Tag Archives: Young Adult

Shiny New Cover Reveal & Giveaway – THE ONE THING

We at the BookYArd are super excited today to reveal the gorgeous new cover for the 2015 debut THE ONE THING by Marci Lyn Curtis.

Voila!

The One Thing Marci Lyn Curtis Cover

Beautiful, right? And while we’re at it, take a look at these little beauties, which Marci is giving to some lucky soul! Click here to enter the giveaway.

custom earrings book swag

ABOUT THE BOOK

A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

When Maggie first meets Ben, she thinks she can add crazy to her list of problems. But the precocious ten-year-old isn’t a hallucination. Maggie can actually see him. She immediately befriends the kid, desperate for any chance to see again.

It turns out Ben’s older brother is Mason Milton, the ridiculously hot lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band. Music is the first thing that has made Maggie feel alive since losing her sight. But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

ABOUT MARCI

Marci Lyn Curtis author photoMarci Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion.
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8 Frightful Books to get your SCARE ON!

As the bewitching night approaches, it’s the perfect time to heat a mug of cider and curl up under a fuzzy cover with something truly horrifying–a book!

Here are some suggestions from BookYArd authors of reads that get them spooked–plus a few spooky books from the YArd itself!

GHOST STORY by Peter Straub

For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.

— recommended by Rin Chupeco, author of THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

Here’s why Rin loves Straub’s GHOST STORY: “Creepy girls, grotesque deaths, and insanity are my preferred trifecta!”

And here’s why you’ll want to check out THE GIRL FROM THE WELL:

girlfromthewellA dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

~

“BOOGEYMAN” — a shortstory in the NIGHTSHIFT collection by Stephen King

You can hear it here:

— recommended by Trisha Leaver, coauthor of CREED

What Trisha says about THE BOOGEYMAN: “The word terrifying doesn’t do this story justice. The hint of insanity and fathers rather disturbing choice make this one of the few horror stories that continues to plague my mind twenty years after I read it!”

Creed final coverCREED by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Three went in. Three came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.

When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby town called Purity Springs. When they arrive, the emergency sirens are blaring and the small farming town seems abandoned. With no other shelter, they spend the night in an empty house….

~

MARY – THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

— recommended by Sarah Bromely, author of A MURDER OF MAGPIES

What Sarah says about MARY: “I’ve read Hillary Monahan’s book several times. Still hate mirrors at night.” –

A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley

murdermagpies500pxWinter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

 

 

~

IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

— recommended by Mary Crockett, coauthor of DREAM BOY

Why Mary thinks you should read Capote’s novel: “The real horror here is that In Cold Blood is a true story. The senselessness of murder, the randomness of it–the savage caprice–makes this book bone-chilling.”

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenberg

Perfect and REAL. The boy of her dreams. And when he brushes past her, he whispers her name.

Annabelle Manning spends her nights with a blue-eyed boy who consumes her dreams – then vanishes each morning as she wakes. He’s everything she’s every wanted, but even she never expected to find him in her chemistry class the next day.

Now she’s got a gorgeous guy who’s totally into her, whispering the most ridiculously romantic things in her ear. Her life is a dream come true – until her dreams stop and the nightmares begin.

 

Which BookYArd Character Are You Most Like?

We’ve created a fun personality quiz for you to determine which character from our books you may be most like. Although, you might find that you want to play this personality quiz more than once!

Tell us in the comments section which character popped up for you!

Click here to take the QUIZ.

Happy Release Day to WORDLESS!

Wordless - smallWe at the Bookyard are so excited for WORDLESS by AdriAnne Strickland, which releases today!

Here is the blurb of the book:

“The Gods made their Words into flesh, giving privileged individuals the powers of creation …”

In Eden City, a member of the illiterate wordless class would never dream of meeting the all-powerful Words … much less of running away with one. So when a gorgeous girl literally falls into his lap during a routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest or worst day of his life. That girl is Khaya, the Word of Life, who can heal a wound or command an ivy bush to devour a city block with ease. And yet she needs Tavin’s help.

By aiding Khaya’s escape from the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the world apart. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and they enlist the other Words, each with their own frightening powers, to bring her back.

Sounds like an amazing book, right? You can find WORDLESS at Indiebound, B&N, & Amazon.

Here’s what we have to say about WORDLESS:

girlfromthewell02“As a reader and a lover of words, I love the idea of playing round with the concept of words having power, especially because in this case it really does! Add in an underdog, a powerful girl with a kickass ability, and a fast-paced conflict that will keep readers on the edges of their seats, what more can you want for a stunning fantasy debut from Adrianne? ”

– Rin Chupeco, The Girl from the Well

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg

 

“Words do have power! It takes a fierce imagination to tell a story about how that power translates into the physical self. Such a unique idea! I can’t wait to read this!”

— Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

vigilantepoets“I can’t wait for this high-concept, fast-paced novel! I love the idea of the privileged class being marked by their power over words — it gives me chills, it’s so apt and I hope NOT-prescient…”

-Kate Hattemer, author of THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY

murdermagpies500px

“When the words are made flesh, they become unputdownable! AdriAnne Strickland’s WORDLESS offers up an inventive premise that will appeal to  YA fantasy and dystopia while still bringing a fresh, new voice to the category. ”

– Sarah Bromley, A MURDER OF MAGPIES

 

FC9781402292538

“The power of words is one of my all-time favorite things, so I’m super-psyched for this take on it!”

-Skylar Dorset, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gilded_final-cvr-comp_12-11-13“What an amazing premise! Words are a powerful tool and this story takes that idea and weaves it into something imaginative and creative. As a lover of all things fantasy and dystopian, I’m so excited about this book hitting the shelves.”

-Christina Farley, GILDED

 

adriannestricklandA Little About AdriAnne:
AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming 2014 from Flux Books.

Stalk her here!
Twitter: twitter.com/AdriAnneMS
Website: http://www.adriannestrickland.com/

Turning 30 and Breaking Down the Numbers

I’m so glad to have you all here with me (well, long-distance—I’m even long-distance too, since I’m still fishing) to celebrate my 30th birthday (okay, and it’s actually this Sunday, the 13th, but who posts on Sundays?).

AHEM. Anyway. Turning 30 is such a milestone—I mean, this is only my third completed decade—such a “big” number, that it makes me think about what I’ve been doing with myself, and a few of the other numbers that have added up to a fledgling writing career. My dream career. So, while sometimes it feels like it has taken me a really long time to get to this point, at least I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.

Now for the breakdown (non-emotional, I hope)…

30: years old

6: years writing seriously

3: manuscripts abandoned well on their way

6: fiction manuscripts completed (3 young adult novels, 2 adult novels, and 1 middle grade)

1: nonfiction manuscript completed

3: completed manuscripts trunked (2 adult novels and 1 young adult)

2: manuscripts sold

1: publisher

2: completed manuscripts with high hopes

2: novels in the works

1: debut book launching August 8th, 2014

As for how those numbers will change, it’s anyone’s guess. I have interesting projects in the works this next year: a sequel to WORDLESS called LIFELESS, which will come out a year after WORDLESS does—and WORDLESS comes out in only a month! I also have a middle grade project that I’ll soon announce… and prepare to be surprised (can one actually prepare to be surprised?), since it’s not a typical publishing deal. (Hint: I’m working with a company. A toy company.) Anyway, all of this is very exciting, and I’m just so thrilled to have you all along for the ride with me.

This is where I say something cheesy like:

Incalculable: My joy to be doing what I love, surrounded by people I love.

And so I did. Just, uh, ignore that if it triggers your gag reflex.

AHEM. ANYWAY… Cheers to 2014, to 30, and to the other awesome numbers yet to arrive!

adriannestricklandAdriAnne shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming August 8th, 2014 from Flux Books. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS: The Book That Is!

Here’s the first thing I will tell you about this book:

It is far, far better than that awful pun in the title of this blog post.

Here in the Bookyard, we’re all sprinting around, screaming in glee, overcome with fits of uncontrollable fist-pumping — because today, Skylar Dorset’s book is OUT IN THE WORLD!

Chuck Taylors, a red rose, and a reflecting pool that breaks the laws of optics: what's not to love?
Chuck Taylors, a red rose, and a reflecting pool that breaks the laws of optics: what’s not to love?

“Romantic, suspenseful, and witty all at once — ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets NEVERWHERE.” — Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the EVERNIGHT series

This book features Boston, young love, AND faerie princesses. How, you may ask? Take a look at the jacket copy.

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

And if you’re as hooked as I am, check out the excerpt on Amazon!

GIVE ME THIS BOOK, you say!

You can have it with a few clicks: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon

You see that head? There’s some weird stuff going on in here.

Who’s behind THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS? The brilliant Skylar Dorset, a born-and-bred New Englander who lives in Boston (mostly, it seems, due to her love for JOHNNY TREMAIN: our kind of woman!) with her cardboard Doctor Who cut-out and a head full of stories. You don’t want to miss her website, which includes lots of behind-the-scenes information about the book as well as a veritable smorgasbord of tastefully chosen GIFs.

What’s that you say? You want to hear more about why we’re so thrilled that June 3 has, at last, drawn nigh?

Well, if you twist my arm…

“Half-ogre and half-faerie? Gnome-hunting guardian aunts and a Salem wizard? There’s nothing I love more than a fantastical romp, whether it be through beautiful Boston or at the perils of a Seelie Court, and THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS has that in spades — plus enchantments, faery magic, and prophecy! What more can you ask for from a gorgeous new debut?” — Rin Chupeco, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

“Faeries, secrets, and finding love while trying to survive? I cannot wait to dive into Skylar Dorset’s THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS!” — Sarah Bromley, A MURDER OF MAGPIES

“I had the luck to get my hands on an ARC of THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, so I can tell you that you’re in for a treat! Imaginative, fun, and wonderfully written! The world of books is better for having Skylar Dorset in it!” — Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

“I also got my greedy hands on an ARC of THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, and it blew me away. The voice and writing are absolutely captivating, and the comparisons to ALICE IN WONDERLAND and Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE are wonderfully apt. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!” — AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

“I’m such a fan of magic and fairy tales so this book is right up my alley. I love Dorset’s twist on selkies. THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS gives enchantments and hidden pasts a whole new meaning.” — Christina Farley, GILDED

“As a new mom of a three-month-old baby girl, trust me when I say that I need books to whisk me away from diaper duty and infant howling! That’s why I’m so looking forward to Skylar Dorset’s THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. A story about a teenage girl who finds out she’s a half-faerie, half-ogre princess and who happens to have potentially murderous queen mother? Sign me right up!” — Caroline Richmond, THE ONLY THING TO FEAR

You had me at gnomes and Beacon Hill. Toss in a bat-ass crazy dad and hot Selkie, and what’s not to love? Cannot get my hands on this book fast enough!” — Trisha Leaver, CREED

Okay. I’m trembling, either from bookish excitement or the large quantity of coffee ingested while drafting this post. I’ll impute it to the former. Skylar, from all the Bookyard writers, a sincere congratulations — and HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Meet BookYArd member, Rin Chupeco!

2014 is set to be an amazing ear for most of us BookYArd authors. There’s a first of everything set to happen this year – first book being published, first experiences with interacting with readers, first steps toward fulfilling our dreams of becoming writers.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 14 firsts I’d like to share. With my first book, The Girl from the Well, due out in August, most of these are going to be – yup – rather ghost-centric.

First Book: The Ghost in the Cupboard

This was the first book I remember reading, and might have probably also influenced my love for horror books later on. Surprisingly, this wasn’t scary at all – it was about a young ghost who was living in a cupboard and decided one day to leave and explore the world, and who couldn’t understand why people were so frightened of him. (And now that I think about it, this book had more influence on the book I would eventually write than I first thought, because of my protagonist’s perception of herself as more than just a frightening ghost, though she looks the part.)

First Favorite Novel: Pet Sematary, by Stephen King

My first foray into the world of horror novels started out completely as an accident. I was six years old who’d been reading for a couple of years by then, but I was slowly growing tired of all the “kiddie-ish” books I’d been given so far. I was addicted to fairy tales at that stage however, and I suspected that the books lining the bookshelves in my parents’ room was my Mecca for all things potion-y and draconic.

In the end, I singled out a book with the picture of an odd-looking cat on the cover. The graveyard shown behind said cat had no impact on me – I figured it would be a nice story about a pet cat, because I recognized what ‘Pet’ meant, but not what ‘Sematary’ meant.

I’m not going to say I understood everything I read then, but I knew enough to recognize that this was a ghost story, and I was thrilled. Ghost Stories were still a grey area in the list of reading material I was allowed access to, and my childish mind delighted at reading what was to my way of thinking, a ‘banned book’. As I grew older, and learned to appreciate more of King’s nuances, I began reading more and more and more: Cujo, Carrie, The Stand, It, Christie. I was hooked.

 

First Favorite Horror Movie: Monster Squad

I will be completely honest here: I didn’t have as much experience with true horror movies back in my childhood the way I had with books. Asian horror wasn’t something that anyone had been able to introduce me to back then, since there was no one I knew then who loved it the way I loved horror books. As a result , I was treated to a lot of American-based horror movies, which I enjoyed but found lacking in some way: Jaws, Gremlins, Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, It and almost every movie based on a Stephen King book, for obvious reasons. They had a lot of the gore, but not much on the scare.

Nevertheless, I came across this gem of a movie:

It isn’t exactly a true horror movie. In fact, it’s listed as a horror / comedy though I didn’t know it then. But I LOVED it. It was about a group of kids ganging up to defeat Dracula, the Werewolf, and a host of other undead to save the world. How can this not appeal to kids like me then, the ones who’d read so many books and watched so many things and wanted to be a heroine of her own? I must have watched this about fifty times.

 

First Favorite Actual Horror Movie: Ju-On

In 2002, this movie came out, and I fell in love.

Sure, Ringu had been making the rounds before it, but I wasn’t impressed. There were some good scenes, but nothing made me jump out of my seat – not even the climactic climb-out-of-the-television scene could assuage the borefest that came before it.

But Ju-On. Oh, lordy – Ju-On! You think she can’t get you while you’re hiding under your covers? You’re wrong. Think you’ll be safe by staying with a crowd? NOPE. Maybe they’re just a figment of your imagination? Half the time the characters don’t even see the ghost when they appear, but Kayako sure as hell makes sure the viewers do. Ju-On takes all the standard this-will-make-you-feel-safe tropes and tricks and then crap all over it. And the kicker? There is no cure for her. There is no hero to come save the day, no final girl. She will come at you until you die, and that is it. Here, my love for Asian horror began.

 

Favorite Ghost Story Book: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

I love these books so much as a kid, and they’re still the treasures of my collection – and have you seen the illustrations? If it’s scary enough that someone’s tried to ban it countless times, you know it’s a good book.

 

Favorite Ghost Story Legend: The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

I think it appealed to me as a kid because the alleged photo of the Brown Lady is the first documented picture I know where no one has been able to prove that it was a forgery. This idea was such a compelling one – I don’t do ghost hunting myself, but I do enjoy shows featuring them and I like the idea of superstitious beliefs meeting technology that attempts to explain them (I am guilty of watching Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Haunted Encounters, among many others).

Eight Other Things About Me, In the Hopes You Won’t Think I’m Just a Creepy Horror-loving Kid:

1. The first career I really wanted to have was as an archeologist. I LOVE dinosaurs. I could pronounce Tyrannosaurus Rex and Archaeopteryx at four years old, but it took me years to learn to say ‘parrot’ and ‘barbell’ correctly. I wanted to have a velociraptor for a pet back before it was cool to say you wanted a velociraptor for a pet.

I still love them, years later. Jurassic Park has and always will be my favorite movie – even if technically, some of the dinosaurs featured didn’t live during the Jurassic period.

2. On a similar note, I had an odd lisp as a kid, and couldn’t say my rr’s correctly. (I still have difficulty rolling the rr’s). It doesn’t help that my full name is Erin, which meant I constantly referred to myself as “Eween” without meaning to. (On the plus side, ‘Eween’ eventually became my user handle during my college Counterstrike FPS-playing days.)

3. Also related to the Counterstrike mention: I’m a self-professed girl gamer. I have played so many RPGs (the only reason I didn’t play Warcraft was because I couldn’t afford the subscription fees) and I have done Ultima Online, Ragnarok, Eve, Diablo, Guild Wars, and so many other things most of you have probably never heard of. Small anecdote: I was playing God of War during a Sony marketing event once, and a crowd had gathered to watch. I failed to notice a group of kids up front watching me play until I had…. violently beheaded (read: ripped the head off the body of) the sun god, Helios. The teachers were NOT happy with me, but everyone else thought it was hilarious. You can say I am not much of an Angry Birds fan.

I also love survival horror (Silent Hill, Fatal Frame) which can be pretty good inspirations for the squick.

waaah NOP

Also: comic book geek, specializing in Marvel.

4. I have been mistaken as a ghost several times, all through no fault of my own. My younger sister refuses to sleep in the same room as me because she claimed I literally slept (looking) like the dead, and I have scared a lot of people working in old office buildings where I also am at, especially because I pulled in a lot of overtimes and usually left after most of the lights were out. (I earned the nickname ‘Sadako’ this way.)

5. Unlike what some people might think, especially given the first half of this post, I actually don’t believe in ghosts. I was also never a goth kind of girl, although I’m pretty sure I looked the part. I acknowledge that ghosts could exist, but until enough evidence presents itself I’m not convinced. I like the idea of ghosts as a means we can use to explain the inexplicable, but I also understand human perception of their environment can sometimes play tricks on our brains. (People like Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are some of my personal heroes, which could explain a few things).

6. I identify myself as Chinese-Filipino (Chinese by ethnicity, and Filipino by birth and citizenship) but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. I have some Spanish on my paternal grandmother’s side, some Thai and/or Malay on my maternal grandmother’s, but I’ve never really known the true ratio. My grandfather left China for the Philippines to escape the Cultural Revolution, and my paternal grandparents were never actually married. (My grandfather was actually married to someone else, and my grandmother was his mistress / concubine. I never really knew about the rest of his family, because he’d broken off all contact) My family history had always been murky (and reads like a convoluted Chinese period soap opera), though I’d always hoped to one day find out more about it.

7. I am also a big crime junkie. I love CSI shows (even when they’re not entirely accurate) and documentaries like Forensic Files, and almost everything in Crime and Investigation channel. I have books about murders and serial killers and criminal forensics – I think it’s mostly because I want to know how the criminal mind works, and I was very interested for a long time with criminal profiling. I think the idea of reading about these killers and learning about all the steps that led to capturing them and bringing them to justice had the most appeal to me. (I love Agatha Christie – I have all her 80 books – and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books too, so this might be another influence)

8. I was born and have spent pretty much all my life in the Philippines. It’s not as violent and as scary a place to live in as you might think, although I have been witness to a bus bombing and a couple of mall explosions. Driving is still a major cause of injury here, mostly because everyone treats the (sometimes contradicting) traffic laws as suggestions rather than actual rules. Manila is probably one of the ugliest, traffic-congested cities in Asia, but many other places outside of the city are so astonishingly beautiful – OUR BEACHES, GUYS.

Alona Beach, Bohol, Philippines

(image originally from here)

Panglao Island, Philippines

(image originally from here)

And my personal favorite: White Beach, BoracayIsland, Philippines during the off-season.