Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review - Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee

Rating: 7/10

Shadow baby is the story of Clara winter (she prefers the lowercase), an eleven year old girl who is struggling to learn more about her dead twin sister, father, and grandfather. However, her mother Tamar would not reveal any information. She also meets an immigrant, Georg Komminsky, who is equally silent about his past. Because of this, Clara  makes up her and the old man's histories. It's a novel about an unlikely friendship and finding possibility.

I can say that it's a really good novel and that the tone is equal all throughout. The only thing I didn't like about it is that I find it boring at times. I learned much from it, though, and it's really a touching story. The ending was also very well done and the last sentence, "But I was a child then." sums up the whole of the novel. It's real nice. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

American Idol

I started watching this show when it was aired on QTV 11. That was 2008 and it was Season Seven, the year when rocker David Cook won. I have nothing against those results. It was pretty much obvious that Cook would win the title ultimately because of his swagger and the awe-inducing performances.

* But in Season Eight? Those are very questionable results. I mean, seriously? Adam Lambert did not win? Like, Kris Allen won over him? That is so messed up. Adam was clearly the better performer, the better singer. Isn't that what the show was all about? Putting morality issues aside, Adam was great. Kris Allen was light-years away from his awesomeness. I don't know what made the people vote for Kris Allen but there were rumors that the results for the finale were rigged. I sure agree. Up until now, I still like Adam Lambert better than Kris Allen. Yes, probably some of his songs are not very "ear candy" but just take a look at his Mad World performance. That has to count for something, eh? And the huge fanbase he has? Gawd. That just proves that he is so much more interesting.

In Season Nine, I really dearly thought Crystal Bowersox was going to get the title. But, no. They gave it to Lee de Wyze who gave an unsatisfactory performance a day before the finale. They were also saying that this season was the "girls season" so what of the results? Argh. Couldn't the voters see it? Crystal sang better.

Okay. Maybe that was just me and my bets. But, whatever. Simon Cowell is leaving Idol. Sad sad sad. He was the meanest judge but I know that everyone is going to sorely miss him.

So what's going to happen to the show now? Is it going to soar? Or is it going to continually flunk the ratings fight?

Can't tell. >_>

[* So why am I posting this just now? Because I want to. :D)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Of jellyfishes and non-alcoholic drinks

We went to Morong, Bataan yesterday and stayed there overnight. The trip from Pampanga to Bataan took about an hour and a half. We drove through SCTEX and Subic, then finally to Morong. The place we stayed in was one of the villas in Sunset Shores. It's quite big (six or so families were inside...) with two storeys, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining area, and a sala. Upon arriving, we unloaded the luggage and, as soon as I could, I went to the beach. Guess what? The shore was strewn with dead jellyfish! There was even this guy in the water who threw them into the shore because they might hurt swimmers. At first, they were fun to look at because, well... They look like UFO's and they're squishy. But after some time the fascination began to wane and they soon became annoying because of they're always around. Hehe...

Sometime in the morning, we saw a guy swimming far away. We were quite amazed, really. It looked really deep in there. When it was evening, though, we saw that there was a strip of land far away from the shore during low tide. O.O

I swam at around 3 PM. At the pool, mind you. The sea was a tad bit too scary because of (1) jellyfish, (2) strong waves, and (3) the salty water. Okay, so the jellyfish aren't the poisonous kind but it's still freaky when they cling to your legs, eh?

Before sunset, my sister, Jenus, Kim, Gerald, PenPen, and I tried to catch these little crabbies. We caught a lot of them and put them in a plastic cup. But it was tough work. We had to be real quick because the crabs were quicker. If we let them out of our sight, chances are they'll be burying themselves into the sand. Anyway, Gerald, Kim, and PenPen found a sea cucumber washed up on shore. It looked real ugly. :P But we took pictures of it. Meh.

In the evening, after dinner, the adults took out two bottles of sparkling, non-alcoholic drink. It had two flavors: apple and berry grape. It tasted fine and we had fun taking pictures of ourselves pretending to be drunk. :D

The next day, I woke up quite early because of a pain in my right leg. (I always get it when I lack calcium.) It wasn't as awful as before but it still hurts. I tried walking but my right leg wouldn't work so I had to amble on with my left leg as the only one that worked. My right leg was soon cured (by itself) and we headed to the beach to see it at low tide. The strip of land was still there and we might have gone there if we hadn't been in our PJ's. There were fewer jellyfishes along the shore. We walked to the far west of the shore and found a lot of nice shells. We also saw a "real" crab in the water but it walked away when we came nearer. We also saw the first jumping fishies and we fairly shouted when we saw it. :D

Another highlight of our last day in Morong was the boat ride. We went to the Pawikan conservation area. There were only four of them and they came in different sizes (ha!). Next, we were taken to a snorkeling area. (I took a few pictures of the corals underwater!) It was really dizzying on the boat so I went into the water. It was sort of scary at first because it had a depth of approximately 7 feet (what the boatmen said). Another thing that added to the scary factor is the view you see when you look down with goggles on. It was REALLY scary with all that stuff down there but when you get used to it, it's okay. We even let go of the bamboo on the boat and floated (with the help of life vests, of course). It was pretty nice and it's my first time to swim in deep waters. I didn't have any encounters with swimming jellyfishes which is just as well. :)

All in all, we had fun with the whole of tropang Clark. With thanks to Tita Esther and Pastor Art, it was really really fun. :)

[It felt good to be near the sea, mates.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Of dust and allergic reactions

So this morning after we had our clearances signed by Ate Lita, she reminded us (me and Hannah) to remove the green covers of the foams on our beds because they're going to bring them to the laundry. Like a good dormer girl, I removed mine as soon as I got to the room [having nothing better to do]. If you must know, I am highly allergic to dust and therefore cleaning so, sure enough, I was soon sneezing like crazy. Seeing that my roommate did not remove hers, I had this great idea to remove it for her (since she was already gone). Turns it out it wasn't as great as I thought it would be. The inside of the green cover was covered entirely in dust and I was like horrified when I saw that. But I shrugged my shoulders and went on removing it [while sneezing...].

After the two covers were removed, I felt really hot and I was sort of having trouble breathing. I was also sweating profusely even though the electric fan was turned on. My face also began to itch. I thought it was because of so much dust so I applied moisturizer. I kept my bangs away from my face, having heard that it might cause irritation. The moisturizer wasn't working so I grabbed my facial cleanser and made a dash for the bathroom.

When I looked at the mirror, viola! The area below my eyes was swollen with mosquito bite-like marks and my eyes were red. I was instantly in PANIC mode but I told myself to wash my face first. I hurriedly did this and went back to my room. I was like, "OMG, OMG, what am I going to do?" [in my mind]. I was feeling hotter and breathing was becoming more difficult. It's a good thing that I remembered Regina [bebz] and her allergy adventures in high school. She was taking this medicine so I thought maybe I should try it too, hoping that the swelling would die down. I looked at the clock [in my laptop] and saw that it was 8:55 AM, almost only an hour left until class starts! I walked quickly out of the dorm [trying to remember the name of the medicine] -> into the Shopping Center [light bulb moment: ANTI-HISTAMINE!!] -> into the Pharmacy [some trouble about the medicine's name] -> back into my room again. I bought two tablets and drank one with water. I waited to see what would happen.

Sure enough, the swelling died down in a matter of minutes and by 9:30 AM my eyes were back to normal and most of the area beneath my eyes was "normal-looking." There some parts that were still swollen but it's not that visible so I was still able to [walk] to class, even though my nose was really stuffy from all the sneezing and my head was reeling.

But what's important is that I was able to think quickly about the anti-histamine tablets. If I didn't, maybe I would have lost consciousness or worse. I'm okay now. Boy, that was an experience. Thank God!!

(My sis said I should have taken pics but I didn't because I was thinking, "Ugh. I don't want to. I look ugly! NO!")

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fanfiction update - FINALLY

So, yes. Because of the reviews I decided to post the second and (hopefully satisfying) last chapter to Heartless. ENJOY!!!

Warning: Lots of emo stuff in there...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movie Review - New York, I love you

Rating: 9/10

New York, I love you is a movie of eleven interweaved short films whose main topic is about finding love in New York city. It was preceded by Paris, Je t'aime.

What I liked most about this movie is the stellar cast. There's Shia LaBeouf, Natalie Portman, Andy Garcia, Robin Wright Penn, Maggie Q, Orlando Bloom, and more actors and actresses. It's also interesting because one of the shorts is directed by the pretty Natalie Portman. Yay! She's so awesome.

Anyway, there were five shorts I liked: the first (Andy Garcia, Hayden Christensen, and Rachel Bilson), the third (Orlando Bloom [-swoonfaintswoon-] and Christina Ricci), eighth (Taylor Geare and Carlos Acosta), ninth (Ugur Yucel and Shu Qi), and the tenth (Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman). They're just so pretty (the eighth one was directed by Natalie Portman). :D

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Movie Review - Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Rating: 9/10

This movie, starring Logan Lerman, is the film adaptation of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It tells the story of Percy Jackson, the son of a god (Poseidon) and a mortal (Sally Jackson). Percy is accused of stealing Zeus' lightning bolt, the most powerful weapon ever created. He must return it in fourteen days, before the summer solstice, or war will break out. Thus, Percy, with the aid of Annabeth (Athena's daughter) and Grover (a satyr), must find the bolt and return it to Zeus.

(Crappy summary, I know. :P)

I liked the movie very much because of the mythic elements. (I wanted to see Nike in the movie but she wasn't there...) The special effects are also lovely and Logan Lerman is... HOT!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Review - Witch Child by Celia Rees

Rating: 8/10

Witch Child
is a novel by Celia Rees about the diary of Mary Newbury, a fourteen year old girl living during the English and Salem witch hunts. Her words are chronicled in a journal-like way but the dates are not certain so the posts are sequenced from clues in the text. It is about her voyage from England to the New World, thinking that she had left the witch identity behind (her grandmother was accused of being one).

Well, the book interested me because of this stuff:

"The following manuscript comes from a remarkable collection of documents termed 'the Mary papers.' Found hidden inside a newly discovered and extremely rare quilt from the colonial period, the papers seem to take the form of an irregularly kept journal or diary. All dates are guesswork, based on references within the text. The first entries are tentatively dated from March 1659. I have altered the original as little as possible, but punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling have been standardized for the modern reader.

"Alison Ellman
"Boston, MA"

I know. It must be pretty crazy but, like I said in the previous posts, I like reading historical novels and this sounds a lot like one (but is isn't, by the way). Anyway, there's an [American] Indian boy, named Jaybird, here who has long lashes. It seems that he's pretty close to Mary and, based on the preview, it seems that she joined the Indians for a time. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review - Brian's Return by Gary Paulsen

Rating: 7/10

Brian's Return is the story of Brian Robeson two years after returning home from the Canadian wilderness. He decides that the city life is not for him so he returns to the forest.

It is an interesting story (any Gary Paulsen story is) and it has a lot of insight on survival. I only find it really short, with only a hundred and ten pages (or is it just my reading capacity?). I want more. I do like the part where Brian thought about the Inuits and their perception of the Northern Lights.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Movie Review - Iron Man 2

Rating: 10/10

This movie starts out with Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) announcement that he is indeed Iron Man. In Siberia, Anton Vankov dies, leaving his son Ivan. It is revealed that Anton was a partner of Tony's father in creating a reactor. Ivan decides to build it, fueled by revenge.

I give it a 10. Why? Because it's RDJ! Haha!

No, really. The movie was awesome. I liked the effects. The story is good and is a good mix of action and humor. I pretty much liked it (even with the fact that I haven't watched the prequel...).

I recommend it. :D

Book Review - The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Rating: 10/10

The Sweet Far Thing is the last book in New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray's trilogy. Gemma Doyle successfully bound the magic to herself but soon she has to let go of it and share it with the others. But who will these be? The Order? The Rakshana? Or her new alliance? Plus, her debut is near and she will have to make a decision: the society's "corset" or her freedom?

Oh, I love love love this book (and the whole trilogy)! It's bursting with more illusions, lies, betrayals, doubts, magic, and, most of all, love. Libba Bray weaves a lovely tale. I appreciated every chapter, every paragraph, every word. The things she's written in it are real jewels, no illusions. She has successfully made the reader feel what the characters feel. I mean, it's fantastic! I so love this woman and her craft!

For the first time ever, Libba Bray made me hate centaurs. I've always loved centaurs. But, in this novel I hate them. Haha! And also that Neela. Argh. Gorgon is amazing! I love her! Brigid is also a nice character. I didn't like Ms. McCleethy before but when she did that, I think I liked her character. Cecily, Martha, and Elizabeth are still as hateful as they bloody were before.

The dark scenes in the novel are written out so well that I was continuously afraid of a pixie's hand grabbing my foot. Haha! It was that effective, readers.

The [forbidden] romance between Kartik and Gemma is true and sadly bittersweet. I could swear that I didn't like it when Kartik died, but it just showed how truly he felt for Gemma when he gave his life to the Tree of All Souls. It's also lovely to note that he constantly appears in her dreams, waving to her from the other side. Their love story is one of the best I've read. (Really, I was heartbroken when he died.)

Libba Bray's trilogy is not only a tale of fantasy and love, it also serves as a book that will empower women anywhere. This quote from page 811 says it all:

"Why should we girls not have the same privileges as men? Why do we police ourselves so stringently - whittling each other down with cutting remarks or holding ourselves back from the greatness with a harness woven of fear and shame and longing? If we do not deem ourselves worthy first, how shall we ever ask for more?"
I'm really glad I got to read this treasure of a book.

(This is where it ends, eh? I'm severely heartbroken because the beloved trilogy is finished; I desperately want more. Libba Bray, this bloody novel captivated me. XD)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


HA! I have completed the Gemma Doyle trilogy by purchasing the last book: The Sweet Far Thing. I think, so far, it has been the most expensive of my collections with the total cost amounting to 959 pesos. Booyeah.


HA! I have completed the Gemma Doyle trilogy by purchasing the last book: The Sweet Far Thing. I think, so far, it has been the most expensive of my collections with the total cost amounting to 959 pesos. Booyeah.

Book Review - Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Rating: 9/10

Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the sequel to the New York Times Bestseller A Great and Terrible Beauty. With the destruction of the Runes, Gemma Doyle has set the magic loose in the realms, free for anyone to use. Everything in the realms is changing, becoming corrupted, even their beloved Pippa. Now, Gemma must find the temple and bind the magic, defeating her mother's friend turned foe - Circe, Sarah Rees-Toome.

I'm afraid I've enjoyed A Great and Terrible Beauty more. While Libba Bray's humor and dark mystery is still captivating, I find Rebel Angels... Um... Lacking, in some way I cannot name. Anyway, it is great that Kartik narrates the Prologue. There is some mention of the "last sixty days" of his life and I feared that I would lose him (HA!). But it was different. Anyway, I shan't spoil the fun.

The novel, in its entirety, pulsates with lies and illusions, but mostly the latter. The mystery that is Circe is... Err... Mysterious. I think Ms. Bray did a good job with it although some parts of it are, for me, a bit rusty. I don't know, but like I said something in it is lacking. Perhaps it is a trait of an in-between book. Perhaps... Perhaps it is the romance that is lacking?..

Booyeah. I'm turning into a dreadful romantic with each passing day. But there, I think I have adapted the language from the Victorian era. Anyway, that is good because it shows the influence of the book. Anyway, Rebel Angels is fascinating in some way and it ends in a way that will leave the reader wanting for more. :D

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Introducing Camuchii

These are some of the pictures taken with Camuchii - my new Fujifilm Z33 Waterproof Camera. :D

It's Mom's gift to me from Qatar.

Camuchii boasts 10.1 Megapixels but the greatest thing about him (or her or it...) is the ability to take pictures underwater. XD