Friday, 31 December 2010

Life of Pi... available for free download

AS OF POSTING DATED 12.31.2010 - 22:27 (UK time), the novel entitled, Life of Pi is available for free download from (US). Grab a copy now, otherwise it will be returned to its original price. Unfortunately, it is only available for Kindle or PC registered in the website. Click the photo to find out more!

Book Description: "One boy, one boat, one tiger . . . After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan – and a 450-pound Royal Bengal ..."

Another freebie is a collection of Fairy Tales stories by Hamilton Wright Mabie. This ebook includes the following short stories: One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes;The Magic Mirror; Hansel and Grethel; The Story of Aladdin; The White Cat; The Second Voyage of Sinba; The Golden Goose; The Twelve Brothers; Tom Thumb; Cinderella;Puss in Boots; Blue Beard; Sleeping Beauty; Jack and the Beanstalk; Little Red Riding Hood; Jack the Giant Killer; The Three Bears; The Princess On The Pea; The Ugly Duckling; and Beauty and the Beast. Click the photo to download.

UPDATES (1.3.2011): Unfortunately, Life of Pi by Yann Martel is NOT FREE anymore as of posting and it is now tagged at $5.75 at and 3.73 sterling pound at

Flash Updates: Reading Kindle eBooks makes easy

HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is the last day of 2010 and I am quite excited to start with the new year with a big bang especially with my passion for books. With the fast-pace of technology in communication, we can now have easy access to free ebooks, and recently just recently announced the lending/borrowing/sharing functionality for Kindle users. This means that selected ebooks can be borrowed from other users in a certain period of time (14 days at the moment). Unfortunately, it is quite different to verify what books are available for loans, unless you catch up with the Amazon Kindle facebook account for updates.

As my personal contribution to this "amazonian kindling" era, I will post (on a regular basis) the latest ebooks, including links of websites that provided affordable copies or maybe at its best price: FREE! There are existing sites that maintain database of free ebooks, especially the classic ones. Once in a while, Amazon US is also offering free of charge copies in a limited period of time. The Amazon UK is currently offering 1-pound for a selection of ebooks until 06 January 2011.

This week, I already downloaded a handful of copies in my white kindle3G with back-up in my laptop. Even if you dont have Kindle or ereader device, you can still read these books using your computer/laptop/netbook. The application can be downloaded from Amazon website or click the photo above. Later on, when you finally got your ereader gadget, it is easy to transfer the files from the computer.

With the start of new year, you maybe interested to check some of my ebook selection, available for download through your PC or directly to your Kindle or any any ereader device. Enjoy and share the fun in reading!

NOTE: Some of the interesting sites offering freebies are shown below. You can be a member of these sites as well for managing your bookshelves (from wish list to purchased ones).

1. Manybooks. The site is also advertised in Amazon which contains thousands of ebooks. If you are interested with classical novels, then this is for you. For example, I did find stories written in Tagalog or Filipino or novels written by Filipino authors/writers.

2. Smashwords. Very simple site but quite beneficial for people who want to start their careers in publication. The site allows members to upload their stories for free or market it for a minimal cost. It also allows members to download the files in various formats and shared it various socialnetworking sites such facebooks, twitter, etc.

3. Feedbooks. It is similar to Smashwords but it has a link that list down the popular ebooks every week. It has limited options for downloading formats and for sharing.

Reminder: The featured ebooks above are free for downloading, however it does not guaranteed that it will be free from the time you have access to these books. You have to check it first before downloading them, otherwise you will be charged. Majority of the classics ones are free!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Princess and the Mythical Lump

THIS IS HILARIOUS, FUNNY AND WITTY story of a Princess who is a fan of the Frog Prince's fairy tale. It is highly-recommended for young (at least 17) and old (up to 99), with a slice of Frog Prince's story and a twist at the end.

I dont want to spoil it, so I rather discover it by yourself and find out why I was laughing from beginning to end. I encourage you to share it with your friends. Happy new year everyone!

The Princess and the Penis should be in our ebook reader's top collection list!

To get a copy, please click the photo or the title of my post and you will be directed to the original site where the book is featured.

UPDATES (12.28.2010). I could not help myself not to download the second short story of RJ Silver entitled, The Ballerina, The Gymnast, and the Yoga Master. This is the love story of Vincent while he was narrating his adventures to a writer, Anna whom he met at the park; consequently he found the true essence of "love and relationship" at the end. This is about the "change" that these two things will bring to our lives - either for good or bad. Sadly, we can not control these changes, but we have the choice and the best way is to embrace these new things happening in our surroundings and bring the relationship in a better perspective.

FINALLY, WE DO NOT need to dwell in the past relationship, we have to move on and embrace the things that the future will bring in our life. Again, a happy ending for Vincent and Anna with a little bit of an unusual twist to embark in a new relationship!

Visit RJ Silver's website for more updates and his upcoming stories. Please note that you only need an hour or less to read each story. The first book has 9 chapters while the second book has 6 chapters and these stories have been published online for free in December and October 2010, respectively.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

My reading list...merry xmas everyone!

CHRISTMAS SEASON IS THE BUSIEST time of the year for everyone. Aside from buying gifts and decorating our own Xmas trees, we are also preparing for our reading list and to enjoy our holiday. Away from our work or school commitments, we could be able to engross ourselves reading our favourite authors' stories not only for the holiday but also for the new year.

Prior to this Xmas holiday, I already bought some of my favourite novels in the US. Unfortunately, most of them were left in my cousin's house, and hopefully will be sent home to the Philippines in the future. Only one book I brought with me returning back to the UK last November. Aside from being restricted of the 20 kg-luggage allowance, I already have my AmazonKindle 3G - an ultimate travel gadget from my cousin! So, it means that I will not carry any books anymore while traveling from now on!

Right now, Im currently reading C.S. Lewis novels, The Chronicles of Narnia. This is published in the US and distributed in Cosco - the big retail store in the States at $12.99 (exclusive of tax). You need to be a member to shop in Cosco! When I arrived in London at the end of November, a friend of mine from the Philippine Embassy surprised me with a book entitled, The perks of being a wallflower written by Stephen Chbosky. I havent started reading this book yet but it seems interesting. A week after, I was coming back to Belfast, I bought a book of my fav lady writers, Jodi Piccult entitled House Rules which I started reading the first few pages while waiting for my flight.

For the meantime, Im finishing Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol novel using my AmazonKindle and The Chronicles of Narnia is my back-up! Few days ago, I grabbed one book displayed in a shelve inside Belfast central train station. The book is written by Karin Evans entitled The Lost Daughters of China.

It seems that I'm getting a long reading list at the moment after buying additional 6 books from the discounted stores. Not only that, Im also building up my ebook collection in my Kindle and the Amazon website really generous to provide some useful links to free ebooks, especially the classics ones. Just to mention a few, I got ebooks of Dr. Jose Rizal's popular novels (in English translation). Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines and wrote two influential books, namely: Noli Me Tangere (An Eagle Flight or The Social Cancer) and El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed).
I had the chance to read these books (originally written in Spanish) in Filipino version as reading requirements in high school. I can also read them using my laptop since I downloaded the Kindle software for PC/laptop application which allows me to read even without using my Kindle or I can share files from PC/laptop to Kindle, bothways.

THIS IS IT... new stories to read and more characters to explore especially using my new travel companion - AmazonKindle3G.

Merry Christmas and God Bless every one!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

World Book Night sets in March 2011

Newsbit: (01/02/11). Im delighted to share this good news about my application for this event. Im lucky to be chosen as one of the book givers on the 5th of March 2011 and will be distributing 48 copies of Sarah Waters' book entitled, Fingersmith.

IT IS LAUNCHED TODAY (2 December 2010), the World Book Night is a special event that will encourage the lucky 20,000 book-givers to distribute the 25 chosen books on the night of Saturday, 5 March 2011.

To be considered as one of the book-givers, applicants have until Tuesday, 4 January 2011 to submit online application and the successful ones will be contacted on 28 January. The organizer will choose the book-givers according to the following criteria: a passion for reading, a commitment to spread that passion to others, the spread of givers throughout the UK and Ireland, and the need to have a diverse range of givers.

Finally, the givers must be aged 18 or over, must not be employed by or related to anyone employed by the publisher of the book chosen, and of course must be available to give books away on the night of March 5 2011. Note that the lucky givers will become founder members of World Book Night and they will be given the opportunity to share their experiences thru a social networking site.

I already applied today and below are my answers to the questions asked in the online application:

1. The book from the list of 25 that you would most like to give. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

2. Why have you chosen this book? Please tell us, in no more than 100 words, why you have chosen the book you most want to give and why you think everyone should read it. I chose this book because I had the chance to read Waters' debut novel, Tipping the Velvet. I like Sarah's writing style with a slice of sense of humour and sexuality. I expect that Fingersmith will offer the same excitement and interesting characters. Unfortunately, I have a copy of the book but I haven’t read it until now. So, it will be my next read as soon I finished reading Jodi Piccult's House Rules over the weekend. Honestly, I seldom read novels written by women, and Waters is lucky enough to be in my list, including Jodi Piccult and Mary Higgins Clark.

3. Who would you give your copies to? * Please tell us in no more than 100 words a little about how and to whom you would like to give the books. WBN is keen to see givers taking the books to places where they might not otherwise reach. I am a member of BookCrossing- Northern Ireland and I will collaborate with the members to distribute the books. I will ask my friend to drive me outside the city and hopefully stop in shops and malls or even bus stops to hand over the books.

4. Is there another book you would like to give if your first choice is not available? Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney

To find out more of the selected 25 book titles, CLICK HERE...
UPDATES: (21/01/11) I already got a confirmation email about my application and I was informed that the application is extended until 24 January 2011. On the other hand, it is a first come first serve basis after the organizer received more than 20,000 applicants. Most likely, those early applicants have the greater chance to be selected! Good luck!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Fascination with Traveling

A simple way of sho...
By Reymos
AT LAST I SUCCESSFULLY CREATED AND PUBLISHED MY FIRST EVER COFFEE TABLE BOOK using Blurb. It is a forty-page landscape print showcasing my very own images taken during my travels locally and abroad using my dependable-companions, Sony Cybershot and Olympus (for underwater).

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED to have a signed copy of this book, you can join my "Grab a Copy" contest which details will be posted very soon. Your comments are also welcome. Please watch out for my 2nd book entitled, My Travel Blog...

For every journey there is a story to tell... and this is my own story. Unfolding before your eyes through the images I captured during my travels...

Monday, 20 September 2010

The meaningful life according to Rick Warren

I borrowed some books from my cousin’s friend including the inspirational and life-changing book of Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life.

Actually, I got my personal copy from my cousin when I visited the US four years ago. But that time I was not ready to discover Warren’s charisma to inspire millions of people around the world about the true essence of living. Maybe, this is timely now to find out why this book is considered as a priceless gift for everyone who wants to know the purpose of their lives and fulfil their own destiny in God's plan. I will try to come-up with a journal or notes about my personal discoveries and hopefully be able to inspire other people to embrace the greatness of God!

Im already half way through with the book and so far it is refreshing to learn God's words. Warren's style of writing is easy to follow and the discussions/contents are encouraging and transforming!

The book provided us the five purposes for our life on earth: To be a member of his family, a model of his character, a magnifier of his glory, a minister of his grace, and a messeger of his Good News to others. Specifically, according to Warren the following are our 5 purposes in life: You were planned for God's pleasure, You were formed for God's family, You were created to become like Christ, You were shaped for serving God, and finally, you were made for a mission.

The purpose of your life is far greater that your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest

There is no fear in love; perferct love drives out all fear...

God does not want anyone to be lost, but He wants all people to change their hearts and lives.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Travel Book @ Blurb

I AM A MEMBER OF BLURB but I havent created my own photo book. Alot of aspiring photographers are taking advantage of the site's features to create, publish and sell their books. Looking at these albums, it is very inspiring to have one!

Author's Note: A photographic study of Egypt, from ancient monuments to fields of cabbages, from temples to modern streetlife. Text includes a mixture of how the shots came about or simple comments on the locations. I hope you will find it entertaining as well as informative. Most of all I would like you to feel, as you turn the pages, either nostalgia for a country you may already know and love, or a real need to visit Egypt for the first time.

About the Photographer: MIKE SHEPHERD left the Art College for a career in advertising as an Art Director. Working with another photographer for an album cover shoot was the beginning of his model making, set building, and special effects career. His clients include Paul McCartney, 10cc, Smirnoff, JCB and Dupont. His favourite stint was Playdoh modelling for Hasbro, who also asked him to be involved to design and produce a sculpture for the 'Save the Children Festival of Trees' in London.' For additional info about Mike, you can click the link HERE.

Im also featuring another Blurbarian - Ken S. who happened to be a Filipino. He already published two books: Turkey and India - featuring his amazing visits to these countries. Enjoy his photos and maybe you will be inspired to explore other places and share it with us thru Blurb.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Free Ebooks @ Browse Inside

BROWSE INSIDE (beta) allows internet users to have access to ebooks free of charge, either full access or just some sections of the novel, highlighting the first few pages of the chapters. Actually, I found the site when I was browsing the homepage which offers ebooks to be downloaded free of charge.

I think the main objective of these useful sites is that it allows everyone to read stories written by their favourite writers online without spending a penny (well not to mention the charges from the wireless connection provider). Unfortunately, you can not save the file on our computers, but on the other hand, it is an alternative option while travelling or just having a past time in an internet cafe and even while waiting a flight at the airport. Make sure you have an unlimited access to the internet where ever you go.

One of the examples available in the site is the novel The Pact: A Love Story written by Jodi Picoult. I like the writing style of Jodi after reading her popular books: My Sister's Keeper (also a movie), Second Glance, and Perfect Match. I havent read The Pact but Im sure it is another heart-moving story about parenting and friendship.

(Note: Synopsis taken from BookArmy website). For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There is a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet - a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described. The profound questions faced by the characters in this heartrending novel are those we can all relate to: How well do we ever really know our children or our friends? As its chapters unfold, alternating between an idyllic past and an unthinkable present, The Pact paints an indelible portrait of families in anguish, culminating in an astonishingly suspenseful courtroom drama.

FINALLY, these both sites also include reviews and ratings from the members as well as listing of latest and forthcoming publications. Some of these books have their few pages available online that provide us a sneak of the book content. In some way or another it gives us the option either to buy it or not; or we can recommend it to our online friends in various networking sites such facebook, twitter, blogger, myspace, etc.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Exploring Google Books.Com

THANK YOU TO ANGELINE ADAMS (a member of bookcrossingni) thru her recent article published in VERBAL MAGAZINE that I found out that Google maintains a database of books and some of them are in pdf files which means these books can be read online without any ereader gadget. This is one of the examples...about travel photography and stories.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Prince of Mist - a first novel of the author of The Shadow of the Wind

AS SOON I FINISHED READING the second bookseller of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel's Game (which I previously posted an initial review), I decided to buy his English translated first Spanish novel, The Prince of Mist which is available at Tesco (UK) for half price ( hardcover, 6.49 pounds).

Just for a matter of two consecutive nights, I discovered why this Zafon's earlier writing was loved by "those who are young and those who are not so young." With 202 pages, the story begun when Max Carver's family decided to move from the city to the countryside along the beach. As soon as they occupied the wooden house, Max (13 yrs old boy) started to experience strange things - including the discovery of a walled garden, diving in a sunken ship called Orpheus, including the newly found friendship with Roland. Revealing the secrecy behind the life of Roland and his grandfather, Mr. Kay (the lighthouse keeper) leads to unexpected life-and-death encounters of the Prince of Mist, Mr. Cain.

When a debt is not settled, it gathers interest but that does not cancel the original debts.

The style of Zafon's storytelling reminded me of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Unlike the two current novels (The Angel's Game and The Shadow of the Wind,) The Prince of Mist does not contain much of Zafon's poetic lines, but it does capture our imagination - a tale of adventure, magic and mystery which also embodied in the children books written by Lewis. Indeed a recommended summer read!

The Spanish version was released in 1993 and translated to English in 2010 by Lucia Graves.

Book Catcher 2010 Series 3

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Pick-e-book corner: Spencer Johnson

THIS IS ONLY A TRIAL Google document sharing thru my ebooks collection. If you are interested to have a copy, please leave a message in the comment box with your proper contact details. I want to share my collection to legitimate individuals who have the same passion in reading.

ONE REQUEST: Please include your favourite novel(s) or author(s), and/or what you are reading now.

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

Briefly, the book is about our reactions towards "change" in our life and work. It is about the four characters - two mice: Sniff and Scurry, and two little humans: Hem and Haw are looking for the cheese (represents happiness and success) in a maze, Very inspirational/motivational story! Excerpt of the book could be found HERE.

Can you embrace change in your life as well as in your professional work?

NOTE: Documents sharing by Google requires a google (gmail) email account to get access to the specific folder/document. It also requires a software to open or extract the file. You can try jZip ( - a free easy and archiving winzip alternative downloading software.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My book current initial read!

I'M CURRENTLY READING THE SECOND NOVEL of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel's Game. Im now at the middle section of the book and Im not still excited to find out where the story is heading to.

Unlike the first novel of Zafon, "The Shadows of the Wind", I was already amazed of the storylines and the characters just only in the first few pages of the book; but in Angel's Game, it is a little bit slow and less surprises from the main characters!

More pages to go so Im expecting that the story will be intensed to a higher level of mystery! Some of the poetic lines from the first and second acts of the book that struck me most.

Faith is an instinctive response to aspects of existence that we cannot explain by any other means - be it the moral void we perceive in the universe, the certainty of death, the mystery of the origin of things, the meaning of our own lives or the absence of meaning.

All interpretation or observation of reality is necessarily fiction. In this case, the problem is that man is moral animal abandoned in an amoral universe and condemned to a finite existence with no other meaning than to perpetuate the natural cycle of the species. It is impossible to survive in a prolonged state of reality... we spend...our lives dreaming... when we're awake.

The day women are allowed to learn to read and write, the world will become ungovernable.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Unforgettable places... memorable experiences

"By their very nature islands are often unforgettable. Their stark beauty and peaceful solitude bear witness to the drama of their creation "... Steve Davey

BEFORE BBC BOOKSHOP IN BELFAST was closed permanently in 2007, I bought several books and DVDs for a half price from the store. In particular, I collected 3 out of the 4 exciting series of books written by international travel writers, Steve Davey and Steve Watkins; and photographers, Marc Schlossman and Clare Jones. Briefly, these travel books include the following: Unforgettable Islands to escape to before you die, Unforgettable Journeys to take before you die, Unforgettable Things to do before you die, and finally Unforgettable Places to see before you die which I am planning to purchase in the future.

First, I will be sharing to you the fourth title published in 2007, entitled Unforgettable Islands to escape to before you die! Why the Unforgettable Islands? Well, just to give you first a background of my origin. I was born and raised in one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippine archipelago? Where is Philippines located, by the way? Having a review of geography, my home country is just 3 hours away from Japan and Singapore by plane and almost 5 hours from Australia. Also, this is where Mylene Klass' mother and Nicole Scherzinger's (Pussycat Dolls) father came from. People who are living in the Philippines are known as Filipinos and the country got its name from Spain - colonized "Filipinas" for more than 300 years. In other words, I am an islander who loves the beach, coconut trees, waves, sunset, coral reefs, forest, cool breeze and rivers! The environment I grew up was quite similar as portrayed in the Shipwrecked or Lost TV programmes, except that there is no competition and no fear for survival. It is a place I always called "home".

This is the reason why the book reminded me of my home - a place where illustrated inside the colourful 256 pages of the book. When I found this book during my first visit to BBC store, I was fascinated by its cover and the title itself. A feeling that draws me to browse the book and finding out why it is unforgettable. I searched it thru Amazon to see if I could get a cheaper deal using my dooyoo voucher; unfortunately the price is the same at £18.99. Few months later, I found out the BBC store is closing down and offering for 50-70% discounts. Without a second thought, I bought the 3 titles. The author, Steve Davey and with the assistance of Marc Schlossman for the images of the 40 islands featured in the book, vividly describe his personal experience visiting these islands for almost 11 months. Some of the islands where covered in the first three series of his publications which I will be reviewed in the near future. I don't want to give you all the contents of this book, but rather I will provide you the outstanding elements of the book that a traveller and photo hobbyist like me could get unforgettable insights of the featured islands which I am also dying to explore them before I die!

Generally, the book is perfectly packaged in a form suitable for a coffee table display. The image featured in the hard cover is taken from Stockholm, Sweden. The author's introduction is very well written emphasizing the value of visiting these places, without affecting the eco-system of the islands. He acknowledged both the positive and negative effects of tourism to these vulnerable places, and the same time the rewarding hospitality and generosity of the people living in these islands surrounded by bodies of water. On the other hand, the lay-out is simple where the texts and images were laid-out for easy reading. Each of the 40 islands featured in the book are illustrated between 8-10 pages, where photos are in different sizes with individual short caption. For each island, extra information is added explaining on how to reach the place in terms of the best time to visit and the mode of transport to reach the island.

Few pages at the back of the book cover important contacts that the author recommended to communicate, including useful websites. It also contains a map showing the locations of each island as a table contents graphically laid out at the first few pages of the book for easy browsing. When I finally finished reading the book, the first thing that entered my mind was on the decision of the author to embark visiting these places in a span of 11 months. As a traveller, visiting a place is always motivated by fascinating features and priceless experience of being there in the island as described by others who have been there and also the promotional campaigns thru available on-line or printed materials. I am not sure if the author was persuaded by what others have said or what he had read about these islands. Maybe, as a travel writer, he was looking for distinct characteristics of each island that might encourage other people (like me) to experience what he had or maybe trying to persuade a segment of the urban society to visiting some places that they would never considered before. In order to understand the motivation of the author to publish these 40 islands, I decided to examine the characteristics of each island as being discussed by the author.

These are the interesting points that I have found out and vividly demonstrated in the images printed on it.

* The island has unspoiled beaches, wildlife (flora and fauna) or biological diversity.
* The island has interesting history, including the way of living: culture, tradition, settlements, inhabitants, religion and beliefs

* The island has unique geological formation that attracts people for climbing, cycling, walking

* The island has a archaeological significance, including sensitive marine environment with endangered species

* The island has beautiful landscape, including cityscape and urban form and architecture

* The island is accessible for all means of transport, especially by air

* The island has "photogenic" charisma - a delight for both professional and amateur photographers

I also observed that the quality of the images inside the book portrayed the significance of these places, without major alteration of the print. In other words, the photos do not bear any special effects which enhance the colour and presentation of the images. What you see in the pages of the book, are what you get when you visit these places - very natural view of people, structures, motion, textures, and surroundings. I was really impressed with images taken in Thailand, Fiji, Santa Barbara (USA), Sicily, Portugal, including the Philippines. Why this publication stands-out from the rest of the travel books that have read?

Aside from the reason of having visited the countries (not the islands) mentioned, the book is unique in a sense that the author gave his personal reflections about the travel as well as the photographer captured the natural sceneries thru the images. There was a chemistry between the writer and the photographer to bring out the best features of these islands - to captivate the hearts of travellers like me - destined to explore the planet Earth. In a way, it serves as a travel guide as well but more on the aspects of the physical features of the islands - exploring the unspoiled beauty.

Are you hopeful that you have already visited some of these places during your holidays or are you planning to visit them in months to come and still undecided to have it a go as your next top priority holiday destination? Well, personally I have only visited 2 of the islands, namely: Stockholm (Sweden) and Hongkong (China) out of the 40 places mentioned in the book. But Im desperately dying to explore the rest before I die especially the following: Bacuit Archipelago, Palawan (Philippines), Big Island (Hawaii), Phang Nga Bay Island (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), Ibiza and Formentera (Spain), and the Society Islands (French Polynesia). It is an unforgettable reading this book that provided me a glimpse of beautiful places that Mother Earth can offer. Despite the economic crunch, everybody deserves one or two places to visit before the year ends.

UNFORGETTABLE ISLANDS, unforgettable places, unforgettable moments and memorable experience of a life time await everyone!

Monday, 1 February 2010

A challenging priesthood life...

I got a copy of the book personally from the author himself. James (Jim) Kennedy had the opportunity to work and live in the Philipppines as a priest more than 30 years ago. The book accounts his personal struggles to serve God, his survival against the political and social system in the country. It is a human journey of facing difficulties and challenges to uphold his faith and beliefs while helping Filipino communities (north part of Metro Manila) with their daily lives.

Religion was an intellectual as well as an emotional experience. It had to be offered as something which could be accepted and rejected, and that meant that there should be dialogue about it.

Filipinos in general don't go in for 365-day-a-year or 52-weeks-a year religion. They do go in for 15-days-a-year religion - Easte (five days), Christmas (nine days), the town fiesta (one day) - and when they celebrate them, they do it in style.

... If you're clear in your mind about what you're going to paint, there's no sense in painting it. Our work should always be uncovering surprises, new options, new necessities. We should gear ourselves to life so that its Pandora's box confronts us, teases us, frightens us, awes us and shocks us into becoming bigger and better, albeit a bit more furrowed.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

James Patterson's characters say...

The tiger was an enigma in every way, a mystery no one had ever solved. Actually, there were no tigers in Africa, which was how he got his nickname. He was like no other, one of a kind, superior to all the other animals, especially humans. (Cross Country)

You can't hold me here. I'm stronger than you. I'm stronger than the whole system. You can't judge me. (Judge and Jury)

Maybe I'll make a deeply disturbing film, like An Inconvenient Truth, or The Road to Guantanamo. Call it, Never See the Sun Again. Play it in all the art houses here in the East. Get the bleeding hearts on my side. (Double Cross)


Friday, 22 January 2010

My Best Read...Find out why!

This is the list of my fav read since I started collecting books when I was in Australia in 2002. The authors allow me to love their characters, inspire me on their style of writing, and building up my interest in the category of their stories mostly in suspense and thriller genre, including stories about family values, relationships, friendships and sexuality.

1. Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer
2. Sons of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer
3. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
3. The Arrival of Fergal Flynn - Brian Kennedy
4. Roman Song - Brian Kennedy
5. Toad Heaven - Morris Gleitzman
6. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
7. Second Glance - Jodi Picoult
8. Maximum Ride (The Angel Experiment) - James Patterson
9. The Prodigal Daughter - Jeffrey Archer
10. The Other Hand - Chris Cleave
11. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
12. Marley and Me - John Grogan

I am a fan of Jeffrey Archer stories but Kane and Abel and Sons of Fortune are my best read - with mix of emotions. I like James Patterson's story of Alex Cross, including his Max (Angel Experiment) series. On the other hand, even though I read alot of Harlan Coben and Mary Higgins Clark novels, unfortunately, I coud not remember what stories stand out to be included in my fav list, but all of them are worth reading. I have a strong interest in short stories such like Different Seasons (Stephen King), including A Twist in Tale and Twelve Red Herrings of Jeffrey Archer.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Billy the kid... the Prince of Wales

I don't like the attention. I feel uncomfortable with it, but I have particularly appreciated being left alone at Eton, which has allowed me to concentrate on my school work and enjoy being with my friends without being followed by cameras.

The living conditions here aren't exactly what I used to... You dont have any secrets. You have everything with everyone. I found it very difficult myself to start with because I am a very private person. But I learnt to deal with it.

But William's copybook remains unblotted and while his popular image as a handsome young Prince in touch with the people provides the royal soap opera with a genuine hero, William remains the monarchy's hope and future.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The ecstasy-cyber girl

Sometimes TV talk shows serve as our source for new book releases like ‘Richard & Judy’ – the weekday afternoon show in Channel 4 (UK). I got the information of the book from the show as a recommended summer read.

Despite the fact I don’t know the author, Elisabeth Hyde (even her 3 previous novels: Crazy as Chocolate, Monoosook Valley and Her Native Colors), I grabbed a copy from Tesco (cost 3.73 pounds) and immediately let myself discover the story of this catchy title and cover lay-out of the book.

The book tells us the story of the middle class family of Megan Thompson, the 19 year old daughter of Diana and Frank. As a typical teenager with personality, she is enjoying life to the fullest – college, boys, sex, drugs, popularity, etc. Her parents are well known professionals in the neighborhood: Diana as the Director for Reproductive Choice, a very successful surgeon and offering her services for women who want their few weeks-old babies aborted; and Frank who is workaholic and dedicated district attorney in his town with on-going investigation relating to illegal cyber sites. The family is not different to others – having domestic problems: raising kids, careers, money, etc. Megan is in the middle of the family crisis especially when her mother died – murdered inside their house. The sudden death brought implications to her father's work, her mother’s profession, her former boyfriend, Bill and significantly to herself. As the investigation progresses, the family becomes the ‘talk of the town’ and everyone speculates that Frank is the prime suspect! Aside from Frank, Detective Huck Berlin (with his partner, Ernie) who happens to be handling the case also identified possible suspects, including Reverend Steven O’Connell, one of the supporters of the Lifeblood Coalition – a group of people against Diana’s profession, and the ‘meth’ lab gang that supplies elicit drugs to Diana as Bill’s story. To some extent, the case also affected Huck’s personal life which brought to a sudden break-up with his girlfriend. Is it a happy family ending? Well, it is a typical family story of “Without a Trace” TV series in Channel 4.

The book covers real- to-life family problems as being faced by parents, especially the mothers. It tells us how the mother coped with her husband (saving the relationship after the death of her young son) and raising her beautiful daughter, without jeopardizing her career. Parents will always protect their children, no matter what the consequences are, as long as the family will be happy together. This brings back to my attention to Richard Templar book, The Rules of Life about ‘partnership and family rules’ such as: “Check you both have the same shared goals”, “Treat your partner better than your best friend”, “Never be too busy for loved one”, “There are no bad children”, and “Give your kids responsibilities”.

Well, Im just lucky that even though I came from a big family of 6 brothers and 3 sisters, my parents (especially my Mum as a ‘fulltime’ mother) was/were able to brought us as responsible individuals. I am still single so I don’t have hands-on experience in raising children, but I was able to help my parents in raising my younger siblings, until now even Im away from home.

Without any doubt, being a parent is one of the most difficult and challenging tasks to be accomplished. Some succeeded, but others failed! Again, that is the essence of living… move on and do not dwell on the past and failures… stand up and try again and ‘re-push the button’ for new beginning – a new life for being a better person!

On the other hand, technically, I was not impressed the way the story was written. I feel like that Im only reading a story adapted from a TV series like as I mentioned earlier, “Without a Trace”. There is “no suspense” at all, considering that this deals with a crime – a murder of a well known medical practitioner. It did not give a good impression to me despite the fact that story tackles some controversial issues in the world (abortion and drugs). I detected some loopholes or inconsistencies in the organization of the book itself such as using Part 1, Part 2, etc. with the month headings, and some initial chapters within that particular Part did not really occur on that indicated period. I feel that there are important events that need to be written; unfortunately the author did it “hanging” which the readers tend to guess or assume it.

My personal judgment over the book is that Im comparing this novel with the works of Mary Higgins Clark who happens to be the best female novelist (family drama/suspense/thriller/crime in America. Nevertheless, I give the full credit to Ms Hyde for raising these issues of drugs and porno cyber sites for parents to remind their young/teenage children to get away from it; and most importantly reminding us (especially the young adults) to be responsible human beings to face the consequences for being reckless of not using "contraceptives" for birth control or unexpected pregnancies!

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Shadow of the wind... witty and full of words of wisdom

Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not for the merits of who receives them.

...but sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows... probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.

All the remains in my memory is the touch of her lips and, when I half opened my eyes, the secret oath I carried with me on my skin and I would remember all the days of my life

Daniel became obsessed with the true identity of the author - his everlasting love to Penelope. He was drawn to Julian's life that led him to the shadows of Julian's past and present. Discovering Julian Carax persona, Daniel also discovered his own demons and to fight for his love to Bea!