Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Double Review: End of a Revolution

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Second book in the Hunger Games trilogy

5 stars

Katniss Everdeen is the girl on fire, the mockingjay. Everybody in Panem knows her name and she is seen as a beacon of hope for the uprising. Katniss and Peeta travel around the Districts in the Victory Tour. They see glimpses of an uprising, but nothing prepares them for the Quarter Quell. A special kind of Hunger Games that happens every 25 years and this year the Reaping will be one the victors won’t forget. Katniss and Peeta will have to face another Game and this time both of them could die. I always take forever to get to finishing series. I finally decided to pick up Catching Fire two years after reading The Hunger Games because the movie was coming out. I finished the book on the opening movie day and then quickly jumped into Mockingjay. Suffice to say that I love this trilogy. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorite series or trilogies if I had only read the first book, but for me Catching Fire was what made me fall in love with this trilogy. I adore the story painted in Catching Fire. The horrors Katniss and Peeta face in the 75th Hunger Games are terrifying and it was a thrill to be back in them. I won’t lie, the book does drag. Chapters just on the Capitol parties and their weird drugs, extravagant clothes, and Katniss’s body preparations are what make up the whole first part. I didn’t hate that part at all, but I didn’t love it and I was going to rate this book lower until everything picked back up. Collins knows how to write intense scenes of fear and suspense. There wasn’t a moment in these games where I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, gripping my book tight in fear of what might happen next.


The main female character is Katniss. I like Katniss a lot more in Catching Fire than I did in THG. She’s a lot stronger and she has a purpose. Besides needing to stay alive, Katniss has more goals than just keeping herself alive. She seems more human. I adored her new relationship with Peeta. The rooftop scene is one of my favorite scenes in the whole entire trilogy. It’s beautiful, simple and it showed the blossoming love of what could be between her and Peeta. It made my inner fangirl happy. Can we talk about Katniss’s dress? The descriptions of that dress during the interview were absolutely breathtaking.



Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 9

The main male characters are Peeta and Gale. Peeta has my heart. I love Peeta. He cares about people and he has a big heart, which isn’t a very good thing to have in the Hunger Games, but his heart makes me love him. Peeta had several scenes in this book that made me fall in love with him entirely. Gale on the other hand has always annoyed. They are two very different men. Gale is a jerk in disguise. Katniss doesn’t see his jerkiness because she’s is just as much of a jerk. They are very brutish people. I do love some of Gale’s aspects, but I never really liked his character. 


(Didn’t Josh get hotter? I think so and he looks more Peeta-ish.)


Swoon Worthy Scale: Peeta- 9 Gale- 6.5

The Villain- President Snow is a tyrant and I love his absolute need to destroy Katniss and all she represents. I wouldn’t want to meet him anytime in the real world, but since I’ll never find myself in Panem I think he’s a horrifying villain who shows mercy to few but he will stop at nothing to keep people in line.


Villain Scale: 8.5

There are so many characters to love in this series, especially in Catching Fire. There are old characters: Prim, Katniss’s mom, Effie, Haymitch, Cenna, and Katniss’s three stylists. There are new characters: Finnick, Johanna, Beetee, Wiress, Mags, and Plutarch. I love all these characters in some way and more than others. Finnick and Johanna being my favorite but that’s beside the point.


Character Scale: 9

The scenes in this book were intense and the writing captivating. I absolutely adore this book and instead of it suffering from second book syndrome it is a solid book. If you have read The Hunger Games, but haven’t finished the trilogy pick up this book ASAP! You won’t regret it and if you do you can fuss at me, but I’m sure you’ll love it.


Cover Thoughts: It’s so shiny and red. The cover in person is striking. I love. It’s my favorite cover of the trilogy. I don’t love the colors, but I do like that they fit the title and overall book.

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Third book in the Hunger Games trilogy

4.5 stars

Katniss Everdeen survived the 75th Hunger Games. District Twelve doesn’t exist anymore and the survivors find themselves in District 13. The revolution is beginning. Sacrifices will be made and nothing in Panem will ever be the same. I’m sad that this trilogy is over and I remember the feeling of dread hanging over my head when I was finishing. I originally gave this book a solid 5 stars, but it’s been months since I read it in November and I’ve thought about it. While I love Mockingjay the ending almost killed my love for this trilogy. I’ll get to that later.


The main female character is Katniss. I did not like Katniss very much in Mockingjay. In fact there were times when I absolutely hated her. My love for Katniss just was completely gone in certain parts. Of course, I was still invested in her life and the people around her, but her decisions made me loathe her. I hated how she changed for the worst and not for the best. Her change may have been necessary for the Capitol to fall, but I think she should’ve changed in a different way. I think I just missed the old Katniss. This new Katniss was an empty shell with extreme PTSD. I couldn’t love her the same way I used to. It was a very love-hate relationship with her in this book. There were times that I really loved her though. The Hanging Tree part was one of my favorites in the whole trilogy.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 7.5

The main male characters are Peeta and Gale. Gale is present in this book a lot. He is there the whole entire time. I think it’s safe to say that I dislike Gale in this book much more than I did before. He is a cold man and he just wants to take people down. Gale doesn’t care if he hurts innocents and that is what made me lose all respect for him. Peeta was absent for a very long time and when he came back he was broken. The Capitol had broken him and poor Peeta. I miss the old Peeta. I still love Peeta, but it’s not the same. I loved the Real-or-Not-Real game he would play with Katniss every now and then. Those brief moments felt like them rekindling their love. Kind of.


Swoon Worthy Scale: Gale- 3 Peeta- 8.5

The Villain- So many twists and who’s the real bad guy in the novel. There were a lot of questions that were repeatedly brought up towards the end of the revolution. I loved the takedown at the end. I thought it was very well done. I saw it coming, but it was still well done.


Villain Scale: 8.5

So many characters died in this one. We lost a lot of great characters. It was sad. Incredibly sad and I loved every new character brought in including the two Avox brothers. The wedding between Finnick and Annie was such an uplifting part. There were a lot of happy times and a lot of sad times in this novel. The sad outweigh the happy by many, but this Panem and Panem is a world where bad things happen all the time.


Character Scale: 9

 

The ending… I was very disappointed in it. Katniss moped about in her PTSD state for two or three chapters. The epilogue redeems the ending though. I’m still a little pissed at some of the choices Collins made, but I love this trilogy very much and I’m happy I finally finished it.


Cover Thoughts: This cover is beautiful. It’s not my favorite, but the color scheme makes it look very striking and eye catching.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski: A Mini Review

Bridge of Snow

Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

Prequel to The Winner's Curse trilogy

5 stars

Only Marie Rutkoski seems to be able to bring tears to my eyes with her beautiful tales. Her writing is so beautiful and the stories she weaves in her stories absolutely beautiful. There is no short story that I've loved this much just because it was it was story not because of the plot or what was happening. Rutkoski has become one of my favorite authors and I will read anything this woman writes. This story was absolutely magnificent and it was free. 

If you would like to read this beautiful story you can read it here. I urge you to please give it a shot. You won't regret it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Phoenix Island by John Dixon

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Phoenix Island by John Dixon

First in the Phoenix Island series

3 stars

Carl is sixteen years old and he has been in plenty enough trouble in his short life time. When he finds himself in court again the judge sentences him to Phoenix Island. Phoenix Island will reform him and it’s the place where orphans who also happen to be delinquents are sent. There are a lot of strange things going on at Phoenix Island and it’s up to Carl to save his friends and figure out the dark secrets surrounding the island. I did enjoy Phoenix Island, but I didn’t love it. The book started out pretty slow and it reminded me a lot of Holes. You know judge sends kid to mysterious camp in the middle of nowhere.

Holes is better though. At least the movie is I haven’t ever wanted to read the book. Phoenix Island does have good qualities it is very suspenseful where it needs to be and it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. I wouldn’t say it’s completely captivating though because while the suspense is brilliantly done it can also be incredibly boring and dry in certain parts. Towards almost the middle of the book (page 63 to 125) it picked up a lot and there was a chapter or two immediately following that were completely entertaining and then it fell. It fell and it floundered to find equilibrium with this new plot. It eventually worked, but it struggled. The writing was decent and I think it helped even the plot out eventually but it took longer than necessary.


The main male character is Carl. Carl is decent enough in terms of being a good character. I didn’t connect to him or find him all that interesting. He had good and negative points. I liked the reasoning behind why he feels the need to beat bullies up. It was a remarkable reason and Carl has great back story. Of course, he also is incredibly boring to read about because he is a he-man. He tries to seem philosophical but he is too into his muscles at times and it messes up the balance.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 6

The main female character is Octavia. I like Octavia. In fact, her POV was the more interesting one out of the two. I’m not really sure why there are two POVs in the first place because it was completely unnecessary but she was much more interesting than Carl in her few chapters. I especially enjoyed the chapters during the Blue Phase.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 6The Villain- I can’t decide how I feel about the villain in Phoenix Island. He has potential to be a great villain, but in reality he is just another wanna-be-villain wanting to be Voldemort.


Villain Scale: 4

The only character I loved in this whole novel was Ross. He was funny and he was a good friend to Carl and even Octavia. His comedy was dry, but he did say a few funny things that made me smile.


Character Scale: 6.5

I think Phoenix Island is a good book and I do recommend it for fans of Holes because I feel like that is an audience that would really enjoy it especially younger boys or even teenage boys who don’t read often. It’s something they would really enjoy. I liked it, but I’m picky about books and hard to please recently. I do plan on recommending these books to my younger cousins because I know they would love these. I will give the sequel a shot though because I’m curious about Carl’s future and even Octavia’s.


Thank you, Mr. Dixon for being kind enough to send me a copy of your book because my Kindle galley expired before I could download it! You rock!

Cover Thoughts: The cover is very rough and dirty fitting. It fits the book well. Not my kind of cover, but I love that it fits the book and its atmosphere.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

March Recap!

I'm a little late and I'm happy to say that this my month off and I'm free to do blog a lot and read and have fun. YAY!

Personal Life: Winter guard is over as of the of March and it was bittersweet. I was happy with the season, but sad to see it go. It's sad that all our hard work is no longer going to be viewed weekly. Our show song was King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men. It's a pretty good song and if I see a video of our show I'll post it. Besides that I received my permit! WHOOP! I don't think anything else interesting happened. I saw Divergent and I liked it, but didn't love it.

Books I've Finished (Links lead to review):
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Insurgent by Veronica Roth 4.5 stars (not yet reviewed)
Cupcakes and Ink by Helena Hunting 3.5 stars
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski 5 (billion) stars
Dating for Keeps by Rachel Hogan 1.5 stars (Not yet reviewed)
And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard DNF (2 stars)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 2 stars (Not yet reviewed)
Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout 5 stars!!! (Not yet reviewed)
Terrorscape by Nenia Campbell 5 stars

Favorite Book of the Month:
The Winner's Curse was hands down my favorite book this month. It was absolutely stunning and just I can't even begin to formulate my words coherently even now.

Currently Reading:
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Allegiant by Veronica Roth (On page 254 out of 526)
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (On page 39 out of 304)
Scandal by Navessa Allen (On chapter 4 of 11)
Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting (5% done)

Thoughts So Far: I'm enjoying Allegiant, but I think it's definitely the weakest book of the trilogy. I was surprised to receive Everything Leads to You from Penguin. I'm not big on LGBTQ stories because I feel like I don't really connect, but this one is fun so far. Plus I've enjoyed one of LaCour's other works (Hold Still) and thought I would give this one a shot. I'm reading Scandal online. It's fabulous and has a lot of sexy dirty times.;) You can read it here. I started Clipped Wings immediately after finishing the prequel, Cupcakes and Ink, but I'm not enjoying it. Hopefully it picks up soon because I hope  it's as good as the prequel.


Faux by Ken Hattaway

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Faux by Ken Hattaway

Prequel to Bloodline

2 stars

Hmm... How do I explain Faux? Well basically there's some random demons placing bets on this girl named Dakota. I'm honestly not sure what the hell was going on. I know Dakota has dreams and she has her boyfriend drop her off at this psychiatric hospital or clinic. Then it just kinds of fizzled out into abrupt WTF-ery.



Maybe I missed something somewhere along the line, but I now understand why this is no longer for sale on Amazon. A) Because this short is short as hell. B) This is just random nothingness. C) Plot? What plot? D) Thank God, it was free! This probably could've been like a sample for the book Bloodline. In all honesty Faux would probably be better suited as a prologue than as a prequel. I will probably give Bloodline a shot because it wasn't a completely idiotic spree and it does have potential. I mean who can say no to dragons, but I'm just not feeling this.


Cover Thoughts: I think the cover is pretty cool. It's well-done compared to most self-published authors' covers and I like the icy feeling the cover gives off.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cupcakes and Ink by Helena Hunting

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Cupcakes and Ink by Helena Hunting

Novella of the Clipped Wings series

3.5 stars

Tenley Page has a new apartment and a new life plan. She needs to put her past behind her. She’s fascinated by the tattoo shop across from her apartment. Inked Armor is intriguing and one of the tattoo artists has caught Tenley’s eyes. Hayden’s aunt owns Serendipity, the place Tenley soon begins to work and he can’t seem to take his eye off of her. I actually really like this novella. It’s not amazing or captivating, but it’s entertaining and fun. It’s short and a quick read. I enjoyed the story and thought it was very interesting. I have started the Clipped Wings and I highly recommend reading Cupcakes and Ink before Clipped Wings. If you don’t read Clipped Wings you’ll be very confused and I feel like Cupcakes and Ink gives insight onto the characters as well as where the story in Clipped Wings will go.


The main female character is Tenley. I really like Tenley. I thought she was interesting and it’s very rare that I’m interested in a character in such a short novel.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 7

The main male character is Hayden. I’m not really sure about Hayden. He does sound very interesting and hot, but he also seems obsessive and possessive. He does sound interesting though and I guess I’ll be able to make a better judgment towards him in Clipped Wings.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 6.5

The Villain- It’s a novella so there wasn’t any villain and I highly doubt there will be in the upcoming books because it seems to be contemporary.

Villain Scale: none

I really liked Hayden’s aunt. I thought she was nice and seems to be a good character and friend to Tenley.

Character Scale: 6.5

I recommend this one if you are looking for a quick read. It’s definitely worth the short time spent reading.

Cover Thoughts: I like the cover, but I’m not a big fan of it all together.

Thank you, Netgalley and Pocket Star for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.