Book Review: How to Stand Up to a Dictator by Maria Ressa

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Title: How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight For Our Future

Author: Maria Ressa

Publication Date: November 17, 2022

Number of Pages: 320

Format: E-book, Audiobook

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, History

Synopsis:

Maria Ressa is one of the most renowned international journalists of our time. For decades, she challenged corruption and malfeasance in her native country, the Philippines, on its rocky path from an authoritarian state to a democracy. As a reporter from CNN, she transformed news coverage in her region, which led her in 2012 to create a new and innovative online news organization, Rappler. Harnessing the emerging power of social media, Rappler crowdsourced breaking news, found pivotal sources and tips, harnessed collective action for climate change, and helped increase voter knowledge and participation in elections.

But by their fifth year of existence, Rappler had gone from being lauded for its ideas to being targeted by the new Philippine government, and made Ressa an enemy of her country’s most powerful man: President Duterte. Still, she did not let up, tracking government seeded disinformation networks which spread lies to its own citizens laced with anger and hate. Hounded by the state and its allies using the legal system to silence her, accused of numerous crimes, and charged with cyberlibel for which she was found guilty, Ressa faces years in prison and thousands in fines.

There is another adversary Ressa is battling. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is also the story of how the creep towards authoritarianism, in the Phillipines and around the world, has been aided and abetted by the social media companies. Ressa exposes how they have allowed their platforms to spread a virus of lies that infect each of us, pitting us against one another, igniting, even creating, our fears, anger, and hate, and how this has accelerated the rise of authoritarians and dictators around the world. She maps a network of disinformation–a heinous web of cause and effect–that has netted the globe: from Duterte’s drug wars to America’s Capitol Hill; Britain’s Brexit to Russian and Chinese cyber-warfare; Facebook and Silicon Valley to our own clicks and votes.

Democracy is fragile. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is an urgent cry for Western readers to recognize and understand the dangers to our freedoms before it is too late. It is a book for anyone who might take democracy for granted, written by someone who never would. And in telling her dramatic and turbulent and courageous story, Ressa forces readers to ask themselves the same question she and her colleagues ask every day: What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?
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Book Review: Time is a Mother by Ocean Voung

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Title: Time Is A Mother

Author: Ocean Voung

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Number of Pages: 128

Format: E-book

Publisher: Penguin Press

Genre: Contemporary, Poetry

Synopsis:

In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, Vuong’s poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicenter of the break.

The author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds, winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize, and a 2019 MacArthur fellow, Vuong writes directly to our humanity without losing sight of the current moment. These poems represent a more innovative and daring experimentation with language and form, illuminating how the themes we perennially live in and question are truly inexhaustible. Bold and prescient, and a testament to tenderness in the face of violence, Time Is a Mother is a return and a forging forth all at once.
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Book Review: Melvina’s Therapy by A. Rasen

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Title: Melvina’s Therapy

Author: A. Rasen

Publication Date: May 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 81

Publisher: LINE Webtoon

Format: Ebook

Genre: Horror, Manhwa, Webtoon

Synopsis:

Anxiety, loneliness, depression… with a regular therapy you can deal with these issues, but Melvina’s Therapy is about something deeper: creepy secrets remaining in the darkest space of your mind, waiting for you…
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Book Review: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World by Jenn Granneman

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Title: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World

Author: Jenn Granneman

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 320

Publisher: Skyhorse

Format: Paperback

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Synopsis:

An introvert guide and manifesto for all the quiet ones—and the people who love them.

Is there a hidden part of you that no one else sees? Do you have a vivid inner world of thoughts and emotions that your peers and loved ones can’t seem to access? Have you ever been told you’re too “quiet,” “shy,” “boring,” or “awkward”? Are your habits and comfort zones questioned by a society that doesn’t seem to get the real you? If so, you might be an introvert.

On behalf of those who have long been misunderstood, rejected, or ignored, fellow introvert Jenn Granneman writes a compassionate vindication—exploring, discovering, and celebrating the secret inner world of introverts that, only until recently, has begun to peek out and emerge into the larger social narrative. Drawing from scientific research, in-depth interviews with experts and other introverts, and her personal story, Granneman reveals the clockwork behind the introvert’s mind—and why so many people get it wrong initially.

Whether you are a bona fide introvert, an extrovert anxious to learn how we tick, or a curious ambivert, these revelations will answer the questions you’ve always had:
• What’s going on when introverts go quiet?
• What do introvert lovers need to flourish in a relationship?
• How can introverts find their own brand of fulfillment in the workplace?
• Do introverts really have a lot to say—and how do we draw it out?
• How can introverts mine their rich inner worlds of creativity and insight?
• Why might introverts party on a Friday night but stay home alone all Saturday?
• How can introverts speak out to defend their needs?

With other myths debunked and truths revealed, The Secret Lives of Introverts is an empowering manifesto that guides you toward owning your introversion by working with your nature, rather than against it, in a world where you deserve to be heard.
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Book Review: Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez

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Title: Chef’s Kiss

Author: Jarrett Melendez

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Number of Pages: 160

Publisher: Oni Press

Format: Ebook

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, LGBTQ+ 

Synopsis:

Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector!

But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right?

When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.
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Book Review: The New Year’s Party by Daniel Hurst

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Title: The New Year’s Party

Author: Daniel Hurst

Format: E-book

Publication Date: December 26, 2022

Number of Pages: 51

Publisher: –

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Synopsis:

Would you share your New Year’s resolution with a stranger?

When Carrie and Andy attend a high-class New Year’s Eve Party, they’re looking forward to closing out the year in style. But then they meet Martin and Michaela, a couple who haven’t just come out for champagne and fireworks. They have a New Year’s resolution, and it’s very unusual.

After sharing their own resolutions, Carrie and Andy receive a shocking but tempting offer, one that leaves them unsure of how to proceed. But whatever they decide to do, one thing is certain – this will be a New Year’s Eve they will never forget.
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Book Review: I’m a Therapist, and My Patient is Going to be the Next School Shooter (Dr. Harper Therapy, #1) by Dr. Harper

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Title: I’m a Therapist, and My Patient is Going to be the Next School Shooter (Dr. Harper Therapy, #1) 

Author: Dr. Harper

Format: E-book

Publication Date: January 27, 2019

Number of Pages: 120

Publisher: 

Genre: Thriller, Horror, Crime

Synopsis:

I’m a therapist, and I work with the most dangerous patients.

I’ve seen it all… A boy who planned to be the next school shooter. A patient with OCD whose loved ones really did suffer every time he missed a ritual. A choir boy who claimed he was being molested — not by a priest — but by God Himself. A patient with PTSD who gave me nightmares. A husband and wife who accused each other of abuse, and only one of them was telling the truth.

And how could I ever forget, Patient #220.

The problem is, my patients have a habit of dying. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the common denominator. Or maybe that’s just the cost of taking on exceptionally broken clients.

Either way, I’ll never stop trying to help.
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2023 Reading Resolutions

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Happy New Year, dear readers! In 2022, I must say that a lot has happened to me as a reader. I let go of some of my books that I didn’t like all that much, I started reading more Japanese literature and Filipino literature, and so on. I was also able to actively participate in a book club that I appreciate so much.

Also, in 2022, I laid out various titles from my backlist as my reading resolution, but sadly, I was not able to do that. So this year, I decided to loosen up a bit and make a general list of reading goals that I want to achieve in 2023. I’m so excited because with this idea, I can pick random titles as long as they belong to the category, which I think is easier for me as a mood reader! I divided my reading goals into three parts, and here they are: Continue reading

My 10 Favorite Reads in 2022

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It’s that time of the year again where we showcase our top 10 favorite reads! With that, I back tracked and checked my Goodreads 2022 shelf to collate my favorites. I have to admit that I haven’t had a lot of 5-star reads, so it wasn’t that hard for me to make this list. For those of you who have been following my blog for quite some time now, you might have read in my previous posts that I started off this reading year a bit slow given that the first quarter of 2022 was quite busy for me with the wedding and all that, but as soon as I settled in my new home, I was able to constantly read again. It was one heck of a year with all the adjustments, meeting new virtual friends, finding my people, and finally falling into the rabbit hole of the thriller and horror genre — this isn’t a surprise as I’ve anticipated it happening in the past couple of years and finding the right book club helped me understand and discover new and old authors from this genre.

Anyway, so without further ado, here are the top 10 books that I really enjoyed reading this year:

*Throughout this post, I’ll be including my affiliate links for each of the books in the list. Note that I earn a small commission whenever you use my affiliate links to purchase these books.
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Author Feature: 8 Authors I Discovered in 2022

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while since I last updated this corner of the blog. I’ve been meaning to talk about another one of my favorite authors of all time, but I always end up with a blank page simply because I’m afraid that I might not give him justice with the things that I’m going to say about him and his works.

But today, since it’s almost the end of the year, I’m featuring 8 authors that I’ve discovered in 2022 and loved. Take note that these authors have yet to make it to my favorite authors list, but I am featuring them in this section of my blog because I deeply enjoyed reading one or two of their books this year. So without further ado, let’s jump right in: Continue reading