Wednesday, July 18, 2012

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE CASTING UPDATE

With production set to start in September, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting is coming together.  It's official:  Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) has been cast to play District 3 victor, Wiress!  






Rumour also has it that the highly sought after role of District 4 victor, Finnick, has been offered to relatively unknown Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman).  If true, this will be a strange move from Lionsgate, as a number of high profile actors have shown interest playing the part.  


Sam Claflin


Variety furthermore seems to have it on good authority that Tony Shaloub (Monk) is the frontrunner to play Wiress' district mate, Beetee.  


Tony Shaloub


At this time, though, only Amanda Plummer and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been confirmed by Lionsgate as joining the cast.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NOW READING: A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE - A STORM OF SWORDS 2: BLOOD AND GOLD ~ GEORGE R.R MARTIN




The Starks are scattered.  Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bend to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold his crown.  And while his youngest sister, Arya, has escaped the clutches of the depraved Cersei Lannister and her son, the capricious boy-king Joffrey, Sansa Stark remains their captive.


Meanwhile, across the ocean, Daenerys Stormborn, the last heir of the Dragon King, delivers death to the slave-trading cities of Astapor and Yunkai as she approaches Westeros with vengeance in her heart.

COMIC-CON 2012 ~ THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

The Vampire Diaries panel at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con:


ANOTHER BLOG FEATURE!

My blog has been featured on another literature site, The Major Genre Daily!


Monday, July 16, 2012

REVIEW: RAPTURE ~ LAUREN KATE


Rapture, the fourth and final installment of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, concludes the story of Lucinda Price and fallen angel Daniel Grigori, whose love brought a curse on them through which Lucinda is destined to die, lifetime after lifetime at the exact moment of enlightenment when she starts to remember their past, only to be reincarnated and have her and Daniel fall in love and lose each other over and over again.
In Fallen  Luce and Daniel meet for the first time in this lifetime.  After initially trying to drive Luce away, Daniel ultimately gives into his love for her once more and their love story starts once again.  In Torment Luce and Daniel are separated as Daniel works to keep Luce safe from several parties who want her dead, and Luce starts to uncover their history.  In Passion Luce embarks on a journey of self-discovery whereby she travels through announcers to watch several of her former selves fall in love with her angel.  Passion concluded with Lucifer attempting to catch all of the fallen angels in an announcer and take them back to the moments in Heaven before the fall, effectively erasing Luce and Daniel’s romance which spans six odd millennia, and rewriting history.  On a mission to save the world’s history, and their love, Luce and Daniel, along with Arianne, Roland, Annabelle, Cam, Shelby and Miles join forces to stop Lucifer. 

Rapture picks up right where Passion left of.  The angels determine that to stop Lucifer, they have to find him first – which means they have to uncover the exact location of the fall.  In order to do so, the angels first need to identify and find three relics, which when combined will reveal the location of the fall.  The majority of Rapture focuses on the angels’ quest to find these three relics.  Luce also keeps spontaneously remembering bits and pieces of her history, bringing her ever closer to finally understanding why she and Daniel are cursed.
Will Luce be able to unlock the ultimate truth hidden deep in her memory?  Will Luce and Daniel finally end the curse that has haunted them both for thousands of years, or will Lucifer succeed in wiping out their love?
I have to say that the conclusion to the Fallen series left me disappointed.  It ended pretty much as I expected.  No big surprises, no major revelations.  It felt like I was reading something I have read before.  I knew what was coming.  On a positive note Kate ventured to explain the prologue of Passion, and also why Daniel couldn’t remember his future self being present at the Roll Call -  two things I had issues with in Passion.

If you’ve read the first three books by now you know, or at least suspect, that Luce herself is also an angel (I really hope Kate didn’t intend for this to be the big surprise of Rapture, as this was pretty obvious), and that the curse stems from her and Daniel refusing to choose sides during Lucifer’s rebellion in Heaven.  Instead of choosing Heaven or Lucifer, Daniel and Luce chose only each other.  For this they were cast out of Heaven and doomed to love, and lose, each other forever. 
The reason why Luce’s not being baptised was so important to the angels is not only because if she should be killed she will not be reincarnated again but die for good, but also something much more significant.  The curse determined that the only time it can be broken would be when Luce is raised by parents who aren’t religious – not being raised according to a certain faith would enable Luce to decide for herself. 
So Luce discovers that she is also an angel… not just an angel, but the third most powerful Archangel.  Daniel, Cam, Arianne, Annabelle, Gabbe, Roland… they were all archangels, closest to the Throne.  When God left Heaven to create earth and mankind, loneliness drew together… Lucinda and Lucifer!  (May I take a moment to point out I was totally right about Lucifer loving Lucinda and the reason their names are so similar!).  Lucifer was the morning star, and Lucinda the evening light.  Their romance was the first ever romantic love between two entities.  However, Lucifer’s love was suffocating Lucinda – he was taking and taking and taking from her, making her lose her light.  Lucinda soon began to realise that Lucifer’s love was obsessive and poisonous, especially when he started urging her to join forces with him so that they could be more important than God.  Lucinda truly loved the Lord and relished adoring Him – she wanted no part of Lucifer’s plan.  When Daniel comforted a crying Lucinda in the meadow, their love story began.  Instead of harming her, Daniel’s love made Lucinda radiant, her light shining brighter and brighter.  Where Lucifer’s love made her weak, Daniel’s love made her strong – though Lucifer introduced her to love, Daniel showed her what it was supposed to be like.  Angry and proud, Lucifer dragged Lucinda before God and started the rebellion that caused the fall.  Instead of remaining by his side, Lucinda moves to Daniel, and they declare their love for each other, the only allegiance they would pledge, and were cast out of Heaven along with millions of other angels.
Forward to present day.  Lucifer, still bitter over losing the angel he loved to a lesser angel, attempts to catch the fall in an announcer, erase the past 6000 odd years, and take all the angels back to the moments before the fall, giving Lucinda the chance to “choose right” this time.  Only Lucinda can convince him that she would make the same choice again.  Finally God intervenes, and Lucinda and Daniel are brought forward to make their choice once more.  Again, they choose only each other and their love.  They are granted their desire to be together – but at a price.  They will lose their immortality, their memories and the powerful force that always brings them together.  They are to be born again as mere mortals, with only one more lifetime to be together.  They accept without hesitation.  Seventeen years later Lucinda and Daniel fall in love for the first, and last, time.
The conclusion to the series truly saddened me.  The fact that Luce and Daniel’s memories were lost bothered me most.  I expected them to become mortal, but I had hoped they would just continue living, knowing what they are to each other.  But no, they start again as babies.  While I am happy that they managed to find each other in their last lifetime, I am very disappointed that they will never know just how much they truly love each other.
I have to say that I intensely dislike the fact that Lucinda and Lucifer were once in love.  This somehow lessened the power and beauty of Luce and Daniel’s romance for me.  Also, I have a major problem with the part of the plotline which states that Lucifer invented love.  The Bible clearly states that God is love, so as a Christian I did not appreciate this approach.  I know Kate had to explain the curse, but I wish she had found another way.  As with Passion, again I wasn’t comfortable with the way Kate depicted God, but I do feel that she at least attempted to be respectful in her writing.
In a final note, Cam’s story is completely unresolved.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Kate wrote a novel about him later on.  In fact, I hope she does.

I would also like to mention that one thing Lauren Kate got absolutely right, is the covers for the books.  






These are, without a doubt, some of my favourite book covers of all time.  Beautiful. I also like how Luce is finally wearing white on Rapture's cover - enlightenment.


Product information:
Title: Rapture
Author: Lauren Kate
Number of pages: 464
Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers 
Year: 2012
ISBN-10: 0385739184
ISBN-13: 978-0385739184 


In conclusion, please allow me a moment to celebrate




COMIC-CON 2012 ~ GAME OF THRONES

On Saturday the Game of Thrones panel  drew a large number of fans to fill Hall H, the biggest at San Diego Comic-Con.  Here's what went down:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The fans also watched a Season 2 recap (Season 3 is currently in production, and no new material could be released at this time):



The only Season 3 video the producers could share at this time was a video revealing the actors who would be playing new characters in Season 3:

BREAKING DAWN PT 2 CHARACTER POSTERS

Following the release of the official Breaking Dawn Part 2 posters in May and new movie stills in June, Summit has finally released the official character posters for the supporting cast.


Carlisle Cullen


Esme Cullen


Jasper Hale


Alice Cullen

Emmett Cullen


Rosalie Hale


 All 23 new character posters can be seen here.


Friday, July 13, 2012

COMIC-CON 2012 ~ THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PT 2

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is underway, and yesterday the Breaking Dawn Part 2 panels were conducted.  

One interesting fact that was revealed, was Stephenie Meyer mentioning creating Renesmee Cullen for more than just plot - she was creating a future narrator.  In a few years (approximately 20?), we might be reading Renesmee's story:


Here is the main cast panel:

Part 1 

Part 2

Part 3

And lastly, here is the supporting cast panel:


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NOW READING: RAPTURE ~ LAUREN KATE

The sky is dark with wings...

Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.

For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her - and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.  In the fight for Luce, who will win?

The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer ~ Lauren Kate website.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE CASTING UPDATE

The first of the new main characters in Catching Fire has officially been cast and the first official announcement has been made.  It seems fan favourites are indeed being considered by Lionsgate, as Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast as new Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee!


Fans can now also keep an eye on the Catching Fire casting through this new feature of The Hunger Games Facebook page. Cathing Fire has been allocated a release date of 22 November 2013.

Furthermore, Lionsgate has also announced that Mockingjay, the third and final installment of the series, will be split into two films, and release dates have already been set down.

Mockingjay Part 1: 21 November 2014
Mockingjay Part 2: 20 November 2015

Personally I don't see the need to split Mockingjay into two films, but I'm sure Lionsgate has good reason; other than monetary gain, I would hope.

Monday, July 9, 2012

REVIEW: THE SCARLET THREAD ~ FRANCINE RIVERS

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers came highly recommended by my friend Erika.  She and I are pretty much on the same wavelength concerning literature, which is such a blessing.  It’s so great to have a friend who has the same tastes as you, whose recommendations you can take to heart and not be disappointed.  Besides, she said the magic words: “It’s a lot like Redeeming Love”.  My favourite book!
Sierra and Alex live a quiet life in a small town, in a cosy home with their two children, surrounded by family.  One morning Alex pulls the rug out from under an unsuspecting Sierra, sending their carefully crafted world into disarray.  Without first consulting her, he quits his job, accepts a new one, contacts an estate agent to put their house on the market, and sets about moving the family to Los Angeles – away from the town she’s lived in all her life, away from their families.  Once in LA Sierra is an embittered wife, hating life in their small, impersonal apartment.  Loneliness and uncertainty become her constant companions as Sierra is surrounded by rich LA housewives she feels she can’t measure up to, and qualified women who leave her insecure.  Sierra’s mother then sends her the diary of Mary Catherine Murray, one of her ancestors.  The two women, though separated by centuries, have a lot in common and share similar trials, and Sierra soon finds solace in its pages.  As months pass and Alex spends less time at home, Sierra’s nurtured feelings of resentment grows into a powerful force that eats away at their marriage – it doesn’t help that Alex starts seeking comfort in the arms of another woman.  As Alex moves further away from Sierra, she draws ever closer to God.  With no one to lean on in the most difficult and painful time of her life, Sierra follows Mary Catherine’s example and learns to surrender to God's sovereignty and unconditional love.
Alex soon notices the change in his wife, and when she finally agrees to give him a divorce it is Alex who finds himself unsure if he truly wants their marriage to end.  As Sierra and the children grow in their faith, Alex sees the happy, lively, amazing woman he fell in love with – the hurt, bitter woman who moved to LA nowhere to be found.  When it becomes clear that a friend of Sierra’s is vying for her heart, and more disturbingly that she might be ready to hand it over, Alex must finally face the consequences of his actions and win his wife’s heart once more. 
In her contemporary works Francine Rivers likes to confront her readers with very difficult questions.  In The Scarlet Thread we face the reality of adultery – how is a Christian supposed to react when cheated on by a spouse?  The Bible tells us to forgive and forget, but how do you find the strength to forgive and forget wounds that cut deeper than any woman can explain?  When your husband cheats on you, emotionally abuses you and leaves you feeling worthless, how do you forgive, forget and consider reconciliation?  The Scarlet Thread poses some very hard questions, and some very realistic solutions.   Only God can help you get over that kind of hurt and give you the strength to forgive.
The Scarlet Thread is not one of my favourite Francine Rivers books (I tend to prefer her historical novels), but only because its tone is very dark.  It is an emotionally taxing book.  My heart physically hurt for Sierra.  With every emotional back-handed blow Alex delivered, a pain literally shot through my heart.  It is not easy sharing Sierra’s journey – perhaps because being cheated on by your husband is a very real fear for most women, and being confronted with all the aspects surrounding a failing marriage is difficult to take.
Personally I found myself hoping Sierra would move on with a man who treated her better, like Ron - he clearly adored her.  I just could not get myself to be hopeful for a reconciliation between Alex and Sierra. It could be because I didn’t find Alex a likable character and I just wasn’t emotionally invested in him at all.   I just couldn’t get past all of the things he did to Sierra – maybe that means I have some soul searching to do; Maybe that is the point of it all.
How, you may ask, is this book similar to Redeeming Love?  It’s about letting someone go and giving them to God.  While The Scarlet Thread did not take Redeeming Love’s place in my heart, I am not sorry I read it.  At the end of the day The Scarlet Thread is a spiritual book that confronts the reader with uncomfortable truths – the best kinds of books not only teach you something about yourself, but also inspire you to look inside yourself and ask some very hard questions.  In this regard The Scarlet Thread is a masterpiece.



Product information:
Title: The Scarlet Thread
Author: Francine Rivers
Number of pages: 448
Publisher: Tyndale House
Year: 1996
ISBN-10: 1414370636
ISBN-13: 978-1414370637 

REVIEW: HOW DO I LOVE THEE ~ NANCY MOSER

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is the author of my favourite poem, How Do I Love Thee.  This is a poem she wrote while in love with fellow poet Robert Browning, and was for her own eyes only – never intended to be published!  How lovely that Robert was ultimately the one who insisted that Elizabeth’s love sonnets be published, as these are what she is best remembered for today.

How do I love thee by Nancy Moser is a biographical novel, written from Elizabeth Barret's perspective and based on facts. It chronicles a large timespan of her life, and includes most of the major events, as well as the actual wording of letters between Elizabeth and Robert. The one thing I do love about this book, is that it felt like I was reading a classic novel.The writing is that dated.Most current historical novels are indeed set in history, but the writing is very modern; How do I love thee does not have that problem.


One of twelve children, having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth and her siblings were raised under the iron fist of their father, who locked them away in seclusion.  To ensure his children didn’t stumble on the sins of the flesh (as he deemed it), he forbade his children to marry – what a hypocrite, right?  Elizabeth, being the victim of weak lungs, was locked up most of all.  Having been convinced by her family and doctors that she was an invalid, Elizabeth never ventured out of her room!  Confining herself to only her bedroom, and mostly only to her bed, Elizabeth’s frail body soon grew too weak to even walk easily, and her life was a ritual of resting and taking medicine. Her only solace was her writing.  In her thirties Elizabeth therefore still lived with her father, happy to be with her family and unmarried.  One day, only to ensure her latest published works would be of equal length, she hastily wrote a 19 page poem in one day, in which she made mention of Robert Browning.  After reading the poem, Robert wrote Elizabeth a letter, and the two soon became pen pals.  And so began one of history's greatest love stories.
Over the years the recluse Elizabeth grew too uncomfortable with the idea of meeting new people, and she refused invitation after invitation from fellow authors who wanted to meet her; but for some reason, when Robert requested a meeting Elizabeth hastily agreed – a fact which didn’t fail to unsettle her.  As their friendship grew, so did their love.  Robert and Elizabeth soon couldn’t deny their love for each other, but her father’s strict rules against marriage stood in their way – could they find a way to be true to her father’s wishes as well as their own hearts?

Throughout all the years and all their travels, both Elizabeth and Robert held on to their respective love letters, and the 573 letters which capture their courtship, their blossoming love and their forbidden marriage are on display at the Wellesley College!  The entire collection is also available to view online.

In this Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 photo, a hand-written original manuscript by Elizabeth Barrett Browning of the epic poem "Aurora Leigh," is held by Mariana Oller, Wellesley College associate curator of special collections at the Margaret Clapp Library, on the campus of Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

One major problem that the book does have: I don’t particularly like the heroine.  Initially I found Elizabeth to be very selfish, self-centred and self-indulgent; which is a problem since I am sure she was meant to be portrayed as selfless.  The fact that a 36 year old woman needs a maid who is able to disregard her wants and requests because she herself knows that she is being unreasonable, is just ridiculous.  Show some willpower, woman!  I got very annoyed with Elizabeth’s self-pitying woe-is-me-attitude.  I literally only kept reading in the hopes that her romance with Robert Browning would better her.  Thankfully, it did.  Robert brought Elizabeth to life – in every sense.  He encouraged her to move around, to venture outside, and ultimately to travel abroad!  Without his love and God’s grace, Elizabeth would have died a recluse. 
Another problem: We only meet Robert through his letters a third through the book, and he only becomes a central character halfway through the book.  I understand that this story is biographical and that Elizabeth had a life (of sorts) before she met him, but since this story is about how her love for him changed her, I would have wanted him introduced much sooner – way too much backstory.  It would have suited me just fine if Moser were to fast forward the plot at the point where her brother Bro died, to a few weeks before she met Robert; not years.  I found many of the first chapters completely unnecessary.
I have to say I did very much enjoy the way time stood still when Elizabeth received her first letter from Robert; the way she just knew that her life had changed, though she did not realise how.  The depiction of their friendship, courtship and romance growing steadily over a period of months was very realistically done, and if Moser’s aim was to show how Robert’s love made Elizabeth become the best version of herself, and how God brought them together against all odds, intervened on their behalf and blessed their relationship, she certainly succeeded.

In the historical sense How do I love thee is a lovely portrayal of the life and love of Elizabeth Barret Browning.



Product information:
Title: How Do I Love Thee
Author: Nancy Moser
Number of pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 0764205013 

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