Monthly Archives: July 2014

Stephanie Perkins in Manila!

Stephanie Perkins in Manila PosterA couple of months ago, I saw a tweet from National Book Store officially announcing the upcoming book signing event of Stephanie Perkins to be held on July 5 (in Cebu) and July 6 (in Manila). I didn’t hesitate to immediately reserve that day for the event. I got so excited that I also asked my sister to accompany me, knowing that she’d read and loved Stephanie Perkins’ books. After checking the mechanics and rules of the event, the only thing left for me to do was to buy her books form National Book Store in order to be eligible to have Stephanie Perkins sign them.

Since the books of Stephanie Perkins I owned were not brought from National Book Store, I was kind of forced to buy her books again. On the one hand, I have to spend, again. But on the other hand, at least I got to own two copies of each of her books with different editions.

There was not a day when I didn’t mark off the days of my calendar and count how many more were left until the most-awaited event. Months turned to weeks; then weeks turned to days, and days turned to hours. This event may not be a big deal to some, if not most, but to book bloggers and avid readers, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity they wouldn’t want to miss, including myself.

As the event was nearing, I had to physically and mentally prepare myself for what’s to come. Having been to Nicholas Sparks’ book signing event in 2011, I can imagine what the crowd would be like. However, this is far from what I expected.

The night before the event, I found out that people had already begun lining up. There were seven at first, but around midnight, it became thirteen! I feared the worst. At the day of the event, my sister and I left our house around 7:30am. Upon reaching Glorietta 1 at 8am, the line was longer than what I expected. I started to dread what my signing pass number would be. Since the registration starts at 10am, we patiently waited.

Time seemed to be longer when you have nothing to do. So while waiting, I opted to continue writing my review of a book on my small notebook. More than an hour later, another unexpected thing happened! Minutes before 10am, we heard people screaming and the screams gradually grew louder and nearer towards our location. At first we thought National Book Store started the registration early or people were just too excited, but no. Apparently, a car drove past the vicinity and Stephanie Perkins was in it! To make things more exciting, she waved at all of us! And then the registration began.

Want to guess what my signing pass number was? It was 240! And there were more people lined up behind me. For such a big crowd, I feel that the venue of the event wasn’t enough to accommodate that large number of people. Moreover, seats were also limited, so people resorted to sit on the floor.

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Stephanie Perkins04Since the event was scheduled for 2pm, we decided to roam around the mall first and eat lunch. Minutes before it began, we returned to the store and saw fans gathered and waited. The stage wasn’t that big and the viewing angle was also quite limited. I tried going to the second floor and checked if the stage was viewable. It was, only if you sat down.

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Finally, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Before Stephanie Perkins came out, National Book Store did a short introduction while the fans stood up and gathered near the stage. I wasn’t able to take a picture because it was already crowded and the air conditioning seemed to be not functioning well. So we just stood at the back and listened to the speaker.

Then Stephanie Perkins appeared! Alongside her was her husband, Jarrod Perkins. Fans grew more excited and the screams grew louder. I was happy to hear Stephanie Perkins enjoying her stay here in the Philippines. During the interview, Stephanie Perkins answered each question enthusiastically. Questions ranged from her previous books, her upcoming book, and the concept of the new book she’s currently writing, to her experiences as a writer, her inspirations, and insightful advices to aspiring writers. After the interview, she gave ARCs of Isla and the Happily Ever After to the first seven people who lined up since the night before. And apparently, the first person in line started lining up since 1pm! Unbelievable, but true.

Stephanie Perkins07After that, it was followed by book signing! It was by batch of 20s and since my sister and I were still in the 200s, we just stayed in a coffee shop first. An hour or so later, when we returned, we saw a long line allotted for Jarrod Perkins. I didn’t have time to have him sign the books we brought and my patience was growing short, so I just took pictures of him interacting with the fans and signing their books. When my batch was called, nervousness and excitement filled me. But everything was forgotten once I was faced with Stephanie Perkins. She’s pretty and kind and sweet. She made sure she interacted with her fans and took time to take pictures with them.

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And here it is – my signed copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door! Apart from getting a signed book, I was also able to take a picture with her. I went home with a smile plastered on my face. The waiting and standing for hours surely drained my energy, but it was all worth it.

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The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

I haven’t heard of this book until recently. I just happened to come across a tweet of one blogger praising this book and it caught my attention enough to be curious of the plot. Hence, I checked its ratings and reviews on Goodreads and other blogs which greatly influence my decision to get a copy of my own immediately. Without a second thought, I bought this book at The Book Depository.

Here’s the synopsis from the back cover of the book:

The Life List coverThings to do when I grow up:

  1. 1. Have a baby
  2. 2. Fall in love
  3. 3. Perform live on a super-big stage

Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a beautiful home and an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. That is, until her beloved mother passes away, leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: In order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she’d written when she was fourteen.

As Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear: sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

Imagine your thirty-something self pursuing the remaining life goals you wrote as a teenager, would you see yourself doing it? And possibly, attaining each goal successfully? I was not much into writing long bucket lists during my adolescent years or even now, but the concept of the story seems far-fetched. But at the same time, sparks my curiosity even more. In Brett’s case, it’s intriguing to find out how attaining her teenage life goals would gain her anything, as part of her mother’s death wish, which will be the key to her fruitful future…and inheritance.

At the beginning of the story, readers are already faced with a death of a certain character. And this death will change the course of Brett’s life, unbeknownst to her. The question now is, will Brett give in to her mother’s wishes? As I am reading through the first part of the book, I can’t imagine myself being in Brett’s shoes. Her mother’s wishes are far from what Brett hopes for and it’s hard to accept if her mother is really serious with her requests. Despite the dilemma, the fun part of the book begins when Brett finally accepts the challenge and is required to achieve the remaining life goals in one year.

The Life List centers on Brett’s life and is told in her point of view. From the moment I open the book, I’m already greeted with waves of emotions. Brett’s feelings definitely reach into my heart as I could feel how genuine her emotions are. Spielman really knows how to immerse her readers in this book. On the one hand, how she comes up with the storyline is very imaginative and unique. On the other hand, how Brett reacts to the situations presented to her is also realistic. Readers could easily relate to her and sympathize with her. As I am reading through the book, I come to love her character. She’s portrayed as someone who is mature, independent, and easy to approach.

I like how the flow of the story comes out naturally and that it doesn’t mainly focus on romance. I’m impressed with Spielman’s approach on the story in relation to the depth of mother-daughter relationship and how this affects Brett’s decision. Moreover, Spielman doesn’t force her story to be always a happy ending. This is shown through the outcomes of all the remaining life goals Brett tries to fulfil. And as the story progresses, readers could see the development in Brett’s character and how her life goals have reshaped her passion and her very being.

I’m truly amazed with this book. Spielman’s writing style never bores me and it keeps me entertained throughout. The Life List is about rediscovering oneself and finding true happiness. This book is a perfect example of the saying: Money can’t buy you happiness. And while this doesn’t center on romance, the book will make one reflect his own life. Spielman is also able to show that it doesn’t take a perfect person to make one’s life complete, that it merely takes the right person to make everything fit. I’m happy I decided to read this book. I truly gained a lot of life-changing insights from it. Full of twists and unexpected outcomes, The Life List deserves a five-star rating.