01 The Write Elements: October 2016

Monday, 31 October 2016


Is everything becoming a movie now? :-P
Not that I mind. It's nice to see interpretations of the books we read - just... when it's done right, of course.

Fallen the movie will be out next week (November 10 2016)

Who else is excited!!!!

I apologise if the quality is terrible. It's uploaded straight :-o

Catch the trailers here:

Lauren's Twitter for #Fallen italia

From Cathay Cineplexes 

From YouTube - the international trailer!!

     𝖒𝗁𝖺𝗉𝗍𝖾𝗋 𝖭𝗂𝗇𝖾𝗍𝖾𝖾𝗇
   π‘΄π’†π’Žπ’‘π’‰π’Šπ’”, π‘¬π’ˆπ’šπ’‘π’•
      πŸ‘πŸπŸŽπŸŽ 𝐚.𝐜.
❛❛𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑑h𝑒𝑛 𝑠h𝑒 π‘π‘œπ‘’π‘™π‘‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘™π‘¦ π‘ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘š.
πΏπ‘Žπ‘¦π‘™π‘Ž π‘π‘œπ‘šπ‘π‘’π‘ π‘‘π‘’π‘‘, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘  𝑑h𝑒 π‘“π‘™π‘Žπ‘šπ‘’π‘  𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑙𝑓𝑒𝑑 hπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘π‘œπ‘‘π‘¦, 𝐿𝑒𝑐𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑙𝑑 hπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘œπ‘€π‘› π‘π‘œπ‘‘π‘¦ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑑h𝑒 π‘ π‘œπ‘’π‘™ 𝑑h𝑒𝑦 π‘€π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ 𝑠hπ‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘›π‘” 𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑒, π‘ π‘’π‘’π‘˜π‘–π‘›π‘” 𝑑h𝑒 π‘“π‘Žπ‘ π‘‘π‘’π‘ π‘‘ π‘’π‘ π‘π‘Žπ‘π‘’ π‘“π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘š 𝑑h𝑒... 

 From the tumblr of http://aranelb.tumblr.com/post/146905596542/menphis-egitto

This is SO sexy! Kudos!!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Publishers Weekly October 2016

I just got the chance to take a gander at the Publishers Weekly for this month (yes I know it's ending already!) but I just had to show the iBooks Bestsellers list

I have heard of quite a few of these books but I'm ashamed to say I haven't read them yet. Well, all but one: Magic Binds. I LOVE Ilona Andrews - the first time I read the Kate Daniels series I was hooked. I was so delighted to see this particular series' book up there I had to post the rest!

If anyone has read any of these titles and wants to recommend them please let me know :)

Full list of amazing reads @  https://thewriteelements.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/publishers-weekly-october-2016/

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Maximum Ride (2016) the movie - what could have been -slash- book series review


I, like many others, am an avid fan of the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. It was one of the books I insisted on buying the Young Adult series so many years ago; and I'm still hunting down the rest of the manga volumes for keepsakes.

But first, let's give the books context:

The Flock is made up of the 6 main characters - Maximum "Max" Ride, Fang, Iggy, Gazzy, Nudge and Angel - are human-avian hybrids (so they have wings) and have escaped a lab called The School where they were being caged - yep - and tested on. It's where they got their "gifts", they weren't born with these wings and other powers, which are still developing. But of course there have to be enemies and besides the scientists, these people employed Erasers, who are also human hybrids but with wolf DNA - so they come with fangs, claws, werewolf-shapeshifting, the works. 

So some of the reasons I love the whole Max Ride universe was: 
a) I love anything to do with wings - I don't think they've coined a philia (obsessive love for something) for that yet - so I'm instantly drawn to this book

b) THE CHARACTERS are FANTASTIC!  They have depth in the main 6 - SIX! - and it's so hard to control so many people but James does it phenomenally. Even the adversary, for a while, and 'leader'/head of the Erasers, Ari. My favourites are Fang and Iggy. Though yes I do support Max, who obviously has to be the strong-willed, caring, over-protective, capable female lead (it's usually the case for any YA female leads isn't it; not that I'm complaining); it's the guys. 
Come on. 
Fang is mysterious, with then long black hair, strong and silent and brilliant, sarcastic, cynical and even humourous. Iggy's the same, though his looks are the polar opposite, being - if I'm not mistaken (and see how I'm pulling this all from memory here!) - white-haired and fair-skinned, and blind - extra depth to his character. So think of them as the black and white knight pieces in chess.

c) the idea is really interesting and easy to get behind. I remember the writing being simple to follow and understand, but still action-packed. Heck, they made it into a manga didn't they. Of course I admit I had stopped after the main ones were published - there were more after the first five(?); but I do plan to revisit the characters again

So. When I knew they were planning to make a movie years ago needless to say I was excited. I anticipated it so much but for so long there wasn't any talk of it, so I thought it wasn't going to happen.
Then... I found it. Totally out of the blue, the movie cropped up in a search I was doing for .. I don't know what anymore because I abandoned everything to find the movie.
I watched it, before the trailer - though now I watched both.

I'm James' fan so you don't know how much I don't want to slam this...

But, well... I pretty much had my brows furrowed a lot of the time.
I'm a book lover. I'm THIS book's lover. ('nough said.) AND, hey, I'm a media student, so I've become critical over shots - if a scene was boring-ish I would appraise the shots and be all in awe most of the time. But I know to disassociate myself just in case the book and movie didn't quite match up.

Sad to say, it didn't come close. My entire being was in turmoil. "You have to be kidding me" as Max says it in the movie. 

The Movie? Or... what can kinda be called a movie? was slow, borderline elderly-with-a-walker pace, which made it worse, considering there wasn't a real PLOT. The shots weren't anything to rave about and couldn't distract me from the dialogue - if it wasn't from Max or Iggy it wasn't anything worth listening to. How was this written and approved?! 

The shots were simple the moment I saw the card-swipe and cage open. The entire time they seemed so amateurish, it's like something someone who isn't a filmmaker would have come up with for a 3-minute corporate video. They were moving and moving. Did the crew not have a tripod? 

The trailer was all the more numbing. You know how you get that rush from seeing an awesome kick-butt trailer because you know the edits were done so well you got into it? I could Not get into this one. The first book was about rescuing Angel and so the movie focused on that... WAY too much. 

The overall plot, even slight pulling in from the other books in the series, wasn't done right. I waited for the characters to be developed further because that's such a key component, but they weren't. Even worse, was how the crew portrayed them.

Okay, so the actress for Max did quite alright, fulfilling the role she had to be, but it really lacked a lot of energy. I thought they were all zombies. Their faces are supposed to show their emotion, especially with close-up shots. 

Though I love her outfit choices (cause I would like to wear it that way) she's not supposed to. She's the "Mom", so more conservative dressing would be nice. Where's her jacket? And I'm pretty sure she wasn't the threatening-type, "taking down" Nudge? Um, hello? 

Fang. OH. MY. GEEZ. Let's see... No black hair. No LONG hair. No lankiness(!!!). No long sleeved shirts (how many times can the older ones expose their arms in this thing). No brooding(!!!!!). No Fang-smirk(!!!!!!!!). Where's the fridge scene? Where's the cool, collected figure that's meant to be a inspiring shadow-protector in the corner? 

Iggy... I don't want to lump them together but, IT'S THE SAME THING as Fang. He was WAY too buff (good for the actor - don't get me wrong I do find him hot - but not for this role. I'm trying not to be too down on the actors. They weren't bad bad). No calm, quiet smile. No semi-cynical behaviour. No desperation (not even when the chaos ensued near the end). 

The push on Nudge's childishness was taken too far. Yes she wants to find out her past, but she's supposed to be bubbly and talkative.

Gazzy is meant to be funny. Too into his explosives, yes, but at least he's meant to have a sense of humour.

Angel was, well obviously, gone for most of the time. But she's meant to be irritatingly (yeah I don't like her so much) cute... and innocent. Even in the poster the actor wore a hoody. I thought it was Nudge or Max for a second. 

NO FEAR. These kids are meant to be afraid of the Erasers, of being found. As Gazzy put it in the movie, the Erasers could find them at any moment and rip down the walls with their bare hands. Now that frightens me, wouldn't it you? 

Forget Jeb. I'm coming for Ari. Another gross mistake. He's meant to be *AHEM* Max's younger brother yet he looks about as old as her in the flashbacks. Not only that, what did they turn him into?! When he turns into an Eraser he looks like Sabretooth from the old X-men animated series. 
Long raggly hair, fangs, claws, buff and hissing (HISSING). Now Sabre instilled fear...Ari? He was laughable. 

 I was underwhelmed. The manga portrays them way better.
Then came fight scenes. Or lack thereof. Now I don't usually reveal things in my reviews but these had to be pointed out.

This was especially when they were going to reveal Iggy for the first time, I was SOOOOOOOO disappointed you have no idea. For reasons above.

Ari's sudden appearance when he found where they lived. I thought I was deaf when I didn't hear any music. Suspense, not there. Fight, really not there. Ari is meant to be strong but there was no show of manhandling Iggy or Nudge. And Iggy went down just like that? At least Nudge hit the wall. So Gazzy had to hide to fumble around with his gadget and Ari's only line was "where are you"
I swear I recall 'little pig little pig' used somewhere in the stories. If not, it should have been!

Fang desperately trying to get Max to talk to him. Though I get it but the way he spoke was not his character at all! "You say somethin'?" as she gave him the cold shoulder.   

The almost-kiss in the cabin. When he stopped her with his hand on her mouth I thought if you're gonna stop her kissing you that's dumb but sure; however if you wanna keep her quiet, Fang's voice might as well be him popping balloons - was that meant to be a whisper? It failed.  

The rest of the gang trying to find Max and Fang. Iggy, with his excellent hearing as said in the initial part of the movie - was impervious to Max's loud footsteps. Didn't announce their presence. Max has been with them so long, they don't really change their clothes, but she couldn't recognise him (sure, to be fair, they weren't meant to have left the house) And Max's grab wasn't done properly, she didn't even shove him hard enough against the wall to cause him to choke (though he coughed like it was). 

Then there was the fight with Ari and the whole Flock near the end before they were brought back to The School. They both called in reinforcements which was so great cause it looked like they were going to rumble. Then Ari takes moments to pull out earplugs and switches on the supersonic hearing disorienting device with the most pathetic dialogue ever. "I can't hear you"?! The Flock let him take out a device and there was no cut to them in a panic - even running toward Ari would be fine!

They spent LONG stupid moments on the ground after that, writhing in agony I understand but it felt like the editor just wanted to lengthen the deadpan scene. It took forever for anyone to kidnap them.

When they were trapped back in the cage, though the screaming dialogue is meant to show panic, it didn't covey very well. They did their best to look worried but the music didn't change, they initially didn't shout if they're all okay - it was mainly Max, like she has to carry the team in acting too. Iggy, of all people, being blind should have been the one to worry the most. They were angry, not angry enough and panicked; but all just not enough.

Their wings. This is a movie about AVIANS. It should be so full of them taking flight and landing till I'm sick of it. They tried to do more close-ups of the wings (minus the shot where it's actually slowly edging out of Max's back) but it just looked cheap, like they wanted validation for the animation work done. 

The hype I built around seeing them fly and spread their wings for the first time was sorely drained into nothing. I don't even think the wings were the right colour for a lot of the scenes! As they showed Max's, though it was meant to be cool, the CG done when the shot showed her body didn't gel. It looked like the wing was detached even though it's supposedly coming from beneath her skin, which was shown in detail. Also, honestly, there should have been shadows and looked larger. They don't fan right.
 The book made me wish for wings.

And lastly the almost-lovey dovey scene with Max and Fang. Oh man... The worst thing was how unromantic and un...livening it was. I'm supposed to be thrilled over their sudden need for a connection but it was awkward. Not how awkward it was supposed to be for the two of them trying something new, but ... just bad.  The actor couldn't even stroke her face right.

Read the books. Read the manga. Don't watch this after you read it.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Sneak review of Children of Las Vegas


The international edition of Children of Las Vegas will be launched on 12 Nov this year.

That being said I've already read it - cause I had to help with the publicity side of the launch - FOUR times thus far.
I'm not one for non-fiction, so to get a chance to hear the stories of the 10 children who have grown up in Vegas was an eye-opener. I actually wish it was fiction because it's horrifying to think this happened to kids. For any kid who can't control their circumstance and grew up in an undesirable environment (and I'm talking about those refugees and destitute lands too of course) I feel so sorry.
It's why I was grateful to read the book and be part of the team that's about to bring it to the world. It makes you realise you're damn privileged - or at least I am, no matter my own harsh circumstances.
My mom's been there for me.
Of course, having such a 'real' book makes it difficult to read it more than once. Believe me. Though I did manage to gain new insight and learn more about the now adults after going through it a few times. From what you think you know, it intensifies it.
Not all the stories were well-written, just cause I didn't like the tone and style. But for the ones which are, do give this book a chance.Or at least borrow it.
Then look for one that talks about people in war-torn countries. Continue having the feel~

Some quotes from the stories which I found were stronger:

She had six different credit cards running up debt at the same time. She bought things, she gambled. She said she deserved it because she supported everyone else when my dad was out of work and she was everybody’s slave.
When my grandparents and aunt left, my mom would stay on [at the casino]. She’d say she’d be along soon but she didn’t come and when they went back the next day she’d still be sitting there.
She’d have taken out all the money she could get on her ATM and credit cards.
I remember my mom's warmth ... I went to her for everything. 
Even if she's there it's not her ... That's what hurts me the most. She's so close, right next to me and I want it so bad but...she's not there. 

It wasn’t that there wasn’t money coming in. She worked and my dad always sent child support payments.
But there was never any food in the house. We’d go days eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon. She’d eat in casino restaurants. One day she came back with a bag of leftovers and we were hungry and asked her if we could have some. “No,” she said. “That’s mine.”
If she’d won I’d get lunch money, if she’d lost I wouldn’t.
She screamed, threw things, kicked holes in the wall. Nobody ever wanted to come to our house, ever
There wasn’t anything to make me realize this was abnormal, except sometimes when teachers asked if I was all right. They could see my clothes, that I was hungry, that I never did homework. They must have suspected that something was wrong at home. But I didn’t get it. I was too young. It was just normal life to me.
But when I came back home the pressure was on and I felt I had to hold everything in. There was some kind of unstated law that said I wasn’t allowed to be angry, that I was supposed to be happy all the time because everyone else was falling apart.

The money just goes, evaporates, like it’s been sucked into some hole in the sky or earth. My dad’s paycheques go from debts and what he gambles and then he gets these payday loans. It’s constantly a desperate situation
He’s taken money from my sister. He’s had my graduation money, my savings, my student loans.
Once I phoned him to check my account and when he had my log-in details he transferred money from my account to his. He’s taken money from my pockets. I still had $60 after being on vacation with a friend’s family and when I looked later it was gone.
I love him very much, he’s a wonderful man, but it’s… frustrating.
My parents didn’t have time to pay attention to us. They were too absorbed in their addictions.
I know they feel bad. My mom cries
We were sitting in the car once and I felt so desperate about it and I was pleading with him, “Don’t you care about us? Why don’t you stop? Can’t you see that you’re killing us? Don’t you love us?”
He’d always say, “I’m sorry.”
It makes me feel bad to live in a city based on something that takes so much from people. 
When I drive I try to look at the mountains rather than the Strip.   
It’s hard to grow up here, or even want to, when your parents are falling apart. 

She stole from a woman whose house we were living in for a while and told the woman I did it. She stole all the money my sister had put away to get married.
Nobody can figure it out. Why is she like this? Why doesn’t she care about anybody? Why was she just this absence in our lives for all these years when we needed her so much? We can’t even figure out what she does with the money.
We’re all linked together in this gigantic train wreck.
People are quick to deceive. They’re skilled at it. They have second lives.
People just haemorrhage their resources into it.
I feel very insecure, like I’m just waiting for things to fall apart. It’s difficult to live in a place you can’t stand.
But this is something else. This feels like some disease that’s on your skin. They say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But it’s not true. I think it’s going to stay with me forever, wherever I go. I don’t trust people. I’m full of anger towards the people who hurt me. 
I hope people will read it so they know what it costs to grow up in this place the world treats like a playground. I don’t look at the Strip and think, “Oh, look at the pretty lights. I want to go and play.” I hate it. I want it to go away. We’re the city that prides itself on moral corruption. It’s like, “We suck, come and visit us.” It’s this Disneyland for malfunctioning grown-ups.

    Read my copy, the advance order is ready! 
Children of Las Vegas is ready to show you what it's really like in Sin City. Hear from the real voices of those living in Vegas - when they were just children.