Friday, 12 December 2014

Insurgent Trailer Thoughts...

Okay, so the trailer for Insurgent (the second film in the Divergent series) premiered about 4 hours ago, and I have now watched it numerous times!!
Normally, the first time I watch a trailer for a new film I'm looking forward to, there are a lot of tears involved, however, the only thing I could think about Insurgent was how confused I was!! I mean, I was incredibly happy to see Fourtris again on screen, but I hardly recognised any of the scenes. I know it was just a trailer as opposed to the whole film, but I'm beginning to feel slightly worried as to how this will be adapted to the screen.
Divergent's director was Neil Burger, who didn't create a masterpiece out of it, but adapted it from the novel fairly faithfully and did produce an incredible film at the end of the day. However, Neil Burger hasn't stayed on to direct Insurgent and has been replaced by Robert Schwentke, who has been put down to direct both parts of Allegiant, too. Before we even saw a teaser trailer, Schwentke announced that he was adding a new character, Edgar, to the film, who isn't in the books.
It has been quite a while since I read the Divergent books, but I remember liking Insurgent the least out of the three. Since I read it so far back, I can't really remember the specific details of what went on. This won't be a spoilery post, so I'm not going to say what I can remember, but it didn't really match with the trailer. It might just be me, but I don't remember there being a 'box situation' in the book, like there is in the trailer, and I definitely don't recognise some of the other scenes!! This has lead me to believe that Insurgent isn't going to be as faithful an adaptation as its processor, but this doesn't mean to say that it won't be a good film.
I am really excited to see how this film will compare to the book version and to the first Divergent film, but I guess I will have to wait until March to see it. I will definitely be re-reading the whole series before I watch it though as I want to see how  faithfully it will be adapted. I'm confident that it won't live up to the incredibly high bar that Mockingjay Part 1 has sent for the YA Dystopian genre, but we'll have to see...

To see the Insurgent trailer click here.

Well, that's all for now. Bye!

Charlotte xxx

Monday, 1 December 2014

November Reading Wrap-Up

Well, this has been a disappointing month. I'm not really sure why, but it's taken me a long time to read things. Maybe it's because I've been so excited about Mockingjay Part 1 and the run up to Christmas, but I've even had some days in which I've read nothing at all!!! How terrible!!!

Anyway, the books that I have managed to read are...
And that's it!! That totals up to an appalling 2240 pages, averaging at only 75 pages per day!! How awful! But on the brighter side, I have already completed my 2014 Reading Challenge and I'm still 12 books ahead of my end of year target, so it's not too bad!

Obviously I've already read the whole of The Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, I think this was the 12th time I've read it!! So as much as I'd love to write about THG all day, I'm only going to talk about the new books I've read this month.

Will Grayson was the first new book for November. I had high expectations for this book as it was by John Green (who is one of my all time favourite authors!). I hadn't read anything by David Levithan, but had heard great things about his books, so I was really looking forward to reading it, and I wasn't disappointed. While it's definitely as good as other John Green books, Will Grayson was still amazing. I enjoyed the dual narration in it and how the two protagonists had their own unique voices. I thought it was really cleverly written all the way through and gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I would recommend any John Green fans to pick it up (if they haven't already!), but, like his other ones, this book is quite rude, so it's probably not suitable for younger readers.

The Lost Hero was the other new book for this month, which I was really looking forward to reading. I had heard only amazing things about this series and I loved Percy Jackson, so I couldn't wait for this. I loved meeting the new main characters; Jason, Piper and Leo, though I was a little upset that it wasn't narrated by Percy! I had liked Rick Riordan's first person writing so the change to third person in this book was a little upsetting, but it turns out he can write well both ways! It didn't take me too long to get into this book; the start was really strong. However, I thought it was a little boring near the middle. I still carried on reading it, of course, and I loved it in the end, but I thought the middle of the book was slightly tiring. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads and I'm looking forward to continuing with the series!

I intend to read a lot more in December. Hopefully I'm not going to be too distracted by other things! I definitely want to complete the Heroes of Olympus Series, but I would also like to read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and if I get time, Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson.

Hopefully December will be a better month for reading!!


Charlotte xxx

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (Film Review) !!!!!!!!!!

I am not at all embarrassed to say that I had been counting down for almost 600 days for this film.
I would go as far as to say that I am completely obsessed with The Hunger Games books and films, and I was so excited for this one.
Although I would still give it 10 out of 10, Mockingjay was my least favourite book in the trilogy, so I was initially a little worried about how they would adapt it into an amazing film. I needn't have worried though; it was absolutely incredible!!

Before I even arrived at the cinema, I was buzzing with excitement, and ended up quick-stepping into the theatre saying 'We're watching Mockingjay, we're watching Mockingjay!', ignoring the weird looks I was given.

Before I start with the 'spoilery' part, I want to say that anyone who hasn't yet seen Mockingjay needs to forget their plans, drop everything, and run to the nearest cinema (don't forget your tissues!). Honestly, this film was AMAZING and you're missing out on so much!

Right, now on to the review. I warn you now, this part WILL have spoilers in, so if you haven't read Mockingjay and don't want to know what happens or I you have read the book but don't want to know how it's adapted, then in the nicest way possible, please go away!

I loved how the film started. Although it was a different start to the book, it really worked on the screen and for people who were unfamiliar with the book; it explained the situation really well. We revisit Katniss in District 13 when she's in a bad mental state and is really distressed about losing Peeta to the Capitol. She visits District 12 (where the books begins) and realises what has happened to her District.
Katniss visiting her home in District 12
This scene was really disturbing. It was one thing reading about Katniss seeing the skeletons of District 12 citizens, but when I saw the bodies on the screen, I had a hard time holding on to my dinner.

After that, Katniss goes on to accept to role of the Mockingjay and the face of the rebellion. When they realise that Katniss works best when she's thrown into live action (and after an adorable 'Hayfee' moment!!), Katniss is sent to the hospital District 8 to give hope to the injured.
I absolutely loved this part of the film. While seeing the injured wasn't pleasant, I really enjoyed the combat scenes- they were pulled off spectacularly, and Katniss' message to President Snow was really chilling.

Katniss and Gale in District 8
My absolute favourite part of the film was when they re-visited District 12 and Katniss sings 'The Hanging Tree'. This was the part I was anticipating the most- What if they ruined the song? What if Jennifer Lawrence really is a terrible singer? What if it sounds horrible? But I really cannot overrate the song. It was so good. After hearing other people's calming versions of Suzanne Collin's lyrics, it was initially difficult to adjust to the eerie tone of this version. But it really was amazing.
I noticed that the lyrics were slightly different to those in the book, particularly with the change from 'Wear a necklace of rope' to 'Wear a necklace of hope', but this didn't bother me too much, especially since Plutarch explains that it was changed as it was deemed too 'rebellious' to the Capitol. I thought the transition from Katniss singing the song in the woods to the rebels singing it while invading the Capitol was amazing. I'd never expected them to use the song in that way, but it really worked.
And I'm so confused why Jennifer Lawrence was so upset with singing in the film! Am I the only one who thinks she should go into a singing career? Her voice was incredible! I'm so glad that it was actually her who sang it, as opposed to a voice over.

Peeta's heartbreaking message to Katniss
When a message from Peeta is broadcast, indicating that District 13 will be attacked, the whole of the District is sent to an underground shelter. This part of the film is really tense, especially when Katniss is looking for Prim. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I found myself sitting the edge of the seat and crying my eyes out in anticipation. It was a really scary moment.

The rest of the film is mainly about rescuing Peeta and the other victors from the Capitol after Katniss realises that everything she does for the rebellion means further torture for Peeta.  It was really interesting to see how Gale and the team of other volunteers broke into the Capitol, and how the rescue mission actually went, but it was heartbreaking to see the devices used to torture the victors.
However, it was just as interesting to see what was going on in District 13 when the mission was in place. Finnick's story about what happened to him was a really emotional moment.
The scene when Beetee loses connection from the people on the rescue mission and Katniss steps up to talk to and distract President Snow was unexpected, yet really powerful.
I hadn't really realised the full meaning of President Snow's line of "It's the things we love most that destroy us." until this point in the film, and when I did understand the meaning I got quite hysterical!

Then came the part I was dreading. The part when the victors were finally rescued. While it was a relief to see them out of the hands of the Capitol, it was dreadful to see the conditions they were in. Especially Peeta.
We were first shown a glimpse of Johanna, fighting against the people treating her.
Then we saw Annie running towards Finnick, which was a highly emotional scene.
Katniss then saw Gale, who told her that Peeta was back.
I can't even think about what came after that without welling up, but all I'm going to say is that seeing Peeta again was such a horrible experience.
It was a really intense and emotional scene, and there were loud gasps and cries from many people in the cinema (including me!).
I had expected the film to come to a close immediately after Katniss and Peeta 'meet', but it didn't.
Instead, we were shown President Coin telling the citizens of 13 that the victors had been rescued successfully. But, what I did notice, was that he didn't inform them about what really happened with Peeta.
The final scene of Mockingjay Part 1 consisted of Katniss watching Peeta strapped to a bed, thrashing around.

If you haven't already seen this film, you really should go and see it now! I really cannot commend this high enough. It really is incredible. However, this film is disturbing. Really disturbing. There are loads of scenes with dead bodies and skeletons of dead people, along with scenes of public executions, beatings and we can see that Peeta has been tortured past the point of sanity. I would really recommend that young children don't see this film. The rating is a 12A in the UK, but I honestly think it should be higher. I know I was horrified by  few scenes.
Despite all of that, I would give this film 10 out of 10 without a doubt. It really was amazing. I'm not really sure how to compare it with the other two films in the series; it was a lot different to them. I preferred Catching Fire to the first Hunger Games film, but I think Mockingjay Part 1 is equally as incredible.

The acting in this film is incredible, but with such an amazing cast, it was expected to be great. I love how Natalie Dormer portrays Cressida, and Julianne Moore is great as Coin. And, as they always do, Jennifer, Josh and Liam did an amazing job! I think the CGI team also deserve a huge round of applause for their work on this film. While the transformation we see Peeta go on is devastating, it's really realistic, and amazing to think that it was all done with CGI.

Also, I really love the soundtrack to this film. I was initially a little worried about Lorde curating the soundtrack album, but it seems I have been worrying pointlessly. A lot of the songs weren't my taste, but they really did symbolise Mockingjay. I love both of Lorde's songs, and while it's a little different, I really like 'Kingdom' by Charli XCX and Simon Le Bon. It's a great soundtrack for a great film.

 I can't wait to see Mockingjay Part 1 again!!
Only 363 days until Part 2!! Not too long!

On that exciting note, goodbye!
Charlotte xxx

Saturday, 1 November 2014

October Reading Wrap-Up

October has now come to an end, but I have managed to read quite a few books this month. At the start of the year, I set myself a target of just over one book a week and I had aimed to read 60 books in total by the end of December. Two months ahead of schedule, I managed to reach my 60 book target!!
In total, I have read 9 books. These are...
So, that was a total of 3405 pages, at an average of 110 pages per day!
I had already read the whole of the Percy Jackson series, so that was a re-read, but out of the new books I've read...

My favourite of the books has got to be Where She Went, which is the sequel to If I Stay. I didn't do a review of this book, but it was definitely one of the best books I have read this year. I absolutely adored If I Stay, and it had me crying for at least an hour after I had finished the book. I fell in love with Mia's story, so I was so excited to read the sequel from Adam's point of view.
Although it didn't have the life or death factor like the first book, Where She Went was still really sad! I cried a lot!!! The thing that I loved most (yet also found the most frustrating) about the book was the fact that I couldn't guess how it would end. In If I Stay, I really couldn't guess whether Mia would choose to live or die in the end. It was the same for Where She Went; I had no idea of where it would end up!!
I gave this book 5 stars and the only fault I found with it was that it was too short! But, I am happy and satisfied with the ending, and I think Gayle Forman left Adam and Mia in a good place. Where She Went is a must-read if you have read If I Stay!

I can't say that I have a least favourite book for this month. I didn't hate any of them, luckily!


In November, I am hoping to read at least 6 books, but hopefully more. I have already started to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, and then I'm planning on re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, so that I'm all ready for the release of Mockingjay Part 1 (only 20 days to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I also want to make a start on the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, since I haven't yet read this series, and I feel left out of the hype!

Anyway, too many books, too little time, so I'd better get off and make a start on them!!

Charlotte xx

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Maze Runner: Film Review

The first film in The Maze Runner franchise was released in England today, and, as can be expected, I was first in line for a ticket!
I read The Maze Runner series of books, including the prequel, earlier this year, and while I enjoyed the first two books, I must say, I was let down slightly by the others. I gave the first book 4 stars on Goodreads, and although it took me a little while to get into it, I did really enjoy it.
I went into the film without too many expectations; I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as the trailer seemed to portray the film in a different way to what I had imagined. Nevertheless, I had high hopes that it would be a good film.
Overall, the film definitely lived up to the high standard I had expected. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I had expected to. I did notice that there were a lot of major changes from the book to the film, so it wasn't an amazing adaptation, but if you weren't comparing the two, it was a great film!
The film is about a group of boys who, one at a time, find themselves being sent to an unknown place they have nicknamed 'The Glade', which is surrounded by huge walls that open every morning, revealing a huge maze. The boys' memories have been completely wiped, leaving them only knowing their first name. When Thomas arrives in the maze, everything begins to change. Soon, a girl, the first girl, is sent carrying a message, which, simply put, equates to- Get out, or die...
To watch The Maze Runner trailer, click here.

The next part of the review will contain major spoilers for The Maze Runner and possibly the rest of the series. If you don't want to view this, please don't read on!


As I have already said, many things were changed from the book to the film. These are a few of the changes...
1. For the majority of the book, Theresa is in a coma, and The Gladers have a hard time coping with her situation. In the film, Theresa is in a coma to begin with, but wakes up after only a day or two. But, I can see why they did this, as it would cut the film time down a little.
2. Thomas and Theresa don't have telepathic powers, like they do in the book. While Theresa is in a coma, she tries to communicate with Thomas using the telepathic powers they both have. This isn't touched on in the film, though I guess this might have been hard to portray well with quite a small budget.
3. Grievers. I was really surprised to see the Grievers (monsters from the maze) on the screen. When I read the book, I imagined them as walrus-shaped creatures with pincers and spikes, as opposed to the film's spidery-robotic looking scuttling things! However, they weren't described in a huge amount of detail, so the film company can get away with this.
4. In the book, The Gladers discover how to get out of the maze by finding a code in the maps when laying them down on top of each other. In the film, they work it out by finding a number pattern from the maze and use this to unlock a passage out of the maze. The book's version of the code is more clever and intricate, but I think the way the film has done it also works well, and is easier for viewers to understand.
 5. Gally dies at the end?!?! In the book, after Chuck steps in front of Gally's knife aimed at Thomas, Gally is knocked unconscious by Thomas, but isn't dead, and features as an important character in later books. However, in the film, Minho stabs Gally after he shoots Chuck, and we see him dead at the end. My first thought was that he was actually unconscious, rather than dead, but he doesn't appear to be on the cast list on the sequel, on IMDb, so I'm interested in seeing how they pull the other films off without him.

This was just an adaptation though, so we can't expect it to be a complete copy of the book.
Overall, I was really impressed by the film, and the acting was great (from Dylan O'Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster especially!!)

I think The Maze Runner deserves 4 out of 5 for the film. As for an age-rating, I think it would be suitable for age 12 and above, depending on the maturity of the person. There is little bad-language, but there are some quite violent scenes and some of the suspense scenes even had me on the edge of my seat!!

I'm really looking forward to the film coming out on DVD, so I can watch it again!

That's it for the moment! Goodbye!!
Charlotte xx

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Hush, Hush: Series Review

A couple of days ago, I finished Finale, which is the last book in the Hush, Hush series, by Becca Fitzpatrick. I really enjoyed this series, actually more than I had expected to, and I am going to do a review of the series now.

Hush, Hush's narrator is Nora Grey, an average, American school-girl, who was never interested in romance or having a boyfriend. Until, that is, she met Patch. Then everything changed. Everything Nora had thought she that knew was different. And despite her brain telling her to stay away from the mysterious Patch, she couldn't help being drawn to him anyway. Then, there was no going back...

Warning- From this point on, there WILL be Spoilers for ALL of the books in the Hush, Hush Series, so if you haven't read these books and do not want to be spoilt, please, please don't read on!


To be perfectly honest, I thought the first two books in the series were pretty mediocre. I mean, they weren't terrible, but neither were they amazing. The first book is all about Nora being introduced to the new world, and Crescendo, the second book, sees Nora and Patch break up. These kind of plots are fairly common in the YA genre, and tend to occur in a lot of series. At this point in the story, while I was entertained by the novels, they came nowhere near to my favourite books, and I wasn't loving them.
It wasn't until the third book that I really started to love the series. I thought that the situation in this book was amazing, and I can't remember reading anything like this before. The book starts with Nora waking up in a graveyard, having no idea how she got there. She soon discovers that she has been missing for a few months and was kidnapped, but the only problem is, she can't remember a thing. But, not only can Nora not remember what happened to her during her kidnapping, she also can't remember about the world of Fallen Angels and Nephilim, which also meant that she couldn't remember about Patch!
It really helped that this happened in a later book in the series, because it left the readers knowing more than the narrator of the story did, which made reading it quite frustrating, but in a good way! I did, however, think that Becca Fitzpatrick rushed Silence a little bit, and I think she could have made more of a point of Nora's memory loss and the effects of it. But, overall, I thought Silence was really good!
I thought that Finale, the last book in the series, really wrapped things up nicely. While some bits were quite predictable, in my opinion, it worked well. I had never expected to be crying at all in this series, so when tears were streaming down my cheeks by the end, I was quite surprised! I'm still in denial about what happened to Scott, and to be honest, I found his death pretty unnecessary. I thought that Becca Fitzpatrick just killed him off because she felt that someone needed to go. But other than that, I thought the ending was good, and the last lines really made me giggle!!

So, overall, I thought the series was good. I would like to say they were excellent, but I thought that the writing was quite sloppy, and the scenes jumped around a little too much. In some parts, I found it difficult to understand quite what was going on, though this may have had something to do with me reading it far too late into the night! But, I thought the idea of the series was really good, and I enjoyed reading about the characters. 
I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and paranormal books, but who maybe hasn't read a great deal of books in that genre, as it could be viewed as a bit predictable. 

To see what I think of other books, click here and take a peek at my Goodreads page!

That's all for now! Bye!
Charlotte xx

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Welcome Message

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

My name is Charlotte and, if you haven't already guessed by the title, I completely adore books! Since the age of five or six, I have found myself utterly absorbed in books, and throughout my years, I have developed quite a collection of them! 

My list of favourite books is far too long to write down, but the books at the very top of the list include the Harry Potter Series, by J K Rowling, The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, and any book by John Green! I love most of the books in the YA genre, along with Fantasy, Sci-fi, Contemporary and the odd Historical Fiction book. 

My reason for creating this blog is so that I can share my thoughts on books with like-minded individuals (who hopefully won't think I'm crazy!), write book-reviews, and maybe even get a few recommendations!

Anyway, I'd better be off to do some reading!

Until the next post... Goodbye!!

Charlotte xx