Friday, February 11, 2011

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3)Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This classic really gets me hooked every time. First with Anne of Green Gables and because I was so hooked on knowing more about how Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe's relationship would turn out, I looked forward on reading the sequels following the first book.

The second book, okay... I didn't cheat. I accidentally read Anne of the Island without realizing it was the third book instead of reading Anne of Avonlea which is supposed to be the book I must've read. But since I love these books by L.M. Montgomery, I'm going back to the second book and read away though I have the 4th book of the Blue Bloods next on my list. After that, then I'll read Anne of Avonlea.

Anne of the Island has been another book that I loved reading. Anne's character really reflects that of a girl who's eager to learn and grow-up though most of the times, she was stubborn and fickle-minded.She reminds me a lot about myself.

I pick up a lot of lessons from the books of the sequel. Lessons that aren't taught in school by teachers/professors. Anne's life is really inspiring. She tumbles a lot but she manages to get up. Her heart gets broken at times but she still manages to fight it and smile. She also lost many things but knows that she doesn't take grudge and grieve about them for long. She cherishes her friends and the family who brought her up even if they're not blood-related to her and she's grateful for everything that comes her way.

Anne sees problems not as a hindrance to happiness or to her dreams but she sees them as stepping stones to achieve what she wants/loves which teaches her to be grateful that those things are to be treasured because they were achieved from facing the struggles in life with courage and faith.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter in MadridWinter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom


Harry Felt Panic beginning to stir. The thought of going back to Spain both excited and appalled him...

1940: after the Spanish Civil War, Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, as Germany continues its relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone, while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, a traumatized veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of old schoolfriend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game - and surrounded by memories.

Meanwhile Sandy's girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged on her own secret mission - to find her former lover, Bernie Piper, a passionate Communist in the International Brigades who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

Part thriller, part love story, this is a remarkable tale set against the backdrop of Spain's bloody Civil War and war-torn London. Winter in Madrid follows the fortunes of three young men - formerly at public school together, now set on profoundly opposing courses, and navigating the tumultous world of 1930s Spain with their differing values and political affiliations. But as the Second World War draws near, one is sent to spy on another and the ramifications of a tragic love story will haunt them all. A compelling tale which offers a remarkable sense of place and of history unfolding

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took a lot of time before I finished this book. I like this kind of novels wherein the time was during war or a period wherein everything seems a mess, not only focusing on someone's life or one family's life. Do you get what I mean?

I like stories such as this because they show that all people have problems, sometimes worse still than the protagonist in the story. I just like it that way. Everything seems more fair.

It's just that this novel was harder for me to understand - the Fascists, the monarchist and the communists then the Falange. It was a bit messy for me to understand compared to "Hornet Flight" by Ken Follett.

It was hard for me to imagine myself to be inside the story. "Hornet Flight" was an easy read for me because the story goes on in my head like a movie or like I was really there in that particular time and place where I was reading but for "Winter in Madrid", it just didn't turn out that way. It was more difficult. I was really just a reader, like I was just a gossip-monger putting in bits and bits of news together to enclose all the important pieces of the story in one book.

The novel is good. I like it but I didn't fall in love with it completely. The excitement I had was only triggered in the last chapters of the book though there were many unpredictable parts that surprised me when I was reading.

All in all, as my rating says... in plain short words, "I liked it".

Little Vampire WomenLittle Vampire Women by Lynn Messina


"Christmas won't be Christmas without any corpses." 

The dear, sweet March sisters are back, and Marmee has told them to be good little women. Good little vampire women, that is. That's right: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have grown up since you last read their tale, and now they have (much) longer lives and (much) more ravenous appetites. 

Marmee has taught them well, and so they live by an unprecedented moral code of abstinence ... from human blood. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy must learn to get along with one another, help make society a better place, and avoid the vampire hunters who pose a constant threat to their existence. Plus, Laurie is dying to become a part of the March family, at any cost. Some things never change. 

This horrifying — and hilarious — retelling of a timeless American classic will leave readers craving the bloodthirsty drama on each and every page

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What I think:

I loved the original novel of Louisa May Alcott so when I got this last Christmas and read in the back of the book that it would be hilarious, I expected it to humor me so I read it immediately with excitement leaving the other book I was reading behind. But it let me down.

I expected it would be a rather fun story more so than "Little Women" because I really had fun reading the original version but as I said, it wasn't at all what I had in mind before I read it.

In short, I loved the original version of Louisa May Alcott. Maybe I'm just not into this vampire stuff anymore like I used to be the past few years. And maybe I would've liked it more if I haven't read the "Little Women" first.

This is the first book I had which was rewritten from an original novel and it discouraged me to read another one like maybe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Wuthering Bites. Maybe I would give this kind of books another chance later, just not now.

Filipino Women Writer's Challenge 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm adding a new challenge for myself. Anyone who's anyone can also join me if they want. I'm going to read novels/literary works of Filipino Women Writers which I'll be able to find in bookstores or in the library once I go home to the Philippines this summer vacation which is April.

Ten books is my target since I think it's a good idea that since I already love reading books, why shouldn't I try the books written by women from my own country, right?

The Tragic Love of Two Enemies

I just read "The Tragic Love of Two Enemies" by Ihara Saikaku which was translated by EE. Powys Mathers and edited by Patrick Ryan.

Ihara Saikaku was one of 17th century's most illustrious writers. His works are now recongnised for their significance in the development of Japanese fiction literature.

"The Tragic Love of Two Enemies" is short. It depicts the story of Senpatji Akanashi, a samurai, who was commanded by his master to kill his dear friend Shingokei Dizaki and falls in love with the latter's son 14 years after the murder he committed. He found Shingokei's widow and son, Shynosuke, in a village were they both lived unaware of the presence of each other.

When Shingokei's widow realized that Senpatji was her husband's killer, she ordered her son, Shynosuke to avenge Shingokei but he was hesitant because he loved Senpatji dearly. The love affair was known by Shynosuke's mother but she wanted vengeance for her husband's death.

I read the story when I read about it from the post The Reading Life: Japan. The story's link was also provided and can be read online.

The TwentyEleven Challenge

I've found yet another challenge with a specific genre/category of the books provided by the challenger.
The things you need to know:
  • Each book can only qualify for one category.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  • Books read from 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011 are eligible.
And the categories for TwentyEleven are:
  1. The categories:

    1. To Ya or not to YA - as I tend to read more adult fiction than YA, I'll try for two YA.
    2.  With a Twist -  Sub-genres - I'll have to think about this one.
    3.  Hot Off the Presses - read a book published (in your country) in 2011.
    4.  It Wasn't Me - read a book recommended by another blogger.
    5.  Show It Who is Boss! - read a book from your TBR pile.
    6.  Bablefish - read a book that is translated from a language other than your own.
    7.  Will-Power? What Will-Power? - read a book bought new in 2011.
    8.  Mind the Gap - read the last book in a series you've been reading.
    9.  Back in the Day - re-read an old favourite or two.
    0.  Way Back When - read a book that was published before you were born.
    1.  Slim Pickings - read one or two novellas of between 90 and 150 pages.
Click the button on the side bar for the link of the blog if you want to sign up for this exciting and fun challenge.

Starting the Challenge with My Sister

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We started the Read To Me Reading Challenge yesterday since my sister got so excited about joining me in a reading challenge. I'm not sure if she's also that into reading but since she insisted we started it immediately so we did. We chose the challenge level of "Watering" which means we must read 36 picture books together this year.

We read 3 yesterday. Yes, three. Did I mention she's excited about the challenge?

Okay, so here were the stories:

  1. Snip and Snap and The Billy Goat by George C. Mason
  2. The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning
  3. Atlas Hangs On by Richard Swan

I can't seem to find a picture for the story book "Atlas Hangs On" but I put the link above. 

I asked her to rate them and she rated them 5,3 and 4 respectively. She didn't like the Pied Piper of Hamelin that much because of the ending where the children followed the Pied Piper and left except for one boy who was left so sad because all his playmates had gone. And because the townspeople never saw the children again even if they tried hard to get them back.

Okay, so we have 33 more books to go. It's a long way to the end of the year and I know we'll be hitting our target of 36 books before it. Wish us all Good luck to the challenges we're joining in! :)