Welcome to The Romantic Scholar, a book review blog. Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you enjoy your stay.

After an eight month long hiatus, I am back. And I could not be more excited about it.

***My comments are located at the top of my posts***

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Overall Rating:
5/5 (Can I give it a 6??)

Age Recommendation:
Same as my recommendation for The Hunger Games. A strong reader who can handle mass amounts of violence and gore. This one steps it up a bit from the first book, but not by so much that I would recommend an older reader.

Cover Art:
Again, much like the first book in the series, the art remains very simplistic. The single Mockingjay pin is significant to the story and the characters. As well as it is significant to the reader supporting the districts. It still doesn't give any anything or lend any ideas to the story that could potentially mislead the reader.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

My Thoughts:
The Quarter Quell is here. In the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, we find ourselves being forced into yet another terrifying Games. This time, however, the odds are a little different. Because Katniss and Peeta won the 75th games, The Capitol attempts to exact revenge by creating a few special rules for this Quarter Quell. Only victors will be chosen as tributes. And we all know what that means. For District 12, there are only three victors. Who will be forced to fight to the death this time? I'm sorry, but you'll have to read to find that one out for yourself.

Once again, Suzanne Collins kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting in insane anticipation as to what would happen next. I could not be happier that Eli turned me on to this series. The writing is incredibly captivating while remaining simple enough to read in one go without getting a head rush from having to think too much.

I am even more invested in these characters than I thought before. And in my review of Mockingjay, I'll tell you who my favorite character of the entire series is. (Don't want to give away too much here, now do I?) The re-readability factor of this book is completely unlimited. I sense that no matter how many times I read this book, it will have a similar effect that the Harry Potter novels had. It will never get old and I will always be able to find something new that I didn't catch before.

I can't wait to get to Mockingjay which is sitting right beside me, waiting for me to pick it up. Catching Fire has such a cliffhanger that you can't not already have Mockingjay in your possession by the time you complete Catching Fire.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Purchased from store 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Okay, so I just got back from the midnight release of The Hunger Games. I have to say, I was quite impressed by the work done to make this film work. It was quite the spectacle. Being the midnight premiere, people do some interesting things. Dressing up is one. And I am proud to say that I was a part of that. It was a whole group effort. Some of us, myself included, just went as tributes. We had a Katniss, and Effie, a Rue, and a Foxface. The fun part of this cosplaying, is seeing all the other people who dressed up for the occasion. But the costuming isn't what I really want to talk about here. I want to talk about the film and the experience that went along with it.

We saw the film in a Regal RPX theater. For those of you who don't know, RPX is the Regal equivalent of IMAX. Huge screen, amazingly comfortable seats, and exceptional sound quality, this theater made the experience of seeing this film so much more amazing. With the crazy camera angles and movement, the enhanced screening made it much easier to follow than how a standard screen would have been.

The crazy camera work that was done was very effective at creating the sense of chaos that was enveloping the arena. It created a sense of desperation that otherwise would heave only been interpreted by dialogue and the characters portrayal. While at times it did make me dizzy and slightly annoy me, I think that it really added to how the audience interpreted the emotions felt by those in the arena.

Now, what everyone is waiting for. How did the movie hold up against the book?

Well, to be honest, they did a fairly good job of staying true to the book. The changes made by the filmmakers for the most part were done in the best interest of the film and I think that for the sake of being a movie, they were well advised. There were some things that were left out that only made sense if the viewer had in fact read the books or did some serious research before going to see the film. My boyfriend accompanied me to the film. He had not read any of the books and I found myself explaining quite a few different aspects of the film that were left out. Things about the history of Katniss' family and the history of the districts and The Capitol. However, the film has convinced him to read the books. As I'm sure it has done for so many of the viewers.

All in all, I'd say that this is one of the better film adaptations of a novel and I cannot wait until Catching Fire comes out. Rumored to be November 22, 2013. Let's hope that they stay on track!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Overall Rating:

Age Recommendation:
I would recommend this book to any strong reader who can handle violence and gore. The writing itself is not difficult to grasp.

Cover Art:
The cover art is extremely simple. I really like this since it does not lend any outside interpretations into the book, while it still supplies an eye catching cover to attract interest. I am also incredibly fond of this cover art because of the meaning that it has for the novel as well as the fact that it does not give away any hints to the story.

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated.

As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Katniss' sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. 

My Thoughts:
While this is incredibly similar to the plot of Battle Royale, there are quite a few significant differences. The first is that this book is not the end of the tale. Battle Royale is solely about sending children into battle against one another where only one can live because of the uprising that children have had against adults. Similarly, in The Hunger Games, children are sent into the battlefield once a year as a tribute to remind all districts of the mistakes they made when they attempted to revolt against The Capitol. The difference is that The Hunger Games is not only about sending these children off to war. The significance of the story is much greater than that and has an immensely important message to be taken away by the reader.

When I sat down with this book, I was sucked into a world of which I could not escape. While Katniss is slightly annoying due to her whiny personality, I found myself growing fond of her and her family as I got to know them. Because of the superb writing that Collins has given us, I found myself in Katniss' place in the games.

The use of description in this book is so incredibly vivid that I felt as though I was watching a film. When Katniss felt pain, so did I. I honestly did not think that I would be so sucked into this book after finding out how similar it was to Battle Royale, but after reading both, the differences are enough to where I can have a separate place for both.

Collins kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book, anticipating what would happen next. I have to say that I am so greatful to have jumped on The Hunger Games bandwagon after all three books have been published because after reading this one, I definitely had to immediately dive into the next.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Pages: 384
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 14, 2008
Purchased from store

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Overall Rating:

Age Recommendation:
This book is such an easy read that I would say that any strong independent reader would be able to handle this book very well. The subject matter is nothing that I would consider too inappropriate for someone over the age of 12.

Cover Art:
The cover says it all. Actually, I was fairly judgmental about this book when I saw the cover. Which, of course, breaks the cardinal rule of reading. Don't judge a book by its cover. The cover of this book definitely did its job of catching my eye. And after reading, I really like how is gives a teaser of what this book is going to be about. It's also a very good portrayal of the character's personalities.

What if your soul mate is...your best friend's boyfriend?

Lani and Erin are lifelong best friends--and total opposites. Lani's a down-to-earth Taurus; Erin's a fiery Leo. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. They've always had wildly different tastes, from pizza toppings to guys.

That is, until Erin starts dating Jason.

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the the amazing connection she feels with him. It's like they've known each other their whole lives. She's not sure if he feels it, too--but even if he does, he's off limits. Lani's determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than hurt her best friend.

Then Erin goes away for the summer--and Jason seems to appear everywhere Lani turns. How long can she keep running from the guy who might just be the love of her life?

My Thoughts:
Would you ever steal your best friend’s boyfriend? What if you believed that you had more in common with him than she did? What if you believed in fate, and your fate was aligned with his? What if he was your soul mate?

That’s how it is for Lani. She and Erin are best friends. And now Lani is finding herself falling for Jason, Erin's boyfriend. What would you do if you believed that your soul mate was your best friend's boyfriend? Would you pursue it? Susane Colasanti takes us into the life of Lani in Something Like Fate. This is a novel about complex and complicated relationships that could potentially question the morality of the characters but is handled in such a way that the character knows that her morality is being question by the reader, the public, and herself.

This is the first book that I have read by Susane Colasanti. I have two of the books that have been published prior to this one, however I just never got around to reading them. She makes it so easy to jump into the life of her characters with a simple writing style that makes the book a page turner on top of the incredibly invested story that she has created. I really feel like I have gotten to know the characters and have sat in Lani's shoes as she goes through the difficulties of doing what's right for her friend and what's right for herself.

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Pages: 268 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Purchased from store

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