Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review and Writing Inspiration: Re-Read of The Hunger Games

 Author: Suzanne Collins
 Pages: 374
 Publisher: Scholastic
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
 First Published: October 28, 2008
 First Line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold." 
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

THE GIST (From Goodreads):

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


On the Tuesday before the release of the movie, I decided to re-read the Hunger Games in anticipation of seeing the movie opening night. I pull the book off my shelf, surprised at how small it was. Looking it up it's about, what? 60,000 words? It says a lot about the story that, looking back, I had thought it was much bigger. It's amazing that such a little book could hold, in my mind, a book double its size in content.

Now that I started this book blog, I've been a little more critical of the books I read than when I first read the book. As an aspiring writer, that's been a good thing as I've noticed writing style a lot more now. As a reader, I feel like it makes me step away from the story, something I can't stand. When reading Collin's THG, I saw how stylistically she achieved so much in so little words. In total, I think there were about, maybe, 5 pages of dialogue all together. (And let's just say my WIP is a hell of a lot more dialogue than that).

Most of the book was Katniss explaining things in inner monologue. Usually, that drives me crazy since it's the MC thinking about every little thing and dissecting it. I think it works for THG because it gives a lot more insight on Panem and Katniss that none of the characters would have spoken outloud. She is much more of an action person than she is an over-thinker, so much of the writing was her thinking out her options or explaining things or remembering related events. It wasn't so much of her thinking about how she feels because, honestly, I don't think she really knows how she feels about anything which is completely understandable given the circumstances.

The problem that came with the movie was that it took you outside Katniss' world into the heads of the gamemakers. Of course, you can't get Katniss' explanations so this was a necessary evil, but it also lead me to feel almost nothing for the characters. It was more about the Panem than it was about Katniss' struggle, in my opinion, and that's what disappointed me about the movie.

Anyway, this is not a review of the movie. The movie, however, really gave me a lot of inspiration for my writing. It showed me how much I want to write something that gives the reader the same excited, anticipatory feelings I had when the screen went black and the movie started, about seeing characters I loved so much come to life. That feeling that you know those people on screen, that you have some sort of relationship with them, is utterly amazing considering they are merely just people who were made from words. Paper people who are more real than the characters on the screen. Anything that renews my need to complete my WIP is a gift, especially in those hours after work where I am tired and sick of looking at a computer scene. When I open up my laptop and think, this can wait one more day, right? On those days when I feel like I just can't do it. Those are days I'll conjure the feeling I had about The Hunger Games and somehow find the resolve to keep going.

Lastly, let me just say. I'm Team Peeta all the way. I didn't think Josh Hutchinson was good but, after having re-read it, I can definitely picture him as Peeta. Yummy....


Read it, watch the movie. Just don't think their equal.---10

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feature and Follow (3)



Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?


Most of the time, I stick to only one book. 


However if a book is really boring me, for reasons such as it has a slow plot or a lukewarm romance,  I'll go to another book. I always try to finish the first book though. I don't think I ever didn't finish a book-- okay maybe the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments (I didn't read the last twenty pages)-- but that's really only one I can think of.

Never more than two though.


Is it a normal thing to read more than two books? I admire the person who can. I also pity them for their short attention spans. haha. 

So please, if you'd like, comment and follow me (if you are a new follower) and I shall do the same for you. I love meeting people who love books as much as I do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium

Author: Lauren Oliver
 Pages: 480
 Publisher: HarperTeen
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
 First Published: February 28, 2012lo
 First Line: “Alex and I are lying together in a blanket in the backyard of 37 Brooks.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

The GIST (From Goodreads):

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

(Warning: Minor spoilers from Delirium (Book 1)) 
I was so excited to read Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver even though I figured that Alex would probably not be in it. Oh how I truly hate when you know the sequel won't have to romance you loved in the first one! Alas, I knew this was true of this book but I was interested to see what would happen to Lena after she jumped the fence and Alex, was well, you know.

 Anyway, was I crazy about how the book was staggered from Then to Now with one chapter being about Lena in the wildness and the other was about her in the city, apart of the rebellion? Not particularly. No. It didn't bother me that much, however, because no matter which time period I was reading I looked forward to the next chapter. I did like how the Then scenes kind of linked with the Now scene and I can see how it explained Lena's journey and actions more clearly.

A problem I keep finding with Lena is that I really don't know who she is. At points I think she is brave, independent, strong and resourceful. At other times, I thought she was weak and wimpy with no shame about being so useless. Although people are multidimensional, I would have a hard time recognizing her words or actions if they didn't have "Lena said or Lena did."

There is a romance in the book. It wasn't surprising and the twist wasn't all that exciting. The guy is no Alex. However, the rather predictable ending really opens up the third book to go anywhere. I know I will be pre-ordering that!


Pandemonium was a lot less exciting and a lot more predictable than Delirium. However, I enjoyed the story and romance. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book!---8.5

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Matched

Author: Allie Condie
 Pages: 366
 Publisher: Penguin Group
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian/ Romance
 First Published: November 30, 2010
 First Line: “Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                    Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer:
The GIST (From Goodreads): 

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


After reading "Matched", the world that was written didn't sound so bad to me (which kind of defeats the whole dystopian thing). I've read a lot of reviews where it was compared to the society in Delirium, but that society was a lot more scary and dangerous; no forced surgeries here.

In Cassia's, the main character in "Matched", world, the people in society are matched to one person based on some kind of equation and don't get to choose who they marry. Cassia is matched to her best friend Xander, who she can definitely see herself with, so she has no complaints about the society or the matching process. That is until, due to some glitch, Cassia also finds out that a boy who she knows but doesn't really ever talk to, Ky, could have been her match instead of Xander.

After Cassia learns she has two potential matches, she begins to form a relationship with Ky, even though it's forbidden. Cassia always thought her world was great, but as things start to unravel, she begins to see how she really has no choice about her life whether it be her relationships, work choice or even her time of death.
Let's see what this society entails:
  1. You get matched, based on a equation, to the best person for you.
  2. You work a job that utilizes your skills the best.
  3. Almost everyone lives to eighty years old. There is no sickness.
I don't know. Those things don't seem so bad to me. Although they allow no one to live beyond eighty, the majority of those people would have died before eighty anyway without the help of the society. I don't deny the world in which she lives is restrictive. Most definitely. But as far as pretend societies go, this one is a little whitewashed to me.

As for the characters, I really liked Ky and Xander. I wouldn't even know which one to like. Ky was mysterious, intelligent, and a little dangerous. Xander was a great friend, sweet, protective and he really cared for Cassia. The person I didn't really like was Cassia. She hides her budding relationship with Ky from Xander, who did nothing but try to help her and protect her. She was selfish and I felt she didn't deserve either one of them. Although it was suppose to be a love triangle, I felt like Xander really didn't have a chance and the ending of the book pretty much confirmed it.


I had a problem with the main character, but the boys definitely made up for it. The world wasn't a dystopian, more like a utopian to me, but anything can be bad based on how you feel about it. I would recommend it, but my recommendation wouldn't be very passionate. Most likely going to read the next books.----6.0

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feature and Follow (2)

Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?


The best book I've read this month would probably have to be Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I really liked it because of the romance and such but especially since it coincided with the documentary "What the Bleep Do We Know" that I just watched.  The documentary talks about the connection between psychology, love and naturally occurring chemicals in the brain (i.e. hormones and the like). Basically it says without the chemicals in your brain making it so you get some kind of chemical reaction from another person that gives you feelings that you like, you wouldn't love that person; so chemicals in the brain make you fall in love and want to be around someone but when you don't get the same reaction anymore, you fall out of love. It relates to Delirium because you can see how scientists would figure out how to stop these "chemical reactions" in order to stop the feelings of love. I LOVE IT (Oh No! I'm getting a chemical reaction right now!) when something I read, especially a dystopian novel, can be backed up by something else making it really feel like it could happen. Pretty scary....


The worst book I read in the last month was Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. It was just predictable and played out. I was very disappointed in it.



So feel free to say hi, leave a comment, and/or link back to your post. Also, please add me. I shall do all the same for you! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Carrier of the Mark

Author: Leigh Fallon
 Pages: 382
 Publisher: HarperTeen
 Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
 First Published: October 4, 2011
 First Line: “Flames engulfed the boat, and my lungs ached as dark, noxious smoke filled the air.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer:

The GIST (From Goodreads): 

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.


I don't know, maybe I've become cynical about Young Adult literature but most of the things I've read lately have tended to be really predictable and unfulfilling. Trying to copy someone else's success by following nearly the exact same model and thinking people won't see the obvious.

When I first read the synopsis of the book, I really was interested to see what the author would do with the Irish setting; it's not often I read a book set in another country (well, another real country anyway) so I thought Oh yeah she's going to somehow work in some Irish folklore or something into the story. Sure, girl moves to new place, starts new school is played out, but Ireland! Ireland! This was gonna be good (rubs hands in glee)....

(End of Book) Poop. She really did absolutely nothing with it. NOTHING!  How it was even possible to take a book set in Ireland, one of the most magical places I can think of, and take the magic out of it? I really can't be sure.

Moving past the setting, the story was just a snoozle fest (and, yes, I meant snoozle. It's worse than a snooze fest). Again another Twi 2.0 but I'm so tired of that comparison that I'm not even going to go into it.

It had a lot of potential but ended up becoming cliche and, in my opinion, not very well thought out. The world building was confusing at best and half the time I had no idea what the hell the problem was with Megan and Adam being together. They fell in love instantly and had almost no interaction the rest of the book but yet their love was forbidden and she would give anything, I mean anything, to not lose it. I like that kind of forbidden thing, it just didn't feel like it was even worth saving.

As for the magic/fantasy part, the whole thing with different elements was interesting, it just really didn't make sense most of the time. Maybe Megan's powers will be better explained further on, but it just seemed like the magic part was just thrown in there to say "Hey, this is a fantasy book" to hide the fact it was about two teenagers in an average puppy love book. No one really likes an average book though, even with fantasy mixed in.


It was something you've read before even if you never read it before. Disappointing to me. I wouldn't read the sequel----2.0

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

----So You Want To Be A Writer by Charles Bukowski

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner
 Pages: 374
 Publisher: Delacorte Press
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
 First Published: August 24, 2010
 First Line: “He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

The GIST (From Goodreads):

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


This book was a bit frustrating to me. Everything about the main character, Thomas, is introduced to the reader as Thomas learns it about himself. Tom wakes up in the beginning not knowing anything about himself but his name. We learn things as slowly as Thomas learns them. AND THEY WERE SLOW. Sometimes I felt like smacking the other boys who wouldn't tell Tom anything and they did it for no apparent reason.

I wasn't expecting such a mystery. It was the only reason I kept going. I didn't really have many feelings for Thomas or his friends in the things that happened to them although I was interested to see what the whole mystery of the maze was. In the end, I had developed a lot more connection with the boys while being slightly disappointed with the maze. As for the characters, I liked Thomas; he was brave and self-less. Hopefully more will be revealed about him as the story goes on. I also like Minho, Alby and Chuck. Everyone had pretty distinguishable personalities. Maybe it was just the inherent mystery of the plot but I didn't feel like I knew them too well. Hopefully the author goes further into their backgrounds in the next book.

The mystery of it turned out to be completely unsolvable unless Thomas would have been there. I thought the solution would have just been smacking all the boys in the face, it wasn't so. What the end of the maze does lead to was very intriguing and I really want to find out more but, God, I don't know if I want to read the next book. I mean, I'm interested in seeing what happens to Thomas and his friends, but I don't know if I'll be emotionally able to handle it for a while. I feel like a sissy, but I'm going to stick with less intense books for a little and then try to pick up the sequel.

This was great dystopian novel. It held mystery, a seriously messed up world and a lot of danger. If you're looking for a lot of character development, this isn't the place. Not because of the author but because of the plot. I'm looking forward to getting to know the characters and the world better in the next book ----8.0

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book review: The Light of Asteria

Author: Elizabeth Isaacs
 Pages: 386
 Publisher: Self-published by author
 Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
 First Published: March 2, 2010
 First Line: “Malachi stood at the base of the mountain staring into the chasm of hell”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer:

The GIST (From Goodreads):
If Nora Johnson hadn't been on campus that day she would have never known her true destiny. Helping her friends move into the dorm that she wanted to call home, Nora accidentally collides with mysterious stranger, Gavin Frey. His very first touch sends flames through her heart. The world seems different-something within her has changed. She tries to resume her mundane life, but she is now consumed with the one whose very presence ignited her soul, the one with eyes of emerald. Nora soon learns that an energy buried deep within has been unleashed. She now wields unimaginable power and has become Gavin's source, his strength. Her newfound joy is shaken when she discovers that Gavin is not who he appears to be and she has been thrust in the middle of a war of mythical proportions. Negativity allows all things evil to flourish, the earth is under siege. The fate of creation hinges on the power within her heart. Will she be strong enough to survive? A gripping tale of unbounded love and ancient power, The Light of Asteria will take you on an epic adventure filled with war, treachery, and demons, as well as unimaginable delights.


I choose this book kind of randomly, hoping it would fill my need for a completely overly romantic sappy novel, nothing too serious. Hey, sometimes I just get in that mood (don't judge me). Well, this book definitely fit that bill.

When I got it in the mail, I read the summary on the back, noting the spelling errors and I thought "Ugh, this is self-published? What was I thinking?" I have never read a self-published book before and this one filled a lot of my assumptions about them right from the beginning. The Prologue was completely unfollowable and I really wanted to put it down after about 3 pages. It sounded like one of those hardcore fantasy novels with names of places like G`o`o`rjij and character names like Zaazettti. You know what I mean?

I re-read the summary to make sure this book was really about a girl meeting a guy on a college campus. Luckily I didn't give up on it and kept going. I'll start with some positive things I got out of the book. Although the instant love was there, I liked the romance between Nora and Gavin. She was just a little too perfect for my liking, but I liked him a lot. He was impulsive, a little snotty, and sometimes pretentious which she balanced and she seemed to make him into a better person. The romance was definitely mushy and exactly what I had been looking for at the moment. I also really liked Nora's grandmother and her saying which were really cute. She was a great character.

Now onto things I didn't like so much. A big problem I have with YA lit. these days is that all these main female characters are "pure" in this case of intent (and she really stretches the definition of intent here) and, of course, in relationships. So many books I read where the girl never had a relationship cause she just never found "the one." HELLO? Dating is all about finding "the one". It's completely idiotic to send the message that "the one" will just fall into your lap. Also, can't a little less innocent girl get a dude in the YA universe? So what if she has had other boyfriends or *gasp* God forbid she's not a virgin. I'm all for wish-fulfillment in literature but let's get real with the criteria of who can't and who can find "the one."

Three things annoyed me more than those previously mentioned. First, was the large amount of connections I've found to Twilight. The instant love everyone had for Nora, from his family to the people of Kailmeyra to the elder, how "special" she is, how all of the people in his clan are paired up, all of them are beautiful and talented, and they don't sleep. Sound like anything else to you? What's with this new phenom of Twilight 2.0s? Second, it was the way a girl growing up in was I can only assume was within ten years of now, suddenly started talking like she was in the eighteenth century. Third, Nora forgets so easily about friends that she's had forever and her whole life for her "mate" (puke every time they said that). Those things really bothered me.


This book did not help the stereotypes surrounding self-published books, in my eyes, but it did have some good elements which helped me looked past the bad. I would read the sequel; it just never would be on top of my list. If you're into a Twilight like book with a very sappy romance, I recommend it (Hey some people want that!)----6.0

Friday, March 2, 2012

Feature and Follow (1)

Trying a lot of new things out this week as I attempt to figure out the fascinating world of book blogging. Here is my first Feature and Follow.

 Q: What book would you love to see made into a movie or television show and do you have actors/actresses in mind to play the main characters?

 I would like to see A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray made into a movie. I prefer books into movies with relatively unknown actors and actresses but if I had to I choose---

I can't think of anyone who could do Gemma justice...maybe Emma Stone but she doesn't have the look down. I can't think of anyone famous for Gemma.

I see Leighton Meester as Felicity. Although she doesn't have grey eyes, I think she has that direct stare and magnetism which are Felicity...she may be too old though.

The girl who plays Harper on Wizard of Waverly Place as Anne....

Alexandra Daddario or Megan Fox (too old) as Pippa who is suppose to be very beautiful, almost too beautiful for her own good.

This kid from a show on Nickolodeon's Victorious looks perfect for Kartik

(Almost all of these choices are for best actresses or actors who look like the characters****)

What do you think of my choices? Who would you choose?

Thursday, March 1, 2012