Happy Christmas and New Year!

I’m still on a sort of hiatus from the blog, but I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Happy Christmas (if you celebrate it), and a 2016 full of love and blessings. 🎄🎁🎇💕

Despite my busy schedule, I did still manage to complete my 2015 Reading Challenge, so if you’re looking for book ratings and reviews, please do check out my Goodreads account.  I hope to be more active in posting here next year.  See you again soon! 😺

Storm (and Statue) Chasin’

We attended the second of Prof. Ambeth Ocampo’s “History Comes Alive” lectures at the Ayala Museum last week. The topic was Apolinario Mabini, and I definitely learned a lot from the lecture. I seem to have slept through my old history classes, unfortunately, because there were a lot of things that were new to me, like this one:

and this

Anyway, a book always comes with our ticket to the lectures, and this time, we got Prof. Ocampo’s newest volume of the “Looking Back” series of essay collections.

Storm Chasers signed

Aside from a very informative essay on actual historical Pinoy storm chasers and the origins of institutions like the Manila Observatory and PAGASA, the piece that I gravitated to the most was “Tolentino’s Oblation”. Being a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, this really sparked my interest because, sadly, I know so little about the icon of my alma mater.

Apparently, the model of the statue was not Fernando Poe Sr. and it used to be completely naked until the President of the University back then asked Tolentino to cover its family jewels. I was also surprised to learn that the Oblation standing in front of the admin building is just a replica, and that the original used to be kept in one of the rooms in the upper floors of the Main Library! I spent a lot of time in the reading rooms of the Main Library because I found it more relaxing than the Engineering Library, where everyone always seemed to be frantically studying and studying and studying. Not that I didn’t study in the library, but there seemed to be a lot more nervous energy in Melchor Hall. Plus the Main Lib was where the fiction books were. (Now you know my priorities.) 😄

It’s just a bit disappointing that I didn’t even know this when I was still a student. Although, come to think of it, even if I knew about this back then, I would have had to convince some friends to come with me because the sight of the stairs going up beyond the reading room floors used to give me the chills.

I hope to get a chance to see the original Oblation some time.

Next up in the “History Comes Alive” series — Juan Luna: Face-to-Face on August 30.

~*~*~*~

Add “Storm Chasers” to your Goodreads shelf:

goodreads add

Bookmark Monday #14: Brilliant Minds

b438b-bookmark-mondayA segue before getting to the actual Bookmark Monday stuff: I haven’t posted in a while because my brain seems to want to take a break from writing about books and just concentrate on actually reading them, and also to just keep watching K-dramas instead of blogging about them. 😄 This has resulted in a bad case of procrastinating on blog posts that I wanted to actually write, and on articles that needed to be submitted like…ages ago. o_O So, apologies to those who have been waiting for the result of the “Hush Hush” giveaway. I will post the results sometime this week.

On to the actual Bookmark Monday post!

A few weeks ago, Leia and I had a “Museum Day With The Neffy-poos” at The Mind Museum in Taguig. It was tiring (we cannot compete with the boundless energy of young boys) but it was fun!

One of my favorite interactive exhibits is Literature-related.

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I could swear my heart rate sped up a bit because of that excerpt from D.H. Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers”…

Anyway, after roaming around for several hours, we passed by the Museum Store on our way out. We spotted these super cute magnetic bookmarks at the Museum Shop, and of course I could not resist buying them for my bookmark collection. I just wish they had more designs available, and therefore more featured scientists.

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FOR SCIENCE! 😉


Bookmark Monday is hosted by Guiltless Reading.

“Where She Went (If I Stay #2)” by Gayle Forman

wswWHERE SHE WENT (IF I STAY #2)
Author: Gayle Forman
Read Date: 6 January 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s been three years since the devastating accident–three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future—and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

So I gave this one a 5 out of 5 stars, and I will be honest–I think at least one star out of that 5 had to do with me being happy about this installment after the depressing, gut-wrenching, sucker-punching, heart-piercing cry-fest that was “If I Stay”, and I mean all of that in a very flattering way.

I’ll be your mess, you be mine
That was the deal that we had signed
--“Messy”: Collateral Damage, Track 2

This is one of those “another point-of-view” stories–we get to read Adam’s this time–but Forman took a different approach compared to what other YA/NA authors did (e.g. Tahereh Mafi, Keira Cass, even Stephenie Meyer). Instead of an alternate POV of the same scene or event, Forman opted to continue the story but to tell it from Adam’s perspective. “Where She Went” continues Mia’s and Adam’s stories three years after the end of “If I Stay”. I liked this approach because it felt like I was reading both a new story and a sequel at the same time, and Forman was able to write it in such a way that it didn’t feel disjointed from “If I Stay”.

Despite his angst and rock-star emo-ness, I found Adam easier to read than Mia, but maybe this is partly because Adam did not have the spectre of death looming over him. And also, by the time Mia and Adam finally meet again, I was almost completely on Adam’s side and was ready to declare Mia persona non grata…well, at least until she had the chance to explain herself.

You crossed the water, left me ashore
It killed me enough, but you wanted more
You blew up the bridge, a mad terrorist
Waved from your side, threw me a kiss
I started to follow but realized too late
There was nothing but air underneath my feet
--“Bridge”: Collateral Damage, Track 4

One of the strengths of both “Where She Went” and “If I Stay” is the measured pace of the characters’ development through a very effective use of flashbacks, musical references, familiar emotional beats, and in the case of “Where She Went”, the song lyrics that Adam wrote for Shooting Star’s hit album. As I read through the books, I felt like the characters were…tangible–I felt like I knew them so well and could relate to them a lot even if I’m not even close to being as talented as Mia nor as famous as Adam.

Someone wake me when it’s over
When the evening silence softens golden
Just lay me on a bed of clover
Oh, I need help with this burden
--“Hush”: Collateral Damage, Track 13

Speaking of the lyrics, during Forman’s signing here in the Philippines, I asked her if she ever thought of completing the lyrics of the songs in “Collateral Damage:, and if she ever thought of having someone produce the album. She said that the lyrics were some of the hardest parts of the book to write, so she doesn’t plan on writing the full songs.

She also revealed that in the movie adaptation of “If I Stay”, the producers recruited actual musicians to act as Shooting Star, and that the members actually bonded and tended to practice playing music together. The music supervisors also produced actual songs for the band, and some will even be included in the movie’s soundtrack.

First you inspect me
Then you dissect me
Then you reject me
I wait for the day
That you’ll resurrect me
--“Animate”: Collateral Damage, Track 1

If these 2 books were a kind of music, then, appropriately enough, “If I Stay” would be a mournful solo cello piece, and “Where She Went” would definitely be a rock anthem that will bring the crowd to its feet.

❆ ❆ ❆
Related Reviews:

“If I Stay (If I Stay #1)” by Gayle Forman

If I StayIF I STAY (IF I STAY #1)
Author:
Gayle Forman
Read Date: 5 January 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

Disclosure: “If I Stay” has been recommended to me so many times already, but I only read it now because National Book Store announced that Gayle Forman is coming to the Philippines on January 18. Back when I got my first recommendation and I read the synopsis, I felt like it might hit a little too close to home, so I didn’t read it.

Well, it did hit very close to home in more ways than one, and while it was a very good story and I loved it, this will go on my “do not re-read if you value your sanity” list. But it’s not you, Gayle Forman; it’s me.

I loved how Forman wrote Mia and everyone around her; they come across as real people, as if they could have been my next-door neighbors. (Although, sadly, my real neighbors aren’t as cool.)

I also loved how she fleshed out Mia’s life and relationships in between her critical moments after the accident. This highlighted the stark contrast between Mia’s almost fairy tale life pre-accident and her current condition. I was rooting for Mia to pull through, of course, but the contrast was so great that Mia’s internal conflict was very much justified, and readers can sympathize with her even if we are very much alive. And her conflict is also important when we get to reading “Where She Went”.

This book really put me on an emotional roller-coaster as very few books have before. I honestly think that may even be the reason why I can’t give this a straight up 5 stars, even though, again, it’s no fault of Forman’s.

Those roller-coaster moments are too personal for the internet, but I can say I hit rock bottom in this book when I got to the part where Mia’s grandfather whispered to her that it’s okay if she wanted to go. I had to say that to someone once in my life in the same situation, and I don’t think I can do it again.

I immediately read “Where She Went” after this, and I think I loved that book more because Adam’s angst and his battle with life was such a welcome read after Mia’s (and all the other characters’, come to think of it) battle with death.

I recommend “If I Stay” to…well, to just about anyone. Except those who are very depressed; stay away. 😛

Now I’m gonna go watch “WINNER TV”. Nothing like a bunch of cute and dorky boys singing and doing dorky things to make me forget about this post.

2013 Retrospective: Books

This is so late. 😦 Work has been very hectic lately, what with my new responsibilities and management changes in the company. But I finally have a couple of hours to spare to get more pending blog posts out of the way.

★ ★ ★

Actually, I already posted a list of my favorite books of 2013 via my GMA News Online year-ender: ‘Daig mo pa ang telenovela’ award and more for the best books in 2013.

I read a few more books that didn’t make that list, though. Some were not released in 2013 either. But for what it’s worth, here are a few more honorable mentions:

  1. “The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)” by Maggie Stiefvater – I love Maggie Stiefvater because her writing is so evocative and she creates very interesting characters. “The Raven Boys”, the first book in this new series, was good, but “The Dream Thieves” is even better. This one has more magic, more action, more character development (particularly for Ronan), and some forward momentum in the romance department. If “The Scorpio Races” deserves an award for the Most Romantic Non-I-Love-You Confession, this one deserves the Most Romantic Non-Kiss Award.
  2. “Unseen Moon” by Eliza Victoria – Horror and suspense are not my favorite genres, but Victoria really impressed me with this collection of short stories, and this made me a fan of her writing. Favorite stories: “The Viewless Dark”, “The Ghosts of Sinagtala” (not recommended for scaredy-cats), and “December”.
  3. “Pacific Rims” by Rafe Bartholomew – This was published a few years ago, but it’s relevant again this year because of Bartholomew’s mini-series in the National Geographic Channel called “Pinoy Hoops”. But hey, really, the book will always be relevant, I think, because we will probably always be a basketball-crazy nation. Bartholomew’s writing is also very engaging, and his anecdotes are fun to read, whether you are a basketball fan or not. He’s one of the authors I would really love to meet sometime.
  4. “Monstress” by Lysley Tenorio – I surprised myself by reading a lot of Filipiniana this year, and several of them focus on the immigrant experience. What stands-out about “Monstress” is the hints of secret histories and a very subtle touch of fantasy that frame what may otherwise just have been run-of-the-mill stories about being a Filipino living in another country.
  5. Kresley Cole’s “Immortals After Dark” series – This probably deserves a separate blog post. 🙂

Here’s a list of the other titles I read last year, as listed in Goodreads: click! My 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge target was 52 titles, which I thankfully passed and even exceeded, thanks to my impromptu Crazy Kresley Cole Holiday Readathon (more on that later). My 2014 target is still 52 titles because I don’t trust myself to not get into another reading slump.

I also met a lot of authors this year (Thank you, National Book Store!), some of whom, I interviewed and wrote about.

Author Mina V. Esguerra also invited me to participate in the audio commentary of her “Interim Goddess of Love” trilogy, which is really good, you guys, so read them! 😉

It looks like 2014 will be another busy Bookworm Year, beginning with the author visits of Gayle Forman and Mitch Albom.

This year, I hope to be able to do more concrete things to further my reading advocacy. Back in 2012, when I wrote about a public high school book club’s challenges, I was thankful that that story paved the way for an NGO to donate books to the school. I really hope I will be able to do something more.

Happy new year, bookish friends! \(^o^)/

The “Don’t Forget The Soap” Blog Tour: Book Review

DFtSHeader2

Don't Forget the Soap Book CoverDON’T FORGET THE SOAP (AND OTHER REMINDERS FROM MY FABULOUS FILIPINA MOTHER)
Author:
Marie Claire Lim Moore
Read Date: 25 November 2013
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

At the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”

Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.

I normally shy away from reading any form of memoir by someone I do not know or recognize. But it’s not them; it’s me. I have nothing against people who write memoirs, but I don’t want to be reminded of just how boring my childhood was (gasp! this will put me on Ms. Moore’s and Mrs. Lim’s hit lists, but seriously if my life were any more interesting, I would have already joined the ranks of people who have written said memoirs), of all the regrets, and of how far I’ve come compared to other people near my age (not very far at all, no.)

But I decided to lock the cynicism inside the closet for a while and join this blog tour because after reading the synopsis of the book:

  1. I got curious about how someone who was born abroad can have “the immigrant experience”;
  2. If an author can admit that some of what she wrote is corny, she sounds like someone I’d like to get to know more;
  3. I really wanted to know more about that titular soap;
  4. Regulating Christmas sounds like something I should be implementing with my nephew;
  5. No, really. The soap. Really.

And it was worth making this book an exception. Who knew I’d be getting something like “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, but a Filipino version, with cultural quirks and situations that I can relate with?

It was interesting to read about how what we experience here in the Philippines is very similar to the experiences of those who were born abroad to Filipino families and communities.

And it was great to read about what it’s like at the other end of the balikbayan box odyssey, considering I’ve only ever been on the receiving end. Certainly, I knew my aunts lived by similar rules like “Don’t Forget The Soap” (they also practiced Don’t Forget The Silverware and Always Bring A Ziploc To A Crab Leg Buffet), being vigilant of yearly department store sales and buying in bulk, and being able to make one packet of Swiss Miss go a long way.

More than the familiar anecdotes, though, I appreciated that Ms. Moore shared all those other invaluable insights her mother taught them. What resonated with me were:

  1. How Balance is important in everything and how it can save you a lot of stress.
  2. As a corollary to Balance, how important taking on challenges and playing to your strengths at the same time can be.
  3. Give back and don’t forget the people who have touched your life.
  4. There’s no need to wait to do what you’ve always wanted to do just because your plate seems full. Just manage your time. (Maybe easier said than done, but I guess there’s no need to wait to try to implement this either.)
  5. Regulate Christmas. *evil laugh*
  6. All the parenting tips.

I also appreciated how earnestly written this book was. And it seems that all the “Tone it down a notch” advice and efforts to un-corny-fy the stories worked, but I can still feel the author’s sincere admiration for the people she wrote about, especially her mother.

I don’t know about other readers, but personally, I deem a book based on personal stories a success when it makes me feel like the author is someone that I would like to meet in person, whether it be to get the chance to talk to them more over coffee or to perhaps give them a satisfying punch in the face (it happens). In this case, I think I’ll leave the punching to Manny Pacquiao.

☼☼☼❤☼☼☼

 
If you haven’t read “Don’t Forget The Soap” yet, you can check out the following links:

DON’T FORGET THE SOAPGoodreadsOrder via AmazonOrder the E-book

To know more about MARIE CLAIRE LIM MOORE, visit her on: Twitter.

Visit BOOK JUNKIE BLOG TOURS for other exciting book tours!
 

Time Out for TV: Gratuitous Picture of Yourself 0001 / “Dal Ja’s Spring (2007)”

Me too, Sleepy Kitty Cat. Me too. a.k.a. Gratuitous Picture of Myself After About 8 hours of Dramathoning “Dal Ja’s Spring”.

“Dal Ja’s Spring 달자의 봄” is a Korean drama released in 2007. Mother Monster Mabs recommended it to me a while back, but I only took it up last weekend when I didn’t have any other new episodes to watch because my internet connection was being a snail again.

Synopsis (Dramawiki): ‘Dalja’s Spring’ is the story of Dalja, a 33-year old single at a crossroad of whether to remain single or get married before she gets older. The drama aims to comically and candidly portray the reality and undying pursuit of romance of a thirty something single woman. The drama also highlights the life and work of women in their thirties through Dalja who is a talented managing director at a home shopping channel.

I enjoyed watching this drama very much because the story is a familiar one that I can empathize and sympathize with. Dal Ja’s story and her circumstances and her feelings will not be alien to a certain demographic of women, me included. These days, while many women are striving to build careers, the pressure to marry or even just to be in a relationship is ever present. But if you will watch this, you have to be open to how different the rules and perceptions of Korean society and culture are, though. If you will hold the characters to your own standards, then I don’t think it’ll be easy to enjoy the story.

Writer Kang Eun-kyung can be very blunt when she is trying to hammer in some of the character points, such as Dal Ja’s dilemma about her age and her relationship status. I know that’s the entire crux of the drama, but it felt like she got whinier and whinier about it. And we had 22 episodes to get through! 22 episodes, which felt like it should really have been 20 or even 18. I wouldn’t be surprised if this got an extension back then.

I am not sure if it’s because of hindsight and because I’ve watched too many dramas for my own good, but the plot was predictable. Again, not surprising. considering this is from the same writer who gave us “Baker King: Kim Tak Gu”. In the 3 dramas she wrote that I’ve watched, I was only ever surprised–story-wise–by what she did in the last few episodes of “Gu Family Book (a.k.a. Kang Chi: The Beginning, a.k.a. The Love Story of Kang Chi)”, and not in a good way.

But the thing about predictability and overall ridiculousness that Writer Kang does well, though, is when she decides to go in that direction, she goes all the way. At least we get a consistent story in terms of the tone and what we can expect from the characters.

Speaking of tone, I like that even though Dal Ja experiences a lot of drama in her life, the show doesn’t devolve into crying fits and mopiness and gloom and doom. I like that we get narrations which provide insight into Dal Ja’s thoughts, although it’s not that hard to read her. And I also love the humor and the meta and the camp and the overall artsy aesthetic of the show.

d200702150348ge1

There were a lot of super cute and hilarious and warm moments in the show, and there are characters you do get attached to, like the Ice Queen Wee Seon-joo, Dal Ja’s loveable Grandma, and the Cross-Between-Snape-and-Ms.-Trunchbull Team Manager Kang. The ending is tied up neatly, which is okay, but every single character was redeemed, which was…well, just a little too perfect. (Yeah, yeah, the fickle mind of a Drama Fan: damn you if it’s a messy ending, and damn you if it’s too neat.)

Chae Rim was great as Dal Ja, and the other actors were okay, too. I can’t decide whether I like Lee Min-ki’s performance here, though. His character is certainly charming, and he himself has quite an appeal, but he won’t win acting awards in my book for this; I liked him better in “Chilling Romance”. I did root for his character the entire time, though.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 yellow roses

The “Cover (Story) Girl” Blog (De)Tour: Review and Scoring the Book

CSGHeader

Cover Story Girl Book CoverCOVER (STORY) GIRL
Author:
Chris Mariano
Read Date: September 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.

So this blog tour made a detour back here, and this time, I’m posting my review of “Cover (Story) Girl”.

It is more difficult for me to review novellas compared to full-length novels because my reading list for the past few years consisted mostly of novel series. I’ve taken a liking to reading about a lot of story details, and I’ve learned to be patient when reading about how character relationships play out. And so when I read novellas, I feel like it operates on a different time frame, and more often than not, I feel like things are rushed, especially when it comes to the development of relationships.

That’s exactly how I felt for most of “Cover (Story) Girl”—that things moved a little too fast for our couple. Considering that Min Hee is from a different country and culture, I felt like Gio should have had a little more of a challenge adjusting to Min Hee, and vice-versa.

I’m not averse to a whirlwind romance in a romance novella, of all things, but because of the character profiles, I expected that Min Hee’s foreign-ness would have played more of a part as a challenge in the relationship than her mysterious circumstances. This would have “slowed” things down a little for them (emotionally, perhaps, more than time-wise), and the development would have felt more natural. But that’s just me. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Korean dramas that I already half-expect there to be a lot of roadblocks in romance plot lines, and for someone to push for extra episodes to prolong the agony if the ratings are high enough.

I did not feel Min Hee’s foreign-ness much, actually. The author has said that because it was difficult to get into Min Hee’s mindset as a foreigner, she wrote the character with a lot of caution, and it looks like this is how that caution became most evident. But, on hindsight, I’d rather have this cautious writing of the character than a forced, unbearably awkward caricature.

I did enjoy reading this story very much despite the above. It was well-written and fun and peppered with a lot of cute moments.

I love that Boracay felt like another character, so much so that the island seems more…real than how some other travel documentaries and blogs describe it. Believe it or not, I haven’t been to Boracay, but how it is described in this novella is probably how I will expect it to be if I finally get the chance to visit. I suppose the love that I can feel Gio has for the place reflects the author’s own love for her hometown; it’s a nice feeling to get from reading a book.

As was already obvious from my author interview, Chris Mariano and I share an interest in Korean entertainment. I appreciated all the references to dramas and music, celebrities and the fan culture. Fellow fans will surely spot all the meta, but for those who aren’t, those references serve to build Min Hee’s world a little more.

I also like that this was written from the guy’s perspective. It’s hard to resist using fan-ish fiction defaults even when writing original stories, so this could just as easily have been a foreign-guy-meets-a-local-girl thing. I’m glad it’s different because man, the climactic scene was worthy of a k-drama, and it wouldn’t have had the same effect otherwise.

My song choice as the book’s theme music/musical score is, of course, by a Korean artist and one of my favorite bands: Nell. People who have been reading this blog for a while now will be familiar with how much I like this band; I’ve used their song for a Scoring the Book post before.

The song is called “Beautiful Stranger”, and it’s sung entirely in English, so I’m not going to link to translations anymore. Enjoy!

Safe
I barely know you,
but yet I feel secure when I’m with you.

Strange
I don’t even know you,
but yet I feel so strong and bold when I’m with you.

My beautiful stranger.

☼☼☼❤☼☼☼

 
If you haven’t read “Cover (Story) Girl” yet, you can check out the following links:

COVER (STORY) GIRLGoodreadsOrder via AmazonOrder via Smashwords

To know more about CHRIS MARIANO, visit her at the following sites: FicsationTwitterGoodreadsTumblr

Visit BOOK JUNKIE BLOG TOURS for other exciting book tours!
 
 

The “Cover (Story) Girl” Blog Tour: Author Interview and Giveaway

CSGHeader
 

Cover Story Girl Book Cover1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.

As of this writing, there is a tropical depression that’s moving nearer and nearer to where I am in the Philippines, so it’s been raining for the past few days.

Chris Mariano’s “Cover (Story) Girl” is the perfect book to read on days like these because it’s set in sunshiney Boracay Island. Not that it never rains there, but…well, reading the book is like entering a portal to a place where the lovely weather never changes. I’m so envious of all the fun things the characters got to do, the yummy food they ate (calamansi muffins!), and of course, the sea, the sea! I’m pretty sure that if we had the chance to ask her, Min Hee would say that falling in love is more fun in the Philippines. 😉

I’m sharing my Q&A with Chris below. I’m also including my comments and reactions to her answers, as well as additional questions which I never got to ask her / tell her as I would during a face-to-face interview. Feel free to join in the conversation via the Comments section. 🙂

Continue reading

Alibi

Today’s Alibi for not blogging for days: The non-stop rains for the past 5 days finally caused a flood that came to about 1.5 feet high in the first floor of our house, and about 3-4 feet at street level. Cleanup is a bitch. (Also, my Tumblr dash was flooded by many, many fandom related posts. I’ve been staring at too many LJS magazine photoshoots, I may have lost track of a few hours. I know, I know, this particular alibi is worse than “My dog ate my homework”, but it’s better than posting a senseless book review because you’re distracted.) ♫ Now Playing: “Two Weeks” OST — “Run” (Nell); “Love Leaves” (Ahn Ye-seul); “The Day You Come” (Yoo Seung-woo)