Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1!

The fire is catching.  If we burn, you burn with us.

                Total fangirl here.  That I think might be my favorite line in the movie and book.  Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job with the delivery of that line.

                Yes I went and saw this movie this weekend.  Friday evening to be exact with an amazing group of people.  We had our white roses, our Effie themed glasses, and our Mockingjay pins.  We were ready.  I was up until 6am that morning re-reading Mockingjay, okay I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read instead of tossing and turning but towards the end I’m sure not putting the book down hindered the prospect of sleep.  I was ready.  I have been waiting for and wanting this since last year.  I had already talked with all my book people debating where it would end.  Where they would split the book?
                I was so close!  It was just where I thought but they added a bit more after, which I get.  You have to give those who didn’t read the book something to hold onto until next year.  Speaking of the split.  I know it has been a big issue with everyone splitting the last book to make more movies, dragging out the ending.  Sure you could look at it like that.  Or you could look at it as giving the movies ample time to tell the story without it being rushed.  With Mockingjay I was relieved they were splitting it.  The last book in the trilogy was my least favorite.  The end just felt, rushed.  It had some slow parts and then it had a lot of action that happened so fast you couldn’t appreciate what was happening or the deaths that were occurring.  For me it was a way to make the last book fuller, to flush out the things that had been rushed and as movies sometimes change things from their book counter parts, I would be okay with them making a few changes.

               One of those changes, which isn’t a spoiler, is Effie.  She wasn’t really in the final book, she wasn’t in District 13.  Having her in the movie, having her in such a different world and out of her flamboyant element was beautiful.  You get to see who she is as a person and not be disguised by all the hair, clothes, shoes, etc.  And seeing the usually colorful Effie in a new light was like seeing the series in a new light.  This book is much darker than the first two.  Sure they were never light and fluffy, but overall they are darker and more depressing.  And still in the most random moments there is the much needed levity to bring you up out of the whole.  Haymitch was good at that.  He was the Haymitch we all love, crazy, drunk, and a tell it like it is attitude.  Even sober he has that same qualities about him.
                 I can’t say enough about this movie.  I LOVED it.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more.  The acting by all parties was spot on and I had goose bumps through many scenes, despite the theatre being a tad bit toasty inside.  When Jennifer Lawrence started to sing the hanging tree song from the books, and how it played in was beautiful.  I’ve since listened to that song several more times. 

The relationships between the characters have changed, the whole story has changed.  They are now in a war.  Katniss is not just trying to survive but she is now the supposed face of the war.  Everyone is different; the games have destroyed Finnick, Katniss, and the other tributes. 

Basically this movie was WOW.  I give it a 5 Explosive Arrows.  This movie was so much better than I could have hoped.  It took the best parts of the book and it filled in the gaps with things we didn’t see from Katniss’s perspective in the Capitol and other Districts.  It gave be chill bumps and made my heart race.  I’ve been talking about it non-stop much to the cringe of my co-workers but I can’t wait to see it again.  Please share your thoughts below.  Were you excited they split the book into two movies?  Where you satisfied with where they decided to split it?  What did you think of the movie as a whole?  Tell me everything so that we can discuss. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Delirium: The book, the series, the pilot

                NaNoWriMo is still going strong and I was caught up with my word count for all of 5 hours.  But I needed a break from my story and have many reviews I need to get out of my head and down on paper to share.  More room for my book to take over my mind and I’m pulling a 12 hr shift at work on 3 hrs of sleep.  Haven’t had to do this in a few years so I’m a bit rusty.  Getting my thoughts on some great books I read down for you and keeping me awake at work, a win/win. 

                As I have been reading series through beginning to end, trying to catch up I’ve decided to split my reviews into two sections.  The first part I’ll be discussing the first book in the series in detail spoiler free, then I’ll add a warning before diving into the rest of the series so those not caught up can still enjoy part of the review and have something to come back to.  The first book and series is Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  The first book is aptly named Delirium and the two other books in the series are Pandemonium and Requiem.  There are also 3 short novella type stories Annabel, Hana, and Raven.

                So Delirium is a few years old, yes I’m behind the crowd but I’m catching up.  I have had this series on my list for some time and I read it first mostly in part when I found out that they had planned a TV series but it didn’t get picked up.  However, for a short time the pilot episode was available on Hulu and I wanted to read the books, at least the first one before I watched.  So with a deadline hanging over my head I started reading.  For those of you unfamiliar with the plot of the story here is a brief summary:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing,

They didn’t understand that once love, the deliria, blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold.  Things are different now.  Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen.  Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured.  A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable:  She falls in love.

                It’s an interesting concept.  Love is a disease and thus is cured.  Life should be at peace.  It brings up a lot of questions and possibilities.  For me I debated if you cure love could one not cure greed or drive for power?  Would the cure for those not work just as well for peace?  Also is peace worth the overall cost?  That seems to be the debate in most stories, does one thing justify the ultimate outcome.  For me the biggest interested while reading was my internal struggle was the idea of happiness without love.  Can you survive without love?  We are creatures of heart.  We love love.  We strive towards the feeling despite the cost many times, through the risk of pain it could cause.  Easy to see why they think curing it would calm the world down, but would that not take away what makes us essentially human.

                See an interested book idea!  All this debate and I was only in the first few chapters trying to decide my view on this new world.

                Our main character, Lena, is firm in her belief in the cure.  She has a past that demands perfection and dedication to the rules for a good match.  Yes without love all marriages are arranged.  Lena is at her exam being graded on how good she is and how good of a match she will make when she sees a handsome guy.  Yes guys are separated from girls, minus family, until they are cured of course we wouldn’t want anyone falling in love before they are cured.  She sees him again, sees his mark indicating he is cured and feels safe.  He is okay to be around if he is safe.
                She starts unexpectedly down the rabbit hole.  Alex is more than he seems and despite her logical reasoning she finds herself experiencing symptoms of the deliria.  Once you feel what is forbidden how do you go back from that?  With the lines between right and wrong blurred who can you trust and who will betray you? 

                Delirium was a pretty quick read for me.  I couldn’t put it down wanting to know how it would end.  Would Alex and Lena manage to be together or would they be found out.  How would they manage with her cure procedure date looming closer and closer?  Plus in my head I was thinking of a million ways to take the system down.  I was trying to decide if I bought the concept.  In part I do, but the larger and more emotional part of my head and heart don’t.  Not because of the writing by any means but because I couldn’t imagine there not being a love of family and friends.  Curing romantically love, sure, but the love one feels for their family as they grow up together and friends as you bond, not so much. 

                Now before I go into the rest of the books in the series I want to discuss the pilot episode that was on Hulu.  I watched it.  I enjoyed it but if that was the pilot I see why it didn’t get picked up.  It was basically the entire first book.  Where would it have went?  There are two more books sure but with a book an episode a small mini-series event maybe.  That being said I wish they would go back and maybe make some adjustments, add a few things that were trimmed, and make it into a movie.  75% of the story is already there.

*****Now I’m moving into spoiler territory so if you haven’t finished the series please click away now and come back when you do.*****

                Conflicted.  That is me for the rest of the series.  I enjoyed seeing more from the different POV’s in the other books, particularly Hana.  I was mad and it only confirmed my suspicion of the betrayal when I saw her side and seeing her indecision and pain I could see her side of things in a way.  I was able to forgive her.  But the thing I missed most was Alex.  I was 100% sure that he would come back but as time wore on I got concerned.  Then I saw the semi-predictable plot line forming in my head.  Forced to earn Julian’s trust Lena ends up growing closer to him, finding him not the monster she thought. 
                As I’ve stated before I’m okay with some love triangles.  Ones where one part of the original love is thought dead, one must move on, our characters are young after all.  So if finding a way to move on and dead other half isn’t dead well I can see there being conflict there.  A mess of emotions.  Alex has been through hell and doesn’t get that at first and reacts badly and Lena is confused and indecisive.  I have to say book two and three were a tad bit over ripe with the love drama part.  It wasn’t overdone to the point I felt annoyed, and in a way I could even see how focusing on the mini drama of your romance could be a coping mechanism for dealing with the war being fought around you. 

                For me it worked where book 1 was more from the cured side and book 2 is from both the rebels who believe in the right to have love but also from the perspective of someone who is cured; which we didn’t see in the other book.  We see what changes it makes in the person.   

                Now for the biggest part of the confliction and a huge *SPOILER* the ending.  At first I was pissed off.  It was left hanging and I felt unresolved.  I felt like I wasted all that time reading to not get an ending.  Then as my initial shock wore off I realized how ingenious it was.  There was so much going on and she gave you the possibility of it going either way.  You could as the reader essentially see it as a happy ending for whichever version you liked.  Did you prefer Lena with Julian or with Alex?  Did you want people to escape or to combine and live as one and work through?  It was all there and all possible.  I will say that the horrible evil part where a certain person is seen possibly being dead was NOT okay and as it was never confirmed I’m going with my happy ending.  Overall I give the series 4 Stars.

                Also as a side note Lauren Oliver is super friendly and nice.  I was good and did not rant about my feelings on that one thing in line, because I didn’t want to hold it up, but I did mention I was happy she left it open so I could make my own happy ending.  She smiled at that, which confirms for me that was the point.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

YALLfest Follow-Up

Okay this post is going to be quick.  Just a real brief recap of YALLfest.  My whole body is sore, I split a toenail, and my cat is acting very clingy, but it was totally worth it.  This has got to be the most fun I’ve had in a long while.  I made some new and amazing friends who helped me divide and conquer and made the lines seems like just as much fun. 
                It was just Sarah Leigh and myself and I had a mission to get as many of my books signed and meet as many of the talented authors as possible.  This was our first event and there were some stumbles but we are simply better equipped for next year.  Oh yes spoilers, they already announced dates for next years YALLfest November 13-15 2015.  They will also be having one, YALLwest in Santa Montica April 11-12 2015 if that one is closer to you.  I’ve also heard speak, so I can’t verify the validity of this, that John Greene is going to be the keynote speaker next year. 

                So here are some photos of this year, sorry if the quality isn't the best one some.  Next year Sarah Leigh is getting a tutorial on how to use my camera properly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


                This is just a brief little post because I've been MIA.  I've been to another signing with Maggie Stiefvater and have been preparing for YALLfest.  Sarah Leigh and myself leave tomorrow evening (Thursday) and are pumped for Friday!  I have been trying to read as much as possible before hand.  I was also convinced to join in for NaNoWriMo 2014.  This is made more difficult because my computer outer case is having a slight problem.  Thankfully nothing is wrong with the guts of the computer, that is just fine.  Some casing to hold the screw came loose or some jazz, I don't know but a tech savvy friend at work has agreed to fix it for me.  He has only had it 2 days but it feels like forever.

                In the mean time until I get it back and can do some real reviews, I wanted to share some photos of meeting Maggie Stiefvater and give a shout out to anyone going to YALLfest.  Send me a message, we'd love to say hello to you if you're there.

She doodled in my book!

Before hand she was 'Invisible'