Happy Birthday Ella! :)

Yes, Today is my birthday
It is a special day

My American service partner gave a card
So special it gave warmth

Even Google knows how to treat
and greet me with some special sweets.

And so my heart is now jumping
With joy, hope, and full of loving
Forward-looking, I promise to be
And always positive is who I'll be


The Fault In Our Stars Makes Me A Completist

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay. My sister and I read this book and we both rated this 2.5 stars, initially.

AFTER THE DISCUSSION with my sister, I think it is rightfully deserving to give this book three stars, because of John Green's growth to his formulaic composition of his books. As this book marks the completion of reading his works (I am not that kind of geeky fan, so please spare me from your antagonistic approaches in life - and in general), I am about to say that I loved the concept of telling the tale of a girl in a first person perspective, and of sharing her sentiments of her journey though her sickness and discovery of her favorite novel and of her quotable quotes from her boyfriend Augustus.

1. Plot - of dying and of living the remaining years ahead - YES; THIS DESERVES A TEAR OR TWO. My sister and I felt unfair; why Hazel Grace? why her? People like her who are about to face their own personality issues, about to define their resolve, bombard themselves with college and about to DREAM BIG - Why them? Because the author tells us that we should be happy for what we are. We are to mark our difference in this world, but to leave a happy or a remorseful one rests upon us.

2. Character development - I've see her growth, how her "seemed post-normalcy-forever-medicated-condition-and-always-stuck-with-parents-as-her-bestfriends" life thrust-ed into a Cancer Support Group, and attracted at first sight with Gus. But the tone of her voice is too Americanized teen, I guess. She can never speak like Landon in this book, or she can never be like Jamie, and I can never justify the similarities between this book and that because they are different stories altogether (but having Cancer as the plot). It may give appeal to speak in "geeky-phrases" to some people, but to me, I think it somewhat kills the spirit of tears.

3. Quotable quote to remember -
Pain Demands to be Felt

Yeah, this hit me a lot. Pain cannot be described through mere words, or this review, or through the tears I have shed while reading some of the parts, but yes, I learned to symphatize with them.

I am over tears (and the book) though, I does not leave much of the stigma like this book that I cried over days and days of asking why and how and why all over again.

Dear John Green, the ending left me hanging, like, asking myself, "IS THAT IT? NO OTHER WAY TO CLOSE THIS?" and felt indifferent. Unlike the other books that lingered, this one just stopped. I may not get the philosophy that you want to impart, and forgive me for not getting your message but yeah, the end felt indifferent.

And as this marks the end of all your creations, may I rate the books that you made?
a. Paper Towns - BEST RESOLVE EVER! and the comedy is nice
b. Abundance of Katherines - Of doodle thingies and mathematical equations, I was entertained and I understood each and every rationale of those graphs you represented. In addition, the message you wanted to give to your readers is so apparent, it hit me bull's eye.
c. Fault in our Stars - maybe this considers as the "growth" from the first three books that you made (female, first-person, abroad trip (using planes) and cancer) and you made me cry, but the convincing and lingering "powers" are not enough
d. Looking for Alaska - It doesn't appeal to me, It may appeal to younger generations of me; after all, you have a market to appeal to, yes?

I still love you, dear author, for you have the power to create things. YOU ARE A WRITER. And I give you kudos for giving an entertaining read to each and every reader. :)

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Remains Of My 25th Birthday

The Remains of the DayThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Perhaps then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more postive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day."

I felt betrayed. I trusted Ishiguro for him to give me an entertaining read. Now what's left me is life questions that I believe I should know the answers by now. Why Ishiguro, WHY BOMBARD ME WITH SELF-REFLECTIONS?

IT ALL STARTED on a book discussion. We are to read this great work that won the Booker Prize. Since this is my first book by Ishiguro (I watched Never Let Me Go and the film is amazing - the subtlety, the mood, the sadness and seriousness of filmography; but I haven't had the chance to read it), I have little expectations. Little, considering that the plot is about an English Butler named Stevens with an American master named Mr. Farraday, the owner of the Darlington Hall - asking him to do a motoring job and visit his old colleague Miss Kenton, since her letter told him of her past experiences and her sentiments in her years of service to the old manor.


I consider this one of the most precious reads in my list. It may not bring tears to my eyes (as a part of long list of matronic reads); it may not entertain and bring my dream-man into life (duh, the character is, I daresay, way beyond my league) but it reflects some of the paradoxes in life and of the crossroads that we face, however young we are, both in our mind and in our spirit.

In turning points of our lives, there are things to give up and things to hold on to. But do we have to compromise? Why do we have to let go of those things - some that may not be precious to us in one point, but will be in a future time. Why can't we achieve the best of both worlds? Does a compromise have to be that sacrificial?

My mum and dad told me that at one point in our lives, we are building our own persona, and we may or may not need reinforcements, the full discretion of the grander design is to each his own.

I am young. And I am at the crossroads. I may have "over-friendliness" and "high-assertiveness" issues, but this is who I am, and this is how I use my "skills" to win people, or lose some. In this turning point, you can mock me or give me tidbits of advice, but this doesn't stop me for molding into someone I really learn to love. After all,
you are just an audience
, and I am the master of my own.

And that, my friend, is how I deal with the remaining days of my 25th year in this earth - aka the quarter-life-crisis.

(Written days before my 26th birthday, 12 nov 2012 11:15PM MLA)

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Alexandra Trese: Thirteen Cases

Mass Murders (Trese, #3)Mass Murders by Budjette Tan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why Alexandra Trese?

I was convinced by a high-school friend to read this series because of their flagship project in this book.

Alexandra Trese started way way back as a concept from a radio station featuring Anton Trese and his etudes from the underworld. From this man we owe the birth of the idea that there is more to solve than human-committed crimes, and how justice is served one way or the other. When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.

And so these first three volumes encapsules her first thirteen cases.

Case 1: At the intersection of Balete and 13th Street - 2 stars; The introduction of the White Lady 'rationale' is not really justified. Maybe this is to give a twist to the white lady appearing in that street. But the introduction of the "balance" that the underworld seeks is shown in the first file. True enough, tales from our lolos and lolas tell us not to meddle with foreign spirits if they bring you no harm. Or else they will seek payback. And the nuno sa manhole is cute, and likes chocolates. :)

Case 2: Rules of the Race - 2 stars; The young maverick of the Tikbalang tribe was introduced as a teaser for the other books Budjette Tan unraveled . It's about the stubborness of the younger ones on what extent they would want to prove themselves, and how much is the drive for you to get it. And yeah, cuties from the Wind Tribe appeared.

Case 3: The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos - I LIKE! 4 stars; it is a challenge for Budjette and Kajo to do an underworld case with a touch of a tragic love story. Santelmo (root word: St. Elmo's fire) was introduces as the fire spirit from the Great Binondo fire. Assu Ang's daughter, Oriol - is also introduced, and we Pinoys know how bad this creature is. They play your heart, they suck your blood, they extract your soul. This case is not a cold one, but full of fire! And the "meow chronicles" - how our little munings communicate with each other and the Cat Whispherer Manang Muning amazed me. :D

Case 4: Our Secret Constellation - 4 Stars. NO SPOILERS. Budjette and Kajo Dedicated this episode to Mars Ravelo and to Warren Ellis. You'll know why when you read this file.

Case 5: A Little Known Murder in Studio 4 - 3 stars; Of handlers and of Stars, aspiring for money, men and drugs. URGH SHOWBIZ, I know, but the creators knew how to fit GREED very well in this case.

Case 6: The Outpost on Kalayaan Street - 4 stars because of a ZOMBIE INFESTATION!

Case 7: Embrace of the Unwanted - 3 stars; I remember my dad telling me a weird story of the son who is being kept under the sewers; and how the hidden spaces of the malls looked like. Believe me, I've been there once.

Case 8: The Association Dues of Livewell Village - 4 stars May Liwanag ang buhay

Case 9: A Private Retaliation - 5 stars; Anton appeared!
Case 10: Patient 414 in Mandaluyong - 5 stars; Tagbalusao
Case 11: The Fort Bonifacio Massacre - 5 stars; Kambal appeared!
Case 12: The Baptism of Alexandra Trese - 5 stars; Tribe of the
Trese appeared!
Case 13: An Act of War - 5 stars; conclusion to Tagbalusao, of
Basilio and Crispin, and of Trese knowing her resolve to do her
Babaylan-Mandirigma duties.

To note why Cases 9-13 are all 5 stars: They are not created to be stand-alone files, they are chronicles of a history once forgotten. We
see how Alexandra evolved from a teenager to a defender. We see how she aaccepted her duty as a priestess and a warrior.

(Sorry this review sucked; I think I am not tired of fangirling, I
should stop.)

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Footnotes and Formula

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of mathematical formula, of doodle-doodles, and of being something - the protagonist's journey enlightened us that what matters most is not the destination, but what has happened, is happening, and will happen in their journey life ahead.

This is a cute story of predictability, but finding out that the bottomline is nothing is predictable.

I liked the adventure. And I liked the footnotes and the graphs. And I liked the book for not including any classroom environment in it. Yeah, not a typical teenage drama confessions.

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Of Neverending Chats and Of Being Alive

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"There are moments when you can't believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with absolutely knowing that something wonderful is happening."

Told in a combination of epistolary episodes and third-person narrative, Attachments is about two closefriends and workmates chatting about anything under the sun, and an IT guy who oversees these correspondences. (Yes, if you are an IT guy, especially assigned to data and systems security, you may cringe at this book. Because you are hired to read all sorts of messages.) But this one is not only about mails and Y2K and eavesdropping, it is also about dealing with physical insecurities, freakish habits, nagging parents and popcorn treats. It is about Serendipity, of When Harry Met Sally, and of top-secret jobs such as correcting articles and prepositions.

I remember a friend who I regularly chat with in the office - talking about her dadi and my ex-sir, talking about our talkative mothers and our career paths, and how our college life used to fill with insecurities and liberalism. We both wondered why we only met in the workplace, why fate didn't allowed us to meet on the same college. And to take note, her dadi is my college friend!

I would not splurge tidbits of episode of the two girls, named Beth and Jennifer, and why Lincoln felt alive reading their back-and-forth-messages. To note, not even online chat was not yet live in their firm - and they settle themselves with throwing e-mails. You may say this is so 1999, because yes, it is set in 1999, in the middle of preparing code securities, back-ups and contingency plans.

My friend and I started throwing STMs (same time messages) since I started working as a Fund Accountant (and she, an internet banker), and we do our never-ending chismis and updates there. If there will be an IT security who will flag our conversations, he won't be able to stop us - this technology is very much needed for our production - all other things are, I daresay, coincidental.

After all, if this IT guy flags our messages - I'll throw him this book instead. And let him believe in songs like Suddenly It's Magic.

Cheesy, I know. But he needs to read this. He has to be.

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Pinoy Komiks: Skyworld

Skyworld: Volume TwoSkyworld: Volume Two by Mervin Ignacio
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It's supposed to be BANGIS! but...

The Print! Why is it that the prints are misplaced? What about these lost pages? This will not give justice to the illustrator and to the writer of the comic book! URGH!

Huhuhuh, the lost pages will remain lost forever, I cannot figure now the other scenes from these lost panels. But if you think positively, these lost pages are like Yamashita Treasure, like legends meant to be hidden.

Like the creators tell us - Every legend tells a lie.

Skyworld is like the flagship project of Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria that took ten years to complete. Faced with challenges of lost files, pencil sketches, boring office floors and creative minds - they crafted a mythology so twisted that you will be amazed on its references with history, with old Pinoy folklore, and with the realism of the Philippine Society.

I was in awe for the graphic novels became at par with those others citing folklore and old tales. I remember myself reading a manga (made by my favorite japanese artist CLAMP) named xxxHOLIC and asked why we Pinoys do not have this kind of goodread yet. And when Skyworld was introduced to the readers of this generation - WOW.

The current generation should have a copy of this book. Especially those who grew up with smartphones and internet in their hands, those who do not know the stories behind the Balete Tree, those tales behind the scientific explanation of Lunar Eclipse.

This graphic novel is divided into four books, Apocrypha - with narration told in the perspective of the Prince-Tikbalang named Makabo; Testament - includes sentiments by Rianka, the Asuang-Queen; and Prodigal and Requiem - with all the actions and kidism entries made by the teenage protagonist named Andoy, who we believed possessed the bloodline of the great Skygod named Kaptan.

I am not to splurge spoilers for it messes up the enthusiasm of the future readers, but how the story evolved is like a typical protagonist-antagonist approach: told from tales before time and with a span of past to present, the antagonist escapes and is on a hunt for an immortal god-like-life. And the protagonist from the time before is different from the protagonist to be introduced in our time. After all, the protagonist is not a mythical being, but a mortal one. The guy who is crippled by fate and prays in the Quiapo church, hoping for a miracle.

How the story ended will give substance how legends live. And you will see how the creators made mention of how Budjette's black-and-white-comic-book awaken their inspiration to create such great plot. After all, it is the legend that brings out something to believe in.

The artists made a point to refer to some aid - some form of crossover, who will help the kid save the world. Note how these artists are greatly indebted with the living pinoy komiks legend Budjette Tan and they even asked for the assistance of Babaylan-mandirigma Alexandra Trese (WOOOOHHHOOOOOOO~! RAK EN ROL DUUUUUUDDDDE!); they even mentioned Kadasig - the guy in spartan slippers who does the karate moves and has an armory hidden in his body.

They even mentioned National Heroes in this book! YEYEYEYEYEYEY!!! :D

Except for the lost pages (Dear Alamat Komiks, may I have a copy of those lost pages? huhuhuh *CREYS*), the book is definitely an EXCELLENT READ.

True Rating: 5 Stars.

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