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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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^)/

Giveaway: Signed copy of “The Colossus Rises (Seven Wonders #1)”

This contest is CLOSED. Winner announcement here.
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Many younger readers (and a number of older ones, too!) know Peter Lerangis through “The 39 Clues”, for which he wrote 3 and a quarter stories. πŸ˜‰ Recently, he started his own fantasy/adventure series, “The Seven Wonders”. He came to the Philippines for a book signing event last May 4th at National Book Store to promote the first book, “The Colossus Rises”.

When I interviewed him, I had an extra copy of “The Colossus Rises” signed, and that’s what I’m giving away this month!

MECHANICS:

  1. If you are a WordPress user, all you have to do is follow this blog and leave a comment on this post with the answer to the question “Which of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World would you most want to visit if you had a time machine?” If you already follow this blog, then simply comment with your answer to the contest question. Please share the link to the giveaway in any of your social networking accounts. πŸ™‚
  2. If you are not a WordPress user, you can either subscribe to this blog by clicking on the link at the bottom of the right sidebar or you can just follow me on Twitter (@almeldiel). Leave a comment on this post with the answer to the question “Which of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World would you most want to visit if you had a time machine?” If you’re already a subscriber or if you already follow me on Twitter, then simply comment with your answer to the contest question. Please share the link to the giveaway in any of your social networking accounts. πŸ™‚
  3. Once I have validated your entry, your comment will appear on this post.
  4. The winning entry will be chosen by a random draw and will receive a signed trade paperback copy of “The Colossus Rises” by Peter Lerangis.
     
    7Wgiveaway

    ONE BOY
    Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem.
    In a few months, he’s going to die.
    ONE MISSION
    Jack needs to find seven magic Loculi that, when combined,
    have the power to cure him.
    ONE PROBLEM
    The Loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and
    haven’t been seen in thousands of years…
    SEVEN WONDERS
    …because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  5. You have until 31 May 2013 (11:59pm) to send in your entries.
  6. Barring any unfortunate interventions by Yoda-talking, Viking-looking red bearded men, I should be able to announce the winner within the 1st week of June.
  7. This contest is open only to residents of the Philippines. (Sorry, foreign friends!) 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 for you, then you’re welcome to join the contest.
  8. 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 second person on the random list generated to determine the winner.

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

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Disclaimer (To satisfy the WordPress.com Terms of Service): This giveaway is not sponsored and is not being posted in lieu of paid advertising on this blog. I bought the book and paid for it out of my own pocket and had it signed at an event that I attended. ☺

Meeting Peter Lerangis (with bonus panda bears)

…also sub-titled “In Which I Squee Deep Inside Because I Did Not Freeze Like A Starstruck Fangirl”.

Authors are my rock stars.

Or maybe I’m only saying that because I’ve never met a real rock star or haven’t really fangirled over one. We’ll see. But right now, that is my truth: Authors are my rock stars.

And so whenever I meet one, even those who I’ve already conversed with a lot online (Mina V. Esguerra, Kate Evangelista), I get starstruck. I get nervous before the interview and always forget to ask or say something even when I’ve written all my questions and comments down.

My worst starstruck experience remains to be meeting Neil Gaiman, during which I was shaking the whole time as he signed my book, I shook his hand, and we posed for a photo. It’s a good thing I already wrote my name down on a Post-It and did not have to spell it out for him because I’m pretty sure I would’ve misspelled my own name. And I have no memory of what I said to him or what he said to me. I might have said something weird and unintelligible, so maybe not remembering is a good thing.

I got to interview Peter Lerangis last May 4th. He’s one of my favorite authors in “The 39 Clues” series, and I have a lot of feels for his particular installment, “The Sword Thief”, so I dreaded having another starstruck episode.

I got to the venue later than I should have because of the traffic due to a random rain shower (it happens; it’s more fun in the Philippines!), so my interview was moved to after the signing event. I was a bit panicky throughout the entire program because many of the questions on my list were already asked by either the fans or Ms. Xandra of National Book Store. In the end, I was left with about 4 or 5 questions, which should have added to my starstruck anxiety.

Peter Lerangis with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla of National Book Store

Peter Lerangis with Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla of National Book Store

When I finally met him, though, I responded very well to his friendly and welcoming demeanor, and he immediately put me at ease. And I think I lost most of my nervousness during the program because he’s just so jolly and witty and hilarious.

Our short chat went well. We got to talk a little more about “Seven Wonders” and ghostwriting. I got my books signed–all 3.25 of his “The 39 Clues”, and “Seven Wonders”. I think my panda sticky tabs (you can see their ears peeking out the side of the book) amused him because he actually wrote a message for them. πŸ˜› I had to reassure him that the reason there were only a couple of pandas in the latter half of the book is because I got caught up in the action, and not because I fell asleep and found it too boring to merit some more pandas.

signed 7 wonders

My copies of The 39 Clues, signed by Peter Lerangis

My copies of The 39 Clues, signed by Peter Lerangis

Because he’s such a chocoholic (like me!), I gave him one of my favorite chocolate bars: Alfie’s Bacon Bar. He was so surprised, and I could only smile because that was my exact same reaction when my friend Leia told me that such a thing exists.

About those pandas…

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