Monday, March 19, 2012

The Book-to-Movie That Might End Me

I saw a couple of the Harry Potter movies at midnight (pulled along by friends) and yes, I was one of those people who waited in line for Twilight when it came out in theaters. I actually saw that one 3 or 4 times in one day. Each of these romances have since ended horribly. My love affair with Harry ended in book 5 with the whole Ginny thing (no build up, we never see her, there's no reason for dumb) and then Twilight exploded, the fans went crazy, and the movies have just become unbearable to watch (except the parts with Taylor Lautner and Jackson Rathbone. Nom.)

So forgive me if I fall on my knees and cry like an infant if something goes wrong with The Hunger Games. From everything I have seen so far, such as the trailers, movie tie-in books, music, and merchandise, I am so, absolutely sold. In this case, I think it helps that Suzanne Collins has screenwriting experience, so the book itself was basically made to be a book-to-movie in. I have purchased not only the mockingjay pin (twice) but the Tribute Guide, World of the Hunger Games, Movie Companion, and yes, the crowning jewel of my collection, four of the Capital Colours collection by China Glaze (Foie Gras, Smoke and Ashes, Harvest Moon and Hook and Line, which I adore, btw!) There have been so very few movies that have been able to stay true to the source material and give the audience the same feelings that they felt when they read the story they love so much. I am really, really hoping that The Hunger Games does it. After all, I am shelling out almost $20 to see it in IMAX.


Sadly, I just wanted to gush about The Hunger Games, so I don't have much else to blabber about. I have, however, been reading my face off, so I figured I would give an update on what I've been inhaling.

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton
When I read Darkness Becomes Her, the first book in this series, I wasn't overly impressed. I can't remember exactly why I wasn't blown away by it, but I do remember that the end was powerful enough for me to pick up the second one. A Beautiful Evil was the book that I had been looking for. When the real action starts, Keaton really digs in deep. I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the pulse of this tale as soon as things began to move. This is the second book (Prized being the first) where a sequel has actually hooked me into a series. I don't know what this says about book series, but I feel it might be a version of the "Series Disease" that I talked about a few entries back. In order to get a series out of a writer, publishers often mess up the pacing of a story in order to lengthen it. I feel that might be what's going on here. Either way, I LOVED this book and can't wait for the third.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
I ended up liking Embrace more than I initially thought I would. The "fallen angel" genre has been rather stale lately, and the mythos of this novel falls very close to many of the ones I've seen in the past. It was the relationships between the characters that really sold me on this book in the end. There were a couple of twists in the love triangle that I hadn't seen before, and I was very excited to see those things happen. I'll be checking out the second in the series to see how it picks up from here.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
I don't know if maybe I read this book too close to re-reading The Hunger Games, but I actually skimmed through the first 60 or so pages before I actually started really reading it. I didn't see enough of a new angle in the dystopia/zombie genre to give me enough of a reason to really get into the book. I was, however, very intrigued by the character development throughout, so I will probably check out the next book through the library.

Legend by Marie Lu
This is another book that might have suffered from my re-reading of The Hunger Games or maybe even Under the Never Sky. I would actually call this one a mixture of both. It was another dystopian/survival/technology hybrid that I began to lose interest in by the end. I would definitely rate this one higher than Enclave because I felt the writing was more mature and the characters more developed.

I always seem to have a book that I dropped, so here's The Duds List

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber - I got about half way through before I realized I was forcing myself to read this one and just stopped. The story was very intriguing, but the combination of the story being in diary entry form and the lack of constant movement made me finally give up on it. When I don't have 100+ books sitting on my "to read" pile, I might go back and give this one another go.

Tiger's Curse  by Collen Houck - I was very upset about this one because the story seemed so interesting! But sadly, I just couldn't get into the writing style. Might be for some people, but not me.

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter  - Couldn't get into this one either. The plot and characters just didn't grab me. Again, might be up the alley for others.

Books I'm Currently Reading
 A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce <-----Yup. Still going.
Unbroken by Rachel Caine -<---- Still going on this one too
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain<-----pulled this one out of my "on hold" status

Waiting in the Wings
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lyn Childs
Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Fledgling  by Octavia Butler

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
The Gathering by Kelly Armstrong

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Makes Me Want to Read a Book

Awhile back, a friend and I had a discussion on what makes us want to read certain books. Of course, the first item we came up with was the Aesthetically Pleasing Cover (APC- does the book look pretty?) and then we focused on our tropes. Tropes meaning, that little thing in a book that, if it has it, you HAVE to pick it up. This might be hard to explain, but as soon as you see my list, you're going to see what I mean. I call them my achilles heels.

-Re-tellings of fairy tales/mythology. + points if it's an obscure one.
-Girls pretending to be boys in order to do something she wouldn't have been able to otherwise. + points if she has feelings for a boy.
-The two main characters start the story hating one another. + points if the reason is related to morals/something BIG ++ points if they fall in love.
-Characters with powers that they can not control. + points if this makes them dangerous/deadly.
-Halflings, or characters that are trapped between two worlds of any kind.
- If the story has this type of character/aspect: prostitute, thief, really mean fey, steampunk, poison, shapeshifters, someone mentally unstable/insane (+ points if it's the protagonist)
-And yes, vampires and werewolves. But this has dwindled as I only have a few favorite takes on the mythology and unfortunately the community is realllyyy over saturated.

I'm sure that I have more of these, but at the moment, I can't think of them. Now, life is full of short-cuts, and sometimes these short-cuts don't work out. Sometimes I like books that have NONE of these aspects in them and sometimes I like books that have these aspects that I can agree are horribly written. As a reader, and a writer, I think it's really important to understand what pulls us towards certain books. As a reader, it helps us to pick out of the millions of books out there what we want to read. As a writer, it will often times help bring me back to Earth. Am I writing a story a certain way because it's what I like? Is that helping or hindering my story?

Someday I would love to do research on why it is people read books on the topics that they do, because I think that the books you choose to read can tell things about yourself that even you didn't even know.


Since I had a rather intense list from last time, here's a quick update on the books I chowed down on.

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanof
-LOVED this book. The writing style was really great and I loved the characters.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
-I'm definitely looking forward to the movie version. Marion put an interesting twist on the zombie mythology that I enjoyed.

Swear by Nina Malkin (sequel to Swoon)
-I would have liked this book to have been a little more intense like the first, but as a sequel, it definitely satisfied.

Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh M. O'Brien
-Where I sauntered through Birthmarked, I ripped and sped right through Prized. I almost put it down 50 pages in until we were reunited with Leon...and everything got really good. 

I couldn't really recommend Die for Me, as I put it down 30 pages in. It wasn't a story for me, but others might enjoy it. 

Books I'm Currently Reading
A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce <- yes, still. I'm going at a snail's pace
Unbroken by Rachel Caine
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Waiting in the Wings
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl