RayaAlso joining our review team is Raya Carrillo! Raya is a fourteen-year-old kitty lover who dreams to fulfil her bucket list which includes travelling around Europe by train and one day publish her own book. She was part of the PDI’s Junior Inquirer and has since been writing stories online.

For her first post, she lays out what she thinks of Candy Gourlay’s young adult novel, Shine (David Fickling Books, 2013). She read the Philippine edition published by Anvil Publishing House (2014).


Who wouldn’t want the cool weather, the smell of wet plants, and the sound of the rain pouring? Those moments you allow yourself to put on some sentimental music and look out the window pretending you’re in a music video. This is rain for some of us.

But for Rosa, the rain is an everlasting shower that clouds her strange island called Mirasol into darkness. The sun almost never shines in her town. To make things worse, Rosa has a rare condition called “The Calm.” She has never uttered a word in her life, an effect of an ugly scar on her throat.

Things begin to brighten up when she starts chatting with Ansel95, a marvellous photographer who might just become her first ever real life friend, and when her dead mother suddenly appears on their front door.

This is Shine, written by the award-winning author, Candy Gourlay.





Shine is one of the few books I just could not put down. Every moment after I started reading it, my mind was lingering with thoughts about the story. My fingers were itching to start turning pages and find out what was going on that I finished the book in less than a day. Well, eight hours to be exact.

Every time I would turn a page, the story just gets better and better. Maybe it was the mysteries the story has yet to unfold, like who is the person behind Ansel95.  Maybe it was the horror stories so well told by Rosas’ yaya that I had to check my back at night. Or maybe it was the excitement of finding out more about the characters and how it would all end up.

This book is definitely going on my shelf of all-time-favourites.





Though the writing style is unusual, it actually makes Shine interesting. There are a few chapters that are written in a different font, which signals the shift in point-of-view. Every page I turn makes me understand the unknown point-of-view even more. This style adds to the already compelling mystery of the book.

If there is one thing I loathed about the book is that 217 pages of it was not enough. I found myself hoping a bonus page was hidden behind the dedications but sadly there was none. I now find myself regretting my decision of letting my curiosity take over and finish the book quickly. But I still am happy that every word seeped through me beautifully and that the story didn’t disappoint one inch of my mind.


Pictures of the UK and Philippine editions of Shine are from Candy Gourlay’s site.

The 3rd Filipino ReaderCon

The 3rd Filipi2013-0829_frca-logo_for-webno ReaderCon is postponed to December 7, 2013 still at the Rizal Library

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Manila University. The winners for the 2013 Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards will also be announced before the event ends.

Here is the list of finalists, which consists of a lot of books for children and young adults.

Children’s Picture Book
Mga Saranggola sa Tag-ulan by Eugene Evasco and Bernadette Solina-Wolf (LG&M Corporation)
Ninoy, Cory, and Noynoy by Yvette Fernandez and Abi Goy (Dream Big Books)
Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino by Noel Cabangon and Jomike Tejido (Lampara Books)

Chick Lit
That Kind of Guy by Mina V. Esguerra (Summit Books)
From This Day Forward by Marla Miniano (Summit Books)
Wander Girl by Tweet Sering (Flipside Publishing)

Novel in English
Salingkit: A 1986 Diary by Cyan Abad-Jugo (Anvil)
Voices in the Theater by A.S. Santos (Flipside Publishing)
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Novel in Filipino
Territorio delos Hombres Batch 6: Marcial Ortega by Vanessa (Precious Pages Corporation)
Blue Nights by Sonia Francesca (Precious Pages Corporation)
Once A Princess by Angel Bautista (Precious Pages Corporation)

Comics and Graphic Novels
Trese 5: Midnight Tribunal by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visprint)
Zsazsa Zaturnnah: Sa Kalakhang Maynila by Carlo Vergara (Visprint)
Pepe (The Lost Years of Rizal # 1) by Ron Mendoza and Arnold Renia Cruz (Black Ink Comics / Precious Pages Corporation)

Short Story Anthology
Pseudo.Absurdo.Kapritso.ULO (PAK U Journal) by Ronaldo Vivo Jr, Danell Arquero, Erwin Dayrit,

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Ronnel Vivo, Christian de Jesus (UngazPress)
Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang (Volume 2) by Severino O. Reyes, Christine S. Bellen, Rebecca T. Anonuevo and Felix Mago Miguel (Tahanan Books)
Pektus: Mga Maikling Kuwento by Mark Erron San Mateo, et. al. (Independent)

Essay Anthology
Bakit Di Ka Crush ng Crush Mo by Ramon Bautista (PSICOM)
Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years by Susan F. Quimpo & Nathan Gilbert Quimpo (Anvil)
Lovestruck: Singles Edition by Ronald Molmisa (OMF)

Florante at Laura: Edisyong Tapat Kay Balagtas edited by Paolo Ven B. Paculan (Flipside Publishing)
The Google Song and Other Rhymes for Our Times by Ed Maranan and Shan Jose (Anvil)
Lita: Poems on Women by the Cavite Young Writers Association (Balangay Books)

See you at the ReaderCon!

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2013 Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards

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Readers’ Choice Awards are now open! Nomination period is from August 9 – 23, 2013.

readers' choiceThe Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards is now on its second year and is a project of the Filipino Book Bloggers Group. It aims to give power to the reading public to recognize books that they like. These books may fall in the following categories: Children’s Picture Book, Chick Lit, Novel in English, Novel

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in Filipino, Comics/Graphic Novel, Short Story Anthology, Essay Anthology, and Poetry.

Here are the winners last year:

Children’s Picture Book: But That Won’t Wake Me Up (written by Annie Pacaña-Lumbao and Anelka Lumbao; illustrated by Liza Flores; Adarna House)

Chick Lit: Fairy Tale Fail (Mina V. Esguerra)

Novel in English: Ilustrado (Miguel Syjuco; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Novel in Filipino: Ang Huling Dalagang Bukid at ang Authobiography na Mali (Jun Cruz Reyes; Anvil Publishing)

Comics/Graphic Novel: KikoMachine Komiks Blg. 6 (Manix Abrera; VisPrint)

Short Story Anthology: Alternative Alamat (edited by Paolo Chikiamco; Rocket Kapre and Flipside Publishing)

Essay Anthology: It’s a Mens World (Bebang Siy; Anvil Publishing)

Poetry: Off the Beaten Track (Vibal Publishing)

For more information on the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards and how to nominate your favorite books, visit the Filipino Reader Conference site.

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6 May TiyanakNaglalaman ang May Tiyanak sa Loob ng Aking Bag ng labinlimang tulang pambata na nagtatampok sa karanasan ng mga batang Filipino. Nanalo ang koleksiyong ito ni Eugene Y. Evasco ng unang gantimpala noong 2009, sa unang taon ng pagkakaroon ng kategoryang tulang pambata sa Palanca. Inilimbag naman ito ng Anvil Publishing, Inc. noong 2012 na may kasamang mga guhit ni Kora Dandan Albano.

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Sa tingin ko, dapat asamin ang librong ito ng mga guro sa elementarya. Mainam na gamiting lunsarang teksto ang mga tula rito para sa mga paksa tulad ng pagkakaiba-iba, katutubong sining, mga hayop at sari-saring karanasan. Sinamahan din ang koleksiyon ng mga suhestiyong gawain o pagpapaliwanag para sa mga guro.

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