books.. books.. & more books

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yesterday I got this in the mail, and was so excited to have received it! Thank you again to Amelia of Imagination in Focus for hosting such a great giveaway. The price was for a book of choice worth up to $20. I chose Where Books Fall Open: A Reader's Anthology of Wit and Passion -- a book about books, about the pleasures, passions & rewards of reading, about authors who are dedicated to the act of writing and readers who are devoted to the joys of words in the right order. Funny, moving, and beautiful, it features an eclectic selection from some of the world's finest writers, as well as sixteen full-color paintings by artist and editor Bascove.

As for other book-ish things..

Just finished: The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald and What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
  • Reviews for both will be coming up :)
About to start: About a Boy by Nick Hornby

And for random news?

I decided the books in my room are getting out of control! So today, I am going to get three baskets at the store. They will serve as 'containers' for them, and will be separated into three different groups; Read, To Be Read, and To Be Returned.
Have you ever done anything like this? If not, how did you keep all your books organized?

Happy Reading!

Author Interview: Tess Gerritsen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It was about five years ago, when I first discovered the author that I have had the privilege to interview and feature here today.
It was in the library, when I decided to pick a random book off the shelf. It was just my luck, as I picked a copy of one of her novels, The Surgeon. I remember reading the synopsis on the back cover just to see if it was something I'd be interested in. I then started reading the first few lines of the first chapter. Then, I found myself reading one chapter after another. It was difficult for me to put the book down. It was undeniable; I was hooked.
Seven books from her popular series and four medical thrillers later, my opinion of her as a great storyteller has not changed. Since then, when someone asks me to recommend titles of thrillers, the first author that comes to mind has always been Tess Gerritsen -- someone who has had a successful career as a physician, and who, I think, is now one of the most compelling authors of our generation.
Her avid readers and fans will be most excited to hear that not only does she have the long-awaited follow up to the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series, but also has another very exciting project coming up with TNT! Want to know more about this news? Hear it straight from the author herself.
I am very honored to be given this opportunity to share with you an interview with the international bestselling author, Tess Gerritsen.

1. What prompted you to become a writer?
-- I've been a storyteller since I was a child. I think it's a result of being an avid reader who wanted to tell my own tales, and the first book I wrote was at age seven. Even though I eventually went to medical school, I always knew that I'd be writing novels someday, even if it was only in my spare time.

2. While you were practicing as a physician, did you have a lot of time left to write? If so, how did you manage your time?
-- I had almost no time to write, but I wrote anyway. I wrote while I was on call, at night in the hospital. During a period when I was working 80 hours a week. I wrote late at night when I was home. And after my sons were born, I wrote during their naptimes. A real writer simply finds the time to do it, no matter how busy the schedule is.

3. Do you ever get the dreaded writer's block? If so, how do you overcome through it? Are there any routines or activities that you try to do to get through it?
-- I get it with every book, usually around halfway through the first draft. It's usually because I haven't thought out what happens next, or I've made my characters do something that I instinctively know they wouldn't do. I solve it by setting the work aside for awhile. I take walks, I go for long drives, I lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling. Eventually I manage to come up with just the right plot change to make the story work.

4. Where is your favorite place to write? To read?
-- I write best at my own desk in my home, overlooking the water. My favorite place to read is in bed.

5. What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
-- I love to play music. I'm a fiddler, and I adore Celtic tunes. I also love to travel -- anywhere new is an adventure for me. And I love to cook and garden!

6. Do you have any advice for writers wanting to get their work published?
-- Keep working at it. If you don't sell your first manuscript, get to work on your second. It took me several unpublished novels before I sold one. Also, read read read. You learn so much just by seeing how other writers -- writers you admire -- told their stories. And work on getting a literary agent. These days, almost no publishers will look at unsolicited manuscripts. You need an agent to get you in the door.

7. You are to be stranded on a deserted island with two companions. If you could choose two fictional characters to accompany you, who would they be?
-- Rhett Butler, because he'd figure out a way to survive. And James Bond, because he'd keep me entertained!

8. If you could pick between Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles,who would you think would be more fun to hang out with during the weekends?
-- Jane would be more fun to hang out with. Maura, I'm afraid, is just too serious and logical to know how to have a good time.

9. Your readers and fans are eagerly anticipating your new novel coming out in June. Can you tell us more about Ice Cold?
-- On a trip to Wyoming, Maura gets stranded on a lonely mountain road and ends up in a deserted village called "Kingdom Come," where she finds abandoned houses. Where did the residents go, and why did they leave meals on tables and pets to starve? The mystery of what happened to the residents of Kingdom Come is a secret that will threaten Maura's life -- and only Jane can save her.

10. What is your message to your readers?
-- I'm here to entertain you. I take that job very seriously, and I hope I do it well! And please, watch "Rizzoli & Isles," the new TV series (based on my books) debuting July 12 on TNT!

Top Ten Picks: Fictional Characters

This is a weekly feature here in this blog where I would be posting just about that -- my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given. I will then choose 10 of my favorites from that given category, create the list, and post them up here!
For week two, the topic will be on 'Fictional Characters.'
Remember, you can choose any! They do not necessarily have to be be from books. They can be from TV, movies, etc. You also don't have to put pictures and explanations. Listing them is perfect as it is, but if you want to do it like I'm doing, please feel free! :)

Here is mine. In no particular order:

Top Ten Favorite Fictional Characters

1. Severus Snape
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Snape is probably one of the most complex characters I have ever read about. You love to hate him, but secretly, you know you love him. I for one, never doubted him for a second, even when people kept saying, "It's over, he's a bad guy." Well... look how that turned out. If you've read and finished the series, you know what I'm talking about.

2. Ariel
The Little Mermaid (1989)
We all have our favorite Disney princess. Ariel's definitely mine. I remember for my 6th birthday, I had a 'Little Mermaid' themed everything -- cake, decors, gifts, music, and so many more! I was even "asked" to sing Part of Your World in front of the guests. I was a shy kid, but it was my birthday after all, so apparently, I didn't care.
I still smile everytime I get to reminisce and look at those old photographs -- it was so awesome.

3. Claire Abshire
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I didn't really love the movie. I thought it was just okay. However, the book is one of my favorites, no doubt. Having said that, it's kind of a given too, that Claire Abshire would be one of my favorite fictional characters. To me, she is the epitome of the kind of wife everyone should strive to be -- loving, patient, and trusting. Along with that, I have to say, she is also my image of how a woman should be -- perfectly flawed but strong-willed and independent, who takes chances and does not fear failure. Even if she does fail or gets hurt, she gets back up, learns from the experience, and lives again.

4. Mary Lennox
from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- For my reasons, you can check out my post here.

5. Seth Cohen.
from The O.C.
To tell you the truth, I actually don't even like The O.C. that much. But I never stopped watching, mainly because Seth's story line is sooo good I knew I couldn't just ignore the show completely. And I am not ashamed about this one! He really is one of my favorite fictional characters -- not to mention, one of my crushes back when I was around 14-15years old. I admire anyone who can be geeky + cute -- err, hot -- at the same time!
Seth Cohen is: bubbly, funny, sarcastic, humorous, adorable, respectful, a good friend, a genuine guy, a sweet and loyal boyfriend to the girl of his dreams, and a self-proclaimed geek -- mainly with comic books, science fiction, and video games. These are qualities that you don't think would fit well, but actually do, if we're talking about this guy!

6. Josephine March
The Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
There is no doubt in my mind that Jo is my favorite March sister. She is vivacious, smart, self-confident, and independent. She is also the 'writer' in the family, and I think this fact alone was enough to make me fall in love with her. I was really young when I first read The Little Women, and I remember telling myself, "Someday I will just be like her." I will set off and sell my manuscript, meet fellow writers, and create my own journey. At the end of the day, I will come back home and see my family and friends, who are there supporting me all along. In the end, I will be thankful for the simple but incredible life that I have, just as Jo was.

7. Holly Golightly
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
loosely based on Capote's novel
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sure, Holly Golightly is naive and eccentric. Oh, and she's a gold digger too. But who can deny her charm? Her poise? Her grace? Her style?
I honestly don't know anyone that does not like her. The fact that she was played by one of my biggest role models (ever) probably made me like Holly Golightly -- and this film -- even more.

8. Liesl Von Trapp
The Sound of Music (1965)
Don't get me wrong; I love Maria -- played by Julie Andrews. But there was something about Liesl -- the eldest child in the von Trapp family. Her character in the movie, started out as a young, innocent, and naive "damsel in distress," that didn't have a clue what to do with herself and her life. She complained a lot, and was also very dependent on her father and her 'boyfriend.' In just a few years though, she has grown to be a beautiful, independent, talented, and kind-hearted woman -- and the best sister and role model to all her siblings. Along with that transformation, she has also learned what truly matters most in life, and focuses on those, rather than on the petit things that don't even matter in the first place.

9. Wendy
Peter Pan (1953)
I love Wendy! To me, she is one of the most well-written and well-developed characters in all the Disney movies. She is unselfish, mature, independent, and wise for her age, and genuinely cares about others. She is such a real character though despite these strengths, as she still has many insecurities and fears. This makes me relate to her, and love her even more.
Sure, Peter Pan was about a boy who never wanted to grow up, who was accompanied by a very grumpy fairy, and who lived in a place called Neverland. To me though, it was more about Wendy's coming-of-age story.

10. Liesel Meminger
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
If you know me, you know that this is the novel I recommend everytime somebody asks me for a new, good read. This book did not fail, when it was recommended to me, and so far, it hasn't disappointed anyone, when I have suggested it to them.
I can't explain exactly why Liesel Meminger is one of my favorites. She just is. If you have read the book, I think you would get what I mean; she is pure, innocent, kind-hearted, and a loving individual. I ache for her story everytime I read about it.


There you have it! I didn't have a difficult time with this as much as I did with the 'Book Series' list, because these really are -- and have always been -- my all-time favorites! Who are yours? Again, if you would like to join in the fun, all you have to do is:

1. Do a post similar to this, listing all of your answers. It does not have to be in any particular order, and again, the characters do not have to be from books necessarily. They can be from TV, movies, etc.
2. Please sign the Mr. Linky box below. Enter the specific blog post URL that will lead directly to your actual post. It'll be a lot easier for us to find it! Also, you do not need to have "Top Ten Picks" as your title. Feel free to be creative!

Important: Your last day to answer this topic will be on April 5th, Monday. On April 6th, Tuesday, a week from now, the topic will change.

Can't wait to read yours! :)

a poem about a girl and a funeral

Monday, March 29, 2010

If you saw my previous post about my friday adventure, you might remember that one of the items I purchased that day was a vintage composition notebook from the 20s-30s. It was owned by a boy named Goerge White. In it, was a melancholic poem about a girl that he loved, but has passed away. Unfortunately, I don't have any idea how old he was when he wrote it, where he was from, and if it was even based on true events or not. I also don't know if it truly is about a girl's funeral, as it is just pure speculation and there is no way of knowing for certain. Reading this though, it was the only situation that made sense.

These are the actual pages. Remember, you can click on it to make it larger.
I sat within the chapel, dim and silent
save for the organ's slow refrain
and watched the summer's sunlight play
in muted grief
across the [*] wherein my darling loved one lay.

I looked with askance at the velvet after cloth
and envied it, its soft unfeeling touch
the satin pillow with its wisp of frilly lace
I envied too
and felt no peace within this quiet place

That deep, dim, quiet knew no love, no life;
no pulsing throb was in the organ's notes.
The summer day was cold and still
so like a winter sun
shining on some remote and frozen hill
and even grief and sorrow seemed unreal
too shamed to voice one smallest note
In that dim chapel, quiet was so deep
its silence kissed
my love, in her last dreamless sleep.

The organ's low, unreal, hypnotic strain
the reverent sorrow of the pastor's voice,
the chilling vision of a Winter's glee
My sudden insight knew,
were not for her - they were for me.

[*] I can not read this word. If you can though, please let me know what it is. I have a feeling he is trying to refer to a coffin, but I am not entirely sure. Any help would be appreciated!

The Battle of the Labyrinth

Note: Like all my other reviews for this series, I will not be writing my own synopsis. However, you can read more about it here.

Review: I loved this fourth installment to bits! Why, you may ask? Well, I keep saying the same reasons for every PJandO -- there's a ring to it, yes? no? haha -- review I write that I probably sound like a broken record. But that's okay.

1. Character and plot development is wonderful and effortless
2. Rick Riordan's writing is addicting!
3. Pace is perfect
4. Greek mythology is still very fun and makes everything extra interesting!
5. The characters are lovable, likable, relate-able, funny, and just plain awesome.
And for the 6th reason -- and this is very important to me, actually: Female characters are portrayed in the way that they should be. No stereotypes. No discrimination. No sexism. None of those!

Now that I got that out, I'd like to say that it would probably be nice if I read the last installment already, but actually, I have not. I don't even have the copy yet. To tell you the truth, I'm a little bit reluctant to do so. It may sound stupid, but I really don't want this series to end! Because of this, I am trying to sneak in two other books and finish them. That way, I wouldn't have to read how this wonderful series finishes just yet.

If you have not read it yet, pick it up soon please. Even if you end up not liking it, I feel as if the worst thing that could happen to you is that your brain will be filled with random stuff about Greek gods&creatures and you will find yourself in the mythology section of the bookstore, trying to learn some more. Ahem, my friends will point their fingers at me right about now. It may sound funny, but I'm actually not kidding about that last part.

Top Ten Picks

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is a weekly feature here in this blog where I would be posting just about that -- my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given. I will then choose 10 of my favorites from that given category, create the list, and post them up here! Everyone is welcome to join!

If you have topic suggestions, please feel free to contact me at

100followers + an award

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Before anything else, I just want to say how genuinely happy and excited I am right now! This afternoon, I logged on to see that I officially have 100 followers!
I know.. I know.. the follower count is just a number, but it truly is more than that for me. I have met a lot of amazing bloggers and book lovers just by doing this. Most have inspired me, sometimes without even meaning to, in so many different ways! Another reason: I think all writers would agree; the best thing about writing is the act itself. However, having your stuff read by others? Pretty priceless if I may say so myself. For me personally, it really means a lot! So... thank you to anyone who has stopped by, read, followed, reviewed, and commented with me!

As for the award..

Thank you so much to Mizz Yasmin @ iRead n iReview for passing this award on to me!

I pass it on to:

just five that I recently discovered. I love their blogs not only for their 'over the top' pretty&awesome looks, but as well as their content! Check their blogs out now if you haven't yet.
If you have received this, here's what you do:
1. Create a post similar to what I'm doing or put it on your sidebar, linking the one who gave the award to you.
2. Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it.
Your cell phone?
- Here.
Your hair?
- Long
Your mother?
- best
Your favorite food?
- sushi
Your dream last night?
- nothing
Your favorite drink?
- tea
Your dream/goal?
- Happiness
What room are you in?
- mine
Your hobby?
- duh ;)
Your fear?
- Loss
What do you want to be in 6 years?
- Content
Where were you last night?
- Out
Something that you aren't?
- Hypocrite
- Bran
Wish list item?
- Lots.
Where did you grow up?
- Philippines
Last thing you did?
- type
Your TV?
- on
Your pets?
- Maltese
- awesome
Your mood?
- okay
Missing someone?
- sure
- montero
Something you aren't wearing?
- socks
Your favorite store?
- forever21
Your favorite color?
- pink
Last time you cried?
- uh
Your best friend?
- love!
One place you to to over and over again?
- library
- yes?
Favorite place to eat?
- somewhere.

Thank you again everyone!
And as always, happy reading!

my friday adventure.

You know when you've been working or maybe stuck at school for weeks straight and you don't do, or focus on anything else but that? It gets a bit.. uh.. stressful -- and boring -- doesn't it? That's exactly how I can describe the past work week that I just had. Yesterday though, I had a much-needed small adventure with someone who shares the same love for books and reading as I do. Our "hang-out" days, consists of a lot of things. But I noticed they almost always include unplanned trips to the bookstore or the library, vintage stores, coffee shops and cafes, and maybe a picnic -- if the weather will allow. Simple and not too spendy -- just the way I like it.

Here are some pictures that I got from the day. Feel free to skip, but just thought I'd share :)

Bookstore browsing

And for some vintage shop finds..
- I love visiting these kinds of places, and seeing the treasures that have been kept alive (and some, working) for years and years. Most of the stuff here are from the early 20s-60s.

Things I Couldn't Resist Getting:

These are special. I didn't even second guess myself. I knew I had to buy these composition notebooks from the (I'm guessing 20s-40s) from two different students. Both are boys. The one on the left includes a rough draft of a story about a sailor, trying to get his own boat. The other one on the right, is the one that made me buy. In it, was a poem written for a girl that he loved, but has passed away. The setting takes place in her funeral, and I don't want to ruin it, but I will try to copy it and post it up, because it truly is lovely.

My new favorite notebook :)
-- the covers are made of fabric with sewing of birds and their cage, tea cups, cupcakes, bows, and flowers. On the back cover, is the same style, but with an image of a tea pot.

And two books:
1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
2. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
-- which were both on sale by the way ;)


I will now leave you with the last bit of randomness.
Meet few of my collection of vintage/antique glass bottles..

At night.

And during the day.

Have a great weekend everyone.

"Best Seller Lists": a possible rant

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Note: This post was actually inspired by a fellow blogger in The New Dork Review of Books, who is a wonderful writer. You can find his post with this particular issue here.

What does being in a bestseller list really mean? From what I know, it basically consists of titles of books that are -- for lack of a better word -- best sellers. In other words, "Which books get purchased the most?" But does being in this list define the quality of a book?

I notice that nowadays, most buyers and some readers do rely on New York Best Seller, National Best Seller, #1 Best Seller, etc for ideas and recommendations. This is totally understandable, as most of the time, the list provides help while in search for a good book. I think we all check out books that are in these lists because they do receive a lot of acclaim -- word of mouth included. It is after all, human nature to want to check out something that is popular, so we can see and judge for ourselves. These lists even become some sort of an aid for buyers to help them with their choice -- to give them options -- which is pretty convenient. This is perfectly fine. I too, choose from it. I even notice that most of the books I read do happen to belong in the list. And who am I anyway, to not read a book because they are there? Pretty ridiculous, if I do that, if I may say so myself.
But I guess my main point here is, I just don't like how there is a common misconception that:

Best Seller = Good Read

I'm not saying though that the books that are included are always bad ones and undeserving. (ahem, like The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown =P) No, not all of them are like that. Definitely not. Most of the time, there's bound to be great picks there. Some titles for example: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, among many others.
I guess all I'm saying is, I always have the urge to burst people's bubble -- and this brings me back to those days when I worked at a bookstore -- when I would hear (some) customers talk like this:

Customer1: *points to the novel* That's a good book.
Customer2: How do you know? Have you read it?
Customer1: No, but it is in the best seller list. It's got to be good.

At times, I know, I can't blame them. But you know what I mean...... right? ;)

I'm probably just rambling on and on with this, and most of the things I said probably are not even valid, but this just irks me sometimes. Maybe it's the 'assumption' that I find that I don't like. But then again, maybe it is just me being oversensitive.
But I'd like to hear your thoughts about this. If I have offended anyone though, I don't mean to do so at all. I am simply stating my opinion. Please feel free to let me know what you think :)

The Titan's Curse

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Note: For this book, I will not write my own synopsis. If you would like to read it, you can find more about it here.

I think it is safe to say that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is my current addiction. As I look around my room, I see all these stacks of books lined up, waiting to be read, but unfortunately, I just can't get to them yet. Why?
Because I am not going to read anything else until I finish this fascinating series.

I really like this book. I love the story and the plot. And the characters... have become my favorites. They are really the ones that stand out to me. These perfectly flawed -- but admirable -- characters are not only believable and relate-able, but also very well drawn, complex, and captivating all at the same time. The new additions to the character list also, were all very memorable to me. The twists and turns? Perfect. The writing? Again, it was effortless. Never did it seem contrived in any way. No unnecessary gimmicks. Just straight-up good writing from a talented writer.
I know this review is kind of all over the place, but this is only because 1) I'm on the last few pages of The Battle of the Labyrinth, which is the fourth book, and I really want to get to that asap ;) and 2) because there is no use to clarify on how good this series is. If you have read it, you know exactly what I mean. If you have not, but will soon, then you will know exactly what I mean.

Again, Rick Riordan definitely does not disappoint with his third offering, and in fact, actually exceeds all expectations as well. It is good -- this book and the series as a whole. Period. For anyone -- no matter what the age. 5 stars, no doubt!

Today's Inspiration: Typewriters

There is still something about typewriters. Old-fashioned, timeless, and classic -- the writer's companion before laptops even came close. Don't get me wrong; the computer and the internet are one of the most useful things ever invented, and without them, well I wouldn't be typing this -- but the charm of typewriters, to me, can't be replaced. When I was a kid, I heard it all the time. Papers and most of the office work in my grandparent's Optometry clinic were done with the help of these beauties. I will not forget the crazy 'tap tap tap tap' sounds they make. I long to hear them again.

"Typewriters -- they make me write in a different fashion, and also provide an alternate trigger for inspiration." - Christopher Watkins