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Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes

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If Tomorrow Comes is the story of a woman (Tracy Whitney) so scarred by the hands of misfortune that she is driven to the path taken by a con man.

She is wrongly accused of attempting to murder a man whose schemes had driven her mother to suicide.  Her greatest fault is having no inkling that the he is part of the mafia circle, and what was supposed to be a short jail sentence promised by her unknowingly mafia lawyer turns into a 15 year sentence to the state penitentiary for women where she experiences sexual abuse by female convicts. By the hand of fate, she is released earlier than she had to and swears to have her revenge on the man who destroyed her mother and nearly her.

She sets out to start over, but no one will hire an ex-convict. That’s when she fully decides to take on the role that she has been accused of – a criminal and an excellent one at that. She soon enters a world of dazzling wealth and daring exploits.

Something to be of note in this novel is that it is absolutely jam-packed with action especially after Tracy realizes her new found skill. The schemes and rip offs by the crying, innocent-pleading woman turned vengeful, witty conman are very brilliant.

Needless to say, Mr. Sheldon is so brilliant in his plot that it’s a wonder if he hadn’t taken some time talking to some convicts about their schemes and incorporated them into his story. They definitely kept me in awe.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book review: Gone but not forgotten

Having been enthralled by Phillip Margolin’s novels, I found myself scanning the bookshelves for his name on the binding. I was lucky to have come across his novel “Gone, but not forgotten” as it kept me entertained and made up for the disrupted internet connection we had this week.

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A lawyer’s (Betsy) civil and moral duties are tested as an investigation she initiates in defense of her client leads to evidence that convinces her that she may be trying to save a man who should not be saved at all. Nevertheless, every criminal has a right to an attorney to help clear them of their crimes despite the apparent evidence against them.

While it does not have the most original premise, what makes this novel so engrossing is that it is written in a way that keeps the readers guessing and turning the pages until they realize that they are already half-way through the story. It lets you in on the fact that a ruthless serial killer may very well be one whom you would better think of as a respectable man, so it is best to be on guard. It also shows that there are also killers who can do worst damage without a gun, leaving the victims wanting to be shot instead.

Another contemplative concept in this story is that a life is still a life. There should never be a question of which is more moral – saving thousands in sacrifice of one life or the other way around. In the story, the killer persuades the government to grant him pardon and let him go free, or else the missing women will die since he is the only who knows where they are. The government had no choice. A life is still a life.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

My favorite animal

People have studied and wondered about animals for many centuries. People love animals. Some people love pets and some people love wild animals. My favorite animal to ever exist is a bird because I want to fly like a bird, birds are cute, and birds are fun to raise.
To start, my favorite animal is bird because I want to fly like a bird. To explain, flying seems fun. Also, it feels very good.
Secondly, bird is my favorite animal because birds are cute. Pet birds are small and cute. They are cuter than many other animals.
Lastly, my favorite animal is a bird because birds are fun to raise. Feeding birds is fun, and watching birds fly is very beautiful.
In conclusion, my favorite animal is bird because I want to fly like a bird,birds are cute,birds are funny to raise. Animals are fun, interesting, and exciting. I can’t wait to see all the different animals in the future

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Perfection and critics

It is common knowledge and a cliché even that nothing is perfect. Nobody is perfect. Then, why all the criticisms? Have you ever received a harsh criticism that just made you want to tell that your critic to bug off and cut you some slack since nobody is perfect anyway? I am definitely one of those who have used this “nobody is perfect” excuse. Yes, the saying is not a justification for something that is flawed but rather an excuse. As my mother says, “yes, nobody is perfect. But you have to try to be.”

As writers for the campus publication, we are often told off for our articles which in the university’s view mar its alleged good record. One of the school heads said that given our cynicism as watchdogs of the university, we seemingly go about making an issue out of something that a passive student would think is all right. He further went into a recount of how the university has improved, and he seemingly thinks that we, the campus publication, are unappreciative of that. Haven’t the administration done all they can so far to come close to perfection?

In one corner, a demolished funerary is about to give rise to a project which the school architects says will be a very good move for the university. In another, a new building which is said to boast of high end facilities is being built. It is clear then that the university wants to give its students the best. But there is still no end to comments about the imperfect education system as some think it is overlooked or even prioritized less.

Criticisms are natural to the point that it may be almost unreasonable to explain oneself to a critic. However, “Nobody is perfect” will always be an excuse. It is only a statement of the fact that there are limitations that we must try to overcome rather than excuse ourselves for.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Change that matters

At the start of a new semester, perhaps it is not such a mere assumption that students have made their list of things they would want to be different from the previous semester.

Nocturnal students would perhaps wish for a better schedule wherein they won’t have to force their body clock to change for a 7:00am class or perhaps, you might be one of those who wish not to have the same instructor in whose class they sleep away the hours lost staying up late signed in on Facebook.

Yes, as we enter another semester, we bid farewell to the loads of final requirements and moments of cramming because of sudden spells of tardiness and hope that this semester things would be different – that things would change.

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By definition, change is to be different. However, I guess there is an apparent difference between “difference” and “change” since rarely do people talk of change unless they mean big time change or its essence.

Definitely, sporting a new haircut or wearing polished shoes would not account for a change in a person, though external change is apparent. There is simply just something different.

At school, in spite of the newly built building with a projector and screen conveniently installed, some look past that and continue to wish for a system and instructors better than the facade and its constructors. Only then can we say something has changed that mattered.

Now let us look at it in a larger extent.

In the local community, one could suddenly notice newly paved roads or large tarpaulins introducing newly accomplished community projects while acknowledging the government leader behind it all. And yet, in spite of feeling thankful for it, many still lament the fact that not all Filipinos around the country are fed and have means of meeting ends.

Some may say there is something different but still nothing has changed.

Given this, I wonder if people get tired of hearing what seem like hand-me-down speeches by electoral candidates. It is a given that leaders aim to make a change and that those changes would become their legacy that would prove them better than the last one seated on the throne. Candidates say “this time” will be different; “this time” change is going to happen.

As we listen to them, it seems like they claim to cure the troubles of society such as corruption, poverty and its effects in a snap.

And we, being optimists, hang on to every word while seeming to forget how unrealistic this all seems, the promise of utopia.

The thing is people hope for fast but big change while overlooking the small changes such as the new roads or improved facilities. We want to see change in the big picture. Moreover, we want to see change that matters.

But I guess fast change means being on the first floor one minute and being in the fourth the next. We cannot expect the big picture to change in a matter of minutes. Even feeding programs won’t promise that the hungry won’t go hungry again the morning after. It will perhaps take years and several leaders for significant change to happen. However, we cannot only expect them to make the change.

Too often, change is thought of as the result rather than the action. I guess it is time we turn things around.

Well, that’s it for this critic – for now.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s Master of the Game

One of the first books I almost swooned over with delight after reading is a book entitled “Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon. This was my first adult novel after weaning off reading Nancy Drew paperbacks and fantasy novels about dragons.

In this novel, our protagonist is the indomitable Kate Blackwell who has built a business conglomerate with her wealthy inheritance, which all started with her father, Jamie McGregor, hunting for diamonds in South Africa. The book is about family politics and being the next “master.” As the story moves along, we see Kate unconsciously manipulating her families lives, proving that she is the only one true master of the game.

Now here are some notable things (spoilers even) about the novel.

It all starts with Jamie McGregor looking for diamonds on the ground surface. This could just be in Mr. Sheldon’s head, but the prospect of not having to mine but simply pick diamonds off the sand as you would a sea shell is very interesting. If there were such a place, I’d like to know how to get there.

Second, they say a mother’s love for her children is unique, but even mothers and their children have their quarrels that sometimes led children to replace love with the word hate in the famed three-word sentence. But how far can a son’s hatred for his mother go?

Tony has a passion for painting which his mother, Kate, is against. When an expert artist gives him a bad review, he stops painting for the rest of his life in disappointment. What’s interesting is that in another part of the world days later, Kate hands over a check to said expert. It doesn’t take much thinking to deduce what she paid him to do. Eventually, this, along with many other plots his mother has pulled becomes known to Tony. So he goes crazy after doing what he thought he’d never do in his life – pulling the trigger of a gun pointed at his mother. However, it doesn’t kill her as he had intended.

At this point of the story, I was sure that Tony is worst than Oedipus who unknowingly had sex with his own mother. However, while both felt guilty, one simply went crazy and the other poked his eye out. Regarding this, I definitely can’t tell who met the worse or more pitiful end.

Third, Kate raises Tony’s twin daughters as he is not in the right mental condition to be a father to them. We’ve heard of sibling rivalry before. But can you imagine a five year old try to kill her twin sister out of jealousy by lighting her nightgown on fire? Bet you can’y. Perhaps, it was cruel for Mr. Sheldon to have thought of this. But it made the story interesting, I’d have to say. A real shocker.

Indeed, the turn of events in this thriller of a novel had me turning the pages while wishing for at least a couple of days to be like one of them vampires from Twilight who didn’t have to sleep. I’d recommend this novel to anyone up for a fast paced thriller with many twists and turns. Sidney Sheldon is anything but predictable. He is the master of the unexpected.

I loved the novel so much I wished it was made into a movie so that I could see and revel in the action. And lo and behold. Youtube has turned up just what I was looking for. It was made into a mini-series.

Here is a preview 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book review: Phillip Margolin’s “Wild Justice”

I have taken a liking to investigation and mystery stories ever since I was introduced to Nancy Drew. But in a recent book I’ve read, the investigation is a lot more serious than the cases Nancy Drew often merely stumbles upon.

In Philip Margolin’s thriller, Wild Justice, the city of Oregon is haunted by numerous murders by a serial killer whose methods of torture go beyond the borders of humane acts. Surgeon, Vincent Cardoni, is eyed as the person behind the deaths of beheaded victims and others left dismembered.

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Frank Jaffe, distinguished lawyer and defender of Cardoni, successfully keeps him out of jail despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Frank’s daughter, Amanda Jaffe, grows uneasy thinking his father saved a man who should be damned in prison after Cardoni suddenly disappears.

Four years later, the same killings occur. Is Cardoni dead? Is he really innocent of his alleged crimes or is he really behind these murders? A wild chase for justice commences as young lawyer Amanda, sets out to hunt the man down

Fast-paced, exciting and mind boggling – Wild Justice has all the characteristics of a good thriller. Moreover, it gives the reader a delectable account of court proceedings. It’s amazing how witty lawyers are (and have to be). I found myself wishing I did as well as Frank Jaffe did during cross examination in my speech class. But I guess their job becomes tough when they are to defend criminals who are better off convicted.

And of course, the bad guy turns out to be the person you least expect him to be. As I flipped the pages and devoured every word, I played a guessing game with myself just to test if I could beat the investigators to it. I did!

For those who haven’t read Philip Margolin or any crime stories and legal thrillers, this would be a good place to start. I’ll definitely be reading more of Margolin’s books.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Uncategorized