Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Title:        A Walk to Remember
Author:   Nicholas Sparks
Genre:      Romance, Drama
Rating:     ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewer's Note:
The following review is re-posted from When Blog and Book Collide blogsite that is managed by the same blog author of Blotted Pages.


I'm Rollie... and now I'm leaping over my bounded forte?

Romance is the least among the genres that I craved to try. Instead, I stumbled upon reading this love story book. A risk indeed to read a different genre especially when it exempts among the genres you always thinks about. Thus, it doesn't just take twenty gulps to risk for it but takes time and sweat to decide the dilemma whether to give it a shot or not. Lately, I decided to widen my braced genres and I thought this book is worth the risk to try. So as a love story as this title represents, I'm afraid that the further words I will emancipate may loosen up the tightness of the statement I previously, in my reviews, professed.
The life of Landon Carter during 1958 has been brought back by his memories.

Landon is sixteen-year-old senior high student of Beaufort High School, North Carolina. Being a son of congressman, who he rarely see in their house in a year, is normal. Being with his friends Eric and Margaret are even normal for him, for he used to be with them since grade school. But being the Student Body President is another thing, while signing up for Drama Class is definitely not his thing. 
Jamie Sullivan is surely the last girl in the world Landon wanted to marry but absolutely not the last girl to ask as a date for the school's homecoming. As Landon's world becomes closer to Jamie's, he'll find a plan he never thought fated for him.

I was sure then before I tried that I wouldn't like this book, though I was in the mood to read this kind of book. The moment I fixed my eyes onto the surface of the first page of the book's prologue, my feet as if set foot onto the world of what I was reading. I became the main character himself. Marvelous really it is to say how amazing the approach of the main character's perspective to me as a reader. Truly effective. A perfect thing to add up is that the perspective used in the story is from guy's character, considering that it gives perfect justice to how a guy thinks, utters, and acts.

The story composes of just simple elements: The typical story of ugly duckling that turns into swan; typical story of a jerk guy who fell in love to the swan; and a typical story of a man who'll do anything for love. The magic of how it turned out to be good is the summation of all those factors. Moreover, Spark really used the overused concepts perfectly during the shifting of events, which of course a positive move for the book to become better.

I'm told that the movie is way better than the book. Granted, for I am one of those unfortunates who haven't watched the movie yet. Yes, I did not itch to watch the movie the moment it had been shown in cinemas nor did I eagerly wait for it in movie cable channels. But I'm very much glad, for I think that choosing to read first the book over watching the movie is one way or another, a smart decision.

I honestly admire Spark for writing down the solid description of Jamie Sullivan, yet unknowingly behind her image is a great mystery. That despite of the best answer a normal person could offer to the reason of her action, there is still hidden truth behind it that alters the nearest possibility.

The greatest thing I liked about this book is the profound messages of the story beyond what are written, though some are already given. I liked how faith works at Jamie, that even though everything has been taken from her, she dignifies how her faith still remains. I was also touched at how simply a very kind person could turn the people oppositely to what they were. There is even presence of the true effects of love, which it leads the in love human to think either sane or insane. And the story, in a way, emphasizes how humans should give attention, importance and deeper understanding on the things that surround them not until it's too late. And the best of all is how faith can bring out the miracle to the surface out of the deepest pit.

I admit that there were many times the book led me on the verge of tears. For I reckon that this book, no matter how cold-hearted I am, is no wonder a heart-moving one.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

POV: Attorney Monique

POV or Point of View is a segment on this blog, which features readers and bloggers through an interview. The project has been introduced early of June 2012. To know more about this project, please click here.

Grateful. Blessed.

Those are what I feel for having her as my first interviewee on this project. As I said before, her project on her blog inspired me to create my own version. To honor her, I asked her to be my first guest, which fortunately she accepted without hesitation.

My first guest is a member of book a club family, which I also belong to. I’d been seeing her name on goodreads before I met her because, mind you, she’s one of the best book reviewers I've known. So, it’s my honor to introduce to you my first guest—
Attorney Monique.

Tell us about yourself and please include how your bookishness started.

Atty Monique. The Lawyer. The Book Reader.
Hi! My name is Monique, I'm a 32-year-old bookish wife, mother, lawyer, and blogger. (I am actually a lot of things, but I'll limit my introduction to those that are relevant for your purposes. :P) I am an eclectic reader: my bookshelf contains books from all genres, which I enjoy. I am the proud owner of Candy, my white 2nd generation Kindle, which I purchased secondhand from my boss around 2 years ago. Like many book lovers I know, I am forever attempting to whittle down my to-be-read (TBR) pile, but because I am a chronic book-hoarder, print and digital editions alike, I end up adding two books for every one book that I finish. So much for that.

My bookishness began at a young age. I was, oh, perhaps 7 years old when I stumbled upon a hardbound edition of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz at our home library. (I still have that book at home.) After reading it, I just couldn't stop – I read practically whatever I could get my hands on. You can find out more about this story over at my blog. :)

Tell us about your blog and the story of how you came up with it.

My blog, “
Bookish Little Me,” was born in July 2011, when I realized that the posts on my personal blog (which has been around since 2004) have become more and more about books, book raves and rants, bookish friends, and book clubs, with which I began being more active at the time. There was a time when, in an entire month, all the entries were book-related. The purpose of my personal blog seem to have been eclipsed by all the book talk, so I thought about setting up a separate blog devoted solely to my bookish stuff. That's how “Bookish Little Me” came to be. 

How do you sort out your books on your shelf?

I don't. Haha. :P

Seriously, I'm not all that OC about how my books should be arranged on my shelf. Primarily because of logistics - I need more actual shelves to house the print books that I already own. Right now, there are books that are in plastic boxes under our bed and my old bed in my parents' house, books that are arranged on our knickknacks shelf at home, and books that have taken up residence in my office cubicle. So you could see that arranging books right now is not possible. Let me get back to you on this question when we finally set up our own home library. :)

How do you rate a book?

I don't really have any hard and fast rule or criteria when it comes to rating a book. Mostly, I appreciate a book that appeals to my emotions or tickles my imagination. I rely on that feeling that a book gives me as soon as I close the last pages: did I enjoy it immensely? Or just a tad? Was it a little boring for my taste, or simply not my cup of tea? Things like that. I'm fairly easy to please, so I guess it means a lot if I give a book 5 stars or just 1 star, based on the Goodreads rating system.

How do you review a book? What do you think should be included in a review? Does it need to be lengthy and elaborate, or short and concise?

First off, I have a disclaimer on my blog that says I don't do “reviews” - I prefer to think of them as simply my “thoughts” about a book I've read, because a “review”, in my opinion, should be very precise, strong, and highly critical of any given work. When you read my so-called “reviews,” you'll see that there isn't an accurate formula to them – they're not really how an honest-to-goodness review should be presented. Well, at least as far as I'm concerned.

So to answer your questions: I “review” a book by writing down my thoughts and feelings about it, as simple as that. I think that an actual review should have an appropriate summary of the plot, a critique on its writing and the progress of the story, a comment on character development, and all that jazz – things that are not always present in my “reviews.” Finally, it doesn't matter whether a review is lengthy or short, for as long as the critic's/reviewer's ideas are fully explained and written. 

Atty. Monique sharing her favorite Authors and Titles.
What are the two genres that you currently most prefer?

Like I said before, I am a diverse reader, so I read all genres, but I am currently enjoying literary/general fiction and historical fiction at the moment. The 3 titles that I listed above are all from the literary genre. :D


Which book would you earnestly recommend to your bookish friends?

Sorry, I can't just settle on one so I have to give three books:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I would rave about these books over and over and over again.

If there's a book that reflects your personality, what would it be, and why?

It took me a while before deciding on which book (I think) reflects my personality, but I'm going to have to say The Wizard of Oz is the one. The Wizard of Oz is simply written (being a children's book), a classic work, replete with life's lessons for the young and old alike, and is multi-faceted in the sense that it combines reality, magic, comedy, drama, suspense, and all the elements that would make a good, timeless book – attributes that I'd like to think I have, as a person. Aside from being my favorite book of all time, it is also the book that made me the bookish person that I am today.

As a reader and a book reviewer, what are your limitations when it comes to reviewing a book?

No limitations whatsoever, because you can't put limitations on thoughts and opinions about a book. If I hated the book, I'll rant about it; if I loved it, I'll rave about it. Besides, I've always believed that a book should be "reviewed" on its own merits and not on the basis of what other people thought about it.

How did reading influence your Point of View in life?

Reading for me has become more than just one of the pleasures in life that I enjoy. Through reading, I realized that books aren't just simply there for the reader to be entertained, but are also tools through which life values and lessons are imparted and instilled. I guess I could say that reading has widened my take on a lot of things.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Title:         Insurgent
Author:   Veronica Roth
Genre:      Dystopian
Rating:     ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


The most anticipated book of the year has come. The question: Is it worth the wait?

It all started with Divergent. Gladly, I am one of those readers who were caught to be amazed by it. The said book hits men and women, children and adults, that apparently it toppled other books. Inevitably, books in the same genre are competing. Amazing indeed how Divergent climbed up the peak of its current success among others. As a first book to top the rest is not luck but indeed suggests how fully furnished and prepared it is for its worldwide success.

They reckon themselves as survivors. But for others, they are counted as fugitives. 
Beatrice Prior along with other survivors from the Erudite’s attack runs for their safety and at the same time runs for their lives. As they find their path to find a home, they find their way to the other factions that are not involved on either side. But as Tris tries to move on with her life, a nightmare of the past becomes a hindrance of her plan to step forward. 
Tobias has been keeping his image as mysterious for everyone. As he goes along with fellow Divergent and survivors, will he reveals some of it or keep it still for the sake of peace he was containing since then?

As a sequel to a creative piece of work, It’s a logical leap to assume that this book is great, if not, at least good. Fortunately, I reckon that this book hasn’t badly failed me yet. Nevertheless, the fact is hard to put off how much, in a way, this book disappointed me.

The characters of this book have shown their other sides that have been well coated in its predecessor. On the same subject, they have unleashed their flaws that eventually took reader’s attention. Yes, I have nothing against this matter, but, I suppose it could have been better for me if these other sides of them have been executed prior to the productivity or merit of story’s purpose. 

Additional fluff, I noticed the writing style to be unusual. Some scenes were abruptly narrated through colon which I did find disturbing. Nevertheless, I consider that it was intended hence the thickness of the book explains. Linking this subject to thickness of the book, I couldn’t fathom any idea why would it be thick when clearly some of the scenes were just useless to be inserted. So, the book has become dragging for me because of it. One more thing, I didn’t feel the conversations’ genuineness thus appealed to be unnatural for me.

I’m doubtless that Divergent’s ending has been glorious for those readers who’ve enjoyed it—drastically fulfilling if I were to describe it. With my description it implies one word—bought. I was bought by every important detail the book offered. Meanwhile, the sequel Insurgent, branches out new revelations. Unfortunately, some of these revelations falsify Divergent’s story. Some of them are too rough for me to consider proposed since then. The main revelation didn’t even intersect with Divergent’s story. So, obviously, spare me from those who embraced it. Moreover, these said revelations open loose threads that I, myself, gained questions out of it.

The story rotates around treachery, love, heartbreak, friendship and family. Sadly, treachery has been an ignorable twist for such was overused in a manner that all characters were subjected for treachery against the side they supposed to belong to. Truthfully, the theme of family ought to be crossed out since the book depicted the wrong manner of family relationship.

On the other hand, I did like the book because no matter how rough the coated revelation was at the beginning, it still blew me away at the ending. I truly appreciate how Tris, as the main character, wasn’t put into spotlight in this book, for the obvious fact that Roth was preserving her time for the latter part of the story.

Veronica Roth impresses me once more through creating as fierce and as bold as Divergent. Roth obliterated his characters without hesitation. For me what took my anticipation is not who’d be the next to betray with their respective sides but who’d be wiped out next.

I’m glad that the isolation of their community was delivered smoothly and so does the history of it. I’m impressed that this book once again ended remarkably. Finally, I happy to say that next book is worth a shot.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sneak Peek: POV (Point of View)

Sneak Peek: POV (Point of View)

June is the second quarter’s last month. Usually in my country, Philippines, it’s the start of new school year while in other countries it’s the month where it ends. Considering the fact I’m located in the Philippines, June is the month of new school year and June definitely the right month for me to introduce my new blog project which features readers and bloggers—POV for Point of View.

Earlier month of this year, I stumbled upon a bookish friend’s blog--Atty. Monique’s Bookish Little Me. However, as I dropped by on her blog, I came across reading a blog post that featured another bookish friend of mine. At the same moment, I was still cooking up this new blog but it never darted away the idea in my mind of being inspired doing a project too that, in a way, soothes my concept.

POV or Point of View features readers and bloggers through an interview. Point Of View showcases some hypothetical questions that give us idea how the interviewee thinks. Furthermore, it also offered us interviewee’s opinion over things discussed. On the other hand, POV has some base questions as traditionally done in an interview. Nevertheless, POV is the bridge of knowing better the interviewees and get closer with them.

Part of giving birth of this project is giving it an image through a banner. Unfortunately, I’m not the one who made the banner. Yes, you heard me right. I intended it for someone to do it for me since this project involves not just about this blog or myself but also other bloggers and readers. Thus it just suggests that preparation of this blog project should involve other readers or bloggers.

Credits: Banner by Rodgine Ruiz

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Title:       Unearthly
Author:  Cynthia Hand
Genre:     Paranormal
Rating:     ★ ★ ★ ★


Surprising really it is that nowadays YA Paranormal has blossom its patron. Perhaps, from the category where it belongs speaks enough of who mostly reads them—young adults. Apparently, readers of the said modern genre are covered by female majority. Based from obvious fact, the reason behind it is the genre itself has been often these days associated with romance as its sub-genre. Unearthly is under this sort—Paranormal Romance—hence became a reminder to me but didn’t bother about it. Until I finished it, there I met the regrets.

Unearthly tells a story of a sixteen-year old girl, Clara Gardner, who is a one-fourth part angel. Being a Nephilim or a Quartarius angel, it grants her supernatural abilities and required her purpose to accomplish. A vision of a young man standing in a wild fire has become her purpose. Giving the hints of the location in her vision, she and her family leave California to the place where the young man is to know what purpose she has to fulfill with him.
 As Clara enrolls herself to the same School as Christian’s, the young man in her visions, she becomes aware that she is falling in love with him. As the development of her story goes on, she meets her closest friends. Then she meets Tucker.

An overview question hovers my mind right after I finished the book: If these two meet you at the same time, who would you choose: your destiny or your true love?

I intentionally picked this book despite of genre where it falls into, though I don’t deny that I read this kind of books. Friends of mine claim that this book is at its best when it comes to its genre. Unfortunately, I really doubt so.

Honestly, I like how the book becomes an easy read for me. However, my rating basis doesn’t just fall into that category. Yes, admiring really it is at how the book opened a Character who was self-aware of her abilities. Unfortunately, I am taking that credit back. Cynthia Hand didn’t start with an innocent character in her book but she still inserted the moment-of-realization-I-am-a-superhuman in a small shard in the book. Herewith, Hands unfortunately failed to build solid history of her race existence thus some of the theories about angels became too hard for me grasp. One example is glowing hair as sign of what they call glory nonetheless it failed to buy me. The abilities mentioned in the book were surreal enough for my standard to absorb.

The book has become dragging to me. Despite of being an easy read, I find the book slow-paced mainly because the narration focused not to the mission but to other else instead. The genuineness of personality of the characters in the book was too weak for me to consider.

I am not against to romance unless it is being demonstrated unrealistically. The story of Unearthly aimed more on romance, unaware that her concept was being overshadowed by it. The obsession of Clara over Christian proves how the book focused more on romance. In a while, yes, it stopped but the love story continued as the story further developed. I did find it bothering that neither of chapters I encountered subjected other stuffs other than romance. 

The book consists of twists and revelation that I still find confusing. And that I blame again how Hands didn’t give any concrete history of her world. I was also disappointed at how the purpose ended. Not pertaining about the romance, but the reason behind its difference from the vision.

I reckon this book is not just for me. I still recommend this book to those who are fans of Twilight and Mortal Instrument. The story is like Clary Fray possesses Bella Swan but she chooses Jacob over Edward. Nevertheless, I just want to point out that Hands still needs massive improvements for her next books because apparently this one didn't make me, at all.

Buddy-Read with Kwesi.