Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Disappointment in Vampire Diaries Season 4 so far

Is anyone else as disappointed in season 4 as I am?  I absolutely loved seasons 1-3.  They were so gripping and always kept me on the edge of the seat not knowing what was going to happen next. I could never predict it.  Beware, this post will have major spoilers for this season so far – so if you haven’t seen it, don’t read this yet!

But this season, it seems like they’ve gotten lost.  Somehow the love triangle became more important.  And though we understand that the reason Elena was so attached to Damon is because she was sired to him, I still hate it.  And when Jeremy died – I think I about lost it.  It was one thing to joke last season when they posted a picture of Elena’s family plot – her mom, her dad, Aunt Jenna, Alaric, Uncle Jon – but it was always okay because she still had Jeremy.  Though this show likes to kill people off, Jeremy was enough of a main character that it blew my mind. I never in a million years thought they’d do that – and I feel like I did with Harry Potter.  That no one would really have THAT much suffering in their life.  Every single person she loves is dead.  Except for Stefan and Damon, but even that is messed up.  So firstly I’m upset about them killing Jeremy.

Secondly, I’m mad about the love triangle.  Part of the reason I loved seasons 1-3 was because there was the threat of the love triangle, but it really never came to fruition.  In seasons 1 and 2, Elena was in love with Stefan and though we knew that Damon loved her, she never had those feelings and wouldn’t betray Stefan. She was a strong and engaging character who had morals and compassion.  But with the love triangle, I feel like some of her morals and strength have gone away.  I was excited at first to find out it was just that she was sired, but they dragged it on too long. To the point where I was just sick of it.

Which leads to the third thing I’m mad about – Elena turning off her humanity switch.  Okay, I know she was completely falling apart with the fact that she has NO family left.  But I thought it would just last an episode or two.  And to me, turning off your humanity just means that you would be cold and distant – not evil.  But this Elena is so much like Katherine it’s hard to tell who is who.  So I guess they’re trying to tell us that Elena’s compassion and love were the only thing keeping her from being evil?  I don’t buy it.  Now, if we said that about Klaus, okay, I completely agree.  Only his love for Caroline keeps him from being completely evil.  But that’s not true about Elena.  So why has she become this person?  I can’t even believe it, so it’s making me not want to watch it.  And she’s trying to act all tough, and honestly, Stefan, Damon and Rebecca could all take her down easily if they tried.  They’re so much older and experienced.  I’m so sick of it.

Finally I have not really been surprised by much in this season.  Unlike other seasons where I couldn’t predict anything that was going to happen, I have predicted many things in this season.  And it’s demoralizing because I love guessing and being wrong. But I’ve been right so many times this season, I feel like they’re losing their touch.  The biggest thing that I was frustrated with was that for some reason everyone thought there was going to be like a fricken jug of the cure.  I couldn’t understand that.  Why didn’t anyone expect there to be one dose?  I’d been thinking that for so many episodes not knowing why everyone thought that they’d get to take the cure too.  I always expected only one dose.  So it was not shocking to me at all when the big twist was….wait for it…there’s only one dose!  Now it’s a fight to get the cure for each reason they want.
                -Stefan and Damon want it for Elena
                -Rebecca wants to become human
                -Klaus wants to destroy it
                -Katherine wants to give it to Klaus to make him human
                -Silas wants it to bring the dead back so he can be human and be with his wife
So I’m about ready to blow a gasket.  There are only a few episodes left in this season and I’m not sure if they’re going to close this evil Elena out – or drag it into next season.  If they drag this into next season, it’s going to be hard for me to watch.

And speaking of Silas – I don’t even know where this is going!  I think he just tricked the cure out of Elijah.  So I guess he’s going to bring the dead back?  And there’s going to be a war.  But it almost seems kind of a side plot.  Which is also weird, because in all the other seasons there was this main bad guy and then a side bad guy or two.  But that’s not the case in this because they mention Silas and she shows up here and there, but he almost doesn’t seem important.  We’ll see how the season ends though.

On the bright side, I’ve fallen completely in love with the original vampire.  Obviously at this point in the season, the only ones left are Rebecca, Elijah and Klaus.  But those are my favorite anyway.  I love Rebecca because even though she does evil things, she has really good reasons for them.  She has been stabbed in the back so many times, you can’t help but feel bad for her.  It was like poor Caroline in season 1 where everything bad seemed to happen to her.  But she came out so strong after that, and is now one of my favorite characters.  Elijah has always been on the good side, for the most part.  I’ve always liked him.  The only reason he might do something that might be evil is because he cares about family.  So even though his family is pretty messed up, he still loves them and wants them to all come together.  And Klaus. I don’t even know what to say about him.  I love to hate him.  And I actually don’t really hate him anymore.  We’ve really gotten to know that character, and he’s so interesting.  Such a story there.  And I love that the thing holding him back from being completely evil is Caroline. He looks out for himself.  But if it might make Caroline mad at him, he actually thinks it through and might make a different decision that he would normally have.  I love him.

And Bonnie.  What can I say about her? I have despised her since season 2.  And I’ve noticed that especially over this season, she really doesn’t show up unless they need a witch for something.  So it seems I’m not the only one who doesn’t like her.  She’s so annoying and always feel put upon and holier than thou.  UGH.  And why is she always related to every witch??  They always need a Bennett witch or a witch related to this person or that person, and it always is Bonnie?  I am so sick of her. I wouldn’t mind if they killed her off…but where would they get another witch?  So instead, they’ve killed off character I DO like, like Alaric, Jenna, Jeremy, and keep Bonnie?

I recently found out that the episode that aired last week titled, “The Originals” was a back door pilot episode of “The Originals” tv spin off.  And as excited as I am to watch that show, it makes me wonder how they’re going to leave Mystic Falls.  And then what is left on the Vampire Diaries?  Evil Elena and love sick Stefan and Damon?  Boy.  That sounds like a winner.  If Klaus, Rebecca and Elijah all leave, they better think of something quick to make me love Elena again, because right now, she’s pretty much suffering from Bella Swan syndrome – where I loved her at first, but she got so annoying and did bad things and suffered in a love triangle that I didn’t like her by the end.  But I am very excited to see The Originals.  The only thing is that I’m not sure how the baby will play into this.  I’m worried it’s going to change Klaus too much.  I like the fact that Caroline is his hold on not completely losing it to the dark side.  But I’m worried the baby is going to turn him into a good guy, and that just not who Klaus is – that’s not why I love his character.  So that will be interesting.  And what of him and Caroline?

Anyway – that is my rant about this season. I’m hoping that they figure it out over the next few episodes, because if I stew over this stuff over the summer hiatus (they just got renewed for a 5th season), I just might not come back to it.  Which is sad because seasons 1-3 were one of my favorite TV shows ever.  Right up there with Gilmore Girls and Castle.  Sigh.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: The Elite

The Elite
by  Kiera Cass
Date Read:  4/29/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ 

I think this book actually leans more to 2.5 stars.  But it’s hard for me to give that low of a rating to book that actually sucked me in and I couldn’t stop reading. But there are some major things that just make me mad about this series – so they’re being shown in the rating, but I can’t really put a finger on what makes me still enjoy these books.  I think it’s America and Maxon’s relationship – when she’s not being stupid.

My main complaint with this specific book is America’s wish-washy indecisiveness.    I have never ever seen someone change their minds about who they care about as often as she does.  Today I love Aspen. Now I love Maxon.  Now I love Aspen. Now I love Maxon.  Good grief!  Obviously her feelings toward both guys are not very strong if they can be swayed so easily by certain events.  Also, in one breath she is telling Maxon that she doesn’t think she can be the princess, and then the next minute, she’s upset that the King didn’t even talk to her.  Well, who cares, you just said you didn’t want to be princess. Make up your mind!!!!  There were several times in this book where she wanted to leave, but the only reason she didn’t is because Maxon begged her not to.  She reacts to everything so quickly. She doesn’t sit back and let it all sink in, think about it, and then react. No.  She just gets mad and lashes out at Maxon.  And you know what?  You can’t be mad about what you caught Maxon doing with Celeste.  Yes, it hurts.  It hurt me when I read it.  But you know what?  She was doing it to him with Aspen.  But Maxon just doesn’t know.  So what he doesn’t know doesn’t matter?  It still matters.  She’s still cheating on him.  She has no right to get upset with him when she is doing the exact same thing.  And his reasons are completely valid.

This leads to something I did like in this book.  Maxon.  I am glad that he’s not just pining away for America.  Of course she’s still his first choice, but he’s not just going to sit back and let her take her sweet time.  He is pushing her to make up her mind, and he’s trying to find an alternative he’d be happy with if America doesn’t choose him.  And I like that he’s standing up to her.  One of my favorite parts was toward the end [spoiler: when he fought to keep her here, but he also told her that she had his heart, but she didn’t have his trust.  That she would have to earn that. ]  I am pretty sure he is the reason I am enjoying this.  And he’s so sweet to her.  He is the one redeeming quality to this book.  He has really grown and I am excited to see him become King.  He will be a great King.

Alright, so one of the things that really bothered me in The Selection was the lack of information regarding the rebels. I felt like it was just thrown in there to create any kind of suspense.  I had no idea who they were, what they were after, or what their motivation is.  Not a whole lot more is answered in this, but at least I felt like I knew what they were after by the end.  Though, I’m still not sure why they’re after it.  And they were teenagers, so I’m not really sure the motivation or who they are.  It seems they want to get rid of The Selection too, but again, not sure why. 

But in this book I felt like the world was built a little better.  Something else that really bothered me in The Selection was the world building.  It was very hard for me to believe it was a dystopian world.  And I still had trouble with that in this book.  I feel like if she just tried to make it a different world, instead of a dystopian world, I would believe it so much more.  But at least in this one, we got to see into the eyes of Greggory Illea, the man who supposedly saved the nation after WWIV.  So I felt that at least the world was built a little better, but the lack of belief in this world is hard for me.

Alright, maybe I can talk about some things that I do like.  I already talked about Maxon.  He is really the bright star in this book for me.  But I also really like the relationship between America and Maxon.  It was built up so well in The Selection.  That was the one thing that I felt Cass did really well.  It didn’t seem like it developed too quickly.  I think she had them interact enough that it felt like months had passed and I believed their feelings growing for each other.  That continued in this book.  And I believed the arguments they had.  They both had good points, and I really felt the emotion.

I also liked that jealousy showed up in this book.  I was taken aback in The Selection when there wasn’t any jealousy in The Selection – how could she not be jealous as her feelings began to grow when he would spend time with the other girls?  So at least the jealousy came up in this book.  It made me believe that she really did care for Maxon.  Of course a girl is going to be jealous if they guy she is falling for is spending time with other girls, right in front of her.  So I appreciated that.

The ending was a little abrupt to me.  Everything seemed to be calming down, and then, END.  What?  Really? I expected another chapter to close it out.  I feel like authors can’t create a real end to stories anymore.  It’s stupid.  But I kind of feel like America might have made her choice at the end of this book.  So I’m hopeful for what will come in the final book.  It’s titled, “The One”, so that should give us some hope, right?  Obviously she’s better suited for Maxon.  They compliment each other well – they seem to bring out the best in each other.  And I just don’t really see her with Aspen. I never really did.  Not that I really have anything against him, I just didn’t really connect with him.

So, overall this book gets 2.5 stars from me because of the major things that made me crazy.  But there is something there that keeps me hooked.  Whether it is Maxon or his relationship with America, or just the fact that every girl dreams of being a princess when they are little and we get to put ourselves in those shoes for a few pages – there is something that keeps me reading.  I can’t help but think of the line from Anastasia “I guess every loney girl would hope she's a princess.”  But there are obviously things that Cass needs to improve upon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tiger's Dream Possibilities and Update from Colleen Houck

Ok, I'm not sure what this will be about, because the fourth book had a definite series ending feel. All loose ends tied up. Happy ending for everyone. So here are my thoughts for what the 5th book might be:

1) A telling of the story from Ren's perspective. This would be cool, because I LOVED the part of Midnight Sun that Stephanie Meyer wrote. I read the Twilight series because of Edward (I ended up not particularly liking Bella and HATED Jacob). So this would be cool. His dream came true...Tiger's Dream? Maybe?

2) A book about Ren and Kelsey's son? Since the epilogue was titled "Rising Generation"? I don't feel like it can continue Ren, Kelsey's and Kishan's story with the ending that the fourth book had. So maybe it will carry on with a story about the baby?

3) It continues the trio's story. Maybe Lokesh comes back somehow and the trio has to take him down again (either in their time or they have to go to the past again or something). That way Kishan gets to see his brother again and meet his nephew, etc. Since there was a line in Kishan's note at the end that said "Perhaps in another time and another place we will meet again".

What does everyone else think?

EDIT: 10/8/12

Ok, I went to a book signing of Colleen Houck's last week. She said that the 5th book has not been bought because her publisher did not want more than 4 books. So that is the reason we got an ending in book 4...which I very much appreciate. She is still planning on writing book 5, though it will be really hard for her to get a publisher to pick it up since it will be just one book and they can't sell it as a boxed set with the other 4. But she's still writing it, and said she would self-pub it worst case scenario. Just wanted to clear that all up. Though, I still have no idea what book 5 will be about due to that ending. I'm still contemplating my above predictions. Because someone asked Houck if book 5 was from Kelsey's perspective, and she said "maybe".

Book Review: The Prince (The Selection #0.5)

The Prince (The Selection #0.5)
by  Kiera Cass
Date Read:  4/25/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★  ★ 

I really enjoyed this novella.  It was from Maxon’s POV which was nice.  It starts with his anxiety over the Selection.  I love seeing the side of Maxon that is more real – not smooth, and regal.  This let us see that he really is just like any regular guy.

The first half is about how he had a friend Daphne who was in love with him.  She said some awful stuff to him when he told her he didn’t love her too.  So Maxon is dealing with trying to figure out if what she said was true, or whether she just said it in the heat of the moment.  But he’s having to deal with that along with his anxiety about the Selection.

But what I really loved was that this started paralleling The Selection about half way through.  Basically we get to see some of the events from his perspective.  It reminded me of Midnight Sun, which Stephenie Meyer never completed.  I always love seeing both sides of the story.  And it’s sweet how smitten Maxon is with America right off the bat.

We get a better picture of Maxon’s parents too.  The queen, Amberly, is just as sweet as she came across in The Selection.  Of course she would be, she’s going to be humble because she was a four.  But his dad came across rougher, meaner.  He seems like he’s trying to control all of Maxon’s life and he’s not exactly nice about it – not exactly mean – but not the type of father anyone really wants.

This was short – only like 120 pages or something.  But it reads really quickly – especially once you get to the parts you already read in The Selection – you can basically skim the dialogue in those parts.  I think anyone who’s read The Selection should read this book because it adds something to Maxon’s character.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Forever

by  Maggie Stiefvater
Date Read:  4/24/2013
Rating:  ★ ★ ★ 

I started this book I think 3 times.  It was soo hard to get into this book.  I’m not really sure why.  It wasn’t very exciting.  It was actually pretty slow.  And what was weird is that I found myself only wanting to read chapters from Cole’s and Isabel’s perspectives.  So perhaps the whining from Sam and Grace is what made it hard for me to get into this book.  I’m not sure.  All I know is that it took me 3 times to be able to get through this book.

That’s disappointing because I really enjoyed Shiver.  Ling was okay – it wasn’t nearly as good as Shiver, but I was able to get through it pretty quickly still.  But Forever let me down.  It’s not the book was bad.  It wasn’t.  But it also wasn’t very captivating, which is strange for the final novel in a series.  But then, this entire series hasn’t been all that exciting.  It’s mostly about the relationship between Sam and Grace with some werewolf stuff on the side.  So now that I said that, perhaps that’s why by book 3, it was boring.  The romance was no longer new and sweet.  It just got old, and there wasn’t enough excitement to keep the rest of the book going.

We do get POV from Cole and Isabel in this book though, which I really liked.  Even though Cole can be a bit of a jerk, his background with science was intriguing.  I enjoyed watching him try to solve the way to cure the wolves, or to cause Sam to turn back into one.  And he had an interesting back story.  You really saw who he used to be, and you got to watch him transform into someone with purpose.  I think he was probably my favorite character.

I also liked Isabel.  Watching her start to open herself up to someone.  She grew a lot as a person in this book actually, and I loved watching it.  I wish I knew how their story really ends.  I didn’t get quite enough to be satisfied on their story.

This whole book revolved around the hunt and the fact that Grace is now a wolf.  The parts where she was a wolf and Sam didn’t know where she was were super boring.  All it was was whining.  And though we as women always want to know our man misses us, this was a bit excessive.  And even when they finally found each other, it was boring.  I don’t know, I think I hit the nail on what bothered me earlier about this book – the fact that Grace and Sam’s relationship got old.  So I’m really glad Stiefvater added Cole and Isabel’s perspectives to keep the story moving along for me.

Stiefvater  is very good at the descriptions of scenery though.  I was always able to see exactly what she was describing, whether it was the woods, or the house, or the lake.  So I enjoyed that, because it did feel like I was there.

I’m glad she added several casualties to the story.  I was not going to believe the story if some wolves didn’t get killed in the hunt.  So with about 40 pages left, it finally got exciting as the hunt started.  But then I realized, “What? The climax of the story is just <b>starting</b> at 40 pages left??” So what did that mean for the wrap up?  Or did that mean the climax would only last 3 pages?

Well, it was the former.  There was virtually no wrap up.  I think there were about 5 pages.  Maybe 10.  No, I don’t think it was 10.  I felt very unsatisfied with the wrap up.  You’re ending a series.  You need to tie up more loose ends; you need to give us more a good-bye to the characters.  All of that was missing.  I have no idea what happened to Grace – does meningitis cure her?  Did she and Sam ever get married?  Did Isabel and Cole figure out their relationship? Did he follow her to California?  Too many loose ends for my liking.

Overall I liked the series though.  I liked the unique take on werewolves.  They were actually like wolves.  And they had a real story to them – a believable story.  Humans got upset that wolves were killing humans, so they decided to strike back.  I think it was a good story.  I just wish it was more exciting.   I liked the back story on all the important characters – everyone was unique and it added to the story – why they did what they did.  I think Stiefvater is a great writer; she just needs something more exciting to write about.  Which I think she’s managed to do with the Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys.  I’m excited to pick these up soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess Inheritance
by  Aimee Carter
Date Read:  4/17/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★  ★ 

I received this book from the publisher courtesy of Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very satisfying conclusion to the Goddess Test series.  All loose ends were tied up and you look forward to a long and happy life for the characters. 

This book starts out at the birth of Kate’s baby.  It skips 9 months after Goddess Interrupted.  Thank goodness – that would have been a boring story.  This book basically surrounds the birth of Kate’s baby, her trying to save Henry and Milo (the baby) and the rest of her Olympian family, and send Cronus back to Tartarus.

This book had so much more action than the previous book – probably even more than the first book.  This book read really fast because of the action and emotions that were experienced while reading it.  I was hoping this book would be better than Goddess Interrupted and it was, thank goodness!  Yes, there was a lot of heartache in it, we lose some characters we loved.  And poor Henry and Kate had to fight so hard for their little family.  But I loved how loyal they were to each other – and how hard they fought. And luckily they get their happy ending.

A character that betrayed them in previous books sought redemption in this book.  It was interesting to see how awful the Gods can be.  So to those who claim that this book doesn’t follow true mythology, I think it was close enough. Who cares if the exact myth is distorted – the story shows us Gods who are only looking out for themselves (though they weren’t all that way), but Hera and Zeus in particular were just awful.

Most of this story happened in Olympus and the palace on a Greek Island that they held Cronus in until the final battle.  I didn’t quite get a picture in my head of these places, other than a couple rooms (like the throne room in Olympus and the bedroom she was held captive in on the island), but most of the story happened in those two rooms, so that’s ok.  But I felt like I had a much better picture of the Underworld and the palace in the Underworld and Eden in the first books.

Kate did a lot of crying in this book.  But it always felt real to me.  I tried to imagine if it were my family being threatened and I figure I would probably cry a lot too.  You can only let emotions build up so much – and if you don’t release it, you can’t move on.  And I really liked how strong she got at the end of the book.  She stood up and fought for her family. And I loved that Persephone and her banded together to come up with a plan.  Which was actually a really good plan!  Kate didn’t back down and I loved it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It mostly just led up to the battle, so there’s not a whole lot to comment on, other than we see these characters grow and fight.  We lose some, we gain some.  We see a family born.  And a hopeful future.

At the end of the book, it says “And so the Goddess Test series concludes – for now.”  I won’t lie, I was surprised and happy when I saw that it was only 3 books (including a few novellas), because the other series I had started reading from Harlequin Teen was the Iron Fey series, and that series has a TON of books.  But it sounds like we might get more of this series in the future.  Perhaps we will get to see how the world is when Milo grows up.  But for now, this was a very satisfying conclusion to the series.

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys mythology – but doesn’t get angry when it doesn’t follow the mythology we’ve been taught exactly.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

This weekend I paid to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation in theaters.  I have mixed feelings over this movie.  If I separate myself from it and view it as it’s own separate movie (and not a sequel to Rise of the Cobra), then I mostly enjoyed it.  If I view it as a sequel (and this is how I went into the theater expecting), then I am thoroughly upset!

I expected this to be a sequel.  So when the movie started and there were a bunch of new characters, I started questioning where Ripcord, Baroness, and Scarlett were.  But I was comforted at least by the fact that Duke (played by the delicious Channing Tatum) was still in this movie.  The new characters were not bad – the new girl Lady Jaye, played by Adianne Palicki was very pretty.  And new eye candy D.J. Controna as Flint was a nice addition.  And of course Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) always adds some nice muscle to the movie.  But here comes the rant, and if you have not seen the movie, beware, there are MAJOR spoilers in this rant!

I really enjoyed the relationship that was developed between Duke and Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson).  And I’ve fallen in love with Duke.  And come on…Duke IS G.I. Joe.  Boy scout. Handsome. Loyal. What do they do??? THEY KILL HIM!  Are you serious?  I spent the rest of the fricken movie expecting a “wait, I’m not dead! I’m going to save the day” moment.  But it never came.  And what’s worse, is they killed him off in like the first 20 minutes of the movie!!!  And they didn’t really slow down to accept it.  He just got blown up, that’s sad, let’s grab his dog tags, and then keep moving. There wasn’t even a funeral!! 

I just read an interview with the screenwriters of the movie, and they said that that is what the whole movie is about.  Revenging Duke’s death.  REALLY?  That is not what I got at all.  That didn’t come across to me at all throughout that movie because I felt like Duke’s death was just so glossed over.  And honestly, ALL of the Joes supposedly got wiped out, so it seemed more like a survival movie to me than a revenge movie.  So I guess that’s supposed to imply to us that Ripcord and Scarlet got killed too?  I’m so frustrated.  What the hell?  Why???  They really couldn’t have come up with another story line?  There was plenty to go on there.  With those same characters.  It’s stupid.  I wish they would have just made it a spin off basically, and never even put Duke in the movie.  Then I could take the movie and say that it was pretty decent.  But this was dumb.  And I was hoping to read that it was perhaps because Channing Tatum wanted out of the series, but that didn’t sound like it at all.  It was just want the movie “needed”.  Ugh.

But I did read during this interview that apparently in the original animated movie they were going to kill Duke also.  But I guess Hasbro got serious backlash when they killed Optimus Prime, so they were worried they’d get backlash with killing Duke, so they just put him in a coma.  Well, I would have taken a coma over flat out killing him.  And never really getting to say goodbye?  That is dumb. At least if you’re going to kill him, you better do it right.  He better be saving a LOT of lives (not just Flint) and he better get a proper send off (which he didn’t) and it better be for a good reason (revenge story? which did not come across in the movie).

So now we don’t have the gorgeous Channing Tatum to look at anymore.  We have the Rock.  Not that I don’t like the Dwayne Johnson, I do, but I think everyone can agree that he’s no Channing Tatum.  Even after reading that interview, I am still not quite sure the reasoning of killing him off – why not just leave him out, like they did Ripcord and Scarlet, and then it’s just implied that they all died when the Joes were wiped out, but I could live in blissful denial that Duke died.   Because honestly, it probably cost them an arm and a leg to have Channing Tatum in the movie for 20 minutes to be killed and on the poster.  And part of the reason they didn’t have Joesph Gordon Levitt as Cobra again is because he was behind the mask the entire time and it wasn’t financially smart to pay him for that.  But it was financially smart to pay Channing Tatum to die 20 minutes in to the movie?

Is anyone else upset about this?

Another thing I didn’t like was how many bad guys were in it.  It was hard to keep everyone straight and who was doing what. There was Cobra, Firefly and Zartan.  But Zartan was impersonating the President, so that was hard to keep track of.  I don’t know, I think I’m so frustrated about killing Duke, that I just had a hard time enjoying the rest of the movie.

I did like having Bruce Willis in it though, that was a nice touch.  But again, I’d rather have Channing Tatum in it.  I’m not sure what the female audience will be now because there are just a bunch of old guys in it now.

I’m interested to see how everyone else feels about this movie.  Let me know your thoughts.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Reivew: Goddess Interrupted

Goddess Interrupted
by  Aimee Carter
Date Read:  4/13/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ 

 I think I would actually give this book 3.5 stars if I could. But it doesn’t quite meet 4 star potential, so I have to lean towards 3. This book pretty much suffered from middle book syndrome.

I had pretty high expectations for this book – the summary sounded fricken awesome! Kate comes back from her 6 month vacation in Greece, and Henry is distancing himself. But the Titan lord, Cronus (a.k.a. Kronos), is waking up and when Henry is captured, it’s up to Kate to save him – but it means requesting the help of the one person she never wants to meet – Persephone. Doesn’t that sound amazing? But it actually let me down, which is why it is only getting 3.5 stars.

This book was soo slow!!! It mostly centered on Kate’s whining. Henry was distancing himself, and she kept throwing herself a pity party. THE ENTIRE BOOK. We weren’t entirely sure why Henry was pulling away – which was also frustrating for me. But all she did was complain and second guess herself – talk about insecure! Geez. And so many characters would try to pull her out of it, but she just wanted to miserable, and it was so annoying as a reader. I almost didn’t care about her anymore.

The fact that Cronus was coming back to life though is exciting. I always love a good God vs. Titan war! Heehee. And Persephone actually surprised me. She was a little annoying at first, but she kinda grew on me and she ended up being a decent person. I appreciated that. And I never really believed that she would ever get back with Henry – because she had chosen to leave that life. It was interesting to get her perspective on things. Overall I liked her.

The journey through the Underworld was a little slow. I think Henry got captured around page 60, and then until about page 170 they were traveling through the Underworld. The book is a quick read, but the pacing of this book wasn’t quite as good as the first book. But like I said, it is mainly just setting up the next book.

One thing I did like though was that I believed Kate and Henry’s fight toward the end. Though I wasn’t sure why Henry was acting the way he was, I’ve always believed he loved Kate and it pissed me off that she was so insecure about it. So their fight was very real to me. It didn’t feel forced, which I thought it would since she had such a pity party for herself the entire book.

The battle of the book actually ended around page 200, so that meant there were 100 pages of resolution! Actually, it was just another 100 pages leading you up to the next book. I think it was all necessary, but it was definitely slow. But at least it lead up to a crazy cliffhanger. I’m really glad I received the next book from Edelweiss so I don’t have to sit on that cliffhanger.

Poor Kate has been betrayed by quite a few people she trusted, but it makes the Gods look more like their actual myth. I’m enjoying the series, I just wish this book had more going on, because it was a real let down after the summary. Still entertaining and I really want to read the next book, but I was expecting this to be a lot better. And maybe if Kate didn’t fight with Henry like every time they were together or throw herself a pity party every time she had inner monologue, it would have been a lot better. But I found myself wanting to tear my hair my hair out through a good portion of the book because she was so insecure – you’re a fricken Greek Goddess, get over it.

Hopefully the next one isn’t as disappointing as this one. But the overall story arc was still interesting with Cronus and Calliope’s betrayal still in effect from the first book. Just muddle through and then the ending gets better and should lead in to a better third book – I hope.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt

The Goddess Hunt
by  Aimee Carter
Date Read:  4/10/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★
I think anyone who is reading this series should definitely read this before they read Goddess Interrupted. I'm not sure if it is going to play a part in the next book or not, but the fact that she pissed off Walter (Zeus) seems like it is going to be important.

It also strengthens where she stands.  Where she stands with Henry and where she stands on her feelings about the Gods in general.  I liked this because it showed that the Gods aren't the wonderful people they were portrayed in The Goddess Test.  So that was nice, because they were a little bit closer to the true myths, where the Gods were actually fairly mean and petty.

I also liked getting Henry's POV.  And I liked that he was there to keep her safe, but also kept to his promise that he would let her have privacy for her 6 months away.  He's loyal but protective. And he is allowing her to help him change and see things in a different light.  I really do like him.

This was obviously a very short read because it's a novella, so if you're reading this series, you should definitely check this out.  Pretty happy with it overall.

Book Review: The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test
by  Aimee Carter
Date Read:  4/10/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

I actually enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure if I was going to - a young Hades? Gods don't go by their Greek names? It all seemed a bit strange at first, but once I got going, it wasn't bad - I actually enjoyed it.

The first thing was that Hades was actually called Henry in this world. And he was YOUNG. He looked about the age of 22 years old - and every other time I've seen pictures of the 3 major Gods (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades), they are middle aged looking. So it was hard, but after a few chapters, it wasn't that bad since he actually went by Henry instead.

Kate was a decent main character. She was a little whiny at times about her mother - boy was she attached at the hip to her - but it was also sweet to see such a loving mother/daughter relationship. Other than that, I liked watching her face obstacles and how she overcame them. And she stuck up for herself. I liked her.

I ended up liking Hades (Henry) too. He was sweet, but not overly so. He was a little distant through a portion of the book, but I liked it because he was overly swooning over her. It was a little more realistic. And though he's got that kind of brooding, tortured past, he wasn't annoying and it didn't make him be obnoxious to other people. Though, I like my tortured, sarcastic boys, it was nice for a change, because it seems all the guy characters in books now are about the same.

The pacing of this book was perfect. It was so refreshing to have such a short book to read. So many books nowadays think they have to be 400-500 pages. Why?? All it does is drag things out. This was paced great. We got just enough at the beginning to understand her past and set things up. And then the middle was perfect, and the ending perfect. It was just paced so well. And had a beginning, middle and end. It's sad that having an END to a story is an exception these days. And this book spanned a period of 6 months, but Carter glossed over a lot of it just explaining in a few paragraphs what happened over those few months. I really appreciated that.

There were a few plot twists in this. Most of them I was not surprised by. But when the council was finally revealed, one was shocking to me. But I don't care if I was able to predict many of the plot twists. That doesn't make it a bad book.

Overall this was a very easy read - it's short and was written where everything read very easily and quickly. And I thought it was a unique take on the Greek myths. I've really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series which are based around Greek myth also. This book just acted like some of the myths got twisted from what really happened - which honestly, myths are like playing the telephone game - things get mixed up quickly. So it's actually believable to me that some actual events (if the Gods are real like they are in this book) would get twisted every generation it is told.

So I know some people were frustrated that this wasn't true to the actual Greek mythology, who cares? It's believable. And the most important thing is that it is introducing people to Greek mythology - and once they've been introduced, perhaps they take a class in college to learn more about it. This is the exact same thing as Disney and other animated movies changing the ending of so many classic tales so they have a happy ending (think Anastasia and The Huntchback of Notre Dame for example). Yes, we know it has a completely different ending than the true story or the book, but the point is it is getting people INTERESTED. And once they're interested, they will research the true story. That's all it's about. And really that's all that matters. It's a fictional book people! Just enjoy it for the story.

I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: The Last Academy

The Last Academy
by  Anne Applegate
Date Read:  4/7/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★  

I received this through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I surprisingly LOVED this book. It first started with the cover. It's hauntingly beautiful. And then I read the description and I was very excited when I got approved for it through Netgalley. However, I was disappointed that the version they sent me didn't have the awesome cover!

Ok, well, it is hard for me to review this book because I enjoyed it so much. I was so engrossed in the story, it's hard for me to pinpoint what I loved so much. It just all worked really well.

It's also hard for me to write up a summary of this story without plot spoilers. Basically, it is about Camden, a freshman heading off to a new boarding school. She makes some new friends there and then one goes missing. She has to find out what happened.

First, I really enjoyed the main character, Camden. Though she was younger than I thought (at 14 years old and a freshman), her voice was a lot of fun. She was sweet, but didn't take crap, and she had a little sarcasm and said some pretty funny things.

The book was a little bit slow at the beginning. It took a little while to establish some things. But about 25% in it started picking up. I was always a little confused one what was going on though. There were some scenes that seemed a little strange, but it all came together in the end.

I liked trying to solve the mystery of what was going on. It's very different than the types of books that are really popular lately. No paranormal stuff - no vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. It kept me guessing what was really going on.

Though I had a suspicion toward the beginning of the book, it did a great job of keeping me guessing until the end. I think that's what I really enjoyed.

But I absolutely appreciated that this book had a beginning, middle, and end. I am pretty sure this will be a stand alone book, which is actually kind of refreshing lately. Everything nowadays seems to be a series. It's refreshing to have a story that can be told in one book. And this book had so much closure at the end. I actually teared up at the very end and I loved that we got everyone's story.

I really loved this book. I wish I could say more, but it's hard for me to put my finger on just what I loved. I think everything worked together to tell a great story. I think this is a great debut novel by Anne Appelgate - and I look forward to reading more novels from her in the future. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: The Selection

The Selection
by  Kiera Cass
Date Read:  4/5/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

Well that wasn't as good as I expected. But it also wasn't as bad as some of the reviews I've read.

The beginning was pretty rough. The dialog was really juvenile. I hated the way she talked sometimes. And it was hard to believe in some of the things the author tried to get across. I didn't feel like she was that low on the social ladder (caste). She tries to make you think she was low, but I don't know, it just wasn't established very well. And there was a lot of mention about sex at the beginning, but I don't understand the significance. It never became a part of the story...other than making you think that maybe Maxon was a rapist? It was stupid. I think that should have been completely written out.

I also hated her "I'm not pretty" act. Just be humble about it...but you don't need to deny it and tell people to shut up when they compliment you - especially when its the guy who loves you. I love it when my husband tells me I'm beautiful. Not because I'm stuck up and narcissistic, but because I love knowing that my husband is attracted to me. Just enjoy that he thinks you're pretty and say "thank you".

But about 35-40% through the book it started getting a lot better. The dialog got better. The story got better. The world was finally built. It's almost like she just wrote the book and then published it, without any editing - because I'm really surprised that a publisher would let that go out the way it was.

I found I was looking forward to finding out what happened. The story read really fast. I'm not sure how many pages this was as a printed book, but every time I looked down, I was like another 5% through the story.

The ending came quickly though. And I am still a little unclear about what the main conflict was. There really wasn't any. Well, I guess that's because I have no idea what these rebel attacks are about. Perhaps the big attack was supposed to be the big climax of the story...but it seems so out of place because the reader has no idea what is going on. I have no idea why they're attacking. No idea what they're looking for.

The ending also just kind of ended. Since I knew what the sequel was called, I kind of expected exactly where it would end. But there wasn't really a conclusion to the story. There were about 2 closing paragraphs. I don't like it when that happens in books. I want a little more closure. Though, I'm glad that there wasn't a cliffhanger, it still left something to be desired.

Ok, lets talk about that promotional tag line: "The Hunger Games meets the Bachelor". What?? How in the world do you compare this to The Hunger Games? First, I do not think you can even classify this as a dystopian novel. It's just mostly in the future, so things have changed a little, but this world is so very close to our world now, that I had a very hard time believing it was dystopian. Second, there is no fight to the death. No survival. So how is this being compared to The Hunger Games? Hmm, ok, there's a girl who goes through a lottery system...the event is semi-televised...there is a love triangle...sort of. Hmm. I don't buy it. And now the Bachelor. OK, yes, there are a bunch of women on a TV show vying for the love of one man. But I never really felt like this was a reality television show. And honestly, I never felt like anyone else had a chance anyway - so there was no jealousy or worry there. I had a hint of jealously on America's behalf after she had kissed him and then heard he kissed someone else. But that was it! C'mon. If a girl was really in that situation, she would be jealous. But America didn't go in wanting to love him, so I suppose that makes it different...but then can you compare it the Bachelor? I guess so. But there was no rose ceremony, and there really isn't a competition. If Maxon could break the rules, he would have chosen America a long time ago.

I'm not really sure what everyone means when they talk about drama surrounding the author. I'm curious, but at the same time, I wanted to read the book first to give it an honest review before I figured out what everyone was talking about.

Overall though, I think this book gets a solid 3 stars. It was entertaining enough. I will read the sequel to see how it ends. I'm leaning towards her being with Maxon. And then Aspen can be with one of the sweet maids. Or even Marlee. Oh, that's something else I'm curious about - what is Marlee hiding? What's her secret??? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cassandra Clare announces "TLH", another Shadowhunter series

So I saw a post that Cassandra Clare just announced yet another Shadowhunter series dubbed "TLH" – no official title yet.  Wow.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Mortal Instruments (the first 3 books), and until the Epilogue, I loved The Infernal Devices.  But she had already announced a third series called The Dark Artifices.  And she announced The Bane Chronicles (okay, not really a series, because it’s just a few short stories that will be available as e-books, but still).  Isn’t that a lot of the Shadowhunter world?  I mean, I love the world, that why I’ve loved both series so far, but I kind of feel like she’s going to ruin it all because she’s going to keep milking it until people get annoyed and stop buying it.

But I really don’t think that’s what bothers me most.  What bothers me most is that it feels like she just gets bored with what she’s writing. Why else would you announce so many series at the same time?  She’s currently still writing City of Heavenly Fire, the final book in the second part of The Mortal Instruments series.  And she’s already announced The Dark Artifices (and already character names, etc). And she announced The Bane Chronicles a while back (and I believe they’re all going to be released this year).  And she’s also writing The Magisterium series with another author!  How does she have enough time in the day to write all of these?  Even if she had them planned, I wish she wouldn’t announce it.  Because now it just seems to me that she’s not focusing on what she’s currently writing, which means the story is going to suffer.  Perhaps that’s why the ending of Clockwork Princess was so awful.  She was already going on to the next thing and didn’t really think about the impact.  Sure, I read the post (and even posted it here) about her reasoning behind the Epilogue, but I still didn’t buy it even after reading it.  I just feel as an author, she should only be writing one or two things at a time. It’s already hard enough to release one book in a year.  But she’s writing so many things (which sure, probably are not all going to release at the same time), but she’s thinking about them, so if she’s ANYTHING like my husband, she’s writing notes and whatnot as thoughts pop into her mind about that new series – which then will take her focus away from what she’s writing.  Oh, and let’s not forget the other side projects she’s going like The Shadowhunter’s Codex and Shadowhunters and Downworlders.  I mean, really, how many projects does one author need going on at a time?

I don’t know how much of these I’ll read.  Obviously I will finish out The Mortal Insturments.  I want to see how it ends…again.  I’ve read books 4 and 5, so I’m not going to end it there.  And I really like Jace, so I’ll read just for him (though I really hated what happened to him in book 5).  But as far as The Dark Artifices and TLH go, I’m not sure.  I might be more likely to read TLH only because I think it will follow Will’s children’s generation.  But if his kids aren’t in it, then I probably won’t.  And The Dark Artifices sounds kind of cool because I think it will be somewhat fun to see Clary and Jace and Alec and Isabelle when they’re older pop into the story, even though they’re not the main characters.  But I’m not sure.  I’ll probably read some of The Bane Chronicles, depending on how expensive the ebooks are – I don’t like paying for ebooks, especially when they’re really short.  So we’ll see.

I’m just getting sick of her milking it.  I don’t want her to ruin a world I love.  She built a great world, great characters.  Just leave it alone now and let it stay being great.  Quit while you’re ahead.

 I know readers always wish that authors would continue writing in a world they’ve fallen in love with, or request more sequels be written – but honestly, they usually stop.  And for good reason.  You as a reader still love the series.  And after a couple weeks, you’ll find a new book, and forget the other world that you just read. And then all you do is look back on that book with fond memories.  Clare isn’t going to do that.  She’s going to lose fans because people get sick of the same world.  At least The Infernal Devices was unique because it was set in a completely different time period – so even though it was the same Shadowhunter world, the setting was very different.  But now she’s meshing all the generations, and nothing will be unique.  Learn from other authors.  Quit while you’re ahead and write something different.  The readers will still buy your books even if they’re not set in the Shadowhunter world.
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