Posts Tagged "books"

The “10 Books That Stayed with Me” Challenge

At this point, pretty much everyone I know has already taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — including me, quietly…

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…so there’s a new challenge making the rounds on Facebook. You might have seen it on your feed already… but if you haven’t, it goes like this:

I’ve been challenged to list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way, and tag people to do the same. Rules (there are always rules): Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just the ones that have affected you in some ways. [Then tag 10 friends, including me, so I can see your list.]

Anyhoo, it’s all over my feed, but for once I really don’t mind because I’m always up for a good book recommendation. In fact, I was ecstatic when my goddaughter/gal pal Sabine tagged and challenged me to list my 10 books. (Incidentally it also reminded me that she was actually named after a character in one of them.)

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Yes, Sabine, your mother is a name thief. But since I never ended up having any kids of my own, I forgive her. 

So okay, here’s my list. And please note, this is an HONEST list, unlike some super-bullshitty, “Oooh, me so smartypants” ones I’ve been seeing online recently…

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Here goes. 

1. Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock

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Intriguing and interactive, Griffin and Sabine is a love story/mystery told through illustrated letters and postcards - all bound up in a hauntingly beautiful book of gorgeous art. To this day it remains one of the most unique and creative books I have ever come across in my life. Definitely a keeper.  (Pic c/o Portly Adolescence)

2. Half-Magic by Edward Eager

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This is a story about these kids who found a coin that could grant wishes, but only half of what you asked for. (It took a while for them to figure it out.) I don’t really know why the story stayed with me all this time, but to this day - because of this book - I always make sure that my “wishes” and requests from God and the universe are well-worded. :)

3. The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I must’ve been about 7 or 8 when I received this series from my lovely Tita Lourding, and I distinctly remember thinking that that was it — I had achieved Nirvana

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And OMG I just found this pic of the exact edition of the books I had, and just looking at them makes me feel like super-happy 8-year old me again! Whee!

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(Thanks, Glass Junkie!)

4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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A classic that needs no introduction or explanation. The best thing about this book is that you can read it often, at different ages, and get something new from it every time.  (Art above by Charles van Valkenburg, c/o thelittleprince.com

5. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

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I’ve actually written a post about this book before - which just proves it really belongs on this list - so yeah, just go read that. :) 

6. The Roald Dahl Omnibus

I don’t know whose book the Omnibus was - my Mom’s I think? - but it was an awesome collection of Roald Dahl’s short stories. Most people know and love Roald Dahl for his children’s books…

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(Me included!) but his short stories for adults are something else — quirky, kind of twisted and extremely entertaining.

7. The Best Short Stories of O Henry

This is my other favorite book of short stories. I’ve also written a post about these before… 

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… so yeah, you can go check that out too. :) 

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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(Photo credit: SoObsessedWith.com)

I guess this answers the question of whether I’m a Harry Potter girl or a Narnia one. This and the fact that I can still quote the first LWW movie (the animated one) almost verbatim — with feelings… because my sibs and I used to watch and act it out all the time.

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Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Harry Potter — but for some reason it’s the Narnia books that stayed with me… so much so that I can read every book except The Last Battle over and over again. (The Last Battle made me sad. I read it more than 20 years ago and I still feel sad remembering.)

9. The Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton

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Okay to be honest, I wanted to say ALL THE BOOKS by Enid Blyton, but that’s cheating. So let’s go with the Famous Five. Or Malory Towers. Or no… The Magic Faraway Tree, because how awesome was that?? Ah crap, I’m so conflicted. Just read them all. 

10. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

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Another one that needs no explanation. Who can even contest this? Tintin ROCKS, man.  I also adore Asterix.

So there you go. I have more, but I think I’ve cheated shamelessly enough already with all the series — haha this is so not a list of ten books! :D Maybe the rest can be a post for another day.

A few thoughts before I go though…

I found it really striking that now, in my forties, after having voraciously read thousands (literally - THOUSANDS!) of other books that I don’t remember at all .. the ones burned into my memory are the ones I read and loved as a kid. They’re also the ones I discussed and shared with other kids.

I don’t have any research to back it, but I’m pretty sure that means something significant.

So parents, PLEASE. Get your kids to read. It will count for so much later on in life, believe me. Of all the passionate love affairs of my life, my relationship with reading is undoubtedly one of the most constant…

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… and the most comforting. 

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Plus there’s this…

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So GO! Spread the reading love around. I challenge you all. :)

Beach Break! + What I’m Reading This Weekend

Off on a beach break this weekend, so no blogging for a bit. 

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I know. You must be pretty shocked that I won’t be spending my long weekend in the usual way… HIBERNATING.

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But hey, you know me. I’ll probably just be doing the same old thing — just in a new location. 

Anyway here’s what I’ll be reading while I’m away, in case you’re looking for some new Young Adult fiction to check out. 

Shark Out of Water by Jenn Cooksey

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This is the 3rd book in Jenn Cooksey’s Grab Your Pole Series, which I am enjoying immensely — but which, at the same time, is making me really glad I don’t have any teenage kids. Read the books even just to meet  Jillian the evil genius, and they’ll be worth it. 

Ungifted by Kelly Oram

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I love all things Kelly Oram, so this second installment of her Supernaturals series is pretty high on my list. I prefer her other books, but the first in this series (Chameleon) was interesting enough, so this should make good beach reading.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

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Because I also love all things JLA, and this sounds a little more mysterious than the rest. Also, how cool is this cover gif with the cracking mirror? Love it. 

So okay, off I go. Be back soonish! Cheers!

My Mommy Drinks Aaaaaalll the Time!

I think we all know by now that I tend to exaggerate quite a lot, and my mom will certainly attest to this… seeing how I made her out to be a closet alcoholic and all when I was 5. Yeah. Maybe not mini-Chinie’s finest moment. My poor mom. I saw her have ONE drink…

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And for some bizarre reason my five year old brain processed this scene and filed it as SUPER COOL. So cool, in fact, that I felt the need to brag about it to a bunch of her friends when she least expected it. 

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Mortifying. Well, for her, of course. Hilarious for me! Even ‘til today, almost 40 years later! It’s like my favorite family joke. 

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It’s extra funny because my mom really doesn’t drink much at all. I mean she’ll have wine with a meal and stuff like that, but I’m pretty sure she can finger-count the number of times she actually got drunk in her life. 

So Mom = Alcoholic (and sometimes even Bootlegger) never gets old, as far as I’m concerned. She doesn’t even have to actually be drinking, it’s enough that she’s photographed near some form of alcohol. 

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Hilarious, I tell you. (Again, for me. For her, probably not so much).

Anyway my friend DJ posted this link today to a Bored Panda article showing the 40 worst book covers and titles ever, and OMG. I found my mom’s revenge. 

Here you go, Mom. Feel free to hit me with this every time I try to out you again. :)

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Oh, and relax — it’s not a real book. Cheers! :)

Nothing Beats a Good Book + Some Weekend Reads

Woohoo! Weekend! I have so many exciting things planned! Okay, I’m totally lying. I think we all know what I’ll be up to.

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Well, I’ll probably be doing some other stuff because my husband will likely drag me somewhere, but the bulk of my weekend is really reserved for reading. Because I have a challenge to win…

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..and really - whether you’re a Kindleworm like me or one of those hardcore, old school paper book people, nothing beats a good book.

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I must say for the record, though, that despite this infographic, I really don’t get people who prefer paper books to e-readers.

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What’s the thrill? They’re so bulky and heavy! And what is this “book smell” paper-book-readers always speak of so dreamily? That’s just dust and DEAD TREES, man. :)

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But well, to each his/her own, I guess. Anyhoo, if you’re looking for something to read this weekend, here are some pretty good picks from my recent reads.

Note: Please bear in mind that I don’t read anything that is too complicated. Neither do I read SAD or war-type or overly violent or soul-crushing books. Because I read to relax, and I find reading to be a great escape, and I just don’t think it makes any sense to escape into a world that is MORE STRESSFUL AND/OR MISERABLE than your own. So there. If you want more highbrow reading, please look elsewhere. :)

Here goes…

Non- Fiction: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

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I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Allie’s blog a couple of times before, because I ADORE HER. I think she’s one of the funniest people on the Internet. So it was pretty much a given that I’d snatch this up ASAP and love it to pieces. It’s just like the blog — in fact some of the chapters are directly lifted from the blog - so if the blog makes you LOL, then the book will too. 

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I’ll admit I could’ve done without a couple of the chapters, but it’s more hit than miss, and I like that you can put it down and pick it up again whenever you have time or want a good giggle. So yeah, go grab it. It’s a keeper. 

Fantasy: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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I almost abandoned this book early on despite the fact that I’m a pretty creepy Neil Gaiman fan

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.. because GAH! It seemed kind of sad! Come on!! It starts with the kid hero’s birthday party — which NO ONE ATTENDS?? Crap, man. I hate that kind of shiz. If you read my post about Bob and the Tide commercial, you’ll know this. Sad kids kill me!

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But I read on anyway because Neil Gaiman’s writing is just so… delicious and lyrical and mind-bending, and I immediately got sucked into the story. It’s fascinating and somewhat terrifying, and yes, a little sad but also heroic and hopeful and omg… just read it already.

New Adult: On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young

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I’ve already mentioned my love-hate relationship with new adult novels before. They’re like the bad boys they usually feature — I can’t stand most of them, but I can’t for the life of me stay away from them.

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This particular series by Samantha Young is pretty good though, with all the elements that make NA so gripping (hot alpha male/man-ho, steamy sexytimes, gut-wrenching angst, etc) but just the right amounts without going over the top.

I also like that all the books are connected, but can easily stand alone. I actually read the 3rd one (Before Jamaica Lane) first, then just went backwards to read the others because I wanted to find out how everyone else in the gang got together. 

Aaand that’s it for now. As always, if you have any good book recommendations, bring ‘em on! I’m particularly interested in funny and/or squee-worthy stories. 

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Happy reading and resting, friends! 

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Image credits: Metro.Us (for the H&H book) and DenofGeek.com for The Ocean at the End of the Lane. 

Can You Really Be (Platonic) BFFs with Someone of the Opposite Sex?

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I spent the entire weekend in bed, which probably sounds disgusting, but I’m not even a little bit ashamed. I was pretty sick, so I have an excuse, but even if I hadn’t been sick I would’ve probably done the same. Because I’m a SLOTH like that.

Anyway I read 6 or 7 books, all of them pretty good…

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But I think my fave of the weekend was Frigid by J. Lynn

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And not just because I like anything Jennifer Armentrout (a.k.a. J. Lynn) writes, but also because I JUST LOVE IT when best friends fall in love with each other. It’s so my new favorite storyline. (Yes, I’m kind of over the whole rock star thing.)

So okay, you can read the synopsis over at Amazon, but here’s the gist of the story:

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Totally enjoyed it, I must say, so go read it. (Well, unless you’re like, under 18 because it’s another of those New Adult books with supersteamy scenes.)

And then this morning I read about this new blog called Forty Days of Dating. (Here’s the video. Tbh I don’t get it — but maybe that’s because I stopped watching when the RATS came out. Because RATS!! Gross. How they weren’t flailing their arms around and shrieking in terror, I have no idea.)

Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. Tim is afraid of commitment, often dating many girls at once, and he’s losing sight of what a healthy relationship means. Jessica is a hopeless romantic, jumping into relationships too quickly, always looking to find “the one.”

It’s been said that it takes 40 days to change a bad habit. In an attempt to explore and hopefully overcome their fears and inadequacies, Tim and Jessica will go through the motions of a relationship for the next 40 days: the commitment, time, companionship, joys and frustrations. Can they help each other, or will they fall into their same habits? Will they damage their friendship? What if they fall in love?

OMG. Doesn’t it just sound like a real-life rom-com?  I’m so reading that blog tonight.  And given my “BFFs in love are the bestest thing EVAR!" gushing earlier in this post, I think we all know where I want this experiment to go.

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Will they? Only time will tell, I guess… but COME ON. Don’t tell me they didn’t already like each other a little bit when they decided to date for forty days, right? 

Anyway it got me wondering — is it even possible for a guy and a girl to be just BFFs and NOT get together? Or at the very least not seriously wonder and want to explore the possibility of being together?

Honestly, I don’t think so.

Please note, it’s highly possible that I just think this way because I’ve been there and done that in the past. Aaaand kind of ruined a perfectly wonderful opposite-sex best friendship in the process.. 

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So yeah, I could be biased.

What do YOU think? I’m really curious.

The thing is, I think that when you’re best friends with someone of the opposite sex, it becomes way too easy to progress into something more. You already love each other. You’re exclusive, in a way. You’re committed to your relationship. You support each other. You’re pretty intimate with each other, if not physically then at least mentally and spiritually.

If you think about it, it’s almost like a marriage… minus the sexytimes. Which is why I think the romantic and/or physical elements (or thoughts of them — and the emotions that come along with that) inevitably become a question mark or confusion-causer at some point.  

Am I wrong here? Has anyone ever had an opposite-sex BFF that they just NEVER thought of that way? 

If you just raised your hand and said “ME! ME!” - here’s my response…

… but like I said, I’m biased, so don’t mind me. :)

I’ll be the first to admit that having friends of the opposite sex is great (and necessary!). But when you elevate one to Best Friend status, I just wonder if it really is possible to keep it purely platonic. 

What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?  Let’s discuss. The comments are open. :)

What I’m Reading This Week: Every Single Kelly Oram Book Out There

I think I’m finally over my crazy New Adult novel phase, because really — there’s only so much sex and stress a reader can take.

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And I wasn’t really in the mood to read any of the books I’m reviewing for Netgalley, so I opted for The Avery Shaw Experiment - a light, easy teen-romance-type read - thinking I could just put it down and fall asleep whenever I wanted. 

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Okay, SO NOT THE CASE. It was just too adorable.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon.

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically. 

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

Hee! So kiligI was like this until 2am.

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Also, like this, because her characters are pretty hilarious.

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I know, I know, I’m WAY too old for this type of teen romance shiz, but I don’t care. After reading The Avery Shaw Experiment, I’m totally grabbing all of Kelly Oram’s other books. 

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(Photo c/o http://glitterintheairamm.blogspot.com)

So yeah, if you’re looking for a light, funny, squee-filled read, go check Kelly Oram out. Or whatever, get your daughter to check her out, if your tastes are little more mature than mine. :) 

What are YOU reading right now? Let me know!

Happy reading!


p.s. I actually already read Serial Hottie. In fact that’s how I discovered Kelly Oram in the first place. My friend Ledz had given it a 2-star rating, and since we never like the same books, I was all “AHA!!”

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And true enough, I did. :)  Enjoy!

The Eternity Cure, and Controlling Our Inner Demons

I’m really behind on my book reviews for Netgalley, so I decided that yesterday would be totally dedicated to reading. Because Saturday is “Cycle of Sloth” day after all. 

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That plan was a bit of a bust, though, because for some reason I just couldn’t tear myself away from the Internet. I spent a good part of the morning wondering WTH is up with Amanda Bynes

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Seriously, she used to be so adorable. I want someone to fix her. 

And then from there I just kind of went a little crazy online shopping. Because American holiday sales are like CRACK, and I’m a sucker for promos and coupon codes.

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This was just the beginning of the spree. One link led to another, and soon I was not only shopping-crazed, but also delusional. I’m pretty sure I’ll kick myself when some of those deliveries arrive.

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Anyhoo, I eventually got to my Kindle by late afternoon to finish The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa - which I actually started about a month ago

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I don’t know why the hell it took me so long to read it, but some new NA novels got in the way — and when you’re on New Adult novel mode, it’s a little difficult to get into the groove for YA Vampire-Dystopia. 

So don’t let the fact that it took me a month to finish this book put you off.  It’s not Julie, it’s me.  I actually really liked this sequel to The Immortal Rules. In fact I liked it even better than the first book. Well, except for that MOFO of a cliffhanger ending. 

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Seriously, you’re evil, Julie Kagawa. 

Anyway, you can read the synopsis on Amazon or whatever, but basically the story is about Allie the reluctant teenage vamp, who has to find her sire Kanin (LOL.You have to be Filipino to find this name funny.) — because the batshit-crazy vamp who took him prisoner has the cure to a deadly disease that’s killing both vamps and humans.

So she goes off on this quest, joined by her sarcastic and slightly evil vamp brother Jackal (also sired by Kanin, and hands down the most amusing character in the story) and her human love interest Zeke. 

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Now I won’t tell you what happens, of course, but I will tell you why I Iiked the book so much. 

It doesn’t romanticize vampires, like other vamp books do

As entertaining as paranormal romance can sometimes be, I can never really be fully on board because I’m always like “WTH?  He’s a thousand years old! You’re a teenager! Plus he’s dead! Eeew!

In Julie’s Blood of Eden series, vamps are monsters, and everyone knows it. It’s a problem — as it should be, you crazy Twilight-lovers.

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All throughout the book, Allie has to struggle to control her inner demon, and I like how the book shows that this can be done when you’re with the right people, and that it’s the human qualities - and not the supernatural powers or badass fighting skills - that make the characters strong and admirable.  

Because if you really think about it, we all have inner demons. They might not involve wanting to rip people’s throats and drink their blood, but they can make monsters out of us nevertheless. For some people, the demon is fear. For others, pride or anger or envy. For some, an addiction to online shopping…

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Whatevs. We all have a beast within. And it’s good to be reminded once in a while that it doesn’t have to consume us. Given the right motivation, and the willingness and determination to fight it, we can overcome whatever makes us less than human.

So thanks, Julie Kagawa. Now hurry up and finish the next book in the series, or I may have to kill you. :)

Weekend Away, and What I’ll Be Reading

I’m off to Subic for the weekend, because my cousins Tina and Uey are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary there. 

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(They actually used this drawing for their invitation. :))

So… sorry, no blogging this weekend. I’ll be busy. And quite possibly drunk. Heehee! 

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Anyway, while I’m gone I’ll also be reading some new advance-copy books I got from Netgalley, that I’m kind of excited about because they’re by authors I really like. Hee! Netgalley really is the best website ever.

Here’s what I’ll be reading this weekend (if I am sober enough to concentrate): 

1. The Eternity Cure - out on April 30

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The Eternity Cure is the sequel to The Immortal Rules, so if you haven’t read that yet, go ahead and get it first. To be honest, I like Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey Series better, but this vampire-dystopian series (IKR? Sounds really off :)) is pretty good too. Julie Kagawa is a gem.

2. Tremble - out on May 7

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I bought Touch - the first book in this series - on Amazon because it was on sale or something (can’t remember), and I liked it so much more than I expected to. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the story unfolds. Although I wish I could un-see that girl on the cover, because she looks kind of annoying, and the girl in the book sounds so much better.

3. Gameboard of the Gods - out on June 4

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I read everything Richelle Mead writes, so this is a no-brainer. This is a standalone, so no need to read anything else first, but if you’ve never read her other books - go grab ‘em. All very enjoyable.

Reviews to follow, either here or on Goodreads. ;)

Okay that’s it, gotta fly. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Fun Find: The Facebook Diet by Gemini Adams

I’ve been writing about Facebook a lot recently, so a friend on Twitter recommended that I check out The Facebook Diet by Gemini Adams

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Award-winning author and illustrator, Gemini Adams, inspires us to examine the health of our high-tech habits in this entertaining gift book with a tongue-in-cheek look at our love of social media. 

Featuring a series of 50 hilarious cartoons that complete the question, “You Know You’re a Facebook Addict When…?” Adams cleverly illustrates the more idiotic, embarrassing and cringe-worthy behaviors of our social networking excess.  - Amazon

Luckily I was able to score a copy on Netgalley (because Netgalley is the best website EVER) and I finally read it a while ago while scarfing down a really sad diet lunch.

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I finished in like 10 minutes — both the sad food AND the book.

I have to say, the book was pretty adorable (the food, not so much). I loved all the “You know you’re a Facebook addict when…” cartoons — even though some were a little too exagg, and others I just really couldn’t relate to. Like all the ones about poking. (Honestly, WHO STILL POKES THESE DAYS? Shame on you. That’s so 2009.) Anyway, here’s a sample cartoon c/o HuffPo. Too cute. ;)

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I also have to say, however, that I was a little disappointed when I finished it, because it really didn’t teach me anything new. If you’re looking to find insights and useful suggestions to address Facebook addiction and other related issues (like Facebook envy, etc), this is not the book you want.  You may prefer to just read this article on Psychology Today instead

Some of the “unplugging”/Facebook detox suggestions in the book were fine, but some were just plain weird. 

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There was also another one about training to be a private detective so you can just stalk people in real life - which was pretty funny, but again… not very helpful.

Now it really bugs me to death when I handle a topic humorously on my blog and then people with no sense of humor start hatin’ on it…

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…so I’ll quit with the nega-talk and just say that if you do get this book, bear in mind that it’s meant to amuse, and that’s it. Manage your expectations and just enjoy the illustrations. Because they’re adorable.

I personally think this book would make a great gift for anyone who spends a little too much time on Facebook, and it’s pretty cheap (less than $6 on Amazon for the paperback copy, which comes out on April 25th) — so go for it, and enjoy!


Note: The Kindle version is available now, but I wouldn’t really recommend it.  It displayed okay on my Kindle Touch (no color though) but when I tried to view it in the Kindle app on my iPad so I could view in full color, the formatting was a little weird.