Monthly Archives: August 2013

Divergent Movie: First Look

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The first look into the movie adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s YA debut “Divergent” premiered earlier this week at the MTV Video Music Awards, and from what I saw, it looks promising. There were obviously some changes since you can’t turn the whole book into a movie word-for-word, scene-by-scene; that’ll be more like a TV series with 16++ hours worth of reel and even then, there’ll be some tweeking because of the new medium.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video plus another one with cast interviews and *jazz hands* Veronica Roth. The movie is set for a March 21, 2014 release, until then we’ll all have to wait fellow initiates. Here are some more dates you’ll need to mark on your calendars:

September 3: The Transfer

September 24: The World of Divergent: The Path to Allegiant

October 22: Allegiant

December 17: The Initiate

January 21: The Son

February 11: The Traitor

February 11: Four: A Divergent Story Collection

Book Review: Libba Bray’s “The Diviners”

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The Diviners - Libba Bray

Confession time. For someone trained to see blood and gore, I am one big yellow chicken. And so it goes, I try to avoid watching and/or reading about anything scary and creepy as much as I can. I’m still sane enough to want to sleep, thank you very much.

But a book about the occult written by Libba Bray just sounds too good to pass up. I had to give in.

The Diviners, the first book in a planned series, revolves around a series of mysterious murders to put it simply. It’s set in a bright and bustling 1926 New York City with all its speakeasies, theaters and movie palaces. Evie O’Neill is our main protagonist. After a party stunt that went awry, she gets booted out from her Ohio hometown and shipped to NYC to live with her bachelor uncle Will who’s obsessed with the occult. Evie quickly settles into her new life; everything’s  fun and exciting, and she’s enjoying it, that is before the body of a girl is found with a strange symbol branded upon her and Will is called to help with the investigation. As grisly murder follow one after the other, Evie realizes that her gift can help catch the serial killer but what she discovers when she throws herself deep into the investigation is so much more darker and powerful.

In true twenties fashion, I ab-so-tute-ly enjoyed reading this book. It is rich and vivid. Libba Bray’s engaging writing is the strongest asset of this new novel. She just has this way with words, she draws you in and puts you right there with her characters. This is a long book and with its almost 600 pages. It could look daunting but with the way the author wrote her prose, you nearly won’t realize you’re almost through with the story.

Another thing to love about The Diviners is its diverse set of characters. There’s many of them, and what a variety – immigrants, people of color, LGBT characters –  but Bray managed to give readers a chance to get to know each character by dishing out interesting backstories, and expertly going in and out of their lives throughout the story.

I love Evie. I love her audacity and boldness. She is flawed – self-centered, irrational, tackless, a mess-up – but deep inside she means well and truly cares for her family and friends. There’s so much room for her to grow in the next books.

Every so often, in every book there’s one or two side characters that simply draw you in. For this book, its Theta and Henry. They both present cool facades but their backstories are tragic. Also, I’m not quite sure what Henry’s special gift is, so that’s something I would love to find out in the next installment.

As for the creepy factor, it’s well up there. Not Stephen King scary but frightening enough to make you not want to read it at night for fear of dreaming about it especially if you are the highly-imaginative kind.

Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about The Diviners is its excessive historical background. Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that Libba Bray‘s setting the mood for the whole series and I appreciate that she took time to thoroughly research about the twenties – she nailed it from the dresses to the language to the sights and scenes of the time period – but I think she could have shortened it to a few pages then got on with her narrative. The characters’ use of twenties slang was also excessive to the point of irritation. But it’s not really that big of a deal. The Diviners is a great read enough for people to get over the minor flaws. I will definitely grab the next book as soon as it’s out.

Rating: 4/5

34th Manila International Book Fair

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It is that time of year again when book lovers of all ages from all over the country unite. It is the Manila International Book Fair,

The 34th MIBF will be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City from September 11 to 15.

Check out MIBF‘s site for more information. See you there!

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Movie news: The Book Thief and Divergent

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It has been a gloomy few days from my end of the world (if you didn’t know and if it isn’t obvious yet, I’m from the Philippines) and we’re all just starting to slowly go back to normalcy. Anyway, yesterday I was just surfing the net and found these clips for The Book Thief and Divergent. It’s always happy news when your favorite books are being turned into movies. It’s whole new media form. It brings the words I’ve read into life.

The adaptation of Markus Zusak‘s The Book Thief will hit theaters November 15. The movie, directed by Brian Percival, will star Geoffrey Rush (Hans Huberman), Emily Watson (Rosa Huberman), Ben Schnetzer (Max Vandenburg) and Sophie Nélisse (Liesel Meminger).

Of course, fans have been hearing a lot about the Divergent movie. This Sunday they’ll see more as the first clip for the adaptation of Veronica Roth’s debut novel premieres at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. There is, as if we’re not already excited, a short teaser of some sort on MTV’s site. The Divergent movie directed by Neil Burger will hit theaters March 21st next year.

Book Review: Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette had been on my to-read list for months now since the day I found out that it was short-listed for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, an award that celebrates women’s writing the world over. I’ve read and immensely enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl sometime late last year, and that novel was part of the same award’s long list so I thought Bernadette would give me the same experience. Besides, I also needed a funny read to cleanse my palate for the next batch of YA novels I am about to read.

Lo and behold, Bernadette went beyond my expectations.

Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette

It’s hard to summarize Bernadette without trivializing the whole storyline. It’s not because it’s a complicated book, which it was not, but more because summarizing it would be compounding the whole novel into just one plot, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette is so much more than “just one simple plot.” I don’t want to betray the story so I’ll borrow the back cover blurb.

“When fifteen-year-old Bee claims a family trip to Antartica as a reward for perfect grades, her fiercely intelligent but agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, throws herself into preparations for the trip. Worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Bernadette is on the brink of a meltdown. As disaster follows disaster, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces.”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a layered narrative but when you zoom into its core, it is a story about a mother and daughter’s love for each other.

Bernadette Fox is an enigma. No one seems to know her fully. For Elgin Branch, Bernadette is his erratic, creative, genius but troubled wife. For the other mothers of Galer Street School, she’s the reclusive, unhelpful and self-righteous queen of Straight Gate. To the design world, she’s a pioneer, a revolutionary architect. But to Bee Branch, she’s simply “Mom” and it seems like the most accurate depiction of Bernadette.

 Maria Semple successfully showed us just how strong and all-encompassing Bernadette’s and Bee’s love for each other was without being dramatic. I’ve read other novels about family relationships and most of them are heavily laden with drama, so this, Bernadette, was a breath of fresh air. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is actually hilarious mainly because of Bee’s and Bernadette’s snarkiness. Semple also managed to poke fun at Seattle, self-help culture and America’s private school system.

Other readers may find the book’s format a bit weird but it’s actually one of the things I like best about this novel. It is unconventional, yes, but it also allowed the characters to fully unfold. Readers got to know Soo-Lin, Audrey, Elgin, Bee and, most especially, Bernadette from all directions through memos, letters, emails and other documents, and that, being able to know the characters, builds this strong connection with readers. At least, that’s true in my case.I love Bernadette and Bee immediately and hated Soo-Lin throughout the book. Elgin and Audrey surprised me at the latter parts of the novel.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is definitely a must read whatever genre you love. It’s funny and heart-warming. I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 5/5

ABC Book Challenge

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THIS POST IS INSPIRED BY THE BOOK CHEWERS’S WEEKLY BLOG LINK-UP 

For someone who’s a self-diagnosed OC sufferer, I am not that neat. I am, after all, leaning more towards the compulsive side of OCD (that’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, for those of you who don’t know, but I doubt it!)

Going back, I’m not that neat so when I line up my books on my shelf I usually arrange them by the name of their authors. But making an ABC made up of book titles is interesting so I’ll give it a shot. I’ll list down the first title that comes to mind.

Here goes:

A – A Long Way Down (Nick Hornby)

B – Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)

C – Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)

D – Divergent (Veronica Roth)

E – Every Day (David Levithan)

F – The Fault in our Stars (John Green)

G – Good Omens (Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett)

H – The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

I – The Iliad (Homer)

J – Just Listen (Sarah Dessen)

K – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

L –  The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman)

M – Matched (Ally Condie)

N – Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)

O – On The Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta)

P – Prodigy (Marie Lu)

Q – ?!

R – The Realm of Possibility (David Levithan)

S – Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)

T – The Titan’s Curse (Rick Riordan)

U – Unbelievable (Sara Shepard)

V – Veronika Decides to Die (Paulo Coelho)

W – Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple)

X – ?!

Y – ?!

Z – The Zahir (Paulo Coelho)

Phew! That was kind of hard. I had to go through the list of books I borrowed from the library to complete this. Three letters missing, I think that’s good enough.