• Reading

    Thirteen Treasures Trilogy

    I found this trilogy via one of the blogs I follow and introduced it to my sisters. I loved it. I love fairy lore woven into modern times. Do not expect the brilliance of R.J. Anderson’s books, but do expect fun and magic. These books are QUITE dark for juvenile fiction, but this fits with the violence in fairy lore (ancient Celtic/Irish/English/Welsh/Scottish/Cornish, etc. mythology and on which Tolkien’s world is based). I think these covers are all different from the library books I borrowed, but all are interesting.


  • Culture and Entertainment

    Catching Fire Film Mini-Review

    I enjoyed this movie much better than The Hunger Games movie. I am not sure that this film is actually better; it may have just been that I am not as critical of the story as I was when the first film was in theaters and this story is just more interesting. Oh, yeah and the teeny-tiny fact that Peeta is in this film far more than the first film  . . . and he was handsomer, much handsomer, and his voice was deeper. In the first movie the filmmakers cut out much of his role and changed what he had; in the Ron Weasley change way; i.e. to make him look less noble, less lovable.

    Gale is gorgeous, and Peeta is just cute, but I like Peeta’s character better. His character is too complex to be portrayed in the move right, and Katniss is too evil to be shown in the movie, you do not read her mind like in the book, and the filmmakers soften what they can, so that probably helped. And like my sister said, even though we do not like Katniss we want her with Peeta because Peeta wants it. And that main-book-character-loyalty complex. That poor darling boy.

    The wardrobe completely disappointed me in the first one (too many flames, and ignoring the books descriptions I think?), but in with a lot of silly outfits in this film came the brilliant Mockingjay dress transformation. I also think that is the first time I understood why Cinna got in trouble so soon or it reminded me.

    The real Finnick did not make an appearance (my initial reaction). Finnick does not look like a sweet faced soap opera boy. Actually, many of the actors in these films seemed to come from pathetic T.V. quality acting pool of looks and talent.

    And finally a real Kiss. So sweet, how I love Peeta. The filmmakers totally botched the romantic stuff in the first movie, and they botched the ending of the first movie also. Oh, how I need to carefully plan out a Hunger Games week or two of posts. I think November around the time when the first installment of Mockingjay shows in theaters would be a good time.

    I love that Katniss goes berserk when she finds out that they let (yes, they let) the Capitol take Peeta. Oh, Haymitch you evil, awesome character; he is better in this film too. And Finnick (okay, maybe the film Finnick is not so bad, but Finnick was amazing in the book) is like I-told-you-so in a way empathetic to Katniss’s reaction as if he totally thinks she is justified. And then Gale comes and then it is like, oh right, let us all forget Peeta. Grrrr. I am just going to love Mockingjay. Right. Love to hate.

  • Reading

    The Book Thief

    This is my reaction upon reading this book several weeks ago. I didn’t want to modify it much, just a few edits.

    Um, everything and everything. What do I even say?

    Rudy. Rudy!

    Liesel and Max HAVE to marry since Rudy died. That is the only way after that ruination.

    My sister (who reads Dostoevsky and likes it) said this was the best written book she had ever read. We both want to read more of the author (I am afraid I will be disappointed; I was, content-wise I decided I shouldn’t read The Messenger after perusing it) and agree that the movie, however good, cannot do it justice because the amazingness is embedded in the words. How fitting for this book. I almost, sort of don’t want to see the movie.

    Just wow.

    Yeah. I need to read more on WWII.

    This is the crème de la crème of historical fiction. It does not spare you realism. The author’s parents came out of this background.


    You are supposed to hurt. This isn’t fantasy.


    I HATE doing this but beware the profanity. I will buy my own copy and mark it out. There is also somethings regarding Rudy’s physical examination and Liesel’s reaction that might bother people. 

  • Reading

    The Elite

    Yeah, so I totally forgot about this…why you ask? Well, ahem, all my ridiculously adolescent fangirling didn’t end well.

    I started reading, became impatient, skipped through, was thoroughly disgusted (I know I should have had a clue), and sent both the books back a few days after receiving The Elite.

    Contemplated this blog post and fumed a bit and then forgot the trifling affair.

    Lesson to be learned: don’t become too deeply involved in fluff.

    Lesson learned? Um, seeing how I reacted to Twilight, this, and then The Host issue (was that before or after The Elite…well, that doesn’t signify in this answer)…weeeelll.

  • Reading

    The Selection

    Ah me, I love my princess stories. I think I may have mentioned The Selection months ago. I finally bought my own copy and reread it because…..the sequel, The Elite is coming out tomoorrrooow (eeeee!!!!).

    Of course I preordered it. I thought I would be getting it Thursday, but I got an email today stating that it should be here tomorrow! I don’t know how I will work on my paper and study for Wednesday’s final! I also bought the sort of prequel novella The Prince and read that. (True The Selection fans, do be sure to read that).

    Disclaimer: This is for adult readers capable of making their own choices. I don’t believe that sheltered teens should be allowed to read it. It is VERY sensual (think Twilight), and I don’t exactly like the morals in it. There are also plenty of “mild” swear words. I think that I need to invest in some white out. Anyway, proceed at your own risk.

  • Reading

    Girly Stories: Fairies

    I love faeries and fairy tales (and don’t you just die over the spelling of faery and faeries-swoon). I have read plenty of fairy tale re-tellings (the original stories can be reaaalllly creepy…to put it mildly), but I have not actually read many stories of actual fairies.

    I have looked through Gale Carson Levine’s fairy stories (these are related-I am not sure which came first, but I am guessing her stories-to the Disney Fairies movie series). They are cute enough but definitely for a very young audience.

    One of my acquaintances at church led me to another set of series, and they are thrillingly bewitching. I literally was under a spell reading them. I cannot express how good they are; I have no words for such literary and creative genius. There is one full trilogy and then a (connected) series with only one book so far.

    At my public library system they only have the first two of the trilogy. The trilogy is entitled “Faery Rebels.” The books in this series are Knife (Spellhunter in the U.S.), Rebel (Wayfarer in the U.S.), and Arrow.

    The U.K. names are waaaay better aren’t they? Although Knife isn’t the best choice (not that I would know what was…). The U.K. covers (those shown) are the best as well-the U.S covers make the books seem just your silly, average teen fiction-trust me they are not-this is pure literary perfection here peoples, I am serious-read them.

    The fourth book which is related but part of a new series is Swift, and it might kinda be my favorite (you cannot really have favorites since these books are connected in interesting ways). Swift has the best cover.

    The second book in this series is Nomad and is supposed to come out in 2014. These covers should make you want to read them-the covers are shimmering, mysterious, elegant, and enchanting-GO READ THESE BOOKS!

  • Reading

    Girly Stories: Fairy tales Retold

    The genre or sub-genre of retold fairy tales is one of my favorite. When Miss Charity of Austinitis wrote about reading  Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, I knew I needed to list the fairy tales that I have read.

    Arabian Nights: 

    (the original plot not the stories the heroine told)
    The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey. It was okay-not good enough to reread; I am looking forward to reading Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher which I heard about on the Austinitis blog.
    Beauty and the Beast:

    Beauty by Robin McKinley-this is one of the best re-telling of any fairy tale that I have come across.

    Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (this is also based on East of the Sun, West of the Moon which is a Nordic tale)-I did not care for the later half too much, but the author is one of my favorites so I definitely would recommend it unless you are younger as some parts were…uncomfortable.

    Beastly by Alex Flinn-I am being generous by putting this under fairy tales retold-it doesn’t have quite the romance and allure that the others do. I do not at recommend it for young readers as it is at the least very sensual in some parts. I liked it well enough though.


    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine-this is light and oh, so sweet.
    Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Nothing special but still pretty cute except the ending felt rather flat.

    Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George-this is the second in a trilogy (the third book may not yet be out).

    Little Mermaid: 

    Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie. I started this but did not finish I don’t think. I really did not like how it turned out. The writing wasn’t very good, common to its type.

    Rapunzel-I don’t think I have read any, but I welcome suggestions!


    A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. I liked it-it is not of the higher order, but its better than many (most?) of the fantasy/fairy tale genre.

    Sleeping Beauty-I welcome suggestions!

    Snow White-I welcome suggestions!

    Swan Princess-I welcome suggestions!

    The Twelve Dancing Princesses:

    Entwined by Heather Dixon. This was lovely.

    Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. I think that this fairy tale is one of my favorites if not my favorite-there is something so mysterious and alluring and terrifying about it.

    Wildwood Dancing (loosely based and with elements of other stories such as the Princess and the Frog)-I love the mystique of this novel. It does have some scary and dark elements, so it is not for young girls.

                                                                Stunning fantasy cover

    Spoofs: Gail Carson Levine’s Princess tales. These are light, short stories that are perfectly hilarious.

  • Reading

    The Hunger Games

    So a week or so ago I finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay).

    I liked it. I LIKED IT. Just so we are clear when you start reading the barrage of criticism I have for this series. I was biased against it when I started the first book, but I started to really enjoy it although all my initial reasons for dislike still stand…in my brain, not my emotions 😀

    The series was NOT well written by any means. I think it was written at about juvenile fiction level; the content,  however, was more young adult fiction, so the overall feel was confused, and the story was not believable (for more than one reason). I thought the story was farfetched. There was no hint of Christianity or any religion in this story. The emotions behind this story was dark and despairing, and the author did not seem to have any moral direction at all. Actually one of my friends thinks that the author did not really put any thought into the story line, plot, character, etc. I agree that she seemed to have no control. So, on that note let’s start with Katniss.

    Katniss is a moron. The End.

    Okay, Katniss is a good daughter and sister in that she provides for her neurotic mom and her annoyingly “perfect” sister. Those are the only people she really cares about; she is selfish and clannish. She has a problem or two with the Hunger Games-they are ugly and might hurt her family. She sees no problem really with killing other people. She treats both Gale and Peeta abominably, and as they both realize, uses them and and only wavers between them since she cannot decide which one she cannot survive without. Most success with people she has is purely happenstance…or because of the noble and gifted Peeta. So yeah, she is pathetic, and I despise her…this may or may not be in part because she gets Peeta…

    The boys.

    Peeta is the angel, the only good and stable character (until the last one). Gale the best-friend-who-had-to-be-made-bad-to justify-the-choice-of-the-2nd-boy…really it was that obvious in the book. No, I am sorry, there does not need to be a justification for her not choosing her first friend. People change their minds, meet new people they like better, don’t know their minds at first, don’t fall in love with their best friends, etc. all.the.time…you don’t have to “explain” Katniss’s choice by making Gale “bad.” And by the way Katniss has no room to be self-righteous; she has no more morals than Gale does. Grrr. Oh, I wanted her to end up with Peeta to be sure. And I am glad the Gale part was not painful, but the lame way the whole situation was handled drove me crazy.

    The plot. My sister and I both compared Panem to the Soviet Union. But I still think the author gave Panem more absolute control than is humanly achievable. I also don’t think that many people would quietly give in to such barbarity. A friend thought the existence of the Roman arena games would mean this sort of thing would be realistic, but a second look at that comparison would show the gladiator games to be a totally different situation entirely. Those games were not a national thing-all of the nation was not forced to participate. Nor were all the games forced-there were paid gladiators. The Roman games look like child’s play next to Collin’s games. Yes, humans are sinful, but they were made in the image of God and have some common grace among the lot of them.

    The first book was the most thought out-and it goes down from there but not evenly by any means: the third was a plummet down from the second. There was no sense in it, no thought behind it (unless that of, “Last book-must end this thing!”), almost no plot really. People were killed off-including one that I liked (Finnick)-killed off in the most offhand casual way- I mean one liners . Being killed off is a great deal of different than being killed or dying by the way…hey why didn’t Collins just kill off Gale? I mean she sends him out of the way to another district. Switch Finnick and Gale. Collin’s also had to seriously mess with her best creation: Peeta. He is not Peeta for most of the last book. She doesn’t hardly even fix the poor, much abused guy at the end. Really, Mockingjay is quite the bloodbath. Here, we need to end the book, get plenty of tragedy in, pick a hero for Katniss, make sure the Hunger Games are ended, and voila-the trilogy is over…!!!!!

    And my final abomination.

    Alright, so the book says Peeta was blond, blue-eyed, and sturdy. Gale is described as dark and lithe. Good, my pictures are in order, right? I saw these two guys before I knew the names of the characters they played. Then I read the book and matched them according to the description. Guess what? Someone knocked the people who cast these actors on the head and switched them. I mean I can understand messing up one…but a total switch (although smirk face on the bottom doesn’t look either part feature and expression-wise). I was thunderstruck when I realized their mistake.

    I am sorry directors-did you miss the memo? Peeta is not a dork. Okay even Gale should not be played this bad. So he’s bad for both…but natural coloring, size…People!

    I am sorry, that is Peeta. Because I believed it when I read it and because it should be is so.

    Google images of Gale in the Hunger Games and Peeta Mellark to see what types of guys come up. Yeah, very dark, moody guys for Gale…and Josh Hutcherson…okay, okay and Liam too. Peeta Mellark? Stunning blonds…and fake blond Josh…and Liam! Owww. This casting HURTS! I tell you. I hate it when they get characters so wrong. This time since they were in my head (for the movie) while I read the book so it felt like I had been tricked!!!

    K. Had my rant. Bye.