Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bout of Books 5.0 Goals and UPDATES!

I was doing some blog-hopping this morning and found the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon blog. I am excited to join  this year's read-a-thon and this is my first time to do this type of reading challenges.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 13th and runs through Sunday, August 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 5.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

I've read from past read-a-thon posts that we need to have a strategy for the entire week of the challenge. So basically, because I just got back from a long reading slump, I am a bit slow in reading unlike before. So I choose to read 200-page books and to throw some audio-books so I can listen on my iPod while commuting to and from work.

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be reading a few hours everyday for the entire week. With a day job from nine to six, I can only in the morning (while commuting to work) and at night. 

My Goals

- Read (3) books on my TBR list.
- Read only from the books that I already own.
- One of the books must be an Audiobook
- Participate in a Twitter Chat
- Comment on other participant's blogs
- My Goodreads page will be updated (linked to my Twitter) throughout the read-a-thon. The featured shelf are the books I will be reading during Bout of Books 5.0.

Books to Read

- Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
- The Thief by Meg Whalen Turner


Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 1
Books: 1

Read-A-Thon Update: I started reading The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner yesterday and I only finished up to page 36. This is a slightly disappointing progress but I was so dead tired yesterday and only had about three hours of sleep. I promise to make a huge progress today.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book event hosted by Tynga from Tynga's Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your bookshelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, audiobooks and of course ebooks.

For this week, I had received my paycheck early and thought of dropping by Fully Booked the Fort branch to buy some books.

Here are my hauls for this week:

Purchased from Fully Booked

Matched by Ally Condie

YA Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
Author: J.K. Rowling (Goodreads/Twitter/Website)
Number of Pages: 341 pages
Publication Date: June 2 1999
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
PublisherArthur A. Levine Books
Series or Stand-Alone: Harry Potter Series #2
Book Disclosure: Purchased from Powerbooks


The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.And strike it does. 

For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl's bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone - or something - starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects... Harry Potter himself?

Opening Line: 

Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.


After ten years, I finally caved and started reading the Harry Potter series. I wasn't really into reading the YA genre before when HP became a big hit but I've decided to pick up the book after seeing a few clips of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on HBO.

I've read the first book in the series and totally got hooked. Before picking up the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I've read from some fan forums and have been told by some of my HP friends that the second book had been their least favorite in the series. So I had reservations when I started it and was even expecting that I'll just skim through it to finish.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets chronicles the second year of Harry Potter at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The book opens with Harry at the Dursleys house on Privet Drive being warned by the servant Dobby not to go back to Hogwarts. Though he had good intentions, Dobby's attempts to warn Harry had resulted in our protagonists getting into trouble because of it.

Rowling made a wonderful protagonist in Harry Potter. As a reader, you can definitely relate and cheer for him whether he is at Privet Drive trying to escape the wrath of his Uncle Vernon or at Hogwarts trying to learn magic and solving the mysteries there.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #1: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

I was updating my Book Depository wishlist page when I stumbled upon  My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, the debut novel of YA author Rachel Harris. I am a cover whore and I have to admit that the cover was what initially attracted me to look at this new book. 

Title: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
Author: Rachel Harris
Publication Date: September 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
: Book Depository | Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

So what are you patiently waiting for this week?

Romance Review: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Sugar Daddy
Author: Lisa Kleypas (Goodreads/Twitter/Website)
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Publication Date: March 6th 2007
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series or Stand-Alone: Travises Series Book #1
Book Disclosure: Purchased from Powerbooks


Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her away from Welcome, Texas-if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger that Welcome, and Liberty is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than either of them.

When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty is under the spell of a billionaire tycoon- a Sugar Daddy one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.

Opening Line: 

When I was four, my father died in an oil-rigging accident. Daddy didn't even work for the drilling outfit.


To say that I love this book would be an understatement. I don’t know the right words to choose to express how much I love this book. It blew me away from the beginning until the end. I started reading it before going to bed and once I started it, I knew I had to finish it before I went to sleep. And I did! By the time I woke up in the morning, the first thing I did was grab the book from the bedside table and relived every scene and dialogue that I loved so much.

In my opinion, Sugar Daddy is Lisa Kleypas’ best work so far. Although I’m not really a fan of first person POV, in this book, it didn’t bother me at all. I felt an immediate connection with Liberty Jones. As a reader, I found myself crying with her, laughing with her, and watching her grow up, mature, and triumph in every hardship she had to go through.

I understood what she felt for Hardy because in a way, I had gone though the same thing she had when she fell in love with him (the powerful emotions she felt for him and the beauty of ‘first love’, not really wanting to let go of that wonderful past). I admired Liberty for her courage, bravery, and her deep connection with her sister Carrington.

Although I liked Hardy, I was rooting for Gage all the way. Hardy will always be a special person in Liberty’s life because he had helped her when she was younger and vulnerable. But when Hardy left, that’s when Liberty realized her own strengths. She learned to stand-up on her own, be responsible, and be selfless.

I think Gage was the perfect man for her. Since the beginning of their relationship, Gage accepted her for whom she was, and he loved her unconditionally, without limits. When Gage discovered Hardy messed up the Medina deal, he knew only Liberty could have told him about it but even then, Gage didn’t blame her because he didn’t want Hardy to create a wedge between him and Liberty. That’s when I realized that Liberty comes first, before anything else in Gage’s life and that he truly loved her.

This book made me cry more than any other book I’ve read before. It also made me laugh and think about a lot of things in my life. This book was wonderful, touching, and healing all at the same time.

Sugar Daddy is a definite keeper.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #1: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

(1) Grab your current read.
(2) Open to a random page.
(3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page and BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To-Be-Read Lists if they like your teasers.

This is my first time doing the Teaser Tuesday Meme so I'm very excited. For this week, I'm actually reading two books, Fire by Kristin Cashore and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I'm lagging behind on The Iron King because I'm totally engrossed reading Fire. Here's one wonderful teaser for everyone:

She asked it very quietly. "Why are you kind to me?" He paused, watching her hands that pulled at the grass. He crouched down to her eye level. "Because I trust you."

~pp.163 of Fire by Kristin Cashore

I'm loving this book so much! I must admit that I get frustrated by the fact that Fire is being wanted by everyone because of her beauty but when Prince Brigan entered the picture, it's a totally different story. Can't wait to finish this book and start Graceling!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your Teaser Tuesdays in a comment here if you don’t have a blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

YA Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen (Goodreads/ Twitter/ Website)
Number of Pages: 317 pages
Publication Date: April 2006
Publisher:   Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Book Disclosure: Purchased from Powerbooks


Last year, Annabel Greene was "the girl who has everything"--at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf 's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Opening Line: 

I taped the commercial back in April, before anything had happened, and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks ago, it had started running, and suddenly, I was everywhere.


Just Listen is the first book by YA novelist Sarah Dessen that I’ve read, and will definitely not be the last.

Just Listen tells the story of Annabel Greeene, a 17-year old girl who has everything. At least, that’s what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel’s life was far from perfect. On the summer before her senior year, Annabel’s friendship with Sophie ended bitterly and her sister Whitney’s eating disorder had started weighing down her family. Now feeling ostracized and isolated, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Until she meets Owen Armstrong and with his guidance, Annabel learned to listen and gains the courage to speak honestly for herself.

I never thought I would read this book, let alone find myself immersed into the story. I love reading Young Adult books but mostly YA-Fantasy like Harry Potter but after finishing Just Listen, I’ve realized it’s more than just a story of a teenage girl going through the typical high school drama. Just Listen tells the story of each and every one of us - our family, our friendship, betrayal and forgiveness, and most of all our own self.

Just Listen is a unique YA novel in such a way that Dessen had written a powerful and inspiring story with themes that can resonate to all of us. Albeit the high school setting, I found myself not only looking back at my days in school but also realizing how parallel it was to the same issues I’m going on with my life. I found the book really very inspiring and it thought me lessons that can make me become a better person.

Its uniqueness also stems from the way Sarah Dessen had written her characters. They were all well-rounded and real, like I can see a part of myself or someone I know in each and every character in the story. Although a lot of readers seem to admire Owen Armstrong, I found myself drawn to Annabel Greene’s. She’s a terrific character and I adored her self-awareness and empathized with her self-consciousness.

The story was not only inspirational but it also addressed a lot of issues like eating disorders, the not so fabulous life of being a model, high school bullying and most importantly family relationships. There were a lot of themes in this book but I give kudos to Dessen because it never felt stuffed and each was given equal attention in the story. Just Listen was told with the right amount of realism and pacing.

I feel like no amount of words can give enough justice to how powerful and inspiring the book Just Listen can be. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that they can enjoy, with characters they can relate to and a story that can inspire and touch their hearts in a way they could never imagine.

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