Monthly Archives: October 2015

Book Review: Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra

Learning to Fall

“Go out with a stereotypical romance novel hero WHO ISN’T YOUR TYPE.”

Avid reader and art student Steph is participating in a monthly blog challenge to Live Like Fiction, and this was the task for October. When Grayson, former co-captain of her university rugby team, walks into her class, she knows it’s meant to be – she has to go out with this guy. Even if she’s never been attracted to big, hunky, athletic types. With Grayson’s “player” reputation off the field, Steph thinks he’ll be good for one date that’ll be worth blogging about, and that’s it.

But you know how it goes: Soon, it becomes more than just one date – and Steph and Grayson are caught up in “living like fiction.” How long can they keep playing their roles before reality steps in?

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in return for an honest review. I also suck at doing written reviews which is why this is such a late post.

So, Steph. At the start, I thought she was going to be a bratty girl. However, she hooked me on the fact that she’s a book blogger, albeit an accidental one at that. I’m not a book blogger (although I tried to be at one point), but I felt an affinity with Steph because of several things:

  • She loves to read. She once read forty books in a month and hey, I can do that too.
  • She’s a struggling artist. I get the impression that there’s a disconnect between what she
  • She has confidence issues/self-doubt about what she can/cannot do.
  • She is crushing on a rugby player but not really knowing much about the sport (though making an effort to learn). I don’t have to explain this, right?

I have always been a fan of Mina’s work, and Learning to Fall is now on the top spot for my favorites. It’s got a nice balance of a flawed yet endearing female lead, and a strong but not overwhelming male lead. The story is also a believable one. Steph’s problems are real, not overly dramatic, but enough for a reader not to suspend his or her belief while reading it. She’s practical, but has issues that a lot of us can relate to.

Grayson, well. A certain rugby player has become the peg for him while I was reading this, and no, it’s not my go-to guy, which was a surprise considering how much I can see myself in Steph. The fun thing about Grayson is that he’s doesn’t have that attitude you get from a lot of superstar athletes, which his character is. He’s privileged and pampered, yet he remains grounded. Knowing who Mina’s inspiration for him is (or at least the guys she spoke to for her research) makes me love Grayson more.

Putting these two together, and how Mina delivers their story makes up for an enjoyable read. It was nice to see a glimpse of the other characters we’ve met in Addison Hill, and there’s this anticipation that there could be more. Is there? We’ll just have to wait and see.

You can purchase Learning to Fall from Amazon. Leave a review at the books’ Goodreads page.

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Just last night, one of my book lover friends posted a photo of her copy of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The book has been on my wishlist since news of it came out some time back.

On my way home from work today, I thought I’d go look at the bookstore if it was available. Turns out it was, and without second thought, I got it.

A photo posted by Kat Sales (@saberkite) on

I was lucky. Many of the books were reserved beforehand, and it wasn’t even on display at the store. Luckily, I asked one of the sales ladies, and she pointed me to the customer service section of the store. The books were still in boxes!

The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Socerer’s is undoubtedly beautiful. The story is familiar, like a friend you’ve known for a very long time and see often. Yet this is the first time that the story has been fully illustrated. The Scholastic versions have an illustration per chapter, but this one has one on almost every page. While I have my ideas on how people and places in the Potterverse appear, Jim Kay’s illustrations offer a fresh perspective on the story.

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The artwork is breathtaking, but it’s the details that got to me. There were these small things that made me go “A ha!” because it was so clever I can’t help but think if it had been in the book or not. The chapter about Diagon Alley made the place more real, as well as the illustrations of Hogwarts. I loved the cheekiness of some of the drawings, particularly on pages 20 and 21. And I swear that the illustration on page 24 is a nod to a very popular board game. Blooey says it’s “a gift that keeps on giving”, and I can’t help but agree.

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One of the cooler parts of the illustrations were the portraits of the characters. Not everyone was portrayed though, but the ones that are there are very striking. Dumbledore is one of them, and when I saw his page I literally got chills.

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I also liked the pages that were ‘excerpts’ from other books in the Potterverse. Dragon eggs and a guide to trolls are there, as well as various landscape illustrations of Hogwarts.

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Copies of this are available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore. So far, it seems that only the US version is available here. I bought this for P1,690 (or something like that) at the National Bookstore Cubao. I heard it’s already out of stock in Fully Booked. So many eager Potterheads.

I can’t wait for Chamber of Secrets!

P.S. Do check out Blooey’s giddy report about her copy!

P.P.S. Here is an interview with Jim Kay at the Pottermore website, plus more illustrations!

Harry Potter is a trademark of J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement intended.

Yearly Challenge: NaNoWriMo

October has just started but writers all across the world are now gearing up for the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge: Write a complete novel of 50,000 words or more in 30 days (or less).

Last year, I had the good fortune of winning the damn thing, and by winning, I mean that I reached the 50,000 word count. Let’s not talk about whether or not the story finished. :p

Because of that win, I was declared Newbie of the Year by the MLs of NaNoWriMo Philippines. It was a big suprise even though I had been doing NaNo for 10 years.

Below is a screenshot of the message that was sent out to our local mailing list. Here’s hoping that it will provide inspiration to those who want to give NaNoWriMo a try, or have tried and never finished, or have finished many times before.

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

My pep talk for NaNoWriMo Philippines after winning it last year.

And I guess I’m a sucker for punishment because I’m going to give this another go. See you at the finish line.