January 21, 2016

Bonding Time All the Time

Last Christmas was one of the happiest my family ever celebrated. My husband who has been working abroad for 6 years now has finally managed to come home for the holidays. You can imagine how elated my kids were when they found out their father was going to celebrate Christmas with us.

Ours is a close-knit family. Our bonding time is all the time. We watch movie together. We go to the mall together. We do a lot of things together. We talk after dinner. We talk before going to sleep. We talk even in the middle of a movie. We talk about the books we read, movies we watched, places we've been, and people we met. We prefer each other's company over other people's . My grown-up kids (21, 15 and 13 years of age) seek my company and I always find time for them. It helps that I am a stay-at-home thus a hands-on mom. 

Last holiday season was celebrated with our extended family in the province. It was a lovely and memorable time. Hopefully, next year will be just as happy, or, if possible, even happier. Maybe if life gets a little better this year we can go out of the country for a vacation. Recently, I heard about a project that HomeAway, a vacation rental company, was running about the importance of quality time with your family and I suddenly thought it would be perfect for us. That could be totally and absolutely wonderful! I know that someday my children will have families of their own. They may still want to celebrate the holidays with us or they may not. Right now, I'm just happy that they seem to want to spend as much time with me as I with them.

January 8, 2016

9 Beautiful Stories I Read at the Last Quarter of 2015

1.      Ivory Wild by Lady Elizabeth Tullos
Charlotte came all the way to Africa to search for her missing fiancé, Quinn. With her fear of huge animals, how was she going to survive in the wild?

Read the official review HERE.

2.      The Gray Lady of Long Branch by Maura Satchell
She had seen them. She had known them. She had celebrated with their happiness. She had felt their pain. She was The Gray Lady of Long Branch, a stately Victorian beach house and witness to the lives of the people who stayed there.

Read the official review HERE.

3.      Pleasant Valley Lost by Joseph J. Swope
Joe was an ordinary farm boy living an ordinary farm life. He and his family were happy and contented with what they had and what they did until they were forced to leave their beloved farm when the entire community was turned into a dam which was supposed to supply water to the region.

Read the official review HERE.

4.      The Love Garden by David Blackburn
Sexually abused as a child, Carly grew up with a heart filled with hate for the opposite sex and lived with one purpose: to get even.

Read the official review HERE.

5.      The Memory of Blue Sky by J.M. Bardsley
The world is coming to an end. A crew of brave filmmakers set out to document the remaining days of the planet. Among them was a legendary soldier who has been searching for his long lost daughter.

Read the official review HERE.

6.      Paradise Bound by Rafaële Désiré
Needing a break from her demanding job at the hospital and space from her possessive boyfriend, Natalie went to the enchanting city of Los Angeles and found a new passion she did not know she had and met two men both vying for her attention.

Read the official review HERE.

7.      The Korean Word for Butterfly by James Zerndt
Meet Billie, Yun-ji and Moon. They had one thing in common. They all worked in Kid’s Inc. in Korea. Each of them had a secret that may lead to self-destruction. Find out how they rise through adversity in this story of love, prejudice and redemption.

Read the official review HERE.

8.      Purgatorio by Bernard Kuckuck
It was the late 16th century. Before his master’s death, Filippo Oraiosieri learned about a letter written by Beatrice Portinari to Dante Allighieri, the renowned and celebrated writer of The Divine Comedy. With the help of his master’s niece, Beatrice, Filippo searched for the letter hoping to find an inspiration for the dramma per musica he wanted to create.

Read the official review HERE.

9.      Tara’s Halls by Tom Gallagher
Tom was the third boy and the sixth of ten children.  With the family of their size and their farmland too small, their father and their oldest brother had to work in England leaving the rest of the family to work on the land. Find out how they faced extreme poverty, lived through it and survived in this touching and endearing memoir.

Read the official review HERE.

For more books and book reviews, visit Online Book Club

January 4, 2016

My Goals for 2016

As a rule, I don't do the New Year's Resolution thing. If I want to start something, I start it. If I want something changed, I change it, regardless of time or season. Instead, I set goals. I admit, though, that I don't accomplish all those goals. Well, who does? 

Any ways, this year is special. Or rather more special compared to the previous years (every year is special to me). This year I have more challenging, thus more exciting goals. 

For the past years, my goals were mostly about healthy living, like walking a couple of miles a day, and productive living like making handmade bags for my Facebook pages Kim's Crochet and Bead Bags and Likhang Kamay. A list of books to read, of course, was prepared as well as the number of movies to watch.

This year, however, among my goals is to establish myself as a book reviewer. It has been several months since I joined Online Book Club as a member of its Review Team. For that short period of time I already have 9 published reviews. I know I still have a lot to learn and I still need to polish my writing and that is my special goal for 2016, to be the best book reviewer I can be. 

I should probably start by featuring the books I reviewed for the last quarter of 2015. Now you know what to expect on my next post.

January 3, 2016

Achieve Your Dreams by Scott Hughes

This is one great eye-opening reading material. For a very short book, it made me feel various sorts of, well.. emotions. First, I felt guilty. I felt guilty for setting aside my dream, for going for what's conventional and for what, I thought, was safe. Second, I realized how afraid I have been. I was afraid to fail if I follow my dream, then I felt afraid to try to follow my dream, eventually I felt afraid to dream at all. Finally, near the end of the book, I felt emboldened. I may have gotten old but I can still dream and I can still work hard to make that dream come true.

Thank you so much Scott Hughes () for such an amazing book! I wish you luck on your book and I wish others will read it, too. 

Click HERE to view Achieve Your Dreams in my bookshelf at Online Book Club.