All Things Dystopian (YA-D2 Challenge)

Lately I realized that I have been avoiding the shelves I frequent in the bookstore when I started reading more. By these shelves, I mean the shelves that contain paranormal romance, and even plain contemporary young adult romance. I don’t really know when or why it started, but I find myself not getting interested in any of the new stuff under those sub-genre. More often than not, I feel relieved when I decide not to pick up the book especially after I find some of the reviewers I follow say that they didn’t like the book or it’s a Twilight derivative. I mean, who wants that, right? (No offense to anyone, of course)

After some time, I realized again that I seemed to have found a new pattern to the books I have been reading lately, and I can only blame some of the guys I got to know recently for this new sub-genre fascination.

Friends, I think I fell in love with dystopia.

Aaron posted about this last week, and he managed to convince me to try out this challenge on top of the other challenges I’m doing. I figure, what the heck, right? It’s not like it’s going to be a hard challenge, anyway, what with all the dystopia books waiting on my TBR shelf.

So, yeah, here’s another one for my challenges for this year. I’m joining Bart’s Bookshelf‘s YA-D2: The YA Dystopian Reading Challenge. You want something crazier? I’m going for the die-hard’s choice:

Welcome to Level 3.

Oooh, how ominous. According to the challenge:

Level 3: Is for the dystopian die-hards! Minimum requirement for this level is five young adult dystopian novels, between the 1st October and 19th December. There is, however no maximum cap, you can keep reading for as many books as you like!

Just five, huh. I could do that. I mean, I set to read 20 fantasy books this year, and I lost count at how many I read this year. So, unless the world ends or the zombie apocalypse comes, I don’t think there would be a reason why I won’t be able to finish this challenge. :)

And now the books I will read for this challenge. Much thanks to Aaron for pointing them out of my shelf. :D

  1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  2. Gone by Michael Grant
  3. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  4. The Dead of the Night by John Marsden
  5. Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Wait, just five? I think I still have some I can add to this list! Some reserves/alternates, in case I don’t get to read the others for some reason, or in case I feel like going on and on and on and on until the challenge ends.

And that should be enough. I guess I’ll take today up until the end of September to read the other “normal” books I have before I plunge into all the end-of-the-world/post-apocalyptic dystopia goodness. :)

Sort of Reading Vacation

Sorry for the lack of posts in the past days, I was on vacation. Last Friday, I flew to Cebu with some friends for a much-needed R&R. It was my third time to go there, but the second time I actually went around the city, and my first time to be the navigator. Challenging, but very fun.

I’ll be posting the details of my vacation on my personal blog, but I have to post the bookish part of my vacation here, of course. Ever since I keep on accumulating books in my TBR and I realize that I don’t have enough time to read them all, I’ve been wishing for a reading vacation. It’s kind of like a stay-cation (you know, a vacation somewhere out of town where you stay in and do nothing) but instead of just staying in, I read.

Preferably by the beach. With music. And good food. And lots of books, of course.


But I can only wish for that now, since I’ve been very busy lately, and I can’t afford an actual reading vacation.

Nevertheless, we didn’t let the sightseeing and all the food in Cebu to stop us from doing all bookish stuff. On our last day in the City, my friends and I trekked rode a cab to Ayala Center Cebu to eat the famous Cebu lechon and to go “home”. By home, we mean:

Fully Booked Cebu!

Of course we can’t miss visiting this! :) And it was a doubly special visit because we just had awesome gelato at Gelatissimo before going here. :P

Fully Booked in Cebu is just as neat as the other Fully Booked branches, but it was also cooler in some sense. Maybe it’s because it’s Fully Booked in another city, or maybe it’s really just because they seemed to have a lot more books than what I usually see in other branches. I mean, new books, sort of hard to find books and all that. Plus the place is small, but still so cozy and homey, it really feels like home. :)

I went home with the following:

Cebu Stash

  1. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (I’ll post about #SpeakLoudly soon enough)
  3. Z by Michael Thomas Ford (zombies :D)

I wanted to get The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty, but alas, budget doesn’t permit. I can get that delivered anyway.

It’s fun visiting another branch that I know I won’t be able to visit a lot. Plus, who says vacation stops me from getting books? :) No one, right?

I didn’t read the entire time I was in Cebu, of course, but I did manage to catch up on my reading while waiting for the plane to Manila to arrive. And this may be my first (?) picture taken while I was reading a book. Lame, I know.

That’s The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness that I finished earlier. Still reeling from it, but I have more reviews to write for now.

So what did you do during the weekend? :)

In My Mailbox (3)

And…it’s another week is with good stash! Strangely enough, my wallet isn’t screaming bloody murder at me for buying so many books this week — maybe it’s because I got some extra funds from my freelance work. It’s not enough to get myself custom laptops, but it’s enough to get new books! :) That, and I got myself a Fully Booked discount card, so yay!

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. Here’s what I got this week:

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…”The Ask and the Answer” is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure.

I wasn’t planning to buy any book this week, but Fully Booked sent me a message and told me my book is there…so I couldn’t just not get it. I also got my discount card that day, so I got another 5% off from the book. Awesomeness.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin BenwayAudrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me…and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

The day after I got my freelance pay, I had this weird urge to go to the bookstore. Okay, it’s not weird, but there’s the urge. I really just intended to browse, but then I saw Audrey, Wait! and I know there were good reviews for that, then I saw The Monstrumologist and remembered it was posted on the Fully Booked newsletter. Looked promising. I had to debate between that and The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, but the cheaper book won.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. But he’s not just tall …he’s a GIANT. In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

I found out about this one from Chachic and Tarie, and I was interested but I planned on waiting for it, but my editor asked me to review it. I got a copy of the book in Powerbooks Trinoma, after the Goodreads Filipino group meetup (will post about that later! :) ). I finished this one today and…well, expect a review, soon. :D

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

And my last purchase for the week. Highly recommended by…well, everyone, actually, so I thought it’s about time I got myself a copy. Plus I liked the sample, and the idea that the book is narrated by Death. I also have a feeling I’m going to cry in this novel — maybe it’s because of the WWII references? This is my second WWII novel (first one being The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene Chai, but I’m not sure if that counts).

And that’s it for this week. I think I’m going to curb my book buying after this…okay, maybe after I finally get that copy of  The Demon’s Lexicon in Fully Booked Eastwood. After that, I promise to stop! :)

In My Mailbox (2)

Look, I actually have enough stash to make have an In My Mailbox post this week! :) In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. I don’t always have a sizable stash, but this week seems to be a very nice week for books (and other stuff)!


She's So Dead to UsShe’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends — friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn’t like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally’s mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally’s new low-key, happy life, it’ll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there’s Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake’s friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it’s Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can’t be forgotten. Isn’t there more to life than money?

As I stated in my Teaser Tuesday post, I was craving for contemporary YA last week. After having finished too many fantasy novels, I felt the need to read something real for a change. :) I have been eying this book since I saw it in Eastwood, and finally, I cracked and bought it last Sunday. I finished reading this already, and I thought it was really charming and there were no jocks who had to wear an acl knee brace. I can’t wait for the next book! More on my review, soon.

Looking for Alaska by john GreenLooking for Alaska by John Green

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

I figure it was about time I get to know John Green, especially after all the good reviews I’ve been reading about him. What better way to start than with his first book, right? I’m excited to read this one, and maybe after this, I would be devouring all his other books. :)

Print books:

I’ve been feeling nostalgic about print books. I know I said that I like ebooks for their convenience, and I thought I’d be reading more and more ebooks, but now I’m missing holding an actual book. Again, nothing beats an actual book. :)

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he’s going to have to run…

At long last! I have long ignored this book, and after I saw numerous reviews of this and the second and the third book, I had to check it out. After I read the sample, I wanted it, but alas, no stock! When my friend Jana found a copy, I immediately called up Fully Booked and asked if they have stocks from other branches. Two days later, I got a text, and I finally have a copy. :) I did say I love Fully Booked, right?

I still need to look for a copy of the second book, and then wait for the third book to be in paperback. Agonizing, but this is why I have other books to read while this waits. I will read you, soon!

Wild Roses by Deb CaletteWild Roses by Deb Caletti

You would have never recognized the Dino I lived with in the books that had been written about him before the “incident.”

No one had a clue. No one seemed to see what was coming.

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan lives with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violin player and composer. To Cassie, he’s an erratic, self-centered bully. And he’s getting worse: He no longer sleeps, and he grows increasingly paranoid. Before Cassie was angry. Now she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino’s first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she’s doomed. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain, but this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

In the end, only one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred….

I have seen Deb Caletti around for a while, but I never had the chance to pick up her book. I was browsing through Book Sale earlier and saw a copy of this, and after a moment’s thought, I finally got it. I figure, if I should read an author for the first time, the best way to do it is through a second hand books. This sounds a bit reminiscent of North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, and I hope it lives up.


I joined my author friend, Camy Tang‘s Street Team, and her lovely bookmarks arrived this week!

I’m going to spread the bookmarks around here soon, and maybe you’ll even spot some hidden somewhere near you! :) I think it’s time for the Filipinos to get to know another awesome Christian Asian chick-lit author. :)

That’s all I have this week — pretty good stash for me. Nothing compares to what others have, though! What’s in your mailbox this week?