Tuesday, April 30, 2013

John Dies at the End by David Wong - BOOK REVIEW

John Dies at the End was written by David Wong, aka Jason Pargin in real life. Published as webserial in 2001, because of its success and number of readers (spread through word of mouth as Dave mentioned) it was then printed as paperback in 2007. David Wong is a data entry clerk turned writer, this was his first novel, a sequel entitled This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It was released on October 2012.

John Dies at the End follow the story of David Wong and presented in his POV. Dave, is self-centered and a bitter guy. His only friend is John, and sometimes hard to be acquainted with and chooses to be by himself for some reasons maybe influenced by his past. But as the plot continues, he will slowly redeem himself and will show the other side of him, aside from being the ever loyal bestfriend to the end he passes also for being a hopeless romantic, in his own ways of course.

 What I really enjoyed are the antics of John, the other protagonist. I laughed a lot during his fight using the chair, and bashing it to the wig monsters. He find ways to incorporate the word “chair” in between his moves (I sentenced you death by a chair. etc. etc.) and that makes it very funny. Another thing is that despite of all their misfortunes he always turns the mood in a different way with just his one-liners, that’s John the best friend.

The book started by a question whether an ax that is used overtime, change the handle, then replace the wedge blade if it will also be the same ax  This seems like an odd question but at the end of the story, why the question is asked will be answered and why it is relevant. John Dies at the End is suspense, horror comedy novel. This is a mashed up of Ghostbusters/GhostFighter (anime,yuyuhakusho) wherein they have to battle the dark side but in a comic way plus all the holy water and peculiar gadgets/weapons.

The monsters and villains were also witty and funny. They have been detailed as gory as ever but with all the side comments made by the protagonists and the ability to say effing word very frequently, and let’s not forget how they are named (Shitload is the best monster there haha), you tend to forget they’re not hesitant to behead a person anytime.

The plot has been very well presented and laid out beautifully by Wong. Right from the start you will be enthralled with all the mysteries that surround them, most especially the first and second part. And this ended with a very loud BANG on the third and last. Until the end you will end up guessing and looking forward to unravel the mystery. And Wong succeeded in that, it really is the ingredient for a successful suspense novel.

Forgive all the cursings and profanity by the characters and you got a very good, hard to put down book.
 It has been a roller coaster hell of a kind read for me. And definitely I will have to grab its second installment.

Now..did John really died at the end? or who really died? It's for you to find out.

4 of 5 Hard Hats. Nice read for my April-end post.

For similar reviews please check out the following

Titan's Curse : Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna - BOOK REVIEW

From http://sangumandanna.com/about-2/ : “Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant and wrote her first story about it and decided that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became THE LOST GIRL, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together. Sangu now lives in England with her husband and son.”

Influenced by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is the first novel of Sangu.

THE LOST GIRL is a story of a girl, whose existence is very unusual. She is an echo, a copy of someone. A spare human body, intended as a replacement in case the original (other) will meet an untimely death. Made by Weavers, and guided by her guardians, she’s forcefully made as an exact replica of her counterpart, Amarra. To live the life of the other, and bounded by the rules, that she is only allowed to act as what her “Other” is doing. Lost Girl is a story where Eva, the echo, try to find the reasons of her being, build her own identity, and live a life that she wants, while surviving death.

This is a very fast-phased novel. Adrenaline-packed scenes are everywhere, putting down the book will be as hard as it could be, you will wonder what will happen next and will end up picking the book again. Sangu, introduced many interesting characters to look into. I really liked the intelligence of the siblings of Amarra, Nikhil and Sasha, for me they are as strong as it can be. The fact that they should be mourning, they did not fall into believing that their sister is present inside Eva, and give the impression the she’s still with them. Alisha, the mother, she truly believed that her daughter is still lingering in her echo. Her actions can be quite understandable, untimely loss of one of your daughters could really mean everything.

THE LOST GIRL is a YA novel. As it is intended initially for young adults, they would find the theme very unusual and disturbing sometimes. Toying with life and death topics is not usual in these ages.  But disturbing it is, in a nice way. Knowing the value of life as early as this stage means a great deal in their future decisions.
I like this book. THE LOST GIRL is the kind of novel where you have to think a lot. It will widen your perspective about life…and death. View and assess of your being. Personally, I didn’t expect that this could grab my attention and really dig into it. The possibilities presented in the novels are quite entertaining and full of what-if’s. Throwing a little bit of romance and cheesiness every other time is forgivable, well I have been engrossed on the wonder and mystique in their creation rather than their ehem..love story.

The novel played on a topic that most of us consider taboo, death. Who among us is not afraid in leaving our love ones unprepared? Knowing that you have many things you should have given and mistakes you should have corrected? Who is not tempted to have an echo, to secure the things we will left behind?? Who will take care of our families? And for them to endure our lost and give them hope..a false hope. Death…unwanted as it may be, but that just the way things go, cheating it is not an answer. For me, as we cannot live an impeccable life, we should plan ahead of everything, knowing that we don’t know what ahead of us. Do things now. We should not be afraid of death, we should just be prepared.

4 out of 5 Hard Hats.

For any comments please feel free to leave a comment.

Check out also my other book review for The Titan's Curse Book Three Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In My Last 35 Days Here in GTMO

Aside from reading books, I happen to have a DSLR camera, I bought it when I was still in Saudi Arabia. Because of their culture and some restrictions I haven’t practiced enough looking through the lenses. Not until when I came here in GTMO. Luckily I have a friend architect who is very good in this field. I really learned a lot from him, and as we attended photography seminars, he became really obsessed. He even bought two, yes two 1200+ USD worth lenses, quite envious but I can’t afford those. So I sticked with my D3100 Nikon, with 35-55mm lens and shoot. Here are some of my images taken here.

Alas, I only have 35 days left here in GTMO. Philippines..I’m coming home.

Please feel free to leave a comment or and LIKE it…

More to come..it's hard to upload pix with this connection

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review : Titan's Curse, Book Three Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

Book Review,
Titan’s Curse
Book Three Percy Jackson Series
By Rick Riordan

The book was written by Rick Riordan, a Texas-based author, taught English and social studies for eight years, then turned novelist. Awarded Master Teachers Award in 2002. He wrote the first part of this series in 2005 which was later on adapted to movie. He is also the voice behind the hit series The Kane Chronicles and the follow up to Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus series. And on 2015, he’s planning to pen again a new series which will have a Norse-mythology theme.

The book, which is based in Greek Mythology, mainly focused on the adventures of the protagonists as they solve mysteries which involve the Gods and Goddesses, and yes they are alive and kicking and still fighting each other even this 21st century.
And even violated their own rules not to have sons/daughters to a human, and created more heroes, the demigods. Now enters the Percy Jackson, the main character, he is the offspring of Poseidon, the God of the Seas and a mortal mother, Sally. As a demigod, he is dyslexic and has ADHD. Another heroine is Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, a strong willed woman, intelligent, an architect aspirant and has an invisibilty cap. Part of the team is Thalia, daughter of Zeus, a hot tempered lady and has superiority complex due maybe to the status of her father and that she’s the oldest. And finally, Grover, a satyr, a goat boy. He is dedicated to find Pan, the Lord of the Wild, and somewhat an interesting part of the story.

The story opens up as Percy Jackson, Annabeth and Thalia, seek to the aide of Grover who finds two new demigods, Nico and Bianca. With the help of the Hunters which was led by deity Artemis, they successfully saved the two recruits but eventually lose Annabeth in the process. The plot will be focused mainly on saving the heroine as well as the deity for she will also be captured. What is interesting, which make this a hard-to-put-down book, are the twists and turns which were strategically located per chapter. Also knowing who Thalia really is, for in the second installment of the series, she was saved from being a tree through the Golden Fleece. Grover the satyr, made the whole situation a light one by his humors and constantly throwing a comment from everywhere (and he loves dam cookies…). Another surprise and exciting is his abilities, which is presented on this book and been very useful in their escape most of the time.

The book is very well written, for because it was intended as bedtime story for his children, Riordan explains every detail in a simple way. And while educating the reader about Greek Mythology, you will be captivated to a whole new world of the deities. But what is interesting is the character given to Percy Jackson, and some of the demigods. They are sometimes rude to elders, not following rules and most of the time fighting with authorities, I mean the Gods. If this was really for young ones then I think it’s better if protagonists should behave as what they are expected to be and be role models. Another disturbing is the way he kills some of the characters, maybe a little bit gore sometimes, and maybe too much for a very young reader.

With that being said, the book is still a good read. A kind of feel-good novel and can bring back memories of your childhood. As the book ended up and presented other mysteries for the next installment, it will make you eager to hold the next book. As for me, I’ll definitely check that one again.

I give this book, 4 out of 5 Hard Hats. (I typed "star" earlier but changed to hard hat, it suit me maybe for being an engineer hehe). I love it and I recommend it.

If you like this one or hated it, just leave a message. Or click follow.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

PaanoPinoy - Pinoy Information Site

The site was started by my good friend Mary Rose (https://plus.google.com/105544537074753563664). Sent me an invitation which i accepted (but i self volunteered actually). This is where we share knowledge to our kababayans areas we're familiar or that we have basic know-how. Readers can also ask or suggest what topic they want to know more. We'll be glad to help.

Anyway, I'm done with my first article http://paanopinoy.blogspot.com/2013/04/paano-gawing-simcard-ng-iphone-5-ang.html. It’s all about SIM and how to convert your old SIM to use in the latest Iphone 5. I bought my new phone last week and immediately i've seen the problem on how to activate the unit. It's already unlocked but you still need a nano sim in order for it to work. So i hunted for an old sim, do the instructions as i mentioned in the blog and hoorah, i got my phone worked.

Instead of going to your provider and asking for a SIM, then do it yourself. No money wasted. Or other alternative is that you buy a cutter which will cost you a lot.

Anyway. Please do visit the site, its in tagalog, but the PDF in there is in English so please feel free to copy and share.  http://paanopinoy.blogspot.com/