a deserted land

for five months, i had disappeared. my blog was deserted. it was a wasteland of old reviews, wrap ups, abandoned. the two recent posts, a interview with an author, was missing so much passion and dedication present in previous articles. it was written for the sake of getting it done, so it could also count as a nonexistent post. there were no pings in emails indicating i had published.  i had not pressed the button to create a new post for a long time. the wordpress even changed layout while i was gone

don’t worry, there’s a huge chance none of you noticed this. i know this as a fact. still, what matters is i noticed it and it did bother me. blogging, i found, is something very dear to my heart. the reason why i avoided it was because i disliked the way i did it. i’ve realized that i was publishing things i did not like doing. blogging was not fun for me nor was it rewarding. this year, i plan to make it fun, to write about topics i’m genuinely interested in. i long to voice out my opinion, even if no one can hear me.

i want to publish more things here and especially since school has finished, i would hopefully get more things done. i wish to write more here. so look forward to more posts and a change in blogging style, appearance and name soon. i’d want this blog to reflect me, not a person i tried to be.

thank you for reading! 

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interview with author aaron blaylock

hello readers of mine! i understand that my last blog entry was dated october of last year. i guess you deserve an explanation. i’ll try to make a blog post about that soon. instead, we are now interviewing the author of The Land of Look Behind, Aaron Blaylock.

a brief background

Born and raised in Arizona, Aaron is proud to call the desert home. He came of age in the suburbs of Sacramento, California and as a missionary in Jamaica, where 7769270he fell in love with the people and their culture, but he has always been drawn back to the valley of the sun.

He married his childhood crush, and the girl of his dreams, in 2001. Together they are raising four beautiful and rambunctious children. He worked as a freelance sports reporter for The Arizona Republic for nearly ten years, combining his love of writing and sports. In his storytelling he draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith, and his own life experiences.

Source: Goodreads

the interview

1. What are your three most favorite books?
Picking just three is hard and I’m sure to leave out books I love but as I read the question three books came to mind.  First, I love The Adventure of Huckleberrry Finn.  I just love Mark Twain and his two most iconic stories, to me at least, are highly re-readable.  Then I’d probably have to pick a Harry Potter book since I love that series so much, probably the Goblet of Fire as that has so much of what I enjoyed about young Harry’s story.  Third, I’ll throw in one of the last books I finished The Martian.  It was so different and compelling and yet so much fun to read.  That’s quite a feat considering it’s about a man trying not to die alone on Mars.  Shoot, I just realized I didn’t pick a Tolkien or a Dan Brown book.  Dang it.  Picking just three is tough and I didn’t even include The Land of Look Behind.  Is it uncool to pick your own book?  Probably is.  😉

2. Why did you decide to write this story?

This is a passion that has grown over the years.  I was introduced to the culture and history of Jamaica as I lived and served on the island as a missionary.  I love Jamaica and her people so much and found the history fascinating.  When I returned home I studied more about it and wanted to tell their story.  The idea of this modern day adventure as a means of sharing so much of what I loved really thrilled me and I am so happy I finally got to tell it.

3. Which scene did you most have fun writing and why?

Probably when Gideon, Todd and Bigga first meet Tara.  The idea of her character actually came about after I started writing the book and I couldn’t wait to get to their interactions.  Her strength and charm was something that these boys had yet to deal with on their adventure and really changed the whole group dynamic in a fun way.

4. Why did you focus on Jamaican history?

There is so much to draw from in the island’s history, I really haven’t even scratched the surface.  I found these stories entertaining and knew that the vast majority of people would be unfamiliar with them.  Plus there are so many holes found in the history books and it’s fun to be able to make up the details.

5. Describe your writing journey in making this book.
It started as a pure adventure story.  I wanted to tell a contemporary tale of adventure in our time with a historical context.  As the story unfolded, however, the historical narrative became more crucial to the story until they were equal partners in their shared journey.  That was only able to happen through the symbols borrowed from ancient times.  They brought a depth and meaning to the story that I didn’t initially plan for.

6. If you were a historical figure, who would you be and why?
I don’t know.  My first thought is I’d probably want to be a king or a Pharaoh or something because for everybody else life was pretty rough.  I enjoy the modern comforts of life today so it’s hard to romanticize how they really lived when I sit down and think about it.  If I were to allow myself to romanticize the past and forget the rigger of everyday life I’d probably pick someone from the old west.  I love Wyatt Earp but I wouldn’t want to have to fight for my life all the time.  I’d probably pick Porter Rockwell because he was a faithful and loyal friend and also a tough son of a gun who lived life on his terms.

 

the land of look behind

The Land of Look Behind is a historical fiction book, set predominantly in Jamaica. It was just published last month, on the 9th. There are two perspectives, one in present day and the other, centuries ago. The summary in Goodreads goes:

When Gideon discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an old journal he returns to his mission area in Jamaica with dreams of finding a legendary treasure. Some would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.

If you like action, history, adventure and relationships blended into one, check this book out.


thank you for reading and um, bye!

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The Man Booker Prize 2015

so as you might have known, the man booker prize winner for 2015 (that was a mouthful) was announced.

congratulations marlon james!

he won from his book “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (which you can check here in GR). i haven’t read his book but I BADLY WANT TO. i sadly haven’t read much books about Jamaican culture or its history (yes i am very ashamed) and that’s one of the reasons why i want to read this.
actually, i want to read everything in the longlist, shortlist whatever. i want all the books and i want them read. but unfortunately, who doesn’t have money? this girl!
if you want to see the nominees, just checkhere.if you’re too lazy to click on the link, here’s a picture from their website.

 longlist

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 8.07.31 PMshortlist

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 8.07.39 PM

so yeah. those were the nominees and that was the winner. so again,>congratulations marlon james and  all the nominees! 
 

another thing: i’ve been watching some BookTube lately and seen these two videos. one of them is by Ariel and the other is by Leena. i never really thought about the Man Booker Prize or Literary Prizes in general (which made me feel stupid and overwhelmed by these people’s intelligence) and these ideas are worth thinking about. so watch these people. thank me later.

these two lovely ladies offer valid points. what takes a book to be great anyway? what is the point of literary prizes? and more questions like that to come.

so that was my post! thank you for reading and um, bye!

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odelia reviews: room by emma donoghue

Room
Emma Donoghue
Standalone
★★★★ (3.53)
Goodreads

long story, short:
two people. mom and son, trapped in one room. for seven years. it’s hell.

the people:
jack. he’s five and he experienced more things in like, 4 months than i did in the last year. (i’m not complaining) he’s cute and has long hair.
ma. she’s a such a strong woman who experienced hell in an 11×11 room for years. funny thing is, whenever she feels a certain emotion – happiness, irritation and sadness – i feel it too. ms. donoghue, that’s talent.

the good:

for such a heavy topic, this book is pretty light.

well not light as in light, like you’ll keep on smiling after you read it. you’ll probably be frowning and cursing the whole human race (that’s what i did) but ms. donoghue made it lighter by making it in jack’s POV. she addressed a dark topic and made it easier to read. that’s also talent.

and let’s not forget that scene (view spoiler in GR)

the ending was quite nice too.

the bad:

after that scene, everything pretty much went downhill after that.

not like ground low but … pretty low.

numerous times, i get too bored, close the book and start watching Parks and Rec. after that intense scene, i wanted something even more omg but i didn’t get that. i’m a bit disappointed to be honest.

over all, this book is good. but it didn’t manage to capture my full attention after some time.

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odelia reviews: champions by karren seña

Champions
Karren Seña
1/?
★★★★ (3.78)
Goodreads

one word: short.

that’s it. that’s the only major problem i had with this book.

not the world
it is hard to grasp it at first, since too much information is thrown at you at the beginning. but afterwards, i was fascinated.

city closest to heaven? angels and demons fighting? seven champions of eden?

i’ve never encountered one of these books before. usually, fantasies immediately dismiss the idea of God. being a catholic, it doesn’t upset me because, well, it’s fiction. but this book is one of a kind. it has elements from the Bible; angels, city of Eden, and the idea of the one above isn’t completely disregarded.

i can’t tell you how beautiful the world is! in fact, i’m actually extremely jealous. how could anyone think of that in their head?

but i would love a chance to experience it more but, you know, the book is too short.

not the characters

they are a bunch of unlike people. they are not the same, which means most of them do not go along together.

and they’re not just different from one another, they’re different from other young adult characters. so many YA characters are intense and never have a sense of humor. (i don’t even know how the main characters fall in love with them) but here, probably most of them know how to joke and it fills me with unending joy. funny characters are my favorite characters which meant each of the seven are in my heart. (but most especially mateo and gabriel. <3)

but i just wished i got to know them better. each and everyone of them. their backstories, their families whatever.

i would love that but … this book is too short.

not the setting:
rarely is a YA book set in asia, much less my country – The Philippines. it’s all about america or the UK. so it was great to finally understand and know where the characters are.

it’s so original! yet, i would be more pleased if the book wasn’t too short.

it all comes down to this: THIS BOOK IS TOO SHORT. it’s like a comic book! i know a graphic novel – novels – longer than this book!

it didn’t have much character development neither much world building. yes, be concise but not to the point wherein probable good parts were cut off.

conclusion: you know it already.

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odelia reviews/discusses: champion by marie lu

Champion
by Marie Lu
3/3 Legend
YA Dystopia
★★★★
★ [4.75]
Goodreads

(from my rating system: i loved it. honestly. it’s just that there are some confusing stuff. but hey, i still adored it.)

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

How do I start this?

This novel is more fantastic, amazing, incredible than I ever expected.

Let me tell you that this book brought tears to my eyes. A lot of tears. Flooded my room with them, actually.

When something you love ends, whether a TV show or a book, do you feel that empty void in your chest? Something missing? Yes, this is tad bit dramatic, but it’s true! Ridiculous but true.

I truly loved this book. The writing – especially the action scenes – just blew me away. The characters fit snugly in my heart, never wanting to leave. After finishing Champion, I constantly thought about Day and June, wondering where they are now. I can’t believe these set of fictional characters managed to make me love them so much.

What I learned most? You’ve got to walk in the light.

*climbs a cliff* *does a dramatic pose* *looks to the sunset* *lifts chin* So, I guess this is the end, then. *looks at the camera* Or maybe the beginning. *explosion*

DISCUSSION:
You thought you’d seen the end of me? Well, think again.
After 5 books without a discussion, I’m back again!

But how could I not have a discussion? With that heartbreaking, tear gland functioning, satisfying ending but at the same time not satisfying ending book? You gonna expect some discussion.

This is spoilery, btw. This has spoilers. Please go away if you haven’t read the book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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