Sunday, 14 June 2015

Mockingjay- Part 2 Trailer Thoughts...

Last Tuesday, the brand new teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 was released and, as can be expected, I am more than excited! I am a little late with posting this review as it has taken so long for me to calm down and compose my thoughts, but better late than never!!
After hearing on Monday that the trailer was set to be released on Tuesday, I had been sitting at my laptop refreshing the screen EVERY 30 SECONDS - I'm not crazy, I promise! - waiting for it to be released!!! After just a few hours of me frantically searching, I was rewarded with being one of the very first people to see the trailer following its release onto YouTube!

If you have not yet seen the trailer, I seriously suggest you follow the link below before you read any further because you're missing out on so much!!
Link to the trailer!!!

If you don't already know, I am completely and utterly crazy about The Hunger Games series. I have read each of the books at least 12 times now and have seen the films way more times than I would like to admit! I have been counting down for Mockingjay Part 2 for nearly 1000 days now (I know- I can't believe it either!) and with only 159 days to go, I can't believe how close it really is, especially when it feels like the trailer for Catching Fire was released only months ago!!
Each of the films was absolutely incredible and became my favourite films for each year they were released. While Catching Fire will probably always be my favourite of the films, Mockingjay Part 1 completely blew me away and I loved every bit of it - well, maybe except the super traumatic ending!! Since Part 1 was just so amazing (you can read my review for it by clicking here!), I have insanely high expectations for Part 2.

The teaser trailer did not let me down!

*Spoilers for Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer*

The trailer began with Finnick and Annie's wedding, which I must say, I was not expecting.  I had a suspicion that this part would be left out of the film, so I was over the moon when I saw this! While it wasn't exactly how I had pictured the event, it did seem really faithful to the book, and I especially loved the scene where Katniss dances with Prim later on in the trailer.

I loved seeing Effie in the trailer! At first, I had to do a double take because she looks so different to herself in Part 1, but she does look back to her normal self, which is great! I was so happy that they let Effie appear more in the Mockingjay films, since she's only in the end of the book. I think she adds an amazing touch of humour to what would otherwise be an insanely dark and depressing film, and I love her character so much!

Watching Peeta, even in the tiny scene he had in the trailer, nearly broke my heart into two. I found it so hard to read about him in this book, and I still have to cover my eyes during his scene in Part 1 (You know the one I mean!) because it upsets me too much! I'm almost dreading seeing him in this film because I know I won't be able to hold it together! That being said, it was so nice for him to make an appearance - even a small one - in this trailer so that we can see that he's on the road to recovery!

Is this the all-important shooting scene at the end?

The battle scenes in the Capitol looked so cool and really well done. I really hope that the film doesn't depend too much on CGI to bring the ratings up (ahem, Insurgent!), but from the looks of this trailer, the film will revolve more around the story than fight scenes and special effects.

Some scenes in the trailer really gave me the chills...
In particular was the scene with President Snow, which *SPOILERS* looks to be in his gardens when Katniss goes to find him after the battles. His line of 'Make no mistake, the game isn't over' really freaked me out! I thought Donald Sutherland was perfect for the role of President Snow and has played it so well so far! I really, really hope he is just as good in this last instalment and I can't wait to see how the end is played out with him. I hope it's just as good, if not better, than the book!
Finnick's last line of the trailer, which is actually Katniss' line in the book, was a really powerful ending line and I'm so glad it was included as it is one of my favourite quotes from the book in terms of what it stands for.

Also, on the subject of Finnick...

In the book, we know that Finnick is said goodbye to thanks to a pack of mutts (sniff sniff!!), however, Suzanne Collins has said that she regrets writing this, and there have been many rumours going around that Finnick will actually survive. In the trailer, when Katniss is running through the streets of the Capitol away from the oil spillage, Finnick can be seen in the background. Most of the scenes in the Capitol take place after Finnick leaves us (sniff sniff!!), so the fact that he can be seen in this part has made a lot of people question his fate. I am in two minds about my feelings towards this. On one hand, I love Finnick - he's one of my absolute favourite characters ever and I was distraught after what happened to him! But on the other hand and at the end of the day, this is a book to film adaptation and I think they have really got to stick to the book's plot! Does anybody else agree?
After careful viewing, there's a chance that the scene with Finnick could just be the testing simulation scene where soldiers are trailed before they're assigned a Squad, which Finnick doesn't appear in in the book, but it might explain this scene. We'll just have to wait and see...

If there was one thing this trailer is missing, I think it's Johanna. I'm pretty sure she didn't appear at all in the trailer, and since she had such a big role in the book, I'm quite worried that they're going to cut some of her scenes out. I feel like Johanna is a really important character in this book, both for Katniss' recovery and to show exactly how much damage was done by President Snow. I really hope she does make more of an appearance in the full film, but I doubt she'll get a huge part.

I really cannot wait for this film. I am so excited and am really, really looking forward to seeing how the whole thing turns out. But at the same time, I am dreading the whole event.
For the last few years, all I seem to have been doing is counting down for the next instalment or avidly searching for new stills, trailers, or just information! But not only am I not looking forward to that part of my life disappearing, I don't feel ready for this series to come to a close.
I was so glad when it was decided that Mockingjay would be split into two parts, because that gave us more content and longer to wait until the whole series ended. But now, at only 159 days away until the end, I am almost dreading it being over!!
However, I feel certain that the film will be absolutely amazing, if not perfect. I am confident that everything is going to be handled really well and at the end of it all, a great film will be produced and Mockingjay Part 2 will live on as one of the greatest films of all time.

On that note, goodbye!

Charlotte xxx

Monday, 8 June 2015

May Reading Wrap Up

In April, I discovered a huge pile of romance books sitting on my shelves that I had yet to read, which is why I named the month of May as my Month of Romance!
Not all of the books I read this month were actually hard-core romance, but they did all have an element of it somewhere. All in all, I managed to read 10 books in May.
These were...
In total, I read 3160 pages in May, which is quite a lot less that what I usually get through, but still means that I've averaged out at reading roughly 102 pages per day, which is still slightly above my aim.

I have already reviewed a few of these books! If you would like to read my reviews, please click on the links!
Just One Day Duology Review
Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy Review 

I was also lucky enough to meet one of my favourite authors, Sarah J. Maas in the month of May!!! If you want to read about that, click here!

Here are some other reviews for the books I read in May...

A Street Cat Named Bob is not really the kind of book I tend to read. Other than Marley & Me, by John Grogan, I haven't really read non-fiction books (unless they're companions to films!) and the ones I do read don't often make much of an impression. This book was an exception to that generalisation.
A Street Cat follows the life of James Bowen, a busker on the streets of London, who was managing a drug problem and struggling to survive with the harsh conditions until a scruffy ginger cat strolled into his life and refused to shift. This is the story of how the cat, whom he quickly named 'Bob', changed his life completely.

This was such a lovely story. It was really heart-warming and gave a great insight into somebody else's life. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and really did change my views about certain topics. The only problem I had with it was the writing. From what I understand, James didn't completely write this book- it was ghost-written, which I don't have too much of a problem with in non-fiction books. However, the writing still wasn't incredibly captivating and I felt like it didn't completely do the story justice.
Nevertheless, it still was a really lovely story and I awarded it 4 stars. I would recommend A Street Cat Named Bob to most people, but particularly those who like an inspiring story... and cats!!

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in a new series by the amazing Sarah J. Maas! I had recently read and loved the Throne of Glass series, so when I discovered that a new series would be released, I was so excited and read it almost as soon as it was released!
In this take on Beauty and the Beast, Feyre is a huntress who is only thinking of how well her family will be fed when she kills a wolf in the woods. But Feyre soon realises that what she killed wasn't really a wolf- he was a faerie, and she had murdered him. Suddenly, Feyre finds herself dragged to a magical kingdom for her punishment, unable to leave or see her family ever again. However, it's not all doom and gloom. Feyre's captor isn't all he seems, and soon she discovers feelings for him as the lands become a dangerous place for her. If Feyre doesn't fight to break an ancient curse, she risks losing him forever.

This book was spectacular! I loved every single part of it- The plot was really captivating and I could never really tell what was going to happen next. I loved Feyre as a protagonist. She kind of reminded me of Katniss Everdeen (which is a GREAT thing!) and was just so fierce and strong as a character, yet still sensitive in her own way. Tamlin was a fantastic character and I absolutely adored reading about him- he was so hot!!!
A Court of Thorns and Roses actually turned out to be more of a New Adult book as opposed to being Young Adult, and even though I haven't read all that many New Adult books, I loved it just as much as my precious YA genre! The whole thing was just great and I can't wait until the next book comes out so that I can continue this trilogy.
I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Throne of Glass, but also to fans of high fantasy books like The Mortal Instruments.

I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith. It was pretty much your average romance novel plot.
When Hadley missed her flight to England for her Dad's wedding to a woman she's never even met, she believes her luck has pretty much disappears. But a lot can happen in a matter of 24 hours, so Hadley discovers, especially when you have an 8 hour flight sitting next to an attractive boy...
Soon, Hadley discovers that her time in London may not be as dreadful as it had initially sounded and she might even begin to enjoy it...

While I didn't think this book was anything too incredible, I did think that it was a really nice, feel-good romance. It was quite short and maybe a little predictable at times, but was really fun to read and I really did enjoy it. I would recommend The Statistical Probability to fans of romances who want a happy book to read!

That's all for this month, but I should be back with more posts and reviews soon!

Bye bye!

Charlotte xxx

Monday, 1 June 2015

Anna and the French Kiss: Series Review

The Anna and the French Kiss Series is a delicious trilogy of romance novels by the amazing Stephanie Perkins.
I am honestly at a loss as to where I should even begin with this review! All of these books were just so amazing that I have had a hard time in collecting all my thoughts about them!

The trilogy is made up of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After. Despite their slightly cheesy titles, these books were incredibly heart-warming and such a delight to read. If you haven't read them, I seriously suggest that you pick them up as soon as possible and delve into the gorgeous stories because you're really missing out!

Anna Oliphant barely knows a single word of French, but this doesn't stop her father from sending her all the way to Paris to finish High School on her own,  tearing her away from her job, friends, and crush-who-may-soon-become-boyfriend. Alone in an unfamiliar country, Anna is forced to make new friends, including the irresistible √Čtienne St. Clair. However, he's already taken, and Anna might be too. Can she find romance in the City of Love, and after almost a year of failed attempts, will she get her French kiss?

I have got to admit, I expected this book to be insanely cheesy from the beginning to the end. I didn't expect to like it, and I suspected that it would just be another of those silly and unrealistic romances. Thankfully, I was completely wrong!
Yes, okay, the first few chapters gave off a few cheesy touches, but after everything was set out and the story really began, things really picked up.
It normally takes me quite a while to really fall in love with characters, but I quickly grew to love Anna, and fell in love with St. Clair even faster! They were just perfect! In fact, everything about this book was stunning- the writing, the characters, the plot... Need I go on?
Like all books, there were a few flaws in Anna and the French Kiss. I personally felt that Anna could sometimes be a little abrupt with people, and I got irritated with St. Clair on occasions for remaining with Ellie, however, these problems didn't last and were resolved by the end of the book, when everything ended in such a perfect way!
What I really liked about this book was that, even though it was a romance and it was incredibly cute, it wasn't just a romance. Anna, St. Clair and all the characters really, faced real life issues and had to deal with a lot more than many people. Both the characters and their loves were completely relatable, and I think they're probably as true to real life as you're going to get from a fiction book!

I'm not including a 'spoiler alert' into this review because all of the books centred on different characters and don't completely follow on from each other, but if you really don't want to know what happens in the sequels, this is the point where you should stop reading this review!

Lola and the Boy Next Door is set in the sunny San Francisco, where Lola Nolan, a budding creator of crazy outfits, lives with her two Dads. With her rockstar boyfriend and unconventional family, Lola's life has never been normal, however, when the Bell twins - Cricket and Calliope - move back next door and uncover a part of Lola's past that she'd spent so long trying to forget, her life becomes as unpredictable as her outfits!

I personally didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first one. Don't get me wrong, it was a perfectly good book, and had I not already read Anna and the French Kiss, I probably would have given it 5 stars instead of only 4. However, comparing it to Anna, I wasn't as in love with this book.
I really loved the story line of this book; the whole thing was really enjoyable to read and I thought all the twists and turns of the plotline were really fitting to and made it a great read. I particularly liked the whole situation with Lola's birth mum, even if it wasn't great for Lola, because, like in Anna and the French Kiss, it meant that the book revolved around real-life issues as opposed to just focusing on a love story.
I was never really sure what to make of Lola's relationship with Max- I didn't hate him (well, until the end!), but I never really liked him either. It wasn't as if I was completely against their relationship, because at the start of the book, they seemed good together, but I suppose I just didn't see it working.
What let this book down for me was actually the characters. I really did like Lola, but I just wasn't able to relate to her as well as I had related to Anna. Cricket was my main issue, though. I really don't know why I didn't like him as much because there wasn't anything wrong with him that I could see. He did seem like a really nice person altogether and felt right for Lola, so I really don't know why I didn't like him all that much, but there was just something that I wasn't a fan of within him.
That being said, I think that if I hadn't already have read Anna I would have rated this book a lot higher, because it really was a great book for me, and I did thoroughly enjoy it. But with having something to compare it to, it just didn't reach the standard the first book had set. I'm hoping this will change, as it often does, when I read the series again!

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the last book in the trilogy, and like the first book, the main setting is in the School of America in Paris. In fact, the main characters in this book were also in the first, however they had less of a role in that book. 
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on Josh since she laid eyes on him. After an unexpected encounter in a Manhattan Café, romance may be closer than Isla thinks. However, as they begin their senior years in France, they're faced with threat new threat and uncertainty of their futures, and the possibility of being forced apart. Will there be a happily ever after for Isla?

I cannot even being to describe my love for this book. It was everything I wanted and everything I didn't know I wanted! It really was the icing on the cake for this trilogy!
I loved Isla as a character; she made me laugh, she made me cry, she was just wonderful! But of all the guys in this series, I must say that Josh was my favourite. I don't quite know why I loved him so much, but I completely fell for him from the very beginning!
Like in all of the books of this series, the plotline was absolutely stunning. I was gripped from the first page and read with such intensity that I'm actually quite surprised I didn't damage my eyes! The writing in these books is also incredible- it really made the books what they are!
I really loved the whole idea of their trip to Barcelona for a night; it was rather unexpected but still fit with the rest of the story, and even though I did suspect what the consequences of this trip would be, it didn't stop my heart from thumping so loudly that I swear people could actually hear it when it actually happened and they went home.
And as for the ending... (SPOILERS!!!)
When the inevitable occurred, I could almost feel my heart breaking into two. I was so angry at Isla for being too suspicious and I think I did actually yell out loud to her at one point! I was so desperate for her to pick up Josh's calls and apologise.
But that whole ending just blew me away. When she finally met up with Josh again and met the rest of the 'gang', I sensed that everything would resolve in a good way, so when (SPOILER ALERT!!!) St. Clair proposed to Anna on the top of that hill, my eyes did well up! But finally, when Josh gave Isla his finished graphic novel, and everything just played out the same way I was just too happy for words!!

This whole series really blew me away with how fantastic it was. I hadn't expected much from this series, so its amazingness sneaked up on me for a little while! I really can't put into words as to how much I adore this series, so you'll just have to try it for yourself!
If you're a fan of romances, I'm confident that you'll fall head-over-heels in love with these books, as I did, but even if you're not too fussed about them, I really recommend that you give this series a try - you never know what will happen!

That's all for now but I'll have more reviews up soon!

Charlotte xxx