A trip around Europe. [L Reviews: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson]

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About the book

We join Virginia Blackstone,a 17- year-old  who recently lost her aunt due to Cancer. She  found out that her aunt passed away because of a letter addressed to her, it had instructions that at first she herself did not understand. Later on, she received 13 blue envelopes that assigned her to different tasks to be done at different countries in Europe. Her aunt also wanted her to go on this journey by herself and without any form of communication with anyone back home. Despite her doubts, she had the courage to follow her deceased aunt’s instructions and in the end she made friends and even family.

Twist of fate

Rarely do I have this attraction to a book,it was like it was screaming my name every time I entered the bookstore. (Or maybe I am getting sick!O_O) I think bibliophiles get my drift?

What caught my attention was the plot of the novel itself. It was a round-trip ticket to Europe without applying for a Schengen visa. I can instantly go back to the Philippines whenever I want and fly to London or be in Copenhagen the next hour. It was a thrill having Ginny and her Aunt Peg as my tour guide through Europe via this book.

A Special Bond

This book also shows the special relationship of an aunt to her niece and how it is important to love every single family member you have in your life because you will never know when will be the last time you will talk to them. Unless you are like Ginny who has a cool aunt who made 13 letters that would take her with her in spirit.

Where are they?

Fiction is a work of the mind, but as I read through this book I couldn’t help but think: Can a 17 years old girl do all these things by herself?  Maybe it is just one of the cultural differences Filipinos have from Americans. I mean who would allow their daughter to go around Europe by herself without proper updates on her whereabouts? I don’t think such parents exists! But come to think of it, it’s fiction so anything can happen.

I think reality can hit the sidelines when writing a novel but sometimes it can also be a way for people to think that you did not work on your writings well enough.

The YA version of the movie Eurotrip

Like I said earlier, the book will take readers on a journey around Europe with it’s main character Ginny. If you are a travel junkie and a YA lover, I do suggest you read this book. This is a good read with a stress-free plot.

 

♥L

 

 

 

Engaging but “Dying Hope”. (L reviews#12)

For my first review after months of hiatus, I was challenged by my fellow writer in #YAI2017 to review her award winning piece. The title of this novel is “Dying Hope”.

As many of you know, I feel slightly indifferent when it comes to reading Filipino/ Tagalog books. I know that I should blame myself for this lack of interest in Filipiniana books. I am trying my best to change my preference and open up to reading more from local authors next year.

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About the book:

Dying Hope is a Tagalog novel by Rhisa A. Rey or thesoullessvampire on Wattpad. It follows the story of a writer named Hope.

Hope is the opposite of her given name, she was already giving up on herself and everything that she loves. That is until she met a boy named Luke who will change the way she looks at her life.

Enticing plot

I could say, this book is one of those masterpieces that make me lean to reading more Filipino novels. For someone who is just starting to appreciate and read Tagalog books, I didn’t find myself lost in the middle of this book because of how deep the Filipino words were.

From the first line of the epilogue I knew it was going to be a great reading journey, and it was.

What I like the most in it is the way the author was able to take me with Hope and Luke. The way she wrote about how the characters felt in all given situations is excellent.

Another plus on my list is the way thesoullessvampire was able to establish God into her story without it spoiling the plot and making it into a bible-ish story rather than a novel.

Confounding Taglish

I am a little disturbed by the way some of the sentences are constructed in what we Filipinos call Taglish ( a mixture of both english and tagalog words in one sentence). I am not a fan of it.

Another issue that I want to point out is the sudden shift of point of view from Hope to Luke. There are instances where the POV shifts from one person to the other in the middle of the chapter and that for me is slightly confusing as a reader.

A well-deserve win

I mentioned earlier that this literary treasure won awards. It won second place on ProjectNY Battle/ Nayink’s Novel writing contest 2016 and it also won on Watty Awards 2016.

I must say, this book truly deserve the recognition. It will surely win more hearts when the book launches on December 17, 2016.

I am honored to write a review for this book by Rhisa A. Rey and I hope to read more from her soon. I know I will, when her #YAI2017 story comes out.;P

Best of luck, my YAI batchmate! 😀

And to you my readers, I hope you grab a copy of her book because sometimes we need a little read that would help us realize that life is worth living.

♥L

 

Let me tell you about the boy from Nepal (L reviews#11)

About the book:

In this novel, we follow Johannan an orphan boy who seeks a god in China that can help him with his fiancée’s blindness. His adventure starts when he found said god and he agreed to give Johannan the cure to Ayushi’s ,his love’s, blindness as long as he follows all the tasks that is given to him. 

Exciting Chinese Adventure

The novel is composed of short but very colorful chapters. Chapters that will make you not want to put the book down. It is filled with different scenarios and descriptive words that make you want to go to provincial China to see for yourself what Johannan is in. 
The characters, specially Johannan is someone you would want to be part of your hiking group if ever he is from our time. 

I do not want to narrate more of what happens in the book because I do not want to spoil anyone of you about what transpired in the story. 😄 Plus it is a book series and this is the first book of said series, so I do not want to judge it too early.

Missing in the forests

What I did not find entertaining or amusing is that the novel lacks a sense of suspense in some situations that the main character was put in. As usual, I found myself lost in some instances but I do know it is my short-attention span that should be blamed for that. 

There are times in the novel that Johannan was relatable and there are times where I could not understand why he put himself into such a fuss for a solution that can just be put aside because love is past that simple dilemma. 

Overall, 

The book is a good weekend read and a good break from the intense book reading that is usually a signature in such novels that fall in the same genre. I can’t compare it to Harry Potter but I do see similarities in their stories but of course HP is hard to beat. I do think this book will be a great read for those who loved the HP franchise but do not expect too much from it. 

I am thankful that I was given a chance to discover and read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I hope you take time to purchase and read this book. 😄 

A digital copy of this novel was given to me in exchange for an honest review. 

If you are also interested on my thoughts about your book,I am open to giving my time to review your masterpiece once I step out of my short haitus to focus on my career.  Drop an email at lucilledemesa@gmail.com

‘Til next post

❤️L


The Booze Stole my Son book review (L reviews#10)

Wow! This is an achievement, it is my 10th review on this blog and I am happy to share this because it is a book review also featured in another blog.

If you follow me on social media I have already mentioned this. Here is my promise…the untouched version of my review. 🙂

A Mother’s Unexpected Inspiration

As the book title suggests, The Booze Stole my Son: Don’t Let it Steal Yours is a literary piece created by a mother who experienced the loss of her son due to alcoholism. She wrote her struggles, realizations, regrets, and thoughts about the disease in the hope of inspiring and educating other people about it.

What I like about this book….

The book is full of emotions, scientific facts, and some bible verses to back up all that the author is describing in her work. It gave light to Alcoholism as a disease and not just a social issue.

What I like most about this book was it gave us a glimpse of how it felt to lose someone you love so unexpectedly but could have been avoided if we took time to be with them. I also like that before and after every chapter there is this letter that the mother addresses to her son and it is relatable to almost everyone who has a mother or generally someone you treat or love as a mother (who doesn’t have one?).

As sad as the whole book may be I will spoil you that you would not want to put the book down in the last few chapters of it because it does have this unexpected happy ending or maybe some thoughts that would make you happy you read the book.

What I did not like are….

I had some urges not to continue reading this book. Probably because I myself have not experienced such great loss and I also have this short attention span but I think it was also due to some “dead” moments in the book. I warn you, some chapters are full of scientific facts and studies that may be too much for some people, like me, to read through. If you are not a believer of the Holy Bible and the scriptures you may not agree with some of the content of this book.

Overall,

I would have never thought of picking this book up if I saw it at an online bookstore or a traditional bookstore and to tell you all the truth I am glad I had the privilege to read and review this book. I never experienced alcoholism at first hand but I know a few of my friends who struggled with a loved one who is afflicted by this disease. As I read through the book I saw a clearer vision of how it is like to live with someone who is an alcoholic. It is harder when this person is someone you treasure, you turn a blind eye and believe in their deceitful lies to cover their illness up. I cannot blame anyone because trust is part of loving someone and this book is a clear example of that, love. It is rare to find such local author and book about this topic maybe because most of us are not proud of saying that I have an alcoholic family member but bless Ms. Au V.for sharing her story and her experience through this book.

I also have this little back story about this certain book and the author….

I actually received , via email , a reviewer’s digital copy from the author herself a few weeks after I finished reading her book. I have already wrote and submitted the review for bookbed as well.

I am posting this review on my blog because she reached out to me, I felt blessed and honored that she choose me and this is my way of saying my thank you. Based on our short email exchange she is a very kind lady and I admire her for sharing her experience to all of us.

I wish to help her and other Filipino authors boost up their reading audience because there is talent all over our small country.

I am not closing my doors to other nationalities’ books (of course I will only understand and read books that are written in English)  I am simply setting my priorities. 🙂 I still love to discover new authors and books from all over the world but like I mentioned I want to help my countrymen and women as well.

I hope to read one Filipiniana book per month and I am actually trying my best to do so. I encourage my fellow Filipino readers to do the same. 😀

Mayroong ibang libro sa bookstores na hindi baduy. You simply have to dig and search deeper. 😀

Have fun reading and I hope you get a copy of this book because it’s worth the read.

’til next post!

♥L

“Interesting may not be for everybody” (L Reviews #8)

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Title: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

Author:  Holly Bourne

Genre: Young Adult Fiction; English

About:

In this book we meet Bre, a teenager who has an ambition of being a famous writer. The problem is that her works are always rejected by the publishers, they deemed it too dramatic or even suicidal. Bre’s student life was something everyone never wished for, she only had one friend and she was invisible in a school full of spoiled rich kids. She did have Mr. Fellows’ class to look forward to, she was advised by him to be a little bit more interesting and “commercial” because that is what publishers like. It was something she was not happy to hear about but she took that advice and together with Holdo’s, her only friend, idea of making a blog. She started a journey of transforming herself to be more interesting and wrote about it on her blog which was later on called the manifesto on how to be interesting. This transformation came with gaining new set of friends, falling in love, making someone happy but it also came with losing her true friends, getting hurt in love, and did I mention, nearly dying.

Not your usual YA book

This is the first YA book I read since I stopped abstaining from reading a book for a hobby. I always thought of these kind of books as something for light reading or simply a read during a long relaxing weekend/holiday. I never expected it to be that interesting that I had to read it slowly just to make the book last longer.

The way that Holly Bourne, the author, wrote this novel is something out of the ordinary YA books (that I have read as of now) mixed with the typical high school setting and scenarios every book of this genre had a reputation for.

What I really liked about this book is that it talks about self- harming and how it affects the lives of the characters in the story. It also talks about it as if it is a normal scene for teens, which I think is true nowadays, and that it is what most teens might actually think of doing when faced with a situation like Bre’s.

The main character is someone that you will become friends with. She is the epitome of the social outcast, the weirdo, and I guess the anxious normal teen sans the cutting part. She wasn’t the super depressed girl but the regular girl you will meet around school who is silent and knows when and where she should talk. Bre has this confident vibe in her personality that I personally like for a teen or someone younger than me should look up to. She wasn’t the typical nerd that is a super outcast that spends her time popping pimples and talks about scientific terms that a normal person can not even pronounce correctly. She is this girl that is smart and strong, that is probably why most popular people do not notice her. She is too smart for them and it was not really considered cool to be friends with a girl like her in this type of books.

What I didn’t like on this book..

It showed self-harming as something so normal and something that should be taken lightly. It did not really show the seriousness of the situation besides the part where the character almost lost her life. Depression was talked about but it was only a small part of the book. I guess it is just me and my stance towards mental illness awareness.

Overall,

This book is a great read. It is not for those who think self-harming and mental illnesses is a joke in this society that we live in. This book gave me an idea about what other people experience when they are in that state and how that behavior affects everyone around them. It helped me open my eyes to what is always under the shade and is not talked about often about these issues. Hopefully I get to read more books concerning these topics because I think it will help everybody understand more about these illnesses.

So what books have you read lately? Does it touch any topic about mental illnesses? How is it different from this book? Would you mind sharing it to me? 😀

♥L

 

 

 

 

First book review: One Lovely Summer Day (L Reviews #7)

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Title of the book: One Lovely Summer Day

Author: Amae Dechavez

Category: Young Adult Fiction, Novelette, ebook

What is it about?

Ethan, a handsome boy-next-door, meets Maylie a girl he can never compare to the local girls at his small and beautiful town of Pila, Laguna. They became friends easily and this lead to Ethan finally realizing that Maylie is the girl he is in love with. He tries his best to confess his love for her before his time runs out.

A good light read for a lazy reading day 

This book is a novelette. It’s not a “short” story but it is not a long 20 chapters book.

It is my first attempt to read a Filipino/Tagalog book for leisure and not for a school book report and to tell you all the truth I had fun reading this book.

It is not the type of story that had a lot of situations, events and problems happening around the characters. Which is the reason why I couldn’t put my tablet down while I was reading it. The setting of this story made me want to go there and experience what it is like to live or stay in such quiet and rural Filipino town.

It reminded me of the time where nearest mall was 2 hours away and that everybody knows everyone around the town. It took me back to where the only way to meet people is thru roaming around and greeting everyone that passes by. There was no high speed internet, smart phones and applications where the love of your life is just a swipe to the right away.

The two main characters, Ethan and Maylie, are relatable even to the teenagers now. Just like how the author wrote him, Ethan, is a very likable young man. He is and ,I think, was the ideal man a normal girl would love to hang around and have a relationship with. Dechavez did a great job with creating Maylie as she (the book character) is someone you can empathize with. Together these two characters are a match made in heaven.

What I didn’t like.

I had moments where I got lost in the story. Maybe it is because of my own lack of understanding in my own written native language or maybe it is because the book was well written and some words left me wondering what it meant.

All in all

This book/ story/ novelette is a masterpiece. For someone who is not a fan of Filipino or Tagalog books I am happy I had the chance to discover this author and her books. It took me down memory lane where, in my opinion, love and being in love is such a magical feeling to be experienced. It is worth the time and the effort to read as much as the effort it took for the author to create such lovable story.

If you want to read this book it is available on digital format at buqo app.

This is the first book in the series entitled “One day”.

I am currently reading the second  book and I cannot wait to share what I think of the next story in the series. 😀

I would like to thank Ms. Amae Dechavez for the opportunity she has given me to read and review her work/s.

♥L