Monday, June 24, 2013


Sorry (again) for the lack of posts. It's just that life has been turned upside down yet again as our househelps left nearly three weeks ago. We are coping as best as we could but to say that I am exhausted is such an understatement.

Now that I get a rare moment of rest (both girls are already asleep, thankfully), I just want to share a special moment that happened a couple of days ago.

Remember that I shared here about my hope that Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, write another book in Peeta's POV? Well, I googled her and found her Twitter account. She doesn't tweet much though, and she is fairly new with not a lot of followers. And although it is not a verified account, it seems legit. One of her tweets was to hash tag #asksuzanne for any questions. So I did. I asked her if she would consider writing The Hunger Games in Peeta's POV. And wouldn't you know, she replied! She actually replied! Here are the screenshots:

Isn't it just amazing? She is by far the most well-known person who actually replied to my tweet. And I am so totally kilig about it, even if the reply (her not making the book in Peeta's POV) was not what I would have wanted her reply to be)!

So thank you, Ms Collins for taking time to answer and giving me something pretty awesome to gush about. And thank you, Twitter for this amazing opportunity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Books vs Movies

So I already watched The Hunger Games movie from start to end. Apart from the gory parts, it was a good and entertaining movie, but it was a pale shadow of the book in my opinion.

Some positives first before I go all nega. I liked the casting for and acting of Stanley Tucci for Caesar Flickerman. Spot on! I also liked how Lady Gaga-ish the Capitol people were made to be (and that was before I found out that she was actually the inspiration for the costumes). I also liked the visual they made for the opening ceremonies, from the chariots to the parade of the tributes as well as the flaming costumes.

That said, give me a few minutes to go nega. I didn't like how they overlooked some of the good parts in the book and how they changed some of the dialogue. I don't like how they removed Haymitch's line when he said "Did I actually get a pair of fighters this year?" on the train going towards Capitol, how the movie made it seem that only Katniss had fire and Peeta was a simple-minded pushover. I didn't like how they downplayed the whole Peeta-is-in-love-with-Katniss thing and that they changed most of what had happened in the cave during the Games. I didn't like how they showed the alliance between Katniss and Rue as well as the whole scene between Thresh and Katniss at the feast (Clove didn't even mention the alliance so it was weird that Thresh didn't kill Katniss). I didn't like how the final interview was conducted and how disconnected with each other Katniss and Peeta felt at the end. Basically, what I disliked the most was how different the dynamic between them felt in the movie as compared to the book. In the book, it was a tug-of-war between enemies, friends and lovers. In the movie, it was just two strangers who happened to be from the same district helping each other survive.

When I finished watching the movie, I told Jojo that the book was so much better. He just laughed and said "always naman, diba?" Well, I realize now that I say that often enough. I said that to all 8 Harry Potter movies, to all 5 Twilight films and to a couple more movies here and there. Then he asked me "kailan ba naging mas maganda yung book?", and I had to pause to think about it. Because while films provide good visuals, I often find that they do not really capture a character's personality or essence. Take for instance Dan Brown's Da Vinci's Code. Sophia's character in the book was street smart, intelligent and brave, but in the movie, it seemed as if she was so clueless, everything had to be explained to her.

But you know what, I was able to give Jojo an answer! The movie A Walk to Remember (Mandy Moore, Shane West) was much better than the book. I read the book after I had watched the movie, and I was so surprised and disappointed with the book. Parang ang flat ng book! I mean, if I had read the book first, I would never have thought that they would make it into a movie.

Then there was Legally Blonde (Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair). Very few know that the movie was based on a book by Amanda Brown. Actually, even I didn't. I just happened to have read the book and realized afterward that the story was so similar to the movie. A quick Google search confirmed that the movie was based on the book. The movie was highly entertaining, the book, unfortunately, was not quite as fun. (Side note - I just found out that my favorite Amanda Brown book, School of Fortune, is being optioned for a film. I am so excited! My first thought when I finished reading it for the first time was that the story would make for a great movie. That was over 4 years ago, and now it may soon be a reality! Woohoo!).

Another movie that I liked better than the book was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien (Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler). But this was mainly because I found it hard to imagine the world as told by Tolkien. I am no sci-fi geek, you know. Besides, I only read the book because the second movie The Two Towers was just so bitin.

What about you? Do you like books that are adapted into movies? What is your favorite?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shopping Find - Chippy Mild & Tasty

I get strong cravings for salty food every so often, and even though I know excessive amounts of salty food is so bad for the health, I almost always give in to my craving. It is bad, I know, especially since my family has a history of heart ailments and high blood pressure.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this in Puregold Jr this afternoon - mild and tasty Chippy with less salt! Of course I bought one to see if it still has enough saltiness to satisfy me. And what do you know, it does! It still has that salty barbecue flavor that the original Chippy has but it is not as salty. Mild nga e. And still tasty enough too. I just forgot to check how much less sodium it has compared to the original one though.

My verdict? It's as good as the original and so worth the Php5 retail value.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Books - The Hunger Games Trilogy

So I've already finished The Hunger Games trilogy. It has its good and bad points, but as a whole I think it was worth the read (and the re-read that I am actually in the middle of doing now). I still have yet to watch the movie though because our DVD is missing, but I plan to do so as soon as we find it, hopefully before the movie sequel comes out in November.

Anyway, this is not a review per se since I have no idea how to do an actual book review (that is not graded ala what was required back in grade school and in high school). I am just going to air out my thoughts about the book. Side note - does any of you know of a book club in Quezon City? I really am interested in joining one. Let me know if you have any leads please. Thanks!

Okay, back to my musings before I digress even further.

My favorite book of the trilogy was definitely The Hunger Games (first book), despite its sluggish start and obvious segue for the sequel. I was totally engrossed in the story and I pictured it easily in my mind. True, my mind's Katniss was still Jennifer Lawrence, but the arena, the fights and the desperate desire for survival were so well told that it wasn't all that difficult to be a part of their world.

I found Katniss to be a different type of heroine. Her progression from the strong and feisty girl in book one to the resigned and determined girl in part two made a lot of sense. However, her attitude/role in book three was so disappointing and confusing. It was as if she lost her spunk once the war started. And then I realized why. She was all about keeping her head down and just doing what she can to survive. She was fueled by her need to keep herself and her family and loved ones alive. Yes, she was angry at the Capitol, but she was no rebel. So it seemed as if she couldn't find her footing and her character sort of took a backseat once the war started. She was merely the face and symbol of the rebellion, but she was not instrumental in any aspect of it. She spent the better part of book 3 either hospitalized and drugged or helpless and apathetic. I would have preferred to see her involve herself more instead of the lost person she seemed to be.

I love the Haymitch-Katniss-Peeta dynamic and that they grew to care about each other like a family. Yes, Katniss already has her own family, but with Haymitch and Peeta, she is on the receiving side instead of the giving side of the relationship. She gets a father figure in Haymitch and an adoring friend in Peeta, and the three of them together made so much sense. Their weaknesses and insecurities were balanced with the strengths the others had. Very good stuff. The interactions among these three were my favorite parts in all three books.

What I really didn't like was how the third book, Mockingjay, ended. It was as if the author ran out of fuel and just wrote a draft and submitted it to her publisher. I get that Peeta, Katniss and even Haymitch would never be the same persons as they were before becoming Tributes, the war and everything in between, but I really wanted to know how they overcame all the demons that haunted them. I think it was in writing the memoir-type book that brought them a semblance of healing and peace, and I really, really wanted to know how they got the project started and how they went about immortalizing their fallen friends. I am so curious as to how each memory, each dead person was written and memorialized there. The resolution that Suzanne Collins gave me was just so vague and so devoid of details. Blah.

I was thrilled that Katniss ended up with Peeta and that they were able to build a life together (even if the short epilogue was just that, short). I knew it was either life with Peeta or a life of single-blessedness for Katniss since it never crossed my mind that she would end up with Gale, who wasn't significant enough in the series. I felt more connected with Finnick than with Gale actually, which was why the former's death in book 3 affected me a lot (I actually had to stop and regroup myself before I could read further, a lot similar to how I felt when JK Rowling killed off Fred Weasly in Harry Potter. A major what?!?! moment that was difficult to accept). Anyway, Gale was just a minor character and I didn't feel any of the romantic vibe between him and Katniss throughout the series.

Overall, it was a good and entertaining read. It could have been great but sadly it missed the mark. The parts were all there but the second and third books felt so rushed and sluggish at the same time. I know it doesn't make sense but it just had that feel to it. Maybe it should have been stretched to 4 books, or maybe we could have done away with the first parts of books 2 and 3. I don't know.

What I do know is that it would be beyond amazing if Suzanne Collins released a book in Peeta's POV, much like Midnight Sun was Edward Cullen's POV of Twilight. Wouldn't that be so amazingly awesome? I would love to know what he was thinking when Katniss volunteered at the Reaping and when he was called shortly after. I would love to know how he thought of and went about his short alliance with the Careers, how he felt when the rules were changed and Katniss sought him out, how their romance was set against death and survival in the arena, and how he dealt with the realization that it was all for show on Katniss's part. It would be so amazing if we knew what he was thinking when the victors were mandated to be tributes again, how he dealt with being in the arena again, and how he coped when he was captured by Capitol and separated from Katniss. I would to know how he was hijacked and how he sort of overcame and fought against it. Ah, so many things to clear up and expound on! It would be so awesome!

So for those of you who haven't read it, I suggest you get started right now. It is not a big love triangle set in war times, as is mostly hyped in the Team Peeta vs Team Gale debates after the movie was released. It is entertaining and unique and worth it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hunger Games

I've had my ebook of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for as long as I have had my iPad2, and I have only finished reading the book today. Yes, just today. For some reason, the first few pages of the book wasn't interesting enough for me. And I'm weird like that. If a book's first few pages doesn't capture my interest, I ditch it. The movie based on the book didn't interest me either. I have watched a couple of scenes while Jojo watched it here at home, and I found it a bit too gory. 

So what prompted my sudden interest in the book?

Well, during our staycation at Diamond Hotel, there wasn't anything nice on the television. The girls were busy entertaining themselves and I didn't have anything else to do except watch tv. Hunger Games was on and I was able to withstand a few more scenes that made me curious. so when we got back, I read my ebook. the first few pages were still a drag but I persevered and was rewarded. Needless to say, I got hooked and could not stop reading.

The story was good and well-written. I wasn't too thrilled about the ending though because it was obvious that a sequel was on its way. Had I read this book before the sequel Catching Fire was released, I would have been really annoyed with the super bitin ending. As it was, I had a mild panic attack when I realized I didn't have the other books in the trilogy. I had to send an urgent order to my usual ebook supplier and I have the next books lined up now. Whew!

So, excuse me if I disappear again for the next few days. I am just really eager to finish reading the trilogy and who knows, maybe I might watch the entire movie too.