Sunday, December 29, 2013

In Which I Explore the Wonderful World of GIFS

Within the past two weeks, between all the Christmas-y celebrations, I've managed to make my way to the movie theater twice. Both times to see movies that were adapted from books. That seems to be a reoccurring trend. Anyways.

What did I see? You can probably guess, but I'm going to show you anyways in gifs. In fact I'm going to use gifs throughout this entire post.

Catching Fire
I really enjoyed this movie-more so than the first one to be completely honest. 

Watching the movie is a different experience than reading the book, since you're not seeing everything through Katniss. You're not in her head; you don't have her constant commentary. This is both a pro and a con. You don't know Katniss as well in the movie, but that works in her favor (in my humble opinion) since she (or rather her cynicism) can be a wee bit grating after a while. 

My favourite parts:

Some of the beautiful cinematography. 

The Rebellion:

The Symbolism:

Oh and how can I forget about this scene that made me cry within the first twenty minutes of the movie?

I  also liked seeing the development of Effie, Haymitch and all the other minor characters (Finnick, Joanna, etc. etc.) To sum it all up, I enjoyed every minute of it. 

The ending? It felt like this:

I was so hyped up with emotion and immersed in the story, then I slammed into the wall of reality. 

Desolation of Smaug 
I was roped into seeing this one with my sister and a few other friends. I'm not the biggest LOTR fan (so correct me if I get any details wrong), but I did enjoy the second installment of the Hobbit. 
I haven't read the books, so I can't comment on how true the adaption was. I can say that I enjoyed this movie on a more simplistic level. I didn't pay too much attention to the details. 

Would I watch it again? Probably not, but it did have some enjoyable aspects:

This she-elf (Tauriel):

The scenes in Laketown:

Especially the ones with this dude: of Oakenshield:

(virtual internet points if you got those references)

And this scene:

Overall this wasn't a bad movie. I like the dwarfs, and the setting of Laketown really made the movie for me. I didn't love it, like I loved Catching Fire, but it was still good.

How about you have you seen any of these movies? Want to see them? Let me know all of your random thoughts in the comments.

Reading: Where Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris
Listening: The last of my Christmas music
Watching: Kyle XY

Monday, December 23, 2013

Notebook Sister's End of Year Linkup

I'm a little late to this party, but I wanted to leave this linkup to the very end to make it as accurate as possible. If you'd like to participate check out the details here. I skipped over a few questions, because I couldn't think of a good answer, just in case your wondering. 

1. What was your overall favourite book this year? (Yes. Pick one.)
I'm having a really hard time picking, and I feel like I'm forgetting how I felt about some of the books that I really loved from earlier in the year. I think it's between The Program, How to Lead a Life of Crime, and Anne and the French Kiss. Let's go Program by Suzanne Young.

2. Favourite debut(s)? (Author must have been first published in 2013.)
Would it be cheating to go with Robert Galbraith? I'm going with Robert Galbraith and The Cuckoo's Calling. My blog, my rules.

3. Which books did you reread this year?
I don't think I reread any to be quite honest with you.

AH! Oh returning to writing this post, I realized that I lied. I'm pretty sure I reread some Ally Carter books...I believe it was Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals in honor of the release of Perfect Scoundrels.
If I reread any others and I'm just forgetting, the likely suspects would be Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Harry Potter by JK Rowling and Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce.

4. Favourite cover(s) this year!
These books weren't necessarily published this year, but they were ones I read this year:
102 Ways to Write a Novel -I love the graphics.
Clockwork Princess-very magical illustration
Unravel Me-I love the detail work in the eyelash.

5. Worst cover(s)?
Why We Write- It's a picture of a book, on a book cover. Great content, not-so-great cover art. 
Spies and Prejudice- I can't quite put my finger on it, but it gives me that "self-published-cover" vibe. 

6. Which book(s) gave you a massive hangover?
The Program by Suzanne Young was one of those books that had me talking about it with everyone! My usually steady boat of emotions was so rocked by reading it that I couldn't shut up about it. I simply cannot wait for the next one. 
Also, Why Mermaids Sing had a shocking reveal in the ending. Thank goodness the next book was published already, or else I'd have moped about that for days.

7. Best standalone you read?
Either Anna and the French Kiss or How to Lead a Life of Crime. I love a good standalone; it seems like all we get now-a-days are series! 

8. Biggest book(s) you've read this year?
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, cashing in at 505 pages. Trust good old Rowling to write a long one.
9. Book(s) you followed the hype for and then loved!
I don't really know if there was "hype", but there was certainly a lot of talk about The Maze Runner. I finally read it, after buying on the cheap somewhere and then letting it collect dust for a few months, and loved it! Very suspenseful. 

10. Most disappointing book(s) you read this year?
The Beauty Experiment by Phoebe Hyde Baker. I loved the premise, a year without beauty products or rituals, and I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book. However, I think she failed to sum up what she learned and left me with the question of "So what did it all mean?". The ending was just really disappointing for me.

I don't like to prattle on about stuff I didn't like, but I can't let this go without mentioning Pretty Face. The basic plot is "fat" girl with a binge eating problem goes to Italy, realizes that European guys like curvy girls, walks a lot and then gets thin and gets the guy. 
My first issue with this book is that there wasn't any subplots; it was simplistic. That was my big problem with this book. Not enough going on. My second more minor issue is that I didn't really find the author's theme consistent. If the theme was "You don't have to be thin to be beautiful." then I don't understand when she let the MC end up losing all the weight. If the theme was "Being healthy (aka thin) leads to a better life" then why did she glorify the Italian attitude towards food like she did? I don't know, but I felt like the potential to make a statement about body image and the such was lost here. 

11. Favourite leading-female character?
I had some big issues with wimpy/boring female (and male) leads this year. You can read more about those thoughts here. The one that I did enjoy was Kat from Perfect Scoundrels. 

12. Favourite leading-male character?
Hands down, Sebastian St. Cyr. He's my fictional crush. Brooding, handsome, clever, and he solves mysteries!

13. Best romance(s)?
Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. It's classic, enjoyable chick-lit; how could it not win this category?

14. What book(s) hit the DNF list? (Did not finish.)
The 2nd Maze Runner book, The Hate List, and probably a few more, but I don't really keep track.

15. What book(s) did you read out of your comfort-zone?
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I wrote a little bit about it here if you're interested.

16. What's a book you're hugely excited for coming out in 2014?!
Hmmm... I'm looking forward to Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. It should be a good end to that series. Also, isn't the cover artwork lovely?

How about you? Any highlights in 2013? Let me know in the comments. 

Reading: Where Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris
Listening: Christmas music! Lady Antebellum in particular. 
Watching: Haven 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers

This list has been kicking around in my mind for awhile now, so I finally put it together. Some of the pictures are my own, but many of them are from the manufacturer's website.

Audio books are also great for the busy book lover. They can listen on the go.
I love it when someone gives me their favourite book -or any book really- with an inscription on the inside. It makes it so personal! The book pictured above is one I bought at a Thrift Store that was inscribed for it's previous owner. You can "inscribe" audio books as well by leaving a note inside about why you picked that book.

I love this. It's a map that has all of the popular settings from books on it. This poster is £25. Since it's from the UK the pricing is in pounds, but they ship internationally.  If you'd like to read a little bit more about it and see more pictures (!!!) you can check it out here

A few years back, my aunt and uncle gave me a book light. I had no idea how much I would love my light (see the picture of it above). My book light is usually clipped to the headboard of my bed, and I use it at the time when I get most of my reading done: right before I go to sleep. I used to use it for sneaky purposes (reading late when I'm supposed to be sleeping), but now I use it for laziness purposes. Instead of having to get up to turn off my overhead light when my eyes are drooping, I just reach up and turn off the book light.

Also great for dark closets, searching under the bed and camping. My favourite brand is Mighty Bright because of the clip and bendy neck. They range from aprox. $10 and upwards.

I wish I had one of these. Whenever I need to write my name in the front of a book, my handwriting always chooses that moment to look terrible. Plus, think of how much fun it would be to go through all your books and stamp them? This cost $26 according to the website where I found it. 

My sister gave me a subscription to Writer's Digest last year, and I really enjoyed it. It was like the gift that kept giving. I can't really give you an approximate on how much this might cost since different magazines vary in price. However, the majority of magazines will offer a discount coupon in the current magazine, that you might be able to take from the library's copy. 

This is a really cool website called Out of Print. They sell book themed totes, pouches, stationary, clothing and more. I'm fairly certain you can buy their stuff in other places such as Barnes and Noble (for you Americans) and Booksmarts. I don't have anything from them, but I'd like to get some! The bags are $18 and the pouches are $12. 

You might have seen your local hipster carrying one of these bad boys around, because unfortunately they only come for Apple products. However, I love the idea and design behind them. They are a tad pricey though, coming in at approximately $80. You can check out the MacBook case here and the Ipad case here.

This is another gift that keeps giving. If you decide to go with the membership, your book lover will have a discount card all year round! The gift card is also nice, because it gives them a chance to a) pick their own book and b) save it for when a particular book comes out later in the year. The average price is $25. 

If you're buying for a book lover who has everything this is a great idea, especially if your book lover is a big library supported (which book lover isn't?). I love this idea because it truly encompasses what Christmas is really about. I know at my library they have boxes where you can donate, but it's different everywhere. If I was going to donate on behalf of someone, I'd get someone to take my picture as I put the money into the box. You'll have to talk to your local library about how they receive donations. 

I don't know any book lovers who don't also love a pretty journal or address book. However, this is something that most book lovers have in abundance, which is why it ranks last on the list. If you're desperate I know I'm always happy to receive a cool looking journal even if I have twenty already! These journals are all from Chapters ranging from $10-$40 (for leather bound journals).

There you have it. My top ten gifts for a book lover. Let me know in the comments what you'd love to get for Christmas and what you think of my list!

Reading: Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris
Listening: Christmas music! A favourite is The Good Lovelies.
Watching: Chicago Fire

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Decorating with Book Pages!

I spent my evenings this week with my lovely sister decorating my bedroom for Christmas! Our medium of choice? Book pages, construction paper and tape. Here's the results:

 I loved making these decorations and listening to Christmas music as I did it. My only warning is to make sure that you look at the book you're going to use. I used an old Stephan King book that I picked up cheap at a book sale. I noticed as I was cutting out an ornament that there was a stream of swear words on the book page! I had a laugh and showed my sister, then proceeded to cover them up. Angry rants aren't very festive, haha.

I used water paint on book pages and cut ornaments and trees out. 

Reading: What Remains of Heaven by C.S. Harris
Listening: Ear Biscuits with Rhett and Link
Watching: Haven
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