Before I Blogged is a feature here at JenniElyse. The idea is to post my original review of a book I recently reread and my feelings after the reread.

After I read THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, I decided to reread the original trilogy. Here are my original reviews of each book:

The Hunger Games: January 4, 2009

Tonight, I finished reading THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. It’s the first book in the The Hunger Games trilogy. The sequels haven’t been written yet. CATCHING FIRE, the next book in the trilogy, is due to be released in September 2009.

I started reading THE HUNGER GAMES yesterday and I finished this evening. I literally couldn’t put the book down, except when I went to bed, which Corey insisted I do, and to go to Church today. (I almost felt like I was reading TWILIGHT for the first time again with how enthralled I was with the story. And, knowing me, you know that’s huge!)

The story’s about a 16-year-old girl, Katniss Everdeen, who lives with her mom and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts rebelled against the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send two tributes, one boy and one girl, to appear in an annual televised event called the Hunger Games. The terrain, rules, and level of gamekeeper participation may change, but one thing’s always the same year after year, kill or be killed. When Katniss’ sister is chosen by lottery as one of the tributes, she volunteers to go in her place.

The story’s so compelling. Katniss is strong and likable. There’s tons of suspense and a little bit of romance. There’s just enough hope and compassion to balance the horror and barbarism. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to survive the wait between now and September. I really want to know what’s going to happen. Collins has done an excellent job of setting up for the next novel. And, there’s a love triangle that could be brewing!

I don’t know why I get involved in these stories before the series is finished!

Catching Fire: September 6, 2009

Tonight, I finished reading CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins. It’s the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. The third book in the trilogy hasn’t been written yet. It’s tentatively scheduled to be released in 2010, probably around September since that’s the month THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE were both released in.

I actually started reading CATCHING FIRE this morning and finished reading it about two hours ago. Just like THE HUNGER GAMES, I couldn’t put CATCHING FIRE down and it has earned a place on my Favorites shelf.

I’m not going to write a synopsis of the story because it will give too much away about THE HUNGER GAMES if you haven’t read it already. Suzanne Collins is a master with imagery and character development. It makes the story seem so real. You can’t help feeling sorry for the residents of Panem, a post-apocalyptic North America, because of the oppression from the Capitol. However, because the themes do seem a little barbaric, she puts in just enough hope, compassion, and romance to balance the story.

I really enjoy the deeper, more adult, themes this series presents. It doesn’t seem like a mindless read because of the implications and horror caused by the Capitol in the ways they oppress the residents of Panem. It’s almost like the world created in FAHRENHEIT 451, but told in a much more interesting manner and most of the people aren’t oblivious to the Capitol’s efforts to keep its residents in ignorance by oppression.

Anyway, there’s a part of me that wishes I hadn’t started this series until all the books were written. They’re so intense and it’s hard to wait in between each story. I want to know how the series is going to end. I want to know if the characters I care about will triumph over the Capitol and how much of a difference it will make if they succeed.

Mockingjay: August 30, 2010

Last night, I finished reading MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins. It’s the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.

I’m not going to write a synopsis of the story because it will give too much away about THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE if you haven’t read them already. However, just like its predecessors, I couldn’t put MOCKINGJAY down. (I was forced to at a couple of points, even though I didn’t want to.) It has also earned a spot on my Favorites shelf.

I can’t believe I know the outcome of this series. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long and to have it over feels kind of surreal. I’m glad I was able to savor my first read through of the story, even though I did know about a few spoilers.

I do have a lot of mixed feelings about MOCKINGJAY. I’m happy, sad, and a little disappointed. Yet, I’m actually quite satisfied with how the series ended. There are a few things I wish would’ve happened differently, mostly because I just didn’t want them to happen because it was too sad. I’m very glad I got to enjoy more time with some of the minor characters in the first two books. But, I also missed the interaction between a couple of the major characters, even though it was pertinent to the story. The ending felt a bit rushed to me because I wanted to experience the aftermath in more than just a few pages or paragraphs.

MOCKINGJAY felt different from its predecessors. It wasn’t necessarily a bad different; it was just different and it took some getting used to. The story is still an emotional roller coaster and it’s very intense. I savored the beauty and sweetness when it was there because of the brutality of the subject matter. I expected to cry more than I did, but I only cried at one point during the story. Overall, I’m very happy and I look forward to reading more books written by Suzanne Collins.

Reread Feelings

I’m so glad I decided to reread this trilogy again. I still adore it just as much as I did the first time I read each book. I watch the movies fairly often and I had forgotten how much they leave out. It was nice to remember characters and events that didn’t make it into the movies.

Each time I read the books, I appreciate the deeper, more adult themes more. I realize the dystopia Suzanne Collins created isn’t that far off. I also appreciated MOCKINGJAY more with each reread or watch of the movies. I know a lot of readers were unhappy with Katniss’ actions. Having recently gone through PTSD therapy, I think her actions were believable because of what she had endured. I’ve always been happy with the result of the love triangle. I, however, appreciate it more now than I did back then. I now understand her choice and why she made it.

What about you? Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? If so, what did you think about it?

Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.
Feeling

I’m finally over my sinus infections. However, I’m feeling kind of meh. It’s probably because I’ve been isolating while I’ve been sick.

Blogging

Here’s what I posted on the blog for the past two weeks:

Reading

I read THE INVOCATIONS by Krystal Sutherland this week. I really enjoyed the dark, mysterious atmosphere. I’m nearly finished with THIS SPELLS LOVE by Kate Robb.

I finished listening to the CATCHING FIRE audiobook and also listened to the MOCKINGJAY audiobook. They got me through my dizziness and nausea.

I’m slowly making my way through THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO audiobook. I can only listen to an hour at a time because the narrator’s driving me insane. He’s British, which is great, but he’s reading the book with a very thick, nearly perfect French accent. Don’t get me wrong. I love French. I took it for five years in school. I’m just the type of person that if you’re going to read a translated work in English, then read it in English. If I wanted to read it in French, then I’d be reading the French edition.

Listening

I actually listened to one of my favorite movie soundtracks this week, ST. ELMO’S FIRE. I haven’t listened to it for a long time, but I started watching THE FLOOR, hosted by Rob Lowe, and seeing him made me want to listen to it. Here’s my favorite song from the soundtrack. It’s the instrumental version.

Watching

As I said above, I started watching THE FLOOR on Hulu. It’s a gameshow hosted by Rob Lowe. It has sucked me right in.

I also started watching PRETTY LITTLE LIARS on Max. I’m already in season 2. The show’s really addicting and I’m curious who A is and what’s going on. I’m also curious if the books are as good as or better than the tv show?

Corey and I are still watching THE TUDORS, but since I started PLL, we haven’t made much progress.

Loving

I love my kitties, Izzy and Luci. They kept me company as I recovered from my sinus infections, by cuddling up with me while I watched TV or sat in my recliner or bed listening to my audiobooks.

Wanting

I want to start working on my mood afghan again. I started it on my last birthday (April 19, 2023) and will go to April 18 of this year. I was really gung-ho about working on it in the beginning, but as SAD settled on me around November, I stopped working on it. I’ve been keeping track of my moods each day so I can still finish it. I’ve figured out that if I crochet 3 hexagons a day, then I should be caught up very soon and finish it on time.

Needing

I need to get out and be with my friends. As I said above, I can tell isolating has been taking its toll on me emotionally.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

Review: The InvocationsTitle: The Invocations
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Genre(s): Horror, YA
Pages: 400
Source: Library
For: Recommended
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Zara Jones believes in magic because the alternative is too painful to bear--that her sister was murdered by a serial killer and there is precisely nothing she can do to change it. Jude Wolf might be the daughter of a billionaire, but she is also undeniably cursed. After a deal with a demon went horribly wrong, her soul is now slowly turning necrotic. Enter Emer Bryne: the solution to both Zara's and Jude's predicaments. The daughter of a witch, Emer sells spells to women in desperate situations willing to sacrifice a part of their soul in exchange for a bit of power, a bit of magic to change their lives. As Zara and Jude enter Emer's orbit, they'll have to team up to stop the killer--before they each end up next on his list.

My Thoughts

I really enjoy reading horror, but I don’t read it very often because fantasy and romance have my heart. When I read Ellie’s ARC review of THE INVOCATIONS, I knew I had to read it right away. I immediately put it on hold at the library and waited for its release and my turn.

I finished reading THE INVOCATIONS last night and I’m so glad I decided to read it right away. I was not disappointed in the least. I loved the idea of witches and witch hunters, and the use of invocations to grant women borrowed power from demons for a small piece of their soul. The story was dark, tense, mysterious, and full of paranormal goodness. It reminded me of an episode of Netflix’s THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, which is what I think Krystal Sutherland was going for since she mentioned the show a couple of times in the story.

“I did not come this far to only come this far.”

I loved the three main characters in THE INVOCATIONS. Zara Jones is smart, determined, and grieving the loss of her sister. Jude Wolf is trying to find a way, any way, back into the good graces of her billionaire father’s heart, if he has one, and the life of luxury that represents. Emer Byrne is simply trying to exist without being tracked by those who want witches dead. Together they make an unstoppable team.

I really enjoyed THE INVOCATIONS. It gave me exactly what I was looking for. It ends in a way that doesn’t demand a sequel, but open enough if Sutherland wants to return to this world.

Have you read THE INVOCATIONS? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent, corpse mutilation, and blood drinking.

Last week I posted Part 2 of The Series Series, discussing series I haven’t finished and whether or not I’ll continue reading them. Two weeks ago I posted Part 1 of The Series Series, discussing series I’ve read from start to finish and whether I’d recommend them to other readers. It was a lot of fun taking a deeper look at the series I’ve read, finished, and unfinished.

I have a very large TBR–1500+ books. This TBR mostly only counts the first book of a series because I believe a series has to make me want to continue reading it. Because my TBR is so large, I feel like I need to be selective of the books I read. It makes starting a new series hard, especially when I have so many that I haven’t even finished yet. Despite my huge TBR, or maybe I should say because of my TBR, there are so many series I still want to read.

Part 3: Top Ten Series I Want to Read

Let’s get started with part 3 of The Series Series. Today I’ll be discussing my top ten series I want to read. (If I don’t set some kind of limit on this, my post will be unmanageable.)

The Dark Artifices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Number Books: 3

Why I Want to Read it: I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter universe.

The Last Hours Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

Number Books: 3

Why I Want to Read it: I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter universe.

The Chronicles of Castellane by Cassandra Clare

Number Books: At least 2 are planned, probably more. Only SWORD CATCHER is currently out.

Why I Want to Read it: I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and I’m excited to see what other stories she has in mind.

Dragon Star Trilogy by Melanie Rawn

Number Books: 3

Why I Want to Read it: I love the Dragon Prince trilogy and this is a companion trilogy. It continues the story with the main characters’ (from the first trilogy) son, Pol.

Dust Trilogy by Philip Pullman

Number Books: 3 (only 2 are out)

Why I Want to Read it: I love His Dark Materials trilogy and this is a companion trilogy. It delves deeper into the phenomenon of Dust and how it influences Lyra’s and Will’s worlds.

Mistborn Saga by Brandon Sanderson

Number Books: 7

Why I Want to Read it: If I didn’t put this on my list, I think my friend and her kids would disown me, lol. They’ve been trying to get me to read this series for years. It’s not that I don’t want to. Other books just keep getting in the way.

Mary Trilogy by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Number Books: 3

Why I Want to Read it: I loved MY LADY JANE and I expect I’ll love the other two as well which will make me want to read this trilogy too.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas

Number Books: 4 (possibly more)

Why I Want to Read it: I mean who doesn’t want to read this series if they haven’t already.

Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

Number Books: 4

Why I Want to Read it: I’ve heard so much good about this series and it seems right up my alley.

Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

Number Books: 4

Why I Want to Read it: I’ve heard so much good about this series and it seems right up my alley.

Conclusions

I thought this would be a lot harder to narrow down. It really wasn’t because of the tie-ins with the other series I’ve read and because I own most of these books already, lol.

Well, that’s it for The Series Series. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading my posts as I did putting them together. Maybe, I’ll check in next year to see if I’ve made any progress on the series I’ve already started and not finished. We’ll see.

What about you? Have you read any of these series? Which one do you think I should move to the top of my TBR? Are you surprised by any of my choices? Would you recommend any other series I should put on my TBR? What are some series you haven’t started yet but you want to read?

Book vs. Movie is a feature here at JenniElyse. I do a side-by-side comparison of the book and movie (or tv show) and which I like better. There may be minor spoilers.

As I said in my review of THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, I actually saw the movie before I read the book. I loved it so much that I decided to listen to the audiobook as soon as I was done with the one I was listening to at the time. And, so this is more of a Movie vs. Book post.

I saw THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES in the theater with Corey, my friend Kami, and her daughter. As I watched the movie, I had no idea what to expect other than it being set in Panem and in The Hunger Games universe. It made the movie more suspenseful and exciting in a way.

I thought that Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler were fantastic in their roles as Coriolanus and Lucy Gray Baird. I loved Peter Dinklage as Dean Highbottom, Viola Davis as Dr. Gaul, Hunter Schafer as Tigris, and Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus. I also thought Jason Schwartzman was a fantastic Lucky Flickerman. He definitely gave me vibes that he could be Caesar Flickerman’s (aka Stanley Tucci) dad.

As soon as I finished reading THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, I watched the movie a second time. During this second watch, I noticed all the little details that were left out of the movie. While I do think the details add to the story, I think the director, actors, and screenplay writer did a great job of including what was most important to the movie. I also think seeing it on screen, hearing / seeing the actors’ emotions within each of their roles added to the story and experience a lot.

Verdict

I bet you know the verdict before I even say it. The movie may not have everything and be a little different from the book, but the spirit of the story’s still the same. Most of the time books are way better than their movies, but in this instance, I think both the book and movie are equally as good.

Have you read THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES? Have you seen the movie? Do you like the book or the movie better?