Book of the Week-Catching Fire

In spirit of the release of Catching Fire in theaters tomorrow (or for some of us, viagra 100mg today), pharmacy I decided to do an oldie for the Book of the Week.

Okay, I also haven’t read anything new this week. I know. Its awful. I’m trying to catch up, and I’ll have book reviews up soon, I promise! I just gotta get back in the groove!

But until then, let’s talk about Catching Fire, and why I think its the best book in the trilogy. Don’t forget to see the movie this weekend; it is SO amazing. You can read my review of the movie here.

Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins

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GoodReads / Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Genre:

Young Adult, Dystopian

Part of a Series?:

The second novel of The Hunger Games Trilogy

You May Like if You Liked:

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Age Recommendation:

14+

Plot Summary:

From Good Reads:

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

The Review:

This is the strongest book in the trilogy, easily. We’ve had the world established in the first novel. We know Katniss and Peeta and the world they live. We understand the cruelty of the Capitol and the heads of Panem, and President Snow and the Gamemakers. We know all this. The Hunger Games is a great book, something that grabbed me from the very first page.

But Catching Fire takes it to a whole new level. For one thing, the entirety of Panem grows in this novel, which opens our eyes even more to the cruelty of President Snow and his government. The Victory Tour shows us all the various different districts, and I love that. I think that this is where Katniss really begins to see what effect she had, and that her effect isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All she’s ever known is District 12 and the small amount of time she spent in the Capitol. Seeing the other districts only fires her up more.

I also love that we meet so many new important characters in this novel too like Johanna and Finnick and Plutarch, and people like that. Not only does it open us up to new victors besides Haymitch, but we see how the Games have effected other people as well. Plus its good to meet characters that you can get attached to like Katniss and Peeta. My favorite character in the entire series is Finnick Odair and he’s introduced in this novel.

The Games! The Games in this novel just takes it to a whole new level too. It was scary enough in the first book, but at least Katniss seemed to feel almost at home. She knows woods; she can’t hunt and she can take care of herself. Not only is she in the unfamiliar territory of the jungle but the arena also has that clock twist to it, which is awful! A new horror every hour? No thank you! Crazy killer monkeys, jabberjays that sound like your loved ones being tortured and poisonous fog? Its insanity.

I think the most important part of this book though is Katniss’ transformation. She goes from being focused only on herself, her familiy and her own survival (which is NOT a bad thing at all) to being concerned about so much more. She becomes concerned with Peeta, and Haymitch, and her prep team, and Cinna. She even begins to be concerned about the other tributes, even though they’re trying to kill her. Remember who the real enemy is.

Lastly, I think this book has one of the BEST cliffhangers ever. I remember reading it and wanting to throw the book across the room. How could this possibly be happening? What? What?! WHAT? I couldn’t handle it. Luckily enough for me, Mockingjay was coming out within a month, and I didn’t have to wait too long to find out. But an epic cliffhanger, and they nailed the cliffhanger in the movie, just an FYI.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?:

Of course. And I recommend seeing the movie too, which is out in theaters tomorrow!

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I hope you enjoyed this impromptu, last minute Book of the Week, and that you’ll head out to see the movie and that you enjoy it just as much as I do!

Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

The year is halfway over. Its July and its full on summer mode here in Southern California. The 4th of July is that turning point of the year; its half way over.

And I’m sitting here, viagra approved enjoying my summer vacation before I start my last two years of college, thinking about all the awesome things that have already come out and happened this year. Clockwork Princess. WonderCon. Meeting SO many authors. Star Trek premiere. So many cool things.

But then I was thinking about it, and I was like, there is still SO MUCH MORE to look forward to with the rest of the year. So much more.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Premiere Date: August 12, 2013

Release Date: August 21, 2013

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I am SOOOO insanely excited for this. The Mortal Instruments series is one of my absolute favorite book series and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen. When they first started making it, I admit I was extremely wary. I was afraid of them making another Twilight, and while this series keeps getting compared to Twilight, its nothing like it and it looks amazing! I was also super wary of some of the casting, especially the casting of Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland but I ended up being proven so wrong, at least of what I’ve seen so far. So far, the directors, producers and movie studio have gone out of there to stay connected to the fans, to see what we’d like to see and what we like about we’ve seen so far and they’ve responded in kind. And the trailer shows me a seriously badass movie. I am looking forward to this movie adaptation because its looking like the best that I’ve seen in awhile.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and 12th Doctor Announcement

Release Date: November 23, 2013

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I LOVE DOCTOR WHO, and my love for Doctor Who only increased when I went to Gallifrey One, the Doctor Who convention in February. I enjoyed Series 7, though it wasn’t my favorite, and I have been eagerly anticipating the GREAT 50th anniversary special that is sure to come this year. That is when they announced that David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) would be joining Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswin Oswald) for the 50th. I literally squealed with fangirl excitement. David Tennant is amazing, and his rendition of the Doctor is just…its the best and I ADORE Rose and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans that these four get up to. Then Matt Smith announced that he would be retiring as the 11th Doctor and all eyes and ears in the DW fandom are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the 12th Doctor. So much amazing DW coming our way :)

Tammara Webber’s Here With You

Ebook Release: August 6, 2013

Paperback Release: August 27, 2013

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I wasn’t even aware that there would be a fourth book in this series but I am so excited that there will be, especially since Reid Alexander is a main player in this book again. If Reid Alexander were a real celebrity, I’d: A, want him to play Jace Wayland in City of Bones and B, I’d be WAY obsessed with him that way girls are obsessed with Justin Bieber. I have a feeling a lot is going to be going on with this book, and I think the past that Reid has with his ex, Brooke, is going to come up big time with this book. I think we’re finally going to see more of that then we’ve ever seen before.

Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight

Release August 27, 2013

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The first of these books, Throne of Glass, is an absolute masterpiece and its no wonder, as it took Sarah nearly 10 years to write. Its an epic fantasy, with a badass character in Celaena, who is literally a legendary, almost mythical assassin. She can fight, and kill and she has a wicked sense of humor and she likes to curl up with a book. And she has two very different men falling in love with her, and she’s too busy trying to get her freedom. And…even though I absolutely loathe love triangles, I can’t decide which man I like better: Dorian or Chaol. But what a wonderful world that Sarah has created and I can’t wait to see this story continue and to see what other wicked adventures Celaena gets herself into.

Jennifer L Armentrout’s Origin 

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I can’t WAIT for this book (did I mention that this book and the previous two mentioned ALL COME OUT THE SAME DAY!). If you’ve read the end of Opal, the third book in the Lux series, you’ll understand. MAJOR cliffhanger, and you just know that Daemon is PISSED and he’s ready to take on the world to get Katy back and its going to be amazing. Just the differences in covers alone shows that this is going to be a VERY different novel from the previous. I hope it’ll be more action packed and it’ll take the story in completely new directions. I am SO excited for this book; I’m counting down the days.

Veronica Roth’s Allegiant

Release Date: October 22, 2013

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I read Divergent TWO days before the release of Insurgent and stayed up til 3 a.m. reading Insurgent on its release day. It was released on May 1st, 2012 and I’ve already been waiting for over a year for this book. I know plenty of other Divergent fans who haven’t waited nearly as long as I have, so trust me haha, I’m dying for this book to come out, especially with the damn cliffhanger this book leaves you with! I remember reading this SO late at night and thinking, “No…no way. No, Veronica Roth, you don’t do this to me.” This is one of the most anticipated releases of the year in the YA genre, and with the movie wrapping up filming this month, its sure to be a best-seller within minutes. I canNOT wait to see the conclusion of this epic dystopian series.

Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades

Release Date: October 8, 2013

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Again with the cliffhangers. The Mark of Athena, the book right before this one, leaves off with an EPIC cliffhanger. Sorry I’m about to spoil it so if you haven’t read the previous books, I would move on to the next time on the list. I’m warning you. Okay, we leave off with Percy and Annabeth (one of my OTP!) literally FALLING INTO TARTARUS, the deep depths of the Underworld and the Romans of Camp Jupiter charging toward Camp Half Blood, with attack the only objective on their minds. What a way to leave off. Only a year in between books but it is SO hard to wait. And this cover, with an extremely beat up Percy and Annabeth, running from…something, just gets me wriggling with anticipation. Rick Riordan has never failed to disappoint me so this is definitely a book to count down on.

Catching Fire Release

Release Date: November 22, 2013

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I can’t wait for this movie for three reasons. One, I loved the first one but I wasn’t incredibly impressed with it. I’m hoping CF is better :) Two, Finnick Odair. Do I need to say anything else? And three, my friends all went to the Hunger Games premiere last year and had an awesome time and now we are going to the CF premiere and its sure to be a FANTASTIC time. This is a great book series, and the movie is chock full of great actors like Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Haralson, Donald Sutherland, Jenna Malone and so much more. I am excited to see how they accomplish the build up that Catching Fire is. I also am really curious to see how well they pull of the Quarter Quell and the ridiculous arena that is the 75th Hunger Games. I remember reading it and thinking it was crazy, and its going to be epic on the big screen.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Release

Release Date: December 13, 2013

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Okay, I don’t care what any of those so-called fancy Hollywood movie “critics” say. They aren’t fans of the Tolkien universe and they just don’t know. This movie wasn’t made for the critics; it was made for the fans and all the fans that I know…LOVED the first movie. I know I did. I was incredibly impressed and I wanted it to go on forever and I loved the extra stories they added from The Silmarillion and the appendices. This movie is bound to be epic because we get to see more elves (including Thandruil and Legolas) and Benedict Cumberbatch’s sexy dragon voice and so much more. I just know that the movie will continue to be as epic as the first one was. My super cool friend, Kathleen, from New Zealand got me some epic Hobbit shirts and I can’t wait to wear them when seeing this movie for the first time.

Cinda Williams Chima’s The Enchanter Heir 

Release Date: October 1, 2013

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I am so incredibly…okay I’ve said it like a hundred times now…excited for this book because Cinda Williams Chima is a fantasy GENIUS. Seriously. I will push her on you until the day I die because she is an absolutely brilliant and talented writer and I don’t think its fair that she doesn’t get the credit that she deserves when there are extremely popular YA authors out there, with huge fandoms, that aren’t even good. Okay, moving on, this is the 4th book in the Heir Chronicles, though it can be read without reading the first three. Its an urban fantasy, a brilliantly crafted fantasy world wrapped up in modern day worlds. I read all seven of Cinda’s previously released books in a matter of about a month and so now I am dying to have my socks knocked off again by this amazing writer.

Anniversary Edition Harry Potter Books

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I hate change. I really do. I would rather things just be left alone and kept the way they originally were meant to be. Like the original Star Wars trilogy. Why George Lucas, why, did you add all that unnecessary CRAP  to that movie? Ugh. So when they announced that each book in the Harry Potter series would be getting updated covers for the 15th anniversary of the Sorcerer’s Stone’s publication in the US, I wasn’t really thrilled. Until the covers started to be revealed and I was thoroughly impressed. As much as I believe that Mary Grandpre’s covers are the best and will always remain my favorite, these covers (so far, five have been released) are just so beautiful done and are so incredibly impressive and full of artistic talent. I went from shaking my head, to looking at these with eyes wide and immediately rushing to Amazon to place my pre-order. And of course, this box set comes out the EXACT SAME DAY as Origin and Crown of Midnight and Here Without You…

Marie Lu’s Champion 

Release Date: November 5, 2013 

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This is going to be the most epic finale to the BEST dystopian series that I have ever read. Yes, better than The Hunger Games, and yes, better than Divergent. Marie Lu creates a one of a kind dystopian universe (she actually talks about countries besides the US!) and she creates two conflicting, yet in love characters, and her back and forth point of views just leave us with a breath taking, addicting story. I adore both June and Day and the cliffhanger she leaves us with (SPOILER: Day is dying…and he didn’t tell June) is just too much for me to handle. Luckily, after reading Prodigy on its release day in January, I didn’t have to wait long for Champion’s release, which is in November! Not even a year. That, my friends, is possibly the best news a reader can get.

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

Release Date: August 7, 2013

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I was incredibly disappointed in the first movie. I don’t think its as TERRIBLE as everyone makes it out to be but it definitely isn’t a good movie. Its kind of one of those guilty pleasure movies; plus, Logan Lerman is so adorable, I just want to eat him up. But it wasn’t great, and it failed in the box office, so it surprised me immensely when they announced that the second book, Sea of Monsters, was being filmed. Pleasantly surprised but also wary. Now, I’ve seen stills and trailers and I’m not completely sold yet but I do like this book a lot and I am hoping that they are able to revamp this movie series and we can get to Titan’s Curse, which is my FAVE of the Olympians series. I hope, I hope!

Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12

Release Date: September 24, 2013

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Heather Wells is one of my idol characters to look up to because she makes me feel better about myself, both inside and out. Heather is a bigger girl, and she used to be a smaller, famous pop star who basically lost everything but as the books go on, she gains more and more confidence, and becomes so happy in the skin that she’s in and I love that. I love that the more I gain confidence in the size that I wear (which is, a size 12), the more I feel like this badass heroine. Now, after all these books, I am so happy that she is finally getting married and to the person that she’s always wanted to be married to, and I can’t wait to see what adventures she is bound to get into because its Heather and someone is bound to die and Heather is bound to catch them.

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I am also looking forward to the return of Once Upon a Time in the fall for season 3, the new series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, as well. I am excited for Vampire Diaries and the new series, The Originals. I am also anticipating the return of Sherlock, season 3, though I believe that may be in 2014. So much is coming!

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So that was a really long, epic post but I hope you all enjoyed it! There are just SO many cool things left to look forward to in 2013!

What are you most looking forward to in the next six months of 2013? Book releases, movie releases, TV shows returning? As always, share in the comments!

New Hunger Games: Catching Fire Stills

So tonight at the MTV Movie Awards, visit we’ll finally get our glimpse at the first trailer for the second installment in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire.

Yay!

I’m not a huge fan of the MTV Movie Awards, I watched them pretty religiously when I was a teenager but now, not so much but I will sit through the entire show just to see the trailer for Catching Fire. And also to see if they show anything City of Bones because I’m a crazy person like that.

But to keep us nice and excited til the release of the new trailer, I’ve brought to you five new stills that have been released in the last couple of days.

Warning: if you have NOT read the book, there will be spoilers ahead.

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Is it wrong that I’m happy they are keeping Gale’s whipping scene in? Its just SUCH a huge moment for him, and for Katniss, and for the way she feels about Panem and the government.

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Now, Hypable claims this is a still from the Victory Tour, but it looks more like pictures from the Tribute Parade for the 75th annual Hunger Games, since (those of you who have read the book know) Katniss and Peeta go into the Hunger Games once more.

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President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee. Plutarch is the new Gamemaker, the head of the Hunger Games, after Seneca Crane’s alluded demise in the first movie.

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Not sure what’s happening here, or what just happened but Katniss goes through a LOT in this book between the Victory Tour, her engagement to Peeta, Gale’s whipping, going back into the games a second time, so much so there could be anything that could make her look this upset.

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You can tell Prim is growing up. Obviously this is a moment between the sisters, an upset moment. Maybe after Gale’s whipping, maybe Katniss has just found out she’s going back in…but look at Prim’s reaction…she’s not a little girl anymore, she’s grown up.

I’m pretty excited about all the stills so far, and I’m excited to watch the trailer tonight.

Let me know what you think of the stills! I’ll post the trailer as soon as its posted online :)

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Book to Movie Transitions

Today, sildenafil my friends, I’m going to complain a little bit. I saw this picture online and it made me laugh.

And the fact is, They are not wrong. I would seriously sit through a six hour Harry Potter movie if they put more details. I definitely would. And yeah, I probably would still complain about what they left out. It just got me to thinking. How many times do we go to movies to see the adaptation of our favorite books and come out feeling disappointed? How often do we come out actually feeling satisfied?

Now, I’m not going to be the first one to say that there are no arguments…the book is always, always, always, better than the movie. Always. (Except Chronicles of Narnia but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

Example number one, Harry Potter. Now, if I sit and watch the movies, I have an enjoyable time. I like the movies. I like actually seeing Hogwarts and seeing magic and the uniforms and the classes and Quidditch and its awesome. Seeing Hogwarts gets me teary-eyed every single time. Hogwarts is my home.

But there are sooooo many things that drives me insane. I could go on for pages and pages and pages about the things that are missing. They completely left out the Marauders and the importance of them in Prisoner of Azkaban. They butcher the crap out of Goblet of Fire (don’t get me started on GoF) and they don’t even get into the story of Barty Crouch Jr. (More David Tennant on screen time? I’m down). In Half Blood Prince, where the heck are all the memories, explaining all of Voldemort’s past! Where are the explanations of what the actual Horcruxes are? And in Deathly Hallows, how bout we actually talk about the DEATHLY HALLOWS! We have that awesome animated scene of the Tale of Three Brothers, and there is no ending for the Hallows at all.

But the movies aren’t all bad. Definitely not. I love them, I waited in line for the midnight showings, cried when everyone died (except Dobby…I just don’t like Dobby) and cried my bloody eyes out when Harry uses the Resurrection stone to see James, Lily, Sirius and Lupin. WATERWORKS. The Feels!!!!

And how bout Percy Jackson? Now, I enjoy the movie; its entertaining. But damn, did they butcher The Lightning Thief. For one thing, Logan Lerman plays Percy at, what, 16? Percy should be 12. And even though Logan Lerman is a very very good looking boy, that part kind of bothered me. The girl who played Annabeth was a brunette. Poseidon didn’t claim Percy during the Capture the Flag game. There’s a lot in that movie that drives me absolutely insane. I’m not a big fan of the guy who plays Grover and Pierce Brosnan as Chiron? Ugh ugh.

Both adaptations of Meg Cabot books are HORRIBLE. Princess Diaries and Avalon High, ugh, ugh, ugh. Princess Diaries just doesn’t capture Meg’s voice. Those books are written in diary form and its all about Mia’s voice and how she sees the world around her. Its so funny and sarcastic and amazing and the movie just doesn’t capture that at all. And they marry her off to some random dude, when all us Cabot fans know that she is meant to be with Michael Moscovitz. Ugh. And Avalon High. There was so much wrong with that movie. The very fact that they made Allie (who’s name is supposed to be Ellie!) to be the King Arthur incarnate was just dumb as hell. She’s the Lady of the Lake, and Will is King Arthur. Read a book! Those movies I can’t even watch because of how much they were butchered.

There are movies that are okay adaptations. I liked Hunger Games, I think they followed the story pretty well and I liked most of the actors. I wasn’t really feeling Lenny Kravitz as Cinna but he was great as Cinna. Woody Haralson nailed it on the head with Haymitch. I even liked the three leads for Katniss, Gale and Peeta. Elizabeth Banks for Effie. Not stoked on Donald Sutherland for President Snow but it worked. But I think they failed to capture the characters themselves. We didn’t get to see Katniss and the kind of stubbornness she had and the love she felt for Prim, the frustration with her mother, her debts to Peeta and Gale. The importance of the Mockingjay was forgotten. But the movie was good. I think they got enough of it to make it very enjoyable.

But then there’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Howl’s is soooo much different from the book, oh my goodness. But the movie captures the essence of the book and its an amazing movie. It captures that connection between Howl and Sophie and it captures the magical essence to it. This is a great example of an adaptation.

I also find the more classic movies to be really good adaptations. To Kill a Mockingbird is an AMAZING transition and definitely one of my favorites. Every time I watch that movie…ohmyRowling. Its so fantastic. I mean, my dog’s name is Scout for a reason. Gregory Peck captures the very essence of that novel. He IS that movie.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Gone with the Wind, which is a great movie. Gone with the Wind is an extremely long book and it would be so insanely hard to get everything that’s in that book in the movie. It would be impossible. But they got all the important things and they captured the essence of the film. That was the most important. Vivian Leigh made a great Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable is one fine looking Rhett Butler.

I’m nervous about the upcoming movie adaptations. I’m a little nervous about The Hobbit (though, come on, Peter Jackson killed it with Lord of the Rings…GREAT movies), The Great Gatsby, Percy Jackson’s Sea of Monsters, and the Mortal Instruments’ City of Bones. I’m sure some of them will be good and some of them will be bad. But I’ll go out and see every single one of them.

I guess my point is, the more movies that are made, the more we’re going to get angry and frustrated and have complaints. We’re always going to find something wrong with it. We’re never going to be happy with a movie adaptation of a book, never. But here’s the thing, that’s almost a good thing. Sure, we can go to the movies and enjoy it. But we’re always going to want to come home and reread that book that made us happy beyond belief. We’re going to want to experience things they way the author meant them too.

So I like movies, and I like movie adaptions and I’ll continue to go see them. And trust me, I’ll continue to find things wrong with them. But I guess that’s what makes books so awesome. There’s just nothing better than escaping into a book.

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