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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire

Katniss is back in District 12 and trying to settle into the Victor's Village. Although Peeta lives nearby, she never sees him, and her relationship with Gale has drastically changed. She's trying to figure out how to carry on when she becomes aware of the unrest growing among some, maybe all of the other districts. And she and Peeta are probably to blame. President Snow makes it very clear that, while on their upcoming Victory Tour, they will need to be convincingly in love. And not just convincing to the public; convincing to him.

The tour does not go as smoothly as planned and rumors of rebellion are growing. Soon it's time for the next Hunger Games, but this time it's special, a seventy-fifth anniversary: the Quarter Quell. Katniss and Peeta should only have to be sponsors, but all the old rules are off. This time, everyone is agreed; Peeta must survive.

At first I thought this was going to drag, the beginning, back in District 12, seemed to take time to get going. But it didn't. Especially once "The Tour" kicked in, it was non-stop drama (the good kind) and action. And this book completely sold me on Peeta. In the Hunger Games, I wasn't too attached to either guy, but I was in complete agreement that, if anyone was to survive, it had to be Peeta. Of course things couldn't be that simple and Peeta has his own ideas.

In Catching Fire we meet new characters and have to live through another arena spectacle. This one certainly has a twist though and will have you reaching for the next book. I'd have it on hand if I were you. I was stubbornly waiting for the paperback to come out.

As for the movie, I wondered how they were going to do some of it, how much would they have to change. There was so much in the book, they couldn't possibly fit it all in. But once again, I thought the movie was amazing. The only thing I was aware of missing was Peeta's paintings. For the tour, they're supposed to exhibit their "talents." Katniss doesn't have any beyond her hunting prowess and "borrows" from Cinna. But Peeta is an artist. I would have liked to see that explored a little. And I don't think there was anything in either movie about the Avoxes, but I guess they have to cut something. I'm not complaining.



Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister Journals info and excerpts at the book's website here: theglisterjournals.com

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: The Hunger Games

Hunger Games

Yes, I'm extremely late to the party, I know, but I'm going to weigh in on this series anyway. I'll just go ahead and credit this book with fueling my new interest in young adult literature and I don't mean that in a genre sense. I've tried reading some of the traditionally published 'genre,' and have been severely underwhelmed to the point that I can't bear to waste time finishing them. Nothing had really impressed me since Harry Potter. But this book--indeed, as I'm finished with the final book I can say the whole series--is so well written, well paced, and with such strong characters, I want to read anything Suzanne Collins has written no matter the genre or target age group. It is also the first book I've read in first-person present tense that I thoroughly enjoyed. I generally don't care for it as it's seldom well-done, but as I said, the writing is so strong, it could be in any voice and I'd love it. I also need to say that I have since found other authors/books in this category well worth reading, but I'll review them later.

I doubt if many people are ignorant of the premise for the story, but if you're here seeking out a review at this point, perhaps you are: In a brutal future United States where the privileged few live extravagantly and wastefully in the "Capitol," the average citizen lives in one of twelve districts. Each district has it's specialty--mining, cattle, agriculture, etc.--but most barely scratch out an existence while the best of everything is sent to the Capitol. Why don't they rebel? Well, once upon a time there were thirteen districts. 13 rebelled and 13 no longer exists--at least as far as anyone knows. To commemorate the occasion and remind the districts of what can happen again, each district gives up one boy and one girl each year to the Hunger Games, a brutal arena free-for-all where only one winner can survive. Katniss Everdeen, something of a tough loner who would do anything for her sister, becomes the girl for District 12.

The Hunger Games is certainly brutal and violent but not over the top. Some parts were unpleasant but never so graphic as to make me want to skip parts (I have my limits for blood and guts). The violence is a part of the story and propels it forward. Yes, there is certainly a love story, but it never becomes too sentimental or steamy. It's a very clean read in that perspective which I liked. The motives for everything, including the love interest, is what I found the most appealing.

And I'm glad that I read the book first, but the movie is truly excellent. Considering I had read it recently, I wasn't aware of anything important missing and felt myself right back in the story. That's pretty amazing. It sets just the right tone at the beginning, the rural and impoverished District 12 looking like something out of 1940s Appalachia. In contrast, the Capitol is all high tech, high fashion, and wanton wastefulness. Presiding over all, though not conspicuous is the president of Panem, Snow, well played by Donald Sutherland. I don't like Donald Sutherland, never have, but kudos to the casting directors. He's perfect. Actually that's one of the best things about the movie--its cast. They nailed it. Even Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is perfect. No, really! If they ever make a movie/movies out of my series, I want them to cast it. (I can dream!)

Ultimate verdict? Go see the movie, but read the book first!



Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister Journals info and excerpts at the book's website here: theglisterjournals.com

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Buu (and April Soundtrack Clue)

Just a short post . . .

Almost five years ago (we think...time goes by so fast) we adopted a little white ball of fluff and named him Buu. We weren't sure of his actual birthday so decided April 1st was probably close enough. He's part Siamese part American shorthair, otherwise known as Colorpoint or Flame point. He's a real goof ball, very talkative, and a snuggle bunny...er, kitty. He gives kisses and high fives, plays dead, and lets us dress him up. Our lives have been so enriched by him. I promise not to post too much about him, but he might turn up here and there. Fair warning.

So, on to the April soundtrack clue. To narrow the possibilities down a little more:

    10. Eight of the songs were released before 2000. The oldest song is from 1976.
    Most of these are fairly well-known I think. Some are definitely classics.

How are you doing so far? I'm not trying to make this too hard, but I'm not completely giving it away either. Let me know if there's a certain kind of clue you'd like. I'll try to oblige!

Full soundtrack clues (so far) can be found on the Glister Journals soundtrack page

In case you missed the previous post, the Fool for Books giveaway is on until April 7.

Currently writing: TGJ Book 2--Chapter 1 and 25

Listening to: Tired Ponies

Reading: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Watching: Gilmore Girls Season Five; The 13th Warrior



Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister Journals info and excerpts at the book's website here: theglisterjournals.com

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at Amazon.com

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.