Monday, January 28, 2013

Catching Fire - Review

Well I read the second book in The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. While I hold much of the same criticism I gave for the first book (too simplistic for the themes, character relationships could have been better developed, poorly proofread, etc) I still have to say that I loved it.

At this point, I couldn't tell you if I preferred the first book or not, but I certainly disagree with those who say that Catching Fire was poorly done. The bottom line is that there was no way Suzanne Collins could have ended the series after the first book. Katniss had caused too much damage with her 'Nightlock' stunt for there NOT to be a sequel... or two.

I couldn't put this book down. I would have to credit this to the way, just like in the first book, every chapter ends on a cliffhanger. For example, *SPOILER ALERT* when Peeta and Katniss were doing their victory tour and made their stop in District 11 where they made a more personal speech than they were supposed to for Rue's family and Thresh's family, the old man in the crowd whistled Rue's four-note song and everybody in the crowd gave Katniss the District 12, three-finger salute. I was going to put the book down at the end of this chapter, but then it ended with the man who'd whistled being dragged onto the stage and shot in the head. Of course I had to keep reading! *SPOILER OVER*

I have to say a lot more things happened in Catching Fire than what happened in the first book. This is probably because the first book gives more of a spotlight to the Games themselves, while Catching Fire is supposed to be about the aftermath of Katniss's actions in the Game of the first book. This quick-paced action of new event after new event, shock upon shock, kept me hooked. And sure enough, the ending of Catching Fire consisted of the perfect twist to leave room for the third installment, Mockingjay.

Katniss is growing on me more and more. I think she's a great heroine, and the inner conflict we are exposed to through her rings rather true to life. Peeta, I feel is both helping them in the eyes of the Capitol and digging a hole for them both with some of the stunts he pulls. I cannot believe what happened to Cinna, or at the very least what was implied! I actually really loved Cinna, though I didn't give him much of a mention last review. I no longer know how to feel about Haymitch... I guess I'll let you know when I review the next book, which I have already started reading.

What were everyone else's thoughts on Catching Fire?

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Liebster Award (again)

First of all, congratulations to JeffO and cestlavie22, who correctly answered the question I posed last post. Which British author invented the paperback novel, the serial and coined the term 'cliff-hanger'?  It was Charles Dickens. JeffO and cestlavie22, if either of you would like to do a guest post on my blog, or an interview, etc, let me know and it can be arranged. 

Next up, EJ has given me the Liebster Award. I've already received this once so I'm not going to pass it on again, because it will just be the same people, but I will do the questions thing...

Rules (not all of which will be followed): 
1. Bloggers nominate other up-and-coming bloggers (with less than 200 followers) for the award.
2. If you receive the Liebster, you must:
- Tell 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions the nominator has asked you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and make sure you notify them.

11 Random Facts: 
1. I'm a little obsessed with anime. 
2. I know how to party both with and without alcohol. (I prefer with.) 
3. I write a lot. Duh. 
4. I am currently watching some talk-show where the guest on stage and a lot of members in the audience are signing instead of talking... in different accents.
5. I spent yesterday reading the names off the map that shows different Aboriginal groups/languages that's on a wall at the school my mum works at while I was waiting for her to stop talking to her teacher-friends in there.
6. Controversial humour is my favourite.
7. iPhones make me feel dizzy, but other smartphones don't.
8. If I could have a superpower, I'd be able to set things on fire.
9. I'm a bit of a pyromaniac. At least... I like fire.
10. I prefer real books to Kindles and e-readers.
11. I'M PUMPED TO HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO MY UNIVERSITY OF PREFERENCE! WOOO!!!!!! (I had to save the best one for last :D )

Questions from the nominator:

Who is your favorite blogger?
I don't like picking favourites, but JeffO never fails to make his blogposts entertaining and interesting :)  

Where are you from?
Australia. Or as we tend to pronounce it, 'Straya'. 

What social media sites do you have?
Facebook and Blogger. 

What do your think about yourself?
"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." Marilyn Munroe quotes for the win. 

Who inspires you the most?
How do I answer this question? Tim Burton? William Shakespeare? Patrick Rothfuss? P!nk? 

What is your life motto?
Live as if you'll die tomorrow. Dream as if you'll live forever. 

Favorite city?

Describe your style?
Style? What's that? I have style? I'm probably the most miss-matched, dorkiest... you get it. 

What is the first thing that you put in your bag?

What are you reading at the moment?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. 

Well like I said, I'm not going to pass the award on because that takes too much effort... But if you have less than 200 followers and want to be given the Liebster Award, then I CHOOSE YOU! 

- Bonnee. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Trivia from Perks of Being a Wallflower

So while my nearby towns are being evacuated because of an out-of-control bushfire and the sky outside turns darker thanks to a combination of smoke and cloud, I thought it would be cool to share a fun fact I learned watching The Perk's of Being A Wallflower. Mr Anderson asks the class some a trivia question, and gives a few hints. Protagonist Charlie silently writes down the correct answer while the rest of his classmates shout out everything but.

I'll turn it into a Who Am I?

Who Am I?
I am a British author.
I invented the Paperback novel.
I also invented the serial.
At the end of the third chapter of my first novel, I had a man hanging from a cliff by his fingernails, hence the term 'cliffhanger'.

Who am I?

Leave your guess in the comments, the answer will be revealed next blog-post.


- Bonnee.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Movie Adaptions of Books: The Hunger Games

If you're like me, then you'll agree that movies are generally not as good as their book counterparts. Unfortunately, it is often because a movie is coming to the 'big screens' that a lot of people even take notice of the book. They come out with a huge hype about the movie, and then people who've read the book, or who will read the book later, end up disappointed when they compare it to the book (or in the case of the Twilight movies, just how bad the movies are, period.)

The Hunger Games, for instance. I hadn't heard about The Hunger Games until people started going on about the movie. It caught my interest, and I ended up watching the film first (about a week before reading the book). But even without reading the book, there were moments I thought 'this is bound to be a better scene in the book'. After reading the book, I found that I was mostly right.

I'll focus on characters. First, Rue, who I thought we only got a proper glance at for two minutes during the film. While Rue and Katniss don't develop the deepest relationship in the book, I found that we still got a better sense of the way Katniss related Rue to her own little sister, Prim. We got to actually know her a little better in the book, and learn about her District and where she'd come from. In the movie, she's just a kid who hides in shadows and comes out to buddy up with Katniss until... well. Ya'll know what happened there.

Peeta. I HATED, Peeta in the movie. I couldn't stand him. But in the book, I thought he was the sweetest. The way the movie showed him giving the bread to Katniss when they were younger confused me, while I got it quite clearly in the book. In the movie, I couldn't tell if he was trying to be horrible to her by throwing it to the ground and giving so much to the pigs, instead of putting it straight into her hands. And as far as his 'love' for her went, I wasn't quite so convinced in the movie. I felt like he was acting as much as she was at points. In the book, I believed much more of it.

Haymitch. Complete opposite to my reaction to Peeta. I loved him in the movies and despised him in the books. He seemed a lot more caring and nurturing of Katniss especially in the movie, after she and Peeta had made it clear that they meant business in the Games and actually wanted to stand a chance. In the book, it didn't seem to matter how much he wanted them to win; I don't think he could have been more of an $*#hole if he tried. It bugs me when the movie changes a character's personality.

And of course, we have the ending of the film to compare to the ending of the book. Hm. I have to say, I hate it when they change the endings. I mean, for something like Harry Potter, where it ends with the Hogwarts Express taking everybody back to Kings Cross every time, that's a little different.

Of course, there were still a couple of good pointers to the movie. I liked the way the movie allowed us to escape from Katniss's point of view now and then. We see Haymitch interacting with sponsors, and we see people back in the districts watching the Games. Showing those other perspectives which go unseen in the novel gives a fuller, better idea of what is going on in their world.

Overall, I'm not saying that it was a bad movie. I enjoyed the movie, and I'm glad I saw it before I read the book. But it didn't live up to the hype it was given. Expected, but disappointing nonetheless.

What did you think of the movie adaption of The Hunger Games? Any other film adaptions you'd like to give a mention?

- Bonnee.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

'The Hunger Games' (Book 1)

Over the course of the past week, I've read the first installment of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Wow, what an adventure that was! A few people told me, when I mentioned I was reading it, that I wouldn't be able to put it down, and I have to admit, they weren't wrong. In all honesty, I couldn't sleep last night and ended up reading it from about 2:00AM until around 4:15AM.

While I agree it was a good book, I can't say I ended up as excited about it as I was hoping to be. I had too many issues, not so much with the story itself, but with the writing. Somebody told me, before I started reading it, that books written very simplistically are proof that you don't have to write very well to be a bestseller. I can't say I exactly agree with them, because I don't think simplistic is the same as not being able to write very well. But Suzanne Collins kept a very simplistic style of writing throughout The Hunger Games, and I felt that it was TOO simplistic, considering the themes it was carrying and the complexity of the situation and the characters. I understood what was going on perfectly, but I found myself disliking how easy it was to understand, because sometimes it felt like I was being told in dot-points. I believe that certain points in the story could have been more meaningful if the style of the writing had been a little less simplistic, such as character relationships. We kept getting the idea that Rue reminds Katniss of her little sister Prim told to us, but I didn't feel it being shown as well as it could have been. I don't mean that the author should have used every big words in the dictionary she possibly could. I just feel that the simplistic style of writing against the dark and complicated plot and back-story made it sound very childish, when the protagonist isn't so.

Go ahead, crucify me for criticizing a bestseller if you must. Go on, get it over with.

The other issue I found with this book could probably be credited to whoever did the proofreading and editing. As I want to be an editor myself, one thing I can't stand is continuity issues within the writing. And I notice them without meaning to. There was a point where Katniss was counting, and it was written, 'One, 2, 3' and I almost lost my shit. One moment, tracker-jacker was hyphenated. Suddenly tracker jacker was not hyphenated. I found myself criticizing sentences as I read them, for being clunky or poorly worded. Maybe it's my own fault for having such a good eye for catching such things, but it really bugged me!

Are you all gathered around my house with torches and pitch forks yet?

Please don't kill me. I promise that overall, I really did enjoy reading The Hunger Games, and intend to continue reading the sequels, although I've been warned it goes downhill after the first book. Katniss has done things in book one that cannot allow her to live the rest of her life without some sort of serious repercussions  and I do want to see how the reunion with her family and Gale goes, and how the romances play out in the long run. I've been forewarned *SPOILER ALTER* that some tragedy occurs regarding Prim and that Katniss isn't going to end up with who I want her to end up with *SPOILER OVER*

Am I dead yet? Well, I hope not, because I'm still typing and I don't want to be a zombie, so...

Thoughts, debates, arguments for or against my opinion of The Hunger Games? Talk to me in the comments, and please keep your deadly farming equipment away from me.

- Bonnee.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Perks of being a Wallflower (Movie)

I sat down to watch this movie with my boyfriend, thinking it was going to be some cheesy flick to pass the time, and he can get over it because Emma Watson is hot (he admitted it!).


It wasn't long before we figured out that this was not a movie made for the sake of entertainment. It was definitely a movie made for the sake of itself. By which I mean that it's complex, suspenseful and very real and honest in the themes and issues it deals with.

A troubled young boy named Charlie is starting high-school and hating it. One way or another, he befriends a group of kids who are in their final year, and learns how to accept love from other people and be himself. Of course there are the issues of what teenagers do when they're curious about things, and the mysterious pasts of the characters. But Charlie is a wallflower: somebody who can look at a situation and just understand it. And he's slowly learning to understand himself.

Basically, throughout the whole movie, I was hanging onto the edge of my seat, waiting for something horrible to happen. Because it really did give the feeling that something was going to go wrong. And maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. What I will say was that it was an intense and moving story, and extremely stressful to watch. It left plenty to think about, and plenty to consider whilst watching it. I absolutely loved it.

Has anybody else seen this awesome movie, or read the book? I must get my hands on the book. Thoughts?

- Bonnee.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

WIP: Walls

Some of you might remember me talking about a fanfiction I was writing in the later half of last year, the general plot of which I wanted to turn into my own original story. Now, I don't want to compare my book to 50 Shades of Grey, but I'm just going to say, I know of at least three author's who started off writing fanfictions, and I intend to become one of them. Fear not! My new work in progress is NOT going to fall under the category of erotica... or literary pornography, depending how you want to look at it.

As we have entered 2013, I thought I'd look back and see what work I've already done on the new WIP. Along with it's working title, WALLS, I have written out sixteen character profiles (it's okay, most of them are minor characters and some might not even make an appearance), and I've done some world building, though I really need to find a name for the city where the story takes place. Aside from this, I have planned out four chapters (and the prologue which I will most likely cut, as the information it contains will be repeated elsewhere in the manuscript anyway, and I hear that agents, editors and publishers generally discourage prologues anyway). In other words, I'm putting a lot more detail into the planning than what I'll put into the story, for the simple fact that I feel I need to know my characters and the plot better than the book will when it's finished.

Just for fun, I've started some writing. Namely the prologue, which you all read an excerpt of some weeks ago, and a short story based on the prologue which I still haven't decided whether or not I like. But as I said, the prologue will become non-existent by the time the rest of the manuscript is complete. Writing those things was purely for the sake of getting a feel of the world and the characters... and for fun.

So, I'm going to continue my planning - my goal is to plan the whole thing before I start writing the actual story - and I'm going to read The Hunger Games when I'm not otherwise occupied, because I've got the trilogy sitting next to me as I type.

What is everybody out there up to with their planning, writing, editing, querying, etc? 

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year: Australiana

Happy New Year to one and all!

Now this is going to be a bit different from my usual blog entries... But as a writer, I love words. Big words, little words, serious words and funny words. I also love it when you can twist words. So here's a little video I'd like to share with you, filled to the brim with Aussie humour... Keep an eye on the pictures, they might help you out a bit.

Is it scary to all of you non-Australian people that I understood the majority of what just happened? Fair dinkum, I understood a lot of that.

Happy 2013 from Australia.
- Bonnee.

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