27 November 2013

50000 plus yes!

Hohoho! Despite my very busy schedule, I'm so happy to finally meet the 50000 words required on Nanowrimo, even if it's far from finished, my win is already guaranteed!


This is the first time I've written a 50,000 words novel in English in such a short period of time and I can't thank you Nanowrimo enough for helping me make it happen. The pep talks and other things on the site cheered me up a lot when I had no motivation to write and sat in front of my computer making self degrading comments about my writing, saying things like no ones gonna want to read it anyway (or something like that...)

18 November 2013

My Last Blind Date

My Last Blind Date (Better Date than Never) by Susan Hatler

My rating: 


Better Date than Never Series, Book 3

It’s Valentine’s Day and Rachel Price has a choice: Stay home and watch TV with her loveable doggy or let her best friend, Ellen, set her up on a blind date. What to do….

Ellen says the guy is a “10,” but the last guy she set her up with was a “–5.” Rachel’s been flirting with coworker Noah Peterson and she’s hoping he’s noticed. Then, she finds out Noah has big plans. Even worse, he advises Rachel to go on the blind date!

Should she play it safe and spend the Hallmark holiday with her loyal pooch, Chester, or risk another dating disaster by trying yet again for love?

My Review:

After reading long novel (some boring) novels, I decided to start reading the third book of my new favorite series. But this book passed by like a hurricane! I was sitting reading, enjoying, grinning like an idiot and giggling like I was possessed when it was revealed who her last date was, then bam, thirty minutes was gone and I’m at the end… No… huhuhu, it felt short, quick and I feel like I should be saying sorry to my mother for learning all these naughty things but then this is such good break from my everyday stress.

Okay to the next book, which I have to resist to that I could finish my nanowriting on time! Wah! Panic time!

11 November 2013

His First, Her Last

His First, Her Last: The Incredible True Story of an American Lost in the Philippines by Jonathan Sturak
My rating: ★ / 


Engaged couple Jason and Hazel travel across the world to meet her family in this true story of love and adventure. The moment Jason steps off the plane in the Philippines, an exotic island caught between the East and the West, the past and the present, grabs hold of this naive American and seduces him with its beauty, its places, and its people. Temptation looms as the best friend of Hazel tests their relationship and touches their souls.

A deeply personal account of the conflict of culture between American excess and Philippine poverty, His First, Her Last explores the ability of love to transcend two worlds apart. But after an accident spills blood on the streets of a remote village, the lives of this couple flash before their eyes.

Will he escape? Will she survive? Will his first trip be her last?

Take a journey across the world to an exotic land where you will find love, life, and what it means to be alive.


My Review:

As a Filipina who has been in a relationship with a European man that I now married, it piqued my interest when I receive a request to review this book. I was truthfully eager to start reading and know the experience of another foreigner in the Philippines.

And before I get to the point, I want to mention that I want to applaud the author for his clever observation about the Philippines. Many foreigners go to the Philippines then they go back home, thinking they’ve been to paradise, that’s because-not all- but many foreigners who went to the Phililippines for vacation only experience the tourist places, the organize environment for tourist and for the rich and the famous, but that’s just a part of the Philippines. Jason (the protagonist) experienced the real Philippines with its good and bad.

I agree with him for many things; the crazy organized chaos traffic, the balut (ugh, I hate balut! I feel bad for that little bird being boiled alive!) and yes, the cock fighting too, my father brought me in one of those tournaments when I was a child and that has traumatized me for the rest of my life, even now I feel like crying remembering those cruel days. Poor living is not an excuse to resort to using the roster that way. There’s many ways to get money in the Philippines you just have to be creative (and no, I don’t mean that you should join the mafia) and if I want to feed myself (one way is cutting the neck of that chicken-quickly before he knows it and have some nice adobo. Okay I admit, I’m ranting.)

Anyway here comes why I didn’t give this book a five star even though I REALLY LIKED IT.

1) Okay, many Filipinos might go and get defensive saying “it’s not that bad” but I’d say: “it is that bad” at less in the poor Philippine areas but I’ll agree with one of the reviewers before me in Goodreads. Jason did make it sound like no one take showers there. Just to state the fact many Philippines are very conscious about appearance. Doesn’t matter if the house looked like it’s about to fall, washing up is something many prioritize, especially if they are to work in a bit “normal job” (I specially noted it on the Flower man) and yes, some might mix up, he/she, him/her. But I find that really strange, anyone who has been in school for at less grade 4 should be able to use it perfectly. I have yet to meet someone who needs to be reminded so many times.

2) I’m actually maybe gonna rate this with 5 stars if Jason hadn’t annoyed the hell out of me. In the beginning I feel like Jason was overly cautious (way over the top) then the incident with the cops. One shouldn’t need to travel the world to know that a place like the Philippines is a place where rules are often ignored in exchange for a price. And sure he’s in a foreign country but does he have to behave like a helpless kid when the beggar kids flocked around him?

3) And okay, food isn’t the best the Philippines could offer (I personally think so too) but does he have to behave as if everything given to him is a potential poison, with the exception of pizza and McDonald food? McDonald might be licensed from US but he should know that the foods they serve there are cooked in the Philippines! So, tell me. What’s the difference between that and the meal serve from a high class restaurant which is not American license?

4) Hand sanitizer much? Why does he keep spraying himself for every Filipino he encountered? I’ve met, talk and become friends with a lot of western people and seriously, they don’t carry around a sanitizer and squirt their hands for every thing, that won't keep you completely safe. Soap and water that's what you need. Okay this is a personal opinion I’m not trying to hurt anyone who love using it.

5) And what annoyed me most with Jason is that, I feel like he has sexual desire of all Hazel’s friends. Especially Joy. Others might say “it’s okay that’s what being a man” but no, for me he’s actually cheating on Hazel—mentally or physically makes no difference and especially irritating because it’s his fiancĂ©e’s best friend. No, his fantasy over her is just to much to ignore.

I actually really wanted to stop reading the story at 20% but out of respect for the author, and I promised a friend to finish it to the end so I forced myself to finish reading this story. And so, with all that being said, I would like to say that this book made a lasting impression on me, the author writing was neat, I also like his style, the book was easy to read (though his personal thoughts really disturb me sometimes), it would have just been more entertaining if Jason has a more likeable attitude. The only thing I like about Jason is that he sympathizes for the animal and that we both have Back to the Future as a favorite movie, but throughout the story I did learn to respect him for his honesty and I feel really sorry for what he has gone through.

I’ll recommend this book to foreigners who planned to visit the Philippines, it’s a great manual written in fiction or semi-autobiographical form. And no, I’m not going to sit here and say that hospitals in the Philippines are better than that, my own personal experience forbids me to do so. However, I would say that if you want a better and more comfortable experience, I suggest going to private hospitals.

05 November 2013

40,022 words more to go!

Another day of satisfaction! 

I'm new at Nanowrimo this year and I was seriously panicking when November 1 arrived, as I was still really, really confused of which of my ideas I wanted to start on, and when I finally did choose what novel to start, I felt as if a tall wall was standing standing in front of me (and it still feels that way)

I mean come on, writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days isn't a joke! And I was really tempted to back off from doing this challenge. I was often depressed and discourage but now that I'm almost at 20% I can't help but cheer myself on. Yeah! Just write! Doesn't matter if it feel as if my novel maybe isn't so likeable -I can always develop it more later!- the most important is that for now is that I keep my mind on the finish line and my eyes on the that lovely bars!

Good luck to anyone doing same thing I do!


03 November 2013

Help Campaign Amazed: A Girl's Infinite Pursuit to Grasp the Essence of Humanity in Writing

I'm seriously busy right now but I'll be dropping by and just post this for anyone who would like to help.

Amazed: A Girl’s Infinite Pursuit to Grasp the Essence of Humanity in Writing 

Life is nothing as it seems.

And yet its simple but profound wonders are the core that makes human existence all worth it.

In this candid collection of essays and short stories, the girl with the infinite pursuit brings to light her insightful, heart-tugging, and seemingly ordinary moments in the chase to unravel the exquisite marvel that is our lives.

Why Do This?

Have you ever been so sure of one thing in your life?
For me, that’s writing. Even when I’m going crazy with whatever is happening in my life, I always go back to that still corner inside my heart where I can say everything without boundaries. And that’s writing to me.
Over the years, I have written personal experiences and observations that helped me get through. Made me understand why things happen or don’t happen. Brought me hope when life seems to feel unbearable. Writing has always done that for me. It has always taught me to be grateful.
It’s never been easy to reveal part of yourself to others, especially those thoughts most dear to your heart. But I know that it would be more of a disgrace not to. Since I owe it to myself and to the rest of this given life to make it count. These words, they will be eternal, and hopefully in some way bring meaning to the lives of those who will read them.
This collection reflects part of my life that I never imagined would be given a chance to be shared to the world. But now that my time has come, your contribution to publishing this book will forever be imprinted in my heart. A gratitude more than any words can ever try to express.
With your help, I can fulfill a dream. And that is, to share my deepest realizations of what life, for me and I know for many pursuers like me, is and should truly be all about.

Why we need your help

Amazed is self-published. With your support, we will be able to afford the costs associated in publishing this book.
Besides, they say life is richer, grander, and more meaningful when you share it with others.
And when you actually get to read someone else’s life and reflections from the pages of a book, life becomes more real, more resounding, and more deliberate.
You begin to ponder about your own life. On family, on work, on love, on hope, on pain, and on the real things that matter. It’s our personal learnings shared with others that make us better human beings because it teaches us not to become bystanders in our own lives.
That’s what this book sets out to do.
And with your help, this book can reach more readers, touch more lives. More than you think possible.

Production costs

For both print and eBook

• Editor fees
• Layout fees
• Cover illustration
• eBook conversions
• Marketing
• Print costs 

Other Ways You Can Help

You can also help us by:
  • Getting the word out about our campaign.
  • You can also blog, reblog, tweet, and share this campaign in Facebook. 

About the Author

Joanne Crisner Alcayaga is a Journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD). She had previously worked as a writer for a Public Relations firm in Makati but is now working as a Supervisor at Tollways Management Corporation while doing freelance writing in her spare time.

Though she studied Journalism, Joanne is more passionate about creative writing, mainly doing personal essays, poems, and short stories on the essence and beautiful complexities of life.
Joanne Crisner co-authored Brightest, a children's book about a lost firefly catcher, trying to find his way home; and a broken firefly that had long lost himself. And how friendship and being there for each other had made a difference in their lives.
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