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.
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