Title: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Tags

, , , , ,

Synopsis:

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students–children of the wealthy and powerful–carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead’s breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.- goodreads

Publisher: Razorbill

Main Characters:

  • Sydney Sage
  • Adrian Ivashkov
  • Jill Dragomir
  • Eddie Castile
  • Angeline Dawes
  • Ms. Jaclyn Terwilliger
  • Trey Juarez

Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Paranormal

Pages: 418

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

I am one of those people who do not like reading ebooks of any format unless I absolutely have no choice or I really cannot wait to get my hands on a printed copy. In this book’s case, it’s the latter. After I finished Bloodlines, my fingers were itching to flip the pages of the next book and knowing that The Golden Lily has been released in several countries already, I find myself in constant restlessness because I knew that there was no way that the paperback version would be released in my country anytime soon. Because of that, I found myself digging through Google’s search results for a pdf copy of the book. One might think it’s illegal to do so but hey, I’m still going to buy the book, you know. Hehe.

It took me sometime to finish this book because of the format I forced myself to read but heck was I glad that I read this book. And then I got totally depressed because I realized that I was going to have to wait for about a year to read the next one. Argh!

“What do you think Dimitri? Is this a good idea, Dimitri? Please give us your blessing so that we can fall down and worship you, Dimitri.”-Adrian

I will have to struggle to get back more details about this book into my head because I read it about a month ago already but hey, I don’t have to go into much detail so I’m sure you’re still going to find the review helpful. 🙂

Plot/Story

The Golden Lily continues the story of Sydney, Adrian, Eddie and Jill from Bloodlines. In this book, the pacing gets faster and more things started happening (more mysteries too) assuring readers that the lacking aspects in Bloodlines are about to be addressed.

I think this one’s a lot (and I mean, a lot) more exciting than the first book and I find that there were only a few places that I would rather skip (typical of me though, I read every single word of the book). Well actually, it had only been just a few paragraphs. Other than that, the book was downright wonderful.

“Adrian was easily distractible by wacky topics and shiny objects.”-Sydney

In this book, there were a lot of instances that brought Sydney closer and closer to magic (mostly because of Ms. Terwilliger’s not so subtle manipulation). It made me think that sooner than later, our favorite Alchemist is going to have to use her own magical abilities to do something world-changing (the book’s world, that is). The vampire hunters subplot as well as the Sydrian (Sydney and Adrian) moments were enough to get me very, very excited and it made me love the book more and more and more. I swear, I’m loving the development of Sydney and Adrian’s relationship more than I thought I would. The development of the Jill-Eddie-Angeline love triangle is also becoming more interesting. The presence of Sonya Karp and Dimitri Belikov was comforting and familiar but one thing I can say, the book is totally not dependent on recurrent major characters.

“You need me? You yell. You want to leave? We go. I’ll get you out of here, no matter what.”-Adrian

I said in my review of Bloodlines that I felt as if Trey and Ms. Terwilliger seemed to have a bigger role than the first book had let on. Turns out, I was right. That being the case, you have to read The Golden Lily to find out all about it.

Characters

Sydney

I swear, this girl had endeared herself more and more to me because of this book! It wasn’t only about her new found magic nor her blossoming relationship with Adrian but more so because of how socially awkward she was. I mean, she really was very reliable and intelligent but when it come to romance and social events, she was totally clueless. I love the parts where she went on her ‘dates’ and she was always worrying about how to act. In all truth, she really reminded me so much of myself. Her potential is slowly showing itself and I can’t wait for the book that would reveal most of what she can do.

“Adrian, I’m on a date. Why are you here? On my car?”-Sydney

Adrian

I said this before, I think I might have found my favorite YA hero. I was right. This book was enough proof of that. His flaws and his character is pretty much deep, adorable and I don’t know if anybody else is going to agree with me, but yeah, I find his character strong. There was something very complicated about him but that complication made him real. One thing’s for sure, he isn’t perfect but he’s almost there. I also love how his feelings for Sydney developed. There was friendship, admiration, respect and yes, I have a huge feeling, there was love. I’m not throwing away his love for Rose, no, but let’s admit it, Rose and Adrian had been torturous and hopeless but Sydney and Adrian is torturous yet hopeful. And since we all think that Adrian deserves to be happy, we have to place our hopes on Sydrian.

“Sage,” he said. “What are you wearing?”
I sighed and stared down at the dress. “I know. It’s red. Don’t start. I’m tired of hearing about it.”
“Funny,” he said. “I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at it.”

Eddie

There was more of Eddie in this book and yet again, he reminds me of a mixture of Sydney and Dimitri. I like his protective instincts, his honor and his principles. However, I will have to comment on his thoughts and feelings about Jill. Honestly, I wrote about a character that thinks like him and his “I’m not worthy” attitude made me like him a bit less. Especially since he told himself that without even trying to give himself a chance. I liked my character better when he finally revealed his feelings. I hope it happens to Eddie too. Or else I’ll growl at him. For real.

Eddie was intensely dedicated too. Adrian sometimes called him mini-Dimitri.

Jill

Another development is for this particular character. I’d say it was probably good that Angeline showed up because the Dragomir princess seemed a lot more responsible this time. I understand her wish for a normal life but I admired her when she made personal decisions that she knew would be for everyone’s good. She’s starting to make me think her character’s going to  get better and better.

Angeline

I don’t love her but I don’t hate her either. I’ll have to say though that she sometimes irritated the hell out of me because of her irresponsibility. I know she grew up in a different environment but the way she coped up with her new school was almost annoying. The punching I can forgive. The unwise decisions, no. To hell if she’s fifteen. I can be thankful for her change of attitude come the end of the book because of she didn’t, I’ll probably slap her. I hope for better things for her come book 3.

Trey

This will be short. I like Trey as a character (despite everything that happened) and I really, really hope his role didn’t end in this book. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back but since I haven’t read book 3, I can only hope and pray.

“Why couldn’t I be locked away in my room or the library doing something enjoyable, like homework?”-Sydney

Ms. Terwilliger

Weeee!!! I love this teacher! Richelle has already mentioned in Twitter that she’ll have a major role in the series and I must say that she deserves it! She may be a bit pushy and weird but really, I think she’s an amazing teacher. Sydney definitely needed her in this series.

Writing Style

I don’t think I need to make this part long since I already told everyone how much I admire Richelle Mead’s writing and that did not change in this installment. I definitely liked the pacing of this book much better and I look forward to what this author still has in store for us readers. I mean, hello. Just look at the bloody ending. If Richelle continues to do those kinds of endings, I swear I’m going to die of impatience. If only I can force them to publish the next one within a month.

“Slushes. Do you know how much I love those? Cherry, especially.”-Adrian

Honestly, this book’s better than the first and those who stopped reading have missed a lot. All this being said, I cannot wait for the third Bloodlines book, The Indigo Spell. What on earth happened to Marcus Finch?

“If I were him, I would have said, ‘You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth’.”-Adrian to Sydney

Advertisements

The Rain Never Stops

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Today, I was finally supposed to go job-hunting with my friend in Makati (one of the country’s business districts) but all our plans changed when we woke up early in the morning and tuned in to the news. Apparently, despite the lack of typhoon signals (we are only affected by the southwest monsoon), the rains that have been pouring since typhoon Gener have finally resulted in more rain, overflowing dams and rivers, and floods.

Ayala underpass as of 7:45am, Aug.07 – from Joel Garzota Vmobile (via typhoon watch philippines-blogspot)
This is where I should have been this morning.

This isn’t something new for us, Filipinos. We’ve been through bad storms and floods for as long as I can remember. The recent ones being Milenyo and Ondoy. But then, it really takes a lot for habits to change and for lessons to be learned. Despite everything we’ve seen and experienced before, we’ve all still been careless of our waste disposal that the drainage systems have been clogged. Thus, the occurrence of dangerous and often fatal floods and other disasters.

Las Pinas – Photo by REUTERS/Erik De Castro via @HashLabInc
First time to see this place as flooded as this…

I’m not going to discuss weather conditions and I don’t think I want to wallow into the misery that surrounded the disasters. I guess I just wanted to raise awareness and to let people know just how strong Filipinos are despite tragic circumstances.

If you’re a Twitter user and monitored the trending topics all day, you’d know that issues regarding the situation of the northern part of the country have been populating the list throughout the day. From this alone, I can say just how big of a help social media platforms can be when it came to information dissemination during calamities. It also helped groups to locate people who were stranded and needed rescuing.

She and her group were one of the first who organized rescue and relief operations among affected citizens of the National Capital Region.

However, this does not come without faults. Throughout the day, misleading news had also caused confusion and even panic to a lot of netizens. I, myself, was a victim to the confusing news and I’d say that one thing I need to remind myself is that people should confirm information first. Tweet responsibly.

I also like how the social networks have brought encouragement to many and how posts had managed to highlight the strength of the Filipino character by injecting humor into the situation. I guess just as always, the Filipinos always prefer to smile when it came to hardships and consequences.

Found this via Facebook and I couldn’t help but smile despite everything.

As of the moment, there is still no assurance that tomorrow will bring about sunshine or will ease away the floods but one thing’s for sure. We, Filipinos, are so gonna overcome this.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank our country’s rescuers, news reporters, volunteers, and everyone who have donated/will donate to the people who have been affected by the floods. Together, we can all survive this again.

For everyone who are willing to help and donate, you can give through SAGIP KAPAMILYA (ABS-CBN News) or the Philippine Red Cross.

For fellow Filipinos who have prepaid load and wish to donate to Red Cross, here’s how:

Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe). Denominations: Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000. (http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate)

For SMART subscribers, donate to Red Cross by texting RED<Space>AMOUNT to 4143 (denominations: 10,25,50,100,300,500,1000)

P.S.

Another reminder for everyone. Please keep your pets safe.

This is a photo by my friend, Anne San Pedro where their dog jumped into floodwater even though they wanted to keep it inside the boat. (submitted to YouScoop)

Stay safe, warm and dry everyone! We can do this! 🙂

Title: The Dark Knight Rises

Synopsis:

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.. — (C) Warner Bros. Rotten Tomatoes

Director: Christopher Nolan

Production Companies: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Entertainment

Main Characters:

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Michael Caine as Alfred
Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle
Tom Hardy as Bane
Marion Cotillard as Miranda
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer Blake
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

Release Dates: 19 July2012 (Philippines)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Comics, Superhero

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

Late review is late. Ha. Ha. But then, better late than never. That being said, I’ll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

First and foremost, if you’ve been following my reviews (though it would be surprising if you do), you’d know that I’m terribly forgetful about films. That or I really haven’t seen the previous installments. And I don’t do preparations like watching the previous stuff first before watching the latest. Filmmakers and writers should consider people like me, you know. They should stop creating films and book series that can’t be seen or read out of order. Oh well, I’m getting off topic.

It was all in all a great movie if not for the fact that I failed to understand all that background information for the entire first half of the movie. It’s good thing I’m sharp sometimes ’cause I managed to catch the ideas come second half. There was a balance of aww shucks and awestruck moments in the film and I wasn’t left totally dissatisfied. The story for the film (if I disregard the events of the previous films) is cohesive and no strings were left unattached come the ending. One just have to be astute enough.

Not a comic book/superhero fan so don’t stone me to death if I say that sometimes, I did get bored. I’m not comparing it to the other superhero movies that have been coming out lately like lava from a volcanic eruption but all that talk is really not my thing–especially when I’m (again) in the front row seats, struggling not to get cross-eyed.

Alright. Best things about the movie? Alfred the Butler, Christian Bale’s sexy lips, Anne Hathaway’s hotness in her shiny black catsuit, and the ending. Yup. I love that ending. It’s too much like a beginning. 

Anniversary Post (Heartlake Novels)

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Today is National Cheesecake Day! At least according to Twitter. But that’s not exactly the reason why I felt the need to write a post today.

You see, a year ago, I was seated in our dining table, using the laptop while waiting for dinner. Who would’ve thought that that very ordinary setup would have such a huge impact to me and my life? It was on that uneventful night when I went in front of a computer and started writing the prologue of what I first called “Hellos and Goodbyes” which became “A Playgirl’s Secret Diaries” and then currently “Secret Diaries”. Apparently, I have the tendency to change my mind when it comes to titles. But don’t worry. I think I am going to stick with “Secret Diaries” for a long while. 🙂

I can still remember exactly what the first line of that book was: “I really don’t know how to begin.”

I may have said that in one of my previous posts but let me just say it again. That sentence was exactly what I felt when I first stared at the blank Microsoft Word page. Who would have thought that it would result to more than 200 pages of Teen Fiction? Well, I certainly did not. Even more surprising to me is that I finished this book on April 18, 2012–more or less nine months after I started writing it.

Now, I am glad to say that I have started a sequel for it, called Love Letter. It has recurring characters and to be honest, my writing style now have improved in multitudes. If not for Secret Diaries, I probably wouldn’t have known that I tend to change tenses within a story and that it bothers and confuses some of my readers.

In all truth, Secret Diaries has taught me not only about writing but more so about myself. And well, I’m happy to look back one year from now and realize just how far I’ve come. 

And so,

Happy Anniversary to me, Rachelle and Heartlake City!

That being said, perhaps you might want to check and read it? Here’s a link:

https://mythoughtprocesses.wordpress.com/raine-the-writer/a-playgirls-secret-diaries/

Now here’s some slices of cheesecake for you:

Confessions of a Hopeless Reader: Young Adult Novels

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

I know, I know. I ought to have been doing this essay that I was supposed to do but blah. I need a new post for my blog. 😛

So here are some stuff about me and YA books. And damn, I feel old because the teens in Wattpad probably didn’t bother with these because they know Bella, Katniss, and Hermione but not Sabrina, Jessica, and Elizabeth. 😦

#1

The first young adult novel that I have ever read was Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: Up, Up and Away (#28) by Nancy Holder. Kudos to everyone who knows who Sabrina Spellman is! =)

I remember loving this book but to be honest, I’ve forgotten what it was about. Hehe…

#2

The first Sweet Valley High (Francine Pascal) novel that I’ve read was #142, The Big Night. Best twins of the YA universe during the late 90s and early 2000s: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield! XD

#3

When I became a teenager, I left the YA novels and started devouring Romances (Historicals, in particular). I went back to reading YA when I was eighteen c/o (ehem!) The Twilight Saga.

#4

Since then, I’ve been a fan of Richelle Mead’s YA books: Vampire Academy and Bloodlines.

#5

Adrian Ivashkov (NOT Dimitri Belikov!) is currently my favorite YA Hero. He has dark hair, green eyes and a tormented soul. My literary hero type. =)

#6

I must admit, I am yet to read more YA books. There are lots out there now but well, I am currently poor so not much book-buying in the past year. =(

#7

cannot find myself attracted to The Vampire Diaries. What is wrong with me?

#8

I’ve tried many times to read the rest of the Harry Potter Series (books 3-7) and The Hunger Games Trilogy (books 2 and 3) but I would always put it down in exchange for a romance novel. *I beg you, do not cut my throat*

#9

I haven’t read a single John Green novel. *Loser me!*

#10

I currently enjoy YA novels because I want to go back to high school/college. *Argh! Please do not remind me that I still haven’t been able to find a job. Huhuhu!*

Gotta love this book. It’s one of my first YA reads but I certainly remember this story (unlike others). I love Ken and Olivia… =)

Confessions of a Hopeless Reader Part 1

Tags

, ,

I needed something to write about and figured that maybe I would share things about myself being a reader. I would only go for ten confessions in every post that’s why this is just ‘part 1’. Feel free to ignore if you couldn’t care less. 🙂

1. I read for mindless entertainment. Literary fiction is not unwelcome but not as appealing.

2. I read my first Harlequin romance when I was twelve.

3. I own several classics but have not read any of them except ‘A Little Princess’ and “Phantom of the Opera’.

4. I read a lot of Sweet Valley and Sabrina the Teenage Witch books when I was in elementary.

5. IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO ACTUALLY LIKED THE FIFTY SHADES TRILOGY? WHY?

6. I devoured The Hunger Games in one day but I cannot summon the enthusiasm for Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

7. My memory of the details of a book–no matter how much I like it–only lasts for three months (at most).

8. I have not read a single piece of Shakespeare’s works.

9. I have not read Harry Potter books 3-7.

10. I already forgot what happened in Harry Potter Books 1 and 2.

No. I haven’t read Sherlock yet. XD

Unblocking My Writer’s Block

Tags

, ,

Let’s just say that as of this moment, I should have finished writing a chapter for my online story already. However, amateur that I am, I still haven’t gone beyond three paragraphs.

This isn’t the first time it happened to me. Most of the time, I stare at the computer screen and wonder what on earth I am going to do with the story now. Often too, I would shut the computer down without writing a single word.

When that happens, I do five things in order to figure out what to do next.

1. Eat. Honestly, I think this is the best way to relax one’s mind and dig through one’s imagination. It may not work all the time and would certainly make you fat but this is the best first step in trying to get over a short-term writer’s block.

P.S.

For drinks, I suggest coffee. There is always something so stimulating about coffee. 🙂

2. Play a game/Watch a TV show. I’m not suggesting that you go and play an unlimited game of Tetris or COD or whatever game that has about a hundred different levels. What I’m suggesting is a short game of say, Temple Run or Subway Surfers or even the old school Nokia game, Snake. And what I meant by TV show, I meant an episode of a TV show. Or perhaps a movie. The short-term distraction might release the pressure off of your brain and might even give you some ideas for your next chapter.

3. Take A Bath. Or do any activity that involves water. For some insane reason, water relaxes me and my characters seem to want to ‘talk’ to me whenever I take a shower or wash the dishes. If anything, water activities are like spa treatments to my brain.

4. Do household chores. Or exercise. Perhaps this is because just like the body, the brain also needs some kind of exercise to ‘strengthen’ it or something along that line. Just like water, its effect on my imagination is less pressure. It also allows my imagination to wander. Mindless chores gives me the chance to burn the calories I consumed when I ate, and then multitask as I ‘exercise’ and think of the stories I write.

5. Write whatever. I mean, don’t let a day pass by without being able to write anything. Even if it’s just a sentence. Even if it’s awfully crappy. The bottom line is, you must write. Somewhere in all that crap, you’ll find the trigger you need in order to move on from where you stopped in your story. To be completely honest, this step is the most effective for me. In most times, I write gibberish either at the beginning of my story or at the beginning of a chapter. And then when I already got the ‘feel’ of the story, that’s the time I would look back and do some editing. 🙂

I cannot guarantee that any of this will work for a more serious case of writer’s block but if anything, the last part allows me to completely avoid experiencing it in the first place. 🙂

*photo by Vanjo Amarillento (not mine)*

More than just the King of Comedy

Today, Filipinos all over the world mourn for the death of a man who had touched the lives of many of his countrymen and had made millions laugh with the movies and TV shows he made that spanned several decades.

He is an icon in Philippine show business and although I couldn’t say that I have followed him for most of his career, I have to say that if there was another thing that defined my childhood TV habits aside from cartoons, anime and long-running teleseryes, it was Home Along Da Riles.

Mang Cosme and his family, I must say, had not only made me laugh but the Filipino values presented in the show had been instilled in me. I guess life in the 90s wouldn’t be complete without ever watching a single episode of the TV show. I don’t remember much of the story (most of what I remember were snippets) but I can clearly say that my childhood was memorable because I’ve watched Home Along Da Riles (I even sang the theme song, you know).

Aside from this sitcom, one film that I distinctly remember is his movie with Serena Dalrymple where I cried when they sang APO Hiking Society’s Batang Bata Ka Pa. I forgot the title and had to search for it in Google (It’s called Daddy O! Baby O!) but somehow that scene was etched in my mind like I only watched it recently.

To be honest, these are the only shows of Tito Dolphy that I could remember with a bit of clarity and I feel glad that somehow, sometime in my life, I got to watch some of his shows when he was still alive and kicking. He had a life well-lived and I am pretty sure that wherever he is now, he would be making everyone laugh just as he did when he was still with us.

*photo not mine*

Title: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Tags

, , , ,

Synopsis:

The first book in Richelle Mead’s brand-new teen fiction series – set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive – this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood. – goodreads

Publisher: Razorbill

Main Characters:

  • Sydney Sage
  • Adrian Ivashkov
  • Jill Dragomir
  • Eddie Castile

Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Paranormal

Pages: 421

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

At last! After waiting about a year longer than the other fans, I finally got myself a copy of this book! The bookstores and readers here in my country seem to have moved on from most of the vampire-related books and tortured the Vampire Academy fans before they got to release the paperback version of Bloodlines. I hated how this series didn’t get as much love from local bookstores but I guess I should be thankful that I didn’t have to order online and pay the very expensive shipping costs. If only Richelle Mead’s works had been given more exposure, then readers will know that vampire stories aimed at young adults don’t really suck after all. Oh well.

Perhaps it’s my tendency (or maybe this is an ability?) to forget story details so easily that I managed to treat this VA spin-off like the new series that it is. To be honest, I no longer seem to remember much of Last Sacrifice (VA’s last installment) which I read a little more than a year ago.

And so I read Bloodlines as if all I knew about the Vampire Academy series were stuff I picked out from Wikipedia.

Plot/Story

In this book, the main objective was to reintroduce the world of Strigoi and Moroi vampires as well as dhampirs. But most especially, the book aimed to shift the reader’s focus from the I-love-good-vampires point-of-view to that of a human Alchemist’s.

It must have been difficult for Richelle considering the risks it presented. For one, she was used to taking the role of Rose Hathaway–the half-human, half-vampire (dhampir) narrator of Vampire Academy–that being Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who was trained all her life to think of vampires and dhampirs as unnatural, evil creatures who must never interact with normal human beings, should have been difficult. Also, the readers who would surely read this book are Vampire Academy fans who love the Morois and dhampirs like their own families. It would be hard for them to think like Sydney and dislike or fear these unnatural creatures. Third, the story was narrated by a girl who probably has an obsessive-compulsive disorder and needed to grill her thoughts with lots of details. It was consistent to Sydney’s personality, but readers who prefer sass and action-packed plotlines did not like it that much.

“You are an exceptional, talented, and brilliant young woman. Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you’re less. Do not ever let anyone make you feel invisible. Do not let anyone—not even a teacher who constantly sends you for coffee—push you around.”-Ms. Terwilliger (to Sydney)

The high school setup was almost similar to Vampire Academy’s with a bitch being annoyingly bitchy because of a guy falling head over heels for one of the main characters. I didn’t mind–especially the way that part was resolved. Haha!

Somehow, I really enjoyed the tattoo subplot, as well as Trey and Ms. Terwilliger. I feel myself thinking that there are more to these characters than what the first book was letting on. I look forward to reading the next books because I’m pretty sure Richelle still has lots of surprises in store for her readers.

As much as I loved the book, I also found myself feeling like reading Sydney’s thoughts was exhausting because of her attention to details. There was enough intrigue, yes, but just like some readers, I had hoped for lots of action. Or at least more romance. The story wasn’t supposed to be action-packed but you get what I mean.

Characters

Sydney

I love her because I can relate to her more than I can relate to Rose. I am not quite as detail-obsessed as she was; but her socially awkward personality, the tendency to over think and the fear to break rules were some of the similarities we share. She was not as sassy and her story didn’t involve decapitating Strigoi but her occasional backtalk and outbursts were enough to endear her to me as a worthy heroine. In fact, even though some may say that her character was boring, I think Richelle was able to develop her in an interesting manner. She considers herself less than the ‘perfect’ Rose Hathaway of Vampire Academy but hey, it’s not always easy to relate to a perfect character. 😉 Her detail-overloaded brain sometimes annoys me but it definitely sets her apart from other heroines. 🙂

“I’d been raised to be practical and keep my emotions in check, but I loved cars.”-Sydney Sage

Adrian

Now, this is one of the most well-loved characters that I know. He was so utterly adorable and imperfect that one just can’t help but love him. He was morose and irresponsible in this book but there were hints that better things are to come for him. VA fans compare him to the perfect Dimitri Belikov but honestly, although I thought of Dimitri as hot, he didn’t endear himself to me as much as other fiction heroes I know of. Now reading Bloodlines, the fact that Adrian has brown hair, green eyes and a wounded soul, heck, I have a huge feeling I found my favorite YA hero. His full potential wasn’t released in this book (he has yet to reveal all of his wit and amazing personality) but his first appearance alone was enough to make me love him. I think (and hope) that he would be a more developed hero than Dimitri had been. 🙂

“Everything’s about my personal entertainment. The world is my stage. Keep it up- you’re becoming a star performer in the show.”-Adrian Ivashkov

Eddie

There was little chance for Eddie to shine in Bloodlines because the story did not quite allow it but I kind of liked the glimpses into his personality. Sydney’s attention to details made her think more of the other characters’ behavior and qualities to the point that Eddie’s grief over a dead friend, his protectiveness and his wish to redeem himself from his own eyes kind of touched me more than I thought they would.

Jill

She was the youngest and probably the one with the most number of insecurities. I am not going to blame her because I know a major reason for that but sometimes, I wish she would grow up a little. I am thankful that she was able to overcome some of her insecurities by the time the book was finished. I guess I also pity the fact that she wasn’t getting the kind of normal life she needed (wanted?). I really hope her personality gets developed until she was made worthy to be called princess.

Writing Style

Thinking about it, Richelle Mead is probably one of the authors I trust to deliver a good book. I like how she writes and although she seemed more adept at writing in a manner that’s witty, sassy and action-oriented, I think that she was able to pull off Sydney’s narration. There were times when the constant reminder that vampires are unnatural and evil has been repetitive and annoying but at least it was consistent to the character—which, I can forgive. Some readers said that they couldn’t finish the book because they didn’t like Sydney, because it’s boring or because of any other reason. It took me a longer time to finish it than I originally intended (it was indeed boring at times) but if it’s a good author who’s writing, I really don’t think it’s worth not finishing the book. You won’t find many good YA authors who write in first person these days.

I find myself thinking of whether she should have pursued the third-person point-of-view or not. But then again, something tells me that third person isn’t something Richelle could pull off as easily as first-person. So I guess I’m trusting Sydney to narrate the series well.

Also, I hope Richelle won’t use the Sydney-is-sent-to-reeducation-center-then-she-escapes-and-saves-the-world formula because it is painstakingly similar to the Rose-gets-into-prison-then-she-escapes-and-saves-the-world plot of the Vampire Academy series. Although I trust her as an author, I fear that the publication chronology of the two series will make Sydney a shadow of Rose if that’s how the Bloodlines books will end up. And I really don’t want that to happen.

To conclude, I wouldn’t judge the series yet with just the first book but I’d say that I find this introductory installment a worthy read. If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series, don’t fret. I’m pretty sure you can enjoy the book even without knowing much about Rose or Dimitri. This series obviously takes on a different road and I don’t think I am disappointed. 🙂

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man

Tags

, , , ,

Synopsis:

Teenage social outcast Peter Parker spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past, and trying to win the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy. Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase belonging to his father, who abandoned him when he was a child, which leads him to his father’s former research partner, Dr. Curtis Connors. The discovery of his father’s secret coupled with an encounter with a genetically altered spider, will ultimately shape his destiny to become “Spider-Man” and bring him face to face with Connors, who becomes the Lizard.- Wikipedia

 

Director: Marc Webb

Production Company/ies: Columbia Pictures, Marvel

Main Characters:

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors
Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy
Martin Sheen as Ben Parker
Sally Field as May Parker

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Comics Superheroes

Release Dates: 29 June 2012 (Philippines); 03 July 2012 (US)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

My friends and I watched this during the opening weekend (July 01) and just as expected, it was good. I mean, good, great, wonderful, amazing. 😀

As usual, it really wasn’t in my schedule to watch this movie. We intended to avoid the crowd and watch Prometheus instead but apparently, the cinema owners in this country thought that Spidey would lure too many people to the cinemas and decided not to feature anything else. Haha!

Hmmm, so what movie shall I watch? 😀 (Photo credits to Alabang Town Center/Ayala Cinemas)

Just because I feel like telling everyone, my friends and I sat in the front row (as in row A) and although it was almost a pain to the eyes, I’d say it was tolerable. After all, it’s Andrew Garfield, the plot is good and at least, the cinema was big and allowed some space in front of us.

As I said before, I am no comic book geek but I find the story cohesive and portrayed well. I had bits of confusion as to the female lead being called “Gwen” instead of “Mary Jane” but that got cleared up in the movie. It also helped that I read somewhere that the story is definitely not a continuation of the previous Spidey movies (I think it’s more like a prequel but considering the overlapping scenarios, it’s more acceptable to separate the two).

I think they did an overall great job and I love the chemistry between Garfield and Stone–almost like they were no longer acting it out. Haha! I haven’t watched The Social Network so I had no idea who Andrew Garfield is. I also haven’t seen any of Emma Stone’s movies so I was somehow surprised at how well they did their parts. (Yeah well, I’m basically clueless to most things Hollywood–or at least the recent ones. Movies and actors alike) 🙂

To be honest, it’s Garfield’s looks that initially got me but I find myself warming up to his Spidey more than I did to Tobey Maguire’s. I find this year’s Spider-Man more fresh (probably ’cause yeah, it is fresh), more human and developed quite deeper. Maybe, this is just me and my faulty memory of previous films I’ve watched. Maybe, I just can’t remember much of Tobey’s Spidey. Or maybe, we can just blame the previous movies’ scriptwriter/s ’cause I think the 2012 version’s writer/s did really well in weaving the story. (Hey, I remember the feelings a story evoked in me more than anything else, you know.)

All in all, I love it and I long for the day I can actually see an Avengers movie with Spider-Man in it. Of course, let’s all just rejoice about the fact that there’s a sequel as confirmed by the after-credits preview. 🙂