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?
Continue reading Book review: Ines Bautista-Yao’s “Only A Kiss”
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.
Continue reading Book review: Anne Rice’s “Prince Lestat”
I feel like Bebang would appreciate this video more than the Geri Halliwell one.
Three years ago, Bebang Siy blew the doors wide open and let the public take a glimpse into her life with her collection of essays, It’s A Mens World. At turns funny, poignant, and nostalgic of a Manila now slowly disappearing and changing into something else entirely, It’s A Mens World quickly developed a following and even snagged awards and nominations along the way.
Now Siy returns with It’s Raining Mens (I feel like there should be a Hallelujah in there somewhere), a collection of her work that now extends beyond the personal essay. Sprinkled throughout the book are short stories, movie treatments, a radio play, and emails and letter between Bebang and her best friend, Alvin. Will readers end up being spoiled for choice with this new collection, or would they rather seek shelter from this unusual downpour?
Continue reading Book review: Bebang Siy’s “It’s Raining Mens”
You all know that I love me some Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve gushed about The Scorpio Races. I’ve praised The Raven Boys. And I definitely hold The Dream Thieves in high regard. So it really shouldn’t surprise any of you to see this post come up on this here blog. To say that I’ve been waiting eagerly for Blue Lily, Lily Blue is an understatement.
Thanks to the lovely people from Scholastic Philippines, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the book. It took me a while to get started reading it – finding a work/life balance is apparently something I do not beleive in – but once I did! Well, once I did, it was an up and down experience.
Continue reading Book review: Maggie Stiefvater’s “Blue Lily, Lily Blue”
A beautiful book trailer for Gone Girl by Falcon Media Graphics
I know, I know. I’m about two years late with regards to Gone Girl, but it’s better late than never, right? It’s better to have read and blogged than not to have read and blogged at all, etc., etc.
Also, I have not blogged for a while now, so I may not be in tip-top shape. Not that I was in great shape before or anything, but whatever. So just be gentle on this here post as I try to gather my thoughts on Gillian Flynn’s immensely popular and divisive book Gone Girl.
Continue reading Book review: Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”
For longtime fans of young adult (YA) author Cassandra Clare, “City of Heavenly Fire” has been a book several years in the making.
After all, their journey into the Shadow World began in 2007 with the publication of “City of Bones”. In it, readers were introduced to 15-year-old Clary Fray and her introduction to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, supernatural beings who often find themselves at odds with each other.
Since then, “City of Bones” has not only spawned five more books — “City of Ashes,” “City of Glass,” “City of Fallen Angels,” and “City of Lost Souls” — to form “The Mortal Instruments” series. It has also paved the way for “The Infernal Devices” series, a tale of Shadowhunters set in Victorian England and made up of the books “Clockwork Angel,” Clockwork Prince,” and “Clockwork Princess”. And while the succeeding books have drawn mostly mixed reactions from critics and readers alike, it has not prevented them from zooming up the New York Times bestseller lists.
Just last year, “City of Bones” was adapted into a movie starring Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace and Lily Collins as Clary Fray, with “Game of Thrones” star Lena Headey and “The Hobbit” star Aidan Turner playing supporting roles. The sequel, “City of Ashes,” is set to start production this year.
In “Ctiy of Heavenly Fire,” readers finally have an ending to a story that they have been following for close to a decade now. But will it be an ending that they will find acceptable after years of loyal reading? Or will it end up being a disappointment that ends up crashing and burning?
Continue reading Book review: Cassandra Clare’s “City of Heavenly Fire”
For anyone who grew up on the Summit line of romance novels know the name of Andrea Pasion-Flores very well.
This is because Pasion-Flores was behind the bestselling book, “Have Baby Will Date,” about freelance photographer Denise and how she strives to find a balance between dating and being a single mother. She was also managing editor of Bride and Home magazine before moving on to Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.
After her stint at Summit, Pasion-Flores went on to become the executive director of the National Book Development Board, and has managed to bring to the country such acclaimed authors as Junot Diaz and Chris Abani through the Manila International Literary Festival. Recently, Pasion-Flores became part of the Jacaranda Literary Agency, which is based in Singapore.
As immersed as Pasion-Flores has become in the publishing side of the literary world, she hasn’t totally forgotten her writerly roots. Proof of this is the recent publication by UST Publishing of “For Love and Kisses,” Pasion-Flores’ first collection of short fiction, almost 10 years after her first Summit novel.
The collection is made up of seven stories: “For Love and Kisses,” “Vanessa Calling,” “Buttercups,” “Skin Art,” “Love in Mini Stops,” “The Hungry Ghost,” and “How to Drink Whisky, if You’re A Girl,” all of which take on the lives of Filipinas young and old. Will this collection be more like Pasion-Flores’ bestselling work? Or will it be a bold new direction for her?
Continue reading Book review: Andrea Pasion-Flores’ “For Love And Kisses”
There is no doubt that the Philippines is still very much caught up in the crest of hallyu, or the Korean wave.
On television, Korean dramas are shown alongside local primetime fare, with its stars commanding a fanbase as — perhaps even more — devoted as those of local stars.
Seeing as most of these South Koreans television stars double as pop stars as well, it’s no surprise that K-Pop (Korean Pop) receives practically the same devotion from Filipino fans. It’s something that Korean music companies seem to be aware of and wish to cultivate, if their stars’ itineraries are anything to go by.
For instance, supergroups like Big Bang and Super Junior have held sold-out concerts here in the country; multiple times in Super Junior’s case. Boy bands like SHINee, EXO, FT Island, and Infinite have held successful shows here. South Korean megastar Rain has filmed scenes for a Korean drama here and held a concert here, and popular girl group 2NE1 — who counts Star Circle Quest alumna Sandara Park as one of its members — is holding a concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena tonight.
But with so many K-Pop starts to keep track of, and with more being produced every day through talent shows like Superstar K, how will people looking to get into this craze manage to catch up?
The answer might be Tuttle Publishing’s 2014 offering “K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution”. Written by journalist Mark James Russell, the book is more than a hundred pages of photos and information on the current lay of the K-Pop land — from boy bands to girl groups and even the solo acts.
Continue reading Book review: Mark James Russell’s “K-Pop Now! The Korean Music Revolution”
When “The Raven Boys” came out two years, it was yet another feather added to the already crowded cap of young adult novel author Maggie Stiefvater.
Not only did “The Raven Boys” wow critics — who called it “compulsively readable” and a “compelling human drama” — it also hooked readers, who propelled it up the New York Times Bestseller list and the USA Today Bestseller list.
All this is in addition to all of the books in her “The Wolves of Mercy Falls” trilogy ending up on the New York Times Bestseller list and her standalone novel “The Scorpio Races” being awarded a 2012 Michael L. Printz Award Honor. The Michael L. Printz Award highlights works of literary excellence that are written for a young adult audience.
With so many accolades that came before it, it’s no wonder that “The Dream Thieves”, the second book in the planned for of Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” series, has been so eagerly awaited by Stiefvater’s fans and readers. But will “The Dream Thieves” continue Stiefvater’s winning streak? Or will it spoil her so far perfect run?
Continue reading Book review: Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Dream Thieves”
Kate Evangelista has certainly gone a long way from her days as a debut author. After “Taste”, she came out with even more books, such as the paranormal romances “Reaping Me Softly,” “Unreap My Heart,” “Til Death,” and new adult novel “Romancing the Bookworm”. She’s even set to make her debut on local bookstore shelves this year, as Macmillan publishes “Til Death”.
Evangelista’s latest book with Crescent Moon Press, the same publisher that put out “Taste”, is also available on Amazon, and I was given a review copy of the book. How much has Evangelista’s work changed since she first debuted two years ago?
Continue reading Book review: Kate Evangelista’s “Savor”