Liebster Award: I’ve been nominated!

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I was checking through my emails and notifications about 2 days ago when I came across a comment from the lovely writer behind the blog The Blogger on the Mount that I have been nominated for this award. I’m not gonna lie, I had absolutely no idea what the Liebster Award meant or was. So I had to consult my wise friend Google to try and understand and as usual he was of some help.

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The Liebster Award is “given” by a blogger to a fellow blogger who he/she thinks deserves to be recognized more by the reading public. According to the explanations in my search, it used to be given to those who had less than 3,000 followers but now the number has been changed to less than 200 followers. A blogger may choose to accept or ignore the nomination, but if accepted, the rules of the award will be followed. I will be including the rules at the end of this post. The rules however, include that the blogger must answer 11 questions given by the one who nominated you so why don’t I answer them first and get to know me better!

How and where do you write?

Okay, if it’s like a place where I usually write for my blog I’d say my desk. My mom and I divided my room into two so that the inner half would be my ‘private’ space which is just technically where I sleep and the outer half would be my sort of an office where I have my desk and all my office stuff. Sometimes, though it’s a bit rare, I’d transfer to my sleeping area where I have a folding table and write there (which is what I am doing right now). In terms of like where I actually place the ink from my pen, well, it could be anywhere. Literally, I write anywhere I can (I don’t vandal), tissue paper, pamphlets, small notebooks, blank sheets of copy paper, labels, you name it. Then I keep them as much as possible.

I usually hand-write everything first before typing them. I’m old school like that and it’s what works best for me. Right now I have 2 notebooks and a notepad beside me. Just gotta have them. And believe me they all get used. I like collecting my thoughts first, and writing them down helps me. It also helps me edit and check.

What is your favorite color and why?

Ah, I’d have to say green and beige. I just think they are so pleasant to look at and are very much rooted to nature. I live near the mountains so..

Do you have a favorite qoute? If so, what is it?

The first thing that came to my mind is something I read from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank because after all, being thankful is all we can be.

I thank God for all that is good, and dear, and beautiful!

-Anne Frank

What’s the most inspiring book you have ever read?

I’m gonna have to cheat a bit and give two just because both of these stories gave me life lessons I will take to my grave. If you haven’t read them (WHY?) go and do so. They will change your life.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

What music do you listen to if you need cheering?

I don’t give bias to a particular music genre and so I listen to a couple of different songs to boost my mood if need be. I just made a playlist on Spotify called ‘Boosters’ and if you want to check the songs out the do it here. I’d listen to it every morning (like now), kind of like a pick-me-up to start my day right!

What time of the year is your favorite and why?

Oh, Christmas season! I just looooooove this time of the year. Just feels like everybody is festive and happy and cheery. Plus all the food my family and I make is just the best.

Name the best place you have visited.

Outside of my country I’d have to say Macau. I just love the architecture in that area. The Portuguese influence and the modern Macau just blends beautifully. I hope to travel more soon so this may change. Here in the Philippines I’d have to say Intramuros (Walled City) in Manila especially the San Agustin Church. Gosh I just fell in love with that church. Love.

Has a particular experience shaped the way you think?

Just happened to me this week so yeah…All I can say is that sometimes we have to learn things the hard way so that they stick and you never forget.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Well for starters I read (obviously) hence my blog. I write, hence my blog again. I listen to music and I chat with either my mom or my grandma, two of the most brilliant women I have ever known.

In what way is this Christmas going to be special for you?

This is the year that I actually focused and gave proper time to writing and blogging which was how I have met some amazing people. I still have a long way to go, but I am sooo happy where everything in my bookish world is coming to place. Also, I have gained friends who I know I will have forever so it will be super meaningful to spend the holidays being loved.

My blog is about faith and learning more about God. What does faith mean to you?

I had to think really hard on this and I  don’t know if I can describe it. But, it is something I hold dearly. My faith has kept me strong, through unbelievable times, up until now. It has kept me together. I think faith is believing without actually seeing. Faith is not physical, but it is all the more valid and strong.

11 Random Facts

I became a registered nurse at 19 y/o

I am obsessed with notebooks and pens and paper and stationery stuff

I looooove Hello Kitty. Like really.

I haven’t read Harry Potter *sobs* *sobs some more*

I am a coffee addict who loves her coffee black (and strong)

I am a huge fan of Anne Rice and the Vampire Chronicles. She is the Queen.

I am a fast reader

I can cook pretty well

I love baking

I’m terrified of frogs

Can’t swim or ride a bicycle. Just can’t and totally gave up.

My nominees are:

  1. She Latitude
  2. katereadslit
  3. A Novel Haul
  4. Books With Chemistry
  5. Bookish Night

And here are my questions:

  1. Where do you usually write?
  2. What is your favorite dessert?
  3. If you only choose one book as your favorite, what would it be?
  4. What’s the most inspiring book you have ever read?
  5. Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?
  6. What do you look forward most about the Christmas season?
  7. Name the best place you have visited.
  8. Who is your favorite author?
  9. What time of the day do you usually read?
  10. What are your favorite and least favorite genres to read and why?
  11. My blog is about books, reading, and writing. How has reading shaped who you are as a person today?
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Credits to The Galaxial Word for this photo.

*** I would like to thank The Blogger on the Mount again for nominating me. She has been super wonderful and extremely supportive of my blog and my writing. Her posts have been sources of inspiration for me.***

Also, thank you for stopping by and reading my wee little book and life blog. You have no idea how much you make me happy and feel loved by just lending me you time. When I started out, I thought even just one person will be a huge thing to be thankful for. Now I have more than that and I enjoy writing more than ever. Thank you!

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BOOK REVIEW: Relentless by Karen Lynch

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Sara Grey’s world shattered ten years ago when her father was brutally murdered. Now at seventeen, she is still haunted by memories of that day and driven by the need to understand why it happened. She lives a life full of secrets and her family and friends have no idea of the supernatural world she is immersed in or of Sara’s own very powerful gift.

In her quest for answers about her father’s death, Sara takes risks that expose her and her friends to danger and puts herself into the sights of a sadistic vampire. On the same fateful night she meets Nikolas, a warrior who turns Sara’s world upside down and is determined to protect her even if it’s the last thing she wants.

Sara’s life starts to spin out of control as she is hunted by an obsessed vampire, learns that her friends have secrets of their own and reels from the truth about her own ancestry. Sara has always been fiercely independent but in order to survive now she must open herself to others, to reveal her deepest secrets. And she must learn to trust the one person capable of breaking down the walls around her.

Oh gosh where do I start with this. Okay, so this book landed onto my Kindle app because Benjaminoftomes from YouTube and Instagram recommended it on one of his videos (watch it here) and I was so intrigued by it so I went to Amazon and downloaded it (the kindle version was free at that time and I think it still is). So, I read it right after I finished reading Minutes Before Sunset (read my review here) and to be honest I did not have really high hopes for this one. But I was so wrong…

This book you guys, is just AMAZING! I must say I was happily surprised. One page in and I. WAS. HOOKED. Excuse my ‘mild’ flailing and shrieking for the most part of this review and I will probably just make up for that with GIFs. I only have one complaint about this book, and it may sound really stupid but as some of you might know by now, I am a sucker for beautiful book covers but damn, look at this one!

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Honestly, the cover does not do it justice at all. I mean aside from the fact that the people on the cover are obviously gorgeous people. But let’s just go past that and marvel over this book shall we?

So I dived into the book thinking it might just be another promotional thing you know (because it was free) and then I read the first few pages and I thought this was what I was looking for! It made me smile thinking about it now, how surprised and happy I was that it delivered so well. You read it and you get this vivid picture on your head about the neighborhood, the situation, the context, the expressions, the creatures for crying out loud! Lynch writes in a way that will make you almost smell the molds in the house where Remy (the troll) helped a creature give birth. I know, TROLL! Remember the Harry Potter scene?

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Nope. It’s not like that. Remy (the troll) is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE if you can believe that.

The story follow Sara who lives with her uncle since her mom left and her dad passed away. Sara knows she is different in that she can heal things, and she is aware that there are other creatures that exist alongside humans in this world. She loves animals, and though reserved and keeps to herself, has an upright character and doesn’t tolerate injustice. Basically she is bad ass. So you know I love her. But, being the good blogger *snort* I shall list the reasons why I love it for yah!

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Oh Nikolas…

Nicolas is just as bad ass as he is kind. He has a good heart inside nerves of steel and beautiful eyes. There is this charm to him, not the kind that most would swoon over. Maybe it is his protective instincts which is more because of Sara and not because she is an orphan Mohiri. Maybe it is that she is Mohiri but not entirely? I just think how the hero in this story is perfectly created, to stand out and to complement the heroine. I love his character, his amazing sword skills, and his relentless character. I’m not even gonna apologize for that pun.

TROLLS!!!

Let’s look past her last name people. Sara has a troll for a friend, trades troll bile, has imps for pets in her house, takes home abandoned animals, and talks to elementals. If that doesn’t make you like her then I don’t know what will. I mean just the troll would do it for me. She had this sense of justice which is kind of stubborn but not misplaced. She can hold up her own. She was awkward but equally loved by her friends.

Christian my love…

Now I know he isn’t the main hero and I have no idea if he will still be in the next book but girl… that man is goals. I would marry him of I could. Just oh!

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*deep breaths*

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*clears throat*

Moving on, admittedly, there is just a sh*t load of information about lots of different creatures in this book, but I DON’T MIND. It was just written beautifully that you wouldn’t get lost in the way. The pacing was just right and all the hints to the succeeding events were really cleverly done. Like, you wouldn’t have guessed it! There was good character development for both Nikolas and Sara, although of course Sara is the focus of this book for now. You could see how she grew as a school girl, as a friend, as a daughter, as a niece, and someone who isn’t human.

And the vampires…

Were not treated as sparkly creatures who would go to earths ends to save humanity. Although being good (even for vampires) is admirable, except the sparkly parts of course. They were portrayed as VAMPIRES. You know the blood sucking, feral, primal creatures, ruled by instinct to feed?  Yes, that.You don’t see that around too often. It’s actually refreshing if you can imagine that.

Anyway, I just can’t wait to read the next two books in the trilogy. I hope I can find it here. If not you know I will find ways to get my chubby hands on those books!

You knew this was coming:

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Have you read this book? Do you like urban fantasy book? Let me know what you think and let’s chat!

BOOK REVIEW: Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon Thompson

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Two destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Minutes Before Sunset is the first book in The Timely Death Trilogy.

This was a book was something that I have absolutely no idea what is was about going into. Did not read blurbs, or reviews.. didn’t even visit good ‘ol Goodreads to get an idea. I was nevertheless excited because come on, the cover looks promising really. I judge books by their covers. Yes. Moving on. I must say I have one suggestion though, I would have much preferred the girl on the cover to have been drawn by an artist. Just my opinion which probably does not really matter. The title intrigued me quite honestly, maybe because it had the ‘Twilight-ish’ feel to it.

So yeah, I was kind of looking forward to know what this book was about and while I think the story has promise, it just didn’t do it for me. I was, unfortunately, underwhelmed. Looking at the Goodreads and Amazon reviews, it seems that I am in the minority in this, but that’s okay, dissenting opinions right?

I didn’t completely dislike it though, it had some good points too.

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I liked Eric

Listen, when a guy just slowly turns to a rustling breeze of black smoke blending into the darkness of the night, you gotta love him. You just do. I do. There was good character development for him. You get a glimpse of who he is as a son and a friend (and a former friend) and a member of the awkward student body. The conflict and internal struggle Eric goes through during the book was described pretty well and he handles it like a boss too. How he had to shuffle responsibilities and being a teenager and a student and a friend and apparently an heir being trained to murder a kid like himself. I honestly liked reading his parts of the book (as it was told on both his and Jessica’s voice). I was looking forward to his side throughout the whole book.

Light = dark, Dark = light

Strange, I know. But this was how I understood the whole story. I might be wrong so please don’t murder me. Anyway, this was a really, really interesting take on things and how readers perceive the darkness and light. Of course in common context light or the color white represents the good or the pure or angels, etc and the dark or black represents evil or death or bad omens. This was the rebellion to that and I thought it was a marvelous idea in how the author both played with it literally and figuratively in the book. She used the mystery that the darkness carries to mean that it is unsure, but not necessarily evil. I mean, they still kill other creatures so..

Underground fortress, turning to smoke, Shade names, etc.

The world created was unique and wasn’t something I have read before. It was kind of like angels and demons fighting but not exactly like that. Like a toned-down version, minus the intense and gory fight scenes.

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A lot.

It lacked the ‘umph’

What is the ‘umph’? Trust me you don’t want me explaining it because you might stay for a very long time reading this, but I know you wonderful book people get it. Two pages in and I just felt it lacked luster. For some reason I was yearning for richer language, and more vivid descriptions which would have been a huge help to build the reality of the fictional world and situations being described. I think it lacked playfulness it terms of using words and it felt like I was pulling to get more intense emotions out of it. It just didn’t get a good grip on me. There were parts that just felt like I had to drag myself to read them over.

I didn’t care about Jessica, AT ALL.

I almost got through the book not reading any of her parts. Personally, I think the book could have been told solely on Eric’s perspective and it would have been fine. She bored me. And I almost instantly knew that she was the girl on the lake (spoiler). I just did. She did not have one striking attribute to her, besides the fact that she is a Shade and is the 3rd descendant which was assigned to her by the author essentially.

That prophecy though *slaps forehead*

Forgive me, but what in the world? Did that just? Really? No. Noooo. Why? WHY? When I saw what the “real” prophecy was, I just had to chuckle. IT was just so unexpected for me. A hero’s ladylove is his weakness, yeah sure, but how? Nothing actually weakens within him, nothing happens? No explanation on how it happens. Getting traced because of her? Her being used against you? That’s not weakness, that’s DANGER. I get the whole love thing, I just thought it could have been played out much better, way better than how it was done. To be quite fair I think Shoman (or Eric, I like his Shade name better) and Jessica are a perfect fit and I would root for them if I would read the next books (which probably wouldn’t happen).

I finished reading it because I just wanted to give it a fair share to be honest but not because it was a page turner for me. It just was not for me.

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Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Are you attracted to guys who have a dark side?

To Cornelius, With Hope

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Cornelius,

I write to you while I am on a trip to try and find myself amidst everything I think myself to be. I know, don’t panic, I’m fine. There have been many things these past few months which have given me the chance to reflect and see what mess I have made, both in my mind and in my life. Control is one thing I pride myself in, but now, I’m afraid it has betrayed me. I am all over the place, and it has left my heart and my spirit in shambles. I find myself wanting to cry more these days, do you know? I don’t cry. I just don’t. It’s not that I can’t. Believe me I could have cried the whole day for something I don’t even know if I could. It is that I won’t. I refuse to. More and more, I find myself wanting to escape, find solace elsewhere. As days pass, I’m afraid I want to be more and more alone.

I talk to myself. I do that often. Even as a young girl I would give myself pep talks to muster up courage to do stuff. I tried. I really did. Much more than I realize, it has been a constant conversation with myself about just bouncing back into the world. Again with this, I am starting to realize, I might just be failing. Do I sound pathetic? Maybe. Helpless? I don’t think so. Ah, how I wish I had a book with me right now. Maybe I’ll buy later after this. Don’t you just love books Cornelius? They take you places, teach you things, introduce you to new people, make you feel sad or thrilled or …happy. When was the last time you have been truly happy Cornelius? When I am with my family or when I do the things I say I love, I am happy, but I am not. Am I going crazy? Merely ambivalent? To say I am confused is an utter misconception of what I am going through right now.

I am nowhere.

Where do I start dear friend? Where does someone like me begin when I have absolutely no Idea of what I am about to embark on. What am I to do? Eat pints of strawberry ice cream? Although that might be a rather pressing and satisfying thing to do, I don’t think it will suffice this time. I think of the word joy, and words to define it seem to escape me altogether. How did I define joy then Cornelius? Why can’t I do it now? Is something wrong with me? Has the world finally caught up with me? Have I really evaded reality before that it seemed to rush all over me now? Have I been dreaming all this time of who and what I am? Do I indulge myself too much? Does reality ever really bring satisfaction and wisdom? Am I drifting away? Am I?

I am sorry to burden you old friend, but it seems like of all those who had come and go, you are the one who would judge me fairly. We all judge, right Cornelius? People say we shouldn’t. Well isn’t that judging in itself? We always judge, otherwise how do we go on with living with other humans who judge as well. It’s hypocrisy to say we don’t. But then it’s what we do about it that becomes morally right or wrong or better yet humanely right or wrong. Do I burden you? Or confuse you in some way? Maybe I do, but like I said, I know you will judge me fairly and with love.

Maybe love did this. But then, what is love? Can it heal me, if this is an illness at all? Peculiar, my thoughts flow like a constant stream right now. This is the best it has functioned in weeks. Maybe I’m going back. I stare at my window and it’s pitch black. Utter darkness… absolute and resolute. A blank canvass for my thoughts, maybe I can fancy a story?

Noisy.

My head is noisy but blank at the same time. I used to have such an organized pattern of thought. What happened you ask? You asked the wrong person. It’s all so vague, so constant yet so fickle. Such contradictions make my head hurt, and yet my heart wants to be found Cornelius. I honestly, sincerely want to be found.

I am sorry for such random outpour of nonsense. It’s just that I haven’t felt as eloquent in a very long time. Anyway, if you find all this rubbish, then just scrap it, I won’t mind, and I would not know either way, would I? Maybe I will write to you again, this felt good, for once. Thank you…

– P –

Eight Letters to a Young Writer by Teju Cole

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Eight Letters to a Young Writer is a fictional exercise of letters addressed to a fictional young Nigerian writer. The letters contained advice or as the author said ‘suggestions’ as to how the young writer should go on pursuing his passion for writing stories.

I came about this (magnificent) piece of work because of an article by The Daily Post. It intrigued me because 1. it said recommended reading and 2. it said letters. Not many of you may know but I enjoy reading and making letters. In fact I recently posted a fictional letter here in my blog entitled A Letter from Casandra. I love writing letters and little notes. I make them for people, leave them at restaurants or coffee places or book shops, just everywhere! With all these crazy technology of how people communicate, I still find that a heartfelt letter or a sweet note still does the job like no other.

I write a lot, about a lot of things. I write more than I talk to be honest. It has been like that for me all my 24 glorious years.

When I saw that this letter was addressed to a young writer, I knew I had to read it. It was not because I plan on becoming a novelist. No. It was simply because I write.

Looking at my notebook right now, the first thing I wrote was WOW. Just wow. I couldn’t describe it with any other word except BEAUTIFUL. The eloquence and the sincerity and just how fluid the writing spoke to me. You know it came from a place of truth despite being addressed to a fictional writer. The passion in writing is palpable. I planned to review and give my thoughts on each of the eight letters, but thinking through it, I figured it would be useless. The letters were created to complement each other, and commence from where the previous one ended.

Read more than you write… Your originality will mean nothing unless you can understand the originality of others.

During the course of reading the letters, I found myself nodding, and feeling enlightened with so many things, just like how my love for Garcia Marquez as an author is grounded on reflecting reality as it is, poignant and raw. It is a good read for authors and reviewers (readers) alike. For one, it gave me better insight on how authors think, and the risks they take in telling their stories. In a way, it has helped me categorize authors, not by the genre for which they write, but by their voice they choose to be heard and writing style. Reading on, I came to the conclusion that authors don’t really choose a very narrow and specific audience when writing, but a certain set of reactions like Cole said. Reactions which are not so vague, yet not so eccentric to the point of being unrelatable at all. This has definitely given me new insight on how I read books, and how I try to interpret them to my point of view.

It is a concept that can be expanded infinitely, for what we call originality is little more than the fine blending of influences. No one is going to lay claim to having discovered the use of colour to show elation, or expressing sorrow by means of pacing, or the peculiar thrill of unfolding a thematic element and varying it.

The letters spoke to me more towards the end when he talked about writing, and writing, and writing some more. He spoke of how authors should write every single day, just like how musicians live to play. Keeping a journal and daring to bore readers. Those words stuck to me the most together with reading more than you write. I could have just highlighted the whole thing to be quite honest. It felt like every piece of word placed beside each other has been thought of meticulously. Plus he had this slight bias over ‘heavy reads’ so I felt like he was my BFF. Reaching the final letter, I got the sense that though it was addressed toward another, the author was reflecting on himself, and the words were directed more to himself than any other. How he talked about fearlessness, and refusing to bend to the weight of the more famous, common plots.

The answer is simple: keep a journal. It amazes me how often people call themselves writers and yet fail to write. Runners run everyday, and they know that not every run is a race. Musicians play music perpetually, but not every time they pick up the guitar is a concert.

It’s weird, but I felt a comforting, warm feeling reading the letters. I didn’t read them all at once, but when I did read a letter or two, it felt like a treat. I will keep this for the rest of my life that is for sure, and probably re-read it many times. I suggest that everyone read it, authors and readers. It is a gem. This isn’t a book, but just to show how much I want everyone to read it.

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Plus all my love…

Do yourself a favor. READ. IT. You’re welcome.

Here is the link to the PDF form.

A Letter From Casandra

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It’s 4 am. Ugh. Way too early again.

Normal people would have thrown the blankets on and slept peacefully again, it’s Saturday after all. But, the weird being that I am, I got out of bed, and made myself some delicious brewed coffee and toast on my small but functional kitchen.
I sat down on a couch near the window of my apartment and began munching on my breakfast. I thought of everything that happened yesterday, and to an extent, thought of things about my life right now. If you ask anyone who knew me, they would say I am doing good, great actually. Working, living on my own, earning, giving back, living the life of an accomplished young adult in my chosen career, essentially happy- this is how I can be described at twenty five. I am no billionaire, nor am I a superstar, but I was content. People would ask me, what I can say about my life, about how I reached this state. What would I say to my 24 year old self? Shall I write a letter to her?

Love C, love…

You were always scared, always cautious. You guarded your heart from breaking, and I understand that, but make space for love. Love is a wonderful thing, and you cannot deny that it made you happy once. It was unfortunate yes, but you came out stronger and wiser. Wasn’t it you who said that in everything, take what is happy and leave what is crap? Love isn’t crap C, sometimes it’s us, and sometimes it’s the circumstances surrounding us. You never know when love comes and passes by. Life is never too long, never too fair, never too perfect. Grab your chances, and fight for what is yours.

Family, indeed, is everything

Your pride yourself with this. You love them above and beyond everything and everyone else, don’t you? Can you count how many times you were so thankful you were born in that family? Girl, they love you just as much. I just wish you would hug them more, tell them how much you love them more often. I know, I know, it’s too mushy, but aren’t you all mushy inside too? Sometimes people tend to forget this, but the family is where everything begins and ends. And a family is not just comprised of parents and children. Those who genuinely love you, are family too. So tell them all right? Remember, life is never too long, never too fair, never too perfect.

Live

You’ve been a busy girl C. And yeah, that is good. But tell me, when was the last time you bought flowers just for the heck of it? Or the last time you went to the park to just walk around while enjoying ice cream on a cone? It’s the simple things C, that make life wonderful. Enjoy it, you deserve it. Life is never too giving. You work hard, and life gives you what you need, but for life to give you more, live it C. Don’t just exist, live. A long life does not mean it is more meaningful than a shorter one. Live life, don’t waste your time counting. Life is beautiful, but never too long, never too fair, never too  perfect.

Is it good? Do you think it will make me cry? Too mushy? I look around, gave a deep sigh, and  then smiled.Yup, I’m gonna miss this place.

Do I regret not having that one great love?

NO.

Will I miss my family? YES, but then I may be able to see them anyway. I’m going somewhere far, somewhere even I don’t know. All I know is that wherever it is, I will have all the answers. Happiness. Love. Life. Time. Space. What are they? Do they actually mean anything? I know. Will I tell you? No. It’s part of existing and living.

I should be going now. This house, it’s empty. Did I hold you up? Well go on now! Don’t mind me and my rants, did you understand a thing I said? If yes, well, congratulations. If not, well, no worries, if I were you I wouldn’t either. You’re still reading? Go! You have time in your hands. Oh, and before I forget, if you buy flowers, can you pick even just a piece of peony? I liked them a lot… Thanks…

P.S. Life is never too long, never too fair, never too perfect.

Casandra

***This is a fictional work I made about a year ago. I don’t know what to call this really. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think.***

To Paris With Love

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            I am supposed to finish reading Eight Letters to a Young Writer by Teju Cole this afternoon but I just can’t seem to concentrate on it. I was watching the news 2 days ago and was absolutely heartbroken by what I saw. It has been on my mind constantly and now as I type I feel like I’m about to cry. Just a few weeks ago I was crying watching the news and reading articles about the Syrian refugees just dying from escaping their own country. Being chased out of their homes from fear of death, I felt really sorry for them. I was both sad and angry when I saw the children freezing, starving, walking for miles, dying because of people who claim to do stupid things for a higher purpose. I mean come on, murdering? Higher purpose? Haven’t we learned anything from our past mistakes as humans and believers of varying faiths? Haven’t we killed enough good lives to say we are done? Has history not taught us anything? These kids are forced to grow up and protect themselves beyond their physical and mental capacities. They should be playing, not running for their lives for crying out loud. At that time I thought “Wow, what have we come to?”

          Then came the attack on you and for a while I. AM. SPEECHLESS. Just why? WHY? What on earth could they have been thinking? I believe that nothing, NOTHING, gives anybody the right to do such barbaric and senseless act. Nothing, in the same way, can justify what they did to you. I can’t understand. It’s that time for me when I suddenly check my morals and beliefs. Tell me, have I been living and believing in a perfect world? Let’s see, I live in a country miles away from where you are where the people are mostly poor, crime is everywhere, and politics is crap just like the rest of the world. So no, I am not disillusioned by a perfect world. In my line of work I’ve seen births and deaths, both peaceful and traumatic. I’ve seen harsh realities with my eyes open, but I can’t say I am unfazed. But this is just… I could only imagine what the survivors feel, or their families, or the families of the victims. The questions, the anger, the sorrow they feel may just be inconsolable. All for what?

       I guess I understand a bit, of how people defend their faith with their lives. But being a person who would rather respect differences than argue, I disagree (with every inch of my being) with what is happening to you and to the rest of the world right now. It’s astounding as to how proud these people are claiming what they have done.

        I don’t believe in that one true higher religion. No. I’m sorry if some do and don’t like what they see here. I am as you might know, was raised, and happy to be a member of the Roman Catholic church. It’s not perfect, but I am happy to believe in it. Having said that, I believe that every other belief/religion/faith on this planet believes in equality of every human being, in mutual respect, and upholding the sanctity of human life none of which I have seen in these terror attacks.

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             It’s a sad reality, that we can do this to our own. It’s a disgusting reality to be honest. BUT, the way people everywhere responded was amazing. I think I’ve said it before, but I believe love is enough to restore everything we hold dear as people. It’s sad that we are the ones who caused them to disappear. I saw how you gave the world a show of strength, and courage, and love, despite these tragic attacks. We said “Pray for Paris” or “Pray for the World” without the stereotype of how or where or who, just pray. See? We can do it right? Ridding ourselves of the stereotype? But do we have to wait for terrifying things like this to happen?

           I believe in love and peace and the kindness of human hearts. Just like how countries and their people welcomed the Syrian refugees in their homes, I know we could all hold you and the rest of the world in our hearts and lend you our strengths. Love and Compassion. Yes? After all, we are all neighbors aren’t we?

        Despite every bit of terror, I think we must be thankful, for the lives spared and for the love that has overflowed. People will never forget what has happened, and neither should we. But we must be thankful, of our lives, each other, and how we all stand together.

*My prayers (and apparently tears) go out to the people of Paris. Oh Paris, I shall visit you one day and weep for those you lost, and marvel at your beauty and strength.

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I Haven’t Read Harry Potter *sobs*

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I can feel you judging me right there. Like really. It looked to me like you were almost about to swear. And no, you are not hallucinating. But, I understand your possibly extreme shock and confused sentiments considering I have this blog that talks about books and reading a lot. Thinking about it now, it’s really bizarre that I haven’t read them right? Well, of course except the fact that I read the first one before the film was released, I still find it weird considering how much I LOVED Harry Potter and Hogwarts and Ron Weasley.

These past few months, I have been re-watching the HP movies and I just re-read the book about three weeks ago. My mom and I were talking about how my sister wants the boxed full hardbound set of the Harry Potter series, you know the one that looks like a chest or luggage or whatever, for her graduation present. My sister has read all the books, and she is ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED. I mean, she cried watching the last movie.

Now, I have watched all of the movies in theaters when they came out and I LOOOOVE them to death. And I am sure that the other books are great too judging from how the first book astounded me. So, I tried to get to bottom of this issue and well…

I have read Philosopher’s Stone and I loved it. LOVED.IT.  Then I watched the movie and BAM! Lost it. The only thing I could think about it when will the next movie be and will school be out by that time and what will we be doin’ after the movie and will my dad be off-duty by then. Basically what I am trying to say is that the movies overwhelmed (in the best way possible) so much that I didn’t think I need the books.

Like what I’ve said, every year, it has become a family tradition for us to watch the latest Harry Potter movie when I was growing up. So, HP movies meant more than just the wands and owls to me. It meant bonding with the fam and spending lots of time with my parents who both work, especially for my dad who works away from us. With that being said, I think that the anticipation for the next movie and bonding moments overpowered the bookworm in me (didn’t think that was even possible). Plus the fact that my sister and I watch the movies over and over and OVER again that my parents think we are maniacs reciting EVERY.SINGLE.LINE in the movie. Although of course I realize that parts from the books were cut so now I am panicking and feeling left out and wanting to be in on the secret.

Brace yourselves for this is… they are hefty books. Shocked? No? I know that this is such a stupid reason but I remember wanting to grab the book from the bookstore and seeing how humongous the thing is! Not gonna lie, it intimidated me. But I guess, it was because I was still in school back then. I was a very diligent student to be honest and I liked to maintain my grades high and I figured I could not for the life of me devour this book and not sacrifice a few (or a lot) good hours of studying. I was that hardcore before, so I stuck to the movies which wasn’t a bad alternative at all, just sayin’.

Needless to say, I am going to read the rest of the HP books. Why this late? Well why not? I truly believe Harry Potter books are here to stay for a very, very long time. I think kids from my time on forward should be introduced to them, and experience the magic Harry and the gang wields with their wands.

And now please excuse me as I watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the 23,896th time.

Do you watch movies over and over again? Which movies have you re-watched the most?

Why I Don’t Read Romance

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This is bad. Sadly, I am developing the habit of writing in very unholy hours like 2:13 AM. And in case you are wondering, yes, that is the current time here where I live. It’s a problem I know.

I believe I said in my last post that I finally picked up The Covenant by Beverly Lewis and I also said that I hope to finish it this week. Well, this was what happened. I finished it in LESS THAN A DAY. I’ve already decided not to make a review about it just because I feel like everybody has made one and the reviews on Goodreads about the whole series are very detailed as well. Now that I have rambled about things unrelated to the title of this post, LET’S MOVE ON…

I think I have more than hinted about my let’s say, unpleasant relationship with romance novels. In fact the ONLY romance novel I have really ever liked, and by 372154saying that I mean love and hold dear is Love Story by Erich Segal. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy with me here but I totally plan on buying one for myself just because I would re-read the living lights out of that book. Critiques on this book have been extremely bipolar and honestly it’s the kind of book you either hate or love.

No grey areas I’m afraid. Well, I love it and to those people saying it’s…

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Anyway, since I read this what, maybe 10 years ago? Maybe more, I have never, ever found one that came close to how I adored it. Yup, not even Fault in Our Stars. Shocking, I know. I have tried, several times, to try and read romance novels. The ones which really tackle love as its main theme and I have been disappointed or just felt ‘meh’ EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. So, I have tried to narrow it down on a few points. Disclaimer: Love Story is an exception to rule. Okay.

They will NEVER happen in real life.

Every time I get past the introductory chapters I’m just like “Girl that doesn’t even happen on planet Earth!” It gets so frustrating. I guess I like the realistic take on things like love on books. It just tugs at heartstrings much more effectively and sincerely. Why can’t they just capture street-love rather than TV-love.. you know what I’m sayin’?

They are too freakin’ dramatic!

Everything feels like an emergency. Like chill people, he bought flowers, so? Did he kiss and makeout? Did I miss that part? No? Then stop glaring, shut up and be a lady! Don’t even start being overly melodramatic on me. I’m not even kidding.

Why do they ALWAYS play dumb?

People are probably hating on me right now, but hey, to each is his own right? You know when you read something which is as clear as daylight a sign that the characters are so into each other and one suddenly decides to be oblivious and not know anything? Yep, that moment when you say ‘What the f—” Yes, those ones.

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This is apparently a trend and a measure of how good a book is. I DISAGREE. I didn’t shed one bit of tear for FIOS but I thought it was a good book, although I would have to say it wasn’t a romance novel in essence. It’s more like a novel about life. A good tearjerker I feel comes naturally. And some authors do that beautifully. Sometimes it becomes evident that they try too hard. Sad is okay.. let’s not make everything about tears and sobs.

I’ve seen that before haven’t I?

Sometimes they can get cliche. Like same story and plot and you guess what was going to be the ending by the first 50-75 pages. Don’t they think people are jaded with girls or boys falling in love and one dies or one is poor or one is sick or one is sinfully hot and gets the girl because he is not who he seems he is.

Please don’t get me wrong, I really like a good love story when it is skillfully crafted within a book whose focus is not romance. I root for couples in books. I just feel like character development is so important in writing good love angles and focusing too much on “the love story” takes away the simple element of personality for each character to be effective love interests.

Do you like romance novels? Which books can you recommend? I will try some time to dabble in romance reading but for now I think I’m good. 🙂

That Dark Realm of the UNREAD + Ben Elton and The Covenant

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My mom recently cleaned out an area in our house where piles of books are taller than I am. Well, let’s face it a lot of things are taller than me but you get my point. After what I thought was an explosion of paper and books of all sorts, I am now facing the glaring fact that I NEED A PROPER BOOKSHELF. I mean if only my books could talk. Anyway, as I was scanning through the inventory (ooh, fancy) I thought

  1. Wow, I have a lot.. From all sorts of genres…
  2. I should probably refrain from buying until I have a proper shelf for them to live in and be safe and warm
  3. Psshhhh WHO CARES… Christmas is coming and we should be merry right? Well MERRY = BOOKS.
  4. That’s funny, I haven’t actually read some of these.

Yup. I never thought I’d say it. But I bought books only to condemn them into the dark realm of the UNREAD. I’m sorry okay? But I’m sure I’m not alone in this, you know, buying books only to shove them at the back of the pile never to be seen again for like 5 centuries. And now, they are back to haunt me. TO be honest, I feel bad when that happens. I feel like I wasted something. And in a sense that might be true.

I can’t even remember picking these up. BUT, I have this kind of rule where I will try my best to read and finish a book. I think the only book I have really given up on and tossed in the  DNF land was Tess of the D’Urbervilles which is creepily in the table beside me right now.

I picked up The Covenant by Beverly Lewis from the lot and I made it a mission to start reading it tonight and finish it this week. I don’t have the slightest idea what it is about which is probably a stupid thing since from what I have heard this is a pretty famous book. All I know is that it was published in 2002, not a fantasy novel, and is a part of a series of books by the author.

Also, on a slightly related note (what?), my sister is a big fan of Ben Elton and she has a lot of his books some of which she has left here since she can only have so much in her dorm room. I skimmed through one of them with her and I have been delighted with what I have read so far. Are any of you fans of Elton as well? Which if his books will you recommend for me to read first?