Sunday 25 March 2012

Blogspiration (5): Music for the Soul

So this week's blogspiration isn't something I've given much thought too. I only just remembered today that I wanted to post something before I get back to all the heck load I have next week.

Sunday night; a time to remember why I put so much stress on myself. So much pressure. A good night to look back on the week and be happy with where I am compared to last week. A night to have a chill by myself and rejuvenate before it all begins again. A night to wonder about where I will be next week. A night to hope.

Then I realised that it's these little moments I have alone. No partner. No family. No characters beating on my brain. Sometimes you just need some downtime. Sometimes you need time to yourself to remember who you are and why you're that way. It leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed. Even though I'm starting a new store tomorrow, and even though I have two uni assignments due next week; even though Jenna's rewrites still aren't finished and event though I'm STILL not published... it's okay. It'll happen. Everything doesn't have to be a rush. I don't need to be stressed ALL THE TIME to stay busy.

I have a CD (yes, A CD!) on and my creativity is flowing. My brain has relaxed and planted seeds of ideas for more books, a way to do my assignments, and even more plot points for Jenna. I may use some of them. I probably won't. But so long as I have Sunday nights like this, it's all good.

Just for the record, music is a massive part of this. I can't play an instrument and I definitely can't sing; but there's nothing better than finding an artist or album that has music to get you feeling a certain way.

My most recent inspiration, and the one I'm playing right now is:

What about you? Is there a time you dedicate just to down time? A person? A CD? A movie?

What is it that gets you thinking about all the difficult things you have to work out and just gets you through the working week?

Friday 23 March 2012

Reaping Week concludes with: Greatest Debate Ever

For my last Hunger Games' post, I'd like to link you guys to the greatest Peeta/Gale debate I have ever seen! I lol'd a heck load and for the record, I am totally on the side of Henri (a.k.a. Boy Who Stumbled into the Girl's Bathroom).

Check out Forever Young Adult's smack down.

The Boy with the Bread

The Sexy with the Snares

Then just check out their site in general. You can thank me for it later.

Lucky 7 and the VB award

So because these two have been making the rounds quite a bit, I've decided to combine them into the one post. Lack of time may be an issue as well but I'm sure those two uni assignments will writes themselves. Eventually.

So, to start off, the other day I was given the Versatile Blogger award by the wonderful LoopyLoo! AND AGAIN by Marisa. Check out these girlies blogs if you like all things fun and interesting!

So here are the rules (of course):

1. Thank and link the blogger who awarded you 
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself
3. Spread the love by passing the award to five other bloggers, and be sure to let them know

Seven Random Facts:

This is hard because there is a fair bit of randomness going on up in here. But I'll try to narrow it down.

1. I never finish my entire drink. Doesn't matter what it is, how yum and/or expensive it is, I can never finish that last mouthful. I've tried. It didn't go well.

2. I have a lot of different personalities. I'm a clean-freak oddball at work and the ultimate extrovert. At home, I'm lazy and introverted and GET THE HELL OUT OF MY ROOM! Around my close friends, I'm pretty relaxed and consist mostly on coffee. And on my blog, I can let all the pent-up psychosis run free.

3. I buy books based on their covers. A LOT of the time. I've read less than 40% of the books on my bookshelf because the other 60% I buy with no intention to ever read. EVER.

4. Sarcasm is my default mode. When it comes to any situation that has the potential to be emotional, or too DEEP for my liking, I revert back into the sarcastic swamp monkey and scare those mothers away. Then, I hide in a book.

5. I seriously think someone should consider making a procrastination award with my face on it.

6. I'm surprisingly unafraid of death. But the things I really fear - as in, freeze my chest, forget to breath, fear - are; failure, never getting a book published, drowning, zombies, and not being happy with my life. Now do you see why death is way down on my list?

7. I don't believe in soul mates but I do believe in two personalities complementing each other perfectly. And I'm pretty sure I've the one that brings me alive.

The five people I've chosen to nominate are:

Next for the Lucky 7 meme.  I was tagged by LoopyLoo.

The RULES (again):

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS (Or a fave book)
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they're written.
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know.

From my current WIP. Between Jenna and her sister Vivien. Just so it makes a little sense, Jenna is pretty OCD when it comes to her room and paranoid about a lot of things. I was surprised when I realised my seven lines were mostly dialog but you get that.

“No!” I launched myself across the room and slammed the bolt back into place.

“What the hell? It reeks in here.”

“I don’t care.”

“What is that?”


“Bleach? Are you crazy? Just open the window.” 

I leant against it. “No.”

She stared at me, eyes wide, for a whole five seconds. “Whatever. But next time you want to get high, I hear metho works better.”

She snatched my ribbon off the desk, tied it around her bun and left.

Only then did it occur to me I may have overreacted. *

*I may have cheated and included an extra line. But the dialogue is short so I figure this was allowed :P

Now, my seven people you pass this on to are as follows:

Thursday 22 March 2012

Reaping Week presents - THE GAMES REVIEW IS HERE!

Review for the Hunger Games Movie!

That’s right, it’s finally here. We can all stop wetting ourselves with excitement because THE MOVIE IS FINALLY OUT! Now, after the midnight screening, I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the movie. Just slightly. I knew it would never meet my high expectations but I just expected a little more. I saw it today for a second time though and it was just SO MUCH BETTER! I don’t know if it was because my eyeballs weren’t falling out from tiredness, or I knew what to expect this time, but I’m glad I gave it another chance.


My Review:

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to tackle this because there was a LOT I wanted to comment on. I think I’ll break it down into a list of likes and dislikes then give it a rating out of five. LET’S DO THIS!

Ultimate Awesomeness:

1.    The acting. Every last cast member (bah one, actually) blew my expectations out of the arena. JLaw was perfect with everything she did. The emotion was there but she didn’t overact. That girl is pure Katniss. Josh and Liam were phenomenal (even though you see Liam for all of two seconds *sadface*) and you’ll never believe this BUT, JoshactuallygotmelovingthePeets! The careers were all spot on (especially that Alexander Ludwig), and of course Rue shone on the screen. I’d just like to take a moment to say how amazing Willow Shields was as Prim. Holy mothercussin’ Moly, that girl can act. She brought out the only tears I shed in the movie.

2.    The tracker jacker scene. All you need to know is it was there and it was AWESOME!

3.    The Capitol and all people there. It’s exactly like you’d imagine in the book, and Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci really bring the people alive. I even love the little scenes they added between President Snow and Seneca Crane.  They really made the total disregard for human life believable.

4.    The three finger salute in District twelve and the reaction from District eleven. The riot is more intense than the games, I think.

The Parts to be Sword-Bladed:

1.    Rue’s death. I can’t believe I’m writing that here but the aftermath of her death is so much more moving than the actual death. The lack of music in this part, and when Prim’s name is first called, really detracted from the scene. There was a lack of emotion (NOT by the actors) that prevented the tears from coming. It was as though I was watching from the Capitol and realised I’d just lost a bet. Shallow emotions like that are NOT what you want when those scenes in the book tore my heart out!

2.    I also hate to say this but… Haymitch. Woody Harrelson just did not get this character at all. He’s less of a tortured drunk with a big soul, and more of a drunk who just pissed me right off. Also, (there is a HUGE chance I’m wrong here, since I didn’t reread the books) but wasn’t Haymitch’s advice to them “Stay alive”?  It doesn’t happen in the movie even though in those two words it completely sums up his character. His sarcasm. The fact that was missing seriously brought the movie down.

3.    The Hunger Games. Again, I KNOW! But the thing here is, there was so little fighting. I think it was this more than anything that disappointed me on first viewing. But on second viewing it was okay because there was a lot of focus on the characters and their development. Instead of being an insane action flick (that could have totally happened) they kept the emotion and fighting as raw as possible which worked, but in a completely different way. It was a very sad movie; though it should have been a lot sadder.

There were a few technical things that Lionsgate did that I didn’t agree with. I won’t get right into the camera angles and the reasoning behind them, or why they had a soundtrack BUT DIDN’T USE ANY OF THE MUSIC IN THE MOVIE, but yeah. If you notice that type of thing, be prepared to be annoyed.

Really, I think it’s best to sum it up with a rating. I wanted to give it a three but then I realised it only deserved that if I was comparing it to the book. So I’m giving it two scores. As an adaption, I’d say a three and a half (because it’s a whole lot better than any I’ve seen) but as a stand-alone movie it would get a four. I seriously enjoyed it once I managed to get past the things that had been changed. AND ONCE I DIDN’T HAVE TWO VERY ANNOYING FRIENDS MAKING SNIDE COMMENTS.

I’m pretty sure this is a movie anyone would love – even the fans of the book. And there are parts that I think just about everyone will hate/be irritated by.

Either way, I encourage you to see it and make up your own mind. It’s definitely worth it. And please, stop on by and let me know what you thought! If you blog about it, leave a link in the comments because I haven’t heard any other opinions as yet and am keen to see what the rest of you think!

As for right now, I’m going to go whine about how Catching Fire (and Finnick) are still over a year away!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

The Reaping Week presents: Mockingjay!

I can’t believe it! The day we’ve all been waiting for! Even as I type this there is only eight and a half hours until the Hunger Games movie! To keep myself preoccupied, I finished reading Mockingjay today. And right now, I feel just as depressed as I did the last time I read it. The movie is going to kill me.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

When I first read Mockingjay a few years back, I absolutely hated it. I’m not sure if it was because of the ending, because of the fact Katniss spends a heck load of the book hiding or passed out, or if I was just too young to truly appreciate it… but this time around, I had a completely different reaction.

My Review:

At Face Value: Still not loving the covers. But maybe that’s just me. I don’t know. And the title? The second one was awesome… this one, not so much.

Immediate Reaction: Can someone cut out my heart to stop it from bleeding?

High Five: Not quite. While I enjoyed this reading a whole lot more than the first, there are still some issues. So… four and a half. A lot higher than I was planning on giving it.

Favourite Quote: How can I chose? Seriously. Katniss is so much more herself in this book and every thought is awesome.  Given the context, I remember randomly loving this one:

“ It’s better than being defenseless. Now the only one without a weapon is Peeta, but anyone whispering my name with a bunch of mutts doesn’t need one anyway. ”

Aaaand... one more. Cos it sucked for me. 

" "That was the one thing I had going for me. Taking care of your family," he says. "Shoot straight, OK?" He touches my cheek and leaves. I want to call him back and tell him I was wrong. That I'll figure out a way to make peace with this. To remember the circumstances under which he made the bomb... But since I can't, I'll just have to deal with the pain. "

Let me first start out by saying that this book is not for everyone. Suzanne Collins specifically wrote this book in a way that her characters are faced with the realities war brings, and they don’t exactly deal with it in a Hollywood, cookie-cutter, way. It’s intense, okay?

To be honest, I’m not sure what it was about the story that I hated so much back then. I think I’ve whittled my answer down to two main points, but I’ll get to those later.

First up, this book is split into three main parts. The first, deals with Katniss accepting her role of becoming the face of the rebellion. It focuses on the propos the REBELS are now using to fuel the rebellion. In short, Katniss is still being played. And she knows this; but just like with the Games if she wants to help the people she loves she has no choice but to follow through. There’s some pretty neat little scenes but there was nothing overly spectacular about this part. Katniss is the hope. Gale is the best friend. The Capitol is using Peeta. Blah, blah, blah. It was interesting and set the new world we’re dealing with here, but there was nothing that had me strapped to my seat. There was an awesome scene in District 8 though, that I still remember from my first reading.

The second part of the book amped things up a little. There was a fair bit more action, Katniss finally started to debate all of her options, and some certain people return. There is also a TWIST! Gasp! Shock! Horror! I won’t give away what it was but it brought a little smile to my lips. There is also more focus on Katniss’ family and the characters in general. More world building. More stakes added to Katniss’ list. And more death’s on her conscience. There was a scene with Johanna that made me cry because I JUST LOVE THAT GIRL SO MUCH! And even though the action was only slightly more than the first part, Collins wrote with so much intensity you felt like the shit was about to go down.

Then we get to the third part. The part of the book where everything blows up (quite literally) every expectation you had for this book. It’s straight into action mode with the cute game of ‘Real or Not Real’ woven in so wonderfully. You can feel the suspense, you feel the danger. You just know that everyone won’t make it out alive but you never realize JUST HOW MANY ARE ABOUT TO DIE! And one death, one death that is so horrific AND BREAKS MY HEART INTO A MILLION PIECES, is passed over so quickly I don’t get a chance to grieve. Any one who’s read this book will know exactly what part I mean. And that is reason number one for my original hatred of this book.

Everything about this third part is taken to a whole other level. It moves so quickly, it elicits so much emotion until you are tearing your God darn hair out. Then, THE BIG THING HAPPENS. THE REASON I HATED THIS BOOK ORIGINALLY. I don’t want to elaborate a whole lot because I don’t really want to give away to much to anyone that hasn’t read these books but it was something I never saw coming. Something that a certain someone is potentially responsible for.  AND IT KILLED ME TO REALISE THAT. From that moment on in the book, Katniss falls apart. She’s an empty shell. She’s nothing but despair. And Collins writes that better than any other part in this whole series.

The things that happen after this, really don’t measure up to the event. There’s some pretty big things – an execution, A VOTE THAT HOLDS WAY MORE SIGNIFICANCE TO THE REAL WORLD THAN THE BOOK, morphling addiction, more depression – and then the rest is kind of the aftermath. Katniss is defeated. Completely. It feels as though she literally gives up – and who can blame her? But to me, this wasn’t the ending I wanted for her. All through the series, Collins writes this strong, believable, flawed character that you’re expected to follow. That you’re expected to care about. And you do. And then that character just gives up. It’s a hollow, empty way to end a book. To be fair, things pick up a little right at the end but it was forgettable. And to end a series that I loved so much in that way really wasn’t cool. I just want to state I was never hoping for a happy ending, but I was hoping for an amazing ending. And the one we’re given is acceptable at best.

THAT SAID, Katniss makes this series worth following through to the very end. I guarantee you’ll cry. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with so many characters you’ll never be able to forget about them. I can’t guarantee you’ll agree with me and LOVE the ending for Gale because… it’s kind of bleak from Katniss’ point of view, but there was no way it would have worked between them. And I think I’ve come to terms with that now. Plus, the last line in the book was done awesomely. I love when authors end their book on a really strong line. 

But really, I could have done without the Epilogue. Again, it was ended on a strong line but it was redundant. It didn't offer anything we couldn't have guessed for ourselves and deprived me of imagining for myself what happened after the book. I read it and my immediate reaction was 'and? who really cares...'

TOMORROW: a review on the HUNGER GAMES movie!

Only seven and a half hours left you guys! Trying. To control. My EXCITEMENT.


Tuesday 20 March 2012

Reaping Week presents Catching Fire! And a FIRST!

I reread this one. Firstly so I could remember, you know, the actual story. And second, to see if I was softened towards Peeta at all.

Put it this way, after reading this book I wanted to be gearing up for a Catching Fire release – not a Hunger Games one.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This is the book that sets the bar for this series and every dystopian that followed it. I’m not ashamed to say I loved it. I know I told my fifi (fiancĂ©) on at least one occasion that he would love this book and why doesn’thejustreaditalreadybecauseit’sreallyawesome! *deepbreath*

My review:

At Face Value: Meh. They go okay. Not as bad as the first cover but not as good as the new one. Still screamed Sci Fi like there was nothing else in the world that mattered.

Immediate Reaction: Holy to the muthacussing macarolli! What a cliffhanger! What a book! On the first read I nearly cried when I realised Mockingjay wasn’t out for MONTHS! Damn those forums and their engaging Team Gale/Peeta discussions!

High Five: OH MY GOD! YES! I can’t believe it. I’m actually giving a book 5! 5 people! I’ve been waiting for this day to come and I really can’t think of a good reason not to. It makes me a little sad to realise I’m replacing Cinder, though. BUT I'M FINALLY GIVING OUT  FIVE! *thud*

Favourite Quote: “I squint down at my feet and see that my metal plate is surrounded by blue waves that lap up over my boots. Slowly I raise my eyes and take in the water spreading out in every direction.
I can only form one clear thought.
This is no place for a girl on fire.

For those lame-os that don’t know, Catching Fire is the sequel to the Hunger Games and occasionally, just rarely, a sequel comes along that blows its previous companion out of the water. This is that book. The title is clever, especially if read as ‘Catching Katniss’ and opens up a whole lot of questions before you even open that awful cover.

There are three main reasons why this book got a five. And one clear reason why it shouldn’t have. But we’ll get to the latter, later.

The magnificent first reason: the tributes. This time around I can see them all (at least the ones that are described). I loved Johanna Mason. To be honest, I kind of just wanted the book to be about her an itsy bit. She was fun, she was so alive, and she was the kind of character that just stays with you. Nuts and Volts were cute as a button, and Mags made me smile. And cry.
But let’s talk about Finnick Odair for a second. I love him. More than the others even. Maybe even more than Gale by a smidgeon (yep, can’t believe I just said that). He’s brave and strong and smart and just oh-so-good-looking. He’s a tease and has a big heart and THAT SCENE WITH THE JABBERJAYS! What a poor, tortured, pretty thing he is!

The second reason: the arena. The Hunger Games have been taken to a whole new level of disturbing, ladies and gentlemen. And of course they have; it’s the Quarter Quell! Instead of just having tributes hunting your arse, the arena is literally fighting back. Not just a flame ball here or a poisonous berry there, but real threats that attack your body and screw with your mind. There’s also less of Katniss acknowledging the viewers and more of her calculating her moves against the Capitol. It was like some warped game of chess. I’m not going to give away too much over the arena but Plutarch Heavensbee puts Seneca Crane to shame.

The third reason this book garnered a hard-to-come-by five is because of Gale. We get to see so much more from him in this one. He’s strong and knows exactly what he wants. He lights up every page and I reckon he and Johanna should get it on a little bit. The thing is though, the chemistry between him and Katniss is just so ALIVE! I know people will disagree with me, but it was clear, in this book at least, who Katniss chose. Her heart was Gale’s and if the series had ended there she would have chosen him.

Now let’s talk a little about Peeta. I promised to try and like him a little more and I actually did (surprise!) but he really took a back seat in this one (maybe that's why!). There were some really sweet moments between him and Katniss but it’s clear they don’t have the same spark as her and Gale. The strange thing is, even though Peeta inhabits a lot of this book, I hardly remember him having a really active role. He was more like Katniss’s shadow than a character in his own right. This is pretty much the only reason Catching Fire wouldn’t have gotten a five. Then I remind myself that if Peeta had more of a role, the others wouldn’t have, and suddenly I’m okay with how it all went down.

Katniss grows a heck load, and her already sarcastic inner self snarks up the pages. It’s awesome. I love how she reacts in the districts and to President Snow and towards the other tributes. I love pretty much any page that both she and Haymitch occupy.

Then there’s these scenes that the book would have been nothing without: Johanna stripping down after the chariot ride, the announcement – and Katniss’s subsequent breakdown – of the Quarter Quell. The visit to District 11, Katniss telling Haymitch who she wanted as allies, her prep team, any part with Cinna or Gale. AND THE ENDING! THAT I WILL NOT SPOIL BUT IS ABSOLUTE AWESOMENESS!

So, after my reread I think there should be more teams than just Gale and Peeta. I’d also like ones for Johanna, Finnick, Haymitch, Cinna and Wiress. Umm… I think that is all. Pleaseandthankyou.

Now onto Mockingjay!