Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Book Reviews

The very best books I've read all summer? The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the first two books in the young adult HG trilogy.  A few of my writing buddies raved about these books as did my twelve-year-old next door neighbor. I'm a little behind the reading times.

Although I'm usually not a reader of violent books, I must admit that what made me want to read them is the jaw-dropping plot line of injustice. It really ticked me off. Halfway through Catching Fire, I almost chucked it across the room and said "good riddance" to the series. I kept reading because I really cared about the characters and what happened to them. And things got a lot better and hopeful. Whew.

Want to know something crazy? After reading Catching Fire, I dreamed that I was the main character, Katniss Everdeen. I stopped at 7-11 on the way to the Hunger Games where I stocked up on (of all things) beef jerky, strawberry Twizzlers, and Dr. Pepper. That's how much these books have impacted me. Have you ever dreamed you were a book character?

I'm currently reading Mockingjay, the third book in the HG trilogy. I bought it from a bookstore on release day. Yes, I wanted to scarf it up like it was the last piece of layered chocolate cake. But since it's the final in the series, I really want to savor every word. Many times, I've rushed through great books only to feel sad they've ended. I agree with the blog post written by Christopher John Farley in the Wall Street Journal, 'Mockingjay': Please Don't Devour The Hunger Games.

Book Reviews:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem, a post-apocalyptic United States where a powerful government called the Capitol has taken over after several devastating disasters. The Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to a fight to the death. The purpose of the Hunger Games is to show how no one, including children, is above the Capitol's crushing power. The last child standing wins the game.

This book absolutely had me from the first page. Katniss Everdeen is the strongest character I've come to know in a book. I was amazed by her bravery and sacrifice. She must make a decision that affects her life forever. How will this affect her relationship with her crush, Gale, and (gasp) a new love interest? Read it, to find out.

 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (second book in HG series)

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled a rebellion against the Capitol that she's not sure she can or wants to stop. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
 
As I indicated above, I nearly chucked this book. I was appalled at some of the horrific things that the Capitol has in store for Katniss and others. This book kept me up waaaaay past my bedtime until 3 AM one night. After I read the last page, I was feeling hopeful for the people of Panem and Katniss Everdeen. I couldn't wait for the last installment of the HG series, Mockingjay. Review to come...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School's Back In Session

"Lord, Thank you for a wonderful summer with my children. We made memories to last a lifetime. And thank you for school starting back up next week. Amen."

The quote above is what my cuz wrote on her facebook page last week. Amen, sister! I couldn't agree more. My kids went back to school TODAY. My sadness didn't last long. They started fighting, and I quickly shooed them out the door.

Excuse me while I do a happy dance --to "Back in the Saddle Again". Aerosmith, baby. Your kids back in school, too? Bored out of your mind? In need of caffeine? Feel free to dance with me, people. Air guitars welcome. Goooo.

I'm saddling up to my regular writing schedule. Yeehaw! I did get some sporadic writing and research done over the summer thanks to sports day camps and awesome grandparents. I'm working on several new projects that I'm super excited about. Even got lost on one of my research excursions. Knew something was wrong when all I was passing was hay bales and cows. Maps on my iphone saved me. Getting lost in farmland for research is worth it. Good thing I didn't roll down my windows, though.

Also attended a way cool online writing conference at Writeoncon.com. And it was FREE. If you missed it, you can still check it out. You'll even find recorded transcripts of live chats from editors and agents. Some of my favorite sessions were Give Yourself Permission by editor Molly O'Neill  (inspiring), Writing With a Real Life by author Lindsey Leavitt (funny, quirky, down-to-earth gal, love people like her). The live chats were wonderful, too.  But really, it was ALL fabulous. The conference was so well-received, they are planning a Write On Con two next year. I'll definitely be back...in my PJ's, curled up in my comfy chair, with a nice cup of tea (saying that last tea bit in my corny British accent). What a great way to enjoy a conference.

I did read, of course. Read through The Chronicles of Narnia series again (still working on that, think I missed some as a kid), plus new books as well. Have some definite favorites.

Hope you had a summer full of fun memories with those you love and great reads. If you're interested, I'll share some HIGHLY recommended books with you in upcoming posts...