Quenching Your Thirst: The Hunger Games Trilogy

Happy Thirst-day!

On this special edition, I will be critiquing the Hunger Games Trilogy all in one. With so many fans and public awareness, I will simply be stating more about my own thoughts on the series rather than on an individual book.hunger_games_trilogy (1)

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      Book 1– The Hunger Games

      Book 2– Catching Fire

      Book 3– Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

YA Genre: Dystopian

Pages:  1163 Combined

Reading time:  1 week

Rating: 3 out of 5

Trilogy Overview:

Well if you haven’t heard about this book or series already, here is a quick overview. Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian world where people are being mistreated by the government. As punishment for a battle fought close to a century ago, the government forces 24 kids from the rebellion 

side and makes them enter a game for their life. Everyone has played by the rules the last 75 years, obeying the strict eye of the government.

 Until Katniss comes along.

catching fire

She defies the government by using her wit and “charm” to overcome the challenges the government poses on her. 

As almost everyone knows there are movies based on these books. The first one has already come out being a big hit and the second comes out in theaters on November 22, 2013.

So read the series before the movie premier and compare the two.

Trilogy Review:

I must say, for a trilogy that has been the in the hype of entertainment for the last few years, I was thoroughly disappointed. After watching the first movie about a year ago, I loved the entire idea of the hunger games,  but now after reading the series I was stunned into an agitated silence. This dystopian feel of the books only showed even deeper in the books. So deep that you began to see how helpless the entire cause was for the protagonist of the story.

When I read stories I don’t look for happy endings, or for a guy to save the girl like in the Disney fairytales. Instead I look for morals from the author. What message is the author trying to send to her readers is a huge part about why I love books, but the message throughout this trilogy was next to nothing but depressing. It gives no hope to our race as humans, basically saying that we are meant to suffer and continue suffering and shouldn’t look for a happier outcome.
Is this really what America wants to see in the next few decades?

Back in the great depression years, America used to fantasize about superheroes like superman and captain america, and now look at what we wish upon our nation and the world. All we can think about is a zombie apocalypse, Dystopian worlds for our future, and aliens massacring the world.

These books are no exception to this way of thinking, and without a message from the author telling us about how we can get past it I will never appreciate these books in the literary world.

Life should be about overcoming the darkness of our day to day lives and instead this trilogy leaves a sour taste in my mouth and words I wish I had never read.

Please let me know how you liked the books, because I did enjoy them while I was reading. It was just the message that crumpled my hopes for the story.

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Does Word Count Matter?

Does word count matter?

This is a question every author must face while writing their book. I wish it weren’t true, but I think that may be the case.  With my book reaching 100,000 words, it can be lengthy for someone who has never been published before. This truly isn’t very large, but when you look at the young adult genre they recommend around 60 or 80 thousand…not 10! Young readers like quick reads, and if they don’t know the author they may not pick up a large book.

Personally I love large books. The BIGGER they are the BETTER!!!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while writing your books. The things you should be thinking about before and after.

1. Focus on writing-

While writing your book, DO NOT think about the word count at all! Right now I am writing the first novel to a trilogy I am working on and I keep repeating to myself, “I need to keep it short, I only want 60,000 words.” But I’ve realized that while that is going through my head I am missing some very important conversations between my characters.

Sure I can try to slim my book down a little, but the truth is-  the less you write the more likely you will skip over a really important part.

So the moral is to FOCUS on your writing and not on how long it should be.

2. Editing the rough draft-

Your all done with your book! You feel great like you had just climbed Mount Everest or finished a Marathon. The problem is…now comes the hard part.

Writing your book was easier then editing.

When you go back and edit your book you may notice that some of the great ideas you had before didn’t work out so well. In the process of editing you need to first take out everything you don’t need, and add in the things you do need. After rereading through the book several times you should be getting a feel of how long your book is actually going to be.

3. Final Changes-

Now is the time to fully embrace the length of your book. Is it too long, too short? If your new to publishing you should really consider not having your word count stand out. Most agents don’t like unique lengths by unpublished authors. The more subtle the word count the better.

So if its too long, you need to say good bye to a few of your pages/chapters. You’ve already reduced the amount of things you absolutely don’t want in your story, but now you need to realize some parts need to be pulled for the sake of selling.

I hope this helps those thinking about word count. And remember,  if you don’t have a strong writer’s platform you might want to think of what your genre requires on length.

As Always,

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: Being Henry David

Happy Thirst-day!

Before we get started for the review I just want to say I NEVER would have picked up this book on my own, but for you guys, I broadened my horizons.

BeingHenryDavid

Name: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

YA Genre: Contemporary

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 304

Reading Time: 2 weeks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Quote: “When you’ve lost your past you have to live in the present.

Back of the book:

“How can you move on with your life when you can’t even remember it?

He wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. All he has in his possession is a  worn out paperback of  Walden by Henry David Thoreau. All he knows is that he’s on the run.

And so he becomes Henry David, “Hank” for short. With the book as his guide, he sets out for the only destination he can think of: Walden Pond. There, while sleeping in the woods and hiding around town, it seems like he can begin again, with new friends and a girl he can’t stop thinking about. 

But when pieces of memories start coming back, Hank realizes the stranger  he fears the most is himself. What’s in his past that his mind won’t let him face?

Review:

As you have seen by my grading (2.5) I was not impressed, but before I begin to criticize the book I would first like to point out its strengths. The book was interesting, I’ll give it that. The fact that a boy can’t remember who he is, not even his name is intriguing, and the beginning description literally feels like a strike to the face.

What made the story good,  was how the beginning and the end weaved together a beautiful metaphor on how to treat life. I found the meaning behind the book the best part about it, but the actual story lacked depth.

The story, at first, was so intriguing I couldn’t put the book down. It was after the first few chapters that it winded down, but nothing seemed to be happening. From chapter 6 to about 15 or so I call those the Dead Pages. There were sparks here and there of interest, something that would bring the book back to life, but they were quickly extinguished.

It was as though Cal was trying to keep the book going, and drag it out to become a novel. I believe that if the book lost 100 pages, it would make more entertaining. It would keep you on the edge of your seat and not dread so long on things teens don’t want to read.

I believe this book is for those who are heading down the literature path. This long, drawn out book is exactly what most literature is all about. It had some intense parts, but overall it was very boring and took me forever to read. If your the type of person who can take on a slow book that has great meaning behind it then I say go for it, but if your like me and want something you want to fall in love with you should pass.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this book. Every one of us has different styles and maybe this is yours.

As always your thoughts are welcome.

A. Willow

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!