The Hunger Games Survey: Panem Favorites

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Many of you know I’m a quiz-loving person, so for this month (and the next, though I will try to come up with a new one before the year ends), I came up with a Hunger Games-based survey, in conjunction with the critically acclaimed movie for the THG sequel, Catching Fire, a blockbuster hit just recently released. 

So how does it work? Basically, it’s a survey of sorts, where for the first half, I list down various regions of Panem (comprised of the Capitol + the 12 known Districts), and you answer with the title of a bookish favorite that relates to the region’s industry. For the second half, I list down notable characters from the series and you answer me with a character favorite that relates to their distinguishing characteristics. If you wish to use any of the given THG personalities as answers, feel free to do so (I did much the same thing). Instead of just commenting your results below, I’d love to see you create your own post! Feel free to grab the banner if you do so wish. Of course, this activity is not exclusive to fanatics–every book lover is welcome to join in! Even if you don’t want to create your own post, do share some of your picks with me. And in the case that you do, I’d love to see a comment-link to your post on it 😀

Before anything else though, you may be wondering where this came from and why I decided to do this. That’s a long story, but I’ll try to explain it coherently. Well, basically…

I got bored. And so it begins.

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District 1

Industry: Luxury Items

Favorite book involving royalty: The Iron King (Julie Kagawa). I loved how this series went! I wasn’t the biggest fan of the plot, but the characters were vibrant and the conclusion was stunning. Ash was still the best part, though.

District 2

Industry: Masonry and Weapons

Favorite book on war: The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). I used to think I wouldn’t appreciate this one because I’m not into books on war, but guess what? I got depressed, and I didn’t feel like doing anything apart from stare at the bedroom ceiling and mentally reprobate myself for being an ingrate–and I loved it.

District 3

Industry: Electronics and Technology

Favorite science fiction book: Cinder (Marissa Meyer). Despite the fact that Cyborgs are over-used (at least in my humble opinion), I still loved how the idea of them was made to contravene with the retelling of a classic, and the raw emotion in this book was overwhelming beyond expression.

District 4

Industry: Fishing

Favorite beach read (however you define one!): Lola and the Boy Next Door (Stephanie Perkins). This book wasn’t exactly set anywhere near a known body of water, although it did seem like the perfect summer read—which in my book, corresponds to a beach read, too!

District 5

Industry: Power

Favorite book involving superhuman / supernatural characters: Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead). Though I am at odds with the fact that this book is soon to become a major motion picture, I do still believe that Vampire Academy is the single most riveting and exciting paranormal read by far.

District 6

Industry: Transportation and Healing

Favorite road-trip / self-discovery book: Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour (Morgan Matson). I haven’t read that many of these, and honestly, this one was the only one I liked even remotely, and I loved how the buildup to Amy and Roger’s relationship progressed in delicious gradation.

District 7

Industry: Lumber and Wood

Favorite book with a wilderness / dystopian setting: Unravel Me (Tahereh Mafi). A heroic protagonist, a gorgeous love interest (or two), a plot of revenge and redemption, a plentiful count of amazing characters, and a unique writing style to capture each heavy emotion. What more could you ask for? Oh right. THE GODDAMNED FINALE.

District 8

Industry: Fabrics and Textiles

Favorite book cover: The One (Kiera Cass). Is it just me, or does America’s gown, in conjunction with her previous cover outfits, complete the color scheme known to comprise the representative flag of the country she was named after (red, blue and white)? Pretty darn clever, if you ask me!

District 9

Industry: Grain

Favorite under-hyped book: Ignite (Erica Crouch). Pen and Azael, you guys. MICHAEL! You do NOT want to miss out on such a stunning title. I cannot tell you enough how much love was in the air after I read it.

District 10

Industry: Livestock

Favorite book involving animals (werewolves and shapeshifters count!): Daughter Of Smoke And Bone (Laini Taylor). I recently reread this one, and am appalled at how little credit I’ve been giving this one since last I tore through the pages. Rekindling a fondness for Akiva was definitely worth the sleepless night.

District 11

Industry: Farming and Agriculture

Favorite fictional setting: Camp Half-Blood from The Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan). The sense of support and camaraderie in this place is overwhelming. Monster Fighting lessons aside, there’s little I wouldn’t give to be a part of this world. And to meet the Seven of Prophecy!

District 12

Industry: Coal Mining

Rock solid favorite (from concluded series): Clockwork Princess (Cassandra Clare). This remains my 2013 favorite, and despite the fact that most people seem to the think the conclusion was a little too convenient, I cannot be swayed from the opinion that the book was beautiful beyond comparison.

The Capitol

Central seat of government

Favorite book with a political agenda: Divergent (Veronica Roth). Now I don’t usually go for broke and read books that tackle these heavy issues, and admittedly, I have little interest in public affairs—however, I appreciated the idea of the rift formed by the various faction, and was held in complete fascination by the ruminations of the scheming Erudite. Three cheers for much suspense!

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District 1: Cashmere and Gloss

Favorite fictional siblings: Fred And George Weasley (Harry Potter). I adore this duo! Despite their troublemaking, they know when their help is wanted, especially if one is in dire need of some quick fix humor. Definitely sold to the win action. Oh and by the way, I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

District 2: Cato

Favorite bad-boy character: Aaron Warner (Shatter Me). HOLY GUACAMOLE. You guys, this post has spurred my anticipation for Ignite Me anew. Cannot wait for some more Warner action hopefully in Juliet’s room, clothes free.

District 3: Beetee and Wiress

Favorite genius / geeky character: Cricket Bell (Lola and the Boy Next Door).  A gorgeous love interest and a prodigy to boot. What else is there to ask for? Great sense of humor, loyalty, and a penchant for good fashion? Oh wait, Cricket has those too.

District 4: Finnick Odair

Favorite swoon-worthy hero: Akiva (Daughter of Smoke and Bone). Those eyes, you guys. Those eyes. They could pierce through my soul and tear my heart into smithereens. I swoon and I shall never recover.

District 5: Foxface

Favorite mysterious character: Evan Walker (The 5th Wave). He was the epitome of enigma for most of the book, and even then he managed to crawl straight into my warring heart.

District 6: The Morphlings

Favorite secondary character: Adrian Ivashkov (Vampire Academy). His antics never fail to put a smile on my face, and he is the constant reminder of why I love Mead’s writing this much in the first place. Thank goodness for Bloodlines. An extra Adrian serving is perpetually welcome.

District 7: Johanna Mason

Favorite female character: Blue Sargent (The Raven Cycle). Despite the fact that she seemed to have taken a liking to the wrong Raven Boy, I completely adored her nuances, and her personality in general. I expected her to regress in The Dream Thieves for some reason, and thanks to my lucky stars, she hasn’t. Now if only Adam could stop waging a war with himself too often…

District 11: Rue

Favorite fictional kid: George Garrett (My Life Next Door). In diapers, and already he’s going for marriage proposals. And he’s a smart, trivia-loving kid too! Cutie patootie to the extremes.

District 12: Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen

Favorite fictional couple: Leo Valdez and You Know Who (The Heroes of Olympus). And no, this isn’t about Voldemort. I just wanted to avoid a spoiler alert, at all costs, so if you haven’t read The House of Hades, fear not because I have taken the extra measure! If you have, however… SQUEEEEEE! That particular collection of Leo chapters was by far the best of them in that book. I can’t wait for them to meet once again (and if Leo dies in the process, some serious shit will be flipped. You’re welcome).

The Capitol: President Snow

Favorite villain (to kill): President Snow (The Hunger Games).  I find no need to stray farther from example: President Snow, in my opinion, is the epitome of malevolence and abomination– I feel like sucker-punching him every time he opens his godforsaken mouth. Oh thank goodness for a rebellion spurred. GO EVERLARK!!

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And that’s it for this feature. Now it’s your turn! comment some of your links and your answers to make my day, and join in the fun, because you know you want to 😉

And now a Sam Claflin collage for motivation.

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See you next time! Hope you have fun 🙂

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Asking The Blogosphere (Episode 2): On Bookish Habits, Movies, And Graduation

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This is a new feature I came up with, because lately, I’ve had a problem filling in my Wednesdays with relevant posts. It’s a discussion post of sorts, that revolves around books and your life outside of it. At the end of each segment, I ask you guys a few questions, ones you’re free to answer of course!

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On Weird Bookish Habits

I recurrently see posts on these all over my news feed, though I scarcely ever find myself disposed towards giving them much regard because I don’t nurse many bizarre habits with regards to books that I, or some others, would consider uncouth or disconcerting. Though indeterminate as to whether or not I should take pride in the fact that I am much a conventional reader, I still do think some of my propensities worthy of the recognition.

  1. I read and reread entire paragraphs until I can paint vivid picture of the scenes in my head. I am, by all means, a visual learner—part of the reason why I’ve never languished for an audiobook, not even for a favorite or a limited edition copy. Whenever I read books, I feel the necessity for an unclouded idea of the goings-on within the recesses of my imagination. Otherwise, I can’t process what I read and will likely never get past the page in question.confused                                           This is getting frustrating, and fast.
  2. I read every dialogue in an American accent, even if the book categorically states that a certain character says it with a different twang. British, Irish, French, you name it. Though purely Asian, I possess an American accent myself, and have grown accustomed to hearing the people around me speak with it. Sometimes, I make a conscious effort to read lines the way the character would have said them, but it just sounds ludicrous in my head if I can’t manage their accent out loud, so I just drop the pretense and revert back to the original. Not everyone can master a gorgeous, Tom-Hiddleston-worthy accent, anyway.vogue
  3. I can read a book in pretty much every setting. I know of a significant number of people who can’t read with music, or unless they’re somewhere quiet, or if someone’s watching them, and any number of other excuses for retreat into their respective natural habitats. Such is not the case for me, however—I simply carry around the book, fish it conveniently out of my backpack whenever I feel like reading, wherever I may be: in bed at night, at a party, in the car, at the cafeteria, in the middle of the road (okay, maybe the sidewalk), with or without music, classic or heavy metal. I tend to just zone out whenever I do so, and as such, external forces have nary an effect on my reading. After all,

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What about you? Do you have some weird bookish habits you’re willing to share? Were mine weird enough? Can you relate to any of them?

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On Movies We’re Anticipating

I haven’t been watching a lot of book to movie adaptations lately, and have only grown to appreciate a select few:

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Many more are set to hit the big screen in the coming months, and I myself am looking forward to a healthy number of them:

Catching Fire. The trailer looked exactly like how it did in my head, and I myself loved the first movie. Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong—and besides, my sugar cubes are ready, so where’s Finnick? (Odair he is!)

The Fault In Our Stars. I’m not too sure about the casting, but John Green invested in this production enough for me to think it nice to support him by watching it too.

Divergent. Even if I’ve contemplated boycotting this one entirely due to the conclusion to this entire series, I’ve decided not to because I loved the first book, and I do think that Shailene and Theo have chemistry enough to capture the atmosphere between Tris and Four (and Theo is such a darling! You should really try watching his interviews).

The Maze Runner. Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter and Kaya Scodelario in a single movie? Sign me UUUUUP. If you don’t know who any of them are what must your life be like?, try watching either Teen Wolf, The Game of Thrones, The Chronicles of Narnia or the UK version of Skins (18 and up only, and yes, I somehow regret making this decision).
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Other upcoming and speculative book to movie projects I’m anticipating include:

  1. If I Stay (Gayle Forman)
  2. Uglies (Scott Westerfeld)
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)
  4. The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  5. The Alchemyst (Michael Scott)
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)
  7. The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)
  8. The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)
  9. Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)
  10. Under The Never Sky (Veronica Rossi)

For more information, visit this article.

Despite this exciting premise, I also find myself feeling neutral or apprehensive towards certain up and coming titles:

  1. Ender’s Game. Never read it, and I’m not sure if I ever will– it just doesn’t sound like my type of book. Based on reviews, however, it sounds good. So does Asa Butterfield.
  2. The Book Thief. I’m just not sure if the movie can give the book justice, and I’m not sure if I’m mentally prepared enough for yet another emotional breakdown.
  3. Vampire Academy. The trailer was filth. Scares the bejeezus outta me, because I will not tolerate having one of my favorite series blown up in smokes by some potentially trashy adaptation. And have you guys seen the poster?! It looks way too stereotypical, or hipster, whatever. And it reads, ‘They Suck At School’. Holy crapola.

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What are some of the book to movie adaptations you’re eagerly anticipating? Do you share some of them with the titles as aforementioned? If so, which ones?

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On  Graduation

If you haven’t already noticed, I am a high school senior and am thus about to graduate. With regards to this thought, however, I do have to admit that I am pretty much torn.

On the one hand, college is an entirely alien realm, and a new experience. I’ll be meeting new people, exploring a new campus, taking new lessons, and enjoying a newfound freedom, both in terms of my schedule and in terms of my abode. Of course, I’m eager to start afresh, because only goodness knows how much I’ve messed my high school life up—don’t get me wrong, it’s been fun for the most part, but the drama is never-ending, and admittedly, I am getting sick and and tired of the whole thing. College just sounds like a more professional atmosphere, and ultimately a less strenuous endeavor.

However, I am apprehensive of having to leave my old friends for new ones, and inevitably so, and in a sense, letting go of the childhood I’ve tried so hard to cling on to. Sometimes, the thought just scares me. In addition, there’s the matter of having to pass the exams for the universities, and though my school’s status is something of an assurance, I still don’t want to get disappointed. So as you can see, the thought of a transition into a new life of sorts scares the living daylights out of me.

Where do I go from here?

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Have you ever tried to cope with change? How did you manage? Do you have any tips for a teen undergoing an identity crisis?  

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And that’s it for this feature! If you want to share your own answers, please do! Leave a comment and make my day 🙂

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Beating The Reading/Blogging Slump

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As of late, I’ve been aware of the fact that an opulence of bloggers have been complaining that heaps of the other blogs they follow have been missing in recent weeks, at least from the blogosphere. Having been dubbed a ‘slump’, I myself have noticed that a sundry amount of the blogs I follow have been querulous about having caught it—some read and yet, have lost the impetus to blog, and some people blog, but the number of books they read during a given time have been dwindling perforce. Still others have gone altogether, and much uprightly, I love what I do, and can’t imagine ever feeling dissuaded from books and reading. It genuinely scares me to think that maybe the blogging process itself contributes to this retrogression, and vice versa, though in the interim, I couldn’t quite pinpoint a stable connection between either. Based on research, however, it seems that few prominent antecedents lead to this particular state:

designReading seems like an obligation instead of a hobby. Which is why I’ve decided to give up on ARCs altogether. I hate feeling as if I need to read something I don’t want to, at least at the moment. However, the crushing pressure to transcribe an idea is existent, and in perpetuum, and no matter how many times we try to convince ourselves that we can only hope to meet our own expectations, we are, in truth, blogging for the community, and therefore cannot totally claim that an external notion doesn’t matter either.

Recent reads have been lackluster. Maybe the fault in your stars is that no visible path has been discernibly paved towards the one book that could change your life forever (or at least motivate you to keep reading on). Sometimes, it just feels as if the genre you’re into has nothing else to offer, or that all the impressive books are just out of your reach at the moment. Either way, you’re looking for a page-turner, and it just so happens that you don’t have one.

ughUgh. Just UGH.

If you can’t seem to find it in you to read, you feel as if there’s nothing to blog about. You book blog for a reason—you love to read. But now that you’re too languorous, or too apathetic, it’s as if there’s no point left in blogging. If you don’t want to read books, then there’s even less of a chance that you’d want to confabulate or discuss with the public. At this point, you have succumbed to not one variety of slumps, but two. Ohgods help.

Writing reviews can seem like a hassle especially when no one seems interested in them. You invest lots of time and effort into writing reviews, and at the end of the day, they generate the least traffic, get the least attention, and you’re starting to feel as if all your previous travails have been in vain.

lonelyWHERE IS EVERYONE?!

Post ideas have been running out. You look at all these blogs that spew creative vomit and you start to feel sorry for yourself. Your blog is all about memes, reviews, and tags, and you’re starting to lose the voice you came here for in the first place. You just can’t seem to think of something original and cutting-edge, and it’s frustrating. In addition, you’re running out of ideas for discussions and other bookish topics, and it scares you to think that maybe one day you’ll drain yourself completely of ingenuity.

The blogosphere is filled with drama. Your relationship with authors is off its rocker, and you’re starting to feel jealous of other bloggers who have overtaken you. You came here to make friends and share thoughts, but now it doesn’t feel as if you want reach out at all.

There are other more important things to look after. As are the reasons why lately, I’ve been missing in action. Suffice it to say, I’m not the only blogger wrestling with various other obligations that keep me preoccupied more than I dare to believe that they do—school, work, family, and in the recent weeks in my case, volunteer work by packaging relief goods to send out to the parts of my country that have been left in utter devastation by the typhoon. Whatever it is that one does during their time separate from the blog, one has been overrun and maybe, isn’t even sure of whether or not they can preserve their own blogs under the given circumstances. Which, as it is, is pretty scary.

ScaredAAAAH.

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And now for the dreaded question: Have I ever considered giving up on my blog?

If truth be told, yes I have, and just recently. However, I have never plucked up enough of the intent or resolve to ultimately quit, because my blog is something that I have struggled to bring into play, and I have made a prevalent count of friends during my stay, all of whom I am not willing to abandon. Therefore, despite recent absences, I will still be around for the time being : )

And if you are undergoing a bit of a slump (openly admitted or otherwise) here are a few of the tips and tricks I utilize to help me beat the tension.

Reread your favorite books, and scour your recommendations. This will, hopefully, remind you of what you love about books in the first place, and inspire you to probe on books that may similarly suit your fancies (try maximizing the Goodreads recommendations in this case!)

Request only for ARCs you’re hellbent on reading. Never request on a whim for a book you don’t have enough of the predisposition to submit feedback for, because believe you me, you won’t be able to if you’re half as busy as I am. And you and I both know that this will hurt your chances of getting approved for the books you really do want to read, which of course only serves to distress and discourage you the further.

Ask your friends about books to try out. I myself do this ALL of the time—whenever I’m not sure of what book to read next, I ask others for help. If your friends are the people you share your interests with, then chances are, you’re going to appreciate most of the books that they do.

friendOh, friend.

Consider reviews and ratings. Embrace the popular opinion no matter what the status quo dictates. If you like going against the metaphorical gradient of society, try and adjust your mindset. The average rating is sure to give you an idea of the general impact of a certain book, and, unless reviews tend to cloud your judgment, and lest you possess a preternatural fear of spoilers, don’t hesitate to read up on reviews, such that you are, in the least, aware of what you’re getting into.

Blog for yourself and not for your numbers. This is of paramount importance. If you blog exclusively for the views, the likes, or the follows, then don’t expect any real motivation from the reviews you make, because they don’t usually get the most attention. Instead, keep in mind that your reviews are in archives, and may be revisited at any time by any one person in need of your opinion, and that at one point or another, they help other netizens out. If you’re not into giving, then I am a big believer in your not receiving, either.

Stop comparing and find your voice. Strive towards becoming the best version of yourself, and not a substandard copy of someone else. Though a jaundiced eye is hard to control at times, especially when you’re burdened by insecurities, challenge yourself into changing this psyche. Don’t look at haul posts if you can’t appreciate them. Don’t peruse the statistics of other blogs, or your own for that matter. Take a breather and give yourself time to think of new features, which will come if you give the thought much scrutiny. Discussion posts won’t hurt, and if you’re out of ideas, draw inspiration from blogs you follow, or try Asti’s guide out if you don’t want to (she’s a genius).

rightYes, yes, consider it.

Post at your own pace. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: You don’t owe the world a new post, so don’t pressure yourself into making one if you have neither the necessary ideas nor enough of the time. Prioritize your outside life if it, indeed, is more important, and never forget that if your viewers and friends truly appreciate the blog, they would understand your decision not to show up for a day or two. After all, it’s the quality and not the quantity that counts.

Quit only when you’re a hundred percent sure of not regretting your decision to. 

And if by chance, you do regret it,

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Kidding. WELCOME BACK, MATE!

But what do you think? Have you ever been in a reading or blogging slump? What did you do to beat it? Tell me in the comments below!

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