ICYMI: André Aciman’s “Find Me” – Sequel to Call Me By Your Name

Hey y’all Elio and Oliver fans! If you’re still hung up with Elio & Oliver from the book and film of the same name, Call Me By Your Name – then you’re up for a great weekend surprise as the book cover for the sequel to Call Me By Your Name, Find Me, has been revealed by André Aciman on his Twitter account. Aciman tweeted: “Here’s the cover of my forthcoming novel, FIND ME, where you’ll rediscover Elio and Oliver. Coming October 2019.”

I absolutely loved this cover!!!! It brings me back to that little Italian village when Elio and Oliver met for the first time!

And you guys know what this means!!!! A definite, definite film sequel! Although for those of you who have not read the book yet, (SPOILER ALERT!!!) it was actually already a bit conclusive in my opinion. So in this book, we may have Elio and Oliver just a bit older than the first one and it is still sadly going to be a bittersweet ending for our lovelies… But maybe the movie could end up on a happy note after all? Paging Luca, give us the ending we want please!!!

And for those of you who have not seen this film which should be a crime, tbh – you can now stream it on Netflix!!! Okkkuurrrt

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Book Review: Peter Green and the Unliving Academy: This Book is Full of Dead People (The Unliving Chronicles, #1) – Angelina Allsop

Paperback, 244 pages
Published November 18th 2018 by Tck Publishing
Genre & Themes: Young Adult, Humor, Family, Death, Adventures, Magic, Horror
Characters: Peter Green

Blurb:
Fourteen-year-old Peter Green can’t remember how he died.

All he has are his pajamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs. Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. But that’s all he needs: the Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement.

And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.

As Pete learns to fit in with his new supernatural schoolmates, he starts to discover his own uniquely undead abilities, and even begins enjoying his life after death…but he just can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgotten something (or somebody!) important.

Somebody he left behind in the land of the living.

Somebody he loved very much.

Somebody who’s in terrible danger.

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy is the captivating first installment of Angelina Allsop’s Unliving series of young adult fantasy novels. If you like reading about fun-filled adventures, fully realized new worlds, and the most unlikely of heroes, you’re sure to love Allsop’s spirited coming-of-age tale.

Fans of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo, and The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton will enjoy this young adult fantasy series.

You’ll love the Peter Green series if you like reading these types of books:

Young adult and YA fantasy novels
Ghosts, zombies, and mythical beasts
Young adult adventure stories (less)

I am a fan of reading fantasy books, especially the ones that involves supernatural adventures. Enter Peter Green and the Unliving Academy which reminded me of the Harry Potter series right off the bat since it involves a school, kids and some sort of magic but this one is set in the afterlife and the school is for dead underage orphans! Pretty intriguing yeah?

The protagonist is Peter Green who cannot remember anything from his past life and finds himself in Purgatory. Being underage and without parents, he must attend school. It’s at the Unliving Academey that he met fellow ‘orphans’ and unique creatures which resulted to a ruckus of adventures and Peter finds himself in a journey of self-discovery.

I absolutely adore Peter. He’s such a great character and I loved how he’s a regular teenager but is polite, brave, loyal and isn’t afraid to show his feelings!

Granted, the beginning of the book for me was a bit slow but once it got to introducing new characters, it picked up speed and the arc for each character such as Mrs. Battisworth’s (the Academy’s headmaster) became interesting! Her story-arc is actually my favorite in the book.

Although it felt that the ending was a bit rushed, I still enjoyed all the elements in it. There was an instance that I tear up a little and I think that how I know that the story is a really good one if it was able to bring forth an emotion out of its readers.

I highly recommended this to middle schoolers and young adult readers – and yuppies like myself who loves the likes of Harry Potter!

Big thanks to TCK Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book to review in exchange for an honest review!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author
Angelina Allsop is an Amazon Best Selling Author who lives with her husband, Bryce, and their very old and very fat bulldog, Roree, in rural Arizona. She enjoys being outside on rainy days, reading, and of course, writing about all the adventures that happen in her head.

Her debut novel, The Dead Orphanage, now called The Unliving Chronicles, is an award-nominated Otherworld book that hit the top-selling charts in its first month. If you love fantasy adventure, mythical fantasy and young adult book then you will LOVE this coming of age adventure book! Look for the rest of the haunting series coming soon!

Books for Adults and School Agers are coming soon as well! Join my VIP mailing lists for updates, free books, and giveaways at AAAllsop.com.

Book Review: Return to Sender – Julia Alvarez

Hardcover, 327 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)

Blurb: After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

It’s been a while since I posted something here. It was hella busy for me at work and I didn’t have any access with my laptop for sometime. Anyway, I was at the National Book Store Book Blowout last February when I chanced up this book with an award sticker at the Children’s section. Apparently, the book is one of the two winners of the 2010 Americas Award for Children and Young Adult’s Literature. The awards sticker did catch my attention but more than anything, its blurb is what made me decide to grab it apart from it being on sale.

This story is a timely read especially with what’s happening with immigrants around the world particularly in the United States where immigration and border issues has become one of the focal discussions of the administration.

The story revolves around two families – a farming family and a migrant working family and the friendship that developed between Tyler, a Vermont farm boy and Mari, daughter of illegal immigrants and how this bond will push through the boundaries of their differences.

I loved the way the author took different approaches in telling the story through Tyler and Mari. We get two different point of views in two different styles. I loved how we get a closer glance via Mari’s letter and diary entries and then we have Tyler with his no-nonsense outlook about the faces illegal immigration. I loved that we get to see different perspectives leading us to understand more and be able to empathize with both sides.

I’m first to admit that what’s happening with the Mexican immigrants and immigrants around the world in general and tare things I only see on TV, hear on the news and mostly see online especially with the advent of social media, so I am just basing my opinions on what I see and what I feel towards the matter but in a way, this book made me realized that there’s more to it that we do not understand through the perspectives of the immigrants, on why they do the things they have to do, on why they do these ‘sacrifices.’ The story was quite heart wrenching at times but also hopeful. It tends to be a bit preachy but over all, I though it’s a good representation of what’s happening now. It is a lesson our young ones as well as the uninformed on how we’re all just human despite of our differences. This is an absolute-must read since it’s very timely and the resonance of the story will transcends race whether one is an immigrant or not.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach local farmers and their families how to read and write.

Quick Post: My 2019 Oscars Predictions!

I am sharing to you what I’ve submitted to this year’s Pinoy Exchange Oscars Prediction Pool!

Best Picture – Roma

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Best Actress – Glenn Close, The Wife

Best Actor – Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Supporting Actress – Amy Adams, Vice

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Best Original Screenplay – Roma

Best Adapted Screenplay – BlacKkKlansman

Best Animated Feature – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign Language Film – Roma

Best Documentary – RBG

Best Film Editing – Vice

Best Original Score – Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman

Best Original Song – Shallow, A Star is Born

Best Cinematography – Roma

Best Visual Effects – Black Panther

Best Sound Editing – A Quiet Place

Best Sound Mixing – Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Production Design – The Favourite

Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Vice

Best Costume Design – The Favourite

Best Documentary Short Subject – Black Sheep

Best Live Action Short Film – Mother

Best Animated Short Film – Bao

Book Review: Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho

Paperback, 210 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1998)
ISBN13: 9780061124266

Blurb: Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.
Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn’t kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.
The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life’s final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

Veronika Decides to Die isn’t exactly an easy read. I had to stop reading it at some point because the first few chapters triggered my undiagnosed oudenophobia but I soldiered on because I just want to finish the damn book and it’s like a guessing game of whether Veronica would really die or not and if she really clocked out, what would be its cause aside from her apparent suicide attempt at the very beginning of the story?

Truth be told, I didn’t enjoy my second book from Coelho as much as I enjoyed The Alchemist. It reads ‘too academic’ and too outlandish in my opinion. Whilst I loved the secondary characters, their backstories and how well the author wrote it, the whole thing just felt disjointed towards the main character of the story. In short, we’ve several stories here with Veronica’s just leading the pack and closing it for the good masses.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

Book Review: The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Published May 1st 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1988)
Paperback, 197 pages
Original Title : O Alquimista
ISBN13: 9780061122415

Blurb: Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

So, I’ve finally picked this up after procrastinating for years and it was also my very first read of the year. I’ve heard of the author since I was in high school (that was in the late 90’s) but never had the time to read any of his works for some reason or I didn’t actually try to pursue them. I’ve read some passages from his books over the years and I’ve read the last chapter of By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by accident but never fully read it. So at the dawn of the new year, I decided that it’s time for me to immerse myself to the works of Coehlo and for a first read, I find The Alchemist just about the perfect introduction to his works.

I did not expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. I was able to finish it in just a few hours and I was in deep contemplation right after. I loved the narrative of the story from the beginning to the end. I find it inspiring and insightful at the same time. I also find it a bit emotional in terms of the humanity of Santiago through his encounter with the king, the thief, the glass shop owner, the alchemist and him trying to get a firm grasp to what he’s been looking for all his life.

Though I find it preachy at some point, I still find myself enamored by the story. I was rooting for Santiago and his search for his damn treasure. I was rooting for him when he discovered love and I was rooting for him when he felt the fulfilment of his destiny. I’m on a fence about destiny and all of those things but I’m such a sucker for a happy ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO is considered one of the most influential authors of our times. His books have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide, have been released in 170 countries and been translated into 80 languages.

ICYMI: Karen Gallman of The Philippines Wins Miss Intercontinental 2018/2019!

Congratulations are in order for The Philippines‘ very first Miss Intercontinental crown courtesy of the very beautiful Karen Juanita Gallman!

She was adjudged the fairest amongst the 80 delegates around the world who competed for the title at the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines last January 26 of this year.

Karen is the last Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Queen to compete internationally and the second to win the title too after Catriona Gray bagged the Miss Universe title last year in Bangkok.

Her Intercontinental court are:
Adriana Moya – Costa Rica, 1st Runner-up
Laura Longauerová – Slovak Republic, 2nd Runner-up
Hillary Hollman del Prado – Colombia, 3rd Runner-up
Ngân Anh Lê Âu – Vietnam, 4th Runner-up
Bella Lire Lapso – Ethiopia, 5th Runner-up

Congratulations Karen, Mabuhay ka!

My First Book Depository Experience! (2019) – Free Book Delivery to the Philippines

I’ve been hearing a lot about Book Depository from friends (especially from Goodreads friends) for a few years now but I’ve never tried ordering from them. I loved books! I’ve reviewed a lot of ’em here and I loved reading ‘printed’ books with their smell, their feel in my hands – either old, second hand or brand new. There are not a lot of book stores in the Philippines so there are some titles that you really need to order / buy overseas.

Book Depository (previously The Book Depository) is a UK-based online book seller with a large catalogue offered with free shipping to over 160 countries. The store was founded by a former Amazon employee. In 2011 it was acquired by Amazon. (s)

The shipping fee is my biggest concern whenever I order online. It is because the post office here does not have standard guidelines when claiming packages (Actually they do but they don’t seem to follow it). There are horror stories that I’ve read about the post office peeps asking people to pay more or has the same price of the time that they are about to claim. What kind of BS is that, yeah?

And from my most recent experience (April 2018) when I won a book from an author in the US and had to pay PHP250 for me to claim a USD14.00 book. I asked what is it for and the guy from the post office told me that it was for custom duty. Ooookay… Nakakaloka talaga!

Anyway, Book Depository promises to deliver the books in your doorstep free so last Monday after some more procrastination, I finally decided to try ordering from the site. I ordered a couple of books just to try their service first.

First you have to create a Book Depository account through their website (obviously haha!) https://www.bookdepository.com and search the book you wanted to buy or you could simply browse their catalogue.

I ordered the movie tie-in edition of Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman and the first book of the THIRDS series Hell & High Water by Charlie Cochet last January 21, 2019 and you can see on the image below that they were dispatched at different dates. I actually emailed their support team about this and they said it is to avoid delay as they would need to get some books from separate warehouses or suppliers.

For now, it’s a waiting game for me and I wanted to see how true is their door to door delivery or if I will fall again to the hands of our ‘very dear’ local post office staff.

Update: February 6, 2019

After coming from our long holiday weekend, I found this on top my work desk. It looks like it was received by the local post office (Pasig) last Friday, January 1 and was delivered directly to my office address. Call Me By Your Name was the first book in my order that was initialy dispatched! It was well-packaged and totally brand new!

Upon checking the status of said order online, it was still under ‘Dispatched’ so I guess, there is no way for Book Depository to determine if the buyers have already received their books.

Now, I just have to wait for the other book I’ve ordered, Hell & High Water which was dispatched a day later after the first one.

Update: February 9, 2019

I’ve received my other order today and the stamp indicated that it was received by the Philippine Post Office in Pasay last February 5, 2019 (? – My address is in Ortigas Pasig).

The delivery time from when I clicked checked out on the website was about 18 calendar days – not bad at all! I am very impressed!

Complete List of Nominees for Oscars 2019

Best Picture
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”

Best Actor
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Vice
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Joel Coen , Ethan Coen)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Barry Jenkins)
“A Star Is Born” (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters)

Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay

Best Foreign Language Film
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

Best Production Design
Black Panther
The Favourite
First Man
Mary Poppins Returns
Roma

Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Black Panther”
“The Favourite”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Mary Queen of Scots”

Best Make Up & Hairstyling
Border
Mary Queen of Scots
Vice

Best Cinematography
Cold War
The Favourite
Never Look Away
Roma
A Star is Born

Best Sound Editing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”
“Roma”

Best Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”

Best Original Score
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

Best Animated Short
“Animal Behavior”
“Bao”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”
“Weekends”

Best Animated Feature
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Song
All The Stars
I’ll Fight
The Place Where Lost Things Go
Shallow
When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings

Best Live Action Short
“Detainment”
“Fauve”
“Marguerite”
“Mother”
“Skin”

Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Vice”

My 2019 Oscar Nominations Predictions!

It’s that time of the year again people, the Oscar season is officially on as the nominees for the 91st Academy Awards are set be announced tomorrow! So without further ado, let me to tell you about my predictions for this year’s Oscars nominees!

Best Picture
1. Roma
2. A Star is Born
3. If Beale Street Could Talk
4. Green Book
5. The Favourite
6. BlacKkKlansman
7. Black Panther
8. Vice
9. Bohemian Rhapsody

I would’ve picked only 7 films for this category but I added Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody. The latter is due to the fact that it went on to become the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all-time and with Rami Malek racking up six Best Actor awards as of press time. Vice on the hand is one of the critics’ favorites from last year despite tanking at the box office.

Best Director
1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
2. Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
3. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
4. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
5. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This is an easy pick for me but I put Heller’s name into the mix because I feel like she deserved some sort of recognition for her work along with Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.

Best Actor
1. Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
2. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Christian Bale, Vice
4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
5. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

This looks like a pretty solid line-up for me but if there’s someone who could usurp Ethan Hawke spot, it would be Luca Hedges for Boy Erased.

Best Actress
1. Glenn Close, The Wife
2. Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite
4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
5. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

My rank 1-4 are pretty much locked for this category. At first, I picked First Man’s Claire Foy but Emily Blunt’s name last year made some serious buzz so she may just complete the 5th spot. Viola Davis could also pose some serious mixed-up for this race but for now, I thought it’s just pure hype. I also didn’t include Yalitza Aparicio because I feel that she came in late in the competition.

Best Supporting Actor
1. Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
2. Mahershala Ali, Green Book
3. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
4. Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
5. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

This is pretty much my top 5 for the Supporting Actor category.

Best Supporting Actress
1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
2. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
3. Emma Stone, The Favourite
4. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots
5. Amy Adams – Vice

This category is a bit tricky because The Favourite’s stars Emma and Rachel are both in my list which I thought are rightfully deserved spot for them but I feel that only one of them will get the nod and I’m leaning towards Rachel Weisz.

Best Animated Feature
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
2. Incredibles 2
3. The Grinch
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
5. Isle of Dogs

I feel that Isle of Dogs has a much stronger campaign than Mirai so there ya go.

Best Film Editing
1. Roma
2. BlacKkKlansman
3. Black Panther
4. Vice
5. Green Book

This was an easy-peasy category for me – another solid top 5.

Best Visual Effects
1. Black Panther
2. Mary Poppins Returns
3. Solo: A Star Wars Story
4. Ready Player One
5. First Man

Best Original Song
1. Shallow, A Star is Born
2. Revelation, Boy Erased
3. The Place Where Lost Things Go, Mary Poppins Returns
4. I’ll Fight, RBG
5. All The Stars, Black Panther

This is just between Shallow and I’ll Fight to be honest.

I won’t be posting the rest of the categories as this was the same predictions I’ve submitted at 8th Pinoy Exhange Guess The Oscar Nominees Game!