Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Best Books In a Series of 2013

I participated in this event last year and it was so much fun.  So this year I decided to do it again and sign up for the Top 10 of 2013 event.  This year it's hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.  Today is Best Books In a Series of 2013.

What's on your list today?
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Best Book Covers of 2013

I participated in this event last year and it was so much fun.  So this year I decided to do it again and sign up for the Top 10 of 2013 event.  This year it's hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.  Today is Best Book Covers of 2013.



What's on your list today?
Link me up!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 10 of 2013: Best Books I've Read in 2013

I participated in this event last year and it was so much fun.  So this year I decided to do it again and sign up for the Top 10 of 2013 event.  This year it's hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.  Today is Best Books I've Read in 2013.

2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters



Sunday, December 22, 2013

{Movie Review} Catching Fire

Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director: Francis Lawrence
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 146 minutes

Trailer / IMDb

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Review contains spoilers throughout.  Spoilers not marked.  Spoilers from Catching Fire movie and book, and Mockingjay.

So let's just say this movie is the best book to movie adaptation I've ever seen in my entire life. This movie is so good and followed the book so freaking closely. Every single detail was exactly how I imagined it in the book, with the exception of a few things. There were a few things added in and but there was nothing really taken out. There were some things that were changed a bit to save time but were still just like the book.
The first shot in this movie was absolutely beautiful and I loved seeing how much more there was in the movie than was shown in the trailers. I do feel that the first 10 minutes were kind of not as good as the rest of the movie but that was ok.
Like I said, it was so interesting to see how much more went on in each scene that we saw in the trailers, like with the Katniss/Snow scene in the beginning.
A lot of things were condensed into the beginning of this movie, like the Gale kiss, hunting with him, and meeting Snow. But the part where Katniss is outside the fence and it comes on after Commander Thread is in District 12 didn't happen.
Everything in this movie was like straight out of my mind. For example, Victor's Village. It was exactly how I imagined it, even the scene where Katniss throws water on Haymitch to wake him up is straight from the book. Everything, from District 11 to the arena to the monkeys to the ending...all out of my mind!
One thing that was different, however, was Presiden Snow's granddaughter. I kind of had mixed feelings but I realized that it was completely necessary for her to be in the movie because it showed the viewer how the rest of Panem was reacting to Katniss. Also, Plutarch's role was completely different because Francis Lawrence combined the increased security in District 12 with introducing Plutarch Heavensbee but I completely agree with Lawrence's choice because it made it that much more of a shock in the end. One more thing was Peeta killing someone. Now, in the book the fact that Peeta was such a pure victor was a big thing, so I don't really understand why they had him kill someone in the movie. I guess if they hadn't made him kill someone he would have been rescued by Finnick and looked weak, so that was the only choice. I don't know. Also there was absolutely no foreshadowing of District 13 in the movie. They didn't show the footage of District 13 with the mockingjay flying in the corner at all. Also when Peeta goes in for his private session with the gamekeepers in the movie his drawing of Rue is left on the floor whereas in the book it is cleaned up with a mat dragged over it. But it made sense to shorten the process for the audience.

But there were so many things that they did perfectly, from Finnick to the arena to the ending with Beedee and the force field.
You guys are probably wondering, how many times did I cry? Umm...well...about 5 times. Yeah. I cried during Gale's whipping, when Cinna died, when Mags died, and when Effie said goodbye. And a few more times I can't remember. I honestly wasn't expecting Gale's whipping scene to affect me as much as it did. I mean I knew it wasn't going to be fun to watch but I also didn't expect to be bawling over it. Then of course Cinna dying was horrible. Mags' death REALLY got to me though because she sacrificed herself for Annie and loves Finnick and she doesn't even say anything just kisses Finnick, strokes his face, and walks into the fog. It's so quick but it hits so deep.
Let's talk acting. Jennifer Lawrence is seriously such an amazing actress. Everything she does she does so well, it looks so natural and just perfect. I honestly can't figure out how she can be so serious in a movie when in real life she is crazy. That scene when she touches the fog and realizes that the salt water heals it and she sticks her hand in the water and just screams in pain shows how amazing she is. It's not real, but it looks so real. She is such a talented, amazing actress.
I have mixed feelings about Josh Hutcherson. I don't like Peeta's character from the book because I feel like he's just completely useless, and I still feel like that after this movie. There were like 3 times when Katniss is facing down Finnick and Johanna and trying to keep herself and Peeta alive and Peeta just stands next to her like a child letting her fight to protect him. So I don't like his character. What are my mixed feelings? Well...Josh is kind of super attractive. Like REALLY super attractive. In the first movie honestly I wasn't really impressed with his acting skills, but in this movie...much better. Even though I don't like Peeta's character, Josh plays him perfectly and I have to respect that. Also, there is just SO MUCH chemistry between Josh and Jen. If you're like me and watch a ton of their interviews (I know I'm weird) you would see how funny they are together.
Which leads me to my next point. I'm Team Gale 100%...I just don't like movie Gale as much as I like book Gale. And I don't really like Liam Hemsworth. He just doesn't seem to fit in with Josh and Jen and that lack of chemistry is obvious on screen. So what team am I? Team Josh but still Team Gale.
Finnick Odair. Hello sexy. I honestly cannot believe that some people said Sam Claflin was horrible as Finnick. Like aca-scuse me? You're kidding right? Sam is SO PERFECT and ugh. Words just cannot describe how good he was as Finnick. To be Finnick you have to be hot, sassy, muscular, and shameless...AND SAM WAS! He played Finnick so well from the sugar cube scene to carrying Mags to the very last shot. Just amazing! I'm so glad he's in the cast. And it doesn't help that he's freaking British. Being British automatically makes you 150% more attractive. I love him so much more onscreen than in the book. But I am really dreading Mockingjay Part II because that's where he dies and I really just can't handle that.
Johanna is an awesome addition to the cast. Jenna Malone played Johanna so perfectly and brought out her spunk, kick-ass-ness, and strength perfectly. She was just absolutely perfect and crazy.
I am very ashamed to say that before this movie I wasn't completely sold of the casting for Beedee and Wiress. I was actually completely agianst it. I have no freaking idea why I ever doubted Francis Lawrence because they both did such a good job in this movie playing their parts.
Now come the big three: Effie, Haymitch, and Caesar. Effie played a much bigger part in this movie than in the first one and she was so freaking funny. My favorite part with her was when she walks Peeta and Katniss into the Capitol and is just spouting out a long stream of nonsense and then you hear “Oh mahogany” and yes just yes! Haymitch is awesome as usual, and this movie just really wears down your emotions because both Haymitch and Effie were so torn up over Katniss and Peeta going to into the arena. Then you have Caesar Flickerman who can I just say I love! He is such an awesome character and even though he's from the Capitol he still privately roots for Katniss and Peeta, I think.
One of my favorite parts in the movie was the interviews and the ensuing chaos. First off, I completely just melted when I watched Sam give his interview. If you hadn't read the book you wouldn't know who he was talking to you would just die from the sexiness...but I knew who he was talking to and still died from the sexiness. Then Johanna going nuts and dropping f-bombs and Peeta dropping the baby bomb and it was just so perfect. And the victors holding hands was really intense, I don't even know why. It was just so powerful and beautiful. Then Chaff kissing Katniss on the lips and the famous elevator scene which was SO FREAKING FUNNY! Katniss' face was just so priceless and you just know that was 100% Jennifer Lawrence omg. And Peeta and Haymitch's faces were just so priceless and gosh I loved that scene.
I also want to talk about another scene in this movie which I loved and hated at the same time. It was in the jabberjay part of the clock and it was such a beautiful, amazing scene but at the same time so horrible. Sam and Jennifer just make it so sad, and what really got me was Finnick just screaming for Annie and it was just so heartbreaking. And then when Katniss runs into the force field separating the two sections and she's stuck and Peeta is there trying to comfort was just horrible.
The special effects for this movie were simply amazing. Everything was just as I imagined it, from the city to the arena to the monkeys to just everything. The arena, actually, is what I was most impressed with the arena because that seems like something that would be really hard to move from book to movie, but they succeeded. Also the monkeys and fog were both as terrifying as I imagined.

What I think I am most impressed with, however, is the ending. In the book it's really hard to understand how everything happened, and that is very hard to translate on screen. There were so many things going on at the time and it's hard to make sure the audience understands it, but somehow Francis Lawrence pulled it out and it was perfect. Everything was just like the book, from Johanna knocking Katniss out to Finnick running by trying to find Johanna to Katniss hiding from him and then going back to the lighting tree to see Beedee thrown back. It was just amazing.
So my personal experience. It was actually really cool because I had a soccer tournament out of city so I went to see this movie there. I was originally going to go alone but then I discovered that most of my team wanted to see the movie too so I invited them all. So basically there were like 15 teenaged girls drooling over Finnick in the movie theater, and it was so awesome. I loved going with my team.

Basically I give this movie a freaking A+ if there was a higher rating that's what I would give it.

5 million stars!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

{Review} Frostbite by Richelle Mead

by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #2
Pages: 327
Release Date: April 10, 2008
by Razorbill (imprint of Penguin)

Goodreads / Purchase
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

What a sequel! Wow. I don't really know what to say about this book other than that it was awesome! The combination of kick-ass action and heartbreaking romance made this book oh so good. I loved how this book continued off of Vampire Academy but also had it's own story. It continue the story perfectly and added so much to the series. The writing, I've realized, isn't amazing. It's kind of juvenile at times, but the story line and staging and action make up for it. The twists and turns in this book kept me on my toes constantly. The staging was so well done, and the story line led up to the ending so perfectly. It was really heartbreaking, and the romance added so much to the story. The ending was absolutely amazing and wrapped up everything that had been introduced in the beginning of this book.

I must say, Dimitri is one smoking hot Guardian. Please, can I have him? The combination of sexiness and selflessness just makes me melt. It's so hard to describe him, and Mead did such a good job of developing him and showing a different side to him in this book. He is such a nice guy, and he really cares about Rose. If he didn't he wouldn't act like he does.
Rose, I have to admit, is pretty kick-ass. I really like her and her spunk and attitude. Seriously, she's me in half-vampire form. In this book she had a lot of flaws, or mistakes I should say, and she grew so much in this book. She learned from her mistakes, fixed them, and moved on.
I honestly can't wait to read the next book. This series is so amazing and I can't wait to see the characters develop even more.

5 stars

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top 10 Tuesday is a meme by Broke and Bookish, hosted each Tuesday, where bloggers list their top 10 in the chosen topic of the week.

Today's Topic:

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors Read in 2013

C.J. Redwine - Defiance had been a book that I just had to read for a long time before it came out because just look at that cover!  It just had a certain vibe to it that screamed "Read me I'm awesome".  This book is just amazing.  The world building was very well done, and the story line was fast-paced.  What I really loved though was the romance, it was so amazing and sweet.


John Green - This book...I just can't describe it.  Heartbreaking would be a good word, I think.  I was way late on the bandwagon for this one, but I've read it twice now and gosh...this book is just so good.  Read it!
Rachel Shukert - Starstruck was Rachel's debut, and I hadn't really heard anything about it before I read it.  There was no hype, and the only reason I noticed it was because of the cover.  But it turned out to be a very enjoyable historical fiction book.
Maurissa Guibord - Like the one above, I had heard NOTHING about this book before I read it.  I noticed it because of the cover.  But it turned out to be a really beautiful and interesting mythology book with an awesome ending.
Anne Greenwood Brown - Male POV?  Not my thing.  That's what I thought before I read this book, but afterwards I was like "Why did I ever think that?"  This book was so amazing and it had a beautiful amazing romance and what an ending oh my gosh!


Margaux Froley - No hype for this one either, and it was mystery, which I didn't think I would enjoy.  Which is weird because like every single mystery book I've ever read I've liked.  But whatever.  This one was really awesome and I honestly couldn't figure out who the bad guy was but once it was revealed all the little clues made sense.  I think that is absolutely crucial in a mystery book, and Froley did an awesome job of it.
Cat Winters - There was hype around this book and so many people were loving it, so I just had to join the bandwagon.  This book was freaking creepy!  The setting and writing was so well done and the story line was so heartbreaking, but it was such an awesome book!
Bethany Wiggins - Words cannot describe my love for this book.  It was so freaking amazing.  The world building was so well done and the romance was just perfect and the story line was fast paced and their were twists and turns and was just amazing.
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski - This one is just the perfect summer read.  It was so light and fun and hilarious and just awesome.  This was the first roadtrip book I ever read because I thought those kinds of books would be boring.  But this one wasn't and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Huntley Fitzpatrick - Best contemporary book I've ever read.  Hands down the best contemp ever.  This book was just so amazing.  It had everything I love: humor, romance, awesome main characters, awesome supporting characters, and a great plot.  OMG this book!  And there's going to be a sequel!!! *dies*
What's your Top Ten this week?
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