Sunday, 23 November 2014

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker: Review

Beware the WildTitle: Beware the Wild
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Publisher: HarperTeen
Buy this book: Amazon

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance. 
I have to be honest and say that the first thing that made me want to read this book was the cover. I have so much love for the cover, I'd buy the book just so I could have that on my shelf. But I was definitely sold on the book the minute I read the summary, it sounded like the perfect creepy read, and I liked the idea of the Louisiana swamp setting. Beware the Wild delivered on being a quick, enjoyable and entertaining read. I had my issues with it, but it was an enjoyable book nonetheless.

Sterling Saucier has lived her whole life in Sticks, a small town that has always been fearful of the swamp and the stories surrounding it. They've built fences to surround it and no one enters it, because those that do don't come back. After a fight with Sterling, her brother Phin  jumps the fence and disappears into the swamp. Sterling watches and waits for her brother to return, but instead she sees a girl appear from the swamp and walk into her house. No one remembers her brother, instead they believe that Lenora May is her sister. Even Sterling herself has memories of growing up with Lenora May, but she can also remember her brother, even if nobody else can. The only person who will believe Sterling is Heath Durham, someone who says he lost his best friend to the swamp and he's the only person who remembers. Together they are determined to figure out the secrets of the swamp, who Lenora May really is and what they must do to get back what the swamp has taken.

Clearly proof that swamps are evil!
The beginning of this story was so good, I was so impressed and completely hooked. The moment Lenora appears from the swamp and goes walking into Sterling's house like she owned the place, it was the perfect moment. It was creepy and I couldn't wait to continue reading to see where the story was going to go. I was a little disappointed with the story once we reached the halfway mark, there was a little twist to the story that was easy to see coming. The story didn't keep the creepy atmosphere that I felt at the beginning of it.  It was good and the end concludes the story, it just didn't blow me away or end in that big bang style climax that I was hoping for. I was really hoping the creepy swamp element would work for me, I've not been a fan of swamps since that scene in The Neverending Story! *cries*

Sterling is a character that I am still unsure as to whether I like or not. The one thing I did appreciate about her character was the way her eating disorder was handled. Sterling hasn't really been eating since she found out her brother is going to be leaving and attending college. She knows what she's doing, but no matter how much people tell her to eat, she can't. She's lost weight, but she doesn't feel hungry and she doesn't worry about food. I liked the fact that it's shown that an eating disorder isn't always about being thin. That t's made clear that that's never been Sterling's goal. Her eating disorder is something that's caused by stress and the feeling of having something you can actually control. I liked that that's made clear in this.

There's a romance in this, but it never takes over the story. I thought the romance was cute enough, and I really liked Heath's character. I really did appreciate the fact that the romance is never the important thing on either characters mind. They both realise that there are far more important things to worry about given their current situation. Another character that I really loved was Sterling's best friend, Candy, because she really made me laugh. She brought a lot more fun to the story.

3/5 Butterflies

I enjoyed this story, but it didn't blow me away. It wasn't as creepy as I thought it was going to be. Lenora May was a character that wasn't what I was hoping for, that left me quite disappointed. This book had a brilliant start but it went a bit messy by the halfway point. I enjoyed it, everything about it is good but it just isn't what I was hoping for. The book is very fast-paced and the writing worked to make me unable to put it down, so I read it in one sitting. It's a story that I would recommend because even though it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was still a good read. It has the added bonus of being a standalone!

*I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

My Weekly Book Haul: 22/11/2014


Friday Finds is something that was started over on ShouldBeReading and Stacking the Shelves over at TyngaReviews, I am in love with all of these as I love finding other blogs to follow and books to read through these! So check them all out and see what you find, Stacking the Shelves has a lot of participants as well which is great. This is basically a way for me to show what books I have received, borrowed or bought each week. All book covers and their summary come from back of book or Goodreads.

I took two weeks off from the blog because my every day life was getting in the way. It has a habit of doing that. If only I could sit at home all day and just read books and blog. But apparently I have to do this thing called 'work', so I can pay bills and buy Christmas presents. Le sigh.
               I've actually really missed blogging and it feels nice to finally be back. I spent a lot of my time away at work, or with family, or reading. And then spent most nights until the early hours of the morning watching The Blacklist, which I am now addicted to. It's AMAZING!

It's quite good to be known as the girl who loves reading. It means that people you barely know will gift you books for no apparent reason. This week some kind person bought these beauties in for me at work. 

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) Torn (The Trylle Trilogy, #2) Ascend (Trylle, #3)
Switched, Torn and Ascend by Amanda Hocking
Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she's not the monster her mother claimed she is, she does feel that she doesn't quite fit in. The new girl in High School, Wendy is bored and frustrated by her small-town life -- and then there's her secret, her mysterious ability -- she can influence people's decisions, without knowing how, or why ...When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night, her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist: Forening, the home of the Trylle. Among the Trylle she is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But dark forces are conspiring -- not only to separate them, but to see the downfall of everything that Wendy cares about...
I actually already own this trilogy, so I'm trying to work out what to do with the spare set. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Five Friday Favourites: Favourite Cover Changes

Five Friday Favourites is a weekly event hosted by Book Badger, where once a week, a five favourites subject is posted and everyone is welcome to join in. You can find out more about Five Friday Favourites and the future subjects here.

Favourite Cover Changes

The first thought that came to my mind was mid-series cover changes, which can be really frustrating but necessary in some cases. But then I started to think of cover changes that were made after the series were completed as well. Some cover changes are just incredible and I have rebought whole series I already own, just so I can have the beautiful new covers on my shelf. Yes, I am that person.

The Harry Potter Series

Jonny Duddle should be given medals. All of the medals! For me, the Harry Potter covers have always been the original Bloomsbury covers. They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I think they're ridiculously ugly. I mean, come on, have you seen Ron and Harry in that Chamber of Secrets cover? *shudders* But they were the originals and they have always been the Harry Potter covers to me. They have redone the covers so many times, but I'd never really loved any of the others either. Until Jonny Duddle created these amazingly beautiful covers! They're just gorgeous, capture some important scenes and I love the colours.

The Anna and the French Kiss Series

I know a lot of people didn't like the new Anna covers. They thought they were boring or didn't really say much about the story inside, like the originals did. But they needed to do something, because those original covers are embarrassing. It took me years to finally pick up Anna, that original cover had put me off so much. I like the new covers, I think they look beautiful sitting next to one another. I think the new covers won't put readers off picking the book up. 

Shatter Me 

What is that first cover even supposed to be? Nope! I don't even care if pretty eyes have nothing to do with this story, the new cover is stunning. S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G. And the rest of the series has equally stunning covers that much. Best cover change decision ever. Some girl in dress covers pull it off and are brilliant, Shatter Me was not one of those covers. Eyeballs for the win!

Throne of Glass

I love the UK covers, but the colours on the US hardcovers for the rest of the series were lovely. I wanted the series in hardback, but they only had the ugly US original for Throne of Glass. So of course, as soon as I buy the books in paperback, they release the new hardback cover to match the others in the series. I hate them! The original cover is just terrible and would not have made me want to pick that book up. That girl does not look like a scary assassin that is capable of slitting my throat. She also doesn't really look like Celeana is described. 

His Dark Materials Series

I was browsing a bookshop one day when I saw these on display. I already own the whole series, but I had to have them. They are so stunning when you see them in person, parts of each cover are shiny and the colours are perfect. I liked that they kept elements from the old covers, the items they chose as well as the colour choice for each. The new covers are stunning, but they are easily recognisable as His Dark Materials. 

Book Blogger Problems #2: Co-Blogging or Going Solo?
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios: 2/5 Review
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: 3/5 Review

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Review

This is a weekly meme that I am hosting here at Reviews from a Bookworm. To take part all you have to do is share a movie review once a week, link back to Reviews from a Bookworm and add your link to the linky tool.

This weeks movie review will be for:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Okay, now for the really hard part. It's time to try and put my feelings about this movie into actual words. It's so much harder than I thought it would be, I wasn't expecting the movie to be that good. Rereading the book, which I reviewed here, had actually made me so nervous to see the film. The book is actually quite disappointing and unsatisfying, it's really slow going in the beginning and most of the action doesn't happen till the last quarter. I couldn't understand why they chose to split it in two, I didn't see what they could really do with the first half. But, shame on me, I never should have doubted them. When they made a movie adaptation as truly amazing as Catching Fire, I should have known they wouldn't disappoint me.

Everyone involved in turning these books into movies have earned my love and respect. This is how you adapt a book for the big screen. They stick so closely to the book, there's no big changes or deviations. But they are willing to make the subtle changes that are needed to make it work on screen. They make the subtle changes that manage to turn the most boring part of the book seem completely riveting. It made me realise that the biggest problem with the book wasn't the plot, it was dealing with Katniss and her narration.

The movie starts where we all knew it would, in District 13. Katniss is suffering from PTSD, as well as Finnick. She's survived a lot, but she's struggling to deal with the fact that she made it out of the Games and Peeta didn't. She's consumed with thoughts about what the Capitol could have done to him. And she's reluctant to take on the role that she's unwillingly put herself in, and that's the role of the Mockingjay. The symbol of rebellion and hope to all the Districts that want to fight back. She needs a purpose to do it, something to motivate her and that's Peeta. The hope that she can free him from the Capitol and rescue him. That's what gets her to finally step into the role, to fight back and take on Snow.

I'd been trying to figure out how to review this film all the way home from the cinema. I am still unsure. I can honestly say that I can't really think of anything to complain about. There isn't something I can point out and say that I didn't enjoy. I thought it would be really slow going, it wasn't. I thought it might drag and not much would happen, but I couldn't get enough and the time seemed to fly by. I knew the end was coming, I could feel it, but I didn't want the credits to roll. I needed the movie to continue, I needed part 2. How we're supposed to wait a year is beyond me.

By this point, I don't think you need me to say that the acting was superb. We've pretty much come to expect it now, we don't need to sit through the painful moments that could happen watching some adaptations (*cough* Twilight *cough*). Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, as always, especially when portraying how broken and torn Katniss is. She's struggling with so much in this movie and you can really feel it. This movie actually had me choking up at times, something I seriously wasn't expecting. Josh Hutcherson gets all of my applause, love and respect. His performance is phenomenal and watching him seemed to physically hurt. Why would you do that to me? Why?

The atmosphere in this film is a lot darker than the last two. And that's saying a lot, the last two were about people having to just slaughter other people. But this time you really feel like the Games are over, the real battle has begun. There's so much more at stake this time then whether or not Katniss or Peeta will make it. I loved how intense it felt, with the music playing a huge role in building the tension. But, with 100% honesty, what I loved most was that we got to see things we missed in the book. Katniss isn't as completely incompetent in this as she was in the book, but she still has to sit out on things. But the movie isn't restricted to just following Katniss, so we get to go where the action goes. We get to see what's happening in the Districts and we get to go on the missions that I wanted to see so badly in the books. This delivers on the action that was so needed in the book.

I'm sorry, I can't coherently review this film. I'm trying so hard not to spoil anything for people who haven't read the books. I'm sure those people exist somewhere, living under a rock. But, for those who have read the books, all I can say is Peeta. Oh, Peeta! That boy is breaking my heart. Nope, that boy broke my heart. It's completely broken and I don't know what to do. That ending. THAT ENDING! Nooooo. Just give me Part 2, please.

9/10 Butterflies

I haven't really got any complaints about this film, but I'm saving my 10. I need it for Part 2! At least, I really hope I do. This movie exceeded all of my expectations and showed me that I never should have doubted. I questioned why they were making two movies, I felt the book only required one. I was so wrong. What I thought was a decision based on making money actually proved to be necessary to tell the story right. I can't imagine them trying to get everything into one film. I understand now why they chose to make this into two films and I love them for it. I am left completely wanting more and completely confident that the next film won't disappoint me. This was dark, emotional and really upsetting at times. My poor feels could barely stand it by the end. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games #3): Review

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Title: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost. (Goodreads summary.)

At 6pm tonight, I'll be sitting in the cinema waiting for the The Hunger Games triple bill to start! I'll get to watch all three movies back to back, and I can't wait. That meant that I felt compelled to go reread the series again. I have a little confession though, I've read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire multiple times, but I'd only read Mockingjay the once. I'd avoided rereading it because of how much I remember feeling disappointed with the final book. But, with the movie coming out, I wanted to see if it was better than I remembered and try to prepare myself for what they'd include in the first half of the film.