Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Dragon Ball, Vol. 3: The Training of Kane-Sen'nin" by Akira Toriyama


I have been debating whether or not I have seen the anime of this series before Dragon Ball Z and I can official say that I have and to get clarity on that answer this volume refreshed my memories. Unfortunately the Dragon Balls have all scattered again thanks to Oolong's pathetic wish in order to save humanity under the rule of Emperor Pilaf and nobody will be able to track them down for another year so everyone minus Goku leaves to the City and Goku heads over to meet Kame Sen'nin and asked him if he can be his apprentice.

At first Kame Sen'nin does not take Goku seriously and tells him if he brings back an attractive girl then he will commence his training. Right at the same moment a new character appears and his name is Kuririn who is practically has the same perverted mind as Kame Sen'nin. Goku and Kuririn set off to find a girl and luckily they find one called Lunch but the cost of this encounter is whenever Lunch sneezes she changes personality and becomes this evil criminal. Now that the task has been accomplished, the training begins and it is one of the toughest training that Goku and Kuririn has been put through in their life but over the course of months, it becomes undemanding for them and Kame Sen'nin tells them that they can compete for the Tenkaichi Budokai tournament. 

The best fighters around the world come and compete for this title and only eight make it to the finals. Goku and Kuririn are excited about it but apprehensive since Kame Sen'nin didn't teach them any moves just their constant exercise regiment. What they do not realize is thanks to his training, they feel extremely light weight making them run faster and jump higher. They feel less pain in battle and quick to react to attacks. Having these skills will make them fierce in the competition. While everyone laugh at how they are small children, in the end they make to be one of the 8 finalist. 

Amongst the finalist we get to meet Yamcha again and the whole gang but surprisingly Kame Sen'nin is missing. Now that they have made it into the finals, the battle will begin and this Jackie Chun who is competing looks awfully familiar. Will Goku win this tournament? Will Jackie Chun kick his butt? Until next time when the library notifies me about Vol. 4-8 on Dragon Ball. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

"Dragon Ball, Vol. 2: Wish Upon a Dragon" by Akira Toriyama


This manga leaves off right where the first volume left off which is Goku and Bulma are trying to capture the 6th dragon ball but unfortunately a new problem has arrived for these adventurers. The 6th dragon ball is located inside a castle in Fry-Pan Mountain that is surrounded by fire. Everyone who knows about the famous mountain avoids it at all cost because the Ox King who rules the mountain has been known for killing those who trespassed his land. Goku and Bulma meets this Ox King named Gyū-Maō who unfortunately hasn't been able to enter his castle since he is not able to put out the flames. He was about to kill them but then found out that Goku has met Kame Sen'nin who is the Ox King master. He tells them that if they could find his master, he will be able to put out the fire and give them the dragon ball.

At first you may think how does this old man strong enough to put out the fire? Well you see apparently he has drink the immortality elixir and when he wants to fight or use super strength he changes from a fat little old man to super buff macho old man and we get to see the first Kamehameha which is an energy beam created by ones who hands and strength and you are able to project it and destroy whatever is in front of you. Only the most dedicated and trained masters can accomplish this power. Fortunately for Goku, he is able to create a small one by watching Kame Sen'nin and wants to train with him so that one day he can be more powerful. At first Kame Sen'nin laughs at Goku until he realizes that his grandfather was Kame Sen'nin #1 apprentice. 

After they solve that problem, Goku, Bulma and Oolong are off towards the west to find the final dragon ball and we get to see the encounters of different cities and villains that come their way and luckily with Goku they are able to kick ass and more on. Unfortunately while they were getting closer to the final dragon ball, Emperor Pilaf has been waiting for them to arrive and steals all the dragon balls. The gang track his location but fall into a trap and now they need to find a way to break out and retrieve the dragon ball before he summons the dragon.

What I really love about this volume is it answers tons of the questions I had about these characters like Goku's tail, the Kamehameha, and countless others that popped up during the series. Since I never saw the show from the beginning I simply accepted these confusing questions and move on. Luckily now I am able to understand this series and relieving a tiny part of my childhood. I am excited what is going to happen now and Goku's training with Master Roshi. 

P.S. If you have only seen Dragon Ball Z, this specific volume provides you info on who becomes Goku's wife and countless others who will become important later on.

"Dragon Ball, Vol. 1: The Monkey King" by Akira Toriyama


I remember Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z vividly as a child. When I was a little boy, my parents did not have cable television but instead we had an antenna that would get some of the local channels. I remember one early morning I woke up around 5 AM while my parents were asleep and I simply got out of bed and walked to the television and turned it on. Whatever channel my parents had left it on previously had appear and with it came Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. I did not know the plot, the characters, or the storyline and yet I was entranced by the animation and the whole aspect of this iconic series. Even though my parents got extremely upset I was oblivious of it all and became an early fan of animation.

While I worship and praise Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, growing up as a kid I remember being addicted to Dragon Ball Z because they would play marathons of it on Cartoon Network and I always wanted the ability to become a Super Saiyan and looking back now I realized that whenever I was watching a major arc in this series, I would always missed the final two episodes and never get to see how it got resolved or the introduction to a new villain. I didn't care at the time but now it is driving me nuts and partly why I am reading the manga now.

I borrowed Dragon Ball Z from the Library and never read it because at the time I didn't know that there was a difference between Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. I didn't understand Dragon Ball Z and felt discouraged until now when I was looking up some famous Mangas, I came across this again and discovered the difference and I am extremely glad that I am reading this from the very beginning because already in this first volume we are introduced to many characters that will become important later on.

Dragon Ball was written first and it deals primarily about Goku as a kid and how he is introduced to the Dragon Balls. Dragon Ball Z deals with Goku as an adult with kids and dealing with so many villains and deadly battles. 

Dragon Ball, Vol. 1: The Monkey King, introduces us into this world similar to Earth but instead we got all paranormal, supernatural, aliens, and other weird creatures that inhabits the land with Humans. We are then immediately introduced to a boy name Goku whose an orphan since his parents disappear and his grandfather passed away. He lives in the wild and has never been raised on modern technology so naturally he hunts for his food, catches leaves to make his bed and other wildlife activities. While he is a young boy in fact he is not ordinarily for you see he has a tail attached to his butt and he has super strength with kung fu training. One day while hunting for food, he witness a car almost running him over and thinking that it is a demon he attacks and destroys the car. Then a girl pops out of the car and causes a fuss but finds it weird how this boy destroyed the car, has a tail, and has never seen a human being before let alone a girl and tells Goku that her name is Bulma.

His grandfather taught Goku that if he is ever in the presence of a female that he must be nice to them. So as a warming introduction he brings her to his house and she goes crazy when she sees a dragon ball which Goku calls it grandpa. After a stressful encounter over the dragon ball, Bulma shows Goku two extra dragon balls that she has in her possession and tells him the whole Chinese folk tale of the Dragon Ball. Apparently there are these 7 Dragon Balls that are very shining and has stars on each one of them (1-7) and if you capture all 7 dragon balls then a Dragon will appear and will grant one wish to your hearts desire. Goku loves the idea of the story and really wants to witness a dragon so he tags alone with Bulma as she tracks and captures the other dragon balls (but he refuses to give away his grandfather's dragon ball). 

One thing that Bulma left out is it has been over hundreds of years since the dragon balls have been found and once you grant the wish, all the dragon balls get scrambled all over the world and then it becomes an impossible mission to retrieve them all over again. So now that they are working together, they are off on an adventure quest to retrieve all the 7 Dragon Balls. Through the course of the book we get to meet characters who do not seem important at the moment but will later appear in the series and in fact become a vital part into the Dragon Ball Z series.

The illustrations are phenomenal and the storyline is amazing. I was surprised how quick they have captured so many dragon balls in the course of the first volume but now I am curious how these series will pan out before we are dived into Dragon Ball Z. I remember the show being funny between the sarcasm and the jokes among the characters and in the manga it was absolutely hilarious because Goku is oblivious and innocent when it comes to girls and technology and you can see how frustrating it is for Bulma to deal with him and I love their chemistry even though Bulma can be annoying at times. I am definitely onboard towards continuing this manga series and maybe I will rewatch the anime show at the same time.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


This will ultimately be one of the best books I have encountered in my life. The characters, the writing, the themes, locations, and references in this book are phenomenal and this particular story left me utterly speechless. I saw the movie version and had the ending ruined for me but even though it was ruined, I didn't give it much notice because this book in both metaphysical and literally aspects were astounding.

For a simple summary, this book is about a boy named Charlie, he is someone who doesn't necessarily participate in life and instead observes his surroundings and he is always in his thoughts. He writes letters to us the readers and we absorbed into his world.

He is nervous about Highschool and sadly he has no friends because his only best friend committed suicide and people find him weird and strange. Luckily he meets these two Seniors, Sam and Patrick, who change his world and inspire him to be himself and participate outside his comfort zone. It is a coming of age book and you get to see how in a course of an year how much Charlie changes and I loved the way he wrote his letters and his train of thought.

When reading this book, I really took my time and didn't speed through it because I realize that when you take the time and read his letters, you can pick up on the different emotions Charlie was experiencing, and being fascinated with his world I personally felt the emotional and psychological changes that Charlie went through. I love how in many ways I could connect with Charlie and disconnect at the same time and never feeling bored or disinterested in his life.

I have never smoke, done recreational drugs, drink alcohol or any of this illegally activities that teenagers do when they go to Highschool. I don't approve in participating in these habits but I didn't feel disturbed by Charlie's "activities". What made me get very emotional was how I could relate a lot to Charlie and understand the way he writes and why he feels the way he feels, and how unique and delicate he is when he comes to expressing emotions or thoughts.

Charlie reminds me of a flower, unique, beautiful, and fragile. I need to bow down to Stephen Chbosky for this book and how he perfectly fitted the parallels between the readers and Charlie. When reading this, I started thinking about this book in a philosophical way and experiencing Charlie's world vividly and in detailed. When it comes to Charlie, he is a pure filter, experiencing everything new for the first time, and showing how Charlie is human and someone who is innocent and not tainted by society. I thought of that concept half way through and I love it how when Charlie's reads Fountainhead, he doesn't read it for what it is but accepted the role of filtering the book through his life experiences and discovering different ideas and point of view that he had never thought before and how in every book he reads, he always find something philosophical and nostalgic.

I don't like how many people compare Charlie to Holden because they are two completely different characters. Holden is a pure selfish brat whereas Charlie was genuine and couldn't fake his emotions. Plus I didn't mind that Charlie cried for a lot of things because I remember when I was younger and till this day I still do it which is when I admire something beautiful in my life whether it be books, art, music, dance, theatre, when I capture what is beautiful in my eyes, I want to live in the moment and I get overwhelm with emotions and cry and I believe that for Charlie, crying was an outlet of expressing his emotions but opening himself up to what's happening in front of him and letting him be human without repressing anything.

The ending shouldn't come for a shock for anyone because the way he writes, it is plainly clear that something is not right with him. I can ramble on and on and on and I wish I could write forever about this book because it honestly impacted me in ways that currently I cannot process at the moment. I am so grateful for this book and the movie did a faithful adaptation which I'm glad because I LOVE THE MOVIE!!!!

I highly recommending this book for everyone and please for my sake disentangle yourself from any books like Catcher in the Rye and read this book for what it is and enjoy the magical experience!

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris


Ted: Hey Kids! Do you remember that time when Uncle Neil wrote his Choose Your Own Autobiography?

Kids: No not really... Oh great here we go again!

Ted: This story is going to leave you speechless and make you love Uncle Neil even more that you thought you possibly imagine!

(Cue the theme song)

♫♫ pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa ta da ta da ta da ta da da da ♫♫

Ted: The year was 2014, and by now I already fell in love with your mother, Aunt Robin was married to Uncle Neil, and life could not get any better! Until Uncle Neil took the time out of his busy life to write his own autobiography. Along the way he discovered that he is not the only famous person in the planet that has written their own life story. He figured being the Legend-wait for it-dary person that he truly is, discovered that as a child, he loved reading those choose your own adventures stories where you get to play the main character and get to decide your fate in the storyline, hopefully you would choose the correct path but most times than not you made the bad choices that ruined the fate of your character. So with using his creative mind, he decided to make the reader a.k.a You as Neil Patrick Harris and hopefully you choose the correct path to fame and stardom or ended up working at Subways wishing the life that you could have lived.

You learn that he grew up in New Mexico, he pursued theater at a very young age, and is incredibly lucky when it comes to how fate dealt the cards for him. Everyone encouraged him to pursue acting in a performing arts high school but refuse the sacrificed that his family and friends will struggle. So instead he attended a prestigious summer camp which the director of the event would later give him his lucky break with first film with none other than Whoopi Goldberg!!

Kids: Who is Whoopi Goldberg?

Ted: Oh yea thats right you live in the 21st century! You guys make me feel old. The woman who played in Sister Act as that fake nun, and that crazy psychic in Ghost? Won an Oscar? Ring a bell...??

Kids: *Stares blankly and shrugs*

Ted: Um... Anyway, Neil got a taste of the acting virus and could not get enough of it. After a few years and getting more experience in the entertainment business, he lands on his first major role of a lifetime as Doogie Howser!

Kids: OH YEA! You showed us that amazing show on Netflix and could not believe it only lasted for only 4 seasons?

Ted: It was Hulu but whose is keeping count?.. Yea I loved that show while growing up and what attracted such a huge fan base is that it was not a kids show and instead more of a drama!

Back to my story, after the show was sadly cancelled, Neil explored and indulge the life of a teen idol. He partied with other famous teenagers such as Ed Alonzo, the handsome Stephen Dorff, and countless others. He even witness the spoil brat Shannon Doherty going bat (bleep) crazy in the club with another girl. After many insane moments, Neil called it quits to the LA scene and decided to explore other career options.

At the same token, Neil had discovered that he was different from all his friends and family members. He discovered early on that he did not like girls and instead love boys. It was a confusing time for his upbringing but along the way in this incredible journey called life, he discovered his true identity and even met the love of his life known as Uncle David/Scooter.

It was a difficult time being teen idol yet he was a young adult by the time Doogie was finished. He did many made-for-tv movies but wanted to discover again the root of his passion for acting which was theater. He embarked on some life changing experiences while touring in musicals and has many crazy/amazing/sexual memories on these events in his book.

When life could not get any better, your Uncle landed his 2nd biggest role on television on How I Met Your Mother as Barney Stinson. I believe this role will surpass Doogie any day and made everyone fall in love with him instead of me.

Kids: Wait our life is a television show? We are a work of fiction?

Ted: How many times do I have tell you guys... Our life is real as it can be, but when I met your mother and discover what an epic adventure it was, I wrote the pilot script and submitted it to CBS and they developed my life story into a sitcom. Obviously they had to change a few characters name like Uncle Neil, and he could not reprised himself and live through that Legen-wait for it-dary period of his life so instead we hired his evil twin Dr. Horrible.

Uncle Neil was finally high on life. He had discovered his life partner, was on a hit sitcom show, and life could not get any better. He hosted a few awards show like the Emmys, Oscars, and made hit breaking records at the Tonys. He learned that coming out to the media could be career ending but luckily nobody couldn't care less about who he slept with and at the end of the day we love him as Barney. No one could deny that truth.

After nine wonderful seasons of HIMYM, he began researching a challenging role to act on Broadway and was offered the title role of Hedwig And The Angry Itch. It was a charming and exciting experience for it and one of the most difficult roles to play both physically and psychological. With all the hard work in place was rewarded with benefits and it won him the Tony for Best Actor.

There is so much in this book that I cannot do it justice. You learn secret hobbies and passions of Neil such as magic, the journey to fatherhood, and the incredible people that he has encounter on this path to fame. I love Uncle Neil and is one of the best role models of someone who is happy, loved, and is not afraid to try new experiences and experience life with open hands. 

Sadly I had to read the book without choosing an adventure because it drives me nuts not knowing if I have read every page of the book and do not like the whole going back and forth from childhood to adulthood in 3 secs. I highly recommend this book for you kids and everyone on planet Earth! Until next time!

Kids: THAT'S IT?

Ted: Thats it...

Kids: No, I don't buy it! That is not the reason you made us listen to this. 

Ted: Oh really? Then what is the reason?

Kids: Lets look at the facts here. You mean us to sit down and listen to the story of how awesome Uncle Neil is and how he wrote a "Choose Your Own Autobiography" when it is your lame attempt to avoid the announcement that you and Aunt Robin are getting married? Yet Aunt Robin is barely in the story. This is you trying to beat around the bush with telling us that you are in love with Robin after our mother passed away. Dad we are perfectly fine and you should marry her.

Ted: I kept this story short, to the point and you guys still missed it! The point of the story is your Uncle Neil is..


Ted: No I don't!

Kids: Yes you do!

Ted: You are both grounded!

Kids: Then does this review provide a resolution to everything that is going on in Uncle Neil and our life?

Ted: As your Uncle mentions in his book, "Kids, sometimes things don't end the way everybody wants them to. Sometimes they just kind of . . . end."

Blankets by Craig Thompson


Now that I am well rested to give this review a coherent thought, I found this book to be beautifully written and drawn even though it has depressing undertones. I loved everything about the book from the story, the characters, plot, and illustrations and I realized at the same time that this book is definitely not for everyone. I believe if you do not come from a religious upbringing or town, you won't exactly understand what is going through Craig's mind both emotionally and spiritually throughout his upbringing.

Craig, our main character is the oldest brother in the family and we get an early glimpse of his childhood and how creative and innocent he is with his brother when they used to share the same bed. Even though he's about 10-12 years old, he still acts like a 5 year old who believes in the Easter Bunny. He comes from a christian and very religious family and they have been teaching him about Jesus and taking him to Church ever since he was little. As a child he accepts everything that his parents and pastor tells him about God and Jesus without questioning. But as the years ago we get to see the loss of innocence in Craig or rather a passage to adulthood in my opinion.

As a senior in highschool, he is constantly bullied because 1. He is not into sports so the guys make it seem like he's a sissy. 2. He loves to draw and for many that makes him seem like a "Faggot" 3. He's not very social. Every year after christmas, his parents sends him to this bible winter camp where he gets to socialize with other teenagers, participate in concerts singing songs only about Jesus, and practically worship God and Jesus 24/7. Clearly Craig has never liked it as a child because the same mean bullies would attend these events and he would like to get away from it all. But this time things are different, he meets other kids who aren't exactly part of the norm of society, wearing gothic and grunge clothing that makes them look like outsiders.

One girl in particular Raina attracts Craig from the start and from the very beginning a relationship starts to bloom. At the time he didn't have a clue what to do with his life, he believed that his drawings were a sin as a distraction from God and being around Raina, she made him feel special. He found her to be absolutely beautiful and a distraction from the madness of his life. During that same time I feel like Craig had a spiritual awakening when he realized that this type of mass production to Christianity feels like brainwash and while he praises Jesus and Gods teaching, he doesn't like it how these close-minded people behave. When that event happens, it practically becomes the main struggle for Craig as he challenges his faith and decides whether to accept what he has been taught since a child or deviate from the norm and become an intellectual making ones own independent thoughts.

For me this book resonated close to home especially for Craig's struggles. I grew up attending church religiously because my mother is Catholic and my father is Baptist. He played the organ in his church so I would have to wake up extremely early to attend his rehearsals before the service, watch the service, and then attend Sunday School. I loved everything about the service minus Sunday School. For me it wasn't the teachers I had a problem, it was the simple fact that I felt like I was going to school for a few hours and I already hated public school so why does religious school going to make that better?

My mother even though she is Catholic, she doesn't attend church much and after my parents divorce I barely attended church for a few years which I think was the right thing to do because at the end of the day your kid needs to explore life, make friendships, explore and connect with nature instead of being shoved with religious teachings every day of every week. Then my family put me into the Catholic Church to get my communion and confirmation and for the first few years I really enjoyed it. The teachers were very humble and loving individuals, never showing hate only love and what helped also was the nuns and priest who were very kind and available to any religious discussions with an open mind.

As I got older and accepted my sexual identity, the inner conflict that I struggled for a short time was am I going to hell because I'm gay? Will my family abandon me because of these perverted thoughts? It was such a confusing time and it didn't help that there wasn't any gay people in my life to show me that everything will be okay. Then I got an epiphany and realize if God has created everything from the universe to man, then that means he created me just as I am because if he hated gay people then we would all be straight. 

After that occurring thought, my mind opened up to the wonders of the universe and as an artist, I decided to be open-minded when it comes to religion, art, culture, and becoming a better human being. Today I believe in God, Jesus, and their teachings but I do not like to subjugated into one domination of religion. I accept everyones belief and do not cause harm to others or try to convert other people. I believe as human beings, we are always striving towards a better life and a better world so if you do not inflict harm to others and live a happier life with or without religion then I bow down to you.

I believe having these similar thoughts as Craig is what made him open up and realize the ignorance of his youth. It was very sad the way things ended but at the end of the day I believe he is living a richer life being open to new experiences and new encounters in life. The illustrations of this book is spot on and absolutely stunning. It captured my attention right away and sucked me into another world and even though it is a long book, you forget about the pages and easily realize you've read 100 pages within 30 minutes. I believe Craig Thompson has the potential to be currently one of greatest graphic novel story tellers of the 21st Century and I will be definitely be checking out his other works.

I highly recommend this book for everyone to read because it is so worth the time and effort of reading about adolescence, romance, heartbreak, growing up, and the journey of self-discovery and adventure. Thank you Craig Thompson for making me live through my childhood again.

P.S. Part of the reason that I read this book is because I was sick and tired of seeing that the longest book I read this year was a book that I hated so I am glad that now this is the longest book I've read in 2015 so far!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


This is how I feel when I want to sum up how spectacular and brilliant this book has become and I am thankful to have this book in my private collection.

Before I go complete fanboy on this book let me give a short simple summary without giving any spoilers away. Anna and the French Kiss is about a girl named Anna, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia who is getting excited for Senior Year except her father who is international bestseller author (Think of Nicholas Sparks) decides to send her off to boarding school in Paris, France. FREAKING PARIS HOLY SH^T. She is royally pissed because she doesn't know any french and by leaving to Europe that means she is not going to spend her final year with her best friend and this boy she is drooling over. She argues and fights with her parents but at the end of the day she gets on that plane to Paris. She feels isolated at first but meets these amazing people and instantly become great friends. One in particular, a boy named Étienne St. Clair, is American/British/French guy who is charming, smart, beautiful, funny, and taken. Anna is great just to have him as a friend but soon enough she falls in love with him and does not know what to do! Will she express these feelings? Will St. Clair reciprocate these feelings of love to Anna? Who knows!

Can I just start off and say that these brand new book covers are absolutely stunning! I heard about this book so much in the book tube community and believed that this was going to be puppy love story meant for 12 years olds! I WAS SO WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS PRAISE JESUS!! I traveled to Paris this summer and I knew I was going to enjoy this book because I love revisiting places that I have traveled and when reading this book, I felt as though I was back in Paris and knew all the locations of where Anna explored with Étienne and her friends. Stephanie Perkins does not go into full blown details to help pictured about Paris but gave it a little spark and glamor which to me made it feel home.

What I admire most about this book is that its very quick in the beginning and never a moment of boredom. I would be reading this book and forget about the time and not realize that I easily read 100 pages in just a few hours. With that mentality alone made it a great book for me and the characters were hilarious and believable. I felt like these characters were real and by making them believable made the storyline heart warming, original, and unique. I still do not know how Anna could complain about traveling to Europe. I would switch places with you in a heart beat to live for 9 months in Paris compared to my 3 day trip! Shame on you, Anna!

I honestly can say that I have never been in a relationship and when that glorious special someone comes to my life, I hope I can have that unique, powerful, heart melting experiences like Anna does with Étienne. Stephanie Perkins made this characters with imperfections whether it be in their personality or their family life. Everyone on this planet comes with problems that we can all relate to and by showcasing that into this book made me fall in love with Étienne! I remember Anna telling Étienne that we did not choose our parents and that is exactly right because even though I am grateful for all that my mother sacrificed for me, there are moments that I want to disassociate with everyone in my family.

Even with Étienne's imperfections, he is perfect in my eyes and wished he was my soulmate. I have a lot of issues that I need to resolve whether in my family life, or in myself to even beginning to find romance and true love. I constantly tell people even if I meet Prince Charming tomorrow, and he is the perfect boyfriend in the world, the relationship would not work out because I need to deal with my insecurities and issues so that way I can be my true self and loving individual instead of impatient, jealous, not trusting, crazy boyfriend. A great example of someone who is struggling this is Anna.

Anna is completely oblivious in the beginning but when she realizes that she is in love with Étienne, she became this stupid, impatient, and crazy person. I know love makes you do crazy things but damn girl you need to take a chill pill. I understand her frustrations with this whole dilemma but its like before she realized her feelings, she was normal, and then now she is making all these mistakes which in turn screws up everything that she has worked hard for in this loving relationship with Étienne.

This book left me speechless and took me by surprise with everything that characters experience during these 9 months of adventure in the city of love and romance. You can actually see the progress these characters make during this journey of friendship and romance and I love how realistic Anna & Étienne relationships turns out to be in the end. I do not take relationship advice or aspire these unbelievable relationships in books but I would want my love experience to be similar to these characters.

These characters go through major crap because they accept the love they believe they deserved and that is not true. People are beautiful inside and out, and they should have the best relationships in the planet but sadly they are taken for granted. Also we as individuals take time to process what we truly need in our life, what we need to disassociate, and what must be done so that way we are closer to happier and brighter life. I realize that at the end of the day in order to have a successful relationship, I have to be friends first and develop this sense of trust and openness in order to succeed in life and taking chances. I admire Stephanie Perkins for this fantastic book and I wish she made sequels progressing Anna's life. It would have been amazing to do the college years, getting married, having children and dying old. That would have been a great series, and I do not think I am going to read the other sequels, maybe the final one because Anna and the rest of the cast are either mention or in the final book.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The Summary of How I Feel About This Book:

This book was absolutely beautiful and I do not know how to give this review any justice to what life-altering experience I just went through over this weekend. I picked up this book from my bookshelf randomly after watching booktube videos and placing my book order from B&N and I never believed that I would actually finish it let alone get past twenty pages within the 1st reading. I WAS SO WRONG!!!!

I have never seen any reviews for this book, read the synopsis or find anything to give me insight into this novel and I started reading it blindly and I believe that is the way it should be. I fell in love with the book within the first hour and I seriously could not put it down. Every time I was preoccupied with something in my daily life, my mind would flashback towards Aristotle & Dante and wondering what happen to them as though they had always been my long-term friends. It feels like my life did not exist before this book and for the rest of my life I feel like I did not have a life before this book came into my possession.

I cannot consider this to be an actual novel, I believe this book is life and how difficult it is for every individual having hard times whether it be family drama, sexual identity, or simply accepting love and giving love to others. I could relate to both Aristotle and Dante and I believe I share both halves of their personality. Aristotle reminds me of myself whenever I had low self-confidence in myself, the doubts that I carry when it comes to love, and how courageous he is when it comes to defending the ones he loved. Dante reminds me of the intellectual side of myself, always being positive, curious about the world, and always being straightforward when it comes to the truth and ones own feelings. I am born into pure American/Cuban household and I felt the same emotions and share the same experiences with these characters as they struggle to find a place in this world and a place in their culture because they both feel like they are outsiders. This author spoke to me in ways that I thought were not possible and he took me on this beautiful journey which feels unrealistic because no one in my personal life realize what I have just experienced these last two days with this book.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz kept me reading for hours, always trying to figure out what will happen between Aristotle & Dante and I believe that is one of the best ways of storytelling and I could never repay him for the beauty that he shared with this book. It may sound like an exaggeration and others may not like this book but for my personal entertainment this has become one of the best books I have ever read of all time which I do not take that title lightly in my literary world.

I have this habit and I do speak out publicly to people about it but whenever I encounter a book, tv show, movie, or any form of art that has seriously changed my life, I keep it to myself. I do not tell anyone about my encounters because I believe if I share these with people then it loses its specialty and then I do not feel like the author of these works is speaking to me directly. I know its sounds weird and insane but I like to feel special. If everyone reads the same books and watches the same films then we all have the same opinions and no originality. Obvious I know thousands of people have read this book but those thousands are a number to me and instead I felt like the author wrote this book specifically for me.

This book has a plot but I believe it does not have a plot at the same time. We see the story through Aristotle's point of view but I truly felt like I was part of the story and this book became a film in my head. That doesn't happen often when it comes to books but whenever I feel like this I truly cherish it to my heart.

This takes place in 1987, we meet Aristotle who is very lonely, sad all the time and does not how to cope with these feelings that are inside of him. Sadly what doesn't help is his father fought in Vietnam and came back as a changed man and does not reveal anything about the war and all the pain and death that he witnessed. Because of this he doesn't communicate well with Aristotle and while Aristotle has older siblings who live on their own, a ghost lurks around the house and the topic of this ghost is unspeakable within the family. Aristotle has an older brother named Bernardo who went to prison when he was little and he doesn't know why he went to prison and his parents treat this situation as though Bernardo is dead to them. No pictures hang around the house and it hurts Aristotle to not know the truth about what happen to his brother.

Then one day during the summer, Aristotle goes to the public pool which unfortunately he does not know how to swim. While he is trying to float above the water, he meets another boy named Dante who asks him whether he wants to learn how to swim. From that day forwarded, their lives are forever changed for the better. Aristotle never had a best friend before and he doesn't understand why Dante likes hanging around with him. Because Dante is an intellectual, he is seen as an outsider and a weirdo and he suffers too from having no friends except for Aristotle.

Immediately they have great chemistry and develop a friendship that I wished I had in my upbringing because it was so pure and innocent and special. I felt like the world was finally in motion when they were together and it made me forget the troubles I have in my current life. What I love about this book too is that family played a major role. The parents weren't treated as secondary characters and instead they always knew what was going on between Aristotle & Dante and they never got in the way of their kids and let them enjoy life and find love on their own. I love how supportive the parents were and I believe we need more parents like them.

This book had me turning the pages at 100 mph because Dante discovered his sexual identity quicker than Aristotle and already came into the conclusion that he was in love with Aristotle. For Aristotle though for a quick second I believed he was actually straight because the way he acted half way into the book and I was going to be so heartbroken if he didn't end up with Dante. At the time I found it difficult to understand how Aristotle could be in denial about his emotions towards Dante but then I realize that I wasn't like him in my upbringing. I am very much like Dante in the sense that I discovered extremely early on in my life that I liked boys and I am straightforward when it comes to my emotions and accepting how I truly feel about a person. That is me but I realize now that there are millions of kids, teenagers, and even adults who have a hard time to realize how they truly feel about a person and even a harder journey towards accepting themselves and the love they deserve.

Having this book taking place in 1987 is perfect because it takes us back to a simpler time whereas now our countless technology and social media handicaps our society and youth. These characters got to explore the outdoors, the stars, and learned how to be cultural and finding comfort in art and literature. If this was taking place now in the 21st century I believe it would be more melodramatic with teenage drama and would feel unbelievable.

I am speechless when it comes to Aristotle & Dante and I believe there are not enough words to write how mind-blowing, beautiful, and creative this book was and giving it a 5 star rating does not give it justice. These words I write do not give it justice to how magical this inspirational story has become in my personal life. I feel so heartbroken right now because I feel like I was sent to another world, another time and no one except my Goodreads family will understand what I just experience and the power literature has on its readers. Once again I love this book and I wish it was Friday night again and to experience what it was like reading this book for the very first time. Thank you.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Before I begin I just got to say that Ernest Cline and I have crossed paths too many times without my realization that somehow I was destined to read this book. I didn't know he was a spoken word poet and he is best friends with Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz who is one of my favorite Spoken Word poets. Then the day the book was released she made it a big deal on Facebook and instead of buying the book I simply continued scrolling on with is pretty much what you do on Facebook. 

Then I saw the book at the store one day and didn't bother to buy it because I believed I was going to hate it (thats called being lazy and not reading the descriptions). Then years go by and I see that more and more people are reading this book and loving it especially the BookTube community and I decide to check it out from the library. You would think that I would start reading it immediately but nope I became extremely annoyed because I didn't like that the page was huge and the font was small so it would take longer to read the book. So then I decide to buy the book at B&N and did I read the book? Not a chance because I didn't feel the flow of interest within the first page. 

Excuses, Excuses, and Excuses until finally a year later I decide to read it because I found out that one of my all time favorite directors, Steven Spielberg is directing this movie so he now has my attention and I wondered this book has to be epic and challenging for him to be on this project and I was definitely right. This book is epic and hopefully one of the best films added to the already mind-blowing films of Steven Spielberg. I do not think I can give this book a proper review but I will try to by bringing out my inner geek.

Attention to All Possible Gunters
To understand and enjoy this story, one must have the following credentials in order to succeed this challenge.

1. You must be a product or byproduct of the 70-80s. <i>(My parents grew up in the 70-80s and had me in the 90s)</i> ✔️

2. You must have played or watched video games within the last 40 years. <i>(I own every console starting chronologically from Super NES to the Wii)</i> ✔️

3. You must like 80s culture. 80s cartoons, movies, fashion, music, television, cars, anything from 1980-1989. If you were a child/teenager during this era then you are excluded from this rule. <i>(I worship the 80s even though the fashion choices of people could tell me otherwise)</i> ✔️

4. Have google search at your disposal at all times. You never know when you might need it. ✔️

If you are not in agreement with the first three rules then please quit reading this book, return it and get a refund because you do no deserve to read this epically fantastic book and waste our precious time and resources.

 Welcome to 2044! Just to let you know the Earth has gone to shit. All the oil in the world has been completely depleted and because of lack of innovation and relying on other forms of electricity we have practically entered the Dark Ages. Remember that thing where people didn't believe in Global Warming? Well, the funny thing is that Global Warming is definitely real, all the polar ice caps have melted and because the weather is going from one extreme to the next, countless countries are suffering poverty, famine, diseases, and lack of stable jobs that could support a family.

For most of the population of the United States, families live in stacks which are trailer homes stacked up one on top of the other which is really dangerous. But If you are super duper rich then this whole dilemma doesn't apply to you but for the masses its basically survival. If this world has gone to the dumps whats the purpose being staying alive? The answer is...

Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation.

Oasis is a console that was created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow from Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS). Originally it was supposed to be meant for virtual reality video games but now it has taken a life of its own. You can create an avatar and maintain a level of anonymity. Many students attend school, and parents work in Oasis all in the comfort of their own living room. You can practically do anything in Oasis, from playing video games, watch movies/television to having sexual favors with other virtual avatars. Plus this whole virtual universe was free for everyone. You got the console, the visor, and the gloves for free all you had to pay was one time fee of $0.25 cents.

This revolutionized the concept of gaming and sadly the consequence we paid for was our humanity. Since we can do everything in virtual reality, people stop leaving their homes, get obese, and isolate themselves in Oasis. Because of the world has gone to kaput why bother confronting with reality when you have a device that can temporarily erase all your sadness.

Now back to the creators of Oasis. James Halliday and Ogden Morrow are the Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Video Games. James Halliday and Ogden Morrow met when they are in high school and together started their own company of video games. They made millions over the upcoming decades and when Oasis was sold to the public they became billionaires. Halliday was the creator and designer of these devices whereas Ogden dealt with the business side of GSS. Sadly they ended their friendship in bad terms and haven't spoken to one another for over a decade. Then tragedy struck for the whole world. Halliday died from an illness in 2039. The whole world mourn him for about two-seconds because he left a surprise that would shock the world. Knowing that he was dying he wanted to leave in a big bang and made a whole video that would become the plot of this story.

In the video called Anorak's Invitation (Anorak was Halliday's wizard avatar), he announces that his entire fortune in the amount of $240 billion dollars will be put into Oasis for anyone to receive. Since he never married and had children it was pointless giving the money to charity and wanted to have one last fun for his legacy. In order to receive this prize, you need to get all three keys (which are copper, jade, and crystal) in order to receive the easter egg. That sounds quite simple right?

Well, he tells everyone in the video what is the first clue and now we jump forward to 2044 and still no one has figured out the first clue. At first every one was going crazy for that egg but now that 5 years have past, practically the media and everyone else believes that the egg doesn't exist. What also helps is Halliday created Anorak's almanac which is guide to everything about the 80s because Halliday was a teenager during that decade and believed that it was one of the greatest decades in our society. Now that he has dead, everything about the 80s has resurfaced and everyone believes by studying 80s culture they can be one step closer towards finding that egg.

Level 1-3
Now we meet our narrator. Wade Owens Watts(W.O.W)/Wade3/Parzival is an 18 year old orphan who lives with his horrible aunt in a trailer. He is fat, has acne, and a fellow Gunter (A gunter is an egg hunter). Ever since he was a toddler he has been using Oasis and worships that console as his escape from reality. Between the nasty aunt and his insecurities he escapes from the trailer and goes into his secret hiding place where he attends virtual school and catches up with 80s arcade games, movies, and tv shows. He is fully dedicated towards finding the egg but sadly he doesn't have money to afford expensive weapons, armor, or transportation. In order to explore different worlds and perform quests, you need credits to teleport or practically do anything and since he is broke he can only afford going to school which is free and hang out with his virtual reality best friend Aech (pronounce like the letter H).

They are both pros on Halliday knowledge, 80s culture and video games and because of their friendship they set new challenges towards competing among each other in different games hoping those skills will come to play in the future. Sure enough it will later pay off. One day during school, Wade sees the mystery clue in a different light and decides to explore his curiosity on potential Copper Key location and sure enough he wins the first copper key. On Halliday's website, there is a score board listing of the top 10 positions for those who retrieve the first key and become part of the competition. It has been blank all these years until Wade receives the first key and all hell breaks loose in the world. People all around the world are beyond ecstatic that the first key has been found and now the intense race towards finding the three keys have begun.

While reading this book I thought this was going to be a simple race with heavy competition and being innocent and naive I forgot that in every story there is a villain. I completely forgot about that minor detail and we have this grand entrance of IOI. IOI (Innovative Online Industries) is this company that was created right after the Hunt began and they are practically this fascist group whose sole intension is to win this contest at all cost regardless whether they have to cheat or even murder people to accomplish this goal.

They have thousands of avatars working for them at their disposal and scholars on Halliday, video games, and 80s culture to help them figure out the clues. Unfortunately since they cheat and not looking at the right direction they have failed to find the first key until Wade comes into the picture. You would think this was no big deal but unfortunately GSS is at stakes with IOI because if they do win the contest, they will get complete control of Oasis and will charge ridiculous fees and stop making it free. By doing so they will handicap our world and put us into a deeper hole then we can already imagine. So for Wade it is crucial that he wins the contest or any Gunter for that matter.

This book left me speechless the entire time. I gave up trying to figure out what would happen next in the story and just enjoy the ride. In the very beginning I found it slow because of the world building and introducing us into Wades world but once he finds the Copper Key the pace becomes faster and exhilarating. I believe the author did this on purpose which got me frustrated but I believe in the end help showcase how exhausting it was that Wade went through 5 years doing never ending research only to find empty handed result which is every time we got one step further in the story, Ernest Cline would take two steps back which in the end help us finding the egg and grow attach to Owen.

For Example, when Wade finds the Copper key and gate, he meets another character who would become his love interest in the story. I really didn't care about his romance in the beginning because for me my main focus was on the contest and not on Owens private life. He is in love with this girl and sure enough she breaks his heart because they have wasted valuable months smooching and not focusing on the Jade key. When he was dealing with his heart break the plot became slow and I honestly could careless about him. No offense to Owen but honestly the world seems like it is going to end and the only way for it to improve is to find that egg and if you put your attention towards solving that egg and a little less on the girlfriend you would be one step closer towards winning that grand prize.

I absolutely went head over heals over this book and I am surprise it is not getting the attention it deserves and I believe that will change once the trailer and the movie is released. I am lucky enough to have parents grow up in that era because they provided me deeper insight to the past then the current generations. I love researching the past because we get a better understand of our culture, the mistakes we made and how it affects our future. I am shock how my generation and the future generations do not care about the past and that is why we have all these iconic films being terribly remake *cough cough Footloose remake cough* because that is the only way they will watch it.

I seriously hope when this film is released that it will bring nostalgia to those who lived through the 80s and a new interest for the young ones. Even though I didn't know a lot of this video games I am lucky enough that google help me find videos and photos to understand the game concept and be able to follow along. I highly recommend this book because it was beautiful showcasing this virtual reality world and bring out the inner kid inside us.

When I was a little boy my first gaming console I ever played was first Nintendo 64 & PlayStation 1. I was four years old and my cousin showed me how to use the console and ever since then I learned how to play video games and efficiently without instructions. My parents then bought me the Super NES, every Gameboy known to man, Game Cube, PlayStation 2, XBOX, XBOX 360 and countless others until the Wii. Sadly by the time I reached high school I stopped playing video games. Between school, rehearsals, music, and studying I was exhausted for anything else and then reading became my new passion. I still drool when looking at the latest consoles and games and wish I had them in my possession but hopefully someday I can reconnect and become an avid gamer again. That is partly why this book brought back so much heart warming memories of my youth and video game experience.


I have neglected this blog.
  1. Been lazy trying to post all my reviews from Goodreads to this blog.
  2. My life has been a roller coaster since the last time I have posted.
  3. I am not going to apologize to my followers because I cannot apologize to my life circumstances.
  4. I will be refreshing this blog again and hopefully sticking it with book reviews.
  5. I would love to add more content into this blog but I do not see the potential growth using blogger.
  6. I hope you guys aren't mad at me.
Thank you so much.