review

A Laid-back Saturday

A few little happy things happened today, and I'm really thankful I got to spend a weekend the way I figured it would play out. So, what did I do today?

 

TED Talks & Skillshare Classes

Like I mentioned in the audio post on my previous blog, I'm really into self-development. I try to gain knowledge any way I can - audiobooks, ebooks, online courses, online videos - you name it. 

This morning until a little after lunch, I sat in front of the TV, had my Apple TV turned on, and watched quite a few TED talks related to technology (AI), happiness, and time management. While doing that, Skillshare was also open on my iPad as I downloaded an art class for offline viewing. Point is, I was really on a roll with learning as much as I could today.

One video I watched was about time management, and how no one is ever truly busy to do something. While I won't give the details (I'd love for you to watch it below), the general idea is that what we don't have time for are usually those that we don't see as priorities. An example the speaker, Laura Vanderkam gave was a woman who, after a work day, discovered their water pipe had blown and had filled the basement. She had people come fix it in the next days, and it took quite a bit of her time - 7 hours throughout the week, in fact.

Her point was that, if you had asked that woman at the beginning of the week if she had extra hours to, say, do yoga, she would have replied with a "no", like most of us would do. However, she was forced to make time to make sure her water pipe was fixed, making that event her priority. What we prioritize take our time. It's not that we don't have time to do this or that - it's just that we don't want to do it and don't really care for it that much.  

 

Baptism Dinner at Que Pasa

Today was also the baptism of our boss's daughter, Casey. Such a cute, chubby, little angel. Haha. It was the first time I ate at Que Pasa since I rarely visit Naga's Centro, and to be a little honest, I was underwhelmed with the food. My mom could've done 100 times better. Anyway, I really wasn't there for the food, but to appreciate Casey's baptism. I did the invites and plant toppers for her little event, and seeing it in print was really cool. Got myself a plant as well, haha. The presence of my workmates made the whole thing even better.

 

Kapenaga Beer Sesh

After we left Que Pasa, four of us felt it was too early to call it a day, so we initially planned to hang out at Starbucks. One of us suggested Kapenaga, a small café that was a walk away and one I haven't tried yet. It looked really cute from afar, so I was excited to check the place out.

They hadn't been open for long, so we didn't expect too much. Few desserts were available, wine, sodas, and beer. It was cuter when we got inside too, and I fell in-love with the wall they had, along with the tables and hanging lights. If only I could get that same setup for my room. :(

Since we had just come from dinner, we could only think of downing beer, in which we experienced a bit of a mix-up. I didn't want the flavored San-Mig as it tasted like juice more than booze (no Heineken so I had to settle), so I told my workmate to get me the original one. The total order was one plain beer and three flavored ones. When we got them, one of us said he wanted the plain one as well. In the end, I had to drink the juice. Haha. It was a cool night either way.

 

So now, I'm in my room, battling it out with the internet. It hasn't been stable and ever since the huge storm we experienced during the new year, I haven't had a decent connection. This pisses me off because one, I can no longer commit to online side-hustles the way I could before and two, the Apple TV, Netflix, TED, and Youtube have mostly become less frequented (which dismays me).

I really wish the internet would get stronger soon. I'm missing out on so much. To end on a good note though, I'm meeting my friend "the bae" tomorrow morning before she conducts her workshop, which we usually do. Haven't seen her in a while so I'm glad we'll get to meet up with other mutual friends. :) 

All Good Deeds & Find The Lady

If there's a good reason for being cut off from the internet and being hit by a storm that causes days and days of blackouts, it's being able to pick a book and becoming 10 times more immersed than ever. With nothing to take your attention, no sudden notification for a new message or email, there's little distraction left.

The past week, I've been on an adventure to two different worlds, both involving illegal activity, the law, and an engrossing story.  (Plus, both were quite short as you could finish each within a day or two if you're feeling off.)

All Good Deeds by Stacy Green

I've never heard of the author before, but the title seemed a little familiar so I gave it a go. Besides the fact that I am biased towards female leads, it was part of a series, and I love reading series. (Which also depends on the story line and how mainstream it is. I tend to avoid mainstream titles.)

 

The Plot

 "She's no killer. She's just taking out the trash. Don’t call Lucy Kendall a serial killer. She’s fighting for the innocent, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring justice. When a child disappears, Lucy quickly discovers the link to a predator she’s faced before–a man the state of Pennsylvania decided to turn loose on the streets. Determined to find the little girl and put a criminal behind bars for good, Lucy forces her way onto the case. As the search for the kidnapped child pulls Lucy into a web of evil beyond her darkest imagination, she’ll have to face her own dark truths to save the little girl–and herself." - source


Lucy, the heroine of the series, has a twisted sense of justice. Without giving too much away, I can say she feels that whatever wicked she's doing will make a specific group of people - kids - much safer.

 

My Thoughts

To be frank, the first few pages didn't really pique my interest. I felt like I was just reading a regular novel thrown together in hopes of turning bestseller. It was around the time I began getting to know the protagonist that I really got immersed.

I've always believed that a good book will leave your heart palpitating after the novel is done, but a great book leaves you in a trance for a good week. As much as the story was okay with twists you'd be well aware of by the middle of the book, it was a good book. Not great, but good enough to pass the time. There was a point I couldn't relate to Lucy at all.

 

Final Rating

This is more a 3 out of 5. I was entertained so I can't say it was boring, but I guess it was just a little too fast paced in a way that the author crammed every answer to every loophole in the last 2 chapters of the book. Would I recommend it? Sure, if only to pass the time. Like I said, it's a good book, but not something I'd find joy in reading over and over.


Find The Lady by Travis McKinney

I had recently just discovered Inkitt when it was suggested to me on the app, and as I had a weak spot for thriller/mystery novels, I bit the bait. Inkitt allows you to download stories for offline reading and that's what I did with this one. Stories on there are made by indie authors, so you'll never know what to expect. I figured it would be worth the read.

 

The Plot

Connor Donnelly is a low-operating pick-pocket turned major thief (and target of a curse involving a particular type of insect) who partners with a beautiful, blonde woman named Leyla who life had also turned its back against. Together, they make a great team, until a huge heist made Connor consider his options about Leyla, life, and everything else on the stakes.

 

My Thoughts

I had an inkling on how it would play out, given that this is an indie novel. I usually have a different mindset when reviewing independent authors and this was no exception. It was entertaining, though I found some portions of the novel a bit of a drag. The chapter order wasn't linear, something I was okay with as it's always interesting to see how one connects all of them together.

This, like All Good Deeds, was a good book. It doesn't stay in your mind very long, but for its purpose and its kind, I kind of expected it. It's a short story with I think around 30 plus chapters, also very readable in under a day.

 

Final Rating

This also gets a 3 out of 5. Connelly seemed a little off to me at times, and the way Leyla was described... Maybe I just felt it should've been prolonged a little more to one more chapter.

 

What are your favorite reads?

The-Automat-God & A Podcast

I am beyond ecstatic to share with you the things that have been keeping me busy the past few days, but all on my own time, of course. Presenting to you three books and one incredibly awesome horror podcast!

The Healer's Pact

Rating: 1/2
 

The Healer's Pact by Nigel Henry left me wanting more, though not in a way you'd expect. In this case, I felt like the author rushed the whole setting of the story and the characters - there was no time to take a breather or get intimate with the hero and heroine of the novel. In some cases, this serves a good purpose, but with this one, it didn't help the book's impact.

Story-wise, the world Nigel Henry created had a lot of potential. It seemed like the setting was thriving with history, something that was left (disappointingly) unestablished. We start off with the two main characters alone together, followed by an event that springboards the whole thing. I usually have no problem with these type of intros, but the way the setting up of the situation was handled wasn't the best.

I really wouldn't mind spending a few more hours investing myself into the characters and the world they lived in. That's the point of a book, right? To jump into a new world and feel the characters breathe. Sadly, this was a novel that I found too short and underdeveloped.


The Automat

Rating: 


If there was a book I would reread on my off days, something short but quite warming, it would be this. It was a lot shorter than I expected (I finished a few hours after I started it - and I was at work!), and I'm not too fond of "novels" that turn out to be just tips of a pencil. But yes, as disappointed on the length as I am, I was still taken with the story.

The hero's history/background was laid out just enough for the readers to get a view of his life before and after events within the book took place, and you can't help but relate to him somehow, even though you haven't experienced the exact events in his life.

Surprisingly, The Automat started slow and steady but ended too soon. Imagine traffic just starting to move faster and faster until you realize you're already at your destination.

I had mixed emotions at the end of my read, although this was a sad, sad story. On one hand, you already have the feeling you know where the tale was going, but on the other, you're still quite clueless about how far the author (Cristina Martin) will continue teasing you with "what's next" or others. In general, this book was a solid 4 stars.


God Is Disappointed In You

Rating: 


No amount of words will ever accurately describe my feelings for this book, though it wouldn't hurt to try and convey them to you, as I will be doing now.

You see, God Is Disappointed In You is not your ordinary humor, nor is it something made to "enlighten the spirit". In fact, it's a truly offensive, brilliant product. If someone is ass-drunk and filled to the brim with Biblical musings, with a heightened love to interpret what the Bible wants to talk about as brutally as possible, he would be named Mark Russell. The best part is that we'll find this perfectly adorable (I did, anyway.)

While most Christians would look down on me for enjoying this book, I'm taking it as it is - pure fun. It literally stripped down the Bible into short stories, not taking into account the core of its teachings and what it really stands for. You can't argue that it's still the Bible, can you? It's more... representative of it, but not exactly a mirror of it. At any rate, I'd often find myself bursting in laughter from a part I'm listening to (in Audible) and my brother looking at me questioningly. Since then, I have *defiled* my brother and have won him over to my side. We now thoroughly enjoy this book and laugh like hyenas together.

There's so much more I could tell you about this book, but the best part is experiencing it yourself. Describing it wouldn't give justice to it at all.


Tales From Beyond the Pale - Podcast

Rating:  x infinity


Okay, I went over-the-top with the rating - but if you're a horror/mystery fan like me and have been dying to find a podcast that is both well-written and wonderfully narrated/voice-acted, you'll be geeking out just the same!

Discovering Tales From Beyond The Pale was an accident, and the best one so far. I was randomly reading an article on a website about female murderers and upon scrolling, I saw this included in their article database. I figured I might as well read another boring write-up about the Top 10 Podcasts for Horror fans. This wasn't included on the list (since it wasn't a free podcast) but was so fortunately mentioned by the author in his introduction. I felt the need to click on the link and since then, I have been on my knees just listening to samples and buying full episodes/chapters in Audible. This all happened after lunch today.

If my words aren't enough to convince you, you can check out two of their full-length episodes (shown on at the image above) and listen in HD on this link. I guarantee that even non-horror fans but book/audiobook lovers in general will find their podcast very entertaining. The voice actors did an incredible job acting these out and the writers did as well.

I have a number of their books saved on my Wishlist at Audible for future purchase, and I've finished two episodes from my library already. Good thing we're getting paid at work tomorrow. Yes! Haha.
 

I must apologize for crunching all these incredible things in one post. They really deserve a more in-depth review I'm sure, but it just happens.

Thanks for reading this post and hope to see you on the next one! Ciao!