Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching Fire

Book:  Catching Fire
Author:  Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games.  She & fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even.  After all, she has returned to her family & 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 Capital - a rebellion that Katniss & Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueld 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 & Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Vicotry Tour, the stakes are higher then ever.  If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for one another, the consequences will be horrifying.

First Line:  I clasp the flash between my hands even though the warmed from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

I have never been so into a series of books since Twilight.

We are back with Katniss as her & Peeta go back to the life of Victors... only to find out nothing can ever be the same.  Between the relationship between the two of them - the relationship between her & Gale...their lives in general

I dont want to say too much because the summary doesnt give away the heart of the book - which really made me gasp... & say things like "WHAT?" - "How can that happen?" - "That's not fair!" ... like its a real story ... that's how much I've gotten into this book!

(I swear, if I didnt have Mockingjay to go right into, I'd be in hysterics!!!)

What can I say without given too much away .... Katniss is still a fighter - someone who loves her family & is torn between two loves.  I do think we see more vulnerability from her this time.  Peeta, this book, is still the most amazing person with words - still so in love with Katniss. 

I particurly loved Cinna this book...gotta love a designer with an attitude!!!

This book truly leaves you hanging for the next book... so you can bet I'll be starting Mockingbird in just a few hours.  I've got to take a breath before I dive right back in.... On a good 90% of the end of each chapter, I had to cover my mouth while I gasped... yes, it was that good & surprising...

I have to say, I'm afraid to go into the final book...afraid to see how it all ends... because one thing I've learn about these books - they're not afraid of surprises... & death...

My Rating:  5 skeins... exciting, drawn me completely in, I honestly couldnt stop reading...

SPOILER:  LAST LINE....(Dont read if you dont want to see the final line... gives away part of the story)
"Katness, there is no District Twelve."

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hunger Games

Book:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once knwon as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh & crush & keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy & one girl between the ages of 12-18 to participate in the annual "HUNGER GAMES" - a fight to the death on live TV.

16 yr old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother & younger sister, regard it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to dead before - & survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity & life against love.
First Line
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

I heard all about this series & thought, "What's the big deal" so when this last book (Mockingjay) came out, I figured I would get the whole series...

And then I read what it was about?  How can a book about teens playing a death match game be ANY good?  Isnt that sort of weird - & morbid?  I couldnt imagine how it could be entertaining at all.

I was wrong... I was wrapped up in the story within the first few chapters.

I went to where Katniss was living - to a time set in the future - to where "Districts" are so neglected by "The Capitol" - to a time where people have to come together & trade for their needs, which still doesnt do anything but let them live in poverty.

You get to know Katniss as this amazing young lady - who takes care of her family & wont let her young sister enter the "Hunger Games" when her name is drawn.  You get to know the friendship she has with Gale.  You feel her strength as she enters into this nightmarish game - you see her strengths in hunting & with the bow & arrow.  You see the relationship that she forms with her District Team Mate Peeta.  You see what she is willing to sacrifice for him - & other team mates... You also see she's not a weak person in any sense...

This book was violent - but not as bad as I thought it would be... But I mean, when you talk about young kids getting killed for a game, its sort of disturbing. 

I literally couldnt put the book down though.  Each chapter would end & I was hanging on the last words & had to head right into the next chapter.

The idea that a world is OK with watching a game like this on TV shakes me, but even more because I wonder if its something that could come in the future.... remember that movie with Arnold S - "The Running Man" - that's what it reminds me of... people betting on who dies...

Luckily, I have all the series & as soon as I finished the last chapter, I have picked up the next book & am already into Chapter 3... I cant imagine if I had to wait a year for the next book... See, there is a benefit in waiting to buy the books :)

My rating:  5 skeins

Last Line:
I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, & dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Conversations with the Fat Girl

Book:  Conversations with the Fat Girl
Author:  Liza Palmer

Maggie & Olivia have been best friends since they were in grade school.  Both overweight, they befriended each other when no one else would.  Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the euphemism-if-there-ever-was-one "women's section" while Olivia went & had gastric bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 4, the holy grail for women everywhere.  So now Olivia's thin & blond & getting married to a handsome surgeon, & Maggie's the fat bridesmaid, again, in charge of planning "The Shower" & keeping Olivia's secret:  that she's really a fat girl in a thin boddy.  Aint life grand?
With wit & wisdom, Liza Palmer gives voice to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.

Maggie... Rebecca Jo... maggie.. Rebecca Jo...
I think we are interchangable.  This character of Maggie, I honestly related to because I found so much of myself in her.  The things she said, the way she felt about situations, the way she reacted to her life, even the way she spoke - "Are you kidding me?" - I felt like I was Maggie. To even add to that - she got car sick, she had a fear of flying, always had a Large Diet Coke everywhere she went... AND she loved Xanadu?  Can anyone please tell me how she's NOT like me?

We get to see how Maggie deals with a forced apartment move, a career change, her family always expecting more from her, the relationship she has with her sister Kate (who is totally opposite) & her mother - we see Maggie fall in love with Domenico (only her & his mother are allowed to call him that) - haha

If you have ever struggle with weight - I mean a REAL weight issue, you'll related with Maggie.  So many things she said stood out to me.  I even mentioned one part of it on my other blog:

This book does have some big time language... but I just had to normally laugh or feel badly when it was used... it was just "Maggie"

I loved to see how her sister Kate stood up for her - I loved to see how Maggie reacted with Domenico & how their relationship moved - I loved to see the person Olivia turned into after her surgery - I loved seeing Maggie become stronger & more confident with every move she made...

I loved how every chapter would have a "flash back" of sorts too - looking back to when things were at a different time & now, how Maggie can learn from them.

Here are just a few other examples of the story that just drew me in
"My relationship with my body is like that of an egomanic with a self- esteem problem.  Mostly I think about myself & how much I suck.  But there are rare moments when I walk around for hours & think I look amazing.  Either I feel great about myself or I've decided some guy is checking me out.  Then I catch a side view of myself in a store window or a department store mirror & I'm plunged into despair.  If I could always live in a place with no mirrors or disapproving glances, I would think I was the prettiest girl around."

"Kate & I used to play the Xanadu soundtrack & dance until Mom came home.  I specialized in all the ELO songs, while Kate preferred all things Olivia Newton John.  When Kate had homework or was playing with another friend, I retreated into my room where I built a make-believe time machine.  I played for hours - pushing buttons, giving orders, & feeling safe& comforted in my imagination.  I want that feeling of safety & freedom that came with those memories back.  I dont want the new feeling of momentary happiness followed by insurmountable guilt that comes from reaching for food for comfort.  I need to go back to the person I was at 8 years old.  She had it all figured out.  Maybe I'll build another time machine."

Once you're labeled in school, no amount of factual information can unstick it form your psyche.

We're sold this script for life with loves like Romeo & heroes like Jack London, but we've got an hour long commute to a job we hate & a utility bill to pay every month.  I crave a life of freedom & passion, but I've sentended myself to a life of quiet desperation & prime time sitcoms.  I've numbed myself & its going to hurt like a **er when I wake up.

Needless to say - I loved this book... I want to check out more from this author as well
My Rating:  5 skeins

Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life

Book:  Out Live Your Life
Author:  Max Lucado
(This book was provided in exchange for an unbiased review)

These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (Please note: International Bloggers will receive International Edition.)

You were made to make a difference..

That's what the front cover says...

& once again, Max Lucado has a way of bringing "Godly" topics & making them understandable...

We learn in this book so many ways to look at the world with new eyes...

I loved this book because it was broken down in short chapters - you could get through one very easily & each ended with a prayer & a scripture.  So you could actually even do this as a great devotional daily.  There is also a study guide in the back of the book if you wanted to even take it deeper into a study.

However you choice to read this book, you're going to find something that speaks to you... some of the stories made me look at myself & get a little humbled... some of the stories made me stop & think, WOW, people are amazing... all the stories, I learned something from them.

I marked up so many pages of this book for quotes, stories, points to remember... things I will be turning back to for many references...

But one of the things that was said repeatedly in different ways is something that will stick with me....

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

The story of the football team that were from a prison & the story of real life "Paul's" & their "Anninas'" just about had me cheering on people in this world who still are showing God to others... How people are out there living their life in the best way to make a difference to others...

My rating:  5 skeins

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect/The Boy Who Changed the World

Book:  "The Butterfly Effect" & "The Boy who Changed the World"
Author:  Andy Andrews
(These books were provided to me by Booksneeze in exchange for an unbiased review)

Andy Andrews has put out a new smalll gift book that is just lovely... it talks about "The Butterfly Effect" ... & Yes, I too thought, "isnt that a movie with Ashton Kutcher?"... yes it is & no, Ashton isnt part of this book. :) 

But the idea of the butterfly effect is that the smallest differences, smallest changes, smallest motions can cause the biggest changes in conditions... such a neat idea

The Butterfly Effect is a small book that gives some stories of real people and of this idea... with beautiful pictures & subtle words... It only takes a minutes out of your day to read this whole book but the point is made over & over:


Mr. Andrews also wrote a childrens book with the same idea, called The Boy who Changed the World... I was so excited to get this for our grandson.  He will be coming up for a visit in October & I'll most definitely be reading this to him.  The story is similar to the gift book, but with wonderful illustrations that are beautiful & captivating to the eye. 

I love the idea of having children realize from such a young age of the impact they can make on the world. 

All of it goes back to this quote in the book:

"There are generation yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted & shaped by the moves you make & the actions you take today. And tomorrow.  And the next day. And the next.

I most definitely recommend these books - for a gift of reminding for adults & a gift of teaching for young hearts that need to know the power they hold in their actions.