Review: Pilot Birdie Mechanical Pencil

Warning: Not for those who are appalled by traditional writing systems and certainly note for those who believe a stylus and a huge phone can save the world lots of trees.

I want to honor this tiny little guy right here, Pilot Birdie, in a post. It has been my constant companion since ideas raced each other in my head and abusing my phone’s keypad and note wouldn’t do.
不明Because of its sleek design, I could easily keep it in my pocket. Pretty handy for quick notes. The metal finish also gives an assurance of durability to which I can attest- I have dropped this mechanical pencil for several times but the leads are still intact.*

It looks chic for its price and many have already asked me whether it is an actual pen or if I could write well using it considering its size–it serves the purpose.

*You might want to try dropping it too for future reference and scientific purposes.

**not a sponsored post… merely reviewing small items before launching big posts 😄

The Peculiars

The Peculiars

A Book Review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco


“There are peculiars all over the world,” Miss P, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


Having a different world where diversity is tolerated and encouraged is a famous theme in the fantasy genre that it does not come as a surprise Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children reminds me of Harry Potter, Pendragon, and X-Men . Special beings mingling with normal humans, wise old people taking care of the young ones and passing on the legacy, protagonists having to live up to their peculiarity, their gifts, the nature of their powers–this formula contributes to MPHPC being a page-turner.

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Review: Eragon


An Analysis of Christopher Paolini’s novel, Eragon

by Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco


That some books are inspired by other classic and more renowned books is nothing new to me. It is to be expected. As million books are published every day, it is not surprising that some have the same content, almost the same story, and even with the same characters garbed in a different attire and name. When I read professional and non-professional reviews on Eragon saying it is but a fanfiction of Lord of the Rings, it did not affect my desire to read the novel. After all, fanfictions are there for fans to enjoy. There are some readers who don’t get satisfied with how stories end and they resolve it by making up stories. A story about dragons and a fanfiction of a trilogy I really love made a perfect formula. I was excited to see what Paolini had cooked up. Or so I thought.

Eragon‘s likeness to Lord of the Rings is quite evident. Brom looks like Gandalf, a very inconsistent Gandalf. Sometimes he speaks like an old man, another, a rude old man. Eragon is a combination of a less sophisticated Legolas, an indecisive Aragon and a braver Frodo Baggins. Urgals have a resemblance to Uruk-hai. However, story-wise, the novel has a great potential. Every page of the novel has made me wonder if there is something more to being a Rider. Alas! I have to read the sequels to learn more.

What only bothers me is the consistency of the voices of the narrator and even the characters—it is irritating. In the first few pages, Eragon has made himself appear as a hero, in the next, a reluctant hero, and in the last pages, a love-sick hero. There are times when he and his dragon, Saphira, act like mother and son as presented in Saphira’s endearment “little one.” They act like lovers, too, as exemplified in the following lines:

I love you too.”

Then, I’ll bind you all the tighter.”

If it isn’t a combination of bestiality and S&M, I don’t know what to call it.

I have expected the blue dragon to speak in a language of the old, a dragon that has experienced a lot of things. There are some pages that give me the satisfaction to see this side of Saphira. It is disappointing to see her switching back to a bickering dragon. Perhaps comparing Saphira to other dragon-stereotypes is unfair but she does sound like a weakling to me. I have to consistently remind myself the novel has been entitled Eragon and not Saphira.

I also am waiting for the time when I can distinguish the language of the elves from the dwarves and from the human beings. Establishing their nuances is challenging particularly when there have been so many books that have already done-or attempted doing-that. However, LOTR‘s elf language is still different compared to the others. As a writer, Paolini can still improve that aspect of the novel.

It has been quite remarkable for a person that young to have published novels. I commend Paolini for that. However, with age comes maturity and experience. This brings another question to my mind. When should a writer stop editing his /her work? I have felt Paolini’s genius and inexperience in Eragon. Still, with the number of people he has been able to reach through his novel, and the growing number of those who want to read his novel, having people judge his work compared to other classic fantasy novels out there is inevitable. He cannot alter the story anymore. It is out there waiting to be devoured. What he can do is improve its language.

Will he?

Review: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Not once have I been astounded by fantasy classic authors for their ability to create different worlds and make them seem real. I was blown away by Pullman’s story, I can’t help but feel for Lyra, Pantalaimon, and the characters they have met on their journey. I enjoyed the excitement of looking for the lost kids, traveling with the gyptians and fighting with Iorek.

I’m having a little problem taking in what the novel says about religion, daemons, other worlds, and sin though. There are so many sectarian or anti-sectarian concepts crammed into the last three chapters of the novel that upon reaching those parts I couldn’t help but wonder why Lyra had to go through a perilous journey only to listen to a sermon. It doesn’t also help that my readings on the Northern Lights hinder my understanding of how plausible it is to have a different world beyond the aurora. That and the fact that I am 27 years old…

All in all, I was captivated by how the novel was pieced together, how I could easily relate to the young Lyra and her knack of expressing how she sees the world. Then again, I would have loved the book had it subtly presented religious concepts.

A Story of Archetypes

A Review of S.K Michels’ debut novel, The Shadow and The Light

By Jahzeel Dionne V. Ybasco

An archetypal story with seven leading characters, among them a muse, an old man, and three hero archetypes, this novel has a certain appeal, not different from George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. What makes this novel interesting is the author’s ability to tell a grim story in a fairytale-like manner that although the reader is immersed in The Shadow, he/she can’t help but be optimistic that in one of the four hundred pages of the book, a hero—or two—will come and save him/her.

It was like seeing an animation in my head. The setting has been described so well, it feels like you enter a completely different world. For a fantasy novel, that is saying something as only few authors, new authors in particular, can achieve that—create a world and make people feel it is real.

S.K. Michels is a genius in storytelling. However, I think the dialogues between and among characters can use an improvement since reading the novel has made me so concerned about those individuals. There are moments when I can’t distinguish Murdoch’s language from that of Arienne’s but maybe because they come from nobility. I have to say though that the dialogue does not get in the way of the intense scenes and actions provided in the story.

However, as the story progresses, I can’t help but think that it is another take on Frodo Baggins as he embarks on his journey toward Mt. Doom. It was the same darkness trying to take over and the protagonist trying to keep it at bay. Even Sapineald reminds me of Lothlorien, and eorin the Elves. Even the sceolians helping to retrieve Caliphurn from the Ghenna reminds me of the Eagles from Lord of the Rings. I don’t really mind though because for a Lord of the Rings fan, this is a treat.

Still, with her knack of using words to create an imaginary world full of intricate details and amazing and lovable characters, S.K. Michels is undeniably a talented author to watch out for.

Dear S.K.,

Thank you for the opportunity of reading your awesome book. Please do write another story. I CAN’T sit not knowing what may happen to Greenwyth after the war. Also, you owe Baldarich his existence since I really want to know the importance of his inclusion in the story. Lastly, please do give me another opportunity to read your sequels.

From one of your first fans,


Review: My Rebellion Checklist by Susan Soares

I received a Free Copy of this novel in exchange for a review.

The checklist is realistic, something that teenagers will definitely appreciate. In the beginning, I expected it to be fast-paced, that the protagonist would somehow tick off some elements of her checklist every chapter and it would include activities like go skydiving, have a relationship with a drug-addict or get drunk everyday. Tori, however is quite different as she tries to follow her checklist in the order that she has made them. The activities aren’t as dangerous as I thought they would be but are safe and not at all surprising for a girl at Tori’s age.

My Rebellion Checklist has interesting characters, more interesting than the protagonist actually which has made the book more fun to read. I am torn between loving Zack and hating him because he’s cool and stupid at the same time. I totally adore the way he supports Tori but excessively quoting those lines from famous sports athletes makes me cringe. It is quite weird that Annie who gives Tori the best advice regarding pregnancy is the one who kept pushing her to do something extreme which isn’t even a part of her list to begin with.

One social issue tackled in the novel is divorce. The fact that Tori’s family’s relationship is always tested has kept me hanging. Being an Asian, I am a big supporter of family oriented TV shows and novels and divorce doesn’t sit well with me. I guess Tori is still happy no matter what the result is.

I do have some minor concerns though. I am not sure though whether the accident in the beginning of the novel is necessary. Tori’s problem with her family catapults her to having the Rebellion Checklist and somehow the first three chapters don’t give it justice.

Despite not having reached certain expectations set by the title—I mean, come on, titles can always be misleading—, it is a good read.

Rating: 4 stars