In My Mailbox (20): Where did all these books come from?

This is me catching up on a couple of weeks of In My Mailbox posts again. It’s always more fun to post when you have more books to post about, right? :) Plus, I was out of town last weekend and I was just too exhausted to take photos and come up with an IMM post. Anyway, so many books in the past weeks — even I am surprised at my stash. Look:

Wee~

So, what did we get in the past few weeks?


I attended the launch of the fourth (and much-awaited!) Trese graphic novel at Robinsons Bestsellers two weeks ago. I’m not really a graphic novel person, but I loved Trese and I’ve been waiting for the fourth book ever since I finished all three a few months ago. :) The event was a success if you were to judge only with the number of people who attended (dress code was black, apparently :P). I do think it was an overall success because not only was it a full-house event, but also we got our books signed. :)

Continue Reading →

10 for 2010: Favorite Authors

One of the many things I like about reading is discovering new favorite authors. They’re the ones you know that whatever book they will release, you’ll automatically get it, and you would still like them even if that new book wasn’t as good as the others (at least until their books just become really bad). 2010 gave me a chance to discover new authors that I haven’t read before, and they’re now added to my list of auto-buys. Not all of these authors have a lot of books out, nor have I read all of their works, but the ones I read for this year impressed me so much that I am looking forward to their next releases. :)

Today’s 10 for 2010 is 10 Favorite Authors (again, in no particular order):

1. Patrick Ness - I’ve heard of his Chaos Walking series  a lot, and I wasn’t really planning on reading it. But boy oh boy, I’m glad I started. Patrick Ness is one of those authors from where awesomeness comes. And this is only me raving about the first book (and the novella). And I absolutely love it that he’s a runner, too.

2. Stephen EmondHappyface is one of my favorite books this year, and I found Stephen Emond very much like him. You guys should totally follow him on Twitter — he’s hilarious. And his Tumblr, too. :) And I’m not just saying this because I’m supposedly the president of his fans club. :P

3. Ilona Andrews - This husband-wife team is probably the best world-building authors I’ve read this year. They made Kate Daniels‘ world so real that I feel like I also lived there at some point while reading. I can’t wait to read the On the Edge series, and of course, the rest of Kate Daniels. :)

4. Mina V. Esguerra – I got to talk to Mina online last year because I asked her for a pep talk for the Pinoywrimos, and this year, she sent me an email about her ebook. I loved Fairy Tale Fail so much that I re-read My Imaginary Ex, and when she announced that she has a new book coming, I stalked the bookstores more often just so I could find it. Mina is now one of my favorite local authors, and she inspires me to finish my other NaNo chick-lits. :D I look forward to reading her future books!

5. John Green – I’ve heard of John Green for the longest time now, but it took me this year to read his books. I now understand why he’s such a staple in the contemporary community. John Green is the male version of Sarah Dessen, only quirkier, funnier and he has he most awesome sidekicks. When oh when are you coming out with a new book?

6. Rachel Hauck – I haven’t been reading too many Christian novels this year, but after I splurged on her books when I saw them on sale on Amazon, I started liking Rachel Hauck more. I was pretty lukewarm on her first novel, but her Lowcountry Romances are fun and sweet. She will definitely be one of my go-to authors if I want something light and sweet and Southern. :)

7. Kristin Cashore – I wasn’t really a fantasy fan at the start of this year, but Kristin Cashore was one of those authors who helped me convert. Much thanks to Adele’s rave reviews over Graceling and Fire, I gobbled up those two books too, and I love her since then. I love the way she writes and what she writes, and when that is probably the perfect combination. :)

8. Carrie Ryan – Her books made me love zombies again. Not everyone liked her books, but she has this way of writing that pulls me inside her world and make me feel what the characters feel and see. I love how thematic her zombie novels are, and how she never used the word “zombie” in her series. :D Someday, I want to write like she does.

9 . Mira Grant – I have professed my love for her zombie book, Feed, so many times in this blog, and I really, really cannot wait for the next book, Deadline. Should I even explain more why she’s here? I am very curious about her other books she wrote with her real name, Seannan McGuire — if only I can find copies of them here.

10. Stephanie Perkins – This author just totally rocked my contemporary world this year. It’s obvious that I love Anna and the French Kiss, and Stephanie is such a cool person online that it’s plus points for her. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next.

Runner-up:

  • Jackson Pearce – Jackson Pearce is one of those super funny authors on Twitter that I started following before I even read her books. I loved As You Wish, and I liked Sisters Red, and I cannot wait for Sweetly. While I can’t say she’s one of my absolute auto-buy authors, I can definitely say that her books are those that will always have a place in my wish list. :)
  • Tamora Pierce – I’m a late fan, but better late than never, right? Tamora Pierce is like Kristin Cashore’s mom, and I know I should have liked her first, but forgive me for being such a fantasy noob. I now understood why Alanna is a hero for many girls, and why Trebond is such a magical, magical place. :) I look forward to reading her other books. :D

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples

Again, I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! If you haven’t read a John Green book ever, then here’s your chance to get his third book, Paper Towns for free! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

10 for 2010: Favorite Female Characters

For all the male characters yesterday, I must not forget about the females. :) I love reading about kick-ass heroines, especially after reading about so many weak, Mary Sue-ish heroines in other books who cannot live without their guy. That doesn’t mean they can’t be weak or cry or what — they do. They are weak at times, but in this weakness they find their strengths, too.

I had a hard time writing this list because I met so many awesome female characters this year. But that just goes to show how girls rock, doesn’t it? :) Today’s 10 for 2010 is my Favorite Female Characters.

1. Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) – If there’s ever a most kick-ass heroine I’ve “met” this year, it has got to be Kate. Kate is strong, stubborn and powerful, and yet she’s also very compassionate. Kate is like Thursday Next in an urban fantasy setting, and maybe even more. I might still need to re-read Thursday Next, but if it comes to combat, I think Kate will win. Sorry Thursday, but don’t worry, I still love you! :)

2. Alanna of Trebond (Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce) – I must pay homage to the mother of all kick-ass female characters in the YA fantasy genre (correct me if I am wrong though): Alanna of Trebond. Alanna is the heroine that went against all odds just so she can be what she wants but normally cannot be: a knight. I loved Alanna from the moment she decided to become a knight up to when she finally settled down. But is there really any settling down for her? :) After reading the Song of the Lioness quartet, I now understand why girls consider Alanna as their hero. :)

3. Katsa (Graceling by Kristin Cashore) – Katsa is awesome not only because she’s Graced, but because she stood up to free herself from the people who want to take her in. And just like the first two girls, she also kicked serious ass in her book. :D What’s not to love about her?

4. Fire (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – Fire is a monster with a heart. I loved that description, and I loved her development from being a woman afraid of her beauty to someone who learned to use her beauty to help others.

5. Terra Cooper (North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley) – Terra is hard to understand at first. I envied her for her sheer willpower to exercise and be “perfect” physically, but I also felt sorry for her because she was trapped in a cage that her father built for her and her mom. But as the story went on, I saw Terra’s growth, and I wanted her to win. Like Terra, I want to remember and hold on to what true beauty is all about: Let the glossy spreads have their heart-stopping, head-turning kind of beauty. Give me the heart-filling beauty instead. Jolie laide, that’s what I would choose. Flawed, we’re truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.

6. Georgia Mason (Feed by Mira Grant) – I love that Georgia is a blogger, but I think what most readers would really love about her is her integrity. She really embodies what a journalist is supposed to be. You would have to kill her to stop her from telling the truth, and yet, even so, I bet she will still be able to get the truth out. I bet Georgia would have made a great politician, too. ;)

7. Anne Elliot (Persuasion by Jane Austen) – Ah Anne. Okay, so I’ve only “met” Elizabeth Bennett among all Austen heroines. I know I have no point of comparison over the other heroines because I have yet to read them, but Anne Elliot is someone that I really want to be. She’s smart, she’s mature, she’s gracious, and she always has her heart in the right place. Definitely the epitome of great female characters. :)

8. Samantha Kingston (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver) – Samantha is not someone I’d be friends with if we were in the same school. I wouldn’t really like her much, either, given the way she treats other people. But Samantha’s story taught me that there is always more underneath a person other than our first impressions on them. Sam started out as a bitch, but I ended up loving her as a friend as she repeated the last day of her life, and wanting her to succeed in whatever life is teaching her on her last day. Definitely memorable.

9. Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns by John Green) – I know a lot of people who’s read Paper Towns dislike her, but I didn’t. I liked her for the strength that she had in choosing what she felt she needed to do. She doesn’t know if it’s the right choice, and sure, she made other people suffer, but she was brave enough to do what she wanted to do. If I may quote Aaron (who’s a very big fan of the book): Hating Margo is like hating everyone in the world that chose, once and for all, to be themselves.

10. Caroline Sweeney (Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck) – Of all these characters, Caroline might be the most silent one. If she were placed in a room with all the other girls in this story, I bet she would have remained unnoticed, until someone suddenly needs help, and she would be there in a flash. I admired Caroline for her gentle and helpful heart, one that found that being faithful in the small things means you will also be faithful with the bigger ones. :)

Runner-Up:

  • Andi (Tall Story by Candy Gourlay) – I honestly almost forgot about Andi when I was writing my list. I could relate to Andi because she’s also a younger sister. I felt for her when her life was literally shaken when her brother Bernardo came into the picture, and I liked that instead of pushing him away, she embraced him and looked out for him even if he was practically a stranger to her. That’s what being a sister is all about, I guess?
  • Ellie Manuel (Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra) – I liked Ellie because I can relate to her, not in the relationship sense, but in the way she thinks. Ellie’s voice is so fresh and friendly that I cannot help but like her from the moment I started reading Fairy Tale Fail. I also liked how she grew into an independent character at the end of the story. :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? Get a chance to win Fire by Kristin Cashore and find out why Fire is such an awesome heroine. Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

Ten Ten Ten!

It’s October 10, 2010. You know what this means, of course?

I’m not one to believe in lucky numbers or days, but I can’t really pass up the chance to blog on this day, if only to remember what I did, or to say that I actually have a post on this once-in-a-lifetime date on my blogs.

So hi, happy 10.10.10!

I was supposed to join the 24 hour read-a-thon this weekend, but I decided to sit it out this year since my family and I were busy with my dad’s arrival and my brother’s upcoming wedding. It would’ve been an excellent way to spend 10.10.10 reading wise, but I have to face the fact that I have a life outside of books. But in the spirit of this binary date (I’m a geek, of course I have to point that out), I thought I’d sort of take a break from all the book reviews and squeeing and post something a little more personal, but still somehow related to reading (this is a book blog, after all). I know I’ve gained some new followers in the past months, so consider this a re-introduction post. :) Since it’s 10.10.10, let’s go for 3 sets of 10’s, shall we?

10 things about me:

  1. My name is Tina, and I’m a 24-year-old sort of all around geek from the beautiful (and sometimes chaotic) Philippines. :)
  2. I work as a full-time web content developer in one of the big multinational companies in the…well, world. I love my job even if it can be repetitive and somewhat frustrating sometimes. As of now I still see myself in that company for a few more years. I don’t know if I’ll be doing that I’m still doing, but I hope whatever it is, I would still love it. And since I’m a web content developer, you see now how I can manage to blog every now and then. ;) Blogging is practically second nature.
  3. I own three more blogs outside of my book blog, plus a semi-active Tumblr, a very active Twitter and a dead LJ and Plurk accounts. I’m also very active at Goodreads, more active than I was before ever since I met the Goodreads Filipino group people. :) I have a very big internet footprint, and it’s too late to do anything about that. ^^
  4. I love to run. I’m not sure if it loves me back, but I love it very much. :) I’m not really a sporty person, but running is not really a competitive sport so I caved in and joined the thousands of people who liked to run races here, too. I started running this year, after my friends and I set a goal to run races, and I haven’t stopped till then. I started with 5k distance then immediately stepped up to 10k, and been running 10k ever since. I’m hoping and planning and praying to run my first half marathon early in 2011. :)
  5. Speaking of praying — I’m a devout Catholic. I’d like to believe I’m not a religious nut, but rather spiritual. I value my faith and beliefs, hence it influences what I read and how I review the books I read.
  6. I dream of publishing my own novel someday. I need to get moving and keep on writing (hence my insistence on joining NaNoWriMo every year), and I need to find the courage to actually submit my work somewhere. One day, one day.
  7. My brother is a wedding videographer. I may be biased, but he’s a very good one, too. Just look at his works here. :)
  8. I am a semi-health nut. Ever since I lost a lot of weight in the past year, I’ve been very careful to keep the weight off. Hence the running, and lots of gym, and watching what I eat. I still love ice cream and sweets and other sinful stuff, though but always in moderation. ;)
  9. My most common random fact that I always share: I name all my gadgets. It helps me take care of them better. I have two laptops named Teo (work) and Aslan (personal), Macy the iPod, Elyon and Cornelia the mobile phones, Wes the external hard drive, Ginger the USB flash drive, Ashley the camera and Astrid the Kindle. I also name my credit cards in an attempt to not always use them, but I fail at that. ;)
  10. And for the 10th thing about me is…I don’t know why I keep on writing lists like these! I forgot how hard it is to write 10 things about myself! Hah. But I’m somewhat of a masochist sometimes. I like challenging myself. I’m not really a daredevil, but I try to find things that would make me try new thing and would (hopefully) make me a better person in the end. :)

10 Favorite Books read in 2010 so far:

  1. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  2. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
  3. Feed by Mira Grant
  4. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  6. Happyface by Stephen Emond
  7. The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  8. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  10. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

10 books I can’t wait to get my hands on:
(Always subject to change ;))

  1. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
  2. Plain Kate by Erin Bow
  3. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
  4. AEIOU: An Easy Intimacy by Jeffrey Brown
  5. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
  6. Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
  7. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  8. Matched by Ally Condie
  9. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Well that took a bit of time to post. Whew. What about you, do you have any 10’s to share? :)

The Song of the Lioness (Tamora Pierce)

The Song of the Lioness

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

I wasn’t much of a fantasy reader when I was young. My love affair with reading started with one of the Sweet Valley Kids books. Early on, I never strayed from the Sweet Valley, Nancy Drew and Babysitters Club shelves during bookstore visits, ignoring all the other books and genres in the process. When I grew up, I was more likely to pick up “fluffy” books than fantasy or scifi. I can answer a question about high school cliques in a heartbeat, but anything about magic or supernatural creatures or lands that only exist in the imagination, and my brain shuts down. It wasn’t until last year, when I set a personal goal to read more fantasy books, that I wandered over to other shelves. However, given the great variety of fantasy titles, it’s easy for a fantasy newbie like me to be overwhelmed.

Enter Tamora Pierce and The Song of the Lioness series. Spoiler Warning from here on out.

Published from 1983 to 1988, The Song of the Lioness was originally written as a single book for adults, but was rejected by the publisher. Pierce cut up the manuscript and revised it into four books for teenagers. These four books feature Alanna of Trebond, and chronicle her journey into knighthood and her adventures as a knight. In Alanna: The First Adventure, we meet Alanna and her twin brother Thom, who switches places with her to go to the City of the Gods so Alanna could fulfill her dream to be a lady knight. She disguises herself as a boy, names herself Alan, and starts her knight training at the royal court.  Alanna makes friends along the way like Crown Prince Jonathan, King of Thieves George Cooper, and her teacher, Sir Myles of Olau, as well as enemies like Ralon of Malven and the man who becomes Alanna’s nemesis, Duke Roger of Conte. In the next book, In the Hands of the Goddess, Alanna continues her training, now as Jonathan’s squire and good friend, and adopts a strange purple-eyed cat she named Faithful. She joins her first war and tries to find proof that Roger is responsible for the mess that the kingdom finds itself in. Alanna becomes known as The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, which is also the title of the third book, where she leaves Tortall after revealing her identity, killing Roger and becoming a knight. She finds herself joining a Bahzir tribe where she becomes a shaman, and learns how to use and be less afraid of her power. The quartet ends with Lioness Rampant, where Alanna searches for the legendary Dominion Jewel, and returns home to help her friends to fight a war and protect both the soon-to-be-crowned King Jonathan and all of Tortall. Click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating:
Alanna: The First Adventure
In the Hand of the Goddess
Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Lioness Rampant

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 30-33 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 14-17 out of 20 Fantasy books for 2010

→ Tamora Piece’s website