Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Characters I Want Sitting At My Lunch Table

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Characters I Want Sitting At My Lunch Table

This is such a good topic, as it’s back to school time!  I’ve been out of school for quite some time, but if I did find myself back in school, this are the characters I’d want to be sitting with.

  1. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Everyone needs a Luna in their life, and she’d be great to have lunch with because she’s so quirky.
  2. Mia from Princess Diaries.  Mia and I would so be friends in real life.  We’re totally the type of people to freak out about stuff, so we’d probably get along great.
  3. Meg from A Wrinkle In Time.  I love Meg, and she’s another character I would probably be friends with in real life.  I feel like we’re a lot alike.
  4. Claire from Morganville Vampires.  I feel like Claire and I would be friends in real life, because we both seem to be into school, and trouble seems to find her, she’s also a pretty nice person.
  5. Anna from Anna And The French Kiss.  It would be so fun to go to the movies with her!
  6. Iko from Cinder.  I love Iko, and she’s such a loyal and good friend that I’d totally want to have lunch with her.
  7. Joanne from Weather Wardens.  I really want her sense of fashion, and she’d be a great person to shop with!
  8. Ana from Incarnate.  Is it surprising that I think Ana and I would be friends in real life?  Because I’m pretty sure that we’d be good friends…I feel like we’ve both struggled with being different and finding our place.  While it’s something we all experience, I feel like I’d totally invite her to sit with me.
  9. Tonks from Harry Potter.  Mostly because Tonks is fun and tough, and I’d like to think that maybe some of that would rub off on me.
  10. Fred and George from Harry Potter.  I know it’s weird that Hermione isn’t on the list, but Fred and George are really funny, and it’d be hilarious to have them around.

Currently Obsessed With: Why Is August Over?

Currently Obsessed With is a monthly feature where I talk about my favorite stuff and interesting things from the last month and also where I talk about what’s been going on in my life!

So.  It’s September!  I’m not in school, haven’t been for several years, and yet it’s weird to me that it’s September!  I just really want it to be 70 degree weather again, because the 80 to 90 degree weather has gone on for too long!

Nails & Beauty:

From Left To Right: Joyce, Kirti, Tammi, Priscilla

From Left To Right: Joyce, Kirti, Tammi, Priscilla

I really like this month’s Maven box!  I particularly liked Joyce, which surprised me, because red isn’t a color I normally go for. And I loved Kirti, which wasn’t a big surprise, since it was the one I figured I’d like.  I don’t know why, but I have been a big fan of the orange nail polishes I’ve worn.  Tammi- the yellow-green- was the one I wasn’t sure about it all, but I liked it a lot more than I expected!  I also bought Priscilla last month, and it’s part of Julep’s birthstone collection.  It really does remind me of emeralds, which is the birthstone for May.  It’s a full-coverage glitter, and I loved it!  As it’s glitter, it was a pain to remove, but it was worth it! And it didn’t chip that much, which is weird for a glitter polish, but I liked that it didn’t chip much after a week of wearing it.

I finally upgraded to the next tier in the Maven box subscription, starting with the September box, and I like the idea of being able to switch out a color I don’t like.  I don’t know how often I’ll do it, but it’s nice to have that option because sometimes, there are colors I’m not sure about, which is great for that random month when I like another color.  I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about it once I’ve had it for a few months.

China Glaze's X-Ta-Sea, Left, and OPI's Into The Night, Right

China Glaze’s X-Ta-Sea, Left, and OPI’s Into The Night, Right

I did get a couple of other bottle of nail polish recently- X-TA-SEA from China Glaze, and Into The Night from OPI.  I like both, but I kind of like the OPI one a little bit better.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call, Left, and Fresh Lip Treatment in Honey, Right

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call, Left, and Fresh Lip Treatment in Honey, Right

Also: I am on a weird make-up kick right now, which is weird, because it’s something I wear only every once in a while.  But I LOVE this tinted lip treatment from Fresh.  I like that the color is really light, but it’s really moisturizing, which is awesome, because my lips do get chapped, and it really helps!

I love this eyeshadow from Urban Decay, and have it in Last Call.  I love that how much the color shows up, and even though I’ve only worn it a handful of times, I liked it so much that I just got the Naked3 palette, which I think will be better for everyday life, while Last Call seems better suited for something fun.  (More on the Naked3 palette next month, after I’ve used it).

Crochet:

I started a cowl, which is almost done, and I’m still working on that hat.  It’s taken me a while, and I feel like I’ve been working on it for months.  I think I’ll really like the cowl, and it’s a powder blue…and I’ll be glad when the hat is finished. I have a few other projects in mind, and I’ll be glad when it cools down so I can start working on that blanket again.

Books:

Top, The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson (no, not the country singer), and The Family Cooks by Laurie David

The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson (no, not the country singer), and The Family Cooks by Laurie David

I doubt it’s surprising I got more cookbooks- I just can’t stay away from them!  I do have a few I have my eye on, but I think I’m going to wait a bit, until I cook a bit more from the ones I have.  On the plus side, I should have quite the cookbook wish-list when I am ready for more cookbooks…

I’m probably going to make exceptions for Seriously Delish, because her blog is awesome, and Joy The Baker’s Homemade Decadence.  Joy, by the way, also has an awesome blog and an awesome cookbook!

And my audible credit this month went to You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle, which I’m looking forward to listening to!  It’s an interesting idea, and I’m hoping I like it a lot!

T.V. And Movies:

Last month, I saw Guardians Of The Galaxy, which was so fun to see!  And the soundtrack is just as fun- after seeing it, I knew I had to get the soundtrack.  I ended up seeing it in IMAX 3D, which I actually really liked.  I also saw The Giver and If I Stay in August, but there are spoilers in both reviews, so just keep that in mind if you click on over.

I haven’t been watching much t.v.- at least, not much on Netflix/Hulu.  I’m slowly making my way through Blue Bloods (still! but I am on season 2 now) and I’ve watched most of the pilot of Flashpoint, which I’ve randomly seen a few episodes of and liked.  Really, I’ve had the Food Network or the History Channel on in the background, because I’ve needed background noise while I stare at pinterest and random things on the internet.  But I am glad that fall t.v. is coming back soon, because I’ve missed my usual rotation…which may cut into catching up on other shows time, but who knows?

Around The Internet:

I’ve seen so many cool things this month!  I’ve decided to go for my favorites and the really interesting posts.

My all time favorite thing I’ve heard about is this letter J.K. Rowling sent to a teen who lost her family in a shooting.  J.K. Rowling is just awesome.

This DIY creepy doll mobile was posted ages and ages ago, but I just came across it for the first time, and I so want to make it!

Apparently, people think that Stephanie Meyer is going to ruin people’s childhoods by producing a movie adaptation of a Lois Duncan book and that makes me so mad, because if it were literally anyone else, no one would even care.  I just hate that people are making assumptions based on their hatred of her previous work, which has nothing to do with producing a movie. I want it to do well, but I have the feeling that if it’s “horrible” (and that’s totally subjective) and it completely bombs, Stephanie Meyer is going to get blamed, even if it has nothing to do with her ability as a producer.

I thought this post about YA and New Adult was interesting.

And I really want to make these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and these sausage muffins.

Finally, I thought this list of books by women under 50 is one to check out!  I really want to read some of these books now.

Music: 

I bought a ridiculous amount of music last month, but weirdly enough, I didn’t get a chance to listen to much of it…mostly because there were some songs I couldn’t get enough of.  I normally pick a few songs to share, but this month, I’ve decided to share the entire playlist, because I just can’t pick a few to share.

Audio Book Review: Roanoke Vanishing

Roanoke Vanishing CoverBook: Roanoke Vanishing by Auburn Seal, Narrated by Caprisha Page

Self-Published by Auburn Seal in January 2014|Run Time: 9 hours, 19 minutes

Where I Got It: audible.com

Series: The Vanishing Series #1

Genre: New Adult Mystery/Historical Fiction/Dual Timeline with hints of the paranormal

You can find Roanoke Vanishing on goodreads & Auburn Seal on Twitter, Facebook, & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

When The Lost Colony of Roanoke vanished mysteriously in the late sixteenth century, Elinor Dare’s fate–and that of her family–was lost to the world. Now it’s 2013 and Avery Lane, an over-zealous master’s student, is determined to find out what happened to those who disappeared from England’s first colony.

The Descendants have discovered her interest and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret remains buried. Elinor, her spirit having lingered for more than four hundred years, is Avery’s only chance to evade the Descendants and solve one of America’s most intriguing mysteries.

What I Thought:

I liked Roanoke Vanishing!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but the more I listened to it, the more I liked it!

I liked that the book focused on the lost colony of Roanoke, and all I knew about them was that they mysteriously vanished.  So it was fun to hear one take on what happened them.  And I was intrigued enough to want to learn more about them and the different theories about what happened to them.  I’m not sure what theories are out there, and how many of them made their way in the book, but I feel like the different theories on what happened them that are mentioned in the book are really what’s out there.

Stories that have a dual timeline (where part of the book is in the present and part of the book takes place in the past) are hit-and-miss, but I loved that this book had both past and present in it!  I liked that as Avery was going further into the history of Roanoke, we had the story of the colony of Roanoke woven in.

I really liked both stories and how they were connected and how they came together in the end.  I also thoughts the hints of something paranormal were interesting.  I mean, you do see a couple of ghosts, but with two groups mentioned- the Descendants and the Guardians- you know something paranormal is going to unfold in this series.  Nothing overtly paranormal happens, but I’ve definitely read enough of the paranormal to know when it’s going to pop up.  And I certainly can’t wait to see this prophecy and how everything is going to play out.  Between the inhabitants of Roanoke in this book, and the Mayans that we’re going to see in the next book…what other lost civilizations are we going to see, and why is their story so important?

It’s not bad, mind you, and it’s actually interesting that Seal went with the mystery of lost colony.  I definitely feel like there’s something connecting all of them, and that there’s something big that’s been a long time coming.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book to see where things are headed.

I liked Caprisha Page as the narrator, and she did great as both Elinor and Avery.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Roanoke Vanishing and I’m looking forward to the next book!  I didn’t fall in love with it, and I have no idea why because on paper, it so many things I like in a book, but it was still an enjoyable listen.  Roanoke Vanishing gets 3 stars.

ARC Book Review: Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire CoverBook: Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

Expected Publication is September 2, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends|Expected Number Of Pages: 270

Where I Got It: I got e-ARC from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1

Genre: YA Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Alternate Universe

You can find Trial By Fire on goodreads & Josephine Angelini on Twitter, Facebook, & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian…Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

In Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire, what makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

What I Thought:

I have so many thoughts about Trial On Fire!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it’s definitely interesting!

I wasn’t sure what to think at first, with Lily and all of her allergies I wasn’t sure where it was going, and when she went to alternate Salem, I really wasn’t sure what to expect!  It was hard to get into, because you’re thrown into a different Salem where science is outlawed, and magic rules.  For some reason, I wasn’t expecting it to go where it did.

Still, I liked the idea of alternate worlds and how what you do in one can have consequences for the other worlds.  I liked seeing Lily learn magic and trying to figure out this different Salem she found herself in.

For me, there was something really weird about this world- people seem scared of Lilian, and I really wish we got more of her, as she’s a big part of why Lily ended up in alternate Salem, and why people don’t seem to trust Lily.  There’s just so much going on that nothing really gets explored really well, and this alternate world didn’t seem as vivid as it could have because of that.  And yet, because of everything going on, I could tell that there was so much more to this world.  And it makes me wish we got so much more of Lilian, who was pretty non-existent for someone who’s the villain- and also the villain who brought Lily into this world.

I will say the ending was a bit abrupt- and also a cliffhanger!  I actually don’t mind the cliffhanger, but for those who aren’t fans of cliffhangers, keep that in mind when reading Trial by Fire.  I just wish it didn’t end so abruptly!  Because when I got to the end, I wanted a little more, because I felt like it ended on too much of a random note.

Let’s Rate It:

I couldn’t completely get into Trial By Fire  because I felt a little overwhelmed by everything going on.  Still, I liked the different elements, because there is something very vivid and different about this world.  I do like it enough to read the 2nd book, though.  Trial By Fire gets 3 stars.

ARC Book Review: Mary: The Summoning

Mary The Summoning CoverBook: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Expected Publication is September 2, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion|Expected Number Of Pages: 256

Where I Got It: I received the e-book review copy from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: Jess Tennant #1

Genre: YA Horror/Paranormal Ghost Story

You can find The Summoning on goodreads & Hillary Monahan on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

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. 

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. 

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?

What I Thought:

I haven’t been super-impressed with the few paranormal books dealing with ghosts out there, but I did like Mary: The Summoning!

I actually love that it’s based on summoning Bloody Mary Worth (not to be confused with Queen Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII) and I am curious about Bloody Mary as inspiration for the book.

There are definitely some creepy moments throughout the book, and I really liked what actually summoning Mary meant for anyone who did manage to “successfully” summon her.  It was definitely different.  What was also interesting was the interest Jess had in summoning Mary, especially when you learn more about Mary.  However, the random tidbits Jess dropped throughout the book did get annoying and frustrating, because she definitely knew more than she was letting on, and it was very much like she didn’t want anyone to know her real interest in Mary.  And it also very much felt like they were going to know what she wanted them to know.

I did like the relationship between the girls, which is what is standing out as far as the characters go.  I did feel like they didn’t particularly stand out as individual people. and I found like it was a little bit hard to care about them.  I did find that I found some of the things that Jess did to be completely horrible, and she seemed like a horrible friend- to the point where I was wondering why the girls were friends with her in the first place.

Jess is a big reason why I didn’t love Mary, and as someone who just knows that saying Bloody Mary 3 times in front of a mirror is supposed to summon her…I liked what Monahan did with the story, and how it connected with the present, and even the letters that we have from Mary, but part of me wishes Monahan had gone more into Mary’s story.  But this is also the first book in the series, so it would make sense that we don’t get the whole story just yet.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Mary: The Summoning, but I found that my feelings toward Jess resulted in me not liking the book as much as I would have liked.  Mary: The Summoning gets 3 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want To Read That I Don’t Own

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Books I Want To Read That I Don’t Own

So, I thought this list would be really hard, as I tend to buy books, and not read them.  But as I have a tendency to keep adding books to my TBR-pile, I actually found that this was easier than I expected!  It’s mostly non-fiction, because I’m more likely to buy non-fiction in print, and yet I’m also more hesitant to buy non-fiction.  Still, these are books I really want to own someday!

  1. Dear Mr. Potter.  A printing was done ages ago, and it looks like another one isn’t going to be done anytime soon, so it actually looks like I missed the boat on this one.  Which bums me out, because I’d love a copy of this book.
  2. Fruits Basket…like, volumes 16 to whatever the last one is (I think it’s 22 or 23 but I can’t remember).  I’ve been so slow with finishing this manga.  I put reading it on hold for some reason I can’t remember, and now it’s out of print.  I think I’ve seen used copies on Amazon before, so I may have to check that out.
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer.  As it hasn’t come out yet…but I really want to read it!
  4. The Art Of Spirited Away.  I love Spirited Away, and it would be so cool to have this book to look through.
  5. I also want to have a Harry Potter collection!  I have the books in print, but I really want the audio books- both the Stephen Fry narration and the Jim Dale narration.  And there are so many interesting covers of the books out there (like, the Dutch covers are pretty cool, and the Swedish covers are really odd, but entertaining enough to be on a bookshelf).  I don’t even care that I’m sadly not fluent in any other languages, because I am that obsessed with Harry Potter.
  6. Brian Froud’s World Of Faerie.  I LOVE fairies, and while I’d love to have all of Froud’s books, this is the one that is at the top of the list.
  7. The Art Of The Disney Princess.  Apparently, artsy coffee-table books are on my mind today, because I’m just interested enough in Disney Princesses to want this book.
  8. House Of Leaves by Mark Danielewski.  This book sounds completely bizarre and I am utterly confused as to why I don’t have it yet…because I am a fan of weird things.  (Just don’t let my love of YA fool you!)
  9. Unsouled by Neal Shusterman.  I’ve been wanting to read it for a while and yet I never seem to get to it…it’s such a different world that I really can’t wait to see where things go.
  10. School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins.  I really liked Hex Hall, so I don’t get why I don’t have this one yet…especially since this is a spin-off of Hex Hall.

Book Talk: If I Stay, The Movie

Book Talk

Book Talk is a new feature where I talk about book-ish things that aren’t book reviews!

Today’s discussion is about If I Stay, which I saw yesterday in theaters yesterday.

Here’s the non-spoilery part of my review: I think fans of the book will like If I Stay.  For those who haven’t read If I Stay- you will like this movie if you like books/movies  that deal with similar topics…but if that’s not your thing, you may or may not like this movie, so maybe read some reviews of the movie before making up your mind.

Now, onto the part where I spoil the movie- so if you don’t want movie spoilers, stop here! (Or skip down to where I talk about the soundtrack- there’s a note there saying that spoilers are done).

So, I liked If I Stay a lot!  It’s weird, because I thought it was a great adaptation, but as a movie…not so much.  I mean, I still liked it, but it’s one of those books that seems hard to translate to the big screen.  With all of the flashbacks, and the amount of time you spend in Mia’s head…I wasn’t sure how well it would work in a movie, which is so very visual.

There was a lot of voice-over narration by Mia, which wasn’t annoying.  At least to me, but other people may be annoyed with it. And, as you’d expect, there are changes made to the movie.  Like, the name of Adam’s band is Willamette Stone, and not Shooting Star, like it is in the book.  And the distraction used to get Adam into the ICU is different- those are the only two major changes, but there are a few minor ones throughout the movie.  And of course, not all of Mia’s flashbacks made it into the movie.  Which I didn’t mind, because that would be a lot of flashbacks.  And I get why quite a few of them are so focused on Adam and her relationship with them, but I do wish that some of the flashbacks were more focused on her family.

Still, I get the idea of focusing on why she should stay, even when she has so many reasons to go.  And the flashbacks really stood out, because you really do see how much her life is going to change if she stays, and what she’s no longer going to have if she stays.

And the music!  The music was awesome, and I loved that we got to see Willamette Stone play!  And I loved that we saw Mia play the cello- which actually makes me curious those scenes.  Like, did they get shots of Chloe Grace Moretz holding the cello, and then have someone actually play the cello, and then do whatever it is they needed to do to make it look like Moretz was playing the cello?  Because I kind of feel like that’s what was done…although, if she really could play the cello like that, I’d be really impressed (but I also think we would have heard about that).  Still, whoever is playing the cello did a great job.

Overall, I felt like the movie stayed pretty true to the heart of the book, and one thing that really surprised me was the ending of the movie.  So, the movie ends with Mia waking up, and choosing to stay- just like it happened in the book.  I really was expecting there to be another scene after that, but I was also glad that the movie ended the way it did in the book, because anything else would have felt so inauthentic.

I will say that lead to one of my favorite moments, because the screen goes white as she’s deciding, and everyone was waiting to see what would happen, and then she woke up, and then the screen went to black, and everyone was just kind of sitting there…and when the credits started rolling, you could hear someone say “No!”  And then we all laughed…and the mood definitely shifted after that, because you could hear all kinds of sniffling going on in the movie, so it was good to have that moment.  Which isn’t all the surprising, really.  Oh! There were quite a few funny moments throughout the movie, which was actually really nice, because it balanced the overall seriousness really well.

Now that I’m done talking about the movie…I thought I’d talk about the soundtrack to the movie, because with a movie-centric movie, I can’t leave it out!  

The soundtrack is great, I wholeheartedly recommend the soundtrack.  Movie soundtracks aren’t something I’m typically drawn to, but I knew I had to check out this soundtrack in particular, because I knew the songs would be awesome, and I’m glad I wasn’t wrong.  You can’t go wrong with any of them, and the ones by Willamette Stone (Adam’s band) are particularly great. But I thought I’d share a few of the songs that really stood out to me as great choices.

1- Promises by Ben Howard.  This song gets me so emotional every time I listen to it, and it’s such a good choice for the soundtrack.

2- Halo by Ane Brun and Linnea Olsson.  It’s a great cover of Halo- and at first, I didn’t even realize that it was Halo, but I couldn’t figure out why it seemed so familiar.  I also love that it’s accoustic, because it fits Mia and her cello so well.

3- Heal by Tom Odell.  It’s such a beautiful song, and it’s perfect for both book and movie.

Hope everyone has a happy week!

ARC Book Review: How To Fall

How To Fall CoverBook: How To Fall: A Novel by Jane Casey

Expected Publication is August 26, 2014 by St. Martin’s Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 225

Where I Got It: From netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: Jess Tennant #1

Genre: YA Mystery

You can find How To Fall on goodreads & Jane Casey on Twitter & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mother suddenly takes her to spend the summer in the tiny English town where she grew up. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more she learns about Freya’s life, the more suspicious the circumstances of her death start to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

Beloved author Jane Casey breaks new ground with How to Fall, a cleverly plotted and remarkably written young adult mystery.

What I Thought:

I liked How To Fall!  I wasn’t sure what to expect with How To Fall, but…I didn’t like it as much as I was hoping but I also liked it more than I was expecting.  I know that sounds weird, but it really describes how I feel about How To Fall.

How To Fall is definitely a mystery, as Jess tries to figure out what happened to her cousin Freya after Freya’s very mysterious death.  What really happened was not what I expected AT ALL, and given everyone has a different idea of what happened to Freya and what was going through her mind when she died and what could have resulted in her death.  It just goes to show that some people are just so terribly cruel, and I hate that people are like that.

I like that Jess and her mom go back to where her mom grew up, and that Jess gets to see that part of her mom’s life.  I know the story is more about Jess trying to figure out what happened to her cousin, but there’s still part of me that wishes we knew more about why her mom didn’t talk to anyone in her family until recently, and what got her mom to change her mind.  And part of me still feels like there’s more to the story.

Speaking of Jess and her mom…I felt like Dan, who her mom was interested in as a teenager and reconnects with was really odd, and for a while, I thought maybe he was the one behind Freya’s mysterious death.  I feel like he’s up to something and while I don’t know why I feel this way about him, I just get this vibe that Jess and her mom need to stay far, far away from him.

I don’t really have strong feelings about the characters either way, and I thought Jess’ fixation on Freya’s death to be a little weird, considering she didn’t know Freya at all.  I wish we got to know Freya a little bit better, but I also understand why we don’t.  We do learn a little bit about Freya throughout the book, but it was still hard for me to get into the mystery of her death…especially when we learn what really happened the night she died.

Still, I liked Jess, who’s pretty sarcastic.  I’m definitely interested in reading more of her story, and I’m glad there’s another book in this series, because her story is far from over.  I’m also really curious about what other mysteries she comes across and solves, because Port Sentinel seems like a place full of secrets!

Let’s Rate It:

I liked How To Fall, and while there are some things I’m curious about because they seem a little strange to me, I’m still interested enough to keep reading this series.  How To Fall gets 3 stars.

Book Talk: The Giver Totally Surprised Me, But In A Good Way

Book Talk

Book Talk is a new feature here at Reading Books With Coffee, where I talk about bookish topics that aren’t book reviews!

Today…I am talking about The Giver as a movie!  Before I get started on what I thought of the movie, I thought I’d explain a little about my thoughts on movie adaptations of books.

I’m definitely in the minority, because I’m big on movie first, book second.  I hate going in with every last detail hanging over my head, and the last thing I want to do is go into expectations of how the movie should be.  I’m pretty relaxed about changes made, because it’s something I have no control over, so why spend the movie talking about how this is different and that thing is all wrong, and why on earth would they do THAT?!?!?!  (However, that’s my preference, and everybody should go into a movie adaptation however they want).

And now, there are going to be spoilers for both book and movie (but mostly the movie), so if you don’t want spoilers, this will be where you’ll want to stop reading.

When I first heard The Giver was being made into a movie, I was surprised, curious, happy and nervous.  I loved the book as a kid, and it held up pretty well when I re-read it as an adult a couple of years ago (see my review here).

There are definitely changes- the two biggest being the characters are several years older in the movie than they are in the book, and Fiona and Asher, who are BFF’s with Jonas, have different jobs.

Let’s start with the characters being a few years older- this really worked for me, because it made the story much more believable.  Being the one person who has ALL the memories is not an easy job, and it’s one that has to take its toll.  After re-reading the book this week- after seeing the movie, of course- it’s actually hard to believe that an 11-year-old would be able to handle the things that Jonas has to deal with.  And it’s no wonder that the previous Receiver-In-Training asked to be released. I felt like everything explored in the book was explored differently (in a good way) because the characters were older.  Like Jonas and Fiona- there are hints of romance there (which I did see in the book) but feelings of romantic love were better suited with 16-year-olds.  And I felt like everything Jonas learns about his community and his reaction towards what they did, and what things used to be like were there but much more subtle than they were in the book.

It’s not as jarring as it was in the book, and a lot of that has to do with Jonas being older.  Older, movie Jonas experiences things very differently than younger, book Jonas, and I found that the story works really well no matter how old the character is.

As for Fiona and Asher having different jobs- it works, given how everything unfolds, especially in Asher’s case.  Speaking of Asher and Fiona, I liked that Fiona had a bigger in the movie than she did in the book, and that you do see how her relationship with Jonas changes over the course of the book.  She did seem open to what he had to say, and that she was willing to help him, even if it meant she would get into massive trouble. We’re talking Release to Elsewhere trouble.  Asher, on the other hand…I just didn’t love movie Asher at all. It was like he had some issues with Jonas, and I couldn’t help but wonder what his deal was.  However, Jonas does change, because he knows of things like love and war.  I wonder if Asher didn’t like the changes he saw in Jonas, and was acting differently because he felt like he was losing Jonas.

I LOVED that part of the movie is in black-and-white, and that you get random splashes of color throughout the beginning part of the movie…and that it’s black-and-white until Jonas starts receiving memories from Giver.  Going from black-and-white to color really added to what was going on, and it highlights what this society is missing out on when they erased memories.  It adds to the feeling that this society is not as perfect as it seems.

I actually loved seeing Jonas react to the different memories he received, and what he experiences really changes his relationships with people- particularly his friends and family.  I loved the scene where he showed Fiona what sledding was like, and I love that we get those moments.

His parents were colder than I remembered, and I wished that we had that one scene in the book, where it’s dinner and his sister and parents are sharing their feelings, and Jonas knows that they aren’t experiencing true emotion.  That scene in particular stands out as one that highlights how isolated Jonas is becoming as the Receiver, and how isolating of a job it is. We sort of get that throughout the movie, particularly with the Giver living so far apart from the community.  And I think Jonas’ changing relationship with Asher shows that as well.  It did seem to be very subtle, and shows up in other ways, but part of me still wishes that we had more of that.

The only other thing I didn’t like was that Rosemary wasn’t a big part of the movie.  You get the basics of her story, but our real introduction to her came at a weird time, and I felt like her story really influenced the selection of future Receivers.  It’s a shame that you don’t really see how much has changed in the last 10 years as far as what it means to be a Receiver, and why certain rules were in place.  Especially since Taylor Swift seemed like an AWESOME Rosemary.

Actually, I thought the movie was cast really well!  Jeff Bridges really stood out as the Giver, and I can’t imagine anyone else in that role- and I can honestly say that about ALL of the actors cast.  Meryl Streep was awesome, and Odeya Rush, who plays Fiona, and Brenton Thwaites, who plays Jonas were also great choices. There was something so sweet about Odeya as Fiona, and I felt like Brenton brought a sense of joy and wonder to receiving the memories.

Oh, the memories!  One of my favorite scenes of the entire movie was when you saw the memories come back to this community.  You don’t get it in the book, where I had never thought about what happened to them when they had to deal with the memories.  But I LOVE that they included it in the movie.

And one other interesting thing is this scene between Giver and the Chief Elder, where Giver is telling the Chief Elder that he knows she feel’s Rosemary’s loss.  Which I thought hinted that there was something between Giver and Chief Elder.  It didn’t go any further than that, but it was interesting because it added something to their backstory.

Overall, I thought it was a great adaptation, especially given that I only had a couple of issues with the movie.  It has everything awesome about the book, and it felt like it was made with a lot of care to the original story.  It really is The Giver brought to life, and that was the one thing I kept thinking during the movie.

I’ve only seen one review of the movie, which I like (and agree with very much).

And, of course, the two official trailers, below.  Enjoy!

Trailer #1 (All in color):

Trailer #2 (With the black-and-white scenes):

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books People Tell Me I MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Books People Tell Me I MUST Read

If some of the books on this list seem familiar, it’s because some of them may have made my TTT for last week…as hesitant as I may be to read certain books.  Actually, consider this the list of books I need to read so I know what people are talking about, because that describes most of the books on my list this week.

  1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  As hesitant as I am to read it, I feel like it’s one of those books I need to read so I know what people are talking about.
  2. Eleanor And Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I’m even more hesitant to read Eleanor And Park, but it’s another one that I want to at least try reading because so many people have loved it that I need to read it.
  3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.  I have them so I’ll read them at some point, but people seem to love it more than Mortal Instruments, so I’m curious to see what else Clare has done in the Shadowhunter world (even if all of the planned series set in this world makes me nervous).
  4. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.  This is another series where people seem to like the spin-off more than the original (or, at least, they seem to like it as much as the original series) so I’m definitely going to have to read it eventually.
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman.  Again, a lot of people seem to love, so I’ll have to read it one of these days.
  6. A Discovery Of Witches.  I’m fairly certain this was recommended to me at some point (I wish I could remember who) and while I’m feeling too lazy to see what it’s about, I’ll definitely have to read it.
  7. A Confederacy Of Dunces.  It’s come up as a topic of conversation with some friends quite a few times, and while it wasn’t recommended to me specifically, I feel like it’s another one to read someday.
  8. Pretty much anything by Sarah Ockler.  Unlike my list so far, I’ve actually gone ahead and included an author as opposed to a specific book.  But again, she seems to be someone people love, to the point that I want to see why so many bloggers seem to like her.
  9. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.  I’ve seen it reviewed quite a few times, and I’ve been curious about it, especially since it seems like reviews are mixed.  But it still seems right up my alley!
  10. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.  My friend Heather recommended this one a while ago (come to think of it, I’m pretty sure she recommended A Discovery Of Witches) and I’d really like to read it someday!