Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 3

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 3

Date Read:  10/07/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is my favorite of all 3 parts of The Promise. The characters were back to themselves. There was only one "sweetie" line. That "sweetie" just kills me. It sounds so funny.

The action and story also got really good, and moved quickly as all the characters came back together in Yu Dao. The Fire Nation and Zuko, The Earth Nation and King Kuei, the Yu Dao protestors, everyone is fighting everyone. Aang has to decide whether to continue with the Harmony Restoration Movement or if there is another way to Harmony than kicking out the fire nation.

I liked this because it was back to making our characters decide what was right. How can there be Harmony when you're kicking out a nation?

I also loved that it hinted at the creation of Republic City towards the end. And I loved the way it ended. [SPOILER: Azula is so crazy!! The art made her so menacing!]. I can't wait for the next series. And I'm hoping that there is more to it, because there is still a lot to explain what happened: the actual setting up of Republic City, what happened to Sokka and Suki, did Zuko ever find his mother? Best book in this trilogy though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: The Demigod Diaries

The Demigod Diaries
by Rick Riordan

Date Read:  10/02/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

This book is such a nice addition to the Heroes of Olympus series. I love that you get a little taste of everything, and little bit of something new.

The first book is a diary from Luke Castellan. Well, if you've read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, you know all about Luke. This story is from when he initially ran away from home and met Thalia and Annabeth. We've heard about this story a lot, so it was fun to see it all happen. Especially since we haven't gotten a whole lot of Thalia. I enjoyed it. It also kind of lets you glimpse the reasonings why Luke made some of the decisions that he did.

The next story is about Percy and Annabeth. I loved it because there is a big hole from between when they kissed to when Percy went missing. So we never got to see them actually dating. So this story happens between those two points. Heremes of course needs Percy's help finding his caduceus. So on their one month anniversary (which you'll have to read how that goes), they have to go fight a monster to help Hermes. Percy is as always one of my favorite characters. He is so funny. I love it. Great story.

The third story is about Leo (from the Heroes of Olympus series). He is alsmost as funny as Percy. I really enjoyed this story, and I actually was happy I read this before reading The Mark of Athena, becuse it got me re-introduced to Jason, Piper and Leo, who I haven't read about since The Lost Hero. This story happens between the Lost Hero and The Mark of Athena. It is while Leo is building the Argo II. Leo was so funny. One of my favorite lines: "Leo hated singing. He cleared his throat and started warbling the first thing that came into his head - something he'd watched online while he worked on the Argo II. After a few lines, Candy hissed, 'That's not the Bacchanalian Jingle! That is the theme sing for Psych!' "

The final story is actually written by Rick Riordan's son, Haley. Riordan originally made up the Percy Jackson story as a bedtime story for Haley. He created an ADHD and dyslexic hero that Haley could relate to. He wrote it down and the rest is history. Now at 16, Haley is wanting to become a writer too and wrote "The Son of Magic" that was included in this book. It is not about any of the characters we know and love. It introduces us to a character that had chosen and fought on Kronos' side in the war. It shows us what happened to one of the kids after the war. And it introduces us to another character who was interesting. But most importantly, it helped us understand who controls the mist, and why monsters can smell demigods. I really enjoyed this story. To tell you the truth, I never would have guessed that this story was not written by Rick Riordan himself. He has definitely passed his author genes to his son. I actually look forward to reading more from Haley Riordan in the future. Maybe when his dad stops writing in Percy's world, Haley will pick it up.

There were also some fun activities included in the book. Things like word scrambles, word searches. There was even an interview of George and Martha(the snakes on Hermes' caduceus). There were also pictures included of each of the main characters. It was neat in some aspects - you got to really invision how Riordan has invisioned his characters. But then it also reminded me that Annabeth is BLOND, not brunette (but I always picture her brunette since I saw the movie before reading the books and she was brunette in the movie). But I really enjoyed this. Anyone who has read and loves the Percy Jackson books should definitely pick this up. It's a short and fast read, but definitely worth it.

Book Review: Tiger's Destiny

Tiger's Destiny
by Colleen Houck

Date Read:  09/28/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Alright. First, this is supposed to be book 4 out of 5. But this book ended like it was the end of the series. Don't get me wrong, the book ended the way I wanted it to, happy and tied up all the loose ends. But what am I supposed to do? It feels like the series ended. I have no idea what the final book will be about.

I was really happy that about half way through the Phoenix made Kelsey admit to herself why she pushed Ren away. I love both princes, but Ren was always my favorite. That sweet, loyal, doting guy. This character and the guys that are sweet but sarcastically funny are my favorite guys to read about. I never got as attached to Kishan as I was to Ren. But I did want Kishan to have a happy ending.

In this book, they finally get the last gift and have the opportunity to break the curse. But 5 sacrifices must be made. One of the sacrifices happens very early in this book and it broke my heart. And I did not expect what the last sacrifice was going to be until about 30 pages before it happened. It seemed fitting, but at the same time was incredibly sad.

The ending of the book was great. Loose ends tied up. There was even a wedding. So sweet. But I kept thinking that something would happen in the epilogue to let me discover what the final book would be about. But there was nothing.

A lot happened in this book. The stuff that happened at the beginning of the book felt like they happened several books ago. I thought the twists that happened were perfect. I expected a few and didn't expect a few.

Overall I have loved this series. I think I liked it because it was so different. I really liked seeing Indian culture, and it was just refreshingly different. There were still paranormal aspects, but it wasn't vampires and werewolves (which I do like, but it was nice to have something different). And I always get sucked into a love story - though the stupid love triangle irritated me. But what I liked about this was there was so much action, and their love story progressed. She didn't immediately fall in love with him. They had fights. Didn't think they were good enough for each other. But eventually they realized that they couldn't live without each other.

So. The bad guy is dead. They live happily ever after. What else is there to do??

Book Review: Insurgent

by Veronica Roth

Date Read:  09/21/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book just started right back into the story. There was no recap. Now the cool thing is that Veronica Roth actually put a recap up on her blog if you need some reminding of what happened and who all the characters are. I thought that was really neat. And I agree with Roth that it would have been weird having a bunch of recap from Tris' POV. So that was pretty cool that she did that.

What I love about these books is how easily and quickly they read. I remember looking at the thickness of this book (525 pages) and thinking, what in the world is going to happen? But now that I'm finished, I don't know where those 525 pages went.

Tris is the same strong character she was in the first. But in this book, we see her dealing with events that happened at the end of the first book. It was neat to see someone have to overcome things. How certain things would trigger painful memories. But she also had this guilty conscience about her parents dying and killing Will that made her make some bad decisions. And she lied a lot. I didn't like how often she lied to Tobias.

Tobias has a bit of a struggle after (view spoiler)[ finding his mom. (hide spoiler)] Its interesting to watch him sort things out. And his struggle with loving Tris but being frustrated with her decisions and actions.

I didn't see the betrayal coming that happened in the book. I probably should have because I've seen that type of betrayal in another book...but nevertheless, it didn't cross my mind with all the other stuff that was going on. I also wasn't expecting the revelation at the end of the book. Though I was expecting something along those lines, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It was good though.

That ending isn't fair though. How can she just leave it at that? I'm glad that she resolved the relationship though, but not much else was resolved. It feels like The Hunger Games. Where there was a bad, oppressive regime, and the regime that rises up isn't any better. So I'm interested to see how this progresses in the final book. I hope it isn't as disappointing as Mockingjay was.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys dystopian young adult novels.

Book Review: The Awakening (Vampire Diaries #1)

The Awakening (Vampire Diaries #1)
by L.J. Smith

Date Read:  09/08/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

This was enjoyable. I think I enjoyed it mostly because of Stefan and Damon and I enjoyed seeing the differences from the tv show.

Elena was a brat at the beginning. I really hated her character, so arrogant and snobby. She changed and stopped being so annoying once she was with Stefan.
The differences from the show are interesting. Even the last names of a lot of the characters are different. I kind of liked the back story on Stefan and Damon better in the book. It isn't as much of a role reversal. Damon was more Damon back then, and then the vampire just kind of amplified those characteristics. I feel like the crow and the fog were explained much better in the book. I think the tv show thought it was kind of cheesy, but they threw it in for people who liked the books, as a kind of tribute to the book.

The book read so quickly. Things happened so fast. Especially the romance between Elena and Stefan. She just met the guy. He avoided her. He saved her. And then she loves him? The worst case of insta-love I've ever seen! The tv show has MUCH better character development and relationship development.

But the story really kept my interested, despite its faults. I definitely want to read the next one, especially with that ending! It's like she just picked a place to end and cut it off mid story!

The similarities between this and Twilight is crazy. Obviously Stephanie Meyer read this before writing her books. I even think she took the title for her book from the Vampire Diaries.

I think everyone should watch the tv show because it is one of the best shows I've seen in a while. But I think reading the books is good too, to understand what the show is based on. But I have to say that I liked the show much better than the book.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Vampire Diaries: The TV Series - Blog #2

I just finished season 2!!  This season wasn't quite as interesting as season 1, mostly due to the fact that season 1 was all about character development, whereas there wasn't as much character development in season 2.  But the second half of the season I was completely hooked again.

I really enjoyed seeing Tyler progress.  That was a new storyline that was very interesting to watch unfold.  And I liked how it brough Tyler and Caroline together.  They were both much better together.

I was really worried that the love triangle was going to start this season.  But alas, not really happened.  We know that Damon loves Elena (but we kind of already knew all that).  But I like how Elena didn't just all of a sudden love both boys.  Now, of couse she loves Damon, he's like a brother to her, like family.  But she isn't IN love with him like she is with Stefan.  And I liked seeing that bond between she and Stefan stay strong.  These characters are so likeable.

I was flabbergasted when Damon tried to save Elena by making her become a vampire at the end of the season.  It is kind of suitable to his character to have done that, but at the same time, I wasn't expecting it.  But I was always curious what Stefan and Elena's plans were for the future.  Elena is going to grow old.  What is going to happen to them?  It was never mentioned.  So I'm glad Stefan made her have to own up to the fact that she didn't want to be a vampire, she wants an entire lifetime of choices as she grows up.  But now I'm left to wonder, as Stefan is, what is to become of their relationship then?  If she wants kids, she can't have them with Stefan.  So she's going to break up with him and marry someone else?  That's lame.

JENNA!  Omg.  I cannot believe what happened to Jenna.  I did not see it coming.  Someone needs to seriously stab Klaus in the heart with a stake.  First he turns her into a vampire, and then he kills her???  I am praying and praying that there is some way to bring Jenna back.  But then, if there is, what kind of chaos would that bring?  I really liked Jenna.  And I liked her relationship with Alaric.  Now Elena and Jeremy have no parental figures.  The closest they have is Alaric.

John Gilbert finally came around to being a good guy.  I figured he would.  For Elena's sake anyway.  He may still hate vampires, but he has compassion and love in his heart.

I felt like the second to last episode should have been the finale.  With the ceremony of Klaus breaking the curse and not being killed by Elijah.  With Damon being bitten by Tyler, will he live or die?  It had a much better season finale feel.  Then they go and put another episode in, which was pretty lame.  It just showed Elena caring for a dying Damon.  Stefan trying to find a way to save his brother and in the process becoming a monster again (maybe??).  And then Jeremy gets shot and brought back to life and he sees all the women he loved that have died??  How weird is that ending?!  I'm hoping season 3 clears this up fast, and I hope it's not as weird as it seems right now.

Well, I'm ready for season 3 now.  It released to DVD and Blu Ray on Tuesday.  But I'm cheap, and I can't afford to spend $40 on a tv show ($20 I'll pay in a heartbeat!).  But today it released on Netflix streaming.  So tonight I will start a Vampire Diaries Season 3 Marathon!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Vampire Diaries: The TV Series - Blog #1

I have recently gotten hooked on the Vampire Diaries tv series, thank to Netflix.  I have successfully watched season 1 within a week!  I am a couple episodes in to the second season.

This show is VERY entertaining.  I can’t believe how it hooked me after about 2 episodes.  I just thought it was going to be something I could watch casually while my husband continues to finish his book.  But no, I was sucked in and can’t get out!  And Brandon sat down and watched an episode with me, and got hooked too.  So now I can’t watch any episodes without him.  It has been a long time since a tv show has been able to make me so attached. The next one would probably be Castle.  But I watch that on tv on current seasons, so I only get an episode per week.  The Vampire Diaries, since I was 3 seasons behind, I can watch back to back to back episodes.

One of my favorite things about this show is the fact that the characters are so interesting.  I really like Elena’s character.  She is likeable. She is strong. She has flaws. And she has normal reactions to things like vampires!  And I like that she has morals.  And her characters sticks to those morals. She stands up for her friends.  Overall just a great character.

I love Stefan too.  His character is similar to Edward from Twilight.  Edward was the reason I read Twilight and enjoyed it so much – not Bella.  I hated Bella.  And I hated Jacob.  This show takes a similar premise (two boys fighting over a girl), but you actually end up liking everyone involved…most of the time.  Stefan has that brooding, serious personality, but that is why he cares so deeply for Elena.  And he can joke when he wants to.  He’s a gentleman and wants to protect Elena at all costs.  But I’m really glad that he didn’t just take off when he thought he could hurt Elena (when he was addicted to human blood), like Edward ran off from Bella.

Damon.  Oh boy.  This is one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen. The only one to compare recently is Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time.  Damon comes into the series as a bad guy.  A true vampire.  A monster.  But over the course of the first season, you start to see that he does have a small bit of humanity in him.  And Elena and Stefan begin to pull that out of him.  The show does a great job of making me hate Damon and then by the end of the episode he reels you back in to liking him, despite his faults.  He usually has a reason for his bad deeds, even if they are in fact bad deeds.

There was a point in season one when Stefan gets hooked on the human blood after many years without it.  Stefan’s characters hits a low point, which makes Damon have to step up.  After Stefan is brought back up to his previous stature, Damon stays up too (most of the time).  This was kind of the turning point of Damon’s goodness.  You now know that even though he tries to hide it, he does have good in him.

The season finale shocked me.  The whole series I was surprised most of the time.  Which is impressive, because I usually can predict what is going to happen – but I’ve only predicted a few things.  This finale though, wow.  Those last 2 scenes.  When Damon kisses who he thinks is Elena, and she kissed him back!  I was shocked!  Mostly because it would have been soo out of character for her.  But I never predicted that it was Katherine until she went in the house and attacked Uncle John.  And the scene was so violent to end a season on!  Wow.

I just love this show. I can’t believe how much I love it. And one episode is just not satisfying.  Each episode ends on a cliffhanger.  I’m trying to catch up because season 4 starts on October 11.  But season 3 is not available on Netflix.  I believe it comes out on DVD on September 11, but I’m not sure whether it will show up on Netflix instant streaming.  I sure hope it does so I can be ready for Season 4!

Just started season 2 though, and it’s interesting watching Caroline deal with becoming a Vampire, especially since her mother hunts vampires.  And the werewolf thing is interesting.  There are a couple scenes where I can’t help but say some lines from Twilight because the scenes are so similar.  But I really love this show.

For a moment I was surprised when I found out it was on the CW.  But then I remember how much I thoroughly enjoyed Gilmore Girls, and I wasn’t shocked anymore.  Though, this show is much darker than Gilmore Girls.

Okay, continuing to watch more episodes of Season 2.  Hoping to find out what Katherine is up to.  I really don’t like that vampire.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: Snow White and Rose Red: The Curse of the Huntsman

Snow White and Rose Red: The Curse of the Huntsman
by Lily Fang

Date Read:  08/22/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

I really enjoyed this book. I would give it 5 stars except for the fact that it kind of moved a little too fast. Which, admittedly, is a nice change to the books that usually move too slowly. But I feel like I missed out on some stuff at the end because it wrapped up so quickly. The climax happened, and then the last words of the book were like 5 pages apart (hard to tell being an ebook, but it was that fast).

The first half of the book mostly set everything up. I was questioning whether this was really a "Snow White" story, but it was still entertaining even if it just borrowed the name. But the second half of the story is when the Snow White elements really started coming into play. The mirror. The apple. The witch. The huntsman (who shows up about halfway through also).

I really enjoyed how this story introduced us to Snow White's sister, Rose Red. She was adorable. I really enjoyed getting to know this girl. And I thought it was really neat how even though her sister was beautiful and got all the attention, she didn't have any ill feelings towards Snow White.

Snow White was the typical girl who is beautiful but doesn't want it. She's very down to Earth, but sometimes her hate of her beauty got annoying. But it was interesting to see how hard it is to trust people when you're beautiful. She dealt pretty well with it.

I saw some Beauty and the Beast elements as well. The huntsman was scarred and thought he was a monster. But Snow White saw what was inside him, not what was on the outside.

There were no dwarves in this book. No enchanted forest. But the story was pretty well put together. I just think a little more set up could have been done. A little more wrap up would have been nice too. I think this could really use some editing just to flesh it out a little more. But I really enjoyed the story and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairytale stories.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review: Charlie St. Cloud

Charlie St. Cloud
by Ben Sherwood

Date Read:  08/12/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

To start, I want to say that I saw the movie recently, and enjoyed the story so much, that I thought I would pick up the book and see if it's just as good. Books are usually better than the movie, so I had high hopes for the book.

And now I can say that the book did not disappoint. One thing that I noticed that was different from the movie was their ages. They were supposed to be late twenties/early thirties, but Zac Effron is early twenties. But honestly, the age didn't really make a difference because I pictured Zac Effron the entire time, and the only time I had a hard time was when his age was being described.

This is a great story. After a horrific accident, Charlie is brought back from the in between world of living and dead, but his little brother doesn't make it. But after the accident, Charlie finds he has a gift and he can see people who are in the afterlife, including his little brother, Sam. This idea is really neat to me. How they held on to each other, and Charlie was able to see and play catch with his dead brother.

Sam's character was a lot of fun. Even though he was only 12, and never grows up once he's in the afterlife, he's still a very important character in Charlie's life. However, he does hold Charlie back, because Charlie has to be in the cemetary at sunset every day, otherwise Sam would disappear.

It was interesting to see what greif and longing can do to someone. Charlie made a promise to never leave Sam, so for 13 years, he was in the forest at sunset. Until he meets a girl and then he has to decide what kind of life he wants.

I thought Tess' character was interesting too. She's the only girl who has been able to keep Sam off Charlie's mind. She was a strong willed character, and thus, she got into some nasty trouble.

The twist at the end I knew was coming, but that's only because I had seen the movie. So I think the realization would have had more impact in the book on other people than it did on me, beacuse I kept expecting it. But it's a very interesting twist, and totally made sense when you think about it.

And this twist makes Charlie have to choose between the two people he cares about. He has to make a choice between holding on to the past or letting go and moving on.

I really liked the feel of the town where they lived. And almost made me want to sail. Of course, not in a storm though. And I thought the end was very well done. It was very realistic, which I really appreciated. It was happy, but also realistic.

I thought this book was done very well, and it's such an uplifting story. A story about life and death, past and future, holding on and letting go. And it makes you think that miracles really can happen and makes you wonder how much of life you're missing and makes you want to make sure you're not just wasting your life.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: Divergent

by Veronica Roth

Date Read:  08/03/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

I would really give this 4.5 stars if I could. But the beginning started out a little slow for me - still entertaining - but slow. And I know that's how a new series starts, but it seemed like it took a really long time to get going.

I very much enjoyed this the entire time I read it. Even when it was slow. The world had to be built. The characters had to be introduced. It was really good, but just a little slow. It took about 200 pages to really understand where the story was going. And then another 150 pages or so to know where the big climax was going to happen and what it was going to be.

But OMG. When it happened, holy crap. Those last 100 pages were so action packed I could barely stop reading to let my dogs inside!

Ok, so the world. It starts off pretty much with the aptitude tests and choosing ceremony. Roth does a pretty good job of getting us to understand the different factions before Beatrice chooses which faction she will be in. She also does a decent job with us somewhat attaching to her family, and realizing how hard the decision she is trying to make is. Perhaps that is because I love my family too, so I know how difficult the thought of leaving them would be. But throughout the book Roth continues to build the world, and show us how this dystopian world was meant to be set up, and how much is has digressed from what it originally stood for.

I really liked Beatrice, the main character. She was strong, but she also had insecurities that came from the faction she was originally from. So she had strengths and weaknesses. I liked that we got to see both. And I liked how we saw different friendships of hers grow and how she questioned who were her real friends. She definitely grew as a character over the length of this book.

Four [SPOILER: aka Tobias. Did anyone really not expect that Four was going to be Tobias?] This was an interesting character. I didn't really latch on to his character right away. He had a detachment to him that I didn't warm up to. But eventually you start to see him warm up, or wear down, and see that he is a pretty good person, but has had to deal with a lot in his past. But he always tries to do what's right.

Beatrice and Four. Of course there has to be a relationship in a YA novel. I thought this one was done pretty well, because you didn't start reading this novel because there was a's just a side note that helps the story at the end. But this relationship grows. That's what I really liked. She got to know him. Then realized she kind of liked him. Then they realized they liked each other. And THEN they kiss. [SPOILER: And I really liked that at the end they both reflect that they think they love each other. Tris thinks about why she can't shoot Tobias and then Tobias declares his love for Tris. It was a sweet ending to an otherwise dramatic ending.]

Supporting characters. Boy there were a lot of them. There were her family members. There were the Dauntless leaders. There were the Dauntless initiates. There were the transfer initiates. And there were a couple other random characters. No wonder it was slow to start...she introduced us to soo many characters! But by the end, I was either rooting for some and crying for some outcomes, or hoping she would kill them! Which I think is impressive with the amount of characters in this book, and that it is in fact one book. There were a lot of characters in Harry Potter that I cried for, but they were introduced over several books and by the end, you were invested in them for 6 or 7 books!

I thought the idea of fear was interesting. That is what this book focused most on. And I thought it was interesting when Four mentioned that Selflessness and bravery aren't that different. When I thought about it, I realized he was right. I've never stopped to think about fear and bravery before. But this really brings it to light. And I thought it was interesting even how it brought up suicide, and how it isn't an act of bravery, it's an act of cowardice. I've always believed that, and I was pretty shocked to see it brought up in a book. It was quite interesting. And we saw how people coped with the things they had to go through. It reminded me of watching the characters in the Hunger Games cope. They really weren't in THAT much different of scenarios.

The climax I thought kind of came on a bit fast. We finally figured out what was going to happen, and then BANG. It happened. That is my only real complaint on this book. But once that action started, I couldn't stop reading. It was constant action. Constant shock. And constant hope.

This book was really good, and I will be recommending it to my friends. I cannot wait to get my hands on Insurgent, the sequel, to find out what happens to these characters next.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman
by Lily Blake

Date Read:  07/18/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

I saw the movie before I read this book. I enjoyed the movie so much, that I had to pick up the book and see how they compare. Now, I know this book was written based on the script, so I knew it was going to be very similar. There were things I liked better in the movie and some things I liked better in the book.

Better in the movie:
1) Most of the backstory was told at the beginning of the movie - you knew who William was before she was trying to escape, etc. In the book, only the part about the Queen killing the King was really at the beginning, so a lot of the backstory came from memories in the characters' heads. So I felt like I didn't relate to them as much because it was just a quick recap of something important that needed to be said, but it was more in passing.

2) I didn't get as attached to the dwarves, and specifically Gus, in the book. They spent such little time with the Dwarves in the book, and Gus wasn't really mentioned in the book [SPOILER: except when he danced and then when he got killed.]

Better in the book:
1) You get inside Snow White's and the Huntsman's minds more. You are able to see their relationship build better. Obviously in the movie you root for him because he's one of the main characters and he's Chris Hemsworth for Pete's sake. I liked seeing that relationship grow. And you could see and feel better why the Huntsman is the one who wakes her.

2) In the book you really see the Huntsman's transformation from sulking widower to having some hope again, which I really enjoyed. Even though the book was only 220 pages with a lot of wasted pages for chapter numbers, you still really saw character growth in Snow White and the Huntsman. Now, perhaps some of this came from it being a movie script prior, but you really don't get to see the inner thoughts of Snow White and the Huntsman in the movie, so you attach to them better and really see why the things that happen do happen.

3) The book still ends the same way without a kiss! What kind of fairy tale ends without a kiss???? In the movie she just smiles at him in the end while he's kind of off to the side. [SPOILER: But in the book, he told her that he couldn't stay with royaly. So he leaves!] I liked in the book, though, that it specifically called out that she only thought of William as a friend, but she really liked the Huntsman. I liked how it wrapped up who she actually cared about, but I was so annoyed at that ending, when he obviously loves her - the only girl or person in the world who was able to pull him out of his depression. Sigh. I know it's based on a fairy tale, but I'm really hoping for a sequel that will have a happier ending in terms of love!

Overall thought I really enjoyed this Snow White story. The only thing was that in some parts, the perspective changed abruptly. One moment it was Snow White's perspective, and then the next paragraph it was the Queen's. That was a littl jarring. Normally perspective changes happen with breaks in the chapter or just a new chapter. But this had several times where one paragraph was from one perspective and the next another perspective. I understand that the author needed to tell the scene from two perspective sometimes, and obviously no one wants to read the same scene twice, but it was still jarring for me. But otherwise it was great. I think if you liked the movie you will really enjoy the book and vice versa. And I thought this was a very good version of Snow White. Modern yet still true to the medieval times that Snow White is usually told.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Frey

Frey (The Frey Saga #1)
by Melissa Wright

Date Read:  07/07/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't all consuming. It wasn't the most poetically written book. But it was enjoyable. I absolutely LOVE the cover. The hint of color, the script font, the girl with the ruins in the background. Love it.

The main character, Frey, was interesting enough. She was a little naive sometimes. It took her longer to catch on than me, and that always annoys me. If I catch on, the character should catch on too. It annoys me when they're so oblivious to things for so long. From her interactions with Chevelle to things that unfold when she reads the diary, her naivety annoyed me sometimes. But her story was very interesting.

I really liked reading about an elf. And the magic was fun. Her training might have lasted a little long for my taste though. I would say about half the book was traveling and learning to use her magic. It is interesting to see her magic grow, but at the same time, I wanted more to happen to the plot of the story.

There wasn't much dialogue at the beginning of the book. Though it was interesting to learn about Frey's world, it is still nice to have some character interaction, which didn't happen until about 20-30% into the book.

I liked the other characters in the story: Ruby and Steed. They had their own unique addition to the story.

I thought the addition of the diary to the story was a great way to tell a story when the character who wrote it wasn't there. It helped the reader and Frey understand everything that happened, which, if another character had just recited the information, it wouldn't have been as awesome.

The ending was very anticlimactic for me. I wanted more. There was a bit of a fight, and then all of a sudden it was over. And then the last few paragraphs left me wanting more too. I'm not really sure where the next book is going to go. But I liked the characters, so I will read the next book.

It is a very quick read. It's not too long, and reads easily. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, and hope the author steps up her game in the next book.

Book Review: Eragon

by Christopher Paolini

Date Read:  06/30/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

I had a hard time choosing a rating for this book. The first 300 pages were very slow. It wasn't necessarily boring, but it wasn't that engaging either. I know that most first books start out slow as the characters and the world are built...and this is quite a fantasy world that Paolini had to create. But it was harder to get through those first 300 pages, nonetheless. But the last 200 pages were great. The action increased, the characters got more interesting. Things started clicking together. So I think to myself that the first 300 pages would only get a 3 star rating. The last 200 pages would easily get a 4 star rating. So which half should my rating on goodreads lean (since I can't give half stars)? I decided that because the book ended well and left me wanting to pick up the second book right now, that I would lean toward the 4 star rating. However, my real rating would only be about 3.5 stars overall.

Things that I liked about this book were:
1) The dragon. Saphira sure added a lot to this book. I really enjoyed her personality, and I loved watching her grow throughout the course of the book. I loved how protective she is of Eragon, and how much she enjoys battle.
2) I thought the mind speak was very unique. I like how it is only something that Riders and a few others can use, and therefore, it is actually a very valuable skill to have. To be able to communicate to each other in different battles like that was amazing.
3) Eragon's growth. He went from a helpless farmboy to a strong warrior by the end. Sure, he still has a way to go and a lot to learn, but he grew a lot over that long journey. I think losing some of the people he cared about helped with his growth, even though I hated it.
4) Arya and Murtagh. I loved Murtagh. Once he joined the story, it really picked up. He was unique and as the story went on, you found how deep he was. His past was interesting...[SPOILER: I never guessed that Murragh was going to be Morzan's son!! That was quite a twist that I didn't see coming, but gives so much more to Murtagh's character!] So I am excited to see more from Murtagh and I hope to see great things from him. Arya wasn't really in the book, but when she was I liked her strength and her resolve to fight, especially after what she went through.

Things I didn't like about this book were:
1) The pace of the first 300 pages. It was very slow. There was the first big conflict at the beginning and then the next like 50 pages were just traveling. There were a few things here and there like practicing sword fighting, etc, but it was mostly just traveling, and that is so boring.
2) The amount of people that Eragon had cared for that died in the book. [SPOILER: It was bad enough when his uncle died. But at least you weren't too attached to the character at the time it happened. But the reader gets very attached to Brom and I did not expect him to die. That one really upset me. I feel like Harry Potter, where everyone he loves dies. But i suppose sometimes the characters need it to get that strength to keep going and have something to fight for.]

3) There wasn't a clear conflict. Obviously King Galbatorix wants the riders and he had teamed up with the Urgals. But the main things was just that Urgals were chasing them. There was the Shaede, but I wasn't sure why he was chasing Ergaon for a while either. And with only 50 pages left, I had no idea what was going to happen..was it just going end without any fighting? I'd like a clearer battle.

Overall the book was good, and the ending was pretty good. The battle at the end was great and it's pretty clear that he is going to travel with Murtagh and Arya in the next book. I'm going to read the next book, but i wasn't as awed with the book as some people are. Though, I hear that the next book is the best. So I'm looking forward to it

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Cover Design and Editing

Now that my husband is getting close to having the words done for the novel, we are starting to think of how to get it edited and find a cover design.  We do not know of any graphic designers, so we are going to have to rely on friends of friends or doing something through the internet.  Since this is his first novel, we don't have a lot of money to spend, so we want to try to find the best cover for the best price.  I know people say "Don't judge a book by its cover", but people totally do.  Even I do.  I find myself on Amazon looking at all the free books (because I'm cheap right now, and I'll download a free ebook or go to the library - then if I find a book I like, I'll go back and buy it...), and I don't really even slow down unless the cover or title is appealing to me.  So a good, engaging cover is very important.

With that said, I have heard of a website called Design Crowd and apparently graphic designers will bid on doing your design.  You give them a project and some ideas you had, and they will draw their vision and hope you pick their design.  I've never done this before, but it seems pretty awesome.  It's a way to connect with a lot of graphic designers in which we do not have access to.  We'll also be reaching out to friends to see if anyone knows any good graphic designers who are willing to do a book cover for a decent price.  What I'm really hoping for here, is to find the gem of an artist who is just starting out - so we'll get an awesome cover but for a low price because the person is just starting out.  But I don't know if we'll get that lucky.  But what I liked about Design Crowd is there are people all over the world bidding on these jobs.  A colleague of mine had a bid and chose someone from Cambodia!  How awesome is that?  The money that he makes is going to go pretty far in Cambodia. And she would have never had the chance to see his designs without this website.  So I think it's a neat idea, and we'll definitely check it out.  If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, we'll gladly accept!

We also have to figure out how to get it edited.  I will obviously read through it and try to flesh out the bad grammer or typos before it goes to anyone.  But we'll really need someone to edit it more for content.  I'm not an editor so I don't know how a book should be put together, like the percentage of each piece of the story.  I can tell when a story isn't moving, but I don't think I can give advice on how to make it better, or what pieces to take out or how to build a character better.  Editing I think is going to be one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle.  I see all the time where people give a book a low rating solely on the fact that it wasn't edited.  I feel like poor editing is definitely jarring, but to give a book 1 star when you say it was a good read is just ridiculous.  I would say a book should lose 1 star from your rating for poor editing, but not drop the whole rating to 1 star.  But since people are like that, you have to pay for the editing.  I have no idea where to go for editing.  If there are any independent authors out there who read this, do you have any recommendations on editing?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: Tiger's Voyage

Tiger's Voyage
by Colleen Houck

Date Read:  06/07/2012

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I may have leaned more to 4-4.5 starts just due to the fact that it took a long time for this book to start. But the action once you got into was good, and I really liked the growth of the characters, even though it might have been a little slow. So I still gave it 5 stars, because it was very good.

The action in this book was REALLY good! Now, it took about 250 pages for them to start their quest, but once they started, it was great. The dragons were so unique. Each dragon gave them a quest or hurdle they would have to overcome to get the help and direction they needed. My favorite was the dragon that made them go through the hunt. The descriptions were amazing.

The first 250 pages, while good, were a little slow. Basically it just focused on the love triangle. Now, I absolutely hate love triangles, but at least this one has both guys as decent people. Even though Ren had forgotten her, he still falls in love with her again. Now, he gets physically ill and hurts when he touches her (yes, a little weird...), but he is still drawn to her. If he fell in love with her once, he will obviously fall in love with her again. But of course, something happens and he isn't able to help save her, so, being the selfless man he is, he backs off and tells her to be with Kishan because he can't touch her, he can't save her, etc, etc, etc. Stupid boys always think that is romantic or whatnot...but she doesn't want to be with him!

Eventually she starts spending time with Kishan and opens her heart to him and closes her heart to Ren. It's sad really, watching everything fall apart. But Kishan's personality has changed so much since we met him in the first book. I actually grow to really like him in this book. It doesn't mean that I don't still know Kelsey is MEANT to be with Ren, but at least I don't want to punch him in the face like I did Jacob in Twilight.

They finally get on their quest, which as I said earlier, is a lot of fun. I really liked some of the stories that were told in this book. [SPOILER: Then about 50-60% through the story, Kelsey decides that Kishan is a good person and she does love him (albeit not the same way she loves Ren), and kisses him. That is finally the trigger!! Ren remembers, but of course, it's too late, and she's already closed off her heart to him. Sigh. But Ren is persistent, as he has always been. She admits how much she loves him, but can't choose between them. Even though she opened her heart to him again, she is scared he'll leave her again. C'mon Kelsey. After all that you've been through, do you really think he'd leave you again? It's so obvious how devoted he is. And he KNOWS Kishan would move in as soon as he left again. Give me a break. So toward the end of the book, she is scared, and makes the safe choice and tells Ren that she wants to be with Kishan, not him. Stupid girl. But we all know she is supposed to be with Ren. With that connection they have, the way he makes her swoon just by grazing her skin, his poems, the way when they touch he makes her stronger. Just cut the crap and be with him.The ending is quite a cliffhanger. I had 13 pages left, and another battle started, and I thought to myself, "Crap, there's going to be a cliffhanger. No way this will be over in 13 pages," And I was right. But what I really liked was how the epilogue was from Ren's POV. Though it was short at only like 3 pages, it was still nice to see from his POV how desperately he needs Kelsey. Now I know that some people think it's bad to show young girls that you have to find this all consuming love. But what I say is, love makes you stronger. Having someone by your side through bad times helps you get through things. This is just a little more of an extreme, and I'm pretty sure everyone knows that you won't find someone where you have this tangible connection (it's fantasy, there are men that turn to tigers, magic lightning power...) but it is similar. You will find someone that you love and do have a certain connection to. Someone that is hard to live without. And if Ren is a better person and she's his reason for living, he will end up doing so many wonderful things because he has his woman at his side. It's a book people. And it's fantasy. Just relax and enjoy the story.]

This story is really good. I'm really enjoying watching how they break this curse, one book at a time. However, in the next book they should find all 4 what is the fourth book going to be about? Will it be a final showdown with Lokesh? I don't know. I'm a little saddended that I have to wait 3 months for it to come out, but in the scheme of things, that's not that long. I'm looking forward to it, and sure hope that Kelsey comes to her senses. And I think if Kishan knows how much she loves Ren, that eventually he'll back off too. But I really hope he finds someone to be happy with too. He really does deserve it. And I sure hope they best Lokesh, he's a creepy guy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Writer's Wife Blog

I have created this blog in order to blog about what it is like being a writer's wife.  My husband is just starting out writing his first novel.  He is almost done writing it and will then have to have it go through quite a few edits.  I've been enjoying learning about the process with him.  I had no idea how much went into writing and publishing a novel before this.  I have a new appreciation for how long it takes for a novel to be released!

I will also be blogging about other books I read and anything else that I feel like writing about!  I look forward to meeting new people.
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