Book Review: Sea of Tranquility (5/5)


If you're one of those who read my reviews, please be advised that the following isn't like any ordinary review I make. This time I give a part of my heart, but looks like I don't. Believe me. You might be seeing a cheese cupcake, but I'm actually giving you a 3-layer chocolate filled cake with cherries, crushed almonds, and chocolate curls on top. 
(I don't actually eat chocolates, but give one to Mrs. Leighton and you win her heart.)


Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Published: September 5, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: E-book 
Pages: 488
Type: Stand-alone
Bookshelves: Inspirational, Contemporary YA, Mature YA
Read: December 18-20, 2012
Links: Goodreads 
 Rating: Description:

What can I say?

If I tell you my first experience with the book, it might just scare you off and get away from my blog as far as you could. You could miss three fourths of your life, but I'll say it anyway. The first night I read The Sea of Tranquility was during a Christmas Party. Yup. C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.P.A.R.T.Y. I'm pretty sure it still spells that way. I was around page 40 and I still didn't know what to get from it. Everything's a blur, but I continued anyway. Yes, I continued reading this I'm-in-page-40-and-I-don't-understand-anything-yet-book during a Christmas Party. You might be wondering what's gotten into me, but all I was thinking about was what's with the book that made me turn pages after pages. The 2nd day I read it was during our Christmas shopping. Yes, Christmas shopping. While my best friend was rummaging fashion stores after fashion stores, I was at the corner frustratingly trying to read the teeny weeny words from the failed version of an e-pub reader on my cellphone. Then again I was around page 100-something and I was as confused but intrigued as ever. The third day was a self-inflicted insomnia that I actually have, but worked better last night than any other day. I was supposed to sleep after a day's worth of walking 5 miles inside a mall. That's what normal people do, right? Well I'm not one of them. I cleaned myself, went to bed, opened my laptop and READ. Yep, I'm pretty sure  that's what I did from ten in the evening to seven in the MORNING. I just read. Then I fell asleep, woke up, did what I had to do, and READ. Again. 'Til it was finished.

Yes, my experiences with this book deserve to be on the FIRST--hopefully not the only--PARAGRAPH you'll read.  
I love this book and NO ONE CAN MAKE ME SAY OTHERWISE.
It is "distractingly pretty", if you know what I mean.
Every page is a glimpse of some part of a musical piece, whispering it's way to my ears and challenges me to stay put until all pieces are put together into a beautiful melody that I'll never forget. Unfortunately, whatever glimpse of that melody the author slips right into my ear is something I'd rather not listen to. That little melody is too painful. NO. Painful doesn't do it justice. Every single note is drenched in pain. Yes, they're heartbreaking. I can't seem to open my ears to listen to the pain, but my ears are open anyway. 

My ears are open because I recognize the pain. I've reached rock bottom just as Nastya and Josh did. I'm not giving a hint about what happened, but they've reached the deepest part of rock bottom, if there's even one. Every page is painful--no--it's full of pain. One because whatever's happening there is true. There always comes a time in our lives when we reach rock bottom and bam--we're never the same again. Either we changed for the best or for the worst. Second because--somewhere in my past, your present, or probably somebody's future--we have our own version of Nastya's vow of silence and Josh's 10 years of building to escape the pain. We just simply tune out the world and tune in to our newly created world...of pity, self-loathing, and regrets. 

Nastya and Josh did just that. Only it turns out far worse than they could imagine. The ending wasn't grand. The book isn't grand at all! There's no insta-love. No sparks. No swooning. There's just reality. It's so painful because I know it is real. The ending could have been one of the simplest, yet powerful last pages I've read this year. I hate it for it. It's simple, but it's true--it's real. There are no over-rated dramas or slow motion or sparkle in real-life pain. There's just an awful lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth, but afterwards there's just acceptance, forgiveness, surrender...and The Sea of Tranquility...

I think I know just where my Sea of Tranquility is...I think I know where yours is, too. And yes, I know that you know it. There's just one barrier in-between: DENIAL. Both of the characters subtly acknowledge this. I pray that someday you will, too. 

Enjoy reading! God bless you. 

After sometime, I just got tired of the world I created. There's too much pain, anger, regrets, pity, guilt. I'm the complete carbon copy of Nastya. I, too, lost something I love doing and it damaged a big part of me. But just like Nastya, I did find my Josh--my salvation. Don't worry. He's not just mine. I'd be more than happy to share Him with you. Just like Josh His name means salvation. He is JESUS. In Him I am complete, filled, and loved. He is my Sea of Tranquility. He is yours, too. You know, no matter how many times we deny Him, we'll always have a place in His heart. You will always have a special place in His heart. I pray that someday there's no more denial...only acceptance, forgiveness, surrender...and The Sea of Tranquility. 


Find this review on Goodreads!

NEW Blog Name + Blog Design!!!


Wheeee! I'm so happy to introduce you to my newly designed and edited blog! ^__________^

As you might have noticed, I've changed my blog name thrice! Yup. This is the third time, but I think I'll stick with this. :D I love the name so much!!! It sounds like music to my ears. <3 More than that there's a deeper meaning behind the name, which I'll be sharing with you SOON! :']

Another MAJOR change is the blog design. I've been desperate for months to have a customized blog design with my avatar on the headline. However, things haven't gone the way I planned it because I have no idea on how to digitally illustrate a really cute Madeline-looking avatar. Thank God He led me to this awesome template that I'm pretty much satisfied with! :D

Without further ado, I present my blog from....




to (finally)

Dainty Damsel Stories

I hope you like it! :) Enjoy browsing through my blog! :'] God bless us all! :]

By the way, I have a question. Do you think I should change my URL to
or will it confuse my former followers? :] Thanks for your thoughts! :D Godbless!

Book Review: Model Spy (5/5)



Title: Model Spy
Author: Shannon Greenland
Published: May 10, 2007
Publisher: Speak
Format: E-book
Pages: 224
Type: Series (The Specialists #1)
Bookshelves: ChickLit
Read: December 15, 2012
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

 What can I say?

No, you're not mistaken. I give it a 5/5 without a doubt.

If you're looking for a hardcore action-packed series matched with heavy romance, this book is absolutely not for you. But don't get me wrong. Model Spy is definitely a must-read! It is light, funny, and sweet. Yes, innocently sweet. With all the rated-PG books nowadays, this book fits just perfect as a comic relief.

It actually reminds me of Charlie's Angels, but now with six undercover gifted minors ready to fight off some bad guys. The lead character is Kelly James, the 190 I.Q. bearer. She lost her parents in a plane crash when she was six. Never again did she ride on that flying human-transporter. For the next 10 years of her life, she transferred from one foster family to another. The recent one was in Iowa. Though only 16 years old, she's just one year away from college graduation. Talk about genius, huh? She's a computer freak! Yeah, she was able to hack into 9 levels of the US government's computer system for her crush--the really cute 18 year old--David. Little did she know that this was planned by IPNC to get her to join them.

She eventually joined IPNC and found a real family. A family of The Specialists. The characters are really loveable. :) I love T.L. so much. He's like Charlie, but a little more father-like. :) I love Bruiser, Mystic, Parrot, Beaker, and Wirenut, too! Yeah, they have cool names like that! Okay they're just code names, but they're cool right? I also love Chapling!!! Aww. He's the other computer geek that Kelly works with. He's so effortlessly funny and lovable. He hasn't walked out from his computer den for hmmm, 15 years (I forgot!)? FINALLY, I LOVE DAVID. He is so sweet! <3

After months of training, Kelly was sent to her first mission.Her mission was to save David's dad who was abducted 10 years ago by some dying terrorist. There's one problem though. She has to go undercover as a model and she's anything but a model. Sure she's pretty, but she isn't composed, confident, assertive. Kelly is a model's complete opposite.

Now that they're in the terrorist's premises, will Kelly keep her model secret identity? Or will she lead the group to trouble? Read this and you'll find out. :) I seriously hope I read this when I was about 14-16. I would totally recommend this to those teens/tweens out there. :) I know you'll have fun. I did! :)

Enjoy reading! :) God bless you! :)

Lessons I Learned

1. Value your family. You'll never know when you'll stay together as one.
Kelly lost her parents when she was six. David's dad was abducted when he was eight. All the rest of  the Specialists have no families to return to. I don't know what happened to their families, but I sure don't want to lose mine as such a young age like them. So let's all cherish the times we spend with our families. Love them! Care for them! Although they eat our freshly baked cakes and spaghetti. :)

2. Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself and your own family.
The Specialists have no families anymore, but they have each other. Love your friends because they make a great family. :) Remember, however, to find true friends. Friends that will lead you to the right path. :)

laurice-with-love <3
Find this review on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Star Dwellers (5/5)

The Star Dwellers (The Dwellers, #2)


Title: The Star Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Published: September 30, 2012
Publisher: David Estes
Format: E-book
Pages: 368
Type: Series (The Dwellers #2)
Bookshelves: Young Adult, Dystopian
Read: September 29-30, 2012
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

 What can I say?

I didn't realize I haven't written a review for The Star Dwellers  when in fact it is the best book and by far, my favorite among the three Dweller books!!! 

Just two months ago, I remember putting my review on hold because I honestly think that my words wouldn't do justice to the action, suspense, and sweet moments this book has to offer! Two months later, I decided to give the review a try. :) So here it goes.

Just like any other series, The Star Dwellers picks right where The Moon Dwellers ended. Adele and Tristan parted ways to accomplish different tasks just when they have only spent a handful of pages together. Adele went with Tawni to venture the Star Realm and save her mother; Tristan, with Roc and Ben to gain the support of the Moon Realm.

Neither of them will have a light task. Trials after trials will block their way from reaching their goals. Adele and Tawni will acquire a fatal disease that eats up their energy and sanity. One more mile long, they're dead. Tristan's situation is nothing better. The Resistance Leaders from the Moon Realm don't trust him, believing he's a spy of Pres. Nailin. No one knew how great a disaster it would be if the Moon Realm and the Star Realm don't agree to unite. With these obstacles ahead, will Adele and Tristan see each other again?

The Sun Dwellers is a sure page-turner! It will make you crave for the next word and the word after that. Prepare yourself for a series of twists and turns because David will surprise you when you least expect it! One more thing, SOMEONE--someone we all love--will die. :'(

HAHA! Enjoy reading! God bless us all! :)

laurice-with-love <3
Find this review on Goodreads!

Waiting on Wednesday #6: Everbound

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

For my sixth WoW, I give you...


Everbound (Everneath, #2)Book-iography

Title: Everbound
Author: Brodi Ashton
Published: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Type: Series (Everneath #2)
Bookshelves: YA Books
Links: Goodreads 


Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

Thoughts! :'>

SEE THAT COVER?? When I saw that cover, it was just as awesome as this cute gif!!! I'd give a Photoshop Award to the one who made that!!! It's pure awesomeness!!! ^___________^ I haven't read Everneath, but it looks really good. So I guess, Everbound is also an awesome read. :) Anyone who read it? :)

Furthermore (An Anthology) : Proceeds will go to cancer research and support


Happy release day! Furthermore is here and we are all so excited to share it with you.

Buy now for Kindle, Nook, and Paperback

A first date, a lottery, treachery and deceit. Sometimes fate has other plans. Sometimes there’s more to tell.

In Furthermore, seventeen original stories take you on a journey through worlds here and beyond. From the depths of the earth to the embrace of the sea, your favorite series continue. Prequels, alternative views, and new scenes give readers a chance to experience more than originally told. Including stories from Rebekah Campbell, David Estes, Amber Garr, Karen Amanda Hooper, Stephanie Judice, and Leigh Michael.

The best part? In honor of those who lost the battle and those who continue to fight, all proceeds from this anthology will be donated to cancer research and support.

Find out more about your favorite characters from The Darkness Through the Light Series, The Dwellers Sage, The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, The Kindrily Series, Saga of the Setti, and Annabelle’s Story.

And now for some teasers…

“Emily Jenkins, corrupting young men. What would people say?” He tutted at me and as if by magic, I spotted an elderly lady walking along the pavement, scrunching up her nose to stare at us. – Surprise Visitor (The Darkness Through the Light Series)

When I thought I might make her lips too swollen from my rough need of her, I pulled away. Those half-open dark eyes could’ve pulled me into Hell, and I would’ve gladly followed with a stupid smile on my face. - Jeremy’s Heart (Saga of the Setti)

Even when you know it’s the right thing to do, running away from home is never easy. They’re not good people. I can’t stay here anymore. – The Runaway-Tawni’s Story (The Dwellers Saga)

He smiled and my heart melted. One look like that and I second guessed every decision I made. – Rift (The Syrenka Series)

I had to entertain myself somehow, and being around these ridiculous humans made me homesick for a land I left centuries ago. – Human Resources (The Lelia Marx Novels)

This too shall pass. I mentally repeated it over and over, hoping Nathaniel’s injury wasn’t as bad as my crumbling heart made it out to be. – The Sound of Love (The Kindrily Series)

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept about one’s fate is that it can take years to unfold. But when it does, it’s worth every second, every breath, and every dream. – Fate (Annabelle’s Story)


Like what you see? Be sure to enter our giveaway! Win signed paperbacks, ebooks, and swag from all of the authors. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tips: How to Stay Alive in School

Just got home from giving an inspirational message in our community high school. Here's the gist of what I'd originally like to say. :) (I got so nervous because I learned about my speech only a minute before I was called! So I practically wasn't able to say everything written down here, but here's the gist anyway. It's their EDUCATION WEEK.)

We often hear our parents say the proverb, "Education is the only treasure I can give you." Why do they always say that? Why doesn't it hit a nerve in our hearts? And what do they really mean by it? 
Here's what a a third year Integrated Marketing Communications student (that's me!) thinks about school:

Cherish your moments in school! It's not forever that you'll stay inside its four corners. 

As long as you're in there, you have all the time to develop yourself. Develop your skills! Hone your talents! Learn new things! It's the time to stretch yourself and be the person who God wanted you to be. It's the time to hone the gifts He has given you! You love dancing? Join the dance club! You love algebra? Oops. I mean, we all need algebra, right? Just be patient in every dreadful Math class. It pays to sit there and listen. Believe me.

Second, create good memories--memories that will you will carry outside its four corners. Memories that will strengthen you in times of your weakness. Memories that will encourage you in your toughest days. Memories that will inspire others to be the strong and resilient. Memories that you will pass on.

Finally, build relationships while your in school. Build relationships with people who will help you and guide you. Love your teachers! Someday, you'll thank them. No matter how enraged you are with all the requirements they give, I know someday you'll search for them just to say your sincerest, "THANK YOU." Build relationships with friends! Look for friends that will help you achieve your dreams--dreams that God has given you. It's hard to find true friends, but you'll eventually find them. :) God won't leave you abandoned and unloved, remember? :) And most importantly, build relationship with GOD. School is one of the toughest season of a man's life. You get to experience failure, difficulties, trials, piled-up readings and paperworks, deadlines (LOTS OF DEADLINES), and a whole lot more of ups and downs. It's the best season to be grounded and plugged in to our True Source of Wisdom and Strength. When you're in God, you'll never turn the wrong way.

Well, that's about it. Develop yourself. Create good memories. Build great relationships.
Value your education. Cherish your time in school. Learn and share it to the world.

Book Review: The Sun Dwellers (4.5/5)

FIRST DAY: Info about The Dwellers Series and the author (Dec. 7)
SECOND DAY: Excerpt from The Sun Dwellers (Dec. 8)
THIRD DAY: Review of The Sun Dwellers (Dec. 9)

It's the final day of The Sun Dwellers 3-Day Blog Stop! :) And for today, I give you my honest review! :) Hope you like it! :)


Title: The Sun Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Published: November 23, 2012
Publisher: David Estes
Format: E-book
Pages: 357
Type: Series (The Dwellers #3)
Bookshelves: Young Adult, Dystopian
Read: November 29-30, 2012
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

 What can I say?

You all know how I sincerely love and enjoy this series. I love the action, fast-paced plot, the characters, the twists, David's witty writing style, the setting, the idea. Pretty much everything. The Moon Dwellers caught me at page 50. The Star Dwellers at page 10. And I just have to be honest, but The Sun Dwellers--ah, yes, yes--the Sun Dwellers is just a little bit too fast, yet too slow for me. Haha! Sorry about that, but I can't find the right word for it. 

I guess it's too fast because it left me off with a gazillion questions in mind. Questions like why put Sinus, Linew, and Bren? What happened to the war (aside from the bonus story)? Why kill Mom (guess whose Mom) when all the while we expected her to be alive and kicking? Nevertheless these are just trivial questions. :) It didn't make the series anything less than fantastic! Oh, David. You're a natural comic. :)

On with the third book, the Sun Dwellers brought its readers into a deeper intimacy with our main characters: Adele, Tristan, Roc, Tawni, Trevor, and Ram. Essential info will be revealed about them. Yeah I know you've memorized every detail about them in Books 1 & 2, but hold that thought because you might miss a quarter of your life if you won't read this! *just saying*

Anyway, the plot picks right where The Star Dwellers ended. Our six leading dwellers are on their way to the Sun Realm to uhmm...kill President Nailin. On their way, *tiny spoiler #1* Adele is having second thoughts about TRISTAN! Ugh. I can't believe she's doubting him! Hmp. When they reach the Sun Realm, they're in for a mega-awesome cool realm party! Yup, that's right. It means that everyone will be out on the road dancing, singing, jamming, partying! And it also means that it'll be harder for them to hide. T.T 

Eventually they'll reach the president's palace, but it doesn't end there. The story's just beginning to unfold. Oh yes, SECRETS and SECRETS and lots of SECRETS will be revealed! And of course, people--the ones we love!!!--will die. :( So sad, but I bet you don't want to be left behind, do you? X

Without further ado, I present to you.... *drumroll
THE SUN DWELLERS by David Estes! 

P.S. It has a fourth book!!!! All this time I thought it was a trilogy!!! David better not be serious about November 2013, though. I'll go crazy!!!! T.T

Whee. Enjoy reading! ;)

laurice-with-love <3
Find this review on Goodreads!

Answered Prayer: Trip to Thailand! :)

It was the 5th of July, year of God's Great Miracles (2012).

I opened the Bible in 2 Kings 4: 1-7. It read,

"The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
At the reading of the last word, my heart was broken. I knew then that I've been carrying a burden that is not for me to carry. I've exhausted myself with worry and fear for my family. At that moment it was fear for my parents.
I was born to Millan Villarino, 47 then, and Lualhati Villarino, 46, on a quiet day of August 14, 1993. Eighteen years later, they are still the same funny and responsible parents that I know--although way older. Growing under their care, I remember how aware I was about how fast time flies. How I always pray that God will reward them to live and see my future husband and even kids. How I always pray for the salvation of each member of my family because I isn't in our hands. 

I never realized how heavy my heart was until that night of July 5. I broke down at the last word of 2 Kings 4: 1-7. I can't force myself to think about how many more years left I have with my parents. I just know that it's time to let go and LET GOD. Jesus Christ reminded me that the burden I carried since time immemorial is not for me to carry. It is HIS' and He'd already overcome it 2000 years ago when He died on the Cross of Calvary. That evening I surrendered all the worries I have for my family. I cast it all down at the feet of Jesus. 

Just as the widow and her son, I gave my empty jars to Jesus--no longer filled with worry, concern, and burden. Faith comes along with every empty jar that I surrender. And you know what? Now that my jars are empty and my faith solely given unto Him, He is ready to fill it. 

Four months later, one of my empty jars is filled. It was my greatest dream--their baby daughter's wildest dream. I hope you don't mind, but I'll show you an excerpt from my journal, dated 5th of July 2012; 11:00 pm:
"Lord Jesus, I want to give [my parents] the opportunity to enjoy life and see the world as long as they have strength. Lord Jesus, my parents are already old and I'm two years away from graduation...please allow me to bring my parents across different beautiful countries. [Allow] them to enjoy the beauty of Your Creation. Lord Jesus, my faith is in You..." 
My father hasn't been to any country outside the Philippines. It was his dream to visit other countries together with my mother. It was his dream, but I made it MY dream. Yes it's a simple dream, but it's one of the greatest I have. After that evening, I constantly prayed for it. I even started to save money. It'll cost much and I don't know how much time I'll need to save up, but God will provide. He always provides. 


November 29, 2012. I boarded the plane with flight number 5J 929 going from Manila to Bangkok, Thailand. I knew then that no matter how many countries I've been to and how many more I'll go to, this 4-day vacation will always be special to me. It was the moment when my first empty jar was filled. It was an answered prayer--and a quick one! I didn't leave the country alone because my sister, mother, and at last, my father were with me.

Mom and Dad
Sister, Me, Mama, and Papa

Like Mother, like Daughter :">
With my hero
Isn't she lovely? I love my sister!

Stayed in at the tallest tower in Thailand!

God moves in ways that we cannot see. We may ask for something, but He'll give us something greater! All the time I prayed for it, I thought I'd have to shoulder all the expenses. But you know what? God provided it. I didn't spend a single coin from my own purse. God bless the heart of my brothers and sister. God bless the heart of my brother-in-law and sisters-in-law. This trip wouldn't be possible without God and my siblings' good heart. I love them so much!

God can do great miracles, but let us not limit God to what we want because we might miss out the greater things God wants to offer. What's your burden? Stop carrying heavy jars filled with worry, hatred, envy, or sorrow. Just surrender your empty jars to God and put your faith in Him. Next thing you'll know, it's already filled. God richly bless you!

I haven't told my parents about it. I haven't told them how much I dreamt of bringing them to different countries. I'm just happy to share this experience with you. I hope you were inspired by it. :) Who knows, maybe they'll about this someday? :) But then again, it doesn't matter. I just love them so much. Thank God for this family.


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