My July 2017 Book Haul

Hope your summer reading has been a pleasure!

I’ve read a plenty of exciting writing books and comics. Here’s what I’ve read back in July 2017:

Adult Non-Fiction

5,000 Words Per Hour: Writer Faster, Writer Smarter by Chris Fox (5/5 stars)

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This short book provides many exercises to become a faster, more productive writer. No joke, Chris Fox has done all the steps in this book since he’s accomplished writer and all.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Writing

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (5/5 stars)

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This book has shifted my perspective on work. I’m inspired to dedicate more time into my personal projects thanks to the case studies presented here.

More time dedicated to deep work equals more production.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Productivity
  • Work & Success
  • Work Hacks

Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret to Writing Every Day by Chris Fox (5/5 stars)

I read this book shortly after reading 5,000 Words Per Hour. This book provides an in-depth look on maintaining active writing habits.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Writing

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Allen (4/5 stars)

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Moira Allen has created a beneficial guide for readers interested in freelance writing as a lifetime career. She includes everything you may want to know regarding query letters, setting up invoices, finding writing opportunities, and handling taxes as a self-employer.

Recommend for Readers Into:

  • Freelance careers
  • Freelance writing
  • Writing

 The Writer’s Market 2017 by Robert Lee Brewer (4/5 stars)

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This is a great book to for finding writing opportunities in magazines, literary anthologies, scriptwriting competitions, and more. This book has it all!

Recommend for Readers Into:

  • Writing
  • Writing careers

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction

Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Different by Robie H. Harris (3/5 stars)

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A sweet book teaching kids how everybody’s physically different but share the same basic emotions.

Recommend for Readers Into:

  • Teaching diversity to kids

You Are Special by Max Lucado (4/5 stars)

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A puppet lives in a village where everyone gives each other star stickers for good features and grey dot stickers for unattractive ones. Only getting dots for his homely appearance, the puppet meets his creator to find out how why that’s the case. A heart-warming story about how everyone, no matter how different, is special in their own unique way.

Recommend for Readers Into:

  • Inspirational children’s books
  • Teaching kids the appreciation of individualism

Comics/Graphic Novels

Aquaman (Volume One): “The Drowning” by Dan Abnett (4/5 stars)

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Trouble brews for Aquaman as soon as he creates peaceful relations between humans and his fellow Atlantean citizens. Now, humans are blaming him for the catastrophes brought on by his “people”.

Aquaman investigates who’s really behind the disasters before it blows out into a full-fledge war between land and sea.

Recommend for Readers Into:

  • Aquaman
  • DC comics
  • The Justice League

Also Read:

  • Volume 2: “Black Manta Rising”

Captain America: Steve Rogers – Hail Hydra by Nick Spencer (3/5 stars)

Captain America is in league with Hydra? You must read how Steve Rogers came into this conclusion!

Also Read:

  • Volume Two: “The Trial of Maria Hill”

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • The Avengers
  • Captain America
  • Marvel comics

Harley Quinn (Volume One): “Hot in the City” by Amanda Connor (4/5 stars)

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Somebody’s trying to take out Harley Quinn. After Harley’s home blows up, she moves to Coney Island to start a new life but assassins keep crashing in her new pad.

What the heck a girl got to do to live a calm, decent life? If you’re Harley Quinn, your world will never be calm.

Also Read:

  • Volume Two: “Power Outage”
  • Volume Three: “Kiss Kiss Bang Stab”
  • Volume Four: “A Call to Arms”

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • DC comics
  • Gotham Girls
  • Harley Quinn

Howard the Duck (Volume 0): What the Duck by Chip Zdarsky (2/5 stars)

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Howard the Duck is a private detective who only wants to solve simple cases, get money, and find a way to return to his home planet. It seems like he’s not going to get any of those anytime soon since he’s always winds up in the craziest situations.

I hope this series turns out better since the first volume was a bit bland.  I appreciate the superhero cameos though.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Howard the Duck
  • Marvel comics

Superior Iron Man (Volume 1): “Infamous” by Tom Taylor (4/5 stars)

Cover Image

Tony Stark can be quite arrogant, but villainous?

Stark’s mental state has changed since he and the Avengers fought the Red Skull equipped with super psychic powers. He thinks he’s still doing good deeds for people but his close friends start seeing him as a rising threat to mankind.

Also Read:

  • Volume Two: “Stark Contrast”

 Recommended for Readers Into:

  • The Avengers
  • Iron Man
  • Marvel comics

Wolverine: Origin by Paul Jenkins (4/5 stars)

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The image of Logan once as a fragile little boy surprised me! He went through so much growing up in a privileged (yet troubled) household in Alberta, Canada to working in a stone quarry in British Columbia.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Marvel comics
  • Wolverine

Wonder Woman (Volume One): “Blood” by Brian Azzarello (4/5 stars)

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A scared woman named Zola seeks Wonder Woman’s help after being attacked by assassin centaurs (you’ve read that right). Looks like Hera is after another woman who has slept with her man Zeus, but where’s he?

Wonder Woman is set on a mission to search for Zeus’ whereabouts and make sure Zola is safe and sound from Hera’s wrath.

Also Read:

  • Volume Two: “Guts”
  • Volume Three: “Iron”
  • Volume Four: “War”
  • Volume Five: “Flesh”
  • Volume Six: “Bones”
  • Volume Seven: “War Torn” (by Meredith Finch)
  • Volume Eight: “A Twist of Fate” (by Meredith Finch)
  • Volume Nine: “Resurrection” (by Meredith Finch)

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • DC comics
  • Wonder Woman

Juvenile Fiction

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling (3/5 stars)

Newt Scamander’s magical creatures roam free all over New York City after escaping from his enchanted briefcase. Capturing them on his own gets more complicated when there’s a dangerous wizard on the loose and the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) is over his shoulder. Above all else, Newt hopes his creatures and any people are left unharmed.

Overall, reading the screenplay was way more fun than watching the movie.

Recommended for Readers Into:

  • Harry Potter
  • The Harry Potter Universe


That’s all for July’s book haul!  Make sure you check out my latest book haul coming soon!

Feel free to read my last book haul case you missed it.

(Pic Sources: Amazon)

What have you read in July 2017? Any recommended August reads? Let me know in the comments below!


BOOK REVIEW: “The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K Rowling, Jack Throne, and John Tiffany

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Throne (Amazon) (Goodreads)

It’s nice to return to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world with Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildThe magical adventures carry on with Harry’s son, Albus Severus Potter.

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Albus in the center with his fam (via Pottermore)

Note: this story is formatted in script form since it’s based on the live performance currently running in London.

Not to spoil much (for anybody who hasn’t read it yet),  The Cursed Child is filled with time-travels, memorable character reunions, and the revival of a familiar old evil. It was a decent story but it didn’t hold my attention like the previous books have done. The “magical thrill” simply wasn’t there.

During the early Potter hype, I used to stay up all night reading the original series with no regrets as I dragged my tired body to school the following morning. Now, with The Cursed Child, not that kind of experience. I’m okay reading the book for a good thirty minutes before moving on to something else. Rowling had a part in this book. As a reader though, you can definitely tell she didn’t have her “all” in it. One reason obviously there had to be room made for writers Jack Throne and John Tiffany. They took the wizarding world into an interesting angle, just not angle I expected.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child wasn’t the best continuation of the Harry Potter series but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I would still see the play no doubt! If you’re a hardcore Harry Potter fan, I suggest you keep calm, breathe, and read.

Some things are not the way like they used to be.

What do you think?


The Scariest Stories I’ve Ever Read (So Far In My Life)

I made the mistake of readings these books as a kid. I stayed awake hoping no monsters would pop out of the dark corners of my bedroom. I buried myself under my bed covers every time I heard any suspicious noises. I would think of the worst when it’s only the creaky house foundation. All of this panic thanks to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories collection. As I grew older, I came to love those stories even though they still gave me the chills.

The creepiest stories for me were:

1. The Hook

via Pinterest

A young couple hanging out at Lovers’ Lane learns a mental patient armed with a hook has escaped from the local insane asylum. Worried about the crazy escapee, the couple returned to town safely but they discover a bloody hook attached to their car door.

2. Scarecrow (or Harold)

via io9

Two mischievous boys, Josh and Harold, steal an old farmer’s prized pumpkin-headed scarecrow.  Later on, the boys throw the scarecrow in the trash, smashing the pumpkin head in the process. The scarecrow attack the boys in the middle of the night. It chases Josh down a road wearing Harold’s head. The old farmer doesn’t bother to help.

3. The Babysitter

via Youtube

 A babysitter receives strange calls from a man reminding her to check on the kids. She calls the police and they warn her the caller is calling from the house. The babysitter barely escapes the house with the man after her. The police arrive, the children are found safe hidden in a closet, and an ax is found by the upstairs telephone.

4. The Bride

via Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark

A newly wedded couple play hide and seek during their wedding reception. The groom finds everybody except for the bride. Thinking the bride caught a case of cold feet, the groom moved on with his life without her. Years later, the bride was  found dead in a trunk. She had accidentally locked herself inside.

Got the chills yet? Simply typing this down feels like an ice demon blowing cold wind down my spine. You can go to scaryforkids if you want to read more scary stories from Schwartz online.  The stories on the site come from his collections:

Did you know parents had these books were banned at one part of time due to its creep factor and freaky illustrations? One couple believed it glorified satanism and cannibalism (yikes!). More details about the ban in this Chicago Tribune article.

Alvin Schwartz’s stories were scary but scary good! If you have nothing else to do on Halloween besides stuffing your face with trick-or-treat candy, read these stories. They will certainly heighten your Halloween night. Actually, they’re great to read any time of the year! From my own personal experience, I have to warn you: be prepared. I wouldn’t recommend reading these books in the dark.

via Giphy

Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 – Oct. 1)


via Am I Thirty?

Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 – Oct. 1)

Oh snap, it’s Banned Books Week! There’s nothing sweeter than a book that causes an uproar.

On the America Library Association’s (ALA) website, I found a list of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009.  I thought, “Hmm, which books I’ve read from this list?”

The ones I’ve read are highlighted in bold.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Boy, there’s a whole lot more books I need to read.

For more info and lists, please check out the following links:

Which banned books have you read? 


Library Book Haul: August 2016 *Romantic Edition*

According to National Day Calendar, August is Romance Awareness month! This gave me a good excuse to pick up a few sexy books from the library shelves.

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Amazon) (Goodreads)

Finally,  a book written by Sherrilyn Kenyon! As a longtime romance reader, I’ve never had the chance to pick up any of her books until now. Fantasy Lover is an interesting story about Grace, a sex therapist, who falls in love with Julian,  a cursed Spartan general. Grace accidentally summons Julian from a book and learns the ancient Greek gods condemned him to be a love slave. Any summoner uses Julian for their own pleasures until he is sent back into the book within a month. Grace and Julian form a strong romantic bond (besides the obvious sexual tension). Now, they have to find a way to destroy the curse before their month together runs out.

by Larissa Ione (Amazon) (Goodreads)

I’ve been following Larissa Ione’s works in the 1001 Dark Nights series, a collection of steamy stories written by various writers. I love Ione’s imaginative world of angels, demons, and everything in between! I already read her story about Hades and Azagoth, the grim reaper. This time, it’s all about Azagoth’s fallen angel assistant:  Z (formally known as Zhubaal). Z strongly believes his past love’s reincarnation is a demon soul collector named Vex. Only Vex doesn’t believe Z so he tries hard to help her recollect her past life as his lover.

The Vampire’s Bride by Gena Showalter (Amazon) (Goodreads)

Gena Showalter and I go way back. I stared reading her books in the early 2000s with The Stone Prince and The Nymph King. Now, I’m back into Showalter’s realm with The Vampire’s Bride, a love story between a vampire king and an Amazon trapped on an island together. Can’t wait to read how this story turns out!

Have you read any of these books? Know any of these authors? Feel free to comment below! ^_^



BOOK REVIEW: “The Mistletoe Promise” by Richard Paul Evans

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans (Amazon) (Goodreads)


  • Title: The Mistletoe Promise 
  • Author: Richard Paul Evans
  • Publication: Simon & Schuster (November 18, 2014) *first published in October 28, 2014*
  • Pages: 251
  • Series: The Mistletoe Collection
  • Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Richard Paul Evans’ The Mistletoe Promise is a surprisingly heartwarming holiday romance.  The promise is a contract of holiday companionship made between Elise Dutton, a humble travel agent, and Nicholas Derr, a lawyer who seems too good to be true in Elise’s small world.  If their relationship lingers happily beyond the term of the promise, they can move on as an official couple. If not, the promise respectfully ends. Hopefully, the people and memories from both of their dreadful pasts doesn’t get in the way of their joyous present.

Before reading this book, I thought it would be another cheesy romance. I’ve picked up a chick-lit vibe from it and was instantly turned off. Stories about women who are suddenly born into feeling human beings when they meet their Prince Charmings always rubbed me off the wrong way.

Fortunately, this book made me want to squeal into a pillow with excitement for Elise and Nicholas and scowl at anything threatening their relationship. I needed a book like this as the holidays are approaching. The Mistletoe Promise is a charming holiday book. Behold, there’s a shocking twist in this story! Just to let you know…

Have you read this book or any of Richard Paul Evans’ books? Which holiday romances you’ve read?





BOOK REVIEW: “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Amazon) (Goodreads)

Beautiful British model Lula Landry is found dead outside of her flat. The police states she has committed suicide.

P.I. Cormoran Strike, with the help of his (temporary) secretary Robin Ellacott, tracks down the real cause of the famed model’s death after a worrisome client believes she was murdered. This case could really turn Strike’s life around. After losing his leg in the war of Afghanistan, breaking up with his long-time girlfriend, and barely living in his own office, he needs the work.

I almost gave up reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. The book initially started out with a bang with the discovery of Lula’s body then it went downhill to a tortuous series  of repeatable episodes with Strike running around London asking people about Lula’s death with recycled information the reader already knows.

Plus, I felt terrible for Strike. He lived this pitiful life living in his office and people were coming to his door for money he didn’t have. Not that a P.I’s life is supposed to be glamorous but geez!

Everything turned out for the better. I enjoyed the diverse characters and the developing storyline. I suppose I’m so used to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series I was expecting so much more. This is her writing from a new angle.  It’s interesting to see Rowling expanding her writing into new territories.

If you know J.K. Rowling and you’re curious about her works outside the magical realm of Harry Potter, give this book a try. However, I warn you not to chuck the book out of the window when you read the first chapters. Believe me, it gets better. By the ending of this book, I was ready to read book #2: The Silkworm. I’m quite sure it  gets better than this.

Have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling?

Did you want to pull your hair out or did you cuddle with the book on a fur rug by the roaring fireplace? Feel free to share your thoughts.