5 Things Friday: 5 Best book series

Happy Friday!

Harry Potter: JK Rowling

harry potter

Reading Harry Potter is not merely a simple pleasure anymore; I need to do it at least twice a year to ensure my eternal happiness. I have to start from the beginning, at The Philosopher’s Stone, and work through to the Deathly Hallows, or it feels like a fake book run.

A study recently found that children who read Harry Potter grew up to be more open-minded and liberal. I can really agree and that might even explain why I am a person who thinks everyone should be left alone to do whatever the hell they want, unless it actively harms other people.

Harry Potter has it all – the books are excellently written, the story unique and touching, the characters ridiculously funny. Rowling created magic with these books, and I am eternally grateful for it.

Bloodlines: Richelle Mead

bloodlines

For a while there it did feel like VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES EVERYWHERE type of situation in the entertainment industry. The dawn of Twilight heralded the universe desperately seeking fanged romance, and eyes were rolled by people who are desperately against the mainstream.

Every aspiring writer tried to recreate a world similar to Twilight, with enough changes to prevent a law suit. Most books failed and spectacularly so, because you will generally fail if you copy other people’s work.

However, Richelle Mead firstly came along and wrote Vampire Academy. Although not the best series on the planet, it was fresh and interesting and original. Then she wrote Bloodlines and I became successfully addicted.

My attachment to this series stems from my admiration of its lead female lead. Sydney Sage is intelligent, a leader and a problem solver and she will take action if needs be. The love story is developed at a fantastic rate and worked out really well, and the unlikely couple’s journey to finding each other is really nice to read.

Walsh Family Series: Marian Keyes

The series has a book for each Welsh sister: Rachel stars in Rachel’s holiday, Clare’s story is told in Watermelon, Anna’s in Is Anybody Out There? Helen has the lead in The Mystery of Mercy Close and Margaret is the main protagonist in Angels.

The Walsh sisters are incredibly messed up. Their mother, although meaning well, had a recurring tendency to put her feet in her mouth as her daughters grew up, and managed to pass on her bad self-image to all her daughters. As they all stumble in their lives, catastrophes happen, and they all have an incredible journey to get through.

Marian Keyes is an excellent writer, producing hilarious books that are full of detail as well. My favourite of the series is most likely Rachel’s holiday, and as it was the first book of Keyes that I ever read, the one I have read the most.

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins

hunger games trilogy bookset

After the Vampire craze passed, Suzanne Collins created The Hunger Games, and dystopian fiction became all the rage. The world quickly changed its focus, and soon there were movies on the cards. The movies, including the books, are exceptional. Collins had a chilling idea and wrote to produce a truly scary story, and the world was fascinated by a post-apocalyptic place where people killed each other off in a televised “Games” broadcasted for all to see. While this book series is a great read and very compelling, it is also one of the few trilogies I have stumbled across where the movies are nearly as good as the books.

The Lord of the Rings: JRR Tolkien

lotr

Say what you want about the length of the books or the tedious amount of details, the Lord of The Rings was the Harry Potter of its time. Tolkien is also the creator of magic and it cannot be forgotten that he is the reason those EPIC movies exist. I only read this when I have a month of vacation time or something, you cannot be tired at all and have a drifting mind when attempting this.

Honourable mentions:

Divergent: Veronica Roth

Twilight: Stephanie Meyer

Vampire Academy: Richelle Mead

Those I want to read but haven’t started yet

A Song of Fire and Ice: George R. Martin

Southern Vampires: Charlaine Harris (I am actually starting this soon!)

What is your favourite book series? Tell me!

Advertisements

Book Review: Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)

Book: 68/100

HG covers

Katniss Everdeen’s second trip into the Hunger Games’ Arena – a survival of the fittest death match between the Capitol’s elven submissive districts – ended when the rebels pulled her out after an explosion caused by Beete – another tribute who was in on the escape plan everyone had known about except Katniss and Peeta. Katniss is taken to safety, her injuries gets treated, and her friend Gale tells her right after the rescue mission that they couldn’t pull Peeta out and that he is now in the hands of President Snow and the Capitol.

Katniss is taken to District 13 – a district that was supposed to have been obliterated during the Dark Days but had secretly survived and sustained itself underground. Katniss meets President Coin, the leader of the resistance, and can’t seem to shake the feeling that Coin intensely dislikes her. She also meets Boggs, her bodyguard who eventually becomes her friend. With them is fellow Tribute Finnick Odair, a young man Katniss originally thought was a pretty playboy but who was forced to sleep with people President Snow approved of. He is also suffering for he knows if the Capitol captures the Annie Cresta, the girl he loves, she will be tortured as well.

President Snow realises that Finnick and Katniss are too stressed about Annie and Peeta to focus on being the faces of the rebellion. To rectify this, she sends in a special task force to the Capitol to save them. Gale is one of the team going to the Capitol, and Katniss is once again torn between her feelings for him and Peeta. The task force brings Annie, Peeta and Johanna Mason back, another Tribute who was part of the rebellion.

Peeta is unrecognisable from the sweet boy Katniss used to care for. Under the Capitol’s brilliant but cruel torture made him to believe that Katniss is his enemy. Their first reunion is abruptly stopped when he tries to choke her, and she is devastated by the realisation that he wants to kill her. Peeta’s rehabilitation begins, and it is a difficult process because some of the cruel things he remembers of Katniss is true – how she couldn’t decide about her feelings and her abrupt actions.

The rebellion manages to get control over all the Districts in time. The last coup happens in District Two, and Katniss gets shot by one of the civilians there. She recuperates, and when she learns that Coin is planning to send in troups to conquer the big one – the Capitol, Katniss is determined to go and finish of Snow. She trains hard, and is eventually rewarded by being included in an elitist group of soldiers. She, Boggs, Gale, Finnick and some others head to the Capitol, and they are shocked when Coin sends in Peeta as well. Katniss realise that Coin wants her dead, and Boggs explains that it is because Coin knows that Katniss will never support her for a presidential candidate when the time comes. Will Katniss manage to kill Snow, and will all her loved ones survive? Will Coin get her wish and see Katniss killed by the boy she loves? Is there a chance for Katniss and Peeta to reconcile or will she end up with Gale?

Rating: 8/10

In post Potter depression, I never thought I could truly love a series again. I was relieved when I discovered the Hunger Games and realized that while nothing would ever reach the epic proportions of Harry Potter, there were other material in the world that was worthy of attention.

Mockingjay is a good end to a good series. I enjoyed the distinct change that there is no happy ending – even at the end where peace is restored, you know Katniss will be safe but will never forget what happened. The characters remain scarred and thus the book stays respectable – in a world like theirs, how could true happiness ever be possible?

The second installment of the franchise, Catching Fire, is currently in cinemas. I would recommend a movie and book binging to anyone who hasn’t made the time yet.

Read reviews of Hunger Games and Catching Fire here and here.

N

Movie Review: Catching Fire (2013)

Catching_Fire_Poster_1_14_13

Catching Fire takes place a few months after Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) became the first two victors to leave the Hunger Games alive. Before the Victory Tour – a tour designed to keep the horrors of the Games fresh in everyone’s mind, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) visits Katniss at her home. He tells her that her act of defiance – where she and Peeta agreed to eat poisoned berries rather than killing each other, showed people that it was fine to defy the Capitol, and that the result was that there are uprisings in the districts. He tells Katniss that if she wants her family to survive, she will show the entire Panem that she was just a silly girl in the cinema that was desperately in love.

This naturally is a problem because she is barely speaking to Peeta. He is still hurt by the fact that her feelings were just a show for the audience while his was real. While on tour they manage to become friends again, but even that isn’t enough. In the district where Rue, the girl who was so close to Katniss in the Arena, used to live, they witness an outbreak of violence when the crowd salutes Katniss. Katniss confesses to Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Peeta what Snow wants, but even when Peeta and Katniss act in love it isn’t enough to stop the rebellion that is rising.

Snow discusses plans to get rid of Katniss with the new head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensby (Philip Seymour-Hoffman). When everything else fails, they decide to send Katniss, with many of the other victors, back into the Arena for the Quarter Quell – a special Hunger Games that happens every 25th year to once again remind the people of Panem the price they pay for the rebellion long ago. How will Katniss and Peeta get out alive a second time with Snow seeking her death?

Rating: I would rate this movie an excellent 9/10.

WOW. Just wow. I finally got to the cinema this weekend to go and see it. There were so many reasons I just couldn’t get to the movies before this, so I went in three weeks later than I had planned. Everyone was declaring it one of THE movies of the year, and absolute must, and I was getting frustrated by not having seen it yet. The internet is such a bastard so I was cautious not to check out too many reviews – I have been burned before. The waiting was well worth it in the end.

It is so rare that a movie is 1) as good as its book 2) better than its prequel and 3) gets me teary eyed. Catching Fire managed all three. It packs a huge emotional punch. Katniss is much more lovable on screen than in the books. In the movies she is just a very confused girl in a horrible world, where fear is so acute she actually doesn’t know how to understand love. There were very few changes made from book to movie. I appreciated that, and have to mention that some of the changes were best for the movie.

Why is it better than Hunger Games (2012)? It is very difficult to pinpoint, but there are just so much more emotions in Catching Fire. It sticks to the story, and what is added doesn’t subtract from the message of the film. All the actors have developed exponentially, most notably Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. She has always been great, but she is so truly Katniss in Catching Fire that you feel that you are right there in the arena with her. Peeta breaks your heart with his kindness, and Gale breaks your heart with his stubborn bravery and pride. The scene where the Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch hear two of them will certainly be sent back into the arena is horrible. It broke my heart. The cruelty of President Snow, and how stupid he was to think that Katniss could stop the revolution, and punishing her when she couldn’t by sending her back into the arena. Effie Trinket got so much more show time and Elizabeth Banks really did well showing her as a frilly Capitol creation, but with a good heart who feels something for them despite her stupid costumes. Some of the scenes (like the poisoned smoke) are utterly disgusting and some (like the monkeys) had me jumping in fright. As you meet characters that will have significant impact later on, you already start grieving for what will happen to them. Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) isn’t the major sex-symbol he is portrayed as in the books, but he is brave, sweet, kind and loyal to Mags. Carrying her on his back reduced me to tears a few times. Plutarch Heavensby was brilliantly done. He has this underhanded brilliance that makes you suspect he is pulling a big one on President Snow – who was once again excellently done by Donald Sutherland.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I beg you to go now. You will be thanking me later.

Xx

Life lately

Morning

If you feel a bit depressed about it being Monday, you are not alone. Welcome to the most loathed day in the week. I really hope it goes well for you.

I’ve been planning: My sister’s bachelorhood. I am excited and very nervous at the same time – I really want things to go well. Also, I have been planning how to get everything done that I need to do… so many things, so little time.

bachelorettes

I’ve been eating: Muesli and Yogurt for breakfast. It is delicious and healthy. Win
I’ve been dreaming about: Having my own car. It will be the best day of my life, I am sure of this.

I’ve been thinking about: How to live life to the fullest, at maximum happiness levels.
I’ve been spending money on: Make-up and toiletries. They are my greatest weakness when it comes to spending money.
I’ve been reading: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Hunger games book

I’ve been watching: Sons of Anarchy obsessively, and in between the Mentalist Season 4. Both are very entertaining.
I’ve been wearing: Lipstick. It is a habit I have to learn. I really think it is a way to look instantly more groomed.
I’m thankful for: My family, my tablet and my driver’s license.
I’m in love with: Charlie Hunnam. Between Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy, he has what it takes.

What have you been up to lately?