[Book Photography] My February TBR Pile

February TBR PileThese are the books that I am planning to read this February. Hopefully, I can let go and move on from my reading slump and start! Below are some details of the books I’ll be reading this month.

  1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – After reading the first book in the series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I’m more than intrigued to continue the mysterious story of Mara and Noah. What happens next? Why and how is it possible that Jude is still alive? I’m dying to find out!
  2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Lots of book friends recommended this book to me, knowing the fact that I love novels with either tragic stories and/or endings. I don’t know why, but that’s just who I am. And according to them, if I loved Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars, I’ll equally love this one. I am aroused!
  3. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore – After going to the book signing event of James Frey last February 1, and after reading (and overhearing) thousands of spoilers from this series, I have finally decided to start reading from the Lorien Legacies series. I’m dying to discover the wonders that the Lorien 6 possess.
  4. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover – This book was actually part of my January TBR, but sadly, due to tons of schoolworks, I wasn’t able to binge read it together with my previous month’s TBR pile. As excited as I am to read about the love story of Sydney and Ridge, I have to wait (Not again!) until I finish this book. But I started reading it earlier, and so far, so good. ♥

What’s your February TBR pile? Share it with me! I’m curious! 🙂


[Event Recap] #MichelleHodkininPH

BannerSo last January 17, me and my book friends, both old and new, attended the book signing event of one the prettiest authors I’ve ever met, the author of the New York Times Bestselling Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkin. Naturally, we camped out, and here’s my event recap for the book signing.

Note: This event recap is going to be filled with pictures, and not only will I post the happenings from the signing. I will also post the things we did, the places we went to to kill time and feed ourselves. Beware. 😀

January 16, 2015 – A day early.

So I met with ate Mary Joy and kuya Adrian at TriNoma at around 4:45pm of January 16, Friday. We rode the MRT going to Guadalupe station to wait for Anne and Lency. Upon meeting up, we then went straight to the jeepney terminal that will bring us to The Fort / Market! Market! area. Upon arrival, we then walked over to the venue of the book signing, Fully Booked BGC to meet Mia. (She’s the first one there, arriving hours before we did). We also met with Cedie and Luigi there as well. Once we were all together, we thought of ways on how to hold our places in the line, since the management of Fully Booked BGC advised us to go home because gates will open by 10AM the next day for registration. Persistent and determined as we are, we talked to the security guard instead and made sure that he knows us so we have our place in the line secured. Afterwards, we ate dinner at Market! Market! and went straight to our hotel room at F1 Hotel Manila where we met Feather.

(From left to right) So that’s Lency, Feather, Me, Mia, and Anne in our hotel room at F1 Hotel.

Once we got our big bags and books settled inside our room, we went back to Fully Booked to rightfully claim our right to the front of the line. And there, we met Charm. A co-book freak we met at Marie Lu’s signing last November 2014. That was around 9:30PM already. Bored as hell, Luigi and I decided to roam around the premises of Fully Booked BGC in search for my next favorite book/s. They were on sale that weekend, by the way. That urged me to put The Infinite Sea by Ricky Yancey on hold until the next day.

After scouring Fully Booked, we then settled outside to stay put in the line. We played games, and made lots of conversations about different kinds of books, fandoms, authors, past book signings, and everything else in between. It is at these circumstances where friendships are truly made. 🙂

Hungry, we went to the nearest McDonald’s to grab a bite afterwards. Another thing we all have in common is our love for food. You can never deny your love for food, right? Haha!

The comfort room was on our list on what to find next. Since it was already past 12AM, there are barely any establishments left to find comfort rooms. But we easily found them right around the stretch of Lane O. We continued playing games and talking right after we flushed our bladders. We didn’t really sleep that night. We were all sleepy, tho. Below are some photos.

January 16

January 17, 2015 – The day of the signing!

The next day was indeed filled with excitement, anticipation, and much more feels. Beyond the sleeplessness, hunger, immediate need to sleep, rest, and take a shower, we were still very eager and excited to see Michelle Hodkin. So whatever negative thoughts and instances that came our way, we disregarded it and we made the necessary actions just to maintain our place in the line, and be the first ones to have our books signed, and have our pictures taken with the gorgeous author. Below are some photos. You can plainly see the glow and excitement in our eyes as we wait in anticipation to register. Haha! ♥


Right after registration, we went back to the hotel to take a shower and really get ready for the day’s worth of fun and new activities. By then, my feet and back were extremely sore because of all the walking and standing I’ve been doing the previous day. Oh, and next time, I won’t be wearing boots to events like this. It was a dumb mistake. It will never happen again. I swear on the depths of Tartarus. (Percy Jackson fans, see what I did there?)

Once we were all clean, and massively presentable, we joined our friends over at Market! Market! for yet another meal. Afterwards, once we were all full, and satisfied, I can’t believe I’m sharing this but we slept. Yes. Just like pigs (I’m sorry for the comparison, but it’s just the way it is), after we ate, we slept at the food court of Market! Market! Almost all of us were that tired and chose to spend some time sleeping right after we ate. Please don’t judge us.

En route to SM Aura

We went to SM Aura once we woke up. (Photos above are evidence that our whole BGC adventure was well documented.) We opt to spend our remaining time taking pictures at the rooftop of the establishment. But before anything else, we went to the food court. Can you guess whet we did there? Yes. We tried to sleep. Again. But unfortunately, we weren’t able to because some security personnel told us to vacate the seats for they are reserved for those who will dine. Understandable. Poor us. 😦 We chose to dine at Magnum Cafe, Manila instead. (The first time experiences just keep on coming!) For the amount of 100.00PhP, we got to make our own Magnum creation.

(From left to right) There’s Anne, Lency, Mia, Me and Mary Joy. And that’s me again all giddy on the right side. Can’t you just tell how happy I am to see my Magnum creation come to life?
On the left, is my Magnum Creation. Vanilla Ice cream, coated with Milk Chocolate topped with Golden nuggets, Pistachios, and Speculoos Cookies, drizzled with White Chocolate Sauce. And that’s me again on the right side. You can practically see the light in my eyes.

We spent the remaining hours having photo shoots at the rooftops of SM Aura. The views were absolutely breathtaking and I would like to personally thank my buddes, Mary Joy Mola and Mia Garcia, for such spectacular photos! Below are some more photos. (I told you I’m going to bombard this post with pictures. You have been warned!)

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” – from Mark Twain

I’ve never been this happy, you guys. I can’t even express my feels without bursting to tears. And there’s this last photo which displays genuine happiness:

(Going clockwise, starting from me.) That’s me, Dhon, Luigi, Cedie, Feather, Lency, Camille, Jiru, Mary Joy, Anne, Mia, and Henrick. || Genuine Happiness. (c) Mia Garcia

After the amazing time we spent at SM Aura, we once again headed for Fully Booked BGC to acquire our seats and wait until Michelle arrives. We arrived there a little late and we had to pull some strings to get seats. Our group of 10+ people had to get separated just to get a seat. 😦 But the feels still felt the same, if you know what I mean. Haha!

When Michelle arrived, we were all stunned by her simple yet elegant beauty. Oh my God. Can you imagine my struggle? I’m gay but I felt like a man for a few minutes when she arrived (I hope that doesn’t creep anyone out). But seriously, tho. She’s absolutely breathtaking. Indeed, she is one of the most beautiful authors I have ever met.

She read the first chapter of her book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Her voice was angelic. She was like reading for the screens. She could’ve been a great singer if she hadn’t been an author all this time. Haha! And afterwards, she answered a few fan questions about her personal life, her career, and everything else in between. She gave rather concrete answers and one that I loved was this quote:

“Authors are the writers who never gave up.”. – Michelle Hodkin

She also gave tremendous writing tips! Some of them are really good. I’ve compiled some of them below:

“If you’re afraid to show your writing to anyone, you won’t be able to handle rejection from agents, publishers, readers.”

“Don’t let a single page of your book be boring. There has to be tension every page. Conflict plus desire equals tension.”

“You’re competing with every other book in the bookstore, so think about what makes your character interesting.”

“If your character doesn’t want to engage with the plot, why would a teenager want to read about them?”

“Novels are fueled ultimately by life experience. So get out there and live!”

“If writing is your passion and you want to share your words with other people, you have to take the risk.”

She was dynamic. She was like a breath of fresh air. Oh, I can’t even begin to express myself as to how perfection came close to Michelle. ♥ Below are some of my photos with her. Thank you, Fully Booked, for making this event, and bringing Michelle here to the Philippines! 🙂

Selfies with the gorgeous! :)

I had an amazing time! Other than the great and fun things I experienced with my friends, I also enjoyed meeting Michelle Hodkin. She’s just amazing. And I look forward to reading her next work. 🙂

Thank you so much, Fully Booked, for, again, bringing Michelle Hodkin here. And I hope you enjoyed your time here, Michelle. And I hope to see you again soon. ♥


[Book Review #13] The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

Book Specifications:

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Format: Hardcover

Part of a Series: Yes. Mara Dyer Trilogy #1

Release Date: September 27, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books

No. of Pages: 456 pages

Price: 665.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

Book Review:

The Cover: Can we all just take a moment and once again look at the cover? It’s just plain gorgeous! I can’t even care if it’s in relation to the book and it’s story. The concept is just so lovely and the font! Oh my god, look at the font. It just oozes class and sass! I’m giving this an easy 5! Gaaaaah. And major plus points go to the underwater concept. Ugh. (5 out of 5 stars)

CONFESSION: I have to be completely honest with this one. I actually didn’t have any plans on reading this book (or trilogy). Other than peer pressure, what pushed me to read this was that Michelle Hodkin, the author, is going to be here in Manila for a book signing under Fully Booked (Details to follow later on). Since almost all my book friends are joining the signing, I thought that I might as well give it a shot. Little did I know that I was going to love it.

The Story: Possessing a balance between mystery, romance, paranormal, and fantasy, this book has got to be one of my all-time top picks. I mean, come on! You must have appreciated the well-blended genres of this book. One minute, you’re giddy from all the Mara-Noah romantic scenes, and the next thing you know, you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for Mara’s hallucinations. I don’t know about you guys, but Michelle really nailed the blending. Seriously. Not all writers are capable enough of blending scenes like that. Oh, and the flashbacks of Mara’s past? They were indeed relevant! It just made the readers a lot more interested on the next few chapters (or books). Oh, and the deaths of Mabel’s owner and Morales? Oh, God. Please don’t think low of me, but I have to say that I didn’t feel sorry for them one bit. No. Oh, and the mysteries in the book? Like Joshua’s kidnapping? That got my mind boggled. I loved it! (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* The ending was far from what I had expected, and I have to say that it was kinda predictable. (Wait, did that even make any sense?) First, I don’t know with you guys but I felt like Jude really wasn’t dead. The last paragraphs of the 6th chapter guaranteed me that Jude is indeed alive. Mara saw Jude, and it didn’t seem like she was hallucinating at all. That right there was predictable. And to add, I just don’t know. Until now, I haven’t decided yet as to how I wanted the book to end. Maybe because since it was a great start to the series, I didn’t want it to end. Maybe that’s why I still haven’t made my mind up about the ending. Hmm. Oh! And one more thing! May I just tell everyone about how giddy I felt with the “You are my girl” speech from Noah? God, I was like smiling every now and then while reading that part. It’s weird because I was reading the last chapters as I was on the way home. I was riding the train, to be specific and I was like a lunatic smiling and everything. Thank the Gods for Noah freaking Shaw! ♥ (4 out of 5 stars)

The Verdict: As I’ve said, this book is a great start to a promising trilogy. I didn’t even know that I would end up liking (or loving) this book. I shall read the next book right after I post this review. I am so intrigued and I literally can’t wait to find out what happens next to Mara and Noah. (4.67 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“You’re the girl who called me an asshole the first time we spoke. The girl who tried to pay for lunch even after you learned I have more money than God. You’re the girl who risked her ass to save a dying dog, who makes my chest ache whether you’re wearing green silk or ripped jeans. You’re the girl that I–” Noah stopped, then took a step closer to me. “You are my girl.” – Noah Shaw

“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.” – Mara Dyer

“You’re supposed to say, ‘All I want is your happiness. I’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means being without you.'”
“Sorry,” Noah said. “I’m just not that big of a person.”