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.

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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^)/

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New Year Giveaway Winner!

My New Year Giveaway closed last Saturday, and I’ve consulted the mysterious, oracular Random List Generator.

So who’s going to have a Frost-y January?

Okay then, an even Frost-ier January, considering it’s been chilly these past few days.

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Congratulations, Paw! You win a copy of “Kiss of Frost” and “Dark Frost” by Jennifer Estep. Please wait for the confirmation e-mail to find out how you can get your prize. 🙂

Thanks to all those who joined or who showed interest in this giveaway. I already have the next one lined-up for next month, and it’s gonna be a special one, just in time for Valentine’s Day. ❤ Please watch out for that!

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In the meantime, I hope you have started making a dent on your 2013 Reading Goals.

I’ve re-started “The Eye of the World” because I’ve long forgotten the few pages I read last year:

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I also finished 1 out of the 6 books in John Green’s Back List:

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This is how my 2013 Reading Challenge progress looks:

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Actually, I’m probably just 2 books ahead because this counts the 2 novellas I read as 1 book each.

I hope all those with reading goals are doing just as well or much better. 🙂

New Year Giveaway: Mythos Academy #2-3 by Jennifer Estep

NOTE: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for joining!

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Happy New Year, fellow bookworms!

If you’re familiar with Chinese astrology, 2013 is the year of the Snake–my year!–and I want to start it right. So for my very first post this year, I’m hosting a giveaway!

MECHANICS:

  1. Answer this question in the Comments: What are your reading goals for 2013? This does not mean just how many books you plan to read this year–though that’s included–but also other specific goals you want to pursue, like finally reading a particular book, starting a particular series, reading a non-English book (hey, nothing is impossible), reading something by a particular author…that kind of goal.
  2. Post a link to this giveaway in your social network accounts and/or your personal blogs. Include the permalink/URL of your social network post/blog entry in your comment. This time, I’ll count just one entry per person no matter how many times you post a link to the giveaway. However, your entry will not be valid without at least one linkback. 🙂
  3. The winner will receive a trade paperback copy of “Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy #2)” and “Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3)” by Jennifer Estep.
     

    “The Mythos Academy books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. Gwen’s magic lets her see everyone who has ever touched or used an object as well as feel their emotions — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen finds herself shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendents of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and more. The academy is located in the fictional suburb of Cypress Mountain, North Carolina, and the kids there are training how to use their magic and various skills to fight Reapers of Chaos. The Reapers are some seriously bad guys who want to free the evil god Loki from his mystical prison so Loki can take over the world and enslave everyone.

    Gwen doesn’t think that she belongs at the academy or that she’s any kind of warrior, but she’s wrong — and she’s a lot stronger than she realizes.”

    Learn more about Mythos Academy on Ms. Estep’s website: click!

  4. You have until 19 January 2013 (11:59pm) to send in your entries.
  5. The winner will be determined by a Random List Generator and will be announced before the end of this month.
  6. This contest is open only to residents of the Philippines. If you live outside the Philippines but you have a friend or relative with a Philippine mailing address who will be willing to receive the prize and send it to you, then you’re welcome to join the contest.
  7. The winner must reply to the notification e-mail within 3 days from receipt of the notice, otherwise, the prize will be forfeited in favor of the next person on the randomly generated list.

Spread the word, and May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!

p.s. Thank you, Hachette Book Group USA (Philippines), for the prizes. 🙂

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As for my own 2013 Reading Goals:

I’m still miffed that I wasn’t able to complete my 2012 challenge of reading 53 books; I only read 50. So this year, I decided to set the bar at 50, and look, I’m over-compensating for last year’s failure because I’ve already read 2 full books and 1 novella as of today. 😛

Other challenges:

  • Read John Green’s entire back list. It’s a tall order, but hey, that’s why it’s called a challenge.
  • Read at least the first book in the Wheel of Time series, “The Eye of the World”. Yes, this is a challenge for me, but if I can finish “The Way of Kings”
  • Read the English translation of at least one non-English, non-Tagalog book. (Ha! Someone better make that translation of 해를 품은 달 happen this year.) I made it through the translations of 4 Japanese books last year; it’s just a matter of finding material that will really interest me.

That’s it. I think those are S.M.A.R.T. goals for me. What about you? 😉