Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. And once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. - Blurb from Amazon
Aside from Twilight, I haven't read many vampire fiction stories. I think a part of me had enough of reading blurb after blurb about some kind of vampire story, so I never bothered. When I picked this book up, I was a bit hesitant. I like Holly Black and so her name alone was what made me want to read it. And I will say, I liked it.
I liked that it wasn't a vampire origin story, so to speak. Tana didn't want to become a vampire and even when she was bitten, she still fought the urge as much as she could. She saw the damage vampirism had first hand on her family and it wasn't something she wanted to bring back to them.
I liked that this was mostly a survivor story with vampires simply being the backdrop of it. Tana wanted more for her life than that and even through the allure of it, with Gavriel around, she stayed true to herself and I admire that.
Click here to purchase the book.
It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.
Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”
Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything? - Blurb from Amazon
By this point, I have read five of these stories in the series and I have to say, Greg annoyed me in this book. I understand that, at this point, Greg is nearing the end of middle school and is therefore in his early teens. And yes, there were time where I realized he was behaving as a teenager would, but then there were times where I thought he was behaving like a spoiled little brat.
The entire scene with cutting Mrs. Canfield's yard made me feel like Greg needed a big lesson in "putting in the work to make the money".
This book was about the dog days of summer and spanned three months: June, July and August. At times I felt like the story jumped from one story line to the next without any clear transitions. I get it's a diary format and diaries don't always have a clear chronological flow but I found it hard to keep up sometimes. At one point, I had to flip back to see where July started.
Click here to purchase the book.
I will say, I liked the movie better than the book which is usually NEVER the case. But I think it has to do with the fact the Greg is more likable in the movie. As stated above, I felt he was annoying in the book, but the movie had him down a notch in his selfishness and it worked. He was more careless than selfish, making mistakes that he was too scared to admit to. And that I could relate to more than the other version of him.
As this is an adaptation review, here is my list of changes.
1) Holly Hills. She had a much bigger role in the movie than the mere mention of her in the books. I get it though. There needed to be a bit of young romance in this movie.
2) Heather Hills. Now this is one change I don't like. The took her from being a simple lifeguard Greg tries to impress to a spoiled brat that Roderick wan't to impress. I hated Heather and so no point to her except to show that Holly and Greg have one thing in common: older siblings that treat them like crap.
3) Nagging Parent. In the book, it's the mother that nags at Greg for not being active enough. In the movie, it's the father. I get it. Since part of the plot line was centered around father/son bonding, it was easier to make the father the nagger. But then this meant that Rachael Harris was reduced to cameo shots here and there just to remind us that there was a mother in the story.
4) No making money schemes. Since the whole mowing lawn story line drove me crazy in the book, I was glad they took this out in the movie. Instead, the smoothie bill comes at the end and Greg's father ends up reluctantly paying the over 200 dollar bill (P.S. it was 83 dollars in the book).
5) Greg and Rowley don't have a falling out. In the story, the two boys get into a fight and are mad at each other for part of the story. I kind of liked this plot line. It showed that you can fight with someone and still be friends afterwards. It's the test of a good friendship, is it not?
In the end, though, the movie stayed true to the core theme of the book: family, friends and summer fun.
There are two sets of books in this enchanting series: the picture books and the chapter books. In November I reviewed the picture books. For this month's review, I will talk about the chapter books and the movie that was adapted from them.
Of course you know the Guardians. You’ve known them since before you can remember and you’ll know them till your memories are like twilight: Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the others. But where did they come from? How did they become beloved and worthy of holidays? And what nefarious evildoer prompts them to band together and protect the children of the world? - Blurb from Amazon
We are familiar with the tales of the guardians, stories that we grew up with and loved: Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, Mother Goose. What I love about this series (both of them, in fact) is that Joyce takes these figures we already know and weaves a tale that, I for one, loved every minute of.
I devoured this chapter book series, one book right after the other, in a span of 6 weeks. I loved seeing the lives of these characters, the origin stories that made then who they are in our minds and hearts. I also loved the sketches mixed throughout, visually show us what our heroes look like and are up to. So far, there are 4 books in the series with a 5th one coming out at some point. I can't wait to devour the 5th book as I have the others.
Click here to purchase the box set (first three books).
Ten years later, the story continues
On the cusp of turning thirty, Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget are now living separate lives, out on their own. Yet despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. - Blurb from Amazon
I knew the second I heard about this book, I wanted to read it, but time always got in the way. The ABC Family (now Freeform) started playing the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies back to back one Easter weekend. ABC Family is good for that. Something told me I needed to finally pick up the book and I am glad I did.
I instantly started remembering the first time read this story, comparing the four girls with my high school friends and I. Who was Tibby, Lena, and Bee. I, of course, was Carmen, the Puerto Rican writer with daddy issues. I am after all a September, born of the first of the month.
It was nice visiting with the sisterhood again, even if that one tragic moment made me cry.
Click here to purchase the book.
A little context before my review
Reading the descriptions of this movie, it's set 300 years after the book series. Now, by the time the movie was releases, the first 3 chapter books (out of 5) and 2 picture books (out of 3) were in the book stores. This means that technically the ending of the series hadn't even occurred yet by the time this movie was in production.
At the end of Toothiana (spoiler ahead), the 3rd chapter book, Katherine was kidnapped by Pitch. Sandman hadn't even appeared yet in the chapter books but only as the 2nd picture book and there was no Jack Frost. Now at the start of the movie, Jack Frost emerged from the lake unsure as to how he got there or who he was, just that his name was Jack Frost. Then poof, jump 300 years. This means, in the timeline of the book story, that Jack Frost emerges at the end of the series, an ending we have yet to read.
One year after the movie, the Sandman chapter book comes out. Now I image that the "why/who" of the character isn't confusing in the movie, since the picture book was available before hand giving a small background into him. However, three years after the movie comes out, the Jack Frost picture book is released. The book describes (spoiler ahead) how Jack Frost started out as Nightlight, the first Guardian and protector of the Man in the Moon. This means he didn't start out as a mortal boy before becoming Jack Frost. He started out as Nightlight. Now, conceivably, he could have been a mortal boy before Nightlight, but that's not how the movie portrays it. It was this part I found a pit confusing. Even if the movie was supposed to be 300 years after the series, the origin of Jack Frost seems a bit misleading. However, there is still one final chapter book left which is set to come out in October, so maybe answers will come then. In the meantime, my review below will be based on the 300 year jump forward and how I feel the growth of the characters was presented.
My review of the movie
Just as I enjoyed the books, I enjoyed the movie, despite the Jack Frost story-line confusion. I thought the Guardian vs. Pitch battle was just as intense as it was in the books. It has it beginning triumph followed by it's middle losses and low moral and ended with confidence and good beating evil. It was fun to watch. But as with all adaptations, here is my list of differences:
1) No Katherine and Ombric. Ombric I can kind of understand, but Katherine is the reason Nightlight starts his journey to becoming Jack Frost. He kisses her and begins the growing. Maybe the final book will cover this.
2) No village children. I always like the village children and their energetic spirit. I get why they are not present though.
3) E. Aster Bunnymund. The movie portrays him as a fighter, a warrior. But in the books he sort of a wise man, a monk in a sense. He's seen it all, been through it all, that emotions are lost on him. I don't really believe in 300 years his whole personality would change like that. I think he would have definitely opened up more but not to the extent the movie has him. Also, two of my favorite things in the book, his chocolate rage and bickering with North, are not present. Does 300 years have to change that much stuff?
Since I first heard of The Day the Crayons Quit, I knew I wanted to read it. However, with everything else on my list, I just didn't get to it. Then one day I was in Barnes and Noble and the book was lying in one of those featured books table. I quickly read it there and loved it. I purchased it off of Amazon a month later followed by the second bookThe Day the Crayons Came Home.
I loved this concept of the crayons having personalities. We all color as kids and some of us still as adults (especially with the new adult coloring books that have come out. P.S. there is a Harry Potter one). As I was reading about why the colors were leaving, it made perfect sense. I kept thinking "yup I did that as a kid." I got nostalgic a bit.
The second book wasn't as great as the first, but it closed the loop in this story with each crayon talking about their adventure and why they want to come home. It was a good conclusion to an interesting and enjoyable series.
What I also liked is that while the images were colorful, they weren't too bright for what crayons can produce. They look like images that would have been the result of coloring in the pages and I felt that was perfect for the theme of the story.
Click a link to purchase the book:
And we have made it. Below is my review of the final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part II. As such, I have left this review up for your reading pleasure
This book was previously reviewed by me as well as my old book club. So here is both:
By the time Mockingjay opens, Peeta was captured by the Capital, District 12 was blown up and District 13 wants Katniss to be the face of the rebellion.
This final book does a nice job closing the loop on character's storyline, which is what you want in a conclusion. For starters, you get to see more of Gale in this book. With the previous ones, it was all about Katniss and Peeta, even though Gale was a choice she had to make. In this book, you saw more of him as well as Katniss with him. Seeing him allowed readers to understanding the ending and why Katniss made the choice she made. It was also the choice I wanted her to make.
Collins also reworked Peeta. Peeta was tortured by the capital causing him to turn on Katniss. He was down right cruel sometimes and totally out of character for him. She really tried to make the reader hate him and in some cases I'm sure it worked. I never doubted him though.
The most surprising part was the ending, a true Shakespeare paradox. The one thing that causes Katniss to board this rollercoster ride of the Hunger Games is the one thing she couldn't stop from happening in the end. The fate or destiny of it all.
My Book Club
It's no surprise, Mockingjay was a hit. Overall, we loved it. We couldn't stop talking about it. I think we could have gone all night if there was time. There were a few downsides. Some of us thought it was the lesser of the three. The first two had more adventure, better written, etc. Others thought scenes with Katniss were a cop-out. The first two books had her in the thick of things. She was front row and center for all the action and drama. In this book, she missed the important moments, like the final attack on the capital. What was that all about?
We liked the closing. Felt it was true to the story and true to the characters. Speaking of characters, we had our favorites: Haymitch, of course. He was a favorite to most of us and we laughed at his shenanigans. Some of us liked Boggs. He was a new character introduced in this third book but he was a good character and a good man. We also did the who Peeta vs. Gale debate. We felt she was better suited with Peeta in the end. Gale was hot headed just like Katniss. Katniss needed a calmer influence and Peeta was perfect.
Click here to purchase the book.
And we have made it. Here is my review of the final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part II.
I definitely liked this movie better than it's predecessor. I think if they had just made it into one movie instead of two, it would have been so much better. Oh, well.
I have to admit here that the 3rd book was never my favorite. The same goes for the movie, both parts. That prestige goes to Catching Fire, on both fronts. But I will say, that this fourth installment of the Hunger Games franchise is at least better than the first movie. I've always said that it should have been the one split into two. But, we're not here to talk about the first movie. I've already done that. We're here to talking about this final one.
Overall, the final movie stayed true to the themes of the book. The destruction, the death and the politics are all there. You see the effects of war and how people are compromised because of it. So as an adaptation, I think it stuck true to the book in it's story line and plot points. However, there was still something off about it and I'm not sure if it's the movie itself or my overall feeling about the franchise as a whole and the uneven work they've done with the movies. It is nothing against the actors or writers. I just think the decision makers lost something here.
Anyway, here is my usual list of notable differences:
1) Peeta's recovery. It was non-existence. In the book, there were strides taken to help Peeta recover. He takes therapy and really tries to become better and remember who he was. Non of that was in the movie, which made his back and forth struggle in the battlefield seem off. Why would he be struggling if he didn't know who he previously was?
2) Prim. Most reviews I've read mention that Prim was the one to visit Peeta instead of Delly Cartwright, but they leave out the fact that Peeta's therapy was her idea. She was the one who came up with the plan to reverse the effects of the Tracker Jacker torture. In Catching Fire, we see how string and capable Prim is becoming, something that shows even more in Mockingjay with this plan of her's. That was missing in the movie.
3) Katniss kills a capital citizen. This one is also mentioned frequently in other review, but I find this to be important if we think about Katniss in District 2. She wanted to save the citizens, fight for their lives saying that innocent bystanders should not be treated as the rest. Yet, when her own life is on the line, she doesn't think twice in killing an innocent. I think this speaks to the depth of war and how compromises to oneself happens on the battlefield.
As I said, not a bad adaption. But the whole movie franchise fell flat for me.
With Mockingjay Part II coming out this month, I have decided to review all the previous Hunger Game movies, and their book counterpart (look above), in preparation for the conclusion to this YA franchise. So here is my review of the first part of the Mockingjay movie.
I am going to be blunt here about this: I did not like this adaptation and I know why. It's because in order to split this book into two movies, they had to add scenes and story plots to the movie. In my opinion, they really didn't work to the story's advantage. My hope is that the second half is better as the meat of the story happens after Peeta is rescued.
Welcome to the archived section "For Readers". Here you will find a collection of all previous posts written. So, if you're afraid you missed something, no worries. It's listed here for you anytime.