Review: Pivot Point

Pivot Point is a contemporary veiled with a paranormal vibe, but not of the werewolf or vampire variety, but of the special abilities variety. Addie’s ability is to see into possible futures when faced with a choice. This is her biggest choice yet: to live with her mom or to live with her dad when they decide to get a divorce. Warning: there is mild, vague almost-spoiler below… it’s hard to discuss my feelings on the story without a vague mention of the ending…

pivot-pointWhen I started reading Pivot Point and came to realize it was more contemporary than sci-fi, I didn’t think I would end up liking it as much as I did. However, the interesting and yet totally believable technology of the Compound, Addie’s personality, and her interactions with Trevor all drew me into the story. And though I knew ahead of time this was the concept, I still found it really neat basically the whole book is two different stories, and only  one of them will actually play out. Elements from both stories also show up in the other story in unexpected ways.

It seemed really obvious to me early on which life was the superior one, but then something happens towards the end of the Search that forces Addie to question what to do in order to both keep a promise and to help the person she cares about most. Though I wanted to believe she could somehow solve the problem differently than she chose to, her solution was creative and probably the best choice she could make under the circumstances.

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I could really relate to Addie’s character. She always does the right thing, she isn’t impressed by people just because they’re popular, and she loves to read. That was what made it hard to watch her seem to change in one of the possible paths, but after it was all said and done everything made much more sense. The fact that she had a best friend who was so different from her I could also relate to, because I too have been known to stay loyal to old friends who are completely different from me.

I also found the overall writing style enjoyable as well as the story, and even though the story felt fairly complete on its own, it did make me want to check out the sequel when it comes out.

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Content Advisory: Some mild language and violence, and a non-graphic mention of sexual assault.

Have you read Pivot Point? What were your thoughts? 

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When You Love the Secondary Characters More Than… Everything Else

This discussion post is, of course, inspired by this last Top Ten Tuesday topic of most memorable secondary characters. I quickly found that I could have done a top 10 for Hunger Games characters alone, and then done a second one with every other book I’ve read! While compiling my list, however, there were some characters that came to mind that I really enjoyed, and THEY were the most enjoyable part of the story sometimes. Or maybe I liked the story OK, but I didn’t care a lot about the main characters.

Loved Harley in Across the Universe, thought Amy and Elder were just OK and liked the story just alright…

Got frustrated with the book Reached and with MC Cassia, but loved a random character with a small role named Dalton

Loved some guy who’s name I can’t remember from Insurgent who gets killed off within a few chapters…

Disliked Under the Never Sky so much that I didn’t finish it, but I found Roar and Marron both to be intriguing…

What makes me like a secondary character so much more than everything else? Here’s a few thoughts on when I think it happens…

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The main characters are whiny… From the above examples, Tris is a definite exception and Amy and Elder aren’t too bad, but seriously Perry, Aria, and Cassia – STOP YOUR WHINING. It doesn’t endear me to you at all.

Or bland… This applies more to Amy and Elder…

Or out of sorts. Tris struggles through Insurgent, and I’m OK with that because she’s a person, but I can’t say I was completely on-board with her during the whole story, especially when she got in a tiffy with Four (maybe she got just a tiny bit on the whiny side…). I didn’t stop rooting for Tris at any point, but I did kind of lose interest in her when she just wasn’t herself.

The story is mainly focused on a plot element I don’t care for… This is true for almost every example I gave. I don’t care about Cassia and Ky and poetry. I don’t care about Perry and Aria’s journey. I was totally creeped out by The Season and it lost some of the story’s overall credibility for me. I found some of Insurgent to be boring and/or confusing, so I clung onto anything that seemed grounded and interesting.

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The secondary character has just way more personality… Secondary characters can outshine the primary characters’ and it still work… Finnick to Katniss, Iko and Thorne to Cinder, Petra to Ender… but the main character still has to have something going for them. I often love when a serious, straight-laced character is complimented by a secondary character who is more laid-back. But if the main character has the traits I mentioned above, and especially if their overall story arc does not seem to be going any where interesting, I will cling onto that bright spot in the story, that guy or gal with so much personality and intrigue about them.

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Just remember, Commodus is judging your characters. And speaking of him, talk about an extremely creepy but well-done secondary character…

What secondary characters do you love more than everything else in the story? And why do you think this is? 

My Top 10 Most Memorable Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday topic is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

AKA, dang Suzanne Collins, you sure know how to write secondary characters.

Seriously, I am going to apologize upfront that nearly half of these characters from The Hunger Games trilogy. But you know what, I’m not really that sorry, because they’re awesome and deserve to be seen as such! I could easily do a Top 10 Hunger Games secondary characters, but I refrained myself. Here they are, in no particular order…

1. Haymitch, The Huger Games trilogy

haymitch&katnissHaymitch starts out as the old, drunkard Victor who feels trapped by the system the Capitol has set in place, but with many thanks to Katniss, grows to believe change is possible.

Haymitch takes the seat across from me. “We’re going to have to work together again. So, go ahead. Just say it.”
… All I can say is “I can’t believe you didn’t rescue Peeta.”
“I know,” he replies.
There’s a sense of incompleteness. And not because he hasn’t apologized. But because we were a team. We had a deal to keep Peeta safe. A drunken, unrealistic deal made in the dark of night, but a deal just the same. And in my heart of hearts, I know we both failed.
“Now you say it,” I tell him.
“I can’t believe you let him out of your sight that night,” says Haymitch.
I nod. That’s it.

2. Cinna, The Hunger Games trilogy

Cinna is an incredible secondary character, who shows great strength and great restraint, quietly rebelling against the Capitol in his own way and loving Katniss the way she needed someone to love her.

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

3. Effie, The Hunger Games trilogy

At first Effie seems as flighty and silly as Capitol people come, but through Katniss and Peeta, we see her change and as she comes to  realize just how truly evil the Games are. Unfortunately, however, we don’t know how her story ends.

4. Finnick, The Hunger Games trilogy

Just like Katniss, I was suspicious of Finnick at first. I mean, “Do you want a sugar cube?”? Really? Creepy! But he proves to be so much more than the famed hunky Victor Katniss believed him to be. He proves to be someone who loves deeply and will fight for what he believes.

“Did you love Annie right away, Finnick?” I ask.
“No.” A long time passes before he adds, “She crept up on me.”

5. Iko, The Lunar Chronicles

Iko is Cinder’s robot companion, but she’s far from boring, bursting with a fun personality regardless of whether she is talking to Cinder about Prince Kai or if her program has been re-routed into a ship where she laments getting used to her new “body.” Iko definitely made me smile several times while reading Cinder.

“Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.”

6. Max, The Book Thief

Max is a Jew in Nazi Germany who hides in Liesel’s basement. Liesel comes to befriend him and they talk to each other about words and nightmares, helping each other through their own tragedies.

7. Rudy, The Book Thief

The-Book-Thief-Liesel-Rudy-CROPThe story of Liesel’s best friend seriously gave me all the feels. What is not to love about a rambunctious young boy who relentlessly pursues and teases the girl he’s crazy about?

The only thing worse than a boy who hates you. A boy who loves you.

8. Repicheep, The Chronicles of Narnia

Reepicheep, the most daring and courageous mouse of all, starts off a bit prideful, but in the end is humbled as he enters Aslan’s country. I love this feisty mouse and his story.

Reepicheep: I can eat and sleep and die for my King without one [a tail]. But a tail is the honour and glory of a Mouse.
Aslan: I have sometimes wondered, friend, whether you do not think too much about your honour.

9. Bean, Ender’s Game

Bean is one of the very few people Ender can rely on in the middle of his chaos of trying to discover who he is when the weight of the world is literally upon him. It’s neat to see their friendship develop and it made me interested in reading about Bean’s point of view in Ender’s Shadow, but I have not yet.

“They can’t break you.”
“You’d be surprised.” Ender breathed sharply, suddenly, as if there were a stab of pain, or he had to catch a sudden breath in a wind; Bean looked at him and realized that the impossible was happening. Far from baiting him, Ender Wiggin was actually confiding in him. Not much. But a little. Ender was human and Bean had been allowed to see.

10. Valentine, Ender’s Game

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Ender’s sister Valentine is also a very interesting character. She is incredibly smart but is considered too compassionate for the role of saving mankind from aliens, but she is exactly who Ender needs as he is falling apart. But Valentine is not perfect, as she allows their other brother, Peter, to manipulate her into exercising out his political schemes. It’s interesting to watch her reactions to Peter and Ender in the novel, and I am really looking forward to seeing how Abigail Breslin portrays her in the movie.

Ender: I didn’t want to see you.
Valentine: They told me.
Ender: I was afraid that I’d still love you.

What do you think of these secondary characters? Who are your favorite secondary characters? 

Book Superlatives

Jamie at the Perpetual Page-Turner created a fun “Senior Superlatives” style survey about characters and books. I wanted to play along, but decided just to fill out the superlatives for the books. Join in on the fun and fill free to post this on your blog as well!

bookish-surveyMost Likely to Make You Cry

Dares to be Different

Best Dressed

Most Likely to Make You Swoon

Loveliest Prose

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Most Likely to be a Favorite of 2013

Most Likely to Change the World

Book You Are Most Likely to Keep Putting Off

Most Likely to End Up as Christmas Gifts for Everyone You Know

Cinder

Most Likely to be Thrown

Most Likely to be Reread More Than Once

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Most Likely to Make You Read Through an Earthquake Because it’s THAT Engrossing

Most Likely to be Passed On to Your Children

Most Likely to Break Your Heart Into a Million Pieces

Most Likely to Brighten Up Your Day

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What books do you think deserve a superlative? 

Review: Fringe, Season Two

How can I even begin to describe the awesomeness of Fringe, season two?

2x01-131Gene the cow in a birthday hat is pretty awesome. But it does not even begin to cover the amazing continuing overall story arcs and character arcs. Questions are answered. More questions are raised. I grow to care more and more for the characters with each episode. The feelings I have experienced this season can be attributed to some amazing storytelling.

Fringe-season2Every character grows, the plot thickens, and the relationships between the characters grow more complex. And just when all seems right between two people, something inevitably happens to make things go awry again. Really, it’s so hard to talk about this season without spoiling anything, but every episode added to the characters, to their interpersonal relationships, and the overall mythology of Fringe that becomes more and more fascinating, especially at the halfway point of the season, from the episode Jacksonville on.

In Jacksonville, we get more of Olivia’s back story. In Peter, we get more of his back story. We learn more about Walter in both too, as well as in other episodes, such as White Tulip, when we see just how haunted Walter has been over the years by decisions he has made. And just when things get super tense, we are offered a reprieve with the episode Brown Betty, a slightly musical episode (really, it’s quite light on the music) where Walter tells Olivia’s niece Ella a story that seems to have some basis in reality, or at least Walter’s perception of reality, but is a charming, fictional tale where old and new meet.

And then we get Northwest Passage, where we get back to the present tense, and Peter must come face to face with his own demons.

And then the two-part finale… with the second part seemingly wrapping things up well then BAM! I can’t elaborate any further, but it’s intense.

Seriously guys, I love this show. Just watch it.

Season two was better than season one, but I am anticipating that the best is yet to come.

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If you’ve seen Fringe, what are your thoughts on season two? If not, do you have questions about the show that I can answer for you? 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: An Awesomely Twisted Adaptation

Awesome Adaptations is hosted by Picture Me Reading, and is a focus on book-to-movie adaptations that we think are awesome! Today’s topic is an awesomely twisted adaptation.

I learned a few weeks ago from the Top 10 Tuesday topic of Best/Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations that a lot of people don’t like this 2005 movie at all. But I am a proud fan of this movie, and I want you to hear me out!

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First off, I do really like the original adaptation, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. I like some of the songs (some others… not so much) and there are a lot of fun elements of it. And of course, it was my introduction to Willy Wonka’s world, since I never have read the book (I think I’ll have to remedy this sometime though). But there are some things I don’t like about it. Mostly, the oopma lommpas. They scare the crud out of me. I mean, seriously, look at them:

And their songs… *Shudder*

And the whole thing with Charlie and the fizzy lifting drinks, where technically he broke the rules like the other kids but didn’t get caught right away and made things right in the end… I just don’t like it. It’s interesting because even Freddie Highmore (who played Charlie in the 2005 adaptation) said, “I think the original film is good, but I think it’s better now because Charlie is kept more pure.” I love the Charlie in the new film so much more. I sympathize with him much more and root for him much more. I know it’s great to have flawed characters, I’m not trying to say it’s not, but Charlie is a good kid who loves his family and works hard to do the right thing, and I think that shows so much more in the 2005 film.

The theme of family is the other big reason why I think this film is great. We get Willy Wonka’s back story of his childhood and with his dad, and Charlie is actually able to help the Wonkas restore their relationship. Tim Burton said of his version of Wonka: “You want a little bit of the flavor of why Wonka is the way he is. Otherwise, what is he? He’s just a weird guy.” I can understand the appeal of the mystery of Willy Wonka, but I like this take too.

I know Johnny’s Depp’s portrayal of Wonka is strange (twisted, you might say), but he’s oh-so-quotable…

And he does have a nice character arc, which I always appreciate in a story.

And I think all the kids were done just as well in this movie as they were in the original, though I was a little sad that I didn’t get to see the new Veruca Salt sing, “I Want it Now.” Fave part of the original movie!

And for my last argument, apparently Ronald Dahl actually disapproved of the original film. And when there was discussion of rebooting the movie before 2005, it stalled out due to producers/directors and the Dahl estate not seeing eye-to-eye on the vision of the film, wanting a movie that better reflected the author’s true intentions for the story. When Burton came around and talked to Dahl’s widow and daughter, he entered Dahl’s writing shack and exclaimed it was the Bucket home, to which Lucy thought, “Thank God, somebody gets it.”

(All quotes taken from the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Wikipedia page)

So give it a chance! Maybe you saw it once and disregarded it, but I like it better now than I did the first time I saw it myself.

Tell me what you do like about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Or why don’t you like it?

Also, on the related note of adaptations, The Book Thief trailer is out! It looks good, but it’s a little sad without the whole Death narrator element. I guess we’ll see…

EDIT*UPDATE: Death will be narrating the movie!: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1460683-death-will-narrate-in-the-movie

The Versatile Blogger Award!

I want to thank Shanelle at The Tracery of Ink for nominating me for this award! I’ve been nominated for other awards before, and truth be told, it’s hard to always come up with people to nominate, but after seeing who I nominated for the Liebster Award back in May, I realized I have since befriended some more wonderful bloggers that I think are deserving of this award. So here’s the skinny…

1. Display the Award Certificate on your blog. (It’s on my About page now.)
2. Announce your win with a post. Make sure to post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.
3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers. (I’ll be nominating 6; I had more in mind but other bloggers ended up nominating them instead!)
4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post. (I’ll tweeting everyone.)
5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
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BTW, if you’ve been nominated for this award before, or for another one recently, or if you don’t really do the award thing at all, and don’t feel like going through all the hoopla, that’s OK! You won’t hurt my feelings one bit. I just wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog and like the variety of content you post! Woot! Here’s my nominations:
Now, 7 “interesting” facts about myself:
1. I almost always have some sort of obsession at any given time. Right now, that obsession is with the TV show Fringe. I should be starting season three by the end of the week! Can’t wait!
2. I had my first car, a 1999 Honda Civic, for 7.5 years, and earlier this year finally had to give it up, but was quickly consoled with my “new” 2010 Honda Civic.
3. My favorite band of all time, and has been for years, is Switchfoot. My current fave that I spend the most time listening to as of late, however, is Phillip Phillips, which is sorta strange considering I wanted Colton Dixon to beat him out on American Idol. I saw him live though and it was like a jam session. And saxophone. Yes. I just love his style.
4. I like my burger with cheese and ketchup only as a general rule, though bacon, onion straws, and barbecue sauce are other possible toppings I’ll take.
5. Outside of the US, I have traveled to Mexico, England, Jamaica, and The Grand Cayman.
6. I have managed to make it this far in life without working in retail or food service. Here’s hoping I can continue down this path, but I certainly know there are no guarantees.
7. I think ET is a creepy movie and I don’t like it. I actually don’t care for a few “classic” films.

Review: The Scorpio Races

I was warned that The Scorpio Races is a pretty slow book with very little action, that the races take place at the very end of the book and everything else just leads up to it. I figured with this mindset going in, that I would have no problem with this. Besides, I love a good character-driven story. What I didn’t realize was just how slow the slow would be. Just how long it would take for Kate and Sean to meet, much less talk, much less talk civilly. Just how long it would take to me start relating to the characters. Thankfully, I did slowly grow to care about Kate and Sean and others, but it did take longer than it should have.

scorpioThat is The Scorpio Races’ greatest weakness. But once I was involved in the story, I felt like I was there on Thisby. I was also mad at Kate’s brother Gabe, frustrated with Mutt Malvern, and anxious about who would win the race, Sean or Kate or neither. I slowly became endeared by their life on the island.

The romance aspect of the book I was hoping to enjoy more. As I said earlier, it’s several chapters before Kate and Sean are even aware of each other’s existence, much less meet, much less carry on a conversation, much less spend time together. Then, by the time they are running into each other more and people are starting to wonder if the two of them are becoming something and you think we are going to get to watch the relationship develop, we are subjected to this line:

For a week we ride together.

There is more summary after this but seriously Maggie, that’s what I get?! A week of riding after their thrilling ride together but before they kiss, all that good lead-up, after so many detailed chapters came before it, has been reduced to summary?! Ack!

Also, when they do kiss for the first time, it feels unnatural to me, probably because we do miss so much of them starting to like each other before this. And because there’s no “define the relationship” talk before it either. (Though I’m experiencing this same sort of thing in my current read, so maybe this happens all the time, but definitely not in my world.) I think if their kiss right before the races had been their first, that would have felt more natural.

The voice and tone of the writing also took me some time to get used to, but eventually I grew fond of it as well, with writing like this:

…when I was seven, Dad came back from the docks with his hair close shaven and when I saw him walk in the door and kiss my mother on the mouth, I started to cry because I thought he was a stranger. And that’s what Skarmouth has done, after dark: It’s turned into an entirely different Skarmouth from the one I’ve known my whole life, and I don’t feel like letting it kiss me on the mouth anytime soon.

 that perfectly says everything in an honest way.

I think some of the minor characters were one of my favorite parts of the novel. Dory Maud and George Holly were both such colorful, interesting characters, and I also loved Finn. And what I did come to love about so much of the book (despite all the complaining I have been doing so far) was just how real it felt. Here’s an excerpt (though it’s cut up from a much longer excerpt) of a conversation between Sean and Holly that I feel captures the spirit of the story:

“So, you’re not a believer?”

“I believe in the same thing they believe in,” I say, with a jerk of my chin toward town and St. Columba’s. “I just don’t believe you can find it in a building.”

… Holly trots to catch up with me and slides one of the bucket handles out of my hand into his. He grunts at the weight but says nothing.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Looking for God,” Holly says, matching my stride. “If you say he’s out here, I’ll take a gander.”

I’m not certain he’ll find his sort of God sharing this work with me, but I don’t protest.

… And he laughs, and from the distance of his laugh I realize he’s stopped walking. I turn.

“I think you’re right, Mr. Kendrick,” George Holly says, eyes closed. His face is to the wind, leaning forward slightly so that it doesn’t tip him. His slacks are no longer pristine; he’s tracked bits of mud and manure up the front of them. His ridiculous red hat has blown off behind him, but he doesn’t seem to notice. The wind has its fingers in his fair hair and the ocean sings to him. This island will take you, if you let it.

I ask, “What am I right about?”

“I can feel God out here.”

I brush my hands off on my pants. “Tell me that again,” I say, “two weeks from now when you’ve seen the dead bodies on the beach.”

Holly doesn’t open his eyes. “Let no one say that Sean Kendrick isn’t an optimist.”

Despite my earlier complaints about the set-up of Kate and Sean’s relationship, I do think they are a good pair because they are so alike in the ways that it matters and complimentary and different from one another where it helps to be so. They can relate to one and help one another. And though the lack of a “define the relationship” conversation drives me crazy, I do love how Kate describes their relationship towards the end:

“You two are a strange pair. You are a pair, aren’t you?”

“We’re in training.”

The Scorpio Races ends strong. It felt complete but left me wanting more, which I think is how a good stand-alone story ought to end. And by the end of the book you may realize you did not just read a story that is particularly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s important for Kate and Sean and the island. And by the end of the story I had completely bought into the mythology of it all and it felt like such a real place, even though I can’t point it out on a map. Though my relationship with this story was a slow burn, I think the pay-off was worth the journey.

4stars2Content Advisory: Mild language and violence

Have you read The Scorpio Races? What were your thoughts? 

Review: The Wolverine

the-wolverineAmong all the comic book flicks I watch, I have to confess that the X-Men saga has never been my favorite. A few months ago I watched about twenty minutes of the first X-Men movie while it was on TV and it reminded me that I just don’t really care for it. I’ve watched it several times with my friends and my husband, and I don’t think the movies are awful and beyond watching, but I have never connected with them and there are definitely some really dumb parts (especially whatever comes out of Storm’s mouth… shudder). That was until X-Men: First Class, which I really loved the first time I saw it. I don’t love it as much now, but it’s still definitely my favorite of the franchise and I feel it’s heads and shoulders above the rest. I went into The Wolverine with lowish expectations… I thought I would probably like it decently, since most people seemed to like it better than Wolverine: Origins. I can say that The Wolverine pretty much met those expectations of me liking it well enough.

The movie takes place after X-Men: The Last Stand, and Logan is trying to hide out so he won’t bring harm to anyone. He still has nightmares about past instances in his life, and the one that we see at the open of the film is from WWII, when he saved a Japanese soldier from the blast of the nuclear bomb that is dropped nearby. Back in present day, we see Logan followed by an Asian girl with bright red hair, who eventually introduces herself to Logan and explains that the man he saved that day is dying and wanted to see him one last time to say goodbye. Logan reluctantly agrees to go to Japan with the girl, Yoshi Yosemite Yukio, who my husband and I like to refer to as Red.

Logan goes to Japan to find that the old man does not just want to say goodbye, but offers Logan to relieve him of his immortality by taking his healing ability so that he himself can live and Logan can die in peace. Even though Logan does not think he has much to live for, he basically says that’s a rotten deal, thanks but  no thanks, and walks out. Meanwhile, he observes the reaction of the old man’s family members around him: the man’s son and granddaughter. The granddaughter, Marco Monaco Marigold Mariko, is clearly distraught, and we find out that her life has been threatened.

The old man dies and at the funeral, Logan carefully observes the activity of everyone around him, aware that trouble may be stirring. Sure enough, it turns out  that there are a large number of men out Mariko, and after fighting off several baddies, Logan gets her away safely.

Predictably, the two end up falling for each other, even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And of course, Mariko is captured again and Logan and Red have to track her down and save the day. Instead of giving away any more of the story, however, I will leave it at that.

I liked both Yukio and Mariko pretty well and thought they were fairly well-developed characters. Yukio seemed to have an interesting personality and Mariko I think proved at the end that she was more than just a pretty faced love interest (though Logan’s nickname of her, “Princess,” is quite fitting). I never fully understood the motives of the villains though (just greed?), and especially did not care for Viper, who they might as wall have cast Uma Thurman for and called her Poison Ivy because they were crazy similar.

But to be fair to the writers of the movie, she is a character from the comics.

But to be fair to the writers of the movie, she is a character from the comics.

I had other likes and dislikes but overall, this is a fairly fun action flick that adds maybe a little bit more to the franchise and to the character, but not a lot. The part of the movie that stirred my curiosity the most actually turned out to be the stinger, the scene within the credits, which sets up the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was sort of interesting how almost the entire movie takes place in Japan, completely out of Logan’s environment, but I suppose that helps us realize that mutants are worldwide. For its decent entertainment value with nothing earth-shattering in the plot, I give The Wolverine three out of five stars.

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Have you seen The Wolverine? What were your thoughts? How do you feel about the X-Men franchise as a whole? 

My Fantasy Team: YA Book Edition

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Next weekend I’ll be drafting for my Fantasy Football team. I’m sure most of you are aware of what it is, but for those who are not, basically it’s a game of statistics played during the NFL season where participants “draft” real-life players from various teams for their virtual team, and their performance in their real-life games translates to the stats of your team. I’m not super into football,  but my friends were doing a league last year so I thought, “What the heck?”, and now I am doing it once again. Go Deep Space Niners! (That would be my team… named after the baseball team formed by the crew of Deep Space Nine in a season seven episode. I am a geek. By the way, don’t watch anything from season seven of Deep Space Nine before having watched the previous seasons. It’s chock full of character and plot spoilers.)

OK, how does this tie into Young Adult literature? Well, I thought it would be fun to create a “fantasy” young adult book, built by various characters and plot devices from different YA books. The books I decided to draw from:

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Setting: Post -Apocalyptic Chicago divided into factions (Divergent)

Main Character: Elliot North (For Darkness Shows the Stars)

The Best Friend: Harley (Across the Universe)

The Love Interest: Prince Kai (Cinder)

The Antagonist: President Snow (The Hunger Games)

Plot Set-Up: Reality show where the Princes chooses his wife (The Selection)

Book Synopsis: Elliot North is persuaded by her father and her crazy best friend Harley (BTW, no love triangle here- Harley loved Elliot’s sister before she tragically died) to sign up for the selection, a lottery-style opportunity to compete for the Prince’s love for the entire country to see. Elliot finds the idea ridiculous, but signs up with the full confidence that she has a better chance of being selected for the show.

Yet as her unfortunate luck would have it, Elliot is selected, and is whisked away to downtown Chicago to meet the Prince… and the girls she is supposed to be competing against. She decides to try to enjoy the food and the pretty dresses until Prince Kai decides to kick her out, which she believes will be by her second day there, and is surprised when he actually seems to like her, despite her bluntness with him about her lack of care about him.

Elliot and Kai form an unlikely friendship, which leads to him allowing her to see her friend Harley when he comes to visit, and the two of them taking frequent walks down Navy Pier to watch the boats. Kai learns from Elliot just how bad things are among the different factions that are supposed to be united, but are anything but. Elliot learns from Kai that war is imminent with the neighboring country that used to be part of the same country as theirs before a civil war broke it apart, and that the other country’s President Snow seems eager to engage the forces.

Will Elliot come to care for Kai? Will President Snow make good on his threats? Will Harley’s new job at The Royal House affect Kai and Elliot’s relationship or even endanger his hopes of being an artist? It’s a trilogy of course, so it’ll be a while before you find all this out.

This isn’t actually my ideal YA book, but I still thought it was fun to construct elements from different stories and see how they would fit together.

What do you think? What elements would include for your “fantasy” book team?