Book Talk: Mockingjay, Part 1, With Spoilers!

Book Talk is an occasional feature where I talk about book-ish non-review topics.

Book Talk

Today is all about Mockingjay, which I saw yesterday!  I’m not super-picky when it comes to movie adaptations, but The Hunger Games movies have been really, really good!

First, the non-spoilery part!  I really liked the movie, and thought it was pretty true to the book.  There are changes, of course, but I thought they worked really well.

Now, it’s time to get spoiler-y, so read at your own risk!

So, after seeing Mockingjay, I decided to re-read the book, since it’s been a while since I’ve read it.  (Admittedly, I only read part of it, because I kind of stopped a few pages after where they decided to split the movie into the 2 parts).

I think the biggest change was how we didn’t see most of survivors from District 12 in the movie- just her mom, Prim and Gale. Which was fine, because there’s enough going on.  All of the stuff with her prep team wasn’t in the movie, and a lot of their story (plus a lot of the story that features District 12 people) were incorporated into Effie’s story, which I liked.  They had to make cuts and changes, and they did make sense to me.  Having Effie…I just love Effie, and while she’s still her, she a more muted Effie. I do wonder if we’ll see her prep team at all, but I doubt it, since the movies really focused on her relationship with Cinna.

The two scenes that really got me were in District 8- in the hospital- and when Jennifer Lawrence was singing The Hanging Tree. And I really loved seeing some of the rebellions in the districts, particularly the District 5 rebellion.  Although…they had her sing The Hanging Tree, but not Rue’s Lullaby from the first movie?  I’m still annoyed that wasn’t in the movie.

I also liked actually seeing the propaganda spots and the mission to get Peeta, Johanna and Annie out of the capitol.  When I first heard that they were splitting this book into 2 movies, I wasn’t sure how it would work, but so far, I’m actually glad that they did. There’s not a lot of action in this one, because of where they ended it, and it’s really setting up the last 100+ pages (or, part 2).

I was also curious about where they were going to end the movie, which is Katniss watching looking in on Peeta in the hospital wing.  It did seem like a good place to end the movie, but there was part of me that was hoping they wouldn’t end the movie with Peeta choking Katniss, which did seem like a possibility for a few seconds.  I’m glad they didn’t end it there, and gave us a little bit more.

I’m really happy with the movie overall, though.  I didn’t recognize Julianne Moore as President Snow, and it drove me crazy that I couldn’t figure out who it was.  I don’t pay a lot of attention to casting news, and while I’m sure I heard that, it also didn’t stick.  I liked the cast they went with for the new characters, and I really liked Pollux!  I think he’s my favorite minor character in the movie, and Jennifer Lawrence was completely awesome as Katniss.

I’m definitely looking forward to the 2nd part of Mockingjay!

Book Review: Fever

Fever CoverBook: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Published February 2012 by Simon & Schuster|241 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Chemical Garden #2

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopic

You can find Fever on goodreads & Lauren DeStefano on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

The New York Times bestselling sequel to Wither reveals a world as captivating and as treacherous as the one Rhine left behind.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they ran away from. Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price now that she has more to lose than ever.

What I Thought:

After reading Wither a few months, I finally finished Fever.   I liked Fever,  but really, I have no idea why I liked it.

I think I’m going to start off with what I didn’t like about Fever.

For one thing (and mostly importantly), Fever felt like filler.  It felt really slow, and I felt like not much happened.  I also feel like we didn’t learn much about this world.  We’ll get to that later.

Two, I don’t care about Linden and Rhine, and I didn’t care about Gabriel and Rhine.  The romance (both of them) don’t work for me at all, even though people are getting married to have kids so that people can find an antidote to the young dying so young.  I wished I cared about the romance, and yet, I can’t care.

Three, why on earth would Rhine go in a car with Vaughn?  This makes no sense to me, especially given where she ends up.

And four: Rowan.  All of that trouble to find him, and yet, well, #3.

Wait, five: I didn’t care about any of the characters, even the ones I felt like we were supposed to like.  They were just…there.

And yet, I still find this world interesting.  The carnival?  It was bizarre, and yet it makes sense for this horrible world.  I can totally see places like that popping up all over the place.

And why on earth does Rhine seem to be the key to everything?  Remember reason #1 for why I didn’t like Fever, and how we’d get to world-building?  This is that time.

I know she’s the heroine, and that Vaughn is looking for an antidote, and so Rhine is going to be the key to figuring everything out, but I just really want to know what makes her so important!  I felt like so much more could have been done with her in this book.  But I do find myself wanting to read the last book, just to see what happens.

And I do like the feel of the book.  There’s something very odd yet really realistic about this book that works really well.

Oh, the cover!  It fits the book perfectly, and it does make a lot of sense once you read the book.  I don’t particularly like it, and the first thing I thought was the girl on the cover looks like she’s been drugged. Again, it totally makes sense given what happens in the book but still.

Let’s Rate It:

It’s weird, because I liked this book, but find myself unable to pinpoint WHY I liked the book, so I’m going to go with the vague and not helpful, I just liked it.  Fever gets 3 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

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 Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

It’s a good thing I read a lot of series, because that makes this list so much easier!  But also hard, because, because how how am I supposed to pick just 10?  These are the sequels I’m looking forward to reading the most!

  1. I need the rest of the Guild Hunter’s series by Nalini Singh!  I really liked the first one and while I don’t normally stick with romance series, this is one I want to keep reading.
  2. Breaker by Emma Raveling.  After the way the 3rd book ended, I need to read this one now.  The cliffhanger ending has been driving me insane!
  3. Unraveled by Gennifer Albin.
  4. Winter by Marissa Meyer.  I’m hoping a miracle happens and this one comes out soon.  I know I’ll get through the next year or so until it comes out but that seems so far away and I want to read it now!
  5. Dangerous Deception by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  Why is this not out yet?  I want to know what’s going on with Ridley and Link.
  6. Charmed by Michelle Krys.  I really liked Hexed, and it’s natural I’d want to read Charmed to see what Indie’s up to.
  7. The Heart Of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson.  So, the first book, The Kiss Of Deception is in the running for one of my favorite books this year, and I know The Heart Of Betrayal is going to be just as awesome.
  8. The Life And Times Of Jamie Lee Coleman by Michael Glasscock.  I really like this historical fiction series, and I need to read this third one soon!
  9. The Fury by Colleen Oakes.  I don’t read many Alice In Wonderland re-tellings, but I really recommend this series, and I can’t wait to read this book.
  10. The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter.  I really just need to finish this series.  I don’t know know why I haven’t read it yet!

Book Review: Mortal Heart

Mortal Heart CoverBook: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Published November 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|402 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: His Fair Assassins #3

Genre: YA Historical Fiction with a hint of paranormal/fantasy

You can find Mortal Heart on goodreads & Robin LaFevers on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has.

What I Thought:

I think Mortal Heart is my favorite book in this series!  I really love Annith, and I think she’s my favorite of the three girls we meet in the series.  She was the one we knew the least about, because she was at the convent, while Ismae and Sybella were off on their missions.

I really connected with Annith, and I could relate to wanting to be good enough to go out serve Death, and being the one who’s supposed to be the Seeress, because she is so obedient.  Of course, we do learn why that is, and it just makes me really dislike the Abbess.  I don’t know that I had thoughts on her before, but with this one?  My dislike of her grew over the course of the book.

I understand why she acted the way she did, but I still can’t like her.

I loved learning more about Annith, who has been such a mystery for most of the series, and I loved seeing her story unfold, because it really is the one that’s the most interesting to me.  She most definitely is not an ordinary daughter of Mortain, and there is a part of me that wished there was a fourth book in the series just to see what happens with the characters after the events of this book.

Granted, each book tells the entire story really well, while also standing alone on it’s own.  This book really makes me wish that Anne got her own story.  I’m really hoping that she does, but either way, I’m totally going to read more about this time period.  I love how the story of the convent and the older gods are intertwined with what was going with France and Brittany, and I’ve loved the historical part of the book.

Let’s Rate It:

Still, while I really liked it, and while Mortal Heart is my favorite book in the series and there are SO MANY THINGS I like about it, at the same time, I didn’t fall in love with it and I don’t know why.  Still, I really do love Annith, and I’m really glad that she got out of the convent.  Mortal Heart gets 4 stars.

Let’s Talk About How NaNoWriMo Is Going

I talked about how I’m doing NaNo earlier this month, and thought I’d actually do an update on how it’s going.

I started off really well, and was even ahead for the first few days.  Then Monday happened, and before I knew it, I was behind on my word count to varying degrees, then I got close to being caught up, then varying degrees of being behind again.

So, basically, to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to write 1,667 words per day.  There’s even a graph that tells you where you need to be, and how far off you are from that, and how much you need to write every day to reach the 50,000, plus a whole bunch of other stats.

I really thought I’d be caught up, or if not completely caught up, then not too far off.  I mean, I’m currently at 20,094, and today’s goal is 25,000, so I’m only 5000 behind where I should be.  I’ve done NaNo enough years that I know that a 5,000 word gap isn’t the worst gap ever, and I’ve totally been behind more than that and still reached 50,000, so I’m not too worried.

I sprained my ankle over a week ago, and couldn’t walk on it the first day, I could barely walk on it the second day, and while I can now walk (with a brace and limping around), you’d think that would be good for writing. Seriously, moving was really hard, and I tried to move as little as possible, and yet, I found myself distracted by catching up on shows on Hulu and watching stuff on Netflix.  Hence, not really writing.

This year, more than any other year, I’ve really struggled with writing at home.  In the past, I’ve had no problem writing at home, but this year?  I can barely get anything going, which is why there huge spikes on the weekends, when I’m at write-ins- and randomly, on Wednesdays, when I’m at a write-in.  Writing not at home, and with other people, has been super-helpful this year, because for some reason, it’s really working this year to write at other places.

Considering that I only went in with very vague ideas of plot and characters, I haven’t really struggled with the writing itself.  It, of course, would need a lot of work if I ever went back to edit but I’ve had no trouble coming up with anything relating to this world at all.  I kind of feel like I need some sort of chart or something to help me keep up with things I’ve learned, and a bunch of new characters I’ve come up with.  Every year, there are always scenes that I just don’t want to write so I always skip over those to the scenes I do want to write, and this year is no exception, but it does seem to be happening a lot less than normal this year.

This update is a bit short, but I think that’s all I have for now.  I’m definitely hoping to have an update next week!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Mini Book Review: The Countess

The Countess CoverBook: The Countess by Lynsay Sands

Published January 2011 by HarperCollins|224 pages

Where I Got It: nook store

Series: Madison Sisters #1

Genre: Adult Historical Romance

You can find The Countess on goodreads & Lynsay Sands on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after…

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened…

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title…only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited “wife”— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new “husband”…and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!

What I Thought: 

I don’t read a lot of romance (at least in terms of adults) but every single time I do, i’m reminded of how much I actually like the genre!

The Countess is definitely a lot of fun, and it was absolutely hysterical at times.  I didn’t expect it to be funny, but it definitely was refreshing, because historical romance usually doesn’t result in me laughing frequently. It’s definitely light-hearted and silly and so much fun.  It does start off serious, but it’s not long before it becomes less serious.

I was so glad to finally George go, because he really is a horrible, horrible person.  And I loved Richard and Christiana, and how they have to deal with everything that happened between Christiana and George.  I also liked the relationship she had with her sisters, and even though this is a romance novel, I kind of wanted more scenes with her sisters.

I like Richard and Christiana as a couple, but I wasn’t completely convinced of their relationship- maybe it’s because of how easily Christiana and Richard fell for each other, and how horrible George was.  Still, they are cute and I like that Richard is a good guy who sees Christiana as an equal.

I’m normally not one who cares much about historical accuracy in any sort of historical fiction, but…I kind of forgot that this book was set in Regency England at times, even though there are mentions of carriages and dowries and such.  Still, it didn’t bother me much, but if you are someone who cares about historical accuracy, keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book!

Let’s Rate It: 

The Countess is definitely entertaining, and different than the other (few) historical romances I’ve read.  It’s silly and light-hearted while also dealing with some serious stuff.  The Countess gets 3 stars.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Want To Have Their Own Book

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 To Have Their Own Books

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to see a book told by one of the other characters.  It definitely took some time, because it was hard for me to figure out who should get their own book!  I was surprised that I came up with 10, because there are a lot of characters I like, but I don’t know that I’d want them to have their own book.

  1. Harry Potter, as told by Ron and/or Hermione.  I’d love to see what Hogwarts was like for both of them, and I wonder how different the story would be if they told it.
  2. The Night Circus, as told by the Circus.  I don’t know how this would work, but if the Circus could narrate, I’d love to see what story it would tell.
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty, as told by Jeremiah and Conrad.  I know they get chapters later on in the series (if I remember correctly) but I’d love to see their side of the story.
  4. Anna And The French Kiss, as told by Etienne St. Clair.  Part of doesn’t want to see his story, because what if it doesn’t live up to expections?  But I also love him enough that I kind of want to see things from his side.
  5. The Sky Is Everywhere, as told by Bailey.  I really want to know more about the ever-elusive Bailey.  I know a whole book about Bailey would be much different than the random memories we get, but I want a book about Bailey.
  6. Poison Study, as told by Valek.  I would LOVE for Valek to have his own book!  Seriously, he’s one of my favorite characters from that series.
  7. You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle.  I’d love for any of the other characters to get their own book, because I found them so much interesting than Justine.
  8. The Fair Assassins Series, as told by Anne, the Duchess Of Brittany.  Mostly for a different perspective, and I’d love to get inside her head.  I’ve found her so interesting, and I’d love to read a book about her!
  9. The Selection, as told by Prince Maxon.  I want to see his change up close and personal, and what it’s really like for him to have to deal with the process of choosing his wife.
  10. Shadow And Bone, as told by the Darkling.  Is it weird that I want the Darkling to have his own book?  Like, a prequel book, so that we could really see how he became the Darkling.

 

Book Review: City Of Heavenly Fire

City Of Heavenly Fire CoverBook: City Of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Published May 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books|514 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: The Mortal Instruments #6

Genre: YA Paranormal- Angels

You can find City Of Heavenly Fire on goodreads & Cassandra Clare on TwitterFacebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

ERCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID.

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

What I Thought:

I have really mixed feelings about City Of Heavenly Fire.  There were things I liked, but there were also things I didn’t like.

I really love the world that we see in this series.  I feel like there’s so much we don’t know about this world, and I like that we see how detailed this world really is.

I think I have a love-hate relationship with this series.  I love the overall idea of the world, and it seems like the world is very well thought out.  But at the same time, I’ve liked the series less and less as it went on.  I’ve enjoyed the entire series but I also felt like the series could have ended with the third book.

I’m really struggling with what I think of City Of Heavenly Fire.  I liked it, and I’m glad that things were (mostly) resolved.  I wasn’t particularly fond of what happened with a certain character, and while I like said character, I also found I didn’t particularly care about what happened to them, or that things will seem to work out for them.

I found that Magnus is, by far, my favorite character.  I’m not sure if he’s getting his own series, but his story was infinitely more interesting, especially with what we learn in this book.

We meet a lot of new characters, and I actually liked that we saw chapters from many different characters. Like the previous books, there’s a lot going on in this one, so it was nice to see a little bit of everything that was going on.  At the same, there were so many characters that it was hard to keep track of some of them, particularly those who were introduced in this book. It was hard to be invested in them when I had some trouble keeping up with them.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked City Of Heavenly Fire- basically, I like the world Clare was imagined, but I didn’t care about what happened to the characters.  It is sad that I’ve lost interest as the series went on, because I really want to LOVE this series.  It is a fun series, and very readable, but I think this series (FOR ME) has gone on a little too long. City Of Heavenly Fire gets 3 stars.

Book Review: Love Letters To The Dead

Love Letters To The Dead CoverBook: Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

Published April 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux|327 pages

Where I Got It: bought the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Love Letters To The Dead on goodreads & Ava Dellaira on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

What I Thought:

I liked Love Letters so much more than I expected, but not as much as I hoped!

I love that the entire book is full of letters.  I love that she writes to them, and that she has connections to each of the people she writes to.  It very much felt like she was writing a letter to a true friend, and it really felt like she knew what they were going through.  I love that she shares her life with them, and that we get to see how she’s dealing with everything.

As much as I loved the letters, I also felt like they were something I just stumbled across.  I feel like it put some distance between me and Laurel, and I didn’t connect with her as much as I would have liked.  I also didn’t really care about May, and I really wish I cared more about May.  I think teenage-me would have LOVED this book, but as 28-year-old?  Not so much.  I was definitely expecting to be more emotional throughout the entire book, and not just at the end.

I will say that there is something about Laurel finally accepting what happened, and I really wish I felt that way during the entire book.

I did love seeing the friends that Laurel made, and seeing how much her friendships with them changed over the book.  I also loved seeing her relationship with her dad and her Aunt Amy, and I really wanted to see more of her relationships with her dad and her aunt.

I didn’t really like her relationship with her mom, and while it seems like there are some issues there, they didn’t seem to be explored as much as they could have been.  And part of me wants to have seen it, but at the same time, there are so many other things that Laurel is dealing with that it’s probably best it wasn’t really there.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked seeing Laurel finally accept what happened with her sister May, and I love all of the letters, but at the same time, I felt a little distance from what was going on because of the letters.  Love Letters To The Dead gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Black Ice

Black Ice CoverBook: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published October 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|303 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery

You can find Black Ice on goodreads & Becca Fitzpatrick on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

What I Thought:

I definitely liked Black Ice!  There was so much going on, and it’s different than a lot of other mysteries/thrillers I’ve read.

I like that it’s more surviving in the wilderness and what’s going on with the murders.  Granted, I did manage to figure out who was behind the murders quite a bit before it was actually revealed.  I don’t quite remember when I figured it out, but I did.  What kept me reading was wanting to know the motivation behind it.  Still, I felt like things were pretty unpredictable, and I was never completely sure of what was going to happen next, even though I wasn’t particularly surprised by how things turned out.

I LOVED the atmosphere of the book, and it really added to the craziness that happens on the mountain.  Of all of the crazy things that happened, I didn’t like the romance.  At all.

I didn’t care for it , and I didn’t really get the point of Britt and Mason falling for each other.  I get that they both understand what it was like to be up on that mountain- which is actually fine- but the romance felt like it was there just to be there.  In the sense that they know what the other went through, the romance does make sense.  I get that she both wants and doesn’t want Calvin, her ex.  That was actually pretty believable.

What I didn’t find believable was Britt’s friendship with Corbie.  I really didn’t get why the two girls were best friends, and I kind of wish that their relationship had something more to it, because it felt like a pretty shallow friendship.  I did like that Britt seemed to find a couple great friends that she met in college, and that her story was tied back to Mason’s in the end.

Let’s Rate It:

Even though some things weren’t believable or didn’t really work work for me, I wanted to keep reading to see how things would turn out.  Black Ice gets 3 stars.