Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: Who I’ve Voted

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It’s that time of the year again for all readers! It’s the opening round for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. I looked into the nominees and there were genres which I skipped merely because I have not read much from those categories and I’ll leave the voting for those people who read like it’s World War IV tomorrow and were basically able to read everything and got to cover all of the genres. Maniacs, I must say. And I shouldn’t joke about world wars but I lack imagination on similes sooooo… let’s just bear with me. :D

Anyway! Here are my choices!

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I remember reading this book and also remember it tugging all of my heartstrings. It was ugly and beautiful, and so innocent yet equally corrupted.

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Mystery/Thriller is one of my favorite genres and I am yet to choose one and it is not because I’ve read nothing. I just can’t decide. Nothing stood out among the rest, some were okay, some were better, but not one emerged as distinct or more striking than the rest.

Historical Fiction isn’t really my genre so I skipped that one, too.

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I’m sorry, okay? Please forgive my bias heart, I can’t help it. Truly it was very much subpar from the first and original seven books but the Wizarding world has clutched into my heart so I still loved it and I would still choose it over any Fantasy book. I mean, it’s the first series to ever really made me start reading so no one can’t fault me that. I am so defensive, haha. But yes! I voted for Harry Potter! Take that, people! :D

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I felt so apart from Romance books this year. I especially hate It Ends With Us. That one irritated me like no other book. It sucked ass. I am in the minority, I know, but I just feel  like Colleen Hoover is making a fool out of her readers, manipulating our emotions. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t feel very genuine for me anymore. And this is the first Hoover book I did not like. Why am I discussing the one I did not vote for? Hahahaha. I voted for Stuck-Up Suit because it was funny and it’s my first Vi Keeland – Penelope Ward book. I charged into it with not much expectation only to be dedicated with a hilarious and endearing premise and characters.

On Best Science Fiction, Dark Matter was the only book I was able to read. It was agreeable to a degree but I believe there was a vital detail I couldn’t have entirely followed. This was a book on multiverse; Physics at its best, and I love Physics. I love science. I love Schrodinger’s cat. Multiverse excites me so I had quite the expectation so I didn’t vote yet. I’ll probably get back to it some time.

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This book got opposing opinions, I believe. And it was gripping and nerve-racking for me. I was mentally giving directions to Grace and her sister, my mental pom-poms were also put to good use on the end.

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This came as a big surprise to me. The book was unbelievably long but just the same, this is by far my favorite Morgan Matson book. There’s a depth to it – family, friends, and romantic relationships. She got to tackle every one of those and it was delightful. I didn’t like all of her other books. Just thought I gotta mention that. Hehe

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As much as I loved a lot of the nominees under this genre, I didn’t have to second guess myself to choose Crooked Kingdom. I mean, Kaz Brekker? Can you not? It also happened that today, I finally got my copy of the Hardbound Crooked Kingdom with bloody edges. It’s so beautiful. <3

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I only voted in this category because I loved Lester Papadopolous and I got to experience more of Percy Jackson even for just a little bit, and Leo Valdez is coming back to town! So excuse the bias, but I swear the book was good! Nothing less from Uncle Rick. <3

So there you go!

And here are the genres I skipped. Sadly.

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I can’t wait for what others thought about the Choice Awards! :D

Book Review: Small Great Things

Synopsis

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

Review

This is my first Jodi Picoult book and I am feeling irresolute.

There are books that are annoyingly dragging and boring in the beginning and gets exciting and intensive towards the end like Three Dark Crowns.

There are books which are compelling and powerful throughout the story like The Crooked Kingdom Duology.

Then there is Small Great Things which commands your attention upon first read, gets galling and disagreeable in the middle but does enough to redeem itself and finish with a passable but unexceptional ending.

Notwithstanding the 4-5 star reviews, this came as a need-to-read-asap book because of its premise. I didn’t realize how taciturn people really are towards racial discrimination until I finished this book.

“… racism isn’t just about hate…”

“… I didn’t see myself as a racist. Now I realize I am. Not because I hate people of different races but because – intentionally or unintentionally I’ve gotten a boost from the color of my skin, just like Ruth Jefferson suffered a setback because of hers…”

“Passive racism… it’s reading your kid’s fourth-grade curriculum and seeing that only black history covered is slavery, and not questioning why…”

Living in an Asian country, we don’t usually encounter racist remarks, not even come across it on TV.

It becomes significant to read works such as this because it engenders our need to extract the biases, and act more than react on social issues that gravely affect humanity not only on the racism front, but on other issues as well – religion and gender discrimination to name a few.

I gave this book 3 stars because there were a few chapters that did not sit well with me but I’ll skip the specifics and leave them for you to think about. The book did receive a lot of good remarks so it’s very relative. Jodi Picoult has a specific market and I don’t think I am in the population.

I hatched a plan before going to a Mayday Parade concert

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But didn’t a poem say that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?

So the concert was to start at 8PM, and the doors to open at 6PM. I definitely need to make a plan first.

What time should I go to the concert? 12PM is too early. Do I really need to be there before the staff? The bouncers? Definitely overdoing it. 5PM is too late, there will be too many people. 4PM is good, not excessive and normal people go to 8PM concerts at 4PM. Sounds good, I’ll go at 4PM!!!

What do I wear? I really want to wear short shorts, my 2-year-old canon low dark pink pony shoes, and a white shirt. But it’s too OOTD-ish! It isn’t like I am going to try and impress someone??? Right! I am going to settle with a black tank top, dark blue skinny jeans, and black boots. I wear it in front of the mirror and I look like a part of the band and I am not a part of the band and I am just attending a concert and everyone will be singing and why the fuck am I beating myself up for what I am GOING TO WEAR?!?!?! I AM SO MAD! So I didn’t actually settle with the all black old school emo attire. A dress that stops halfway through my legs, and medium-high gladiator skin tone sandals is good. YES, YES, YES. This looks better. Yeah! The concert’s gonna rock!

What do I say when I arrive at the concert hall? “Hi, where should I line up? I have a royalty ticket.” LAME! And impolite! “Hi sir,” I say to the bouncer and he’s gonna ask me what kind my ticket is and he’s gonna point me to the right line. That sounds so much better. I have to talk less and less is good for socially awkward people who make plans for freaking concerts! That’s pretty impeccable, self. Attagirl!

Should I talk to people? I should. Right? Those who will attend love Mayday Parade as well after all. I should definitely talk to people. Like, “Hi. Is it your first time?” “Hey, you excited?” I will probably be sweating so much from so much agitation and the heebie-jeebies.

What should I bring? I have a dslr camera and I have a pass so I should bring it. But it would be too heavy, my iPhone should do. I should also bring my iPad, in case my phone dies from its pathetically low battery lifespan. An umbrella, earphones, charger, scarf (I easily get cold), and also, money enough for band merch. God knows how expensive band merchs are at concerts! Fucking commercialization, right? Haha :D And not to forget, a book! I mean, duh? Books are life and I can’t go anywhere without a book so I should bring a book. Nerdy!!! What book though? Not a Cassandra Clare kind of thick book definitely. Something that I have not read, been wanting to read for so long, and that is handy. Aha! Ready Player One should do.

I was all set! I went to the concert and arrived at 4PM. And there were a lot of people! I knew I should have gone earlier! Probably 4PM the previous day!

I asked a bouncer where should I fall in line and he points me somewhere, so I went there and then they tell me they aren’t Royalty so I had to ask another bouncer (I’m going to freaking die of anxiety!!!) and he points me to another line and so I went there and to be reprimanded again! This is insane!!! And then finally, I was pointed to the right line, thank god.

Then the concert started and everyone is excited and the place was raucous, so loud, and everyone’s pushing and jumping and I was helplessly going where the falling bodies are well falling. And my feet! MY FEET GOT STOMPED SO MANY TIMES! Why did I wear sandals?! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? That’s the most idiotic plan ever.

But I enjoyed so much! I loved the crowd, the noise, the sweat, the out-of-tune singing, the jumping, and the headbanging! It was so amazing I cried. I went to the concert alone so I was left to my emotions and it was beautiful.

Did you see me mention reading the book I brought? No, I did not. I am not exactly good at making plans. Sew me. :p

I also got so tired from jumping and singing and jumping that I almost lost my breathing. And I didn’t bring my meds, I already said I suck at making plans, right? So I toned down the singing, I stopped jumping for awhile and watched the people around me, smiling their biggest smiles while I catch my breath.

Came the after party. But wait, I did buy a band merch, it was a shirt. And as I have said, it was freaking expensive so I got that part of my plan right. Aha!

I fell in line with a newly found friend, Ivy from PUP. Yaaas! I got myself a friend! ;) So I was waiting till I get to the members of the band and get my new MP band shirt signed. I was shaking so bad like WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY?!?!?!?!?! WHAT SHOULD I SAY?!?!?!

YOU WERE GREAT!!! ?

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DEREK!!!! ?

YOU’RE SO HANDSOME, JAKE! I GOTTA TAKE YOU HOME!!!! ?

I didn’t say those obviously. My neurons will probably kill themselves from the unreal absurdity of their owner. Though I did say that they throw the best concert ever and that I’ve been a fan for 11 years and I love them and can I get a hug?

I GOT A HUGGGG!!!!!

I got home and I was crying and I was happy and I know no one will understand my emotions so I didn’t tell anyone how the entirety of it undid my soul and that I absolutely just had THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

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#SOMUCHLOVE

Identity Crisis: The Anj Version

When you have a burning passion towards a lot of things, it takes more than money to pacify your feisty self. I should know, I am currently in a position where my role in this society is a constant burning confusion in my head.

It’s been a year since I was first employed and sans the canards, and contretemps in the office, it was quite the good life I have never had. It was enough to satisfy my needs and various… indulgence but soul satisfaction is another thing.

I have my fair share of regrets. When I was reviewing for the board exam, I wasn’t exactly… reviewing. I was reading books, I watched sports, I always made it a point that I am sleepy whenever it’s time to read my notes. I was slacking. That’s me – always putting important things off until I don’t have any more enough time.

I knew I was going to pass the board exam. It wasn’t because of arrogance but I firmly believed what I was capable of. But that did not stop me from jumping up and down when I was finally the Registered Pharmacist I’ve been dreaming of for years. It didn’t matter what my passing rate was, I was an RPh regardless if I had a flat 75%. Then came out the breakdown of my passing rate and I have not felt so penitent my entire life. To be so close to the 10 topnotches yet to be so far away. If only I was levelheaded enough to allot the whole of 5 months into reviewing, I might have had the chance.

But I was my usual stupid, immature self. So I had to dodge the question every time I was asked. Was I a topnotcher? Zeus, no, I wasn’t. Because I was and am not that brilliant. I am not as smart as people think I am. Then add to that my lazyass, you have the perfect un-brilliant package.

At night when it is surrendered to the deafening silence, I always think about what I could be now if I had been better. I might have been offered better compensation, a better work, better chances and opportunities, better everything.

But being the firm believer of optimism and life’s grandiosity in the grand scheme of things, I still am twenty-two and going twenty-three in a month’s time. I still have a huge portion of my life ahead of me and I cling to the more sanguine supposition that all of my mistakes, the wrong decisions, and the juvenile-ness during my young life are my driving factors to my goal of being the best version of myself.

I wish that when I come back to this post, I have decided what I want to do in my life. It could be being a doctor, a lawyer, or I could pursue a very old penchant to when I was only a little child and be a teacher. Right now, I am leaning towards enrolling into Law school because Med School basically needs more time (all of your time, actually) and more money so I can’t exactly do that ’cause I need to retain my job while studying. I want to be able to tend to all of my needs because my parents have done their responsibilities to me and it’s high time I do mine.

If a divine being permits a different course, I will gladly entertain such opportunity. Until then, I will have to set my goals in accordance to the limits of my… repository.

BOOK REVIEW: Our Chemical Hearts, A Shadow Bright & Burning, Tied, and Sword of Summer

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Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Rating: 2 of 5 STARS

This was supposed to be grand. Supposedly. But I had reservations I can’t possibly ignore no matter how much I thought the ending was beautiful – an antithesis of beautiful and not exactly ugly but just not very… pleasant. Our Chemical Hearts started out pretty engaging. Then it all started to go downhill from around three-fourths of the book. It turned really sullen, dark, and heartbreaking but it wasn’t my kind. I hated it. If I wasn’t so near from finishing the book, I would’ve stopped reading it. I was going to give this 1 star but it redeemed itself towards the end so I gave it 2 stars.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Rating: 3 of 5 STARS

Henrietta Howel is courageous, yes, but she annoyed me to no end. She is reigned and controlled by her emotions. At a different degree or nature, it could have appealed to me but it just irked me. I just found her actions very unreasonable sometimes. And I really cannot feel for Howel. I feel so distant from her character when I was supposed to be feeling her pain, her desperation, or her anger. It just didn’t work for me. The premise though – one can only be truly imaginative to create a complex plot. But the scenes where like subdivisions from previous fantasy books I have read that share, or at least partly akin to it. But I liked it enough to give it 3 stars.

Tied by Emma Chase

Rating: 3 of 5 STARS

This kind of narration has probably lost its appeal to me but I still liked it. The wedding especially. I’m not exactly young anymore but I’m really not an adult yet either (through my perspective, of course lol) but the wedding was very heartwarming and dreamy I can’t help but feel for my sorry self. Lol. Not really being bitter about this but this was a fiction book for a reason. Unworldly handsome, rich, intelligent men falling so helplessly and faithfully in love with women does not exist in this life. Bwahahaha.

Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan

Rating: 4 of 5 STARS

Uncle Rick is a favorite author and I, with my whole heart, adore him. Imagine indulging into this book and you cringe from not trying to hate it (from what you have read so far). You also have to take note that it was written, no less, by one of your favorite authors. It’s a bad feeling, right? It is! But I went on because it’s freaking Uncle Rick and I believe and trust in his craft. Thank God I did ‘cause I loved it! This is a children’s book and reading it through a kid’s perspective, it was bloody awesome. Riordan has not lost his magic yet (and let’s hope he ever won’t). 4 stars because Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus are still at the pedestal and I really, really loved those.

PS. I binge read during the weekend. Lol

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

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“He was going to break my legs ,” she said, her chin held high, the barest quaver in her voice. “Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn’t scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn’t the Wraith anymore?”

Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Rating: 5 OF 5 STARS

This book, this series, undid me.

In Crooked Kingdom, we continue the story of our six most loved criminals after they survived their 30-million-kruge worth heist except there was no 30 million kruge.

Jan Van Eck double-crossed the gang. Boy, he should have known better. And he did not only rob them the money that could have turn their lives around, Jan Van Eck stupidly took our most precious spider, Inej. Surely Dirtyhands can’t be any more freaking mad.

Kaz, together with the crew, will go to all ends to rescue Inej (which they will be able to). But that’s only a part of the huge catastrophe that is about to happen.

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. When you think they can finally live a happy life, everything gets deadlier.

This book is so intricate and compelling and powerful. Leigh Bardugo created 6 characters who possess personalities so apart from one another, it’s absurd to truly love them all. And she did it well. Each is distinctive and you can empathize with. I would not have this book any other way.

Kaz. Our Kaz. He is so cunning and dangerous, and charming and gallant. I ship him and Inej so much that it hurt me so bad. The horrors of their pasts are too traumatic and to truly control it is tougher than the most dangerous roughneck. (That’s… Kaz. But yeah well… you get the gist.)

“He’d told her they would fight their way out. Knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. She would fight for him, but she could not heal him. She would not waste her life trying.”

Matthias and Nina on the other hand…

“I am grateful you’re alive”, he said. “I am grateful that you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.” She rested her head on his shoulder.
“You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips.
“Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”  

And these two guys who I ship the most…

“Jes, I’ve thought about this-“
“Thought of me? Late at night? What was I wearing?”
“I’ve thought about your powers,” Wylan said, cheeks flushing pinker.” 

It may seem like it’s romance-y in this review but it’s not. I think Bardugo has written enough to satisfy your craving for the unnerving action and tension. I swear you have to read. This book is so amazing, and brilliant. Definitely one of my top books for the year.