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Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category


Ah finally, internet connection is back.

After several follow ups and repetitive requests to have it back, Globe reconnected our internet access. They said they did maintenance the past three days. Another said, their tower in our area has gone kaput on us. Which is which? At least they were polite enough to say power will be back in three days and that is at around 10 am today. I went online at 9:30 am and the internet¬† is back. Hallelujah ūüôā

When you are used to having internet connection at all hours of the day, it seems so hard without it.¬† The world gets smaller because you are not even updated with the weather reports online.¬† Good thing, there are no¬† low pressure area seen although a typhoon named Soulik (international name) is about 1,890 kms. east-northeast of Luzon but the weather bureau said it won’t enter the Philippine area of responsibility.¬† At the moment, we are having drizzles¬† and thunderstorms would most likely occur again late this afternoon. Hopefully, it won’t bring too much rain.

Would you believe I finished three books in three days that we didn’t have internet connection? Yes, one book a day…haha! I discovered another author.

I thought it was another book by Lincoln Child minus his partner Douglas Preston but Lee Child is a brother of Lincoln Child.  His real name is James Grant, a British author  who writes thriller novels, and is best known for his Jack Reacher novel series.

The Visitor is one such book, fast-paced, deeply satisfying and really hard to put down. I like it better than some of the books I read before by Preston and Child.

It was followed by a feel good romance book. Yes, you read it right, I read romance books too once in¬† a while and this one is pretty good. Another first from the author T.K. Leigh. I am sure this won’t be the first time I will read a book of hers.

“The Other Side Of Someday is a fun, sexy story of looking for Mr. Right in a world full of Mr. Wrongs, when Mr. Right could be just next door”.¬†

As usual I jotted down some quotes from the book:

“May you find beauty in the world that surrounds you, even when things aren’t going your way. May you have a sense of adventure, whether it be dancing in the rain or bungee jumping.

Experience everything the world has to offer. May you find something you love doing and be able to make a life out of that passion because life without passion isn‚Äôt a life worth living. May you confront your fears head-on and not cower in the face of adversity. Most importantly, may you love. Love hard and without abandon. Love with no regrets. Love like there‚Äôs no tomorrow. For so many people, there isn‚Äôt a tomorrow. Don‚Äôt take it for granted.‚Ä̬†

I’d like to say, having no internet was a bit of a blessing to be able to read these wonderful stories.

 

 

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Will this never ends? I found twenty comments on my spam folder with the usual sites before with the word sexy at the middle of the e-addy.¬† I am guessing this is only one person using different e-mails.¬† I don’t know what they get¬† out of such useless spam¬† comments. Waste of time really. I even noticed that my comments on two blog posts by friends¬† were¬† “liked” by a spammer with¬† the same e-mail address. What do you think?

Equinoxio21, an online friend advised me to bring back the re-blog button by going to “sharing” on “My Site”¬† menu¬† ¬†and clicking the “Sharing buttons”¬† and saving it. Voila, the re-blog button appears again. Thank you!

I found another book by one of my favorite authors (aside of course from Mary Oliver, Richard Paul Evans, Khaled Hosseini and many others) Nadia Hashimi.¬† Hashimi is an American doctor, a bestselling novelist and a women’s rights advocate.¬† Her parents are Afghans so she always write about life in Afghanistan.¬† Since I encountered Khaled’s Hosseini’s books years ago, I looked for other Asian authors and found her.¬† I’ve read three of her books before two of which I posted reviews here two years ago. When The Moon Is Low is Goodreads’ Best Book of 2015, I actually wrote short reviews about her first three books that I read. Here’s my take on this:¬†One of the best books I read so far on the 2016 reading challenge. I wonder why I am always drawn to historical novels (I am an old soul) and stories about Afghanistan always make me cry.

The Pearl¬† That Broke Its Shell came second on my reading list although it was her literary debut novel. And I wrote: “A painful but riveting story about what life is like for women in Afghanistan.”The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies.”¬†Here’s a lovely quote from that book.

‚ÄúLife has typhoons. They come and turn everything upside down. But you still have to stand¬†up because the next storm may be around the corner”.

The third book is entitled One Half From The East.  I am reading the fourth book now. Just like the first three books, this one looks so good. A House Without Windows is a haunting story about friendship and the plight of women in Afghanistan.

If only I could find her other book which I think is the newest so far.  When you find such gifted authors, you always look forward to what they write about.

Yes, I remember another author, Khaled Hosseini, Afghan born and also a doctor. His memorable book, The Kite Runner was adapted into film which Nissa and I watched years ago. We cried inside the cinema.

 

 

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Here we go again. I just checked my dashboard. Yes, I do check it once or twice a week before posting photos on my blog. They might eat up my remaining¬† free space. My goodness,¬† I received¬† 20 spam comments¬† still with the same question “what”. They never stop, such irrelevant word. It is not even connected to any of my posts. And then there are about 5 comments that didn’t show in my notification and they were just labeled¬† “pending”. These glitches are sometimes really annoying.

I went back to reading. Just done with a lovely story about a Russian intelligence officer and a CIA.¬† Knowing how the KGB works and how the CIA trains its manpower is a very interesting subject. The author,¬†Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA‚Äôs Operations Directorate.¬† He worked there for more than thirty-three years and “engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet‚ÄďEast European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets.”

I seldom read books like this, I am more into historical books  that deal with WW II  and the atrocities committed by the Germans  in various concentration camps  in Nazi occupied countries. I love reading about the bravery and the resilience  of people who survived the  war.

I have yet to find a free movie adaptation of Red Sparrow.¬† And I understand there are sequels to this book.¬† It’s a trilogy actually but I could not find the others, Palace¬† of Treason and The Kremlin’s Candidate both published¬† ¬† in June 2015 and March 2018 respectively.

I am on my 67th read now according to Goodreads. I may be able  to  finish early  the reading challenge I set myself to do this year, that is reading 100 books until December.

Oh yes, I am so happy to have found a book of poems by E.E. Cummings. I have just started reading it, Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings. When I was in college, my colleagues at the library and I used to quote  his writings.  Our favorite lines are these:

“the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses”

‚Äúi carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart”

“the most wasted of all days is one without laughter”

I am not really sure which poems carried these lovely words. We just loved them.

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Took care of our latest family member throughout the day.  He played with his  little pillow, balls and sat on my lap while I was checking my accounts online and while reading.  I laughed when he saw his image in front of our full-length mirror and he kept on barking. He must have thought there was another puppy looking at him.

Strange, I seemed to have picked up two books in a row all about India.¬† The Girl From The Tea Garden¬† was about the life of an Anglo-Indian girl who grew up in 1930’s.

The story revolved  on how she struggled with life  away from home without her family coming back  at the height of WW II to find her true love.   Learning about how tea is prepared, how  Indian summer feels like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter is quite new in my list of authors.  She has several books about India and this one is  part of a series.

Camron Wright is the author of The Orphan Caretaker.   I am almost done with this book.

Learning  more about Indian culture and traditions. The only thing familiar to me are the chicken masala  and samosa. Years ago, I received a big jar of Masala from a friend whose family stayed in Rome for decades.

Couldn’t put down the book, it is based on a true story. An Indian boy abducted from his home and adopted by an American family. He learned¬† the American way of life but still kept wondering about his Indian roots. It is also my first time to read a book by Camron Wright, an American¬† author whose genre is Historical Fiction and yes, Literature and Fiction too.¬† You can’t help but be touched by the story.

‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt use knives and forks,‚ÄĚ Pranay replied, leaning forward, ‚Äúbecause we are not at war with our food. We don‚Äôt need weapons. We have learned it is better to surrender to the flavors, to caress and embrace them. You see, eating for Indians is a passionate affair. Picking up the food with our fingers evokes a closeness, a feeling of warmth, a connection. It would all be lost if we started stabbing and cutting.‚ÄĚ

Is this still done until now?¬† Wikipedia says that:¬† “The¬† etiquette of Indian dining¬†varies with the region in India.¬† Typically, both in urban and rural settings, Indians wash their hands thoroughly prior to dining, then eat with their fingers, without any cutlery. This practice is historic and based¬† on the cultural premise that eating is a sensual activity, and touch is part of the experience along with the taste, aroma of the food, and its presentation such as on a¬†Thali, or on a large plate made from washed banana leaf, or stitched and washed leaves.”

Some people do¬† it in informal¬† occasions here. they call it boodle fight where the food is piled on top of¬† banana leaves with rice at the center. The food is laid on long tables.¬†A military style of eating,¬†¬†a symbol of brotherhood and equality among¬†Filipino¬†military by sharing the same food without regard to rank.¬† They also call it “kamayan” style of eating.

 

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I have about thousands of books¬† on my shelves including my e-books on Moon Reader. Sometimes, I don’t know what to choose to read next. It is always a toss between a historical novel, YA books (sometime), memoirs or thrillers.¬† I promised myself I would read more classic books this year but it is hard to find one.

I like to read all of them but I need my eyes to be treated first. Going back to the doctor next week. Here are some books on my TBR list.

  1. Night Train To Lisbon – I’ve always wanted to read this since I found it but there are more lovely books around.
  2.  The Family  Corleone  by Ed Falco, a book about the Corleone family. I hope it is as good as the book by Mario Puzo.
  3. ¬†The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.¬† ¬†I’d like to read this again. I read it back in 2015 and I wrote this lovely quote in my notebook.¬†‚ÄúEveryone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming ‚Äď well, that‚Äôs like saying you can never change your fate.‚Ä̬† Amy Tan is one of the talented authors I really, really like.
  4. ¬†The Hunt for Red October. The book was¬† published in 1999. I saw my former boss at Bank of PI reading it before and I looked for a copy of the book but¬† until now I haven’t started it yet.
  5. The Signature of All Things. It is a fiction book by Elizabeth Gilbert, a historical saga. There was a time when I also bought a copy of Eat, Pray, Love many years ago but I got bored reading the first two or three chapters of the book.¬† I’ll give this one a try though but not in the immediate future.
  6. The Picture of Dorian Gray.¬†It’s been on my wish list for quite sometime in the past then I found a good copy, a mass market produced book. I was even more blessed when a friend¬† gave me a thick copy of¬† the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, a trade paperback.¬† Looking forward to read this one.
  7.  The Silence of War by Terry Mcgowan Рa memoir  of a former Marine who returns to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan three decades after leaving the Corps. This intrigues me, it has mostly five stars on Goodreads.
  8. ¬†The Valley of¬† Amazement by Amy Tan.¬† Another Amy Tan book¬† that I really want to read soon. A sweeping epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity¬† in a remote¬† Chinese village. It is a historical novel.
  9. ¬†Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.¬† There was a time when I got so engrossed in Diana Gabaldon’s¬† Outlander series that I bought around more than ten of her books. Some were even hardbound but except for one or two left, they were all destroyed by typhoon Ondoy in 2009.¬† This one is number 8 in the series which I haven’t read yet. A historical novel¬† about 18th century Scotland.
  10. Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. I used to devour self-help books before during my college days. Indulged in  Psychology and Philosophy books too but now I just read those that makes me happy. I am curious about this though. Turning your dreams into reality. Stories about ordinary people who have witnessed miracles in their lives. This must be good.

 

 

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Just done reading a book by David Baldacci. It’s been on my TBR list for almost two months before I picked it up again. I was distracted by other books and new authors.

This is quite different  from the usual genre that Baldacci writes about. If you are used to the thrillers that he churns out,  One Summer is a story of a family struggling with being together after the mother dies in a car accident.  The pain of losing a wife, the adjustments one has to make  having the kids around, the daily battle with longing and missing a much-loved family member.  This is not as touching as the stories woven by Nicholas Sparks or Richard Paul Evans. It is a light read though.

This is my fifth read and Goodreads says I am three books ahead of schedule. I am still on the look out for classics.¬† In the meantime, I’ll make do with historical fiction.

Are you on Goodreads? Did you join the challenge for this year?

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I’ve blogged about books twice this week¬† and¬† maybe you would think I do nothing but read, right? Wrong. I only read before I go to sleep or before I take that much-needed nap in the afternoon. We call it siesta.

I can’t pass this up. Goodreads just released something new, a list of books you’ve read throughout the year¬† arranged as to when you have finished reading them.¬† It’s called My Year 2017 in Books.¬†They said I had a total of 66,115 pages across 201 books.¬†The shortest is Luanne Rice’s The Night Before with 24 pages and the longest is¬† Light A Penny Candle by¬† Maeve Binchy with 832 pages.¬† The most popular one I read this year was The Lord Of¬† The Flies by William Golding with almost two million readers who read it too. My average rating for 2017 was 3.5. The highest rated on Goodreads was September Blue by Cat Whitney.¬† I remember that short review I had of that book. I actually gave it five¬† stars.

Wow, this is just so good. One of the best books I encountered this year. A compelling read, bravery amidst trials and tribulations. Just breathtaking!

They  listed all the books I read with the highest ratings in big prints. So glad of  Goodreads to do this. Now I can come back and  use it as reference when I want to reread all those books with five stars. Goodreads  serves as my online library since that is where I get those lovely recommendations on what books to read, new releases and award winners.

Thanks Goodreads.

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Who ends up with the blood samples you routinely give for tests? What else are they being used for? Why don’t you know?

I am in the middle of reading Michael Palmer’s book,¬† The Fifth Vial. I read three of his books before, accidental finds while looking for more Robin¬† Cook’s books. Like the latter, Michael Palmer was also a doctor and Robin Cook was two years ahead of him at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. That is according to his biography. He asked his younger sister and I quote:

‚ÄúIf Robin can write a book and has the same education as I do,‚ÄĚ why can‚Äôt I write a book?‚ÄĚ

He died last October 2013 with nineteen books to his name.¬† I was lucky enough to find The Fifth Vial,¬† a story about a¬† disgraced medical student, a scientist and a private eye. Put them together and you have The Fifth Vial.¬† Just like¬† Robin Cook, Palmer wrote medical thrillers.¬† I have enjoyed reading Robin Cook’s books since I read my first book of him. I have collected his works over the years. I remember this started when I read about the famous Lea Salonga’s short bio that¬† she wanted to be a doctor and that she read Robin Cook. I was intrigued so I looked for his books at Booksale.¬† When I found one, the others followed.¬† By the way, going back to The Fifth Vial, it is my 80th read so far since I started with Goodreads’ 2017 Reading¬† Challenge¬† last January. Seventy more books to go before I finish the challenge. I am ahead of schedule though by about thirty-three books. Reading is getting lovelier and more interesting.

The medical field is such a rich source of those medical malpractices, new discoveries on medicines and such stories that  appear so true in real life.  When I got sick almost eight years ago, I researched and read so much about the effects of chemotherapy, how cancer could be treated the natural way.  I was afraid though so I chose to have chemotherapy every three weeks and took oral chemo drugs too. Some doctors would really suggest  for you to try new medicines like you are a guinea pig or a  white mouse According to my oncologist,  there are as many as two hundred chemotherapy drugs in the market.  It costs an arm and a leg to have one small bottle  of Oxaliplatin. The oral drug is just the same.  The first time I saw the drip  encased in a black cloth, I almost freaked out.  The nurse explained to me that the drug should not be exposed to the light. You know that thinking that you are taking poison in your immune system. I wonder if having a low immunity is still the effect of taking those chemotherapy drugs.

Oh yes, why not Michael Palmer? Why not The Fifth Vial?  I am sure you will also enjoy reading this as I do.

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It’s a wet and cold morning and it’s been raining on and off since the start of the weekend.¬† Hanging habagat¬† (southwest monsoon) is definitely here. It was a busy weekend though. It’s a good thing we were able to finish some gardening chores early.

When you are forced to stay at home because of the weather, you either keep busy or you relax to your heart’s content.¬† I did both…haha! Aside from gardening, I was able to find time to read two books over the weekend and to watch two movies on YouTube.¬† Yes, you heard it right.¬† For the first time in so many years, I caught myself finding some inspirational movies that would lift the soul and strengthen faith. The Song of Bernadette¬†did just that. I could not remember the last time I watched this movie. I found a version in Blu-Ray.¬†The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 drama film that tells the¬†story of Bernadette Soubirous, a young visionary of Lourdes¬† who later became a saint. From February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, she¬† reported eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This¬† film is based on the true story of Bernadette Soubirous, and adapted from the book written by¬† Franz Werfel.¬† What a lovely, lovely way to spend two hours straight infront of my computer and see this film.

Lately, I was lucky enough to find more books on faith and redemption and how beautiful life could be¬† despite the treacherous journey¬† and the unfaithfulness of mankind.¬† Alicia Ruggieri¬† is new on my list¬† of authors¬† and I like her writing style. She writes grace-filled and Christ-centered fiction. If you have time, try to read her A Time of Grace trilogy. The first book made me really cry and think of life, it’s beauty and its angst. The Fragrance¬† of Geraniums is such a beautiful book.¬† I am in the middle of reading the second one entitled All Our Empty Places¬† which picks up the story where it left off in the first one. I wonder if I’ll be able to find the third and the concluding book in the trilogy. I am not really into trilogies but this one is worth it. There are those stories that make you feel they’re real and you get into them like you would a story of a friend or yours, you feel the sadness, the triumphs and the pain. You feel that hope is not a dead thing but a journey that makes you look forward to another day.

A friend  suggested another writer and poet. The blog is truly inspiring. I searched the link. You may visit it here.

It’s raining still¬† and I am caught with these words, we are all special in God’s eyes.¬† God’s grace overflows.

 

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Oh my gosh, 62 books out of 100. I really can’t believe that I am 11 books ahead of schedule on my 2016 Goodreads Reading¬† Challenge. And before you say I have lots of time to appreciate the written word, it rains a lot every day so gardening is always relegated to the back seat and sometimes reading takes priority. I was able to start trimming the carabao grass this afternoon¬† (a back-breaking job every month)¬† but the sudden shower made me run indoors.

To discover new authors, what bliss! Goodreads provides a list of new books every month and a list of all time popular books but what I appreciate most is discovering new authors who are just as good and as talented like your favorite writers. One such author is John Hart. Where were you all this time John?

I seldom give five-stars to the books I read, just maybe about 6 in 50 books but Redemption Road¬† had me from page one, a gripping page-turner from beginning to end.¬† I don’t normally summarize a book as a¬† kind of review, it’s up to the other readers to find out. Well, I’m back to chick lit and memoirs and historical novels.

Did I say reading Redemption Road is worth your time?

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