The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray

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 Photo by Cerize Sicat

 

Rating:

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 / 5

Synopsis:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

 

Review:

Wow, I can’t believe I kept putting this on my to-read-next pile until the pile was high enough to climb to. I wasn’t able to read it for a whole year! Anyway, boy oh boy was it good. I hate myself for not reading it sooner because I have not encountered anything like this before. It’s set up in New york in the 1920’s, there’s murder, paranormal activities, and all sorts of creepy things making it the perfect Halloween read! I loved every single thing about it. Bray’s writing is impeccable. She has a way of making you feel as if you’re with Evie and the gang.

The amount of research she must have done for this thing must be crazy! I enjoyed the fashion of vintage NYC and the slang dahhhlingggg!! It’s amazing and quite terrifying. I loved all of her characters specially Theta and Henry (their back story was so good I wept), even the evil ones because of the great way they were written. They creeped me out but yeah sure, they were amazing. Blind Bill unnerves me. That lying blind man, I hate what he did to Isaiah. What a friggin’ user-friendly man.

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I liked the clues left with the mutilated bodies. Specially the one with Ruta. Sad, but really smart. I also found the childhood rhyme to be chilling:

 ‘Naughty John, Naughty John,

does his work with his apron on.

Cuts your throat and takes your bones,

sells ’em off for a coupla stones.’

All in all, this book is fantastic and I will surely reccommend it to all of my bookish friends who are into things like this. I pos-i-tute-ly wanna read the next one (which just arrived yesterday!).

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(ARC) Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter (Gods of War #1)

(ARC) Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter (Gods of War #1)

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Photo by Cerize Sicat

Release date: 23rd of October 2018 

Rating:

🌟🌟 / 5

 

Synopsis:

Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

 

Review:

Thank you National Bookstore for my Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book. (I actually won it, lol)

I have tried reading several new adult novels in the past and I’ve liked a lot of them but after reading this one, I doubt if I would dive for another of the same genre very soon. I really did not enjoy this book. I struggled to finish it and almost DNFed it but fought the urge because I really wanted to write a review for an ARC this year.

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The way this was written was so confusing it makes me say ‘Hold on, what is happening now?’ sometimes making me question if passages are missing. One moment they are here, the next, another thing is happening. The rules regarding the All War has so many loopholes. The characters are very questionable with very little mention of the others and the scenes other than the sex parts are not explained well, hence making the reader confused at times. The character development was really bad. For example, Knox kidnapped Vale out of pure lust and even though Vale has mentioned constantly that she loves her sister, still, Knox doesn’t care if Nola dies or not. But even though that sounded really bad, I hate Vale the most. She’s confusing. She said that she doesn’t want anything to do with Knox and that she’d do whatever it is to win the All War and then the next she wants him to take his pants off and jump her. There’s 400 plus pages in this book and 90% of it is about Vale and Knox’s desperate need to alleviate the heat they feel in their groins. I’m not even kidding. Sure i’m up for some hot scenes but this is wayyyyyyy too much. I mean come on, lustful scenes page after page making the plot seem unnecessary.

If you ask me what this book is about, i’d say: Horny girl meets equally horny immortal guy from another realm who is currently fighting a battle with other immortals. Girl becomes immortal and grows more lusty.

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In all honesty, I wouldn’t suggest this book to anyone. Would I read book 2? No. I’d tell you to grab a different one.

How about you, have you read the book? What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading! 

Manila International Book Fair 2018

Manila International Book Fair 2018

The event of the year that Pinoy bookworms are all waiting for has finally come. Welcome to the 39th Manila International Book Fair! Where all the most famous bookstores and publishing companies in the Philippines are all gathered in one roof for five days.

You might be wondering why we love MIBF so much, let me break it down for you: The books, arts supplies, and even collectible things like toys are all on discounted prices. Not to mention the events they come up with every year. They have book signings, cosplays, games, and giveaways. It’s crazy!

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You’ll see people carrying not one, but multiple bags of books. Some would even go on different days so that they could buy everything on their list. Last year I attended National Bookstore’s book signing where the featured authors were Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. This year was Nico Tortorella’s turn. I did not attend because I’m very dedicated to my list and his book was not in mine so I gave it a pass. Also because his book was expensive.

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This year, there’s also the Book Binge Bazaar hosted by the National Bookstore where you can buy books for as low as Php 50 ($1)! They are priced Php75, Php 125, Php175, and Php 275. The books are in very good condition. Most of which are brand spanking new. Here are my purchases from the BBB:

I got the Harry Potter Cinematic Guide boxed set for Php 275 (from Php 1245.00), Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything for Php 175 and Grownup by Gillian Flynn for Php 50.

Anyway, I’m so happy with all of the things I bought. I was not unfortunately able to buy a copy of SJM’s Empire of Storms and Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss which was on top of my list along with a bunch of other titles. I wanted to get the remaining books for The Raven Boys series of Maggie Stiefvater (books 2 to 4) but unfortunately, only the fourth book was available (or I just couldn’t find the rest of them). But overall, I’m extremely happy with my purchase. Also, I won one of the ARCs that National Bookstore gave away from their twitter (Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter)! How cool is that?? I’m so glad they returned this MIBF ARC giveaway. It was gone for a while and alas, here it is again and I wish it’s here to stay.

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I met up with old friends (Shiella and Ate Bea) and then I met up with some members of the BookstagrammersPH (The Titas, as we’d like to call ourselves). So sad that I wasn’t able to meet the rest because I got there pretty late. It was so nice to chat with them with our favorite topic: Books.

Enough of my rambling. Here’s my MIBF / BBB haul:

Thank you for reading! How about you, did you attend the event and what did you get? I’d love to hear about your haul!

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

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Synopsis:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

 

Rating:

🌟🌟🌟🌟 / 5

 

Review:

I was expecting the story to be really bad because when I posted a photo in instagram that I finally bought a copy of it, people were like “Oh I didn’t really like it.” I was really worried about it because I loved all of Marie Lu’s works. But after all those bad comments (yes, comments, because I don’t read reviews before I read a book) about this novel, I was quite surprised that I still enjoyed it though not in a way that I enjoyed her other works. It didn’t level Bardugo’s retelling of Wonderwoman but it still got me interested in the story of Bruce Wayne.

This novel has very mixed reviews. I think I know why so let me enumerate the reasons:

  1. Bruce Wayne doesn’t seem to be as badass as we hope he would be.
  2. His friends are forgettable and quite boring to be honest.
  3. The only person I cared about other than the main character is Alfred. The badass guardian. And Madeleine, who I find rather enticing.
  4. It didn’t build up the excitement I was hoping for.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Marvel fan and I don’t know much about the DC superheroes of DC primarily because I find their movies or cartoons really boring. I haven’t watched any of the Batman movies and the only thing I know is that it was played by several actors, primarily Christian Bale and Ben Affleck.

But these retellings are actually giving me really good vibes with the DC characters and their backgrounds. I honestly thought that Batman has superpowers, too. It just turns out that he’s incredibly rich and smart ala Tony Stark, but the only difference is that Tony builds his weapons and Bruce Wayne has Lucius Fox to make his toys.

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All in all I still enjoyed it. I actually can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas because I’m really having fun reading these stories.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Rating:

2.5 / 5 🌟

Synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Review:

THIS CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

I love weddings and I come from a big family so I was actually really looking forward to reading this. Charlie is the main character and it was written in her POV, it started off with her and Jesse – her long time crush – on a couch at his house and I knew off the bat that they wouldn’t end up together and as soon as Bill came, I knew my hunches were right.

From the very moment I started reading this, I knew something was off. I could have read this in a day or two but it took me so long to finish it because my heart wasn’t very into it. It felt like I was reading another generic novel that has a generic plot line. In my personal opinion, there were far too many unnecessary scenes and interractions that made the story drag. The amount of disasters that happened in this novel was too much for my taste. She could have gotten away with the wedding coordinator running off and messing with the event and stuff to make it seem more believable, but to top it off with wrong suit for the groom + no judge to conduct the ceremony + power outtage + terrible weather + cat and dog set loose and destroyed the cake an hour before it’s served AND a family feud in the middle of the event. I just think it’s just too much.

Regarding the comic strip, I have to agree with Mike that their mom made their lives public without even consulting them. She re-made them with how she wanted her family to be like. Of all characters in the book, it felt as if she was a ghost – not exactly having any defining characteristic or flavor at all.

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Charlie grew up with the comic strip and she was blinded by it, always thinking that everything is fine and that there’s nothing to worry about. I hated that about her and how she acted around Brooke. I feel so bad for the girl for how everybody treated her. She deserves so much better! Don’t even get me started on how Morgan Matson ended her part in the story.

For me, it’s kind of frustrating that I was actually hoping to find a chapter that would give me a jolt and find the rest of the book so exciting but it just left me disappointed. This is my first Morgan Matson book and I’m thinking if I should give her other books a shot. What do you think?

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To Something New

To Something New

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A month ago, a bookstagrammer asked me if I wanted to be an administrator of a bookish community made up of Filipino readers. I – a social butterfly – would really love to get to know more people who enjoy the things that I fancy. I immediately said yes and I do not regret it one bit. Allen was the creator. I could not believe he’s only 16 years old (ahhh he makes us all feel so old! But we love him.). Then there’s the admins: Ari, Yumi, JM, Elle, and of course me. (Click their names to visit their blogs!)

In just a month, we’ve already reached more than 500 Pinoys all over the globe. We’ve established good name with local shops and even partnered with Mermaid Crate for our July giveaway. It’s a fantastic experience and I enjoy chatting with my fellow administrators. They’re all very jolly and so artistic. The members as well are all so friendly.

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There are so many beautiful posts in instagram where our members tagged us or used the official hashtag #BookstagramersPH. I can’t believe that there’s already a thousand post with this hashtag and it’s crazy! They take such wonderful photos that we’re having a hard time picking the weekly favorite, especially the Photo of the Month. We’ve concocted so many activities so the members wouldn’t be bored. The challenges are fun and the giveaways we have in store is simply crazy.  We’re sure that the members will enjoy the surprises we have for them in the future.

We’ve launched our first Book of the Month Discussion with Furyborn by Clare Legrand last June and I was surprised to see members to be very accommodating and excited to share their different opinions of the book. I’m looking forward to seeing what our members have to say for our July pick.

It simply amazes me how fast this thing is growing. We have merch, collaborations, meetups of members at random places in Manila, and so many plans for the future. I hope more people will join because this is really an amazing community that shares the same passion for reading.

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We’re planning to see each other on the Philippine Reader’s and Writers Festival hosted by National Bookstore on August where JM will be one of the speakers. It’s all so exciting and new for me. I can’t wait to meet them all in person.

Photos by Allen, Yumi, and members of the BGPH.

Dear Universe: Poems on Love, Longing, and Finding Your Place in the Cosmos by Pierra Calasanz-Labrador

Dear Universe: Poems on Love, Longing, and Finding Your Place in the Cosmos by Pierra Calasanz-Labrador

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Rating:

4/5 🌟

Synopsis (Goodreads):

If Pierra Calasanz-Labrador s debut poetry collection The Heartbreak Diaries was equivalent to an ugly cry, this second volume is an introspective journey, a quiet voice longing to be heard. Like stumbling upon an introvert’s secret diary, these fifty poems chronicle fervent wishes, hidden fears, and everyday acts of bravery that may sound uncannily familiar.

Whether you are searching for a soul mate, battling self-doubt, clearing out skeletons in your heart, or trying to chart your own course in an increasingly judgmental world, Dear Universe is an astute, empowering reminder that you are not alone.

Featuring illustrations by Frances Alvarez.

Review:

I received an ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing sets my mood right more than reading good poetry. I really adored the writing of Pierra because it truly made me feel like I am a part of that poetry collection – sometimes as if I’m the one who’s going through her experiences. Pieces of her collection are rather short but striking. Some are even powerful because it connects to you. Some of my favorites are Dear Universe, Journey, Blindsided, and E.T. Also, I have to say kudos to the illustrator: Frances Alvarez. I really like these minimalist designs for the poetry collection. They look so cute.

It’s a very light read which could be finished in less than an hour but the emotions are there. It’s amazing and truly deserve to be read by everyone who adores poetry collections. Good job, Pierra!