Weekend Book Find

I have to say, in the short, not-even-two months I have started this blog, I have already connected with several blogs/bloggers who enjoy books similar to my tastes and they have already made a major impact on my TBR list. Two months ago, I had never heard of Beth Revis’ Across the Universe, and now, it’s like I have to read it. So imagine my excitement when this weekend I spotted a copy of it at a book outlet for a great deal:

atubookphotoSo since it is now in my possession, it will probably be my next read after Ender’s Game unless the library e-book version of Through The Never Sky (which I also did not know anything about two months ago) that I put a reservation in for becomes available before then, but that seems a little unlikely. And then if I like this first book, I’ll worry about getting the next two books later. But I was excited because I love a good deal! Anybody else score a good book deal lately, or just finally got a book you’ve been wanting?

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Review: Unbroken

unbroken

I don’t read much non-fiction, but I have been long interested in WWII history. Unfortunately, once I was finished taking history classes, it seemed I decided I was finished reading on it as well. I don’t think I was consciously thinking that, but keep in mind that it took me until last year to start reading for fun again. I asked for this book for my birthday and received it, but it took me a few months to get around to it because it was more intimidating that the young adult literature I had ready to read as well. But after hearing another high recommendation from a friend who doesn’t even care much for reading, I decided it was finally time to delve into it.

graphic-synopsisThe story focuses on a guy named Louie, who got in trouble a lot as a kid. That is, until his brother helps him focus his energy into running. Louie isn’t wild about running at first, but after a while, it consumes him. He beats high school records, gets a college scholarship, beats more records, and start setting his sights on the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He makes it to the Olympics, though he does not medal, but he starts setting his sights once again for the 1940 Olympics.

But then war begins, and international turmoil causes the Olympics to be cancelled. Louie ends up joining the service. In 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Louie was going to war. As an air serviceman, he was sent to Hawaii. He formed a bond with the men on his plane and other men in his camp, but it was a daily, pain-staking reality that many men would not return from their missions. And one day it was his plane that did not return. But Louie and two other men from his plane survived.

I don’t want to share too much more, because there is a lot to be said for going into this story blind. But I will say that after the plane crash survival, the story is all downhill for quite a while. Louie faces an extreme amount of hardship for the duration of the war.

graphic-thoughtsI knew this book was supposed to be amazing and have a hopeful ending, so I kept pushing through it. It was exhausting and grueling to read through all Louie’s trials, and Hillebrand does such a great job of putting you in Louie’s head and helping you understand the gravity of the situation. I like how she had not just his point-of-view though, but combines what he knows with what people on the outside knew then or what we know now from history, to paint a very descriptive picture that really defines the gravity of the situation. She seriously did her research. And then when he gets home and things seem to get better, things go wrong again.

But, in the end, there is hope and redemption. And it makes everything before it worth it, both for the reader and for Louie. It is emotional and amazing, and it made me respect our servicemen and women ten times more than I already did, especially my grandfather, who also fought in the Pacific during WWII. This is a book that I believe everyone should read (well, everyone about 18 and up I would say). It’s a story about the human spirit and history and how twisted man can become but also how forgiving man can be. It’s a story for everyone. If you haven’t read it, seriously, READ IT. And buy the printed version so you can get a good look at the great photographs scattered throughout.

graphic-quotable“If you will save me, I will serve you forever.” – Louie’s promise to God while he was lost at sea.

Have you read Unbroken? What are your thoughts? Have you read any other great WWII books I should add to my TBR list?

My Gateway Into Dystopia…

Since reading The Hunger Games, I have been seeking more of the dystopia genre, as I have mentioned before, and have also been penning some of my own. However, I did not start writing these stories after The Hunger Games per say, as a hint of dystopian interest has been on my radar for years, startling subtly and growing bit by bit until I read those books and realized there was a name of a genre of this particular type of story I have long found interest in. Here’s the history of my growing interest in dystopia…

The Twilight Zone

I don’t remember particularly how or when I discovered The Twilight Zone, though I am almost positive that one of the marathons on the SciFi (or SyFy if you prefer the incorrect spelling) channel is responsible, and my dad was probably the one watching it first when I found it. All I know is that I quickly became hooked. One of the first episodes that really stuck out to me was “Number 12 Looks Just Like You,” where a young girl lives in a society where everyone goes through a “Transformation” process that makes them youthful and beautiful for the rest of their lives.  I remember thinking, I can see this actually happening. That was definitely the first taste.

number12_2

Another episode that really caught my attention and I would consider my favorite on the show is “The Obsolete Man,” where a man is ruled by his government  to be obsolete because of his “outdated” career and religious beliefs. Since he is obsolete, he is to be executed. Again, it was another episode that struck the thought within me: This could actually happen.

the_obsolete_man_twilightzone

Then came…

The Island

the island

The Island is a movie that, in my opinion, is highly underrated. *SPOILERS AHEAD* It focuses on a man and a woman, Lincoln and Jordan, who live in a compound where they believe they are being sheltered from the contamination of the outside world, save for one island, where winners of a random lottery can win a chance to go to. Lincoln and Jordan come to find out, however, that they are actually clones of other people, and winners of the lottery are not going to an island, but being harvested for organs by those whose DNA they match. It is a big secret that the creator of the company (who is appropriately played by Sean Bean because he dies) has managed to keep… until the end of the movie of course. At this point, I already had a random interest in the ethics of cloning that arose from who-knows-where, so I was hooked once again.

Then along came…

Equilibrium

Another film that does not get as much love as it deserves. In this story, John Preston is essentially a cop for the feelings police, if you will, in a totalitarian society where emotions are suppressed by the required drug Prozium.

ClericJohnPrestonChristianBale

This is John Preston inserting Prozium. Or Christian Bale shirtless. No, it’s John Preston inserting Prozium, just trust me.

Two things shake his world: The first is uncovering a lair of the senses, where a woman is hiding books, music, and art. From this crime scene Preston’s partner Partridge ends up taking a book of poetry. And for his crime *SPOILERohwaitnotreallybecausethischaracterisplayedbySeanBean* he is shot by Preston himself.

patridge

This may or may not have rattled Preston initially, but what makes him confront it is when his last dosage of Prozium falls and the glass capsule breaks, causing the liquid inside to spill. With one missed dosage, Preston starts to see, and feel, everything in a whole new light. So he decides to fight against the very system he has been working to protect. Like “The Obsolete Man,” the focus of this movie is the totalitarian government, and about how we should all have the right to express ourselves and make our own choices.

Then my last “gateway” before The Hunger Games was…

Gattaca

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Once upon a time my dad told me about this movie where there is a society in which people who aren’t genetically engineered are considered inferior. It sounded interesting to me, and the idea was planted, but I wasn’t quite ready for viewing it yet. But in college, I again got this crazy random interest in genetic engineering and wanted to write a movie script on the idea for my Scriptwriting class, so suddenly I was seeking out this movie my dad told me about. Vincent is considered “in-valid,” since he was born naturally, and at birth his death by heart failure is predicted to happen at an early age. Yet he surpasses his predicted expiration date and pursues his dream of flying to space by taking the identity of a “valid,” Jerome, who became disabled. I think the theme of the movie  could be surmised in the Bible verse shown on the first title card of the movie: Consider God’s handiwork; who can straighten what He hath made crooked? – Ecclesiastes 7:13. Flawed human beings are still human beings. Think of all the flawed human beings who have contributed so much to our society.

All the movies have this in common: a setting of the future of our world should we choose certain routes that we have interest in. The concept of a “fountain of youth” is the world in The Twilight Zone episode “Number 12.” Totalitarian governments dictate lives in “The Obsolete Man” and Equilibrium. Human cloning and using those clones to save “real” humans is the subject matter of The Island. And cloning’s not-so-distant cousin eugenics and its potential effect on society is considered in Gattaca. I find these stories impactful. And I want to tell stories like those. I have to admit, in my own story writing I can get caught up in romances and other petty things that often happen in young adult novels, which is why I am really working to rewrite my first dystopia story. I like the romance, but I want the focus of the story to be the warning of what can happen. That’s what these movies do so well, that brought me into my interest int the genre. I hope I can do it justice.

What was your gateway to dystopia, or whatever your genre of choice may be? What stories make you think?

My Top 10 Books I (Would) Recommend The Most

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday topic sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish: the top ten books I recommend the most.

Except I don’t feel like I go around recommending books. If I am talking with someone about a topic that reminds me of a good book, I probably will mention it. But otherwise, it’s unlikely to come up. So if asked what my top recommendations for books were, knowing nothing about that person’s specific interests, here’s what I would suggest to them…

(I decided to separate them into two categories, fiction and non-fiction, and picked five in each category, but otherwise they are in no particular order.)

Non-Fiction

#1. Quitter by Jon Acuff

quitter

This book reminded me that deep down, what I’ve always wanted to do when I grew up is write. It reminded me that I had buried that dream for something more practical. This book taught me that I could chase my dream realistically. It taught me that I needed to stick with the day job first as I worked on my dream. But one day… one day… I can finally close that gap. I think this book set me on the correct path. And if that sounds dramatic, the idea of it can be… but really, this book is hilarious because of Jon Acuff’s writing voice.

#2: Start by Jon Acuff

start

Start doesn’t come out until next month, but as you may recall, I attended Jon Acuff’s Star Night, an event where he shared nuggets of wisdom from this upcoming book, and for attending I received a pre-release copy. Both my husband and I have read through it, and like Quitter, it’s practical, hopeful, and funny. It’s basically the continuation of Quitter. Pre-order this book, and while you wait for it, get and read Quitter. I feel like a Jon Acuff commercial but seriously, these books can change your life for the awesome.

#3: For Men/Women Only by Shaunti Feldham

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When I read For Women Only, I felt like a light bulb came on, and suddenly some of the mysteries of men became clear. I discussed the book with my husband, and found it was accurate. Then he did the same with For Men Only, and it also seemed to be a pretty good picture of the mind of a woman. Both books are filled with surveys and research and provides good information that can definitely help you better understand your spouse or significant other.

#4: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

unbroken

I just finished reading this book (review coming soon) and wow… it is such an incredible story. It was difficult to relive everything that Louie, the focus on the story, went through as a POW in Japan during WWII. But it is an incredible journey through the war and after. I don’t want to say too much now, but seriously… read it! It’s amazing.

#5: Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale

catchme

This book is very light compared to the story of Unbroken, but the story of Frank Abgagnale’s conning schemes is not exactly a laughing matter. It is fun at times, like the movie that is based on the book, but it also shows the not-so-elegant side of life as a criminal on the run. It’s an enjoyable and interesting read, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the movie.

Fiction

#6: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

chroniclesofnarnia

I grew up enchanted by the tale of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but for some reason, it took me until near-adulthood to start on the other books in the series, and I only finished them all recently. The stories are truly magical, but they also reflect reality. I think every child needs to be read these stories by their parents, for the sake of both the child and the parent.

#7: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

hunger_games_trilogy

I know The Hunger Games isn’t for everyone, but it does seem to be for a lot of people. I heard girls 10 years younger than me talking about it first, and then I had two friends my age recommend them to me, so I finally checked them out. I don’t know what it is about this trilogy that really grabbed me, especially considering how much I did not love 95% of Mockingjay… It seems Suzanne Collins just has a way with her storytelling. I also love so many of the characters, which is essential in my enjoyment of a story. If The Hunger Games has been sitting on your shelf, it’s time for you to finally grab it and open it.

#8: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

littlewomenbook2

As if you can’t guess from my blog’s namesake, this is, without a doubt, my favorite classic. I am not even sure what about it I love so much… again, it’s probably mostly the characters. And I do especially relate to Jo, who is dramatic and loves to write and gets tired of wearing skirts and wants to run away to Europe. But each March sister has a unique personality that adds to the story of their lives. And of course there is Laurie, who is also wonderful. You just need to read it if you haven’t!

#9: Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

finding-alice

This is a much lesser-known novel than the others on my list, written by Christian author Melody Carlson. However, it is far from preachy. The story is about a young woman who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her journey in battling this mental disorder. Without personally knowing anyone with schizophrenia but having studied it some, it seems that Carlson handles it with the best of care. It’s a story of high’s and low’s as Alice struggles through treatments, homelessness, embracing help, therapy, and accepting love. This is one of my absolute favorite stories, and I would definitely recommend it.

#10: The Giver by Lois Lowry

the-giver-by-lois-lowry

If only I had discovered this story sooner! It is an absolute gem with its simple but impactful tale of a dystpopian society that is completely fooled by their safe and vanilla lifestyle. If you’re not into the dystopia genre, you should definitely still read this one, because it transcends genre and relays an important message without resorting to violence.

So what are some of your top recommends?

Top 5 Books I Would Grab in an Emergency

For the first time, I am participating in the Book Blogger Hop.

book blogger hop

The Book Blogger Hop issues a prompt each week for blogs to answer about, well, books. (Click image for link) This week’s topic: What are the top 5 books you would grab in an emergency?

At first I thought, Well, I can just re-buy books. Why would I need to rescue them? 

But then I thought about it, and realized some copies just can’t be replaced…

In no particular order…

#1. My Bible

I do have numerous copies of the Bible, but the one on my nightstand is the one I would rescue, which I marked up a plenty during my high school years and is falling apart… and for those reasons, this is the copy I love to read.

#2: Jane Austen Collection

One of my friends got me a large, decorative book that has all of Jane Austen’s works in it. And even though I also have all her novels on my Nook and would most likely read them from there, I would still want to rescue this copy for sure.

#3: Crime and Punishment

crime

More specifically, my marked-up copy of Crime and Punishment that I first read my senior year in high school, and then revisited in college for my thesis project. Not only do I have quotes underlined, but I also have notes, and would very much like to always have this version of the novel for this reason.

#4. Start (Pre-Release)

As I mentioned when I first started this blog, I received a copy of Jon Acuff’s not-yet-released book Start when I attended his Start night event. That night and his book have inspired me take steps toward my dream. I have pre-ordered another copy of it and could obviously acquire another copy of the book, but having this version is a physical reminder for me of the commitment I made to keep pushing forward toward my dream.

#5: Les Miserables, Volume I

This is actually the book I might would try to save first, at least if I were able to think of it quickly. What makes this book special is that I found it while we were cleaning out my Grandma’s apartment after we put her in hospice, and we found out that it belonged to either my great-grandfather or great-great grandfather (I forgot which one now). But either way, it’s priceless for that reason alone, with its loose binding and musty smell, and I plan to treasure it for a long time. I just wish we knew what happened to Volume II.

Runners-up: The Picture of Dorian Gray. Like Crime and Punishment, I read this story my senior year and marked up with notes and underlines, though I haven’t revisited it yet. Also, I wasn’t sure if this counted, but I would want to rescue my Nook. I’m sure if my house burned down Barnes and Noble would retrieve the e-books I bought through them, but just the same, with other stuff on there as well, I would like to rescue it if I could.

What books would you save in case of an emergency? Any of them for sentimental reasons?

My Top 10 Anticipations for Catching Fire

Today, I randomly started thinking about the upcoming Catching Fire movie, and started really anticipating it. I decided to jot down some of the scenes and moments I am looking forward to the most (assuming they all make it in the movie), and was a little surprised by how long the list grew. It made me pretty excited about it all; is it November yet?! (Actually, I don’t want it to be November yet. I need the warmth of spring and summer first).

WARNING: Do not read this if you have not read Catching Fire. Seriously, DON’T.

#10: Katniss and Plutarch Interact

plutarch

At a social event at the Capitol, Plutarch Heavensbee makes a point to show Katniss his custom-made watch. She doesn’t really seem to get it, but it will hit her later that he was, in fact, giving her a very important hint as to how he designed the arena. Once Katniss and the other tributes understanding the working of the arena, they are able to use this to their benefit to help them escape it. I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor in that he always creeps me out, and I am hoping this time I will get the opposite vibe from him as he does his best to relay a message to Katniss that he is on her side.

“It starts at midnight.” – Plutarch

#9: Cinna

cinna

This is so low on my list mostly because it’s going to break my heart into a thousand pieces. Even when I saw the promotional picture for Cinna I immediately thought of his fate in this movie, and how much it is going to hurt. I love how much Cinna cares for Katniss and believes in her and in the revolution, and that he is willing to put his life on the line for it. I know watching him being taken away is going to be so haunting.

“I always channel my emotions into my work. That way I don’t hurt anyone but myself.” – Cinna

#8: Haymitch and Katniss

haymitch&katniss

I looking forward to a few moments between Haymitch and Katniss, but I am particularly anticipating when they get drunk together, and they promise one another that they will do everything they can to bring Peeta out of the games alive. I also look forward to seeing how their relationship continues to grow after the first movie.

“You know, you could live a thousand lives and not deserve him.” – Haymitch

#7: The Quarter Quell

So obviously this is very broad, but I wanted to encompass everything with The Quarter Quell from the announcement of what the rules for the Quarter Quell will be, to the Reaping, to the actual games where Katniss has to learn which tributes to trust. Of course the announcement is a pivotal part of the story because when Katniss learns she is going back in the arena, she immediately goes to run and hide, which we see is a pattern she will continue as the story progresses, especially in Mockingjay. She suffers from PTSD and no one can help her (except Peeta, she’ll come to realize). It will also be interesting to see the new arena and new tributes, of course.

I am going back to the arena. (Katniss)

#6: Katniss’ Mockingjay Dress in Action

katniss-wedding

The white wedding version of the mockinjay dress looks pretty good, I hope the effects for the black mockingjay dress prove to be better than the terrible CGI flames we got for the last movie.

#5: Katniss’ Confrontation with President Snow

Katniss-and-President-Snow

I expect the confrontation between President Snow, where he tells Katniss that he’s on to her, will be quite chilling. He starts the conversation by saying, “I think we’ll make this whole situation a lot simpler by agreeing not to lie to each other,” and ends with “By the way, I know about that kiss.” The whole time he has the stench of roses and Katniss wonders why… if only we could smell it with her. But still, I expect to feel a chill will go down my spine when Donald Sutherland utters…

“Convince me.” – President Snow

#4. Finnick and Katniss

catching-fire-finnick-katniss

What can be said about Finnick? It all begins when he seductively asks Katniss if she wants a sugar cube, and she has no idea how to respond. I definitely looking forward to this scene and their interaction in the arena.

Katniss: He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets. / Peeta: Ugh. Not really. / Katniss: Really. I’ll tell you more when my skin stops crawling.  

#3: The Staged Moments Between Katniss and Peeta

victory tour

I had quite a list of Katniss/Peeta moments, some of which are completely staged as Katniss has to convince President Snow that she loves Peeta. Some of these moments include: their snow-tumbled kiss (I am sure this will change, especially since Peeta doesn’t have the bum leg in the movies), Peeta’s proposal (may or may not be shown since it was glossed over in the book as well, but I would love to see it!), and my favorite: Peeta announcing to everyone that he and Katniss are already married and that she is pregnant. I literally laughed out loud when I read this part of the book because I knew exactly what Peeta was up to. I really hope this part is kept in so I can see Caesar’s face. And though these moments seem fake to Katniss, she can’t deny there is a little something there…

“Maybe I’d think that too, Caesar, if it weren’t for the baby.” – Peeta

#2: The Sweet, Genuine Moments Between Katniss and Peeta

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This list includes: the rooftop scene, how Peeta helps Katniss through her nightmares, and of course the beach scene, where Peeta gives Katniss his locket and she kisses him for real. 

I wish that Peeta were here to hold me, until I remember I’m not supposed to wish that anymore. (Katniss)

#1: Gale tells Katniss About District 12

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I’m hoping the movie ends just like the book, in its very haunting way…

“Katniss, there is no District Twelve.” – Gale

The perfect cliffhanger.

And that’s only some of what I’m anticipating! What are you looking forward to in the Catching Fire movie?

Feeling Stuck, Or: I Hate Rewriting

Writing is fun. Rewriting is not.

Editing, which is fine-tuning what you have, can be OK. But that’s not where I am not yet. Rewriting is changing things within your story that you think may have not been working too well. And it really, really stinks. And that’s exactly where I am now.

November 2011 I decided to write a short story. It turned into a novella. Then I turned it into a  novel, the first in a series, to combine it with two other story ideas I had. I was pretty happy with my first draft of the novel version and moved on to the next story, book two of the series. I finished it and realized even though it wasn’t perfect, it was a lot better than the previous. Then I was attempting to write the third, but I felt really stuck. I didn’t know how to move forward at all. The second story laid some good groundwork, but I felt there needed to be more from the first book. And I knew there were some other things there that needed to be changed. So I decided to go back and rewrite the first book. That’s what I’ve been attempting to do for the past few weeks now.

And already I feel so completely stuck.

writerkitty

I have an idea of where I want to go with it, but I don’t have all the plot points detailed out like I did when I decided to expand the novella to a novel (I think it helped that I was reading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell at the time, which by the way, I found to be extremely helpful and would recommend). So I suppose I ought to sit down and do that first, and then go from there. I have just spent the past two weeks or so feeling sort of scatterbrained, and everyday I do at least one thing that feels like a total fail. For example, several days ago the first thing I did when I got out of bed was walk right into a door. And then just a day or two later, I hit a curb on a curve really hard and it killed my tire. Needless to say, I have not been in tip-top shape lately. I also feel like I am laboring over my current read, Unbroken. It is a fantastic story, but it is a really hard read that gives you a very detailed look at life inside Japanese POW camps during WWII. It’s wearing and I’m ready for it to be over, as if I was living it. But the good news is, I have finally reached the point where the war is over, so hopefully it only gets better from there.

I may also go back to the third story, plot it out, then work on writing it before I go back to the first book. But sigh… I don’t know. Mostly, I think I may need a break from this particular universe. I feel bad ever abandoning a story I have been working on so much, and I feel like I need to see it through to the end, otherwise it will end up like the 50 million (OK, closer to just 50) partial stories I have written. But I have a goal I really want to see through, so I think I will come back before too long. I just need to be excited about it again.

Any other writers suffer from the rut of rewriting? What do you do? Any advice, even from non-writers, is appreciated!

The Ides of March: A Tale of Three Betrayals

For The Ideas of March (a little late… sorry about that), I wanted to discuss some betrayals portrayed in movies. I considered forming a top 10 or 5 list, but decided that this time I just wanted to focus on three betrayals, not necessarily a top 3, but three that just interest me in one way or another.

1. Mondego Betrays Dantes: The Count of Monte Cristo

the-count-of-monte-cristo-poster

Their relationship before betrayal: Best buds.

The motive: Though Dantes is as poor as dirt, he seems content with his life and seems to have favor: he gets promoted on his ship and he has a very lovely lady who wants to be his wife. And Mondego, who is much wealthier, just can’t stand it that he is so much more miserable than Dantes.

The execution: He frames Dantes for treason, with a little help, and Dantes is shipped off to Château d’If, an awful prison for men who did not actually commit any crimes. Dantes stays here for many years before he is able to find a way to escape.

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The kicker: Mondego steals Dantes’ girl!

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The aftermath: Dantes finds a group of sea-baring smugglers and joins them. He befriends Jacopo, whose life he spared, and together they go to find a treasure, with which Dantes uses to create an elaborate scheme to fool Mondego and exact his revenge.

I am only scratching the surface of the story. I haven’t read the book, so all my knowledge is based on the movie, but I think it is a great story. Definitely check out the movie if you haven’t seen it!

Great Quote: “How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure!” – Dantes

2. Steve betrays Charlie, John, Rob, Lyle, and Left Ear: The Italian Job

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Their relationship before betrayal: Partners in crime.

The motive: Steve wants money and doesn’t care about his fellow partners in crime, who prefer comradery among one another  and stealing without guns.

The execution: He and some other guys (who we never see again and presumably don’t get a cut of the gold) turn their guns on Charlie and company after a successful heist.

john&charlie

The kicker: Steve kills John in this process. And he doesn’t even know what he wants to do with his money.

The aftermath: Charlie and company recruit John’s daughter and expert safe-cracker, Stella, for a job to steal the gold back from Steve… and succeed.

stella

What is it about a heist movie that makes you like characters who commit crimes? It helps, I suppose, when they live by their own code of ethics, like not using guns and remaining loyal friends to one another. And it hurts them when someone turns on them and betrays them so that they can have ALL the gold to themselves.

Great Quote: “Same old Steve huh? Always thinking defensively. That’s why you’re always number two.” – Charlie

3. Anakin betrays the Jedis: Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

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Their relationship before betrayal: Anakin was a Jedi, training under Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The motive: Anakin knows he is very powerful, and he believes that the only way he can save his wife, Padme, is by learning about the powers from the Dark Side of the Force.

The execution: This betrayal is much slower and more gradual. While Anakin is annoying and whiny for two films, in the third film, he becomes really likable. He seems to be on the right path, but as he grows fearful, his mind becomes susceptible to what the Dark Side wants to offer him.

obiwan&padme

The kicker: He kills younglings!

The aftermath: Anakin is fully consumed by the Dark Side, and lava, thus becoming Darth Vader. And ultimately, Padme dies, and his two children are separated and sent to two different families.

darthvader

Even though anyone who has seen the Star Wars prequels knows this is coming, it is still something else to watch it unfold before your eyes. The moment I first saw the Vader mask clip over Anakin seriously gave me chills.

Great Quote: “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness… You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.” – Obi-Wan

What are some other great betrayals we’ve seen in movies that interest you?

Top 10 Books on My TBR List

So the official theme for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday today is Top 10 Books on your 2013 Spring TBR (to be read) list. Well there’s no way I am going to get 10 books read this spring alone, plus it’s hard for me to plan that far ahead, seeing as I can always change my mind. So my first five choices are going to be the next five books I plan to read over the next three to four months, making it my spring list, and then the next five books will be possibilities for what I will read later in the year. This week’s list is no particular order.

The Spring-ish List

#1: Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card

Enders_Game

I actually just ordered this on Amazon when I made an order for a couple of other things, and it should be here before I finish my current read. I also talked about this pick last week.

#2 & 3: Under the Never Sky and Through the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under-the-Never-Sky-Through-the-Ever-Night

Again, also mentioned in last week Top 1o Tuesday post, and I received some further encouragement to read it. And once again, since they are available through my library e-book system, I feel good about the risk-free try. But of course, I’ll only read the second book if I like the first.

#4: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund

fordarknessshows

When I first heard about the concept behind this one, I knew I had to read it…  Jane Austen’s Persuasion meets genetic engineering? Uh, hello! That just screams, “Read me, Amy!” I’m hoping it’ as awesome as it sounds.

#5: The Elite by Kiera Cass

the-elite

I really enjoyed The Selection, the book before this one. I’ve heard this one is pretty frustrating, which doesn’t surprise me because it involves a love triangle and America (the main character) can be so clueless, but I’m still going to have to read it, of course.

The After Spring List

#6: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

the-hobbit

This will actually be a reread for me. I read it in 8th grade, but wanted a refresher while the movies are coming out.

#7: 1984 by George Orwell

1984

This classic has been on my TBR list for a while, and I hope to finally get to it this year.

#8: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

tillwehavefaces

This one’s also been on my TBR list for a while, after one of my good friends from college gave it such a high recommendation.

#9: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

acrosstheuniverse (1)

This was also mentioned in last week’s post, and is the first book of a series, so more books could potentially follow in my reading list if I enjoy this one.

#10: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diane Peterfreund

starsweptsea

This book is not supposed to be coming out until October, and is set in the same universe as For Darkness Shows the Stars. So again, I’ll only read this one if I enjoy the other. But I hope I will!

What’s on your TBR list?

Review: Divergent and Insurgent

I heard a lot of buzz about Divergent by Veronica Roth as I was mourning my finishing of The Hunger Games trilogy, so I placed a hold for an e-book version of it through my library and checked it out when it became available.

divergent

It was an interesting idea: the society in which the main character lives is divided into five different factions, each which have a certain focus: Erudite (intelligence), Candor (honesty), Amity (peace), Abnegation (selflessness), and Dauntless (bravery). Beatrice (later called Tris), tests well for multiple factions, which is extremely unusual (why is explained in Insurgent) and gives her the label Divergent. She ultimately chooses Dauntless when the time comes, though she was raised in Abnegation.  I didn’t really understand why a society would choose to function this way, but I decided to go along for the ride.

Beatrice decides to go by Tris as she goes through the very rigorous and exclusive training for Dauntless initiates. Not everyone will be accepted into the Dauntless faction, which will leave them factionless, a fate some would see as worse than death. She learns a lot about herself, overcomes fears, and falls for one of her trainers, who in turns likes her. Then at the end something happens, and Tris is one of the few who can fight to stop the problem (I’m remaining vague to avoid spoilers).

I enjoyed the book pretty well, though I didn’t like it quite as much as The Hunger Games, and had no problem patiently waiting for the sequel, Insurgent, to become available as an e-book in my library.

insurgent

Once it did and I got it checked it out, I accidentally selected that I only wanted it for 7 days, which isn’t a problem if I really love a book or if I have plenty of free time, but it was during the holidays, so I was wary of getting it read in time. Thankfully I did, but due to the lack of time, I did not bother to find any sort of refresher of the first book. The second book picks up right where the first leaves off, with no rehash of anything. Which I think is the way to do a second book, but apparently I had forgotten a lot in those few months, such as details of the end of the first book as well as who a lot of  the minor characters were. I think I spent the first half of the book asking, “Who’s that?” “What happened?” “What does this have to do with anything?”

But when Tris ends up getting taken by some people who want to study her divergence, I started to grow more interested in the story again. Also, I somehow ended up completely loving a super minor character who ends up dying a chapter or two after he is introduced, which I thought was quite an accomplishment since I still only kind of liked Tris and Four (Tris’ love interest) at this point. Then at the very end of the book, there is a twist in the story when we finally get an idea of why the society exists the way it does and why being Divergent is rare, and that made me much more interested reading book three when it comes and finishing the series than anything else that happened beforehand. So I am really hoping the final book will be a strong conclusion after the two first books that were good but not great (in my opinion anyway).

I do think Veronica Roth is a good writer (though I hate her now that I have learned that she is only 24! Ack! Stop being so talented and successful at 24!), but for some reason there has not been a big emotional connect between me and the books, and I also don’t find all the plot points interesting. I wish I could put my finger on why I feel this way; I hope I will have more insight when the series finishes and I find that the last book either finishes strong or falls flat.

Anyone else read Divergent or Insurgent? What’s your take on the series thus far?

Favorite quote of the series (so far): “Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again.” (from Divergent)