Friday, April 23, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunger Games

Awhile back, I spent time cheating on the NE Florida Nest board and wandered over to the Nest Book Club board. (FYI: it turns out I'm a one-board kind of girl.) While there, I heard a ton about a series called The Hunger Games. I didn't give it much thought until I was in Barnes and Noble with my mother and saw it sitting, quite unassuming, on the Young Adult shelf. To pass the time, I pulled it off the shelf and skimmed the back cover.

I like to think that I was hooked from there.

Here's what the goodreads description says:

"In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place."

I don't know what has happened to the young adult genre since I was a young adult, but whatever it is, I LIKE IT. Susanna Collins pulls no punches. This book is ruthless and bloody and real while at the same time managing to pull every heartstring you possess, but in a non-sappy way. I haven't been so incredibly engrossed in a book since the last time I read Harry Potter. I can't say that last part too loud though. It sounds like sacrilege. As the book ended, I was suddenly grateful to one of my sweet librarians who, upon checking this book out to me said "I'm going to go ahead and just reserve you the second book. You're going to want it." How very right she was.

Hunger Games kept my attention for all of four hours, which was the amount of time it took me to read from start to finish. I'm not bragging about my reading ability. I am, admittedly, a quick reader, but Hunger Games flew by for me because it was so quick to pull me in and engage me in a highly imaginative storyline. The villain is a society that one can truly bring itself to hate, while still finding sympathy for those who have been fooled and twisted by its lies.


PS: I just finished the fourth Odd Thomas Book. If Dean Koontz doesn't put out the fifth one soon, I'm going to march myself out to California and stage a sit-in.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I've never much liked suspense or mystery novels. They make me feel a bit dumb, to be honest. I have no eye for detail, which means that I miss all the clues that would lead me to the inevitable conclusion. They also tend to make me paranoid. I read Shutter Island, and for several days, was nearly convinced that everything I was seeing was an elaborate setup concocted by my caregivers. Paul thought I had gone a bit off my rocker, but c'est la vie.

Dean Koontz is well on his way to changing all that. While I still have no desire (at ALL) to read any other suspense or mystery novelists work, I am devouring every Koontz novel I come across.

It started with Odd Thomas, which I listened to in my car. David Aaron Baker is far to old to ever play Oddy in a movie, but his voice is perfection in the role. The story sucked me in from the beginning, I had my mind completely blown at the climax, and I cried like a baby at the end. I powered through Forever Odd and Brother Odd, as well as picking up False Memories, Prodigal Son and City of Night.

What I love about his books is that, for the most part, you find out what is going on right away, because (with the exception of the Odd Thomas books), the story is told from the side of the protagonist and the antagonist. Even while the protagonist is muddling away tyring to piece everything together, the reader is, for the most, in the loop. Which, by the way, makes the occasional surprises even that more shocking when they are revealed. those surprises, though, are wonderfully satisfying, because they tend to come out of nowhere. You don't spend half the book worrying over them before they come to pass. They just jump into the story out of the ether to make sure your mind has been sufficiently blown.

Another element that I have fallen in love with is that of multiple narrators. Usually I find it a bit frustrating, with all the jumping about from point-of-view to point-of-view, but Koontz does it just enough that it moves the story along without feeling sluggish or complicated, even in the Frankenstein series, which, at my last count, has gone through something like eleven narrators, though at the moment, he is only using six.

I have found myself suggesting Dean Koontz to anyone and everyone who has the misfortune of asking me for a book recommendation. He has been added to my list of go-to authors, a rather short list, if truth be told. Francine Rivers is on it, as well as CS Lewis and Christopher Moore, when I am feeling generous. The Odd Thomas books have been added to my list of "read-agains", joining the ranks of Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Redeeming Love, and, at the very top, almost out of reach of any others, the Harry Potter series.

PS: He's also good if you are studying for the SAT's. Macabre? Paladin? Not everyday words, if you ask me.

Graduation Time!

Last Tuesday, my husband picked up my cap and gown from the college. This weekend, I picked up my (way more important than the cap and gown) graduation dress! I haven't bought a new article of clothing since my rehearsal dinner dress, so this is quite the big deal.
I've spent five years trying to get a two year degree, and, next semester, I will have to take two more classes to recieve my Child Development Associate, and then another two semesters for my Database Development Specialist Certificate. Regardless of the work I still have to do, May 8th, commencement, is the culmination of five years of work and finally being able to say that I am a college graduate. I am quite proud of myself.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


As of March 29, I am halfway to my goal of 100 books in 2010.


Originally, I was going to post a whole collage of the book covers of the 50 books I have read. Then I remembered that I don't have time for that kind of nonsense. SO, we are giving out prizes instead for books that stood out to me. We'll call them the Raizers

In the category of Cried-Like-A-Baby


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Redeeming Love

Odd Thomas

Echo in the Darkness

Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Without giving away the ending, I cried for, triumphs as well as tragedies, for joy and for sadness, and was left with a sense of loss as well as fulfillment when I put the book down. Odd Thomas gets an honorable mention for making me bawl my eyes out in the front seat of my car, in my driveway, making my neighbors think I am mentally unhinged,

For Made-Me-Paranoid-as-an-Agoraphobic-Chihuahua

World War Z

Shutter Island

I, Robot

Winner: Shutter Island. While World War Z did make me a bit wary of the woods and cause me to check my back seat for the undead, Shutter Island had me seriously contemplating my own sanity and wondering if everything happening was only a part of my own psyche. I have never been so suspicious of my husband in my life.

For I-Had-A-Hard-Time-Not-Lighting-the-Book-on-Fire

Never Let Me Go


Multiple Blessings

Winner: Just all of them. Never Let me Go was horrific, and Multiple Blessing was an eyeroll beginning to end. InkHeart was redeemable only because it was an interesting plot made horrible by sub par writing.

Top Five Books of THE FIRST HALF:

5. Water for Elephants - Beautifully engaging, richly charactered, sentimental without being sappy, and an elephant as a heroine. How can you go wrong?

4. Life of Pi - I believe this book is on the 1001 books to read before you die list, and for good reason. So imaginative, and thoughtful enough to make you wonder if you are living your life purposefully and with love and faith. Beautiful.

3. Outlander - I have never fallen in love with a hero quicker than I fell in love with Jamie Fraser. Even when he's beating Clare senseless, I couldn't help but love him. The story is intricate, sometime maddeningly so, but the beauty of the storytelling and the romance of the love story makes it completely worth it

2. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers is one of my favorite authors, and this is only one of three of her books that I read this half. The love between the two main characters (or, more accurately, the love the male lead has for the female lead) is so pure, so beautiful, so selfless. The idea of taking someone back, no, actively seeking someone who has betrayed you, with the intention of taking them back and loving them, is so foreign, but at the same time so perfectly right. I cried buckets at the end, by the way.

1. Odd Thomas - I cannot say enough about this book. I don't even know what to say other than READ IT.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My feet are swollen.

More specifically, my LEFT foot is swollen. My right was is fine and normal sized, while my left looks like someone inserted a helium pump somewhere beneath my big toe.

I'm not sure how this has happened to me.


Here is a fun fact that everyone at my husbands birthday party learned last weekend:

I am super awesome at Bioshock cupcakes.

When I am outrageously drunk, I will knock things over, tell everyone I love them, reveal secrets that I was never supposed to reveal, and talk to you about my ovaries. and Cervical Fluid. You have been warned.

After a night of drinking until three, I will wake up the next morning at nine, ready to face the day like the chipper little chipper that I am.

Also, Mom, I know you read my blog, and I'm sorry you had to read this one. It all needed to be said. And really, you have no one but yourself to blame. I am, after all, having my leg licked by your dog right now. Which is poor payment indeed for my feeding him. You would think he would be more grateful. The point is, Jojo licking my leg is enough to drive anyone to drink.