Friday, October 31, 2014

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey


From October 24th through October 25th, I won free tickets to be of Oprah's "Life That You Want" Weekend. It was a two day seminar featuring Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant and it utterly life changing. I cannot even begin to describe how they helped refueled passion into my life and gave me the set of tools to how to figure out what I need to do in my life and how to find inner peace and happiness within myself. I truly needed that motivational speech and as I was getting closer to the ending of the event, I decided to pick up three books including this particular book. I've heard for a few months that this book was out already and I figured that I would somehow get this book and thank God that I waited to purchase this book!

Before I begin talking about this book, I have to say that this is not a memoir of personal information about Oprah. What she did is in her O Magazine, she does this column called "What I Know For Sure", and in that column she gives insight about topics that she knows for sure is accurate and can impact your life. It can range anywhere from Love, and Courage to Power and Faith. So she got those columns and made them into chapters or individual topics. I can see the major confusion as to why people bought this book and wanted that clarity.

I admire Oprah, for who she is, what she believes, and in many ways I find that we share the same beliefs when it comes to Love, God, and the Soul. Obviously she has lived longer than me and has more wisdom, and it is fascinated to find someone who I can relate to in terms of how to become a better person. She took on an adventure and revealed inner truths about the world or people and it opened up major discussions that can definitely benefit my life.

Whether you are an obsessed Oprah fanatic or someone who wants to self improve themselves, this is definitely the book that you should consider reading. I felt as though this book could be a daily insight to enlighten yourself. One of my favorite quotes from this book is Oprah's own mantra when it comes to living her life and following her dreams.

"A transformation of consciousness that allows me to know that I am no better or worst than any other being. That I simply am." 

Overall it is going to be a book that I will keep for the rest of life and will most likely be reading it repeated to learn new messages and ideas when it comes to my life. I really suggest for many to get the audiobook because Oprah narrates the book and I can guarantee that will have more impact to this book. There is not enough words in the world to describe how much I enjoyed this book and how grateful I am to have this in my private collection. Thank you Oprah for everything that you do for the world and making it a better place!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez

Can I just say that how awesome it is to have Matt Bomer on the cover before he was famous? It goes to show you how people are oblivious to the past because if I knew beforehand that he was on the cover of this book, I would have known and suspected that he is gay.

Synopsis: Jason Carrillo is a jock with a steady girlfriend, but he can't stop dreaming about sex...with other guys.Kyle Meeks doesn't "look" gay, but he is. And he hopes he never has to tell anyone -- especially his parents.

Nelson Glassman is "out" to the entire world, but he can't tell the boy he loves that he wants to be more than just friends.

Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. In a revealing debut novel that percolates with passion and wit, Alex Sanchez follows these very different high-school seniors as their struggles with sexuality and intolerance draw them into a triangle of love, betrayal, and ultimately, friendship

My Review: Many years ago when I was in middle school, I was beginning to discover who I am and who I liked. I fought against being bullied around in school but I did not let those who caused me harm, to define who I am and that I had romantic feelings toward men. It was a scary feeling having these abnormal thoughts and feelings when the majority of the students around me were all heterosexual. 

Since I felt very single out, and in order to feel not left out, I went through a discovery phase in which I watched anything with gay content whether it be a television show or foreign soap opera, singers who supported gay people, famous gay icons, HIV/AIDS, and countless other things that made me well knowledge towards my new cultural identity. I discovered this book online and remembering reading the first chapter and relating extremely to Jason Carrillo. No one in my family knew who I am (Currently they still don't except for my sister) and I felt like having this secret was like being a spy among my family and friends.  

Now that it has been about 7-8 years now since I discover my true identity and this brought back wonderful feelings of my upbringing and couldn't believe how much I could relate to these characters. I thought I was going to read a few chapters the first night but I read the entire book in one night. I kept finding myself enchanted by the writing and beautiful storytelling and realizing that this book is a great book for those who are still in the process of accepting themselves or want a simple book about accepting who you are, romance and friendship.

In the very beginning of this story, if I had to pick a character that could relate to me, no doubt it would be Nelson. When I was growing up, people sense I was very mature for my age and I believe part of it is because since I realize I was gay at an early age, I already went through the steps that countless teenagers are going through in high school and college. Nelson is more in touch with the gay culture, and not to mention is in love with his best friend of two years. I've never been in a relationship with a man yet and I have my fair share of heart breaks from friends and people I have encountered over the years. 

What made me relate to him more was the concept that Kyle could not reciprocate his feelings for Nelson and he got extremely mad and I felt those same emotions in the past. Its Nelson's fault that he never made any moves or indication that he was interested in Kyle and the idea of letting go is harder than one can imagine. We get caught up with this fantasy of who we want to be with and in reality there is a reason why things do not work out the way they do. At least Nelson meets a great guy in the end which in my life that was not the case. I related to Nelson in the beginning but felt like a complete stranger midway through because he does dangerous things could have gotten him killed or sick.

I love Jason and Kyle. I love the dynamic between the two and love the innocent moments they shared as Jason was discovering who he truly is and I feel that many could relate to Jason because he was someone who had a great relationship with a girl and yet slowly he started get in touch with his identity, he realized that something is wrong and that being gay is not a choice.

I believe the magical word for this book is innocence. These three characters are discovering who they are, who they love, and what it means to be intimate with another man. I really want to read the rest of the series and I hope it lives up to my expectations from this first book. I am really looking forward to these characters and I felt they have become a part of me. Thank you Alex Sanchez for finding characters I could relate.

Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughn

Rating: 5 +++++++++ Stars

I'm not sure how this volume surpassed the previous two books! I can officially announce that I am addicted to this series and I cannot believe volume 4 has not been published! I NEED MORE SAGA IN MY LIFE! This book blew my mind to bits and I got to say that a lot of people die in this volume already and it's only the 3rd volume!! This volume will leave you at the edge of your seat and I cannot wait for the next volume to be issued!!! Thank you Brian K. Vaughn!!!

Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn

Rating: 5 Stars

Even though this summary is short, I am on a binge to read volume 3! I'm actually reading the individual issues and then rating the volume because overall this series keeps getting better and better. I am actually shocked to say this but I believe this series will become Brian K. Vaughn's magnum opus! This volume was better than the first and you get action pack adventures and most nerve wrecking endings as Alana, Marko, and Hazel escape from the bounty hunters.

Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn

Rating: 5 +++ Stars

I am grateful to have Brian K. Vaughan introduced to my life especially when I discovered his first magnum opus with Y: The Last Man. When I began my journey with Yorick Brown, I immediately wanted to read Saga and I am grateful that I actually waited. I believe that when you start a series, you should finish it before heading off to another series/world. Saga is going to be another wonderful edition to the amazingness of Brian K. Vaughn. I was actually surprised how these two series differ extremely and yet they are from the same creator.

Saga is a mixture of Star Wars, Fantasy/Magic, with a small dash of Romeo and Juliet. It begins the story about these two lovers, Alana and Marko whose species were at war together. Alana is a native from Landfall whereas Marko is from Wreath which is Landfall's only moon. Years ago, Landfall went to war with Wreath and even though the war ended, it has spread wildfire to other planets and galaxy. After the war ended, Alana got pregnant and when she gave birth to her baby girl named Hazel, they become one of the most wanted people in the galaxy. It's never been heard of that a child from Landfall and Wreath because the people from Wreath are magical and mixing those two together has either been impossible or dead as soon as they came into the world.

Having that set in mind, Hazel's life is in danger because every bounty hunter wants to capture her and her parents are willing to put up all the sacrifices needed to protect her. This series is unique and at the same time it feels like I'm familiar with the themes and plot. I believe Brian K. Vaughn is a pure genius and I welcome this brand new series into my life.

I'm very excited to read the next installment because I can picture multiple possibilities of what is to come for poor Hazel and I hope she becomes magical like her father because that could be a major story plot to this magnificent series.

I highly recommend it for anyone who has never read a graphic novel or wants something new to read. A lot of people say that this book is like Star Wars and I understand why because of the Sci-Fi world that Saga takes place in but I feel like if someone says that it is exactly like Star Wars, there is going to be some major disappointment. 

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

When it comes to this book, I enjoyed the story and the writing, but this is getting a 5 star rating based on the following criteria:

1.) It was effective with the message of that drugs of any kind can destroy your life, your friends, and your family. It made me nauseous reading this story and so glad that my family raised me right and never led me follow the wrong crowd.

2.) The poetry was fantastic, lyrical, rhythmic, and I love how in each chapter it was designed differently to showcase the different emotion that Kristina experienced throughout this book.

3.) Everyone and their mother should read this book and showcase to teenagers how Drugs will screw up your life and understand there are other alternative ways of spending your time, resource, and talent.

Millions of people around the world are following the similar fate of Kristina and lost their lives to their addiction. I personally could never comprehend what possess people to try something lethal that will only scarred you for the rest of your life. This is the first time that I have ever read dealing drugs in detailed and it will probably be the last. I am so not interested reading the sequels of this book and the further I read this book, the more thankful that my music career, my mother, and my family help me see the bad influences in life and how to say no and stay away from the wrong crowd!

This book is about this straight A honor roll student named Kristina who is court ordered to spend time with her father who she hasn't seen in years. So she spends 3 weeks with him and slowly and surely becomes a monster. Right off the bat you read the living conditions of her fathers apartment which is horrific and if I was her, I would have called my family and take the next flight back home. She meets this boy name Adam who lives in the complex and essentially "falls in love with him" and simply smokes cigarettes, weed, and snorts cocaine. For being a perfect student she surely fucked up which I can't comprehend how she knows what drugs do to people and yet follows her fathers step who is still a drug addict.

The minute she snorts cocaine, her perfect little world immediately starts to crumble into pieces, she becomes this brand new destructive person and doesn't seek any help to treat her addiction. Along the way she gets pregnant and that's where the book leaves you off. I know for a fact that the sequels is going to get worst with her addiction and I really don't want to read that when in my life I am content and high on life and music. I cannot relate to the character and found it very powerful in terms of capturing a story that millions could relate. This book should be taught in schools and demonstrate how drugs will lead you to a dangerous path and how to stay away from it or say no to peer pressure.