Category Archives: Books

New York Times Best Sellers – Combined Print and E-book Fiction (October 14, 2012)

#1 THE CASUAL VACANCY, by J. K. Rowling. (Little, Brown & Company.) The sudden death of a parish councilman reveals bitter social divisions in an idyllic English town; a novel for adults by the creator of Harry Potter.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

#2 FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing.) A college student falls in love with a tortured man with particular sexual tastes; the first of a trilogy.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

#3 FIFTY SHADES DARKER, by E. L. James. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing.) Ana Steele learns more about Christian Grey’s troubled past; the second book in a trilogy.

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

#4 FIFTY SHADES FREED, by E. L. James. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing.) The final book in an erotic trilogy.

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

#5 GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn. (Crown Publishing.) A woman disappears on the day of her fifth anniversary; is her husband a killer?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

#6 WINTER OF THE WORLD, by Ken Follett. (Penguin Group.) n Book 2 of the Century trilogy, members of five interrelated families from five countries grapple with the tumultuous historical events of the years 1939-49.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

#7 A WANTED MAN, by Lee Child. (Random House Publishing.) A carload of people involved in a conspiracy pick up a disheveled hitchhiker, Child’s vigilante hero Jack Reacher.

A Wanted Man by Lee Child

A Wanted Man by Lee Child

#8 BARED TO YOU, by Sylvia Day. (Penguin Group.) Two troubled people develop an intense, obsessive relationship.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

#9 THE TIME KEEPER, by Mitch Albom. (Hyperion Press.) A fable about the inventor of the world’s first clock; from the author of “Tuesdays With Morrie.”

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

#10 RAPTURE, by J. R. Ward. (New American Library.) After a man stumbles in front of the reporter Mels Carmichael’s car, both find they’re in over their heads.

Rapture by J.R. Ward

Rapture by J.R. Ward

#11 ZOO, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. (Little, Brown & Company.) A young biologist warns world leaders about the reasons for escalating animal attacks on cities.

Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

#12 LOW PRESSURE, by Sandra Brown. (Grand Central Publishing.) A woman makes disturbing discoveries when she writes a book about her sister’s murder.

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

#13 A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS, by Susan Mallery. (Harlequin.) Both in Fool’s Gold, Calif., only reluctantly, a dancing teacher and a bad-boy lawyer are drawn together.

A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

#14 FALL OF GIANTS, by Ken Follett. (Penguin Group.) Five interrelated families from five countries are caught in the upheavals of World War I and the Russian Revolution.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

#15 SOMETHING WITCHY THIS WAY COMES, by H. P. Mallory. (Random House Publishing.) Back from a round of time travel, the Queen of the Underworld must now protect her realm from the sinister Lurkers; a Jolie Wilkins novel.

Something Witchy This Way Comes by H.P. Mallory

Something Witchy This Way Comes by H.P. Mallory

All available as e-books at Sophya Libris for only P10 each. 🙂

Book Review: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves Review

The Swan Thieves Review

“In the end, I always act from the heart, even if I also value reason and tradition. I wish I could explain why, but I don’t know.” – Elizabeth Kostova, The Swan Thieves


started reading this book on December 28, 2011 and finished January 15, 2012. It took me a while because I got really busy with work. 😦

What attracted me to this book is that it appears to be a historical art fiction with a hint of mystery. Something that first made me think of The Girl With Pearl Earrings. I am a fan of books with references on history and especially the arts, being a frustrated artist myself. I am not an artist, I can not even draw a good stick figure. But I do know how to appreciate. 🙂

Moving on, here’s what I liked about the book:
  • Very appealing. Robert Marlowe acquires the renowned painter Robert Oliver as his patient when he tried to stab a painting. Marlowe then travels around meeting people who might be able to shed some light on the reasons behind Oliver’s breakdown. The book mainly comprises of the memories and insights of these people told in the voice of that particular individual–some sort of first person interludes. This appeals to me so much. Each chapter tells me more about the characters and the gradual revelation, exploration, and turn of developments makes this reading worthwhile.
  • Different points of view. Hearing from the individual’s point of view is a refreshing take because it feels like they are honestly and actually telling you their story face to face. The author was able to blend the different points of view in past and present tense to create an elaborate whole piece by piece.
  • Vivid and fascinating descriptions. All events and characters are described so vividly, it’s as if they were really alive and not just fictional. Even the paintings are described in such a way that you would think the writer actually saw what she’s been describing. Her words put a very stunning visual in my mind.
  • Makes me want to be a painter. The way she writes would definitely make you feel this way. I actually browsed through paintings especially the ones that she mentioned in the book that actually exist just to see with my owns eyes the power of her compelling descriptions. Her descriptions of the paintings are really dramatic and realistic.
And here’s what I did not like:
  • It is such a slow read, kind of dragging at times. If you are used to reading fast-paced, action-driven novels, this one is an opposite. The story line develops gradually so it takes a while to see some action. Plus, the book is almost 600 pages long so it takes a while to finish.
  • Very short chapters. I like short chapters the way James Patterson writes it. But when it comes to historical mysteries, I prefer long ones. Plus, I noticed that some of the chapters just stop for no reason at all. So it is kind of annoying.
  • Repetitive and wrong descriptions. I do not need to be told that over and over that Robert Marlowe is a gifted psychiatrist who can “make a stone talk.” Plus, she uses the word “transparent” to describe old people’s hands. You can’t see through their skin. Translucent would have been a better word.
  • The characters all sound alike. It’s a good thing that she puts the name of each character in the chapter headings. Otherwise, I would only have the locations and salutations in letters to differentiate each character. I believe that Kostova should have made each character more distinct in their voices.
  • The disappointing ending. I thought there would be more to the story, but there wasn’t. What kept me reading for a long time just made me feel disappointed after. There wasn’t any real big mystery. At the end I just felt like, “So that’s all there is to it?” Why would the painter go all quiet just because a woman from the past was blackmailed? Then why, after Marlowe discovers the mystery, did Oliver suddenly speak and say “Thank you” and get miraculously cured?
Overall, I’m going to rate this book a 4 out of 5. Despite its flaws, I still like it. I would recommend this to those interested in art, history, and mystery.

Have you read any of her books? Let me know what you think! 🙂

xoxo,
Moe

*Elizabeth Johnson Kostova is an American author. She is a graduate of Yale University and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. Her first novel, The Historian, was published in 2005, and it has become a best-seller.

What I’m Reading Now: The Swan Thieves

I have always wanted to read The Historian and The Swan Thieves both by Elizabeth Kostova. I am of course very elated when I was finally able to get hold of my own copy of The Swan Thieves.

 

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.
I will post a review once I finish reading this. 🙂
What are you reading right now?

My Newly-Organized Bookshelf (December 20, 2008)


This is where I keep the encyclopedia, other reference materials, children’s books, and collections of romance novels.

I arranged my bookshelf today. 🙂 And I’m sooo happy with the result. 🙂 I only have time to arrange all my stuff during school breaks eh. I call that my mini library simply because most of the books are mine. I probably own 98% of all of those. 😀

Years ago, when I was around 11 years old, I started collecting books. 🙂 My first few books were children’s books and a few romance novels from Mills & Boons. Through the years, I’ve expanded my collection to include the latest bestsellers. 🙂 In fact, in high school, I used to buy new books 2x a month from National Book Store. Then, in college, I bought new books from bargain stores like Booksale… and some people already started giving their books to me as gifts. 🙂 I’ve had aunts, cousins, neighbors, and friends give their old books to me. Sayang kasi if they’d just sell them or give them to charity or throw them away. Akin na lang diba? Hehe. 😀

Before, I could only fill half of 1 row of the tall bookshelf. Ganon kakonti. Then bigla silang dumadami coz I buy in bulk. And also because I receive books by boxes too. 🙂 Thank you to everyone who helped me create my mini-library.

Of course, I haven’t read them all. Although some books I’ve read 7 times, like the Harry Potter series. 🙂

So today, I arranged them alphabetically according to the author’s surname and then the book title. Come and take a peek at my mini library. 🙂

P.S. To those who borrowed books from me, kindly return them na. 🙂 I miss them. 🙂

Sophie’s World… Letters…

[Original post from blossom_017 @ Tabulas.com.]

It’s been such a long time.. Reading Sophie’s world makes my head spin with a lot of ideas.. I would have written this a long time ago.. but i just haven’t found the time..

anyway.. i would just be dropping by.. i would just want to share something about what i have read… the questions and insights here that are really philosophical are written/ found in the white envelopes mailed to Sophie Amundsen.. I just hope that i finish reading the book now.. i’m already on berkeley’s chapter.. and i’m excited to find out what is going on with the “Hilde Moller Knag” thing…

Who are you?

Where does the world come from?

Is there a basic substance that everything else is made of?

Can water turn into wine?

How can earth and water produce a live frog?

Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?

Do you believe in Fate?

Is sickness the punishment of the gods?

What forces govern the course of history?

Is there such a thing as natural modesty?

Wisest is she who knows she does not know…

True insight comes from within.

What came first – the chicken or the ‘idea’ chicken?

Are we born with innate ‘ideas’?

What is the difference between a plant, an animal, and a human?

Why does it rain?

What does it take to live a good life?

So that’s it.. all of the questions and insights from the little white envelopes.. until sophie and alberto have to meet in person.. and the letters stopped appearing.. huhu…

Currently listening to: Nasaan by Nyoy Volante
Currently reading: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

xoxo,
♥ Monique ♥