Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Thoughts on Books and Movies

I few of my favorite books have been or will be turned into movies. I'm an avid reader and take my books very seriously. I'm the person who gets mad when they get the small things wrong in the movies but I have learned to let some of the small things go. Sometimes it's impossible to get the tone or feel of a particular scene into a movie and have it be good.

Harry Potter is a big example of books that got turned into movies. Harry Potter was already a pretty big deal when it first got turned into the movie but then it exploded. I think they did a wonderful job casting for the roles. Everyone is perfect or pretty close to perfect. I still have a problem with some of Michael Gambon's portrayals as Dumbledore in the movies. Dumbledore was never one to explode or roughly grab Harry by the collar and demand if he put his name into the Goblet of Fire. It was so not Dumbledore.This picture is perfect:

It's sad that Richard Harris died because he was the perfect Dumbledore for the first few books. I don't know if he could have physically done the acting for the later books when we see more action from Dumbledore, particulary in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince.

So not Jace for me.
Recently Beautiful Creatures and The Host came out as movies. I enjoyed The Host despite it's extremely slow start. I also really like the Beautiful Creatures series. I have a problem with some of the cast. The same is true for the City of Bones cast. The movie hasn't come out yet but the cast has been known for awhile. I love this series and I hate the cast. Jamie Campbell Bower just is not Jace Wayland. I am actually unsure as to whether I want to see this movie. I see people who love Jamie as Jace but I just am having a hard time with the entire cast.

Seriously what is Clary doing here?
This is not in the book.
I'm one of those people who wants them to take everything from the book and make it into the movie. I will watch a 5 hour movie if they would make it go in order and/or not cut things out. Prisoner of Azkaban (yes I keep referencing Harry Potter. I'm a Potterhead. I can't help it) is a huge example of epically not following the book's timeline. Harry didn't know who sent him the Firebolt and he definitely didn't get it at the end of the year. Hello! McGonagall took it away from him on Christmas. The opening scene is the worst. Harry is performing magic under his sheets. Harry is under age and therefore cannot do magic AT ALL outside of school. He got a Ministry letter in Chamber of Secrets because Dobby performed magic near him. There were no heads that blocked Hermione and Ron from entering the Three Broomsticks. There wasn't a head talking on the Knight Bus. I liked how J.K. made the houses and streetlamps jump out of the way when as the bus was driving and they didn't even do that.

I can continue on about the 3rd movie for ages. It was my favorite book at the time and they ruined it. They also ruined the ending of Deathly Hallows Part 2 by having Harry break the Elder Wand instead of fixing his Phoenix wand. Honestly, what were they thinking?

Then you have movies like Eragon. Eragon is a great series and it could have turned into a great movie series. It's almost like a young adult version on LOTR. But the movie was awful for those who read the book.

But you also get movies that are great and/or better than the books. I read the Fellowship of the Ring. I was bored the entire time. I was bored out of my mind. I just could not get into the book. But I watched the movies and I liked them. I actually managed to enjoy the Hobbit but haven't seen the movie yet. Perks of being a Wallflower was also a really good movie though it does help that the author was also the director so I won't count that one.

I was nervous about the Hunger Games and then I saw it and was in love. Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job. Certain things had to be explicit in the movie that was simply a thought in Katniss's mind but I was okay with that because they had to. Also, Peeta lost his leg in the book and his wound in the movie was like a scratch but that's just me being picky. I can handle it. The movie was brilliant and I can't wait for Catching Fire.

I like movies, I like books. I just wish that directors could find a way of making them pair up more equally for some movies. I'll probably see City of Bones and eventually see Beautiful Creatures. I can only hope the image of the characters in my mind for the characters don't get replaced by the actors.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - 5 stars

I have a feeling that this might be a long review but I have many thoughts about it so stick with me.

I'm not really a big fan of non-fantasy books. I just can't get into them usually unless it's something like  Ellen Hopkins' books that focus on the tough stuff in life. Identical is one of my favorite books by her. I also enjoyed Perks of Being A Wallflower (review here) but the only reason I picked that one up was because I wanted to see the movie and I refused to watch it before reading it.

I follow people on Instagram who are book lovers like me and they continued to post things about TFIOS. I had to actually look up that acronym because I had no idea what they were talking about. I looked at the summary on Goodreads and I added it to my to-read list.


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
5 Stars

This book was absolutely amazing. Seriously I don't give out five stars all the time but it seems that I keep reading or rereading five star books. This book is definitely five stars for me. I even think they're making a movie out of it.

In this book we have Hazel. The story is told from her point of view. Hazel has thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She is going to die eventually but she's not dead yet. Instead she's stuck with bad lungs that require oxygen 24/7. She knows she's dying so she really just wants to sit in her room and read. Her mom forces her to go to a support group for people with cancer. At support group she meets Augustus Waters.

I like Augustus. Actually, I love him. However, I hate that Green gave him the nickname Gus. Bleh. I hate that name. I can understand that Green wanted to give him a nickname and that Gus is the obvious choice but I think Augustus is a wonderful name. I mean, I love Hazel as a name. I have this thing with names and he should have just stuck with Augustus and taken out the Gus.

Augustus had osteosarcoma which required him to get his leg amputated. His best friend is basically Isaac, another cancer kid, who has some kind of eye cancer. He already lost one eye and it turns out that he needs the second one removed which meant he would be blind. He has a girlfriend and they say "always" to each other a lot. They will always be together, they will always love each other, etc. It's very cute in a vomit inducing way. Eventually Hazel and Augustus develop their own "always" but instead of "always" they say "okay". It's very cute in a not so vomit inducing way.

Augustus and Hazel really connect though sometimes she gets annoyed with all his deep and metaphorical talk. Augustus wants to leave his mark on the world and Hazel doesn't understand that. One of his things is to hold an unlit cigarette. It's a metaphor; he puts the killing thin in his mouth but doesn't give it the power to kill him. That's just how Augustus is throughout the book. He wants to be in control of his life but cancer took some of that control away. He's just the type of person who likes to look at meaning and the beauty in things.

There is a few brief and somewhat annoying scenes involving Hazel's friend Kaitlyn. I don't know why but I felt that these scenes were unnecessary. Maybe Green was trying to link Hazel to a life before cancer? I'm not sure. Maybe he needed her to have one friend who isn't her mother. I like the relationship Hazel has with her parents. It was well written and I like that Hazel views her mother as her best friend.

I enjoyed the scenes with Isaac also. Isaac has some girlfriend issues so Hazel goes to Augustus' house to comfort Isaac and there they discuss books while Isaac has a breakdown. He goes crazy in Augustus' room. He kicks his chairs around and starts breaking things. Augustus eggs him on and gives him trophies to break. Honestly the scene made me smile because of their support. It also has one of the best quotes:

"That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. "It demands to be felt."

This quote hits really close to home and I do love it. There are many powerful quotes in this book. I have many of them highlighted on my nook.

Hazel and Augustus also share the love of one book, An Imperial Affliction. This is a very important part of the book. They connect over this book in many ways and I find it very romantic. I'm an avid reader and if I could connect with a guy over a book then that would be awesome. The story just stops in the middle of a sentence and it's extremely frustrating. If an author did that to me I would find them an punch them. Well, Augustus gets in contact with the author, Peter Van Houten and they use his wish to go to Amsterdam to meet Van Houten to get the end of the story. Many things happen there that make you smile and also make you want to cry. Trust me there are many opportunities for crying from chapter 16 on.

To read about the ending go here. Warning. This is my spoiler page and will tell you many things.

I cried. I cried and cried and couldn't stop. This was a fantastic book, quite obvious from my long review but I couldn't stop writing. I love this book and will reread it and cry again. This is a must read for me. This is something I want everyone to read.

Some quotes:

"I love it when you talk medical to me."

"But we both now that okay is a very flirty word. Okay is BURSTING with sensuality."

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.

What a slut time is. She screws everybody.

"Well that metaphor is prohibited on today's flight."

"Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you."

"I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up," he said.
"And it's my privilege and my responsibility to ride all the way up with you," I said.

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

"I believe the universe wants to be noticed..."

 Review on Goodreads

Monday, May 13, 2013

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars

Magic Strikes (#3) by Ilona Andrews
5 stars

Previous Kate Daniels Series Reviews

Magic Strikes is one of my favorites! It's also one of my favorite covers. I always love listening to this one. Maybe it's the developing relationship between Kate and Curran, or maybe it's the intense action throughout the book. It's extremely funny and I find myself laughing a lot. This is not an uncommon thing when it comes to Ilona Andrews.

Magic Strikes starts out with Kate getting a call from Maxine, the Order's secretary. I say call but it's telepathically, not through a phone. There was a shapeshifter death and since Kate had the lovely standing of "friend of the Pack," she gets to handle all shapeshifter related cases. When she gets there she sees a team of shapeshifters cleaning up and a severed limb. Not just a death, a murder. Jim sends Kate away saying it's under control.

Kate is home for ten seconds before she gets phone call from none other than Saiman. He's got Derek in a loup cage because Boy Wonder decided to break into Saiman's apartment and steal something of his. Kate has until dawn before Saiman calls the cops. Seriously, when does Kate ever get enough sleep? I think it's only when she's injured and it's a forced sleep.

Kate exchanges a night as arm candy and an evaluation of fighters in the Midnight Games for Derek's freedom and Saiman's discretion. For all of Kate's trouble, Derek gives her a note to give to a girl in the Midnight Games but makes her promise not to read the note. Of course Kate keep her promise and doesn't read the note. She sure does regret that later. Even though I've read this before, every time I get to this part I want to scream "Open the damn note! Just open it!" Of course published writing doesn't change but the urge is always there.

The Midnight Games is this gladiatorial competition that is highly illegal but there isn't much law enforcement can do about it. Of course Saiman is a part owner because he always has his hands in everything. There is a team, the Reapers, in the games that rubs him wrong. There is something not quite human about them. He asks Kate for her expertise and she gives it. These Reapers are not human nor are they a human derivative. For the Reapers to be able to compete that have to have a certain number of humans/human derivatives. Somehow they are beating the M-scanner and not much can do that.

Kate finds the girl, gives her the note, and then decides she actually needs to read it in case Derek has decided to do something extremely stupid. He was going to do something stupid and Kate tried to get there in time but was unable to. Derek was attacked and was on life support. He wouldn't shift. Something was up.

Curran sent out an order for Jim and his crew to pull in. Jim won't do this so Curran has three days to find Jim. Kate has three days to find a way to save Derek so Curran won't kill him. Basically everyone is on a time table.

Kate and Curran fight...again. Kate's mouth gets out of hand...again. Kate uses her sword to kill things...again. Julie makes an appearance and we also get the sexy Raphael. He has a huge crush on Andrea and he needs Kate's help to "woo" her. I love that Ilona Andrews explained the courting habits of the different clans of shapeshifters. Aunt B's is the best. We meet a few new characters including Dali, a legally blind vegetarian weretiger who knows a lot about Eastern culture and likes to drag race.

What I love about this series is there isn't any info dumping. The world builds slowly and easily. We don't know much in Magic Bites. The characters are all fresh and new and we start to learn. By Magic Strikes we are getting back stories to multiple characters. We know why Kate has to hide from Roland, we learn about Derek's and Jim's past, we learn what Saiman actually is, and the world of magic and tech still throws everyone for a loop. The only problem I have is the continual recapping of events from previous books. I asked the authors (yes you can email them questions and they will answer! How cool is that?) and they said their agent requires it. From the tone of their response, they hate it. They constantly have to re-introduce characters and try and find more creative ways of doing so. I applaud them.

This book brings Kate's identity closer to being discovered by Roland and I love the mounting danger Kate has in her life by doing to right thing. Magic Rises is coming out soon and she will be confronting a character that we meet in Magic Strikes. It should be quite interesting!

Gordon also provided Curran's point of view from the Hot Tub Scene. It's quite hilarious and I love Curran POVs. Read it here.
There is also a Curran POV in Curran: Volume 1. We get Curran's right before he falls into the loup cage and right after Kate leaves, leaving Julie behind. It's fantastic. Read it here free.

Some awesome quotes. Honestly there are so many so I had to cut it down. This is another reason why I love Magic Strikes...the writing is brilliant:

“Curran looked back at me. "Why is it you always attract creeps?"
"You tell me." Ha! Walked right into that one, yes, he did.” 

“As he passed me, he leaned to Curran and handed him a paper fan folded from some sort of flyer.
Curran looked at the fan. “What?”
"An emergency precaution, Your Majesty. In case the lady faints.”
Curran just stared at him.
Raphael strode toward the Pit, turned, flexed a bit, and winked at me.
"Give me that,” I told Curran. “I need to fan myself.”
"No, you don’t.” 

“I've never seen such a collection of idiots in my whole life.' Doolittle shook his head. 'If you participate in this lunacy, y'all will get yourselves killed. Then don't come crying to me.'
Now that would be a neat trick.” 

"No, he just needs a moment," Curran said. "Young bouda males. Easily excitable.” 

Review on Goodreads

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Non review of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.


I will review later but I will say that this is one of the best non-fantasy books I've ever read. I haven't stopped crying since chapter 16. I do not regret picking up this book. I'm still crying and despite it's sad ending I can't help but love it more for bringing out these strong emotions in me. Five stars is not enough. 

I feel like this blog is going to be full of 5 stars but I keep rereading my favorite books. I will eventually start reading new book or reviewing some of my less favorite books. 

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars

Magic Burns (#2) by Ilona Andrews
5 stars

Previous Kate Daniels Series Review

It's very obvious that Ilona Andrews is one of my favorite authors. From my previous Ilona post I gave the basic overview of how they work; two people writing under one name. They also do a serial on their website and I just read a snippet of their new series. It's very exciting. I can't wait for July though. July I will have my beloved Kate and Curran back in all their bad ass glory. Seriously though, check out their website.

Magic Burns is book 2 in the Kate Daniels series. I think I've read this one 4 times now. I'm currently on the 4th time listening to Magic Strikes (Kate 3). I liked this one more than Magic Bites. I liked that there was more character and world development. In the first book we are being introduced to the magic and tech world of Atlanta. From the very beginning I liked Kate. I liked that she had a sword and had a ton of magic. I always like it better when the character is different by having more of something instead of less. I'm not sure why that is but that's just my preference. I've read many books where the character has had less and I've enjoyed them. It's looking like that how the new, unnamed, series will be. Kate is more developed in this story. She is now working for the order and has a steady but somewhat crappy pay check.

It starts out with a call from Jim. He has a gig and he needs an extra pair of hands. Right at the end he ditches Kate for "Pack business." I swear I would have punched him if I was fast enough. There is the first appearance of the mysterious crossbow bolts. She makes her way back to the Guild to collect her capture ticket and then heads for the Order. Here we are introduced to Andrea Nash. There is something special about Nash (view spoiler)* but for time being she's just another Knight who got transferred to Atlanta when her partner went loup. Kate and Andrea are friends now; the closet thing Kate has ever had to a best friend. I like Andrea. I like her character and her "specialness." I like that Kate has a girl friend whom she can turn to. The fact that Andrea is also a bad ass helps. After Andrew runs an M-scan on the mysterious bolt, they discover that a flare is coming. The flare happens every 7 years or so and everything in the world turns to hell. Magic is at its strongest for a couple days. Things that aren't usually possible suddenly become possible. Sounds scary and I'm glad I don't live in this magic-filled world.

Boy Wonder petitions Kate for help. Apparently some guy who can pop in and out of thin air stole the Pack maps and completely incapacitated an entire survey team. This is a serious problem because it's rather difficult to attack a group of shapeshifters and survive, especially if Jim is among them. Kate is on the case. She starts where she found the crossbow bolt and eventually stumbles about two teenagers next to a powerful ward. Kate is suddenly in charge of protecting Julie, a way too skinny 13-year-old street kid. Julie has lost her mother and she asks Kate for help. She's got an attitude but I like her. Julie becomes a constant side character throughout the rest of the series. Magic Burns is her debut story.

As Kate investigates a mysterious hole, in pops the guy who stole the maps. He literally can pop in and out of the air. We find out he is Bran and eventually learn that he is the Hound of Morrigan. Kate grabs the maps back from him and starts the investigation for Julie's mother. She takes Julie to her apartment and feeds the starving creature. We finally hear the story of Kate's mother's death. Interesting. Then Kate gets attacked, Kate almost dies, and Curran comes in the save the day. Curran explains what happened when Kate wakes up in one of the Packs' offices and it's extremely funny (view spoiler)**

Ah Curran. I do love him. Kate does not like to be around Curran because she's absolutely terrified of him. I like that she has this fear. It makes her human despite her otherworldly powers from her crazy bloodline. We meet Aunt B and some of the werehyenas or boudas as they liked to be called. Aunt B's son, Raphael, develops a huge crush on Andrea. It makes me smile. I love Aunt B. She is written so well and her dialogue is great.
Ending spoilers here.

There is a little of Saiman in this book but not much. We also have another appearance by Ghastek. Overall it's a great book. It's worth my 5 stars.

There is a Curran POV in Curran: Volume 1. We get Curran's view when he rescues Kate and when he feeds her soup. It's fantastic. Read it free here.

Some awesome quotes from Magic Burns:

“You don't cause problems. You cause catastrophes.” 

“What would I do without the moral compass of a teenage werewolf.” 

“I wouldn't want his demonic, undead-blood-smeared, wolf-smelling ass riding me either.” 

“Derek, you just don't say things like that to a woman. Keep going this way and you'll spend your life alone."
"Don't change the subject. Andrea is cool. And she smells nice. It will be okay."
Apparently I was supposed to sniff people to determine their competence. "How do you know?"
He shrugged. "You just have to trust her.” 

Review on Goodreads

Friday, May 3, 2013

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars

Let’s talk about the author first. It’s actually two authors who write the series. Ilona and Gordon work together and create the magical world of Kate Daniels. I love these authors because they are so down to earth. You can email them a question and they will answer it. I religiously follow their blog. They even have a free serial story, Clean Sweep

In the Kate Daniels world, everything is a mess with magic and technology battling each other for control. This is what Ilona Andrews has on their site:

“The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic has returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.”

Magic Bites (#1) by Ilona Andrews
5 stars 

Let’s start out with Kate. Kate is a mercenary, or merc for short, and she works for the Mercenary Guild. She deals with magical hazmat and fights the nasty things that most people would run away from. For example, a giant worm is making noise in the sewer tunnels and she has to go chop it up with her sword, Slayer. Kate is a sword master and it honestly makes me want to learn how to fight with a sword. 

In this book we don’t know much about Kate. This is the first book so we are getting introduced to the world and the characters in the first place. I think this is why first books are a little more difficult to write and sell. It doesn’t matter. It still got five stars and I love it. I think the world Ilona and Gordon have created is brilliant. I love it. I love that there is this constant war between magic and technology and everyone just had to survive it. There are no cell phones and landlines don’t always work when magic is up. Regular cars stall and magically water-fueled cars are loud and slow. I wouldn’t want to live in this world though I would like to be a shapeshifter; some kind of cat I think.

Kate’s father is dead and she suddenly finds out that her guardian was murdered. Her guardian, Greg, was a Knight of the Order. The Order of Knights of Merciful Aid is one of three organizations that handle magical issues. Greg was a Knight Diviner so he had some pretty powerful magic. He also knew Kate’s super-secret. Apparently they hadn’t been on good terms on their last meet and Kate is feeling a lot of guilt. She leaves her safe home in Savannah and heads to Atlanta. 

Ted, the Knight Protector, allows Kate to work on Greg’s case. There is someone who is obviously doing to investigation as well and we soon learn the Kate is just the distraction. The crusader, one crazy SOB, was on the case and he needs to stay hidden. There have been several deaths surrounding this case. Seven shapeshifters and six vampires had all been murdered along with Greg. Also, there were missing women Greg was trying to find. Somehow all these things were connected. First, Kate calls Jim to get him to help her meet with the Beast Lord of Atlanta. The Beast Lord is the shapeshifter in charge of all shapeshifters in Atlanta. We find out his name, Curran, and what he shifts in to, a lion. I love Curran. He just makes me smile and Kate is totally scared of him. This makes me like her character even more. She's a total bad ass but put she knows she can't beat Curran in a fight.

Kate goes to the Keep, home of the shapeshifters. Curran tries to mess with her by letting wolves get in her way. She forces one particular wolf to obey her every command. The wolf is Derek and he is ridiculously beautiful. Kate calls him Boy Wonder. They head the casino, home of the People. The People are necromancers and their trainees, aka journeymen, who pilot the undead. When humans get infected with a pathogen, they become undead killing machines. The vampire is another creature. They have no thoughts and their blood lust is never sated. Because their minds are blank, necromancers can pilot them. It’s very hard to kill a shapeshifter and it’s very hard to kill a vampire. Something that can kill both is pretty scary. 

We have lots of action, lots of fighting, a horrible date, and a huge finale. The writing is great and flows really well. I don’t know how Kate functions because she barely sleeps. It’s a great first book and it’s followed by another great book. Kate Daniels is amazing and I tell everyone who likes fantasy to read it. I can always escape into Kate’s world and I’ll continue to do so.

There is a Curran POV in Curran: Volume 1. In it we have Curran's thoughts as he watches Kate from before they meet in Unicorn Lane. It's fantastic. You can read it free here.
There is also a Curran POV in the new Magic Bites Special Edition. It's Curran's POV in Fernando's. You can read here.

Some awesome quotes:

“Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...” 

“What happened to the alpha-wolf?" 
"Legos?" It sounded Greek but I couldn't recall anything mythological with that name. Wasn't it an island? 
"He was carrying a load of laundry into the basement and tripped on the old set of LEGOs his kids left on the stairs. Broke two ribs and an ankle.”

“The knocking persisted. It wasn't Derek. His knock would be careful, almost apologetic. This bastard knocked like he was doing me a favor.”

“He referred to you as his little snack."
"He's a sweetie.” 

Review on Goodreads