October to December 2016 Book Haul

Blogging took a backseat in 2016 because of so many reasons, but new year brings a lot of optimism, so here I am again, trying and hoping I could be active in blogging again.

Anyway, I can’t move forward to 2017 without doing a proper closure to 2016, so for the next few posts, allow me to do such, starting with the books I received from the last quarter of 2016.

OCTOBER

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As always, these books were purchased from Book Outlet – “The Martian” I bought because I want to own physical copies of my yearly Top 10 Books. This was one of my favorite reads in 2015, and I sooo want to own the book with this cover, so when I saw it available on Book Outlet, I added it on my list, along with “A Man Called Ove,” which was one of the books on my wish list. I do love books with elderly characters, and even if I personally prefer the blue cover, this one was priced reasonably (the one I like was more expensive), so I ordered it.

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The day “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” hit the stores, Potterheads were so busy trying to get their own copies, and through the chaos, Amazon had a flash sale for the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” illustrated edition. From 20-something dollars, it became 8 dollars, something that made us friends crazy. I personally had to think of many issues (would I be willing to collect all 7, could I afford it all, would I appreciate the books as I get older), but in the end I decided to order a copy, because it was only 8 freakin’ dollars. If this turns out to be the only illustrated HP book I own, let it be that way, but of course I am praying there will be more flash sales ’til I complete all seven books.

NOVEMBER

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In November, I only bought two books – both from my trusted book seller online, Librodega. Both of these books were on my wish list, so no hesitations in buying.

DECEMBER

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For the last month of the year, my sister gifted me with two books. “A Monster Calls” was technically her thank you gift because I always prepare her packed breakfast. She was supposed to give this on Thanksgiving (even if us Filipinos don’t celebrate it), but I told her to just wait for Christmas, and in the end she told me to choose two books. I decided to go for “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” because I long wanted to read it, and the book wasn’t as expensive.

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Early December, Pam (of Phamtasticreads on Instagram) had a giveaway. She asked her followers what was that book that made her fall in love with reading, and I knew the answer to this because it was through her old posts that I got to know about it. I wasn’t expecting to win because one person already gave the right answer, but just for the fun of it, I answered, and I won! I am now so looking forward to reading this and the rest of the books in the series.

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Last, but not the least, I received these books from @ayashajanille (Instagram). Our book club – @bookishpinoys – hosted a bookish blind date during Christmastime, and I picked this book based on the five keywords given. Though I was surprised to receive a sequel instead of the first book in the series, I am still very grateful to have received this as many bookstagrammers love the series in general. I will just buy the first and last books in the trilogy, and then I will read ’em. I guess this is life telling me to add more fantasy books on my list. Hahaha. Also, she gave me another book – Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s Library – which looks like a fun book to read.

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (Oct 2016)

When I joined last April’s readathon (details HERE), I was so happy to have read books I would never imagine I could read in 24 hours. I knew after finishing that readathon that I would join the next round, but in all honesty, I forgot about it, until a fellow bookstagrammer posted her TBR a few days before the October readathon. That being said, I had a very short time deciding what to read, so a day before the schedule, I sat down, took a look at my books and started gathering books that I wanted to read.

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I decided to pick five books to read. Like the last readathon, I went for short books, because I admit I need to push my reading as I am 16 books behind my reading challenge for the year. Though short, I think these books also make up for the “quality” aspect of reading, as these have made their mark in the literary scene one way or another. However, as these books were picked “at the last minute,” I also had eBooks on standby just in case my reading mood changes.

The readathon started at 8PM here. If you still don’t know, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is unique in the sense that all participants start their reading at the same time, which is 8AM US Eastern Standard Time. I am happy that it fell on a favorable time for me because I didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments just to have a peaceful reading time. Also, I am so grateful for the new IG Stories, I was able to update my progress using it, without really having to flood my Instagram timeline.

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These are the nine updates I posted on Instagram. The final books I read were different from my TBR, because it was quite difficult to read a physical book very late at night and I felt reading an eBook was more comfortable for me. I got to finish three books before calling it a night, but my progress wasn’t good after that because I wasn’t able to read a big chunk of Sunday’s afternoon as sister and I went to mall to eat lunch and do grocery shopping. We got home around 6PM, and it was just not enough to finish a book.

Though I didn’t get to read a lot compared to the last readathon, I am so happy that I was able to read the books I decided to read, especially reading “Animal Farm” by Geoge Orwell, which has been a book I wanted to read for a long time now. I admit, reading Lang Leav’s “The Universe of Us” was just a filler, because I know it wouldn’t eat a lot of time reading her books.

Answering the end of readathon survey –

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? That would be around 9am to 12 noon. Although I called it a night at 2:30ish in the morning, I didn’t actually fall asleep that easily, and waking up at 5am because of a weird scare I had in the house (a story on its own), I decided not to go back to bed and just read another book. It was such a struggle reading that book because my head was heavy and aching, and I did fall asleep a few times and my phone fell on my face once or twice while reading.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Pick out a few children’s books as these books are often adventurous and very interesting. If you are a reader who goes for quantity (that is, finishing more books instead of hitting a “number of pages read” goal, I highly recommend reading fairy tale classics.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Well, Instagram has been a part of the readathon now, so at the moment I don’t any suggestions.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? It worked well that I listened to the audiobook edition while reading the actual book. It made reading easier and it prevented me from doing unnecessary distractions.
  5. How many books did you read? Four and 1/3. Lol.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? I read “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts” by Thomas de Quincey, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, “The Universe of Us” by Lang Leav, “More Happy Than Not” by Adam Silvera, and 1/3 of “Promise Not to Tell” by Jennifer McMahon.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Oh, that would be “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Partly, I didn’t enjoy “More Happy Than Not” by Adam Silvera. It had a good message, but because I was sleepy when I read it, I truly felt the struggle.
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely! As usual, I will be the reader, but next readathon, I will only aim for two books, because I want to join the mini games, too.

If you are interested to join this readathon, the next one will be on April 29, 2017.

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June to September 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

When the year started, I felt this year would be the best reading year, with all the readathons and reading challenges I decided to join in. However, this turned out to be the slowest reading year I have had so far, and with so many failed readathons and being behind on my goal of reading 100 books this year, I am starting to feel scared that I might not be able to hit all my goals I set for myself.

Anyway, a wrap-up of my reading for the past four months –

JUNE

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1 – “More Than This” by Patrick Ness
Genre – Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Format – hardback
Number of Pages – 480
Rating – ★★★★

This was my first Patrick Ness book and I wasn’t disappointed. The whole atmosphere was creepy and a little confusing, but it was really good.

2 – “The Highest Hiding Place” by L. Lacambra Ypil
Genre – Filipiniana, Poetry
Format – paperback
Number of Pages – 81
Rating – ★★★

It was a good thing to read a Filipino poetry book, but this is not a genre for me, so I don’t have a clue what is good and bad when it comes to poems, so I will just keep it at a safe three stars as I did get to finish it without much complaints.

3 – “In Perfect Light” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Genre – Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Format – hardcover
Number of Pages – 336
Rating – ★★★★★

This book seals the deal. He is now part of my “favorite authors” list.

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4– “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
Genre – Young Adult, Mythology, Retelling
Format –paperback
Number of Pages – 378
Rating – ★★★

I did love it, yes… but I wasn’t totally blown away.

5 – “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes
Genre – Adult Fiction, Romance
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 385
Rating – ★★★★★

I got to watch the movie first, but wow, it was surprising to know how the book was a thousand times better than the movie. I have so many things to tell about this book, but I will just save all my words for a proper review post.

JULY

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1 – “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys
Genre – Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 344
Rating – ★★★★★

I knew of this book’s existence since 2013, but it was just now that I was able to read it. Omygosh, why did I wait this long? But yes, all the rumors were true… this book is amazing!

2 – “The Thirty Nine Steps” by John Buchan
Genre – Crime, Adult Fiction
Format – paperback
Number of Pages – 108
Rating – ★★

Ummm, this book is just not for me, I did get the jist of it, but wasn’t to amazed.

AUGUST

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1 – “Brain on Fire (My Month of Madness)” by Susannah Cahalan
Genre – Non-Fiction, Mental Health
Format – paperback
Number of Pages – 266
Rating – ★★★★★

Very well written and very concise.

2 – “Dangerous Girls” by Abigail Haas
Genre – Young Adult, Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Format – paperback
Number of Pages – 388
Rating – ★★★★

Oh, this one is soo good, but there’s just a little something missing that made me not give it a full 5 stars. But for all it’s worth, it was one of the best YA reads I have had.

SEPTEMBER

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1 – “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
Genre – Classics, Non-fiction
Format – leatherbound
Number of Pages – 128
Rating – ★★★★

It was interesting and very informative. I liked that it wasn’t really just for actual warfare, but every day people can find inspiration from here, too (for reaching personal goals).

2 – “The Grownup” by Gillian Flynn
Genre – Adult Fiction, Mystery, Short Story
Format – hardback
Number of Pages – 64
Rating – ★★★★

It was short, yes… but typical to Gillian Flynn’s style, it was crazy and dizzying in a very good way. Too bad it was that short. I wanted to read more.

3 – “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover
Genre – Adult Fiction, Romance
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 384
Rating – ★★★★

A very bold move for Ms. Hoover to write this book, but I do believe she released this book at the right time in her career. I had a few issues with it, but for all it’s worth, I am glad I got to read this.

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4 – “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
Genre – Classics
Format – mass market paperback
Number of Pages – 128
Rating – ★★★

Such a tragic short story, but I have a feeling it’s not for me.

5 – “Just One Day” by Gayle Forman
Genre – Young Adult, Romance
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 385
Rating – ★★★★

The first part didn’t do much for me, but the second half totally made up for it.

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Updating my Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, I ticked off…

  • A classic with less than 200 pages – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • A book from the Top 100 Mystery Novels – The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan
  • A book on a summer / beach reading list – Just One Day by Gayle Forman (taken from ReadByZoe’s summer reading list)
  • A book with a first name on the title – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • A book everyone is talking about – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • A crime story – Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
  • A book with a great opening line – The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

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June to September Book Haul

Hello, hello! Long time no see! Yeah, it’s been so long since I last blogged (blame laziness), but I figured… it’s the new month, a good time to start anew, or pick up where I left of. Anyway, the time I shared a monthly haul here was last April, but because I didn’t acquire any books last May (I know, scandalous, right? Haha),  I will share books I hauled from June ’til September.

JUNE

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In June, I only bought books from Bookoutlet, which was actually bought months before, but just delivered here this month. This wasn’t a one-time, big-time shopping, this was two sets of book shopping with friends that were delivered at the same time. “The First Bad Man” and “Heidi” were bought together, while the rest were in the same batch. Some of the books I have already read in the past, but I want to have a personal library that houses books I loved, so I bought physical copies.

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Winning Newleafwriter’s Giveaway

Sarah of Newleafwriter is one of my favorite bookstagrammers. I love how bookstagrammers take the time to arrange every image they post and hers has to be one of the best.

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When she had a flash giveaway for an iPad Mini case from Klevercase, I remembered joining it because I fell inlove with the design and I love The Hunger Games, too! Following all the instructions, I somehow forgot I joined the giveaway, until I received a notification that I won. Hahahaha.

Upon receiving the notification, I sent Sarah my address and waited for my parcel to arrive.

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I won 24th of April, and by 12th of May I received a notice from the post office to pick up a parcel. I am just grateful that the parcel was forwarded at the post office of the mini City Hall near our place, as years ago, every parcel I received had to be picked up at the post office in Novaliches. It took me nearly one month before I finally picked it up, but I was so grateful that I only had to pay the post office fee and didn’t have to pay further taxes, something a lot of Filipinos complain about when picking their parcels at the post office.

I truly look forward to using this. Thank you for the generosity, Sarah! May the heavens send back more blessings your way.

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A Month in the Life | May 2016

May has 31 days, but for some reasons, this seemed to be the shortest month for me. Everything just went by so fast! June seemed to be passing by so fast as well, but in the spirit of doing things on a monthly basis, let me post this.

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1 – I baked again… another pastry. It just so happened that we had half a stick of cream cheese in the fridge, so when I saw a video from Tasty on YouTube for Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling, I knew I had to try it out. It turned out good.

2 – Election Day was a long process (sister and I had to stand in line for three hours), but it sure felt great to vote. To unwind, we watched a movie and had snacks at Seattle’s Best Coffee (my first time to try their offerings). Unfortunately, before the day ended, I had bad tummyache, probably because I didn’t get to eat breakfast before voting, then we ate very late lunch (around 1:30PM) and from there I ate food after food after food. This tummy ache lasted for how many days – we feared it might be appendicitis or kidney problems… or ulcer. As of this writing, I feel better already, but I still get acid reflux every now and then.

3 – I turned 36! Whoa, I am sooo old now… but I feel really, really young. On the day itself, I didn’t have a celebration, but my sister surprised me by bringing home KFC (my super favorite) and a small cake. It touched me dearly, but now I need to think of how to surprise her on her birthday by the end of the year.

4 – Mother’s Day and my birthday celebration happened the day after, when us girls spent a day at Microtel by Wyndham (Mall of Asia). The rate was a little too expensive for me, but spending a day with my girls is something no one can put a price tag on.

5 – So grateful to be invited to another food tasting event, this time at Casa Italia Cafe. I looooved all the food, and it made me miss blogging in general. I miss the events, I miss the drive, I miss the feeling of waking up and looking forward to blog. I hope I get to feel that again.

6 – I finally had my haircut after one and a half years!!!

7 – I joined Zumba for the first time after a long time. It was so difficult to get back in the hang of things, but I truly want to lose weight again. Actually, I lost 6lbs. without doing anything, but my tummy felt bigger. Anyway, the willingness to lose weight sprung from the recent doctor visit mom had. Her left knee is losing natural lubrication, and while it doesn’t pose a threat yet, but the doctor advised mom not to gain weight anymore, or lose weight if she could, to help ease the tension on her knee. This is a great way to join her.

8 – This month, I had my very first facial at the spa. I am not the type of a person who gives importance to skin – as long as I bathe, lotion, powder… that felt good to me already. This month, I discovered the many Filipino beauty vloggers and I binge watched their videos, allowing me to discover many beauty products. I have started a beauty regimen. I know, I know… I am not gifted with a beautiful face, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care for it, right?

9 – Mom hosted a prayer meeting, and it allowed me to do changes in the bathroom, which made me do a few other changes in my bedroom, specifically in my closet. I took out almost half of it and I love that my closet look more spacious now. I still don’t know what to do with these clothes, but I am glad this move made my sister clean her closet as well.

I am starting to feel lazy. My reading pace became slower, I spent more time giving in to distractions, and the health problems seemed to wear me down a little. This month, I didn’t acquire any books, but that didn’t mean I didn’t buy any. My friends and I bought some books from Bookoutlet, but the books are still on the way, so no haul this month.

Though short, this month has been very meaningful. I just need to sort out things, have focus, and manage my time well.

As for this blog… I will start uploading book reviews starting tomorrow. Time to add color on this blog.

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May 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

May for me started great. My reading pace has been good, and for a while I thought I could read many books (just like in April), but the second half of the month was a whirlwind, making it difficult for me to catch up on reading. By the end of the month, I ready only 5 books.

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First set of books I read were for #ayearathon. For the month of May, it’s all about series catch-up, and I decided to continue reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

1 – “Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Retelling
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 464
Rating – ★★★★

⇒ Super impressed with this book! I loved how the author worked her way through the original “Little Red Riding Hood,” while also telling the continuation of Cinder’s story.

2 – “Cress” by Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Retelling
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 560
Rating – ★★★

⇒ This book had some lull moments, but I still loved it!

3 – “Fairest” by Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Retelling
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 256
Rating – ★★★★★

⇒ Whoa, just whoa! If you want to read this series, don’t ever skip this one.

“Fairest” put me on a spell. After reading it, I wanted to continue with “Winter,” but I had so many books on my TBR that I had to put it aside. However, I just couldn’t concentrate on reading anything, because I wanted to finish the series so bad. I would read a book from my TBR, but every chance I got, I would listen to “Winter” on audiobook.

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4 – “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas
Genre – New Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Format – eBook
Number of Pages – 640
Rating – ★★

⇒ Reading this ate too much of my time and for a very long book, it wasn’t as complete as I hoped it would be. There were good moments, yes… but sadly I am one of the very few ones who didn’t really like it.

5 – “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami
Genre – Non-Fiction, Memoir
Format – mass market paperback
Number of Pages – 180
Rating – ★★★★

⇒ It is my mission this year to read one non-fiction every month. At the start of the month, I already chose this as my non-fiction book, and I was grateful for doing so, because it was short, it was a quick read…and a great way to recover from a not-so-good reading experience.

Five books. Not that good quantity wise, but of course a book read is still a book read. At this point, I truly need to be more focused on my reading, so all my goals will be hit by the end of the year.

Updating my Around the Year in 52 Books, I ticked off:

  • The next book in a series you are reading – Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • A “between the numbers” book of a series (0.5, 1,5, 2.5, etc.) – Fairest by Marissa Meyer, book 3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles
  • A book about an anti hero – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

June will be a better month, I promise.

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