Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: Cities by Carla de Guzman

The book opens on a rainy day in Manila with Celia Alix navigating through the streets of quezon city to reach her best friend Henry as today is the day of her other best friend's, vivian, wedding. The catch? Vivian is marrying Ben, an old lover of sorts of Celia Celia, prodded by her father and Vivian, wonders what would have happened if she continued on with her program at South Korea. With this, the story takes us to ither multiverse., Manila is the setting of the first timeline.

Second Timeline:

The 2nd timeline plays almost like a koreanovela, rightly so, as this is conveniently set in South Korea. The elements are there rich boy, poor girl, with two guys pining for one girl (one of them aggresive, Ben who in this universe the son of korean millionaire,  and the other prefers to watch at the sidelines, Henry). Plus there is also a love traingle number two with a scheming gurl, Vivian, who wants to break apart the 'main' couple.

Third timeline: 

London, apparantly Celia was not the only one who was offered scholarship abroad as our hero was offered one in London. In this timeline, everybody's British except Ben. Henry is now the son of a rich dude. Ben is partners with benefits with Vivian and Celia is Viv's roommate. Henry, who is Celia's classmate at grad school, is all puppy dog eyes for Viv.
This timeline ends like a romcom with one admitting love for the other and *boom* fireworks.  

Fourth Timeline: 

Just after Ben and Vivian says their I Dos in the first timeline, Cely gets a vision of her and Ben, married and living in new York. What's the problem of these newlyweds in a strange, new, and utterly big city? Well, this is where Henry and Viv come to play.

On the Characters


A llttle too romantic and desperate in the first timeline, your bestfiremd is getting married to your dream guy and you are still hoping you need a good whack in the head. The korean timeline, that made me mad at her. Come on girl, this guy is accusing you of being a stalker! I like her better in the next timelines, as she showed strentgth and her love for all things nerdy, este, geeky.


In all timelines his love for Iced Americano comes in as a signature.  He also shared a love for scif with Celia in some of the timelines (Star wars, star trek, Doctor who), probably why when you move to another timeline that they do get togethet you know why.
However,  I didnt like him that much and didnt want Celia to end up with him. Alam mo yung paasa. That's what he is, especially in the first timeline. In the second timeline, he was such a douche. Thankfully, he redeemed himself in the third and the fourth timelines. 


Sorry Ben, but I like Henry better. He seems to be the beta male, always there when you need him, silent at times. (But this does not mean that Ben is the Alpha, okay. Vivian is. Hahaha)
Probably why he deserved that happily ever afyer as much as Celia did, as they finally get together!


As I read this book, I hoped that in other universes I won't make my bestfriend an archenemey for the love of one man. She is smart and all the timelines depict her as such. Only the Manila timeline is she not much of a schemer. Love her just the same.


I assumed that the Korean timeline will bump off Vivian completely (as she and Celia met because she didn't go to Korea and met in Manila at that time, not that Ben is suddenly Korean and rich at that) and so on affecting the story and other elements similar to this in other timelines (Vivian and Ben growing up together in California, everybody else is British; etc). 

For me, a parallel universe will is of what ifs, what if I graduated from another school? What if I took that scholarship? But, the author seems to think another as there are what if we were Korean? What if we just met? Plus, the characters (to be more specific Ben and Cely) knew about the alternative timelines.

Yet, this is the author's universe so best to take in an everythibg as fact or take in what you may attitude when reading this work of fiction. Especially also, it would't be titled Cities if it was set only here in Manila. 

I have to admit that it was really the cover which drew me to this story. I've seen it so many times on the romance class site and have always wanted to read it, that was why I grabbed the opportunity to review this book. Shala!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dead by 2030?

I have never considered myself an advocate of the environment. However, I do little things such as reusing plastic bags, reusing plastic containers (and even making my work teammates to do the same), and keeping small later in my pockets or bag.

But, after watching Bill Nye (the science guy) get therapy from the governator on National Geographic, this made me realise that there is little time for us to act now, or face the eminent end of the world with a estimated 100 million (like the Philippine population) dead by the year 2030.

Did you hear me?

Dead by 2030! The apocalypse is near, and it is even worse than any zombie apocalypse.

In fact, there was an ecologist featured in the documentary who decide to leave his tenureship and live in New Mexico as he finds that the environment there can sustain him bit much after 2030. This is the same guy that predicted the 2030 end of the world.

So what is happening? How is climate change affecting us?

Climate change can see that the Philippines will sink. Parts of the Philippines will submerge, as in our country's sea levels is rising five times faster than the global average. Think about those at the fishing villages. Not concerned, okay? Think about Boracay, think about El Nido, think about Puerto Galera, and all your favourite beaches. Where then will you go for the summer? Where will you take your next selfie with that bikini bod?

People often fear that the sea levels are rising because of the rising temperature, making snow caps melt. One would think that more sea equals more fish right? Wrong! For a paper that I did for my MA studies, I found out that climate change can affect even the marine life.

As the temperature rises, so too is the temperature in the seas, and most marine life are not susceptible to hot weather. Probably why as deeper you go into the ocean, the colder it gets.

Climate change affects all of us. Your dog, the lion, or any of your spirit animals will be wiped out due to the gases that we emit.

What can you do? 

1. Reduce, reuse and recycle
2. Don't waste water
3. Walk, especially if its just a short distance (plus it will also be good for you)
4. Let your wallet of the talking by buying environmentally products and not buying from companies with large carbon footprint.
5. Make suggestions. It might be through your company or even by writing to a local official.

Additional links:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Read: The Mystery Knight by George RR Martin

This prequel series deserves its place alongside the main books.

The bond between Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire has grown deeper. I just find Egg funny and heart warming, and Dunk's 'clout in the ear' threats and his sincerity to Egg to be of equal value.

 I wish I had read this sooner, but since I am saving up on my ASOIAF and GoT text (since WoW still has no release date), I just had to suspend reading the third novella. Also, so glad to have read this after the World of Ice and Fire. I kept on consulting the Daeron II and Aerys parts of this encyclopedia. Finally, glad to have uncovered the second Blackfyre Rebellion.
With the Red Dragon getting caught in the end. 

So happy that Brynden Rivers
the Three Eyed Crow in the ADWD
has made his appearance, as Bloodraven was only mentioned in the second book. I am more interested in his story

(with why he was sent to the Wall, if his powers were realized before he became hand, etc)
rather than the Blackfyre rebellion. But, if ever Martin does release a short story of any of these, I would be more than willing to buy and read. I wish and hope against hope that this isn't the last of Dunk and Egg's adventures. P.S. if you think the Game of Thrones is confusing (which some of my friends often complain) try reading this series or the Princess and the Queen and the Rogue Prince.

Goodreads blurb: 


The Mystery Knight is a novella published in 2010 as part of the Warriors anthology, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. It is the third in the series of "Dunk and Egg" stories. Previous stories are The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Read: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gillian Flynn slowly weaves out the story of Camille Preaker. First giving hints of her alcoholism, then her cutting streak, and most importantly what was it about her (numb and stiff neck) mother that made her who she is.

Camille comes back to Wind Gap, Missouri against her better judgement to cover a possible serial killer who kills young girls and takes out their teeth. As the story progresses, Natalie, the second victim is found, confirming her editor's hunch and making Camille stay with Wind Gapians (that's what they prefer to be called). But, it isn't only the police or her friends that Camille gets to interact with, there is also her mother Adora, never present step-father Allan, her crazy, attention-craving step-sister Amma (whose named bothered me because that's my mama's name on my phone), and the ghost of her sister Marian.

Who killed Natalie and Ann? Hmm, read the book, promise you won't regret it.

My first guess was really the mother. How can she be so cold to her own daughter? She does not even address or communicate with Camille? She was, she was, as it turns out an attention seeker and she took it out on her daughters. This was confirmed later by what Camille found on Marian's files.
Amma, I ruled her out because of her age. I mean a 13 year-old killer. But hey there have been younger killers (I checked), plus the girl had accomplices. This really is a good case of the nature vs nurture. Adora was making her sick, and then she suddenly pours her attention to other girls who reminded her of Camille. Adora made her into this killer, sorry, but I just had to call it. Thankfully, she needed the approval of Camille later on, which am sure the girl and her family from Chicago was not that thankful for.

Sharp Objects


WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Free Copy! My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra

Get a free copy of Mina V. Esguerra's first novel My Imaginary Ex.

Click on the link: This ebook is free until March 15, 2016.

Goodreads blurb:

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she'd just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can't even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it's too late?

About the author:

Mina writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (, she documents her experiments in publishing.

Read: Room by Emma Donoghue

My review:

Saw this film before the Oscars, but I read this just after the awards show, as one of my favourite podcasts said that the book was better than the film.

Like most books, yes, it is better than the film. Although there are some parts of the film which are better, like the hair strong and the Great Escape (which I think is only referenced in the book).  The writing style reminded of one of the poems my Lit professor, wherein grammar was side-tracked, the best I can remember was from a female poet who used me instead of I. My Lit professor said that it was a matter of rhythm, and this is what this book somehow achieves.

The narrative is entirely from Jack's point of view, which makes me wonder were we all like that one point of our lives? Trying to figure out what adults meant and learning rules, what and what not to do, and most of all believing that our parents knew everything. :)

On the last point, wonder now if children feel that way that their mom and dad knows the answer to every question, as because of Google, times have changed.

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads blurb

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another: