Thursday, October 16, 2014


Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who seems to be always in trouble at school. He has dyslexia and ADHD, and he has been in six different schools within six years. Once while on a class field trip, he had a very strange experience. His pre-Algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds, turned into a winged lady and attacked him inside a museum, but thanks to his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner, who came to his help. Percy ended up accidentally vaporizing Mrs. Dodds with a sword-transforming pen courtesy of Mr. Brunner. It became more strange when after what happened, no one from his class apparently knows or remembers Mrs. Dodds - not even his bestfriend, Grover, nor Mr. Brunner himself. Percy was almost convinced that he had just imagined Mrs. Dodds and what had happened at the museum that day, but when he overhears Mr. Brunner and Grover talking about The Kindly Ones and something that was stolen and needs to be returned by summer solstice, that's when he knew that all that had happened was indeed real. What Percy didn't expect to know following that encounter is that he is a demigod - a half-blood - a hero, and Mrs. Dodds is just the first of the many monsters he is destined to face and that the fate of an impending World War III depends on him and his quest to retrieve Zeus' lightning bolt.


I decided to take a short break from the crime/thriller genre, and add variety to my reading scope. I chose to go the fantasy route and embark on a journey with Rick Riordan's famous hero, Percy Jackson.

The Lightning Thief is the first in the five-book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Readers who are into mythology will definitely enjoy this book. I thought my scant knowledge of Greek gods and godesses and their entangled mythical affairs would make it hard for me to follow the story, however, that was not the case. Mr. Riordan made it a point to always give descriptions and background details whenever a mythological character is presented in the story, which I found very helpful in appreciating and understanding the characters. I know that some people find mythology boring but this book has enough story in it to be far from boring. Being adolescents and young adults as main target readers of this book, the author's writing style makes this book an easy read and overall wholesome. I like the humor interjected every now and then in the story especially the chapter titles. I also like how the author depicted Greek mythology in a modern setting making it more relatable for young readers. I have to say though that I was a little disappointed when one of the key points in this book turned out to be quite predictable (at least for me). At one point in the story, Percy Jackson was told of his future by the Oracle. I believe the intention was for the oracle to be elusive and to add suspense particularly to its ending, however, I think it didn't have enough mystery component in it. It didn't take me far in the book to figure out and decipher the oracle, so the ending was kind of a little ruined for me that way. Nevertheless, I still believe it is a good book and I'd surely recommend it.

Below are a few excerpts:

"They're --- myths, to explain lightning and the seasons and stuff. They're what people believed before there was science."

"Science!" Mr. D scoffed. "And tell me, Perseus Jackson"—I flinched when he said my real name, which I never told anybody—"what will people think of your 'science' two thousand years from now?" Mr. D continued. "Hmm? They will call it primitive mumbo jumbo. That's what. Oh, I love mortals—they have absolutely no sense of perspective. They think they've come so-o-o far. And have they, Chiron? Look at this boy and tell me."

"Exactly," Chiron agreed. "If you were a god, how would you like being called a myth, an old story to explain lightning? What if I told you, Perseus Jackson, that someday people would call you a myth, just created to explain how little boys can get over losing their mothers?"

"I gained much from that wish ... and I gave up much. But I'm still here, so I can only assume I'm still needed."

"We were three adolescents hanging out at a car wash without a car; any cop worth his doughnuts would figure we were up to no good."

"The dead aren't scary. They're just sad."

"I was also barefoot, because I'd given my shoes to Grover. Better the Coast Guard wonder why one of us was barefoot than wonder why one of us had hooves."

"It's funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality." 

"He was reading a huge book with a picture of a wizard on the front. I wasn't much into fantasy, but the book must've been good, because the guard took a while to look up."

"A steely look of anger flared in my mother's eyes, and I thought, just maybe, I was leaving her in good hands after all. Her own."

"The real world is where the monsters are. That's where you learn whether you're any good or not."

"All the heroics—being pawns of the gods. They should've been overthrown thousands of years ago, but they've hung on, thanks to us half-bloods."

"I won't go looking for trouble. I usually don't have to."

"The sea does not like to be restrained."

When I was reading The Lightning Thief, certain parts reminded me of the Harry Potter series. Even Rick Riordan made a reference to a huge book with a picture of a wizard on the front -- ehem! I know it's not fair to compare Percy Jackson with The Boy Who Lived but JK Rowling set quite a standard in terms of fantasy fiction. Ms. Rowlings' Harry Potter series pushed my imagination to a different level, and tickled and played with my senses throughout. Unfortunately, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief failed to induce in me that kind of reading euphoria. I did enjoy The Lightning Thief, please don't get me wrong, but I honestly don't think I'll read it once again, as opposed to the Harry Potter series which I read more than twice - some of the books I read three times! Also, I remember being hardly able to wait for the next book after finishing one in the Harry Potter series. However, with Percy Jackson and the Olympians, eeehhh, not so much. Although I definitely would still love to read the rest of the books. I give Rick Riordan the credit for adding a modern twist to Greek mythology to create a story, entertaining and apt for young readers, however, overall The Lightning Thief is still lackluster when compared to Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. With that said and JK Rowling fangirl aside, I give The Lightning Thief 3.75 stars. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Ashley Patterson is an attractive yet introvert lady in her late 20s. Toni Prescott is an outgoing lady who loves to dance and sing. She also loves spending her private time chatting in the Internet. She is six years younger than Ashley and she is of English descent. Alette Peters, the youngest of the three, is of Italian descent and has a very good talent in painting. They all work in a computer graphic company in Silicon Valley, but they do not get along well because of their differences. Toni despises Ashley for being "Miss Goody Two Shoes" but mingles with Alette as Toni somehow enjoys Alette's calm attitude. When a series of murders happened involving male victims who were brutally killed and castrated, all three ladies become suspects. The ensuing investigation and trial led to shocking revelations tying these three unique characters and eventually bringing them together.


Years ago when I read Sidney Sheldon's Master of The Game, I concluded that was my favorite of his books by far. Now that I've read Tell Me Your Dreams, I'm torn!

>>SPOILER ALERT<< If like me, you were fascinated by John Cusack's movie, Identity, then you'll flip over Tell Me Your Dreams as well. I love how fast paced the story is and quickly develops into ultimately revealing that Ashley Patterson is suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, and Toni Prescott and Alette Peters are her alters. It's smart of the author to only reveal Toni's real name, Antoinette, later in the book when a psychiatrist was explaining that alters usually take a pattern, and in Ashley's case, she and her alters share the same initials, AP. I like that part in an early chapter when Alette says an exact line which Ashley also said in the beginning of the book. Although that was a key clue to where the story was going, the following chapters remained to be interesting and intriguing keeping the suspense all throughout. And when I said, all throughout, I meant like up till the last page! My jaw fell on the floor when I finished the book. Have you seen Leonardo di Caprio's movie, Inception? You know that last scene when he twirled his totem object which left viewers' mouth gaping and then debating whether the totem did stop or not? Same feeling you'll get with Tell Me Your Dreams. You could formulate as much as you'd want with how you'd like the story to end but the never ending what if's would never satisfy your curiousity. Sometimes open endings are annoying but sometimes they can be hauntingly beautiful, and Tell Me Your Dreams is one of the latter. Oh, the mystery of unknown!

Let's look at excerpts from the book:

"There's something you're going to learn about me, honey. I don't give up. Ever."

"How does it feel to have a famous father?"

"She had forgotten how savage her father's temper was. He had once punched an intern during an operation for making an error in judgment."

"...but try as she might, Ashley could not remember what it was. She had blocked it from her mind."

"I hate cold weather. Even with gloves, my fingers get numb."

"Toni thought about the terrible accident in which her mother had died. Toni could still hear her screams for help. The memory of it made Toni smile."

"She could see colors, smell colors and hear colors. Her father's voice was blue and sometimes red. Her mother's voice was dark brown. Her teacher's voice was yellow. The grocer's voice was purple. The sound of the wind in the trees was green. The sound of the running water was gray."

"She could  be plain-looking, attractive or stunningly beautiful, depending on her mood or how she was feeling about herself. But she was never simply pretty. Part of her charm was that she was completely unaware of her looks."

"Toni had a solution for everything, and it was usually: 'Let's go and have some fun.'"

"The only thing that solved her happiness was the knowledge that the darkness would come down on her again, and she would be lost in it."

"...buying things they would have no use for the next day."

"The past is the past."

"Hometowns were supposed to look smaller when a native returned years later..."

"It was amazing how much people could change in ten years. They were fatter and thinner... prosperous and downtrodden. They were married and divorced... parents and parentless..."

"...a virago with a tongue sharp enough to fell the forests of Oregon."

"...when a murder goes unsolved, I don't think it means that criminals were that smart. I think it means that the police weren't smart enough."

"'Of course, I will. We'll go out and celebrate.' And the words reverberated in his mind. Years ago, he had said to someone else, 'We'll go out and celebrate.' And he had killed her."

"It's a condition where there are several completely different personalities in one body. It's also known as dissociative identity disorder. It's been in the psychiatric literature for more than two hundred years. It usually starts because of a childhood trauma. The victim shuts out the trauma by creating another identity. Sometimes a person will have dozens of different personalities or alters."

"Alters are created because the host can't stand the pain of the trauma. It's a way of escape. Every time a fresh shock occurs, a new alter can be born. The psychiatric literature on the subject shows that alters can be totally different from one another. Some alters are stupid, while others are brilliant. They can speak different languages. The have varied tastes and personalities."

"What idiot said that pregnant women weren't beautiful?"

"They made an unlikely couple, but the marriage worked because they were deeply in love with each other."

Sidney Sheldon is one brilliant author. He captivates his readers with his genius and his books are really hard to put down. You have to be prepared with the roller coaster ride you've put yourself into once you start reading his book. The unpredictable loops and twists are jaw dropping and stomach turning. Just one bravo after another - that's the kind of author he was. That being said, I rate this book 4.5 stars, with half-point deduction once again for very few typo errors.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I recently introduced my 19-month-old son to crayons. When I first showed him how to use a crayon, on a piece of paper I drew shapes of circle, square, triangle and star, which I then colored one by one as I say the name of the shapes. I'm surprised as to how fast he picked that up and I honestly did not expect that, so that makes me one proud momma of a little boy who now knows his basic shapes. Yay! *feeling achieved*

I've actually been contemplating of homeschooling my son for pre-school, and who knows, maybe even all the way depending how we both do. I started looking up homeschooling curriculum and materials, and in my search, I found an arts and crafts book meant for toddlers age 18 to 24 months. I bought the book and we tried coloring a couple of pictures from it. After a few attempts to familiarize him, it seems to me that he is still very young to appreciate crayons and what they're supposed to do, (and I honestly think that he's too cute to comprehend yet why I say repeatedly, "Crayons go on papers only - not on walls, carpets, floors, or anywhere else!). He showed some interest in the beginning but later on he just wanted to go back playing with his toys. Talking about children having very short attention span! I feel though that the arts and crafts book is a good start for both of us especially that I'm really considering homeschooling him in the future. Right now, I decided to put our arts and crafts sessions on hold until he's probably a little older, like when he's 2 maybe, and hopefully, his young mind will have a better grasp of it by then.

Anyway, I just want to share here photos I took from our coloring session. As I said, he was so eager to go back playing with his toys when we finished coloring. It was so hard to keep him still for pictures, so I was able to take only a couple of good pics.

I'm very proud of you, my son! :)
Pretending to color, and he was good at it. Hehe!
He has a red wagon which he loves riding and playing with. When he saw the picture of a wagon, I think he recognized it, and when I told him it is, I saw in his eyes that he understood what I said. His vocabulary is evidently growing each day and we're just patiently waiting for his speech to catch up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


When the last member of the so called American royal family, the Winthrops, was killed as a result of a burglary gone wrong, well respected Washington DC-based media personality, Dana Evans, investigates on the series of tragic fatal accidents wiping out the entire Winthrop family within a year. What started out as a seemingly wild goose chase, with her connections both locally and internationally, Dana pulls strings which allowed her to probe deeper and further into the confidential Winthrop family affairs. Her growing curiosity for the family's mysterious deaths led her to places such as Italy, France, Rome, Brussels and Germany. Little did she know that from the first moment she put her nose on it, the people that conspired to facilitate the Winthrop's deaths have been watching her every move. As she gets closer to finding out the truth, it becomes apparent that her and her disabled son's lives are in grave danger.


Being a fan of Sidney Sheldon, I love how no two works of him are alike. Although his writing style is consistent and evident in all his books, the suspense and plot twist are simply unpredictable that there is just no way you could guess how a story would take its turn. I love how he gives his readers free travels to different places and introduces them to different languages and cultures. Although his works are fiction, I love how he incorporates nonfiction items into the storyline. My favorite is when he, what I phrase as, "drops bombs" in his books. He has this notable style wherein he would make a positive remark and then he would totally just kill it in the following sentence. For example, something like, "She has the most beautiful angelic face he has ever seen and held. So, he decided to slash it and douse it with acid." Or something like, "She has been feeling better since the last dose of chemotherapy. She is slowly regaining her strength and has been very active the past few months. She is looking forward undergoing breast reconstruction next month, and going back to work when she has recovered fully. Her spirits were high when she came for MRI this morning. Her doctor is put on the spot when the findings came back showing end stage cancer with widespread metastasis." (Please note that those examples I gave are mine and not Sheldon's. Next time I read one of his works, I'll copy and paste his exact bomb dropping moment.) Anyway, all those elements and writing style I mentioned above are found in this yet another page turner, The Sky Is Falling, and once again, this great author did not disappoint. Bravo!

Now for excerpts from the book:

“...time ticks on until it finally sends us into the same unknown eternity."

“Where his right arm should have been was an empty sleeve.”

"They invented charisma."

“It was hard to believe how beautiful she was. But she probably doesn’t have a working brain cell in her head, Dana decided. On the other hand, with that face and body, she doesn’t need any brains.”

"Snowball in hell..."

“Dana felt uglier by the second.”

“There was an unspoken message in her words.”

“The place was jammed with people celebrating the Christmas spirit by rudely elbowing other shoppers out of the way.”

“Anytime you want more, just tell me. And you better do it fast, because from what I hear, you’re history.

“There should be an eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not abandon those who love you.

“Tomorrow will be a better day.”

“Don’t go looking for trouble, or you’re going to find it.”

“There were still vague traces of beauty left, like clues to what once was, but bitterness had overlaid the past with a harsh brush.”

“Can I do anything?” “Say an extra prayer for me.”

“Russia has become a candy store — only instead of buying candy, you can buy atomic bombs, tanks, fighter planes and missile systems.”

Finally, I rate this book 4.5 stars - a half-point deduction for very few typo errors I found.

Wow, I wrote another book review. Looks like I'm hitting two birds with one stone here. I'm not only back to my hobby of reading, but I'm back to writing as well. Kudos! *high five to myself*

Friday, October 3, 2014


I love to read, and back in the days when I had sooooooo much time to spare, reading was my favorite pastime. My love for books started at such an early age. At 5, my reading and writing skills were quite advance for my age, and the books we had at our home library got me hooked into reading. I can still vividly remember how I flipped pages of Collier's Encyclopedia (we owned a complete set), and read through whatever tickled my carefree mind, one volume after another. There were several more educational reading materials and a few fiction books in our home library, and that kept my young mind occupied. At school, I was introduced to young children's books including Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, Choose Your Own Adventure, and Sweet Valley Twins (which as I aged later on turned into Sweet Valley High then Sweet Valley University). Getting older, I then followed the works of Sidney Sheldon and V.C. Andrews. When I had extra money back then, I bought paperbacks preferably pre-read ones (they're cheaper), so I rummaged book sales for those. I never ran out of books to read back then.

For some reason when I left the Philippines, I stopped reading books the way I used to. I would still grab a book and read every now and then but it was nothing like the way I did before. I guess I got too caught up adjusting and exploring this whole new world ahead of me that I somehow shoved the bookworm in me at the backseat. Anyway, long story short, recently I have started reconnecting with my inner bookworm. I have picked up on reading again and the most recent one I finished was The Divergent Series. It's a good read and quite interesting, although I have to admit that I think the ending was anticlimactic and I would've preferred a different ending. >>> SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the book and wish to read it, then don't read further here. <<< If I were to choose an alternate ending, the scene would be something like this: Tris getting weaker and weaker because of the Death Serum in the Weapons Lab. Then, wheelchair-bound David appears to kill Tris. She and David then engages in a fight with Tris struggling due to the Death Serum slowly taking its effect on her. Despite that, she manages to disarm David and knock him off his wheelchair. David crawls his way to the gun intending to shoot Tris. With whatever strength that's left of her (and all the climax drama of this particular scene in the book), Tris manages to release the Memory Serum just in time to stop David from shooting her, his memory being immediately wiped out. However, the Death Serum appears to have taken her last breath as she passes out after pressing the serum launch device. Then, she sees her dead Mom, and she talks to her asking her if she's done and her Mom says yes, yada yada, and just when one may think she's really done, Tris gasps as if choking on air and draws a deep breath, and that's when she realizes that she in fact is immune to the Death Serum because SHE IS DIVERGENT after all! The ensuing events will then be Tobias and Tris going back to the city and will start anew and rebuild their lives together. Jeez. I couldn't believe that after all the triumphant events that built Tris' Abnegation/Dauntless/Divergent character, the author decided to kill her. Anticlimactic, really. Oh well, I could only wish that when the third book turns into movie, they provide an alternate ending. Sigh! If it would make it any better, here are my favorite quotes in the series:

"His absence will haunt their hallways, and he will be a space they can't fill. And then time will pass, and the hole will be gone, like when an organ is removed and the body's fluids flow into space it leaves. Humans can't tolerate emptiness for long."

"...confidence alone can get a person into a forbidden place."

"...politeness is deception in pretty packaging."

"Who cares about pretty? I'm going for noticeable."

"A brave man acknowledges the strength of others..."

"...Human reason can excuse any evil; that is why it's so important that we don't rely on it..."

"I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand for another."

"But becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it, that's the point."

"...but we just have to let the guilt remind us to do better next time."

"Or maybe forgiveness is just the continual pushing aside of bitter memories, until time dulls the hurt and the anger, and the wrong is forgotten."

"Sometimes all I want is to be a few inches taller so the world does not look like a dense collection of torsos."

"I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last."

"Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life."

Okay, that's about it. I didn't really plan on blogging a sort of book review here, but while I was at it, I couldn't help, so, my apologies for that. Till next book!


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