Did you watch Catching Fire?

catching_fire_katniss_peetaI recently watched the second Hunger Game movie Catching Fire with my boyfriend. Unlike most people, I actually really enjoyed the first Hunger Game movie. Yeah, it’s not as intense as Battle Royale and missed a lot of details from the book. But it was a lot of fun — plus Jennifer Lawrence makes for such a kickass Katniss Everdeen.

On the contrary, my boyfriend didn’t read any of the books and never watched the first movie. But I’ve been calling him Katniss ever since he took up archery. His concise review of the movie was “meh”. Other points of interest for him:

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  • The movie was clearly made for 14-year-old girls (Oh Gale!)
  • The Morphlings were pretty awesome
  • The archery practice ring looked cool
  • How lame that the poisonous fog was washable
  • Massive monkey battle scene was crazy
  • Is Finnick supposed to be a homosexual?
  • Where do they get the triangular plane thing in the final scenes?

I really liked this movie and the second book was my favourite. But I couldn’t help but think that the President would have had Katniss killed sooner in the movie. Head Gamemaster Plutarch Heavensbee played by Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t seem very persuasive if you ask me.

It’s too bad that the third book is terrible, horrible, good-for-nothing…

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Likeable characters but too many gods in Starling

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me a copy of Starling in exchange for an honest review.

Out of my massive bag of goodies from the Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up, I picked up Lesley Livingston’s Starling first. And to be honest, there was no particular reason for this – I was heading out to a specialist appointment and I knew there would be waiting. And well, the doctor didn’t disappoint. After two hours in his waiting room, I was half way through the book. Gotta love YA.

I thought Starling was pretty good – not amazing, but good. The cast of characters are likeable enough. Mason Starling’s amazing fencing skills and extreme claustrophobia (which comes with a pretty awful back story) made me want to root for her. I even liked Calum, the beautiful boy who will now have to live with a scar on his face from fighting weird monsters.

The nod to Norse mythology and the Ragnarok a.k.a Viking apocalypse also added a few nice twists especially towards the end. And there is BIG cliffhanger at the end.

But I thought the writing was really awkward in the beginning – to the point where it was hard to understand the plot. Also, one of the main characters and love interest, Fennrys Wolf is ridiculously boring.

I also thought Livingston tried too hard to work in the mythology. There was just a crazy smattering of deities and monsters from Norse, Greek, Egyptian and Celtic mythology worked into the story and some of them didn’t seem to contribute to the plot in any specific way.

One of the magical things about Harry Potter is that even though JK Rowling introduces you to so many new things, you know they all come into play later in the story. But with Starling, you’re stuck asking yourself WHY you had to read those pages.

But thanks to the big cliffhanger, I will have to read the next book. Seriously, either kill off the Fennrys Wolf or make him more interesting, k thx.

Photo credits: blue-eyed-babe.tumblr.com, notcot.com

Unnecessary Scenes & Characters in Raven Boys

I was really excited to read Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys because I was a HUGE fan of The Scorpio Races. But I couldn’t actually finish the book. The story moved so slowly and there were so many characters that didn’t seem necessary to the plot.

I will make a disclaimer that I was listening to the audiobook version of the book. And it probably didn’t help that the narrator’s voice practically put me to sleep. But at some point, I realized that it was the book putting me to sleep too. The sad part was that this story had real potential to be spooky, eerie and fantastic.

Blue is from a family of clairvoyants but she lacks that ability to tell the future. Instead, she can only amplify people’s superpowers when they are near her. Blue has always been told that her one true love will die after she kisses him. But things start to get out of hand when she meets a boy from the local private school.

I might mention that the boy is described as “elegant”. I’ve never, ever heard of a teenage boy being described as elegant. What does that even mean?!

But in the end, I didn’t care much about the characters even when I knew about their impending doom. I also thought there was too much emphasis on the rich kids being dumb, rich and irresponsible. I mean, they’re rich kids from some suburban private school — not Stephanie Seymour’s kids. I also didn’t see how it was important to the story.

I was let down by Raven Boys but mostly because I had such high hopes for it.

Photo credits: betterphoto.com

Five Things I Learned From Book Blogging

Today is the sixth month anniversary for Broken Penguins! Six months ago, I wrote my first Broken Penguins review for The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. It’s been a great journey and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Here are the five things I learned from book blogging:

1. The best books are the hardest to review.
There’s nothing like putting down a fantastic 400-page novel and then trying to review it in under 300 words. How do you distill all the amazing parts into one interesting review that doesn’t give away all the most important plot lines?

2. The more free books I get, the more I buy.
Book bloggers may tell you that they get free books but they probably don’t tell you that they’re buying so many more books too. The more you blog, the more you read other blogs and the more you want to buy more books. I think publishers who give you free books know this.

3. Book bloggers love young adult fiction.
There are probably thousands of young adult fiction blogs. They’re usually quick and easy to read so it makes it easy to blog about several books a week. Young adult fiction has also come a long way and there are young adult novels for every genre. The common thread? Covers with white girls in pretty dresses. I’ve been guilty of using these photos on my blog but it’s getting hard to tell the books apart:

    

4. Readers love Kobo Vox.
My most popular blog posts are about Kobo Vox Reader Perks and the Kobo Vox backlight. I noticed so many readers searching for “Kobo Vox backlight” that I wrote a whole other post just about the backlight.

Other popular posts:

5. WordPress doesn’t let you do much.

Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is very easy to use. But it seems like anything fancier than text, images and links doesn’t work on WordPress. That Goodreads Challenge widget? It doesn’t work. An Amazon carousel? Doesn’t work. Unless I get this puppy self-hosted, I won’t be able to get all the bells and whistles on WordPress. Guess I’ll have to get use to minimalism.

What have you learned from blogging?

Photo credits: flickr.cometsy.comm-louis.tumblr.com