Book review: Bill Konigsberg’s “The Porcupine of Truth”

I am well aware that this video is about hedgehogs.

It’s been literal months, I know. But to be fair, I have been busy. With my job, with taking part in writing workshops – I finished nothing, by the way – etc., etc., etc. But I’ve now finally managed to carve out some time from my “busy” schedule to pencil in this review.

I got my copy of Bill Konigsberg’s The Porcupine of Truth from the fine, fine people over at Scholastic, who had emailed me about reviewing James Phelan’s Thirteen (which I will talk about once I finish reading it) and included this book as a bonus, I guess?  But it just goes to show that they do know me well, because on the surface, The Porcupine of Truth is right up my alley.

LGBT characters? A healthy distrust of the pastor next door? A road trip? It was ticking all of my boxes and I ended up reading it first before Thirteen. But did this end up being a good decision on my part? Or did I just make another mistake in my long, long life of mistakes? Check under the cut to find out!

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The National Book Store Warehouse Sale – The Sequel!

Okay, so it wasn’t this crazy

So the last time I was at the National Book Store Warehouse Sale, it was a little crazy.  To quote my blog post at the time:

“I spent about 10 minutes just looking in disbelief at the whole mass of people that was there at the Warehouse Sale so early in the morning. Who are these people and what did they do the night before? Did they camp out in front of Crossings or something?”

This time, I was once again invited to a preview, and since i’m not that stupid (also it was my rest day from work), I accepted the invitation and went there posthaste. And boy was it a  good decision!

While there’s admittedly a lot of excitement fighting it out with a crowd for a book you really want – and actually winning that fight, too! – there’s also a lot to be said about walking into a sale with no one to fight with and having the luxury to just take your time.

Maybe because of that relaxed atmosphere, I was able to buy more books than i did two years ago. To wit:

This year's haul!

This year’s haul!

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Book review: Mighty Rasing’s “May Powers Ka To Be #SuperEpic”

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m generally not the inspirational/self-help book kind of guy. It’s not a knock on them at all – it’s more because I’ve got a black, tiny heart that doesn’t let any light shine through or escape.

There’s no question that a lot of people find them useful. One just needs to look at any bestseller list to see that there’s a healthy audience for these kinds of books; an aspiring inspirational author needs only to find that niche that he can cater to and serve.

Mighty Rasing is one such author, and he’s set his eyes on a key demographic – young people who’ve grown up on a steady diet of comic books and the movies that have been adapted from them. In his new book, May Powers Ka To Be #SuperEpic, Rasing utilises superheroes and their larger than life personalities to give some life advice to young people looking to make something out of their lives.

But will this approach be something that young people latch on to? Or will this thing just end up being an #epicfail?

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Book review: Catherine Doyle’s “Vendetta”

Ever since I changed jobs — and tried to venture into actual fiction/novel writing — I haven’t had as much time to keep my ear close to the ground to keep track of what’s going on in the publishing world. I mean sure, big thing’s like Harper Lee’s new novel I get to hear about because that’s hard to ignore, but the smaller stuff mostly pass me by now.

Which is why it’s a good thing that the good people from Scholastic have been nice enough to still keep me in the loop. They sent me an email some time ago about Vendettathe debut YA novel of 24-year-old Irishwoman Catherine Doyle. And you know what? It seems like they really knew what I was into just basing from the book’s synopsis:

“When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families.”

C’mon. A hot Italian bad boy? If you gave me that along with a lifetime supply of French fries I’d willingly give you my firstborn. My second-born, even. And while I tempered my expectations – it’s still a YA novel, even if it did come from the same publisher that brought us Numbers – I thought I would be getting into some hot Italian bad boy action. So did I?

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Book to movie review: “Fifty Shades Of Grey”

So, anyone following me on Twitter knows that I watched Fifty Shades of Grey when it opened here in the Philippines last Wednesday. And boy did it open. The theater was almost full and this was on a Wednesday afternoon. Office hours haven’t even ended yet. WHERE DID ALL OF THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?

Oh yes, that’s right, we got the Fifty Shades movie about three days earlier than the US of A. And one other thing – we did get an uncut version of the film, but certain scenes from the movie were blurred or had blocks put in place. Trust me when I saw it made for a really interesting movie-watching experience.

You can find my review of Fifty Shades Of Grey the book, here. As for what I thought of the movie, rather than lay it out for you all prose-y and stuff, I thought just screencapping my tweets and compiling them here would give you a much more accurate picture of what I had to go through.

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Book review: Carla de Guzman’s “Cities”


Do any of you guys still remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors”? Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses a train, and then the movie goes into two different timelines and in both timelines Gwyneth loses a baby? It’s totally okay if you don’t, because i didn’t really watch it and only remember it because it had that one song from Aqua that really took people by surprise.

“If only I could turn back ttiiiimmmmeeee!!!!”

Yeah, that song. As I was reading Carla de Guzman’s Cities, I couldn’t help but have this song going on and on in my head. Will I be able to say the same about Cities? Or would i rather wish that I could turn back time so I wouldn’t have had to read it? Check under the cut to find out!

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Book review: Ines Bautista-Yao’s “Only A Kiss”

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It might not be obvious at first blush – I do look like a crochety old man – but I do love me some love stories. Whether they end happily or tragically, whether they’re published independently or by more mainstream publishers, whether it’s steamy, flirty, or chaste, I’m willing to give it a go.

The books I read for my 2014 Goodreads challenge should be more than enough proof. Alongside heavy hitters like Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han are works by Sarina Bowen and my #romanceclass classmates Chrissie Peria, Chris Mariano, Kesh Tanglao, and Miles Tan.

The first locally-written and independently published love story that I’m reading this year is Ines Bautista-Yao’s Only A Kiss. Will I love it or loathe it?

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Your week in books#40

Remember her from last week? There’s more on her

  • Just last week, Zoe “Zoella” Sugg was the name on everybody’s lips. Her debut novel, Girl Online, was the fastest selling hardback of 2014. A week later, she’s still on everybody’s lips, but for much less positive news. Both she and her publisher, Penguin, revealed that her book was ghostwritten for her by children’s author Siobhan Curham, and did it get her fans mad. It got so bad that Zoella had to take a break from the internet (!!!!), and The Guardian had to devote three articles to the whole controversy. (Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)
  • And since we’re in England anyway, check it out: J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Stirke novels are going to be a BBC series! (Source)

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Book review: Anne Rice’s “Prince Lestat”

Anyone who’s known me long enough knows that I was a pretty big The Vampire Chronicles reader back in the day. During my sometimes hours-long commute from Pasay to Manila and vice versa, I would have Interview with the Vampire open on my lap, reading it eagerly and feeling a thrill at how intimate these creatures would be with each other. The fact that the main players were both male appealed a lot to me, and the fact that they were so “Woe is me!” appealed to the overdramatic teenager in me.

The next two books that followed built on Interview with the Vampire in ways that I didn’t expect. It’s clear to anyone that The Vampire Lestat is an entirely different creation, and The Queen of the Damned is definitely a high point, with a sprawling history for the Undead all laid out and royal intrigue and machinations that would satisfy any plot-hungry reader.

I was such a fan that I stuck around even as it slowly became apparent that the books were no longer hitting the same high marks that The Queen of the Damned did. I slogged through Pandora, trudged through Blood and Gold, and even convinced myself that Blood Canticle was better than it actually was.

But despite all that, I couldn’t help but feel more than a little excited hearing that announcement that Anne Rice was going back to The Vampire Chronicles, telling another story with Lestat as the main focus and no longer the sideshow that he was in books previous. I’d grabbed a copy as soon as I saw one in my neighbourhood National Book Store, and I began reading it more than a little anxious as to what I would think about it.

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Your week in books#39

This is Zoe “Zoella” Sugg, and she just sold 78,000 copies of her debut novel.

  • Youtube celebrity Zoella can add another feather to her cap, as her first novel Girl Online has become the fastest selling hardback of 2014. She’s only 24-years-old, so now is the time to look at your life and look at your choices. I know I have. And now I has a sad. (Source)
  • In  more “People Younger Than You Have Accomplished More Than You” news, a seven-year-old has convinced a publisher to change the title of their books after sending a letter to them. I once wrote a letter back when I was seven. It got sent back to me. (Source)

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