Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

This book has been sitting on one of my TBR piles since the NBS book sale in January 2014. Anticipating having to wait in line for errands we had to take care of over the weekend (I first started writing this post back in November – don’t get me started on that), I grabbed it off the shelf and shoved it into my bag. As it turned out, I didn’t have a lot of waiting to do but I still found time to read. I was quite happy to have started and finished a novel over the weekend. 


The book was published in 2011. At the time of its release, the book and its author, Samantha Sotto, had been featured on blogs that I’d been following. More than the mystery that her character Shelley had to solve, I was more interested in reading a novel set in Europe, written by a first-time Filipina author.
There were no dull moments in Before Ever After. It wasn’t just the story of Isabelle and her ancestors that got me hooked. It was the virtual tour of Europe that was even more interesting. I had visited Pere Lachaise (a famous cemetery in Paris) before I turned 18, but I didn’t get to know much about the events that took place there. I also took that arduous walk up the steps of Sacre Coeur Cathedral and its tower – so while Shelley was describing it, I felt like I was rushing to keep up with her. I still dream of going on trips to Europe, and the story took me for a ride that further fueled my longing.

Apart from my bias for the setting, I was gripped by the sadness, the emptiness, that the main character felt after having lost her husband. It brought to mind writings of another blogger who counted the days since her world was turned upside down by the sudden death of her husband, and her transition from happy parents of two kids, to single mom of two. It was something i couldn't, and wouldn't, grip.

What’s gripping is the story. I can’t explain it. I can’t say that it was well-written. It actually felt rough around the edges, in a manner of speaking. But it was good. What’s conflicting to me was that it felt like reading serious historical fiction, but with a chick lit vibe. You know what I mean? I won’t even try to explain.

It is a recommended read though. I wonder when her next book comes out?

To know more about what the book is really about, here’s the book trailer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mini Library at Papemelroti

While waiting for lunch to be served at RUB a few weeks ago, I took the time to finally checkout the mini library outside the Papemelroti flagship store at Roces Avenue. I see those shelves often when I pass by, but this was the only time I got to get up close and personal.


I was right! Just like the Little Free Library, those two bookshelves were free for all. People are encouraged to take a book or leave a book. Or both. Of course, I had to take one!

My pick was a children's classic - Laura Ingalls-Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. I hadn't read it before though I've heard of the author and the Little House series in the past. There was a good variety of books on those shelves, definitely something for everyone.

I'll have to go back one of these days to drop off a book from my own stash.
I really wish I could have my own free little library outside the house. It's a wonderful way to share the love for reading.

Have you seen this mini library? Would you take or leave a book?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Ladies Farm by Viqui Litman


The book’s description over at Amazon starts with this line, and I immediately found out why:

Steel Magnolias meets The First Wives Club in a touching and hilarious novel of friendship, love, sex, dreams, and good hair.

The Ladies of THE Ladies Farm are what you’d call experienced ladies. They are past middle-age, and have been married once (even twice) before, maybe even widowed. It’s like chick lit for older chicks Smile And it was a fun read.

Together they built a wonderful home for themselves – a forever home, really – as well as a transient home for other ladies (young and old) where they could rest, nourish their spirit, relax, and have fun. 

The clincher is that more than one woman in the story was in love with the same man, and they didn’t know about it until after he died. How they stayed friends despite it, is what makes the story quite interesting.

When I picked this book up to read last week, I didn’t know what to expect. I flipped it over to find out where and when I had bought it, and saw this price tag:


Pick A Book. This means I’ve had this book since before November 2010, which was when I posted about missing that old place. Good thing I finally got to read it. Smile Now it’s time to give it away. No, not for free. But if you’d like to have it, I’m selling this copy for PhP 100.00 plush shipping fee of Php 50.00. Just leave me a message.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Summer Reading Camp 2014

I’ve never heard of a reading camp before, but it sure sounds fun. Smile


DiksyonaryoAtbp is a non-stock, non-profit organization that aims to encourage love for reading, and help raise literacy in the Philippines. They collect storybook and dictionary donations, as well as support scholars in Benguet schools.

Here are the details of the reading camp (lifted from an announcement in Facebook):

• READING CORNER –read all the books they want from Filipino writers c/o Adarna House Publishing
• ART CORNER – unleash their inner artist by engaging in art activities related to their favorite stories
• STORYTELLING CORNER – listen as your favorite Filipino children’s literature comes alive in the voice of the best storytellers around

Aside from participating in these events, parents/ children can also avail of Adarna House books on site, which they can donate for DiksyonaryoAtbp 's future projects or take home for themselves.

To register your child, please visit

(Official Poster designed by Risa Angela Rodil)

This really looks like my kind of event. I wonder if Amir would be interested? Since this is a Saturday I doubt if Alfred can join us, so maybe I’ll ask the grandparents if they’d like to bring Amir. I’ll tag along but I’ll try to get some reading done under the trees myself rather than watch the little boy. Hehe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Marie Forleo interviews Arianna Huffington re “Thrive”

What is our definition of success? Marie Forleo and Arianna Huffington discuss it in this insightful interview revolving around Huffington’s latest book: Thrive.

Well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

Sleeping. Being in the moment. Dropping things off your perpetual to-do list. And much more. Already, I’ve picked up tips I’d like to work on in my life.

The interview, specially Marie’s excitement, got me really interested in owning the book and reading it. I know my birthday isn’t for months yet, but if you’re getting me a gift, would you kindly choose this one please?

Anyway… do watch the video, it’s 15 minutes and well worth your time. Let me know if and how it inspires you too Smile

Saturday, March 22, 2014

1001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die)

I really like watching movies, but I’m not the type who remembers so much trivia about the movies years later. That’s why I find it hard to pick when asked what my favorite movies are.

One thing I also find hard to do, is recommend what movies one absolutely must see. Unless I recently watched the film. Anyway. I stumbled on this video today, and now I want to see all those films I haven’t seen yet.

If you have the actual 1001 titles, please share. Smile


Monday, March 3, 2014

Starting Over Again (2014)

It was a cool Saturday morning. The sun was up, but it was a cool and sunny kind of day. I had met up with my friend Vanette at the Amoranto Sports Complex Pool for a much needed swimming session. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half, but it was like no time was lost.

The pool closes for lunch, and we were the last swimmers out of the water. Truth be told, I required the help of the Lifeguards to get out of the pool. I’d be ashamed of it, but shame isn’t an emotion I invest any energy into. So moving on…  We were getting out of our swimsuits and into dry clothes when we decided to see a movie. We both haven’t seen the latest Star Cinema movie offering and it seemed like the best time to see it.

We dashed off to the new mall along Quezon Avenue – Fisher Mall. There are hardly any shops open yet, but the cinemas were in full blast. They’re good cinemas too, I hope they can maintain it.

Anyway, about the movie.


I have always loved seeing Toni Gonzaga in the big screen. She’s a great comedian, and she does drama just as well. And Piolo, well, much is always expected of Piolo and he always delivers onscreen.  We see a different Toni here – she allowed herself to have a kissing scene, for one, and she also had a bed scene! Whew. Haha.

But seriously, I loved the film.

I liked the Mama Mary scene where Ginny, Toni’s character, was crying over having been rejected for the Mama Mary role in the school play. Her reaction upon learning that Marco (Piolo) already had a new flame, and was planning to propose. And again her reaction to seeing how she looked like.

Fueled by the words Marco used in his four-year-late email, Ginny was determined to win him back. It was unreal seeing a very well dressed celebrity looking lady brave our railways, and take the bus, and fight for a cab. You just don’t see that everyday. Yet she did it, in her quest to spend face time with the guy she still loved.

I like how the film showed us both perspectives – that of the man that was left behind, his heart broken into a million pieces – and that of the girl who left, her young heart just as broken.

I began to root for Ginny – they were good for each other. Marco supported her in her dreams, and she supported Marco in his. It seemed like such a waste of good history having had a chance to meet again and not get back together.

I’ve heard a lot say that the scenes between Ginny and her friend (played by Beauty Gonzales) was a favorite. It’s not hard to like it, seeing as they were alternately laughing and crying their hearts out. We’ve all done that at one time or another, with or without the influence of alcohol.

Ginny’s confrontation scene with Patty is also one for the books. Patty’s grace and restraint was remarkable. I don’t think I can muster that.

In the end, what can we learn from that love story?

Love has no room for fear. Yes, there are so many things we can be fearful of, but we need to trust in love. Trusting in love means coming out about what we fear, so something can be done about it. Even if it means possibly hurting the one we love. A little hurt isn’t so bad from time to time, specially if it means you come out better and stronger together.

In our early years as a couple, I would not be happy about something that the boyfriend does or says. But I would shut up about it thinking it would just hurt him to hear what I’d have to say. I’d rather keep it, than cause a rift between us. But doing that actually makes a bigger rift. And it does nothing to make us better versions of ourselves.

Like Ginny, there was also a time when I felt that my partner wasn’t applying himself enough. That he could be so much more than what he’s willing to expect from himself. Instead of fearing that it’s what all he could ever be though, I tried to be patient and supportive until  he found something he could be passionate about. After all, we need to find it within us to really apply ourselves, no one can tell us what or how. I am so glad I stuck around.

One mistake cannot define a whole relationship. Love can be greater than a single mistake. But there must be mutual love, and respect, and understanding. I have learned this too.

If there’s anything we deem important, let’s say it. Now. There’s no point in waiting for a later time. Later won’t be the same. Later might be too late.

And finally, no matter how life events seem like the end of us, we can always start over. Always. It’s not always easy, and it’s not like it can be just the way it was before, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is just as well.

I’d love to watch it again, but until it’s replayed over and over on CinemaOne, I’ll have to be content with the full trailer. Sigh.