Monday, September 25, 2017

The Time-keeper by Mitch Albom | A Book Review

The Time-keeper by Mitch Albom | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I borrowed this book from a friend who is going through a hard battle. Reading this made me understand his struggles more and even shared in the experience. He let me get a glimpse of what he has to go through and he was right in saying that he would rather be broke. I didn't pity him but it was empathy I felt. Getting to know him, in a way, gave me a feel of how it is to be in his shoes. And they are uncomfortable.  It made me realize, in spite of the struggles and the lack of a few things, I should still be grateful that I am not wearing his shoes because I am not sure if I would survive. I realize he is a much stronger person than I am.

Reading a Mitch Albom always generates a melancholy feeling. After reading a few of his books and add in this one, I came to the conclusion that the name Mitch Albom equates  to melancholy, even sad. But at the end, it would be like a transcending experience. Just like reading the books of Paulo Coelho, you will feel like you have found a new nugget of wisdom that could not be found elsewhere. 

Honestly, of all the author's books, this is probably the book that I love the least. I don't hate it. It's just OK. I don't think it's as great as the other books I have read. I think the first two parts of the book were very solemn and slow. Solemn because it felt like the story was tiptoeing, like it was unsure. It was very serious. It was like a teacher giving a lecture and you have to listen very attentively or else you won't be able to pass the pop quiz after. It's as if there's no room for humor or sarcasm or witticism. Silent because it's voice is too weak. I am tempted to find something else to read but since the book isn't too thick, I carried on. I know, at the end of every Mitch Albom is a great life lesson and I don't want to miss it.

The ending made up for the earlier parts which were not as engaging to me as the final third of the story. Contrary to the first two thirds of the book, the ending made a bang. It was all I was waiting for. The symphony of a well-rehearsed orchestra performing its finale song for the performance of the night. And the life lesson that I have been waiting for made its appearance and looked me in the eye.

Of the two characters that Father Time had to help, I can find myself in the young girl who found that her life is without meaning. When I was younger, I actually thought that getting to thirty is too far. It is still a very long way. Would I ever reach that age? And now, I am past that age and I realized I have gone past about half of a normal person's lifetime. It's as if I don't know what to do with my life anymore. I think I am years too early for a mid-life crisis. People usually have mid-life crisis in their forties. I don't want to end my life, I am just frustrated. I have a lot of things I want to do like travel, new hobbies, and new experiences to try, but I feel like I am not prepared to face the problems that came with adulting. I feel like my plans only considered and anticipated things up to my twenties, I did not take into account reaching this age. Honestly, I even thought I'd die in my mid thirties. Well, I am not out of the woods yet, but I realized I don't want to die yet. I want to grow old but I also don't want to grow old alone, bitter, and miserable. I'd rather end where I am in my finest. Just like what artists, celebrities, and other successful people say, "Better quit while you are on top than when you are at your lowest or weakest." I would like to leave this life filled with great experiences I had than being beset with disappointments and sorrows that had slowly eaten my zest for life. 

I give the book 3/5 egg timers. The story is a classic Mitch Albom complete with a life lesson at the end and an experience that you don't get from any other book. But I was not so engaged in the first two thirds of the story. I was looking for something but could not exactly tell what it is that I was looking for. I had great expectations about the book because of the author but unfortunately my expectations were not met. The lesson of the story, just like the end of every fable, is to make use of time wisely. Live life to the fullest and that is putting the things that matter most first, like family and friends. This story puts things in perspective, just like every other Mitch Albom story I have read, which is also one of the few merits of this story. The other life lesson is hope. That no matter how dark times get, there is always hope. And I fervently believe that but sometimes just getting small sparks of hope is never enough. I have reached a point where I need a full blazing forest fire. Small sparks won't do for me anymore. I need something bigger and more tangible. 

There is a reason God limits our days.
To make each one precious. 
- Mitch Albom, The Time-keeper - 

The Gangster and the Socialite (Heart-on Collision #1) by Mayumi Cruz | A Book Review

The Gangster and the Socialite (Heart-on Collision #1) by Mayumi Cruz | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I won this from Goodreads. I was fascinated to find that the author is a Filipino. I am proud of Filipinos making it big like designers and writers who have made it and penetrated the international market. Thank you again, Mayumi Cruz and Goodreads for the copy of this book.

The picture was taken when a friend and I hiked through the Henderson Waves Bridge in Singapore. This bridge connects Mt. Faber and Telok Blangah Hill Park. We ended up walking the 5km+ hike trail which this bridge is just a part of.

This is a quick read. I felt like I was back in high school reading pocketbooks that were in Tagalog. I felt that way because it was a lot easier reading in Tagalog. It's like breathing. No effort. Though, this book was in English, in my mind the characters were speaking in the national language, add to that the setting that is so familiar to me, were enough to make me nostalgic. Oh, I miss BGC (Bonifacio Global City)! 

I am a Cebuano but I don't think there are published books or novels in Cebuano. Fiction and love stories are mostly published in the Philippines in Tagalog or English. This book brought me back the feeling when I first read a pocketbook. It was exciting but I think my imagination was not that active. Reading and imagining were skills that I have not mastered yet. I secretly laughed when my friends admitted that they cried while reading a certain story. I could not relate. I did not find anything worth shedding a tear over when I read the same story. Inexperience was my friend then.

Reading about BGC and some places mentioned in the book where I have been to was exciting. It made me feel like I was there when that certain scene in the book took place. I can see it vividly. The story seemed to have stopped being a story from there, it became somewhat a part of my memory. It felt like the story happened right exactly when I stood on that same spot. The setting of the story is so familiar that it made the story familiar too.

In truth, the story is a bit predictable. Like watching a Filipino-made romance movie. Because it's my own culture and I know the nuances and what to look for, it seemed as if I already know how the whole story will end. The same with this but not entirely. There were a few parts that were not as expected which I think is a very good thing.

I give this book 3/5 motorcycle helmets. The plot is interesting enough but the book was written with younger audiences in mind. I appreciate that the language was simple and straightforward but it would have been better if the story was a lot deeper and more sinister. Knowing this was more fitted for readers in high school was a little disappointing because I think the author is capable of writing stories for more mature audiences where the story is unpredictable and with more heart-pounding suspense. Being an avid suspense and mystery reader, this book has promise but I needed it to much more. This would likely make a good movie.

It also didn't matter that she had only known him for a short time. The heart knows no time when it meets its match, its better half, its kindred one, which long ago was planned by destiny and then thrust forward by serendipity in ways she had never imagined.
- Mayumi Cruz, The Gangster and the Socialite - 

Nemesis (Project Nemesis #1) by Brendan Reichs | A Book Review

Nemesis (Project Nemesis #1) by Brendan Reichs | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I won this book through the YASH (Young Adult Scavenger Hunt) Spring 2017. This book came out March of this year. It's also my first time to read a book by Brendan Reichs.

Having the hardbound book in my hand was a bit intimidating. The book is huge and it's thick. It's been a while since I last touched a hardbound book like this. I have become more accustomed to paperbacks and ebooks. I decided, I will start reading it once I am ready for it. I won't start unless I can't give my heart and mind fully into it because by the way this looked, this requires concentration. I can't take this book lightly and guess what? I was right with my initial assessment. I judged the book by its cover and I totally nailed it.

At first, it was disconcerting or confusing finding that the one of the main characters--Min, kept dying every two years and then later wakes up in the middle of the forest. Yes, I did ask what's going on? What kind of phenomenon is this? Thankfully, it was answered but on the later part of the book. 

Do I feel like the story was dragged out? Honestly, a little! I felt like I don't need to read some of the parts but when I reached the part where things were revealed and my questions were answered, I realized the pages I thought that were unnecessary actually helped explained the answers to my questions about the story. Yes, the first few parts could be a little boring. I actually had to stop and read something else and then came back to this after I finished that other story which was a lot shorter than this one. I think the best part of the story was in the last few chapters where everything made sense. Finally! The wondering and the mystery was over. 

Each chapter which I first thought were not so important just added to the mystery of the story. If you don't have the patience to push on and finish the story, you will likely end up hating this because as I said, the best is yet to come. The best lies in the last parts and it would definitely blow you off your seat. This is absolutely a story I have not heard of before. The plot had me asking questions even to the point of irritation but my patience was later on rewarded as the story wrapped up and told me anything I need to know.

I am still unsure if I liked the story but the fact that it piqued and stroke my curiosity, is totally a point for the author. And yes, the title kept me wondering too. How it relates to the whole story? That was answered too. I give this book 3.5/5 asteroids. And I would definitely like to read the next book. The mystery baffled me enough that I would want to know if the author can keep that throughout the series. I also want to know if the next book would make me decide if the series is worth following or not. 

This time, I was going to fight for what I believed in, no matter the consequences. I was going to do something. I just didn't have any idea what.
- Brendan Reichs, Nemesis - 

Thank you again, Brendan Reichs for the copy. | Online Invitations | Experience Review | Online Invitations | Experience Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got a message on my comments portion on one of my review posts asking if I wanted to collaborate with a site and talk about my experience using it. This is a first time for me to be approached for a possible collaboration. I was shocked, at the same time honored. I thought, this might be my chance of expanding my book blog and finally pave the way to get paid in bucks. Maybe, finally this is my chance to earn from blogging, aside from just getting free books and goodies. So, I immediately emailed the person back and asked for details. I agreed. This seemed like a great opportunity to let pass. 

As you can see on my post banner, I was asked to review Yes, it's a legit company with offices in New York. They specialized in online invitations for all occasions. If you sign up and make use of their services, your invitation would also include a tracker for all those who agreed to attend and those that declined. Seems pretty convenient, right? This is very useful especially for those occasions like weddings and conferences where you have a lot of people attending. You need not worry of keeping track of who's going or not. It also includes a registry for gifts if you prefer to include one. Not only that, it will also provide directions so your guests won't get lost in going to the appointed venue. So, what are you waiting for, the next time you want to have a birthday party and want to send invites, just go to

To have a real feel of what the site offers, I decided to try it myself as that was what was required of me. This collab offer came to me before my birthday so I thought I might have to pretend I'm going to have a party and send invites (Birthday Invitations). I started to choose probable designs for the invites. I even favorited those I really like. Unfortunately, I didn't get to finish to customize the invite. In the end, I decided to pretend that I am getting married. Yes, it's every girl's dream, right? I dreamed of that day too. So, I seized the opportunity to make my Save the Date cards and my Wedding Invitations. I'm so excited!

I am imagining my future husband looks like Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins of Friday Night Lights) or Chris Evans (Captain America). The wedding would be in an island resort here in my city. I wanted so much a beach wedding. This is what I came up with for the save the date cards. I need to send save the date invites since the location is about a three-hour ride from the city and also so my friends would be able to mark their calendars early and not miss this greatest event of my life. And since my some of my friends and my husband is not from the same country, they need their passports. I don't plan to invite a lot of people. I want an intimate celebration so only really close friends are invited, maybe around 50 guests. A hundred would be the limit, that is taking into account the number of close friends and family of my husband to-be.

The invite can be customized according to your tastes. There are free templates you can use. There are even templates designed by famous designers like Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta and many more. You can take your pick. I first browsed through the selections of designs and then marked or favorited those I liked. I then decided to pick one for the occasion I have in mind. You can create your own text you want to put in the invite. You can even include your couple photos. I actually wanted to put one of me and Taylor but it required a lot of editing so I skipped it. You can also upload you own design if you have a very specific design in mind for your invitation. 

Navigating the site is so easy. It's a no brainer. It's very user-friendly and you can go back easily to the previous screen if you want to change something. You also see how the invite will look like instantly right after you make any particular changes. The best thing, the site auto-saves the last edit you made to the invite. I played around with the design elements they incorporated like the envelops, the font, color, envelop liners and it was so much fun. You do not need to be a designer or require the services of a card designer to come up with the card that is up to your standards. Just browse through the wide selections of invites for all occasions and you're good to go. One more thing, you can also opt to send printed invitations. There is an option that allows you to have the invites printed and you can send them to your friends' addresses via post or hand-deliver them. 

So, here is how I created my save the date card.

This is the screen where you edit the text of the card. There are options for a motif and a logo, an additional card if you wanted to include more text and a photo card. The card costs at least 2 coins for each guest to be sent the invite. If you want to add more customization elements to the card, you will be charged accordingly for each design element.

The online invitations also include envelops. I wanted to have my envelops with liners and I chose a design with fireworks. Duh, big event, wedding!

You can also choose from among the stamp and postmark designs to put on the back of the envelop. I chose a stamp with two champagne glasses and the postmark of my favorite city. If you are from Seattle, Washington or San Francisco, they also have customized postmarks for those cities.

You can track the number of invited guests attending. The invite includes an RSVP reply card or you can choose from the other options provided.

The site will then ask you to fill in your details and the guest list and their addresses (email or physical) depending on your choice of type of invite. The site will take care of tracking the number of those who RSVP'd. You can also check if some of your friends sent you messages or inquiries about the party. Your friends, will receive an animated online invitation when you send your invite. They will see all the elements you have included in your design like the envelop and the liners and additional pages that contain photos and other texts. Amazing, isn't? It's not some flat lay invite but with animation. The site provides a preview of the card you have created. You can also watch a preview of what your guests will see once they get your invite. 

Just click on the picture below and you will be directed to Click on the preview guest experience link to find out what it feels to get an invite from

Here is the wedding invite that I have created. I dreamed of a beach wedding so I added a water backdrop to the invite. The template I chose is also a beach theme.

For the RSVP card, I added a design of blue flowers. Yes, my motif is blue. 

And since it's a wedding, I added flowers for the envelop liner for a more romantic feel and because to me weddings mean more flowers.

I added another New York City postmark and a beach stamp. You can also choose from various font styles.

All in all, it was a fun experience designing my save the date and wedding invitations, though it was just make-believe. As I said, the site was so easy to navigate and there were no delays or gap between choosing a design or an additional element and seeing how it will look like. The application of an added liner or change of font style is instantaneous. If you have questions pertaining to shipping of printed paper cards or the fees, they also provide links to answer those questions. For now, Paperless Post is only available in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Since, I am from the Philippines, I can't have printed cards sent out yet. As to the payment, what is so good about the site is that it shows how many coins each card will cost you for each recipient. Every time you change or add a design element, and if there's an added charge for it, it will immediately reflect on the upper right side of your screen. You won't be misled or anything. You can readily see how much each card will cost you but keep in mind that the cost is per recipient. The site offers the coins in packages from 20 coins for USD6 to 5000 coins for USD325. Credit cards can be used to buy the coins.

Paperless Post is a very convenient way to DIY your invitation cards for whatever occasions. You can add your own photos to customize it or you can even upload your own design. Tracking the sent invites and the responses is also an added ease the site will readily take care for you. Now, managing parties and events you organize will be such a breeze with Paperless Post. So, log into the site now and sign up. You can start customizing on the invitations you need for the next party or celebration you are having. 

If I have known of this site when we were planning for the opening of my sister's small store. I would have done the store opening invites and the fliers on The next time my sister or someone asked me to create an invite for an occasion I will definitely go to and create the invitations from there. It would totally be less stressful and a lot easier. 

Last Man She'd Love by Summerita Rhayne | Release Day

Last Man She'd Love by Summerita Rhayne | Release Day by iamnotabookworm!


When best laid plans fall apart...

Lyna is all set to marry a movie mogul, when she finds his pregnant ex at her office, begging her to break the engagement and keep her name out of it. Forced to take her flirtatious boss Guy's help, she sets about to break the engagement. But now she's pulled into deeper involvement with Guy. 

One trouble leads to another!

She agrees to visit his palatial country house, posing as his fiancée and is drawn into the family and their antics. Sorting out who's who takes time. A stringent grandfather, an ambitious mother, a frustrated half brother are only the beginning!

Attraction makes things complicated…

Propinquity with someone as charming and attractive as Guy doesn't help. But Guy himself is as much of a puzzle as ever. Is he the playboy she thinks him or is there someone else beneath the sardonic pose? Will she ever find out?

Will she break her heart in the process?

Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Her pet belief is, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

At heart, she's a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms and cricket (strictly watching only).


Different. The word made him laugh at his own stupidity. What he wanted to say was she looked sexy as hell, more precious than rubies, ethereal like a goddess who didn’t belong to the earth. He would never say what he wanted and far less do what he wanted which was to take her away from this party, kiss her in turn with tenderness and passion and take her to his bed.

She might go away. All too soon.

She had to, he told himself.

Of course she would. They’d been brought close by weird circumstances. Soon they’d be back at the office. Where things were sane and ideas like engagement and rings and marriage far away.

Ring. A ring for Lyna.

He turned away from her. Only to walk smack into a group.
‘Time for dance,’ they chanted. A group of men and women surrounded them and inexorably closed around them, till he and Lyna were in the center.
‘I hurt my foot playing cricket with the kids,’ he said.

Lyna looked at him and he realized he had said something wrong. Her eyes sparkled. Her chin tilted up. ‘Well, I have three left feet. Who’s brave enough to dance with me? Jashith obviously isn’t.’

Someone volunteered and soon a medium height man in a Jodhpuri coat was leading her onto the dance floor.

‘You look flabbergasted, bro,’ a friend told him. ‘You should have thought up a better excuse. And she doesn’t even dance so bad.’

‘Jashith, you should have danced with her. What’s a little toe treading when you promised to spend your life taking care of her?’ A woman chided him.
‘You were mistaken. She’s rocking the floor!’

Sure enough, Lyna who’d refused to step with him at the anniversary they had attended, now was taking twirls between two men, first with one then another.

He watched, mouth falling open as she gyrated to the beat of the music, slim waist undulating. Her footwork was hesitant but slim arms curved in a rhythmic movement, one ending up on the shoulder of her escort. He slid his arm around her waist and swept her off her feet and into a spin. People grouped around them and applauded loudly.

The other man took this as a challenge and took her back, to execute a round. Lyna’s feet became uncoordinated, but it was disregarded as he pulled her against him, her back to him and clasping her waist, went into as smooth a spin as the other man.

Everyone clapped again. Now the other man moved, but before he could more than strike a pose with Lyna, he found a hand tapping his shoulder, more peremptory than polite.
Without quite knowing when he had moved, Jashith found himself cutting onto the guy and hauling Lyna into his arms.

She was flushed and breathless. Her hands moved to his shoulders as he drew her close. People began to chant ‘Jashith! Jashith! Let’s see what you can do!’

The music changed. A salsa based song came up. He bent over her in a sensual salsa pose and she arched back. He straightened and she came up, stepping onto his foot.
‘It’s healed very fast!’ she jibed.

His wide dark gaze smiled guilelessly. ‘So it has.’

Read another excerpt at:   

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan | A Book Review

The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This book had been in my TBR since last year. I can't remember anymore how I got this. I was looking for a light and easy read and I saw this on my TBR. I am sure, there are more books in my TBR that have been there for quite a while and some may have been forgotten. Slowly, achingly and hopelessly, I'm trying my best to read as much as I can. I think by the end of the year, I will have read 200 or more books and that is clearing a lot on my pile. Hopefully.

This is my first time to read a Kendall Ryan so I don't really know what to expect from this book. The title seems fun so I'm hoping this is going to be one since I am looking for a light and enjoyable read. As it turned out, just from the first chapter, the story was already promising to be an entertaining one. How can it not be entertaining when it's about a guy soon to be getting a large inheritance but under one ridiculous condition? He has to get married within six months. This premise would make anyone really curious how the next chapters would turn out.

The guy is Sterling Quinn. Cocky and very confident. He goes through girls like changing underwear. Then, enters Camryn. She's a friend of Sterling and it's now her job to look for a suitable wife for Sterling. Camryn has a crush on Sterling but he's off limits because Camryn does not need to go through a broken-heart caused by Sterling. The guy is definitely bad news. As soon as I read this, I immediately know what is going to happen. Camryn and Sterling working together will definitely lead to something and I was not wrong. These two were drawn to each other and none of them could help it. Yes, the story was very predictable right after Camryn accepted the job to be Sterling's matchmaker. The only question after that was how will Sterling convince Camryn that she should marry him.

This was entertaining enough but the story was not that deep or very unique. It was a good enough read to pass the time. Not emotionally draining or anything that will require a lot of emotional involvement which exactly fits my need for that moment. A light read that does not require a lot of expectations. I give this book 2/5 discs. I wish there was more to the story. I do admit, I liked the premise of Sterling having to find a wife just so he could claim the inheritance. I have read a similar book and it was far more interesting than this story. And I really liked what the quote below said, though I hope that it goes without saying that you fight for what you want like a wild grizzly bear, relentless and mighty. But make sure that you are not hurting anyone in the process, because if you are stepping on toes then that's definitely a different animal. 

If you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly. Go after what you want. Fight dirty. Get it. Make it happen.
- Kendall Ryan, The Fix Up -  

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson | ARC | A Book Review

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The first thing that beckoned me to this book was the title. Who wouldn't be curious with that? What kind of glasses are rosie colored ones? What magic does it possess?

This is probably the most heart-wrenching and heartbreaking tale I read for this year. This story would remain with me for long just like Colleen Hoover's It Ends With Us. This story had the same kind of effect. It affected me very deeply and even until now, days after reading it, I can't help but feel sad and sorry for Rosie. Yes, Rosie is a character in this book. She is a mom of two very adorable kids--Willow (what a lovely name!) and Asher. Rosie is a person bursting with life and personality. She is like always high with life. She loves wholly and with all of her. She does everything with great abandon. She goes all out.

Life is not all sunshines and roses, exactly what Rosie's life was. Everything started out great until she can no longer sustain the happiness and the energy that life demands of her. No amount of love that she gives and got back would keep her strong enough. In the end, depression proved to be a very daunting and formidable force that held her. Even her love for her kids was not enough weapon to fight against it. She succumbed and surrendered, leaving her kids heartbroken and lost, like a rudderless ship being tossed and thrown by the tempest.

This story squeezed my heart out until all that was left is pulp. I felt like I was Willow- lost and clueless; hoping that the nightmare she was in was just a nightmare. When she wakes up, everything will be sunny, and she can play Marshmallow City again. Her mom will shower her with love, hugs, and kisses. Everything will be all right because her mom is there. Unfortunately, it was not. The nightmare continues even when Willow is wide awake. And it seemed like the fear and pain is not going to ever go away. What's worst is her dad is not even seeing all the torment she is going through. Her innocence is slowly crumbling and fading. She is unbelievably lost and she needs a hand to hold on to keep her sane, to keep her anchored, but her dad seems to be oblivious to all that. 

This is a very sad story. This dealt about the battle against depression and its aftermath, whether that person won the battle or not. Especially, if the person affected succumbed to the dark void of depression. Rosie, the main character was a very bubbly person and it was so unbelievable that she did not have enough inside her to cast out depression out of her system. Which just proves that depression is a very serious condition and not a lot of people survive it. Fun-filled and loving Rosie wasn't even spared by it. In a way, she was deep in the grip of depression and her choice of weapon to fight it was addiction. It was a very wrong choice. And the casualty of that choice were Willow and Asher. These two adorable and lively kids grew up with Rosie's abundant and generous love. Her creative spirit nurtured these kids. When Rosie became powerless against her monsters, even her kids' love and presence were not enough to keep her from tumbling down into the rabbit hole of no return.

Rex, the other half of Rosie, who was not blameless in all of this. I can't blame him for divorcing Rosie. He did try his best to keep his family but he was not totally there for his children. He did not love his children as much as Rosie did. Rosie's love was always bigger  and she was closer and more attuned to the needs of their kids, like every mother should be. Rex, in some way was selfish and too inflexible. It took such a tragic event to shake him and be really present for his kids. It was almost too late for him to overcome his fear and embrace the reality that he and Willow were totally different individuals and that it was his duty to reach out and close the gap between them. 

If there was one character in this story that touched me greatly, it was Willow. A very vulnerable kid, yet very lovable and cute. How dare the other kids bully her! She is not weird as some kids in school would like to believe. She is smart and creative just like Rosie and she needs all the hugs, kisses, and love she can get, just like every other kid. I just wanted to hug Willow and assure her that everything will be alright. She can depend on me if her father won't be there for her. I wanted to adopt her and Asher, so they won't feel lost and abandoned. 

Arg! Even writing this review felt heavy in the chest. It's as if I am experiencing again the pains of what the characters of this story had to go through. All these emotions are running amok inside me and I had to let them out of my chest. This story calls for packs of marshmallows. I don't care how many, as long as it will be enough to make Willow feel better. Thankfully, Rex came to his senses and vowed to keep his family together. He promised to make his kids feel loved and special just like Rosie did. So, everything ended well. Now, I can stop worrying for Willow because she can still have a love most mad and moonly through his dad. The world does not end with it not being rosie colored anymore and love can come in all other forms. 

Willow had become a leaky faucet of sadness. She dripped, dripped, dripped with it. It never gushed out in spurts or sprayed anyone around her.
- Brianna Wolfson, Rosie Colored Glasses -  

Thank you again, Netgalley for the copy. 

Publish Date: February 20, 2018

The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast | A Book Review

The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Who can resist a story about ice cream? I signed up for this book because of the title. I love ice cream and I was curious what story do ice cream makers tell.

There is a contention that ice cream did not originate from Italy. There is a claim that it actually came from China. But Giuseppe Talamini would absolutely oppose that. He thinks that Marco Polo did not actually go to China and brought ice cream making as one of the discoveries from the east with him. Giuseppe believes that his grandfather discovered ice cream. Ice-cream making is his way of life and the business will pass on to his sons and his sons' future sons. 

This is a story about a family whose business and way of life is centered upon making delicious and creamy delights of multi-flavored ice cream. Yum! As it appears, ice-cream making is not as sweet as the concoction. It requires back-breaking dedication and a skill for turning fruits and flavors into heady and addicting combinations that will keep the customers coming back for more. As it turned out, not all ice-cream makers want to be ice-cream makers. Like in this story, Giuseppe, had no choice but to follow in his father's footsteps and take over the family business. He wanted to be an inventor. Someone who can create things. He is fond of tinkering and just making things, even if they do not have any specific purpose. But he has to forgo that dream and had to continue the family legacy of churning ice and fruits into mouth-watering gelato. And like Giuseppe, his first-born did not also want to be an ice-cream maker. Giovanni wants to be a poet and he became one, even to the cost of being estranged from the family. The second son, Luca, like his father was also forced to take over the family business because there is no one else. Luca's son is more curious on poetry rather than ice-cream making. Does ice-cream making and the business of the Talamini's end with Luca?

I think the story is very realistic. Even though it centers on ice-cream, the dilemma of who's going to takeover the family business passed down through generations is also a question for some of the businesses today. It explores the reality between following one's dream or to get trapped in continuing the family legacy. I definitely could not relate to this since we do not have any family business but a similar question had been asked of me. When I was younger, whenever I was asked what would I like to be, my answer was always something else other than being a teacher. In our family, on my mother's side, the women are all teachers, even some men are teachers and the rest of the men are all seamen (marine engineers, nautical people like captains). Only a few deviate from these professions mentioned above. It was like a default that you too should be a teacher but I did not want to be one. I wanted to be different. In some way, this is like in the story but I think it was easier for me to not follow the rest of my relatives compared to Giovanni or Luca. With my choice, no one is adversely affected. There is no family legacy that is going to be lost or a source of income or business that is going to close up. Giovanni and Luca's dilemma is more serious than mine. And if I were in the Talamini brothers' shoes, I would definitely think a million times before deciding not to continue with being an ice-cream maker and pursue my own dream. The decision weighs a lot because it does not only mean letting down your family but also losing what has been built by sweat and blood by your ancestors, if no one else is going to takeover the business. And what about what I want? This was exactly what Giovanni had to go through. In the end, he followed his heart. But it did not mean that he was not assaulted by guilt every time he sees his brother and father. His heart bleeds every time. If only he can be both at the same time. So, I can totally understand why he can't seem to say no to his brother when he ask him a very special favor and not just once. It felt like it was his way of making up for his choice. 

I give the book 3/5 cones of ice cream. It was a good enough story but I think it was too long. There were parts that just rumbled on that were not so essential. Though throughout the book, the feeling of melancholy is very evident. You will feel the hardship and the labors suffered by Giuseppe, Giovanni and Luca churning and churning ice cream. It felt like your hands had calloused too just by witnessing Luca experimenting with new flavors of ice cream. The emotions in the story are very strong, it's probably the reason why the author kept the story on and on and can't decide when he has to end it. I understood that the feelings invoked by the story are hard to let go. You want to basked in it yet you know you will get tired of it. Yes, you will think this is a sweet story as delicious as ice cream but it is far from it. In fact, it is full of bitterness and regrets. And Giovanni, he may have followed what he wanted and is doing what he loves--writing and working for poetry, but he is far from happy. This story is an example that we can't have everything we want but we make do and sometimes we pretend that we are happy doing these things, though we are just painstakingly and hardly getting by.

You can make them come back, the years and the people. But I doubt if the miracle will repeat itself.
- Ernest van der Kwast, The Ice-cream Makers -  

Thank you again, Netgalley for the copy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall | A Book Review

Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I can't exactly  remember  how I came  upon  this book.  It might  have been through the  author contacting me via the contact us link on my blog or some other way. Anyway, the short of it, this review is  long overdue.  I  was  supposed  to  post this  about  3  months,  the longest, after  I got this but unfortunately that did not happen. I read this in May. So, here is this long overdue review. 

Unwritten Melody is a story about a teenage girl who grew up with her grandparents. Her grandmother is a principal. Can you imagine how that life is? Cassie felt like she had a lot of restrictions and rules to follow. She felt like she can't be just like any other teenager- carefree. She has to be always mindful of her actions and their consequences and it doesn't help that she has to be always reminded to be not like her rebellious mom. Then, a new student transferred to their school who challenged Cassie's current situation. Will Cassie eventually turn out to be like her mom? Does the apple really not fall far from the tree?

One of the best things about this book is the close relationship between Cassie and her grandpa. It was a relationship to be envied especially for people like me who did not grow up with grandparents around. My mother's parents died when I was really young about 2 years old. I don't have any tangible memory of them. Though, my mother told me stories of how my grandmother would give me her share of the food. My father's mom died when he was young and he himself could barely remember her. I met my grandfather (father's father) when I was in grade school when he would visit us from the province. He would visit once every five years, usually because he has concerns and he wanted my father and his other sons' to help him. God rest his soul. 

Cassie's grandpa was the best granddad ever. He was the epitome of what every grandkid wants in a grandpa. He was Cassie's ally, yet he never loses his objectivity in every situation. He made Cassie see situations in a different perspective and at the same time, he made Cassie understand her grandma's motivation or reason behind every precaution and restriction. He was the peace and the string that held Cassie and her grandma's precarious relationship. Her grandpa was the constant in all the changes and challenges that she is going through. It was really heartbreaking when something happened to his granddad. It broke my heart too.

Like Cassie, we all at some point in our life, met someone who will sort of act as a catalyst or a force that will drive us to do what we have longed to do. This person, in some way, will give us the courage we need in order to do something extraordinary. Someone like James, who will push out of our comfort zones and explore the unknown. To be reckless and carefree, even for just a moment. To be daring because we know that this person got my back and he will pick me up when I fall. Yes, I did have a James in my life too. Once upon a time.

This story explores the relationship between grandparents and grandkids. For those who were lucky enough to have their grandparents around will definitely relate to this story. Especially those who have absent parents and grew up in the care of grandparents. For those like Cassie who did not have their parents around and who thought that they would have been better off if their parents were alive, this story is for you. You may not understand the rules set by your grandparents, but know that there is a reason behind those rules. They meant well. And like Cassie's grandma, she only wanted what's best for Cassie. She just did not realize that she was going a little overboard. Her fears made her overprotective of Cassie that she somehow forgot that Cassie has to make decisions on her own and learn from her mistakes to grow.

I give this 4/5 music sheets. This is a very touching story which explores the reality of the relationship between a grandkid and grandparents with literally music in the background. It also explores the feeling of being caught between following your dream and trying not disappoint the people who mean the world to you. Why can't it be both? Why give up one or hurt the other? This story presents a very realistic dilemma that is being experienced by anyone, not just teens. Why the do's and the don'ts. Why can't I just follow my heart and you can be happy for me? This is probably the most asked question in every household. And like in the story, there are reasons. You just have to be open to hear them out. And grandparents should not underestimate the strength and capability of the youth today to understand. Some of are actually wiser for their age. Sometimes, there is wisdom in youth, especially if they are allowed to make their own choices and learn from them.

Thank you again, Tessa Emily Hall for the review copy. This was an emotional story yet full of lessons and truths. I am looking forward to read more of your stories. Hopefully there are more of this. 

This made me think of my own grandparents and how I wished I had a chance to bond with them. I can barely even remember their faces except in the picture. For my father's mom, we never have any picture of her. My father's father left us with not a lot of memories. He was not really the ideal father so we did not expect too much from him but at least we know that my father forgave him for whatever he did and cared for him when he needed his son.

Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly 
- James Langston Hughes -

I have two options: remain in this shell that's kept me safe from the life I could have and stay intimidated of anyone and anything that tries to break through, or I can try and force my way out.
- Tessa Emily Hall, Unwritten Melody -  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Black Bullet (Order of the Senary #2) by L.D. Rose | A Book Review

Black Bullet (Order of the Senary #2) by L.D. Rose | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm

This is the sequel to Releasing the Demons. And yes, I read this right after the first book. I enjoyed the first book so much that I could not wait to get on with the series. Again, thank you L.D. Rose for choosing me to review this series. It has been my pleasure and I hope you will still offer me to read the next books in this series.

The first book centered on Blaze, this one is on Jonathan Kerr. Jon was mentioned in the first book. He is the brother of Dr. Veronica Kerr who is working with the Knight brothers. Jon is a former Marine and FBI agent who got hurt badly in his last encounter with the vampires. He was thought to be dead but he survived, only he is no longer the same way he was before. He will never be the old Jon again.

Aside from Jon, other new characters were introduced in this story. One of them is Lawan. She is Asian and may be a Filipino, which was just a delight to me. I am always thrilled to find Filipino characters or places in the Philippines mentioned in books. It's nice to hear good things said about my country and it also swells my pride knowing that some people have nice things and experiences about the Philippines or its people. OK, enough of this national pride. Back to Lawan. Lawan and Jon have this push and pull kind of relationship. Lawan does not trust anyone and Jon is definitely not exempt from that. Will he be able to get Lawan to trust him and open up to him knowing these two share a few things in common in their difficult past?

Oh, I can't just leave out Oscar, the cat sidekick of Lawan. The cat feels as overprotective as Blaze of Valerie. Oscar is loyally-bound to defend Lawan against anyone. Even Jon is not safe from Oscar's claws if the cat feels that in anyway he's hurting Lawan. I am not a cat-person but I am fascinated with Oscar's big and loyal personality. Go Oscar!

A lot of revelations were in this story. Other characters were also given more exposure and thus enable the readers to be able to get to know these characters more. The history and how the Knight brothers came to be was revealed and how Lawan is connected to them. I think this story is far more emotionally charged and investing than the first book. A lot of introspection by the characters past is done here which just made the story more engaging. It balances the gory details and it made the characters more human and vulnerable even if they have been genetically altered. I felt Lawan and Jon's suffering and self-doubt. I was so glad that in the end, these two at least find solace in each other. 

I give this book 5/5 black bullets. Like bullets, there is no escaping the fact that you will be drawn and be deeply involved in this story. The characters have very interesting personalities that you can't help but wonder what his or her story is. I am looking forward to getting to know more the rest of the characters of this series. I am expecting that the next book will center on one of the Knight brothers and expound on his experiences and his demons. I wonder, who could that character be? Rome?

Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting they won't. 
- Source Unknown -

Never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about.
- L.D. Rose, Black Bullet -