Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Monday, September 28, 2009

And The Book For October Is...

I don't know yet. I have it narrowed down to two books.

The first is a series book about two twin sisters. They may look the same but they are totally different! Jessica is used to getting what she want especially with boys and she will stop at nothing to get it! Elizabeth is used to giving her sister whatever she wants. Nothing is worth it to her to fight with her sister but when it comes to Todd Wilkins, Liz isn't so sure she should step aside. This time Jessica is going to have to compete for what she wants--WITH HER OWN SISTER!!
Now there are about 35 books in this series and I was only going to make volume one the book this month but people could continue reading. We may have some spoilers though during the discussion! It would also be good to read up on this series since they just announce they are making it into a movie! How about a big "shout out" to Francine Pascal! Way to go! A movie deal. It was well deserved. If the Babysitter's Club got a movie deal, then so should you!

My second thought for the book this month is a little more fitting for October, you know, cuz of Halloween and stuff. I read this book for the first time right after read Catching Fire, so it had an unfair disadvantage from the beginning. However, after I read it, I couldn't stop thinking about this book instead of Catching Fire and you all know how much I LOVE C.F. The book takes place in the future and is about a village that survived after most of the world was taken over by zombies. That's right, zombies. They aren't the good kind of zombies either, like how Edward was a good kind of vampire but the story isn't really about zombies, it is about Mary. The book will eventually be a three series book and the next one will be out in Spring 2010, if the world doesn't end before that...
That is Mary on the cover, btw. So I have been giving it a lot of thought because even though it would be funny to make everyone read Sweet Valley High, especially Markie, I think since it is October, and I do have a bit of a contest similar to the cake decorating contest in the works for everyone, I think my decision will have to be...The Forest Of Hands And Teeth. It will have some controversy in it and make for a good discussion. The contest will be announced as well as the prizes for the contest one week before the discussion. And the rules for the contest will be VERY clear. Capeesh?

The discussion will be on Sunday, October 25, 2009.

UMMMM Am I the only one...

who keeps checking to see what we're reading next month???

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Catching Fire

Best Book Evah!

I loved it and couldn't put it down. Sorry I didn't write too much we just got back from the fair and I don't want to miss the discussion.

Catching Fire Discussion

Hot Pants is Catching Fire!

I liked it.

Book 2. Did anyone catch fire? I forget.

So, I did the usual. Read it in a heart-beat and now days and days and days later I don't really know how to organize my thoughts.

I liked the book a lot. At least, the first 3/4's of the book. I knew that there would have to be another games. Cause I did. I really didn't expect that Katniss would be going back. That was sucky. I really thought it would be Prim or Gale too. I wanted to see how they would fight - how it would feel to be on the outside. But then I changed my mind and realized that Katniss had to go back because evil man had to regain control and make them an example.

I'm not way hot on either Gale or Peeta, but as Landee put it so eloquently :

"I NEED sexual tension. I NEED self-sacrifice for the love of your life. I NEED kisses that stir something in your chest confusing you because you want more. I NEED one liners like "Come to finish me off, sweetheart?" " Amen, sistah. ::Fanning myself::

Good, good, good. Who doesn't love some sexual tension, or people sleeping together every night doing .... wait....nothing? The TENSION!!! Really? Did they do nothing? No grabs or nuthin?

Sorry. I got distracted.

I loved the meeting with the evil man. Weird that his breath smells like blood. I loved Katniss's defiance, later. I hated her big screaming tantrum. Not because I didn't think she should do it, but just cause I can't handle that much of an emotional outburst. I hide from stuff like that. Hooray for Mags for throwing herself into the poison cloud. It was GUT wrenching for me when they whipped Gale. Oh, how my heart hurt over that. I could go on for a while. But....

The part where the book gets to stretching that cord or fuse to wrap it around and wait for the lightening or whatever (that whole part confused me a little) is when I started to turn. I was really anxious to see what kind of betrayal was going to happen, cause she made me think that it was all a trap for Katniss and Peeta - and then I was furious when Katniss was pulled out of the games. W T He ll ck? I think I even said outloud, "No!!"

Gosh dang it Suzanne Collins (get a hair cut...) That was just plain MEAN! You deliberately ended this book with your tongue sticking out saying, "Na na na na na naaaaa!" I even thought for the briefest moment that her ego got the best of her (after the great response to the first book) and she decided to drag it out. I'm sorta pizzzed.

But really, it was fun to read. I love how she pulls my imagination out and the originality of the whole thing. Awesome. See you all in about 35 min.

I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.

Sigh. I love that line^^, don't you? From page 353.

I have many favorite scenes from Catching Fire. Like when Katniss wrote Seneca Crane on the dummy, or the public show of defiance in district 11, or when Gale was whipped, or when Peeta announced Katniss was prego, or Katniss's and Peeta's last day on the roof in the Capitol... but I think page 352-3 is my favorite.

I was a die-hard fan of the entire Hunger Games series by page 23 of book one. I am in love with characters. I am in love with the high-stakes plot. I am in love with S. Collins’s no nonsense writing style.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is my all-time favorite book, end of story.

Knowing all that, it is simply impossible for me to NOT love the sequel, Catching Fire. Just impossible. I am too far-gone. I am a crazed fanatic.

Before I started Catching Fire, my expectations were through the roof. As far as the characters, the pace, the excitement, and the BRILLIANT writing goes, all of my expectations were met and then some.

However, when it came to the plot, I had very specific expectations for the second book, and almost none of my expectations were met. That was a hard nightlock berry to swallow, but I don’t necessarily think it was a bad thing that the story line didn’t go as I expected. It made the book shocking and unpredictable. I don’t care how wide your book margin is, no one could have predicted that we’d see both Katniss and Peeta competing in another hunger games. I kept thinking, “Wait, they aren’t really going back to compete again, are they? This isn’t really going to happen. Something major is going to occur, and the whole thing will be stopped.”

To be honest, I didn’t want to watch them compete in the hunger games again. I wanted to see them become mentors, and see them outsmart the Capitol and lead the rebellion.

But here is where my die-hard fandom may have come in handy, because I found myself easily letting go of everything I wanted to happen, and just going with it. It helped that S. Collins is such a masterful writer and has such an inventive imagination.

I have more to say, but I'm going to save it for the discussion.

Not Disappointed

I loved the book. I loved everything about it and I even loved that Katniss wasn't her usual strong self. I was nice to see a character who was respectable and strong yet still human with normal human emotions. I loved that the book just picked up the pace quickly. I really enjoyed the tours of the different districts and wish we would have gotten more details from them. I LOVED that Peeta just hurried up and "got over it" and him and Katniss became friends. I also like Gale. Of course I choose Peeta over Gale any day but I like Gale. I like that he's got Kat's back. The whipping scene was VERY sad to me...cuz I am not dead inside...and it showed that Kat's life would never be the same. It was so exciting when she met the two kids from district 8 looking for district 13. It was a nice changed with Kat as well, when she found out that she had to go back to the arena and she freaked out. That seemed normal, that she would cry and feel scared and angry. I liked all the new characters and I loved the new arena, very tropical and romantic. The fact that Kat was willing to die for Peeta just shows that she truly loves him, she just doesn't know it yet. The clock island was interesting and unique and even though it is killing me right now, I loved the cliff hanger ending, especially more now that the depression of having the book end is over now. And my most favorite part of the whole book, including book 1, is page 352 to page 353. And then that stupid lightning storm interrupted things just when they started getting good. Ahhhhhhhh Peeta... I could re-read those pages over and over...
Basically, I loved the book, much more than book 1 and am so so so so excited for the next book.

Markie's Book Two Review

Middle episodes are rough. In almost every trilogy the second episode usually ends up being the weakest. While the third book has yet to come out in this series, I'm pretty confident that such will be the case once again.

Don't misunderstand... I still loved it. I just didn't think it was as strong as Hunger Games. To say it wasn't as entertaining as the first book, still leaves it in a very high class of entertainment. Maybe it was just my extraordinarily high expectations.

The book started out strong. I loved the encounter with President Snow. Suzanne Collins put a face to the evil that is the Capitol, and made me ache to see him destroyed. I loved the moment when Snow gave Katniss the little shake of the head that indicated she didn't do a good enough job quelling the rebellion; and instead of falling apart she realizes that she now has nothing to lose and declares her own private war on the Captiol.

At that moment I thought "oh yeah... it's ON!", and I had great anticipation for Katniss realizing her power and leading a rebelion against the Captiol. Problem is, it just didn't develop. Instead I thought Katniss got weaker instead of stronger.

Of course she did have to face the nightmare of the arena once again; and that was an awesome twist to the story. I have a recurring dream that I wake up back in Guatemala and discover that I have been called on a second mission. I am my current age and I try to explain to the Mission President that I have a job and family and can't possibly serve another two years, but he plays the "So you're turning down a calling from the Prophet?", and the "You don't want to serve the Lord?" cards, and I realize that I am stuck. Stuck missing my family for two years, stuck eating black beans and rice, knocking on doors from sunrise to well after sundown, sleeping on straw mattresses with bed bugs and cockroaches crawling all over me... for TWO MORE YEARS! Yes, it's a nightmare and I wake in a cold sweat.

I could not believe that Katniss and Peeta had to go back into the arena one more time. I thought Collins did a good job of keeping it fresh. The new arena was very cool. I loved the clock thing and the little surprises waiting for them in each section. I hope that book three will find a way to have one more arena... maybe this time with President Snow and Katniss pitted against each other.

I didn't like Katniss' resolve to save Peeta regardless of what happened to her. I wanted her to be even stronger that she was in the first games, and become the commanding leader that I expected her to be. I still have full confidence however that she will pull it out in the end, and I just can't wait!

Writing Skillz, or How Landee Got It Wrong Again

I'm staring into the snakelike eyes of President Snow.

"By the way, I know about the kiss." Then the door clicks shut behind him.

I'll have to marry Peeta.

Forcing him to his knees before the crowd. And putting a bullet through his head.

Was giving everything over to you, keeping up the game, promising to marry Peeta enough? In answer, he gives an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

This is what President Snow calls an uprising.

The pieces of the picture do not quite come together until I see his arm raise the whip.

"Me too," Gale says. He just manages a smile before the drugs pull him back under.

But an image is clearly stamped in the center of it [cracker]. It's my mockingjay.

She's not in District 13 at all. Which begs the question, What is?

I am going back into the arena.

And I'm left staring out the window, watching District 12 disappear with all my goodbyes still hanging on my lips.

And surely, two people who have caused the Capitol so much trouble can think of a way to get Peeta home alive.

Our new Avox is Darius.

Then I step away quickly to watch the reaction on the Gamemakers' face as they read the name on the dummy.

Because Cinna has turned me into a mockingjay.

This is no place for a girl on fire.

I press my ear against his chest, to the spot where I always rest my head, where I know I will hear the strong and steady beat of his heart. Instead, I find silence.

In the few seconds it takes to rouse them, I begin to blister.

"Tick, tock. This is a clock."

I run wildly in the direction of the voice, heedless of danger, ripping through the vines and branches through anything that keeps me from reaching her. From reaching my little sister.

I try to imagine that world, somewhere in the future... where Peeta's child could be safe.

Surely my mother and Prim will know to return it to Peeta before they bury my body.

My eyes strain to capture one last image of beauty to take with me. Right before the explosions begin, I find a star.

"Katniss, there is no District Twelve."

Those were the last sentences of each chapter. If you did not relive the excitement and the tension all over again, you must not have read the book. There were details that were unexpected, the book was unpredictable, and as usual, S. Collins truly captured my imagination and I was swept up in the emotion.

I love that the relationships are all affected by the political oppression. The fact that Katniss can't even decide who to love because she is forbidden on both counts. The whipping wasn't meant to invoke your sorrow over Gale specifically, it was meant to draw you into the world of Katniss where she can barely even think about love. We weren't meant to feel sad, we were meant to fill overwhelmed at her sense of futility.

The mockingjay as a symbol, but even then, not the message she was sending. A pawn on both sides.

There might have been details you didn't like (I loved that she picked all the olds as her friends) but there was nothing flawed about the book. And who doesn't love a doozy of a cliffhanger?

There is no district 12.

Memzy lays it out Catching Fire Style

I read this book in one day. The morning it came out I was at the book store and I didn't stop reading until 3am. Couldn't put it down. Suzanne Collins had me at page one and there was no stopping that train. I was laughing. I was crying. I was crunching up in the fetal.

Here's the deal. Like the plot route or not,.....any book that keeps me reading like that.....and depressed for days when it's over.....is, quite frankly,....the BEST.

The end.

Cristin's Hot Review of Catching Fire

Ok ok...it's not really hot. Just my plain review. I just wanted to see if anyone would read it if I put the word Hot in it...

The book is Hot though!!! I love some making out...especially when Katniss FINALLY feels it...even though I've pretty much felt it the whole time...but whatever Katniss...I'll forgive you this time.

This book TOTALLY felt like a second book...just like a stepping stone to the best book. Like it's just getting us ready for something super duper good. I can't help but like it...it's how I feel about the Lord of the Rings movies. You have to have the middle and there is good stuff in it but it's really about the beginning and the end.

Originally I was kind of p.o'd about Katniss having to go back but then I felt she kind of deserved it after being sort of wussy like and wanting to run away instead of being her feisty self and standing up for what is right.

It was predictable to me but I think Katniss was just so...so...skeptical that she couldn't see past what she is used too, so she couldn't see that people were really trying to help HER. I like that so many fought and died for her and it gets me really excited for the last book...I mean REALLY excited.

I like Suzanne, she doesn't try to make us feel all warm, fuzzy and comfortable. She lets people die...and not in very nice ways. She's brave.

I didn't care as much for her "cousin Gale" as much as last book. I felt so sad for him that he got whipped but I'm so over him. I'm all about me and Peeta...er...oh I mean... Katniss and Peeta. I know longer feel bad for Gale. He's strong...he'll find another girl...especially since he's so good looking...it says so right in the book.

Over all...me likey! And can't wait for the next book but again I have to be tortured for like a year...if I'm lucky.

Landee's Destined to be Unpopular Review of Catching Fire

Here's the thing... and please, keep this in mind....I really liked Catching Fire. Really. I did. I devoured it and read it in a matter of hours.

That being said.............

::deep breath::

...............I didn't like it as much as the first book ::taking pocket watch out of my pocket and rubbing my thumb across its face as you catch a glimpse of the mockingjay symbol while I wait for this information to sink in::

It just... I just.... Suzanne just.... I dunno.

The thing I loved about book one was all the Peeta/Katniss action-- and I know you know what I'm talking about here. I NEED sexual tension. I NEED self-sacrifice for the love of your life. I NEED kisses that stir something in your chest confusing you because you want more. I NEED one liners like "Come to finish me off, sweetheart?" and I WOULDN'T MIND if Gale was gone.

I barely cared he got whipped, you gize. That's how dead inside I am/how much Suzanne didn't sell me on him.

What I DIDN'T need was for Katniss to go back into the games. I've seen her in the games. I know how they work. I know Katniss dominates the games. I DIDN'T need to meet a bunch of new homies (elderly homies, btw), pretend to care about them and then ultimately NOT care about them which lead me into a nasty guilt spiral of shame. I DIDN'T need for Peeta to be treated like some kind of a porcelain doll that everyone needed to take care of. I mean, I get why, don't think I don't get why...I just DIDN'T need to see that. I hate him being portrayed that way.

What I WANTED was for Peeta to be the tough guy. I WANTED Peeta to save Katniss in some heroic use of his brute strength and smarts. I WANTED to see the games from a different perspective like maybe Gale or Prim got drafted and Katniss, Peeta & Haymitch became their mentors. I know a revolution needed to take place (I WANTED that too) but not this way. No, not this way. This seemed like a repeat of book one but with crazy monkeys, old people & nerve gas.

It did have its poignant moments, I'll give you that. The old man with the wise eyes, for example, doing Rue's whistle in District 11 and then being shot. Whats-her-face old lady sacrificing herself so whats-his-face dude with the trident could carry Peeta faster (again, cuz he's a baby & can't do anything by himself--boooooo). Cinna getting beaten (I very much did not enjoy that but it was an awesome moment just before she pops up in the games). Some very nice moments riddled throughout indeed.

Finally, my biggest beef here...I HATE STEPPING STONE BOOKS. That cliff-hanger is unforgivable. Each book needs to at least TRY to be its own story. This was ridiculous and it's like Suzanne doesn't even feel bad about it. Each Harry Potter book is a story unto itself with a beginning, middle and (mostly) tied up ending. Each Twilight book was it's own (except, in a strange twist, the last one). But this... THIS? No. Didn't even try.

The bottom line is that I expected too much. I upped my expectations and Suzanne didn't deliver. It left me flat, not bedazzled like the first one. And now I get to wait at least another year to see if she can redeem herself with book 3.

Landee, out.

Manic Mandee's Review of Catching Fire

This is gonna be quick because 1- I'm holding a baby and am struggling to type efficiently, 2- She just spit up on me, and 3- You all know I'm not a fun, and articulate writer so I hate to bore you with it.
So here are my quick thoughts on the book.
I liked this one better than book 1 because it was slightly less depressing and disturbing. (And I liked book 1!) It was more hopeful as you got to catch the excitement of a rebellion. And what an awesome rebellion this is gonna shape up to be. Book 3 will be the best!
It was cool!
It was HARD to put down. I didn't really except to pee.
That's my review!
--Later gaters.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are You Ready?

I just looked at my calender and realized that we've already reached the end of September. Wow, did that go by fast! But you know what that means. Time for our smart book discussion. I have no doubt that you've all finished this book, and I have no doubt that you'll all be here for the discussion:

Sunday, September 27th
8pm pacific time
9pm mountain time

(yes, tomorrow)

As always, post your review of Catching Fire anytime before the meeting, read all the other reviews, and then come back for the discussion that night if you can. I have a sneaking suspicion this discussion is going to be a good one.

Told ya so. Wrote it in my margin on Wednesday, September 02.

PS. Our book for October will be announced Monday morning, by Sara "Eekareek" Strasser.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Video Interview with Suzanne Collins

All your burning questions answered slightly, or evaded entirely. Just don't watch it until you've read Catching Fire.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vote for me!

Alright book worms! Time to vote for the best cake. What makes a cake the best, you ask? Well, I will tell you. A really good cake will warm you up on a cold day, bring light in the dark, be too hot to touch and all that because it is on fire.