! Needless to say, it was a great place and we had a great afternoon.

Have you ever been anywhere that has inspired you to pick up a certain book? Or maybe like me, you found a place that reminded you of a favorite. Do share!

look what she picked.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Look at what the winner of the giveaway, Danya, picked as her prize! A Hunger Games Mockingjay Vintage Locket Necklace! It's so gorgeous, isn't it??

Personally, I would LOVE to have the "hunt for the Horcruxes" charm necklace! It would be so perfect especially with the final movie coming out very soon ;)

I wish everyone could have won something from 1LuckySouls' Etsy shop because I genuinely love all her stuff and I think they're perfect for any bookworm! And they are actually very reasonably priced so that's a huge plus too. So if you want to take a look at her store, she does ship internationally I believe! Let her know I sent you :D Happy shopping!

book inspired jewelry giveaway [winner!]

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Finally picked ONE winner through a randomized drawing for the book-inspired jewelry giveaway that the blog hosted for about two weeks. Thanks to 1luckySoul from Etsy, the winner will get to pick one piece from her shop.

And the winner is...

Danya from A Tapestry of Words!


I have already e-mailed Danya and am just waiting for her response. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! Please do visit her shop once again and purchase - her pieces are so perfect for any book lover. She also always have new ones in stock so there's plenty of pieces to choose from. Oh, and if you do purchase from her, please let her know that you visited her shop through me! ;) Thanks again everybody and congratulations to the winner.

currently reading.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm currently reading The Green Mile by Stephen King. I got it for .50 the other day, and had to re-read it. It's been a while since I read it and to be honest I was much younger then and so I've already forgotten what it's all about. So far, sooo good!

What was the last book you read and the one you're reading now - would you recommend them to me? Let me know. Happy Saturday!

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Friday, June 24, 2011

Genre: Women's Fiction - YA lit
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: What a fun and refreshing book! Reading it almost felt like reading a close friend's personal blog. You know - you start with just one blog post. and immediately it catches your interest. You keep reading, and you can't stop. There's just something so interesting about the topics she talks about - however mundane and simple they may be. The next thing you know, you've read every single blog post your friend has. And when it's all over, you can't wait for her next update! Sloppy Firsts felt exactly like that to me.

Bottom line; this is a fun book! I truly enjoyed my time while reading it, and I was so engrossed, entertained, and into the story and the characters the entire time. And speaking of the characters - Jessica Darling! I love her. Sure, she's sarcastic and whiny at times but she's so real, witty, complex, smart, and emotional that I felt like she could have just been anybody I know in real life. And overall, she had many redeeming qualities - even her flaws were great to read about! - that I couldn't help but like her! I was rooting for her the entire time. I didn't even want this book to end, because that would have meant my time listening to Jessica Darling rave and rant about her high school and teenage life would be over. Oh well. There's always the sequel, right?

So all in all, I recommend this to fans of young adult characters, chic lit, contemporary Fiction, and funny coming-of-age stories. It's not a book for everyone, but it's a nice, light, fun, and entertaining read that is just perfect to bring with you for vacation! Or really, whenever you just want to escape from all the seriousness of the world! ;)

"You can only be in a bad mood for so long before you have to face up to the fact that it isn't a bad mood at all; it's just your sucky personality." - Don't know why but this made me laugh so much when I read it.

Intensity by Dean Koontz

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genre: Fiction - Thriller/Semi-Horror
Rating: 5 stars

Review: Intensity, for lack of a better word to describe it, is in fact intense. At times, it was too intense that I had to actually put the book down and take a break. Now I can read books about serial killers, but for some reason, this felt slightly "worse" in a way because the killer was more of a psychotic one rather than "barbaric," if that makes sense at all. And the author, Dean Koontz, being the effortless storyteller that he is, is able to take this work of fiction and make it so realistic that one can't help but wonder if the main antagonist was based off a real person. And I'm sure that there are people in real life that are like the main antagonist - this to me, makes this book even scarier.

Also, I have to say how impressed I am at how Koontz is able to not only create a realistic, frightening antagonist, but how he's able to create and mold such a realistic protagonist as well - someone who is so weak and fragile, yet strong and courageous at the same time. She was someone I personally rooted for all the way and wanted so badly to win.

As far as recommendations go, I definitely recommend this to any reader who likes this genre, and the author. It's fast-paced and exciting, scary, and thrilling. Dean Koontz is a fantastic writer, and Intensity showcased how skilled, talented, and creative he is.

summer reading recommendation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sometimes, a book just exudes that, "summer read" feel. And there are so many books that have that that I simply can't name them all. But today, I thought I should recommend one book that I think is perfect if you are looking for your next beach read. It's a contemporary Young Adult novel, and this recommendation is mainly for readers and fans of the YA genre.

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Genre: Young Adult - contemporary
When I Read It: Summer 2010

Why I Recommend It: It's mainly about two people having a road trip together. Road trips! Road trips are fun. They're exciting, and they're perfect for summer. I personally love road trips and traveling in general - I wish I could do them both more often to be honest. But because I can't do those on a regular basis just yet, I will gladly settle with books or movies that talk about them instead. If you want to get inspired for the summer, or to have a trip somewhere soon, read this.

Note: It's not the "best book ever" and it's not necessarily a favorite book of mine, but it's a good read. Plain and simple. It's fun. It's entertaining, and after reading it, I felt like I had to call up my friends and start planning a road trip with them as well.


If you have any other 'summer read' recommendations, please comment below. I would love to see your ideas!

where I'd rather be reading.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This week, there's some sort of crazy heat wave going on around here in Northern California, and it's driving me nuts that I can't wear summer-weather appropriate clothing to work. Haha. But anyway, today, I was reading outside for my lunch break, and it was really nice. But for some reason, I was in this 'day dream mode' and was trying to imagine myself reading somewhere else instead.

Somewhere in the country.. at a cozy cottage, where there's a beautiful garden full of different types of flowers. There's a reading nook, complete with light blankets and floral pillows. The weather is just right - warm enough, with just the right amount of breeze. There will probably be iced tea waiting on a small table next to the reading nook, but I think I would be too engrossed with my book to even care about it.

So I know this is a rather dreamy and random post, but hey, I'm curious as to what you think! If you could go anywhere right now, or this week, to read, where would you go?

read, reading, will read.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Monday - What are you reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. It's where we showcase what we've read in the past week, what we're currently reading, and what we plan to read this coming week.

Last Week:Watchers by Dean Koontz - review
Feed by Mira Grant - review
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - review

Currently Reading:
I am halfway done, and I should be done by Monday night. This is a great read so far. Scary and intense yes, but definitely a good one.

Planning to read:
I really want to start on Lightning by Dean Koontz! I am getting a bit obsessed over his stories, and I'm excited to dig into this one. Of course, after reading so many 'scary-ish' stories, I plan to lighten it up a bit with an MG Fantasy, 100 Cupboards. I also want to sneak in a bit of re-reading of HP1 there. Feeling excited for the HP7PT2 movie, that's why!

happy father's day!

My dad isn't really a reader, unlike my mom. But I'm blessed because even though he believes I am crazy for having so many books in my room, he has always been supportive of my love for them. He's never really stopped me from collecting. He even used to take me to the public library or drop me off the bookstore years ago when I couldn't drive yet! :D

So my question of the day for you, since it's father's day! Does your dad, uncle, grandfather, or any father figure in your life read as well?Perhaps helped you become the bookworm that you are? Or maybe he isn't, but is still supportive of your love for reading, like mine is? I'm curious! And of course, happy father's day to all the dads out there especially to mine! <3

giveaway reminder - in case you missed it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I am having a fun giveaway at the moment where one person can win a gorgeous and unique book-inspired jewelry courtesy of an awesome, creative Etsy seller. Inspired by Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, pirates... etc. Please check out the post below if you'd like to know more details.

Open to US, UK, & Canada. Clickclickclickclick

freak. out. now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Okay guys.

I think this is what you call a 'teaser!'

Apparently, it's 6 days until J.K. Rowling's official announcement.

What are your guesses? What do you think it could it be? I doubt it's a new book coming out, but wouldn't that be a dream?!

an unofficial wishlist - for now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To name every single book I plan to read and want to pick up would be impossible. There's way too many to name them all, but as of this week, I guess you could say that these are the books that I've been really wanting to read that I don't have copies of.
Of course, there are the books that I do own but want to read as well. That deserves a whole other post. For now, I guess you can call this, the 'unofficial book wish list as of June 16, 2011.'

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares - I love the Sisterhood series, so I was so excited when I saw this one. I didn't even know the author was writing a new one!

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman - Nice, simple cover and the plot synopsis sounds super interesting. I've also been hearing tons of good things about this.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - Been hearing about this day after day after day. I've read numerous reviews from trusted book bloggers, and so I can't wait to read this one for sure!

Deadline by Mira Grant - I really am very interested and curious to see where the author is going to take this story! It's got a fresh take on zombies and politics, and I am excited to see another narrator take the spotlight for this one too.

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan - David Levithan is a fantastic writer, and the synopsis for this sounds so lovely.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - Read the plot synopsis. Look at the cover. Tell me you're not intrigued!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - This one has gotten a lot of rave reviews in the past week or so, and so I really want to read this for myself to see what it really is all about.

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck - Look at the cover. It's so hypnotic! I also love the idea of the story, love the setting, and tigers? I love tigers.

The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes - This one's to be released July 2011 if I'm not mistaken. I am a sucker for romance in literary fiction novels, and this one sounds so genuinely lovely. I can't wait to read this!

Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern - I love road trips, I love traveling. I wish I could do more of them, but while I can't, I'll just stick with reading about them. This sounds like the perfect summer read to me.

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins - Enjoyed the first book in this series, and I think I might like this one too. It's about time I get my hands on it.

Ashes Ashes by Jo Treggiari - Love the dystopian sub-genre, and I've been hearing good things about the characters!

What are the books you are dying to read but unfortunately don't own? At least, not yet?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Genre: Mystery - fiction
Rating: 5 stars

Review: This is my first Agatha Christie novel, so I did not have any expectations whatsoever. But it was highly recommended to me by a couple of trusted bloggers, so I knew I had to pick this one up. I have to say, I'm so glad I trusted them. I don't know why I have never actually read this one, because it seems to me, that it's one of those books that every reader needs to read. No matter what. It's such a classic book - and I have to agree, that it might be one of the best mysteries ever written. The tension and suspense the book creates were enough for me to have a difficult time putting this down. I finished this in a day and a half, and if I didn't have to sleep or work or eat, I probably would have finished it faster.

I do want to say though, that it's definitely not your typical mystery novel that you might read nowadays. It was after all, written during the late 30s, so the 'whodunit' style is noticeably different. But don't let that deter you from this book. The plot line to begin with, is complex and highly original. The execution of every event in the book - flawless. The characters were memorable and their personalities were able to shine through. The ending - good, although I wish more information was added as I was not fully "convinced," if that makes sense.

Overall, it's an exciting story that would satisfy fans of mysteries and detective-stories. It showcases excellent pacing, solid writing and execution, and multifaceted characters. Awesome read for sure.

finally - a trip to an actual bookstore.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last week, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to a bookstore a couple of mile away from where I work. It wasn't planned or anything, but somehow felt the "need" to get my bookstore air fix. So I just went for it. And this is the place I discovered; Recycle Bookstore found in San Jose, CA.

First thing I thought when I entered the bookstore, was that it was quite small. It had about four shelves, a counter, and that's about it. But as I kept wandering around, I realized that there were hidden rooms there, full of shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves of books. Fiction, Young Adult, Mysteries, Horror, Nonfiction, Poetry, Self-Help, Biographies... they had everything! I suddenly felt like I was in a labyrinth, and I felt completely overwhelmed yet so pleased.

The other thing I started to notice when I was towards the back end of the store, were two awesome things. One: there were actual ladders for you to use to reach the books, ala Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. And two, it really did actually smell like books in there!

When I reached the counter to pay for the books I wanted, there were these books. I hope you can see their tags of their prices well enough ;)

The bottom line is; I had a great time visiting this bookstore. They had a lot to offer and their selection was great - they had new releases, used books, and vintage/antique books as well. The best part was that it truly cured my need to visit an actual bookstore, after being deprived for a while. This place simply had a real book shop feel to it, and it made me feel so comforted to be in there. It was also another plus that the books were priced just right and the people were friendly enough. I am definitely coming back here again!

Feed by Mira Grant

Monday, June 13, 2011

Genre: YA - Scifi, Dystopian, Political Thriller
Rating: 4 stars

Review: This book is one of those books that I find hard to review for some reason. Obviously, as I've given it 4 stars, I enjoyed it and liked it. I thought it was a fresh new idea, and the writing is great. I was entertained all throughout, but I did have some slight issues with it.

I'll start with the good though. Like I already mentioned, the original concept, plot, and solid writing were all there. I thought it was brilliant how the author took many different aspects from various genres and sub-genres and mixed them all quite perfectly. I was reading scifi, thriller, mystery, dystopian, political thriller, horror all in one book. I thought it was also cool how it wasn't necessarily a "zombie" book, but a political drama set in a post zombie-apocalyptic world. I found this part unique and engrossing, as well as incredibly smart. And I have to admit, it's not that often that I read a book that challenges me to think outside the box, and it's nice to finally read one that does just that. I also thought that the plot developed well - quick enough not to get bored but slow enough not to feel rushed or anything. All of these reasons that I just mentioned made me want to give it a full 5-star rating.

However, the reason why I could not give it that, was because of the main character. I DID NOT LIKE HER AT ALL! I tried to; I really did. But she was just such an elitist and a self-important teenager. She had that, "Oh I'm way better than you, so shut up and listen" attitude that I obviously didn't find appealing. She was way too snarky, annoying, and negative for me! I felt miserable reading about her to be honest. And you all know I love strong female characters - but to me, she was just a 'hard' character, not necessarily a strong heroine. The rest of the characters were okay - my favorite was Shaun, the brother - even though I didn't particularly find them memorable. I thought their personalities didn't really shine through as much.

Despite that, I enjoyed this book a lot - also liked how it ended. I do think its greatest strength was the author's way of creating, exploring, and sharing the uniqueness of her invented world. She was also able to take a somehow overused, popular creature - like zombies - and turn them into something new entirely that I think many would appreciate.
I would recommend this to fans of the whole dystopian, post-apocalyptic sub-genre, and if you enjoy a good political thriller every now and then. However, if you are looking for a regular zombie novel - the flesh eating menaces; blood, guts, and all - you might not like this as much. For me, I thought it was a well-written, well-researched novel that I definitely enjoyed! I just wish the main character was more likable. I will definitely reach the sequel for this one though - heard it's told through the brother's point of view! That should be good.

Watchers by Dean Koontz

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Genre: Fiction - Thriller/Science Fiction/Semi-horror
Rating: 5 stars

What I Loved:
Dean Koontz is simply a master at story telling - he manages to excel in taking an original and highly interesting concept and building an effortless story around it, without it seeming overdone or contrived in any way. And he is excellent at building extremely likable and lovable characters that one can't help but root for. I for one, found myself involved with each character, and found myself loving certain ones. I don't think I have ever been this attached to an animal character, since watching the film, Homeward Bound. This made me want a Golden Retriever even more than I did before.
As for the pace, I thought it was great. The writing - flawless. It just flows perfectly - never a boring moment! At times, I just found it hard to put down since I was so engrossed. And believe me, I've lost a few hours of sleep over this! (That could be a bad thing, of course, especially if you have to wake up early in the morning)

What I Kind of Didn't Like:
I have to admit there were a few chapters here and there that I could have managed without. If the author (or perhaps his editor?) took out some random tidbits that I thought weren't really "necessary," the story would have been shorter and more straight- to-the-point. Don't get me wrong though; this wasn't really a deal breaker for me, and it didn't turn me off from the book in any way.

Overall: Despite the minor flaw - that I honestly think is just me nitpicking - I can't even begin to explain how much I enjoyed this book! If you are looking for a book that is entertaining, intriguing, exciting, fun, adventurous, scary, heart warming, and creepy all at the same time, read this. If you want excellent story telling with memorable characters, check this out.
I would recommend this to all readers - mostly fans of General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, SciFi, and the like. Overall though, I think any reader would appreciate this.

books I got this week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm doing two book haul memes this week again. In My Mailbox, from Kristi from The Story Siren and Bargain Book Bonanza from Baja Greenawalt's Cozy Book Nook.

I am excited about this mainly because I finally went to a bookstore! Granted it was a 35 minute drive but it was so worth it. I could have gotten more, believe me, but I tried to control myself. Maybe next week ;)
My purchases this week were all recommendations from other people, so I can't wait to dig into these.

Feed by Mira Grant - Young Adult/Horror/Thriller/Dystopian? ($3)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Mystery (my first from her! And only a $1)
Lightning by Dean Koontz - Horror/Thriller ($2)
Intensity by Dean Koontz - Horror/Thriller ($2)
The Lost World by Michael Crichton - Science Fiction/Horror/Thriller ($2)

As you all can see, I have a bit of a theme going on this week - the scare yourself to sleep and get nightmares kind. Hope you all have awesome books this week too. Link up below!

Also, please note I am having a book inspired jewelry giveaway going on right now! Open to US, UK, and Canada. They're lovely. Check it out :)

book inspired jewelry giveaway for YOU! [CLOSED]

You guys! I am so excited to share with you all this giveaway! It's a really nice, pretty prize that I think any book lover would appreciate. And if you like book inspired jewelry and trinkets - mostly Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and many others too - then this is exactly the giveaway for you!

1LuckySoul, a creative seller at Etsy, was very generous enough to offer you a chance to win ONE item of your choice from her shop! She features a wide variety of beautiful, vintage-looking, book inspired jewelry. She also does offer some that aren't from books; but you just have to see for yourself.

To enter, all you have to do is comment below with this format.
Blog URL (if you have)
What item would you most likely get if you won? (see her shop)

Some important things:

1. You do have to be a follower, as I really want a reader of this blog to win.
2. Please take a look at her Etsy shop first before you enter the giveaway please.
3. If you don't want to share your email here, that's fine too. Just leave your blog URL and I'll find a way to contact you if you win.
4. US, UK, and Canada only.
5. Giveaway ends June 24.

Other than that, that's it. Have fun browsing her shop and enter the giveaway now!

hop. HOP. hop. HOP.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome to my blog! If you came here from the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-for-Books and Follow Friday from Parajunkee's View, thanks for visiting! This is where I talk, rant, rave, and gush about all things, books!

This week:

Jennifer asks, "TBA"

And Parajunkee asks: "The magic book fairy pops out of your cereal box and says, 'You and your book character can switch places!' Who are you going to switch with?"
Such a fun question! I would definitely exchange with Hermione Granger. Who else??! I mean, she not only is best friends with the Boy who Lived, but is also actually "with" Ron - who is one of my favorite characters! Hermione is also pretty, smart, sophisticated, and independent. She's a cross between a tomboy and a normal girly girl, a wizard and a Muggle! Also, she's one heck of a strong female heroine. Love her!


Make sure to check out my book inspired jewelry giveaway going on! Also check out my most recent posts. And I would love to check your blog out as well, so please leave your link here if you can. Also, visit me on Twitter! Happy Friday, everyone!

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult - Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

Review: I really enjoyed reading this one. It was just such a fun read! Rick Riordan, as always, does it again. The plot was interesting, the characters were fun, and there were plenty of action and adventure around for everyone. I especially like how the author is able to mix in the perfect amount of Egyptian mythology 'lessons' to fiction, without it sounding like it's coming from a boring old textbook. I liked the balance between the two, and being that I don't know much about Egyptian mythology, it was just so interesting to learn from this book.

I have to say though, I thought at times that the main characters/narrators were basically the same characters. Riordan alternates the narration between them two, and gives them a good amount of personality, but I still felt like I couldn't tell them apart. They also weren't that lovable or likable, and so even though I liked them, I didn't end up rooting for them all the way.

Having said that, I still thought it was an entertaining read. The pace was perfect, the writing was good as always, and the plot development was flawless. If you like Riordan's usual style, you will definitely enjoy this. I highly recommend this also to MG/YA readers.

On Body image and How Books Helped.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"My stomach is too big."
"I have to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds in two months."
"I look fat in this dress."
"Don't take a photo of me!"
Sound familiar? In my head, for the longest time, they were all I knew. 

It took me a while to get to the conclusion that these feelings are normal, and that it's okay to feel these things. I do realize though it's something that we should try to stop feeling consistently. 

First off, I didn't always have body image issues, and this whole thing only started when I was around 16. I was one of those girls that developed a bit later on. With that came natural weight gain. Being that I was such a skinny girl when I was younger, everyone noticed the difference. Everyone.
In fact, everyone still comments on it to this day. Just recently, someone commented on a photo of mine posted and said I was too big. 
Suddenly, 125 pounds with a pear-shaped/hourglass figure for 5'1 was fat.
I was very insecure, and self-conscious. Though I didn't go as far as starving myself, my confidence in myself went down the drain. I didn't want to have my pictures taken or wear anything that would show off my body. I would avoid going out with friends, and hated seeing someone I haven't seen in a long time. I always had this nasty whisper in my head telling me that everyone is staring and judging.

So at the end of the day, I usually just go home, stare at myself in the mirror, and hate myself. After that, I usually pick up a book just to keep my mind off the day.

Now these past couple of months, I have been reading books related to body image. I thought that it was so comforting that I could relate to these characters, despite the fact that they are fictional. While reading and discovering more about these characters and their stories, I began to take a good look at myself. What really was wrong with me? Was it the 125 pounds or my mind thinking so badly about myself?
It was a rough time, but going through that journey with these stories in these books made me start to gain back that confidence that I lost. Sure, it's harder some days, but overall, I have been a lot happier rather than down on myself. feeling happy and content.

Some of the books that I specifically read were Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Skinny by Ibi Kaslik, Life Size by Jenefer Shute were just some... even books like Willow by Julia Hoban that deal with body image and self-esteem in general helped.

These were the ones, among others, that hit me right on the head, and made me realize that I am lucky that I at least have a perfectly functioning body. It made me realize that it's only me to blame if I put myself down because of one person telling me what they think I look like. After all, I should know what I look like. I should know what's healthy for me, what I truly should change, what I should keep, and what I should not even bother with.

These were the books that made me start thinking a bit more clearly. It reminded me that 'real bodies' come in all sizes. It reminded me that as long as you are healthy, nobody can tell you, "You're fat" or "You're too skinny." And whenever I feel that tiny pang of body-hate anyway - because let's face it, those feelings and thoughts are simply inevitable - I try to remind yourself that someone thinks I'm beautiful. At least one person. And the only way other people can start seeing the real you, is if you start believing that too.

If you have any other recommendations for books that deal with this issue and the like, please let me know on the comments below. Of course, Random Ramblings is always open for discussion as well. And also, as always, thanks so much for reading.

waiting on wednesday.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I don't usually join in with this meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, as wonderful as it is, just because I typically am not "waiting" for books to be released. I feel like I have too many books on my TBR list that I have to pay attention to first, before looking at soon-to-be released books. But I will make an exception for this book, because I absolutely loved the ones that came before it.

I won't give a synopsis since it'd be impossible to do so without giving away any spoilers from the first two books, but I absolutely can't wait for The Death Cure! The Maze Runner was so amazing, and the sequel of it felt so incomplete - I just want to find out what happens next.

What are you waiting on this week?

i do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz..

I have shared this poem on this blog a couple of times already, but I figured that with every new follower that visits, it's a new opportunity to share it yet again. I just can't help it - it's my favorite poem, from one of my favorite writers of all time.

To me, Pablo Neruda just captures his emotions and thoughts - usually all for his wife - in such a beautiful and effortless way. And this sonnet, to me, is the best I've ever read.

(click photo to enlarge)

Do you have a favorite poet? Or perhaps a specific piece? Please let me know about them! I love discovering new poems, sonnets, and prose.

a semi-review: I Capture the Castle

Monday, June 6, 2011

I adore this book! There's seriously nothing I can say that I do not like about it, and so this review may just come off as a very biased one. It's just one of those stories, filled with colorful characters and eloquent writing, that makes me feel... simply put... happy! It gives me that feeling like I just spent the entire day lounging around in a cute summer dress, on a wide open field, on a glorious Summer day. It's as lovely as a Jane Austen novel, and reminds me a bit of Jane Eyre as well.

So if you are a lover of the Classics, read this. Read it for the characters that you would want to get to know in real life, for their development, for the plot, or maybe for the beautiful, descriptive passages and quotes. Read it to remind yourself why you like reading in the first place.

Don't read it if you are not a fan of the Classics. If you just were never into the usual pace or the usual tone the genre sets on most of the time. But try it nonetheless; because I think whether you like I Capture the Castle or not, you'd still appreciate it in one way or another.

currently devouring.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Synopsis: From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose... Bestselling author Dean Koontz presents his most terrifying, dramatic, and moving novel: the explosive story of a man and a woman caught in a relentless storm of mankind's darkest creation.

So far: I am getting the rush that any book lover feels when he or she gets to discover a new awesome read. And I am so excited about it! I am only on the 5th chapter, but already, I can not put this book down. I hope it lives up to expectations until the end as this was highly recommended to me by several trusted bloggers.

This is also actually my first Dean Koontz novel. I have no idea why I have never read any of his works, but it seems like I should start reading more now. So if you have any Koontz recommendations or maybe another book that is sort of similar to Watchers, please do let me know.

Let me know also what you are currently reading right now, and how you're finding it so far. Happy Reading!

inspired by a book.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yesterday, I wrote a review on Where She Went by Gayle Forman and mentioned that the reason I mainly had to give it 5 stars was because of how realistic and believable the main characters are. I said that I was so emotionally involved with the story, especially with Adam's emotions. His pain just felt so genuine to me.

I was actually listening to music the whole time I was reading Where She Went. I just felt like a companion song was appropriate, being that Adam is a musician. With a guitar. This song, by Roy Orbison, was one of the songs I thought that Adam himself could have sung for Mia. It's a beautiful cover by Jimmy Gnecco, and I just think the lyrics and emotions behind it are on-point and perfect. Let me know what you all think if you've read the books.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Genre: Young Adult - contemporary
Rating: 5 stars

Review: Where She Went is a great follow-up to If I Stay - a novel that I liked and enjoyed as well. But this time, it is told through Adam's point of view. And I don't really know what else to say about this book except that it was great. In fact, I feel like I loved this even more than its predecessor for some reason.

Gayle Forman was able to deliver this sequel simply yet beautifully. The writing flowed effortlessly, and didn't seem contrived in any way. And her characters, Adam and Mia, are some of the most realistic and relate-able characters that I've come to know.
The things they say, the things they think, and their emotions were so raw and bold that I could genuinely feel it tear through the book. I honestly felt like they could have just been my friends, telling me their thoughts and feelings, and this caused me to truly feel for them. I was so emotionally connected to the book that by the time it ended, I just wanted more.

There were a couple of things I did not like. The fact that I thought some aspects were surreal and unrealistic - like how they're super popular musicians and all. I just felt like it lost the realism that I loved from first book - like how Mia's family were just your average, normal characters. I also didn't like how it didn't give much background to what exactly happened to Mia after If I Stay.

Nevertheless, I still have to give this 5 stars. Despite its minor flaws, I couldn't give it less. I was just so emotionally involved with Adam and Mia that it's simply impossible to give it less; after all, I sometimes think the emotional pull is more important than the actual literary merit itself.
And all in all, I thought the writing was beautiful, and haunting, and the character development was flawless. I highly recommend this to readers of contemporary Young Adult books. It's a simple yet haunting story.