Tag Archives: harry potter

Book review: Gabrielle Lord’s “Conspiracy 365: January”

When you’ve had an international phenomenon like the “Harry Potter” series under your belt, what else can you do to follow it up?

For Scholastic Press, the answer was turning to an “interactive” series like “The 39 Clues”. More than just telling an engrossing adventure story, “The 39 Clues” series gave its readers tasks to do outside of the book. Readers could play online games, as well as cards that readers can collect that lead to clues.

If numbers are anything to go by, it looks like Scholastic made the right decision. Since the first book, “The Maze of Bones” was published in 2008, the series has been a critical and commercial success. It has now spawned 15 more books, and even a movie adaptation produced by Steven Spielberg.

Now Scholastic is betting on a new series in “Conspiracy 365”. Composed of 12 books published over 12 months, “Conspiracy 365” is already a bestseller in Australia, and has been adapted into a 12-part television series there.

But while it has enthralled readers in Australia, will it also be something that Filipino readers will mark their calendars for? Or will the series be something that will barely pique the Pinoy reader’s interest?

Continue reading Book review: Gabrielle Lord’s “Conspiracy 365: January”

Book review: J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”

When the “Harry Potter” series came to an end five years ago with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, it would be an understatement to say that the world was interested to find out the next phase in J. K. Rowling’s writing career.

The publication of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” in 2008 generated blockbuster sales, with initial sales estimates for the slim volume at $7.6 million. Her announcement in February of this year that her first post-Harry Potter novel would be for adults, and the subsequent announcement in April that the novel would be named “The Casual Vacancy”, was enough to garner headlines.

Within hours of its release last Sept. 27, “The Casual Vacancy” skyrocketed to the top spot on Amazon’s Book Chart in the United States, while the Irish Independent revealed that   first week sales of “The Casual Vacancy” was the second highest “since records began”, bowing only to Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”.

But while the commercial success of “The Casual Vacancy” isn’t that surprising — it’s Rowling’s first book since “Harry Potter” — its critical reception is something that is less secure. Will “The Casual Vacancy” cast the same spell on readers as “Harry Potter” did? Or will Rowling end up like A. A. Milne, whose work after “Winnie the Pooh” was roundly panned by critics?

Continue reading Book review: J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”

Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 2

Yes, I know, the updates have been sparse, but it’s mostly because I’m on vacation in Singapore and I thought I’d give myself a few days with which to lounge around and basically vegetate.

It didn’t actually happen — I still ended up doing work stuff even here — but it’s all good. Now that I don’t actually feel any pressure, I’ve relaxed enough to type up my interview with Lauren Oliver and put it up for you guys.

I was a little worried going into this interview as most of the questions I had prepared earlier had gotten asked during the meet and greet with fans at Powerbooks. I had to think up of new question right quick, and was really worried that Lauren would think they’re redundant and pointless.

Thankfully, Lauren didn’t think they were — or she was being extremely polite, ahahahaha — and I got to get out of this interview with my dignity intact. Enjoy the conversation under the cut, which includes: LGBT characters, Manolo Blahniks, and how Lauren Oliver is a pro-non-virgin.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Lauren Oliver – Part 2

Chapter by Chapter review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 18

What? The chapter title’s “La Lumiere”. I have to use this video.

At the end of chapter 18 I expressed my stupid hope that “Modelland” might somehow free itself from the tight fist of Id!Tyra and take an entirely different direction from what we’ve been getting from the past few chapters. It’s the human thing to do, right? To hope for something better.

Of course, if there’s anything that Tyra Banks has excelled in over the years, it’s crushing whatever hope any of us may have had in our hearts — e.g. Elyse Sewell and Allison Harvard — and then reminding us that she’s the only thing we should focus our attention on.

No, Tookie and the gang aren’t going back home. All that claptrap was for nothing — kinda like ANTM All-Stars — and Tookie and the Bellas are still in Modelland. Let’s just get this chapter over with.

Continue reading Chapter by Chapter review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 18

Book review: Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

As much of a “trendsetter” I am when it comes to such questionable masterpieces such as “Modelland” and “A Shore Thing“, I am always, always woefully late  when it comes to what is actually popular on most readers’ shelves.

For instance, I only started reading Paolo Coelho around his 29th (or is it 28th?) novel, “The Winner Stands Alone”, and my reaction wasn’t exactly the most positive one. I haven’t read a single work by Haruki Murakami, and I haven’t started on “The Hunger Games” yet, although I’ve been itching to do so. As for “Harry Potter”, I only started reading it when “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” came out. I’ve never really gotten into Nicholas Sparks or Mitch Albom, and the thought of even thumbing through Rick Warren’s “A Purpose Driven Life” makes me want to punch somebody’s nalgas.

Having outlined my un-hipness, it therefore shouldn’t surprise you guys that I only started reading Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” earlier this week. I was planning to read it anyway — the US adaptation of the movie airs on the first of February — but I was invited to a press preview and I had to push it up my to-read list because I didn’t want to go in there without having read the book.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book, and I had to go into the movie without knowing what I was going to be in for. I’ll talk about how the movie measures up to the book in another post, but I will say this — the movie certainly didn’t spoil the experience of reading the book.

Continue reading Book review: Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapters 8 and 9

I was going through my bookshelves this morning like normal people do and I thought of leafing through my copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” just for old times sake. It’s been more than a decade, after all.

While looking through my copy, I found out that Chapter Six, “The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters”, and Chapter Seven, “The Sorting Hat”, starts on page 88. The chapters talk about several characters Harry meets on his way to Hogwarts, as well as the moment where Harry is finally picked to be part of a house.

Meanwhile, Chapters Eight and Nine of Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” — named “T-DOD” and “Bzzz” — begins on page 87. The two chapters are about Tookie meeting several characters on the way to Modelland and finally being picked to be an Intoxibella.

Am I saying that Ty-Ty is trying to fashion herself into a “fashion” version of J.K. Rowling, rewriting “Harry Potter” in a very inefficient way? No, I most certainly am not. Is she just renaming characters from Rowling’s universe? I don’t know. Maybe you can ask Xenophilius Lovegood Theopilius Lovelaces.

What I am saying is that it’s time for another installment of “Modelland”!

Continue reading Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapters 8 and 9

Your week in books#26

  • Here’s the trailer for “Snow White and the Huntsman”, where Bella Swan, after being trained by Thor, leads the Men of Gondor in a rebellion against Aeon Flux. or Aileen Wuornos if you’re all indie and stuff.
  • Two Pulitzer Prize winners will be heading to our fair shores next week! Edward P. Jones, author of “The Known World“, and Junot Diaz, author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao“, will be taking part in the Manila International Literary Festival, which will be held from November 16 to 18. (Source)
  • There’s going to be a course on Harry Potter at Durham University in the United Kingdom. The Guardian’s kicker takes the cake, though: “Module will focus on ‘social, cultural and educational context’, but no word on whether Expelliarmus will be applied to students with poor grades.” (Source)
  • I love a good plagiarism story, and boy is this one crazy. Debut novelist Q. R.
    Q. R. Markham, plagiarist

    Markham’s novel, “Assassin of Secrets”, recently came out to strong reviews, with Publishers Weekly noting that the “obvious Fleming influence just adds to the appeal. Turns out, the “obvious Fleming influence” was around because Markham — Quentin Rowan in real life — used Fleming’s actual words, along with the word of Robert Ludlum and many more. The blog “Reluctant Habits” even provides a rundown of the works plagiarized! (Source 1, Source 2)

  • “Assassin of Secrets” most definitely will not make it to Amazon’s Best Book of 2011. Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84” and Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus” made it though! (Source)
  • The New York Observer has a nice profile on Anthony Bourdain, who it appears is now going into publishing. (Source)
  • Barnes and Noble has a new Nook tablet out! (Source)
  • Check out “The Books They Gave Me”, a Tumblr blog focusing on books given by lovers. (Source)
  • Take a look at some stills from the David Cronenberg film, “Cosmopolis”, based on the Don Delilio novel of the same name. It stars Robert Pattinson! (Source)
  • In that other Robert Pattinson film that’s based on a book, he talks about how Bella’s placenta tastes like “cream cheese and strawberry jam”. I can’t wait to watch this movie. (Source)
  • Finally, “One Tree Hill” star Chad Michael Murray is now a graphic novelist, coming out with “Everlast” under Archaia. I will now take this opportunity to post shirtless pictures of him under the cut. (Source)

Continue reading Your week in books#26

Your week in books#24

  • Here’s a short and interesting clip where book cover designer Chip Kidd talks about how he designed the book jacket for Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84”.
  • Following this Murakami route, there’s a really great profile of him on the New York Times. (Source)
  • Fans of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and H&M are in for a treat as the retail chain releases a clothing line inspired by the book and the upcoming Hollywood adaptation. (Source)
  • “A Game of Thrones” author George R. R. Martin talks about Peter Dinklage, the TV adaptation of his famous series, and how he sometimes turns to Westeros.org to keep his facts straight. (Source)
  • The Guardian takes a look at the latest ‘Sherlock Holmes” story penned by “Stormbreaker” author Anthony Horowitz. (Source)
  • Check out this great illustration of Batman battling all his foes at the Wayne Manor! (Source)
  • Finally, “Harry Potter” characters drawn as hipsters. (Source)
  • Edited to add: “Hunger Games” character posters under the cut!

Continue reading Your week in books#24

Book review: Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”

When “The Night Circus”, Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, first made its way onto the bookstore shelves less than a month ago, it came with the sort of buzz and marketing that would make any reader’s eyebrows shoot straight up.

Aside from comparisons to “Harry Potter” and “Twilight”, the publicity machine behind “The Night Circus” was also putting it in the same league as New York Times’ bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke. The hype was further intensified when film rights to the novel were snapped up by Summit Entertainment, the same group behind the “Twilight” series of films.

Now that “The Night Cirucs” has come into town, readily available on your local bookstore’s shelves, will it live up to the immense expectations set by its own advance press? Or will all prove to be just smoke and mirrors in the end?

Continue reading Book review: Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”