Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have told my husband that this was my most highly anticipated book of the year...which is why it took me so little time to read it, even if it took more time than I would have liked, but with kids, first day of school, house work, work, and other responsibilities, what are you going to do??

So, how does one end a saga about a thriving, spoiled capital with a dictator-like president and 12 (or 13 rather) districts who are basically slaves, and provide the Capitol's every need? Well, I'd say Suzanna Collins hit the nail right on the head. This is a book that I will never forget, even if there are some parts I wish I could.

This book is not sugar-coated by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's so real that I would hesitate to let younger teens read this Saga. This is what makes the books so good though. Suzanne Collins has created a world that really could exist (and already has on some level - minus all the technology). There really is no good happy, big red bow type of way to get through it. I will be honest (and hope it comes to no shock to those of you who haven't read it yet) but people die. People you don't want to see die, die. There were moments I was crying.

Even still, this heavy, serious book had many parts where I was laughing out loud. Katniss is witty and funny - even at times where she doesn't mean to be. There was a game (Crazy Cat - and no this will not spoil anything) that was so silly, I couldn't help be be amused myself. Especially since I've played this game.

I want to speak to other aspects of the book - but they are really meant for a "discussion" and not a review blog. Talking about them will spoil it for you. I will say that if the characters of The Hunger Games Series were real to you before, they will be so even more so in Mockingjay. You get a better understanding of Gale. Sweet Gale, whom I have loved from the beginning. You see his true passion for everything against the Capital come out; good, bad, and ugly. You get even more up close and personal with Finnick. If you weren't in love with him before, you'll fall in love with him. He's such a good hearted person who has probably more reason than Katniss does for being involved in this revolution. Then Peeta, Peeta's strength is once again revealed. Prim grows up! Haymitch is still Haymitch; never and always reliable.

If I could have one last Hunger Games request it would be this: PLEASE DO NOT TURN THIS INTO A MOVIE! Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are the only movies I can say I have honestly liked as well as the book. Unless there is a ton of money and time invested in getting the perfect cast, and setting up the special effects, and making it at least somewhat viewer-appropriate, a movie will ruin this Saga.

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Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Dreamland Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamland was kind of a tough one for me this time around. I love Sarah Dessen. She's defiantly good at what she does. I just had a really hard time with the main character, Caitlin. Caitlin is the victim of abuse. The thing I had a hard time with is her contrasting characteristics. On one hand, she actually was a strong person, someone who never would have tolerated anything that she actually put up with. On the other hand, she was working so hard at being someone other than who she was, it was almost as if she trapped herself in the situation. Drug abuse didn't help matters. I have no personal experience with drugs, but I've known enough abusers to know that they do have a bit of a numbing effect about them, and I could see this coming out in Caitlin's character - she was allowing the drugs to help her fade out of herself, out of existence, so she no longer had control over who she used to be nor who she was becoming.

Why I had such a problem with Caitlin? She KNEW the abuse was wrong. She KNEW that the relationship could not get better, nor would it. She knew she was falling - but she could not find the drive to do anything about it. I found that very frustrating.

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That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That SummerThat Summer by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can honestly say that this is not my favorite Sarah Dessen book. This was her first novel, and you can really see that she has grown as a writer over the years. I did, however, read this book pretty much in one sitting. It isn't a very long book, and I was sick with some kind of stomach bug yesterday, so I wasn't doing a whole lot of moving around. Perfect time for reading!

That Summer is the story of Haven and her life one summer spanning from one wedding (her father's) to another (her sister's). So two very important people in her life, two very important events, with a whole lot of drama, craziness, revelation and growth squashed in the middle. Haven is a tall (almost 6 feet) and awkward fifteen year old. Her life seems to be going to pieces around her. On top of all of that, she seems to have no one to turn to. Her mother has a friend who has been helping her through divorce and subsequent re-marriage of her ex-husband. Haven's sister, Ashley, has found love and her own best friend in Lewis, her husband-to-be. Casey, Haven's best friend, has returned from 4-H camp boy-crazed and rebellious, so turning to her doesn't seem to be an option. Haven is feeling alone. When, Sumner, an old ex-boyfriend of Ashley's - Haven's favorite of them all, comes back into town and into her life, Haven turns to him for comfort and occasional advise. Sumner was around at a time when everything in Haven's life seemed to be perfect, and a time that she enjoys living in, even if it's only in her mind.

What Haven learns throughout this summer is how even when everything seems perfect, things aren't always what they appear. When life seems to be falling to pieces, it's okay to learn and grow and move forward.

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Grocery Shopping

It is a typical stereo-type that women love shopping. I can't say that I love shopping, but I do enjoy shopping. Especially if I'm out with my mom or with a friend. I'm not much for shopping alone. So I was thinking about this one day, why DO women love to shop? I do think it's the friendship, the talking, the looking around, being out and about, finding that special "no way I can pass this up" deal. Really though, there is just something about spending money, and getting something in return.

So I have 3 kids which makes us a family of 5. We eat. We eat a LOT! On a weekly basis we go through at least 2 dozen eggs, 3 gallons a milk, 1 jar of peanut butter, at least 1 box of cereal (sometimes more), a TON of oatmeal (because I have 2 kids who could eat the stuff morning, noon and night), and lots of chicken. This is just the beginning; both of my shopping list and of the madness, because right now my kids are only 6, 5, and 3. Imagine the shopping trip in another 5 years...I don't even want to THINK about it.

Needless to say, grocery shopping is not my favorite activity. It is almost accurate to say that I hate grocery shopping. Anyway, lately I've been trying to deal with this part of my brain that just groans on grocery day, and I've been trying to look at the bright side. I get to spend money! I get to go out and hunt for good deals, spend money, and have something to show for my effort.

I wish I could say that it worked.

On another front...I've been trying my hand at writing a book. I've got a basic story down - characters, supporting characters, and many of the scenes. I've written about 15 pages, and I've got many scenes directions, ideas swimming around in my head of where I want to take it.

Now, I haven't written anything since I was in college...9 years ago. While I did very well on what I did write, they were reports. They were not fiction. And I'm sure - if you read my blog at all (does anyone read my blog?) I don't have good grammar. While I've got many of the basics, I forget sometimes when a comma should be there and when it shouldn't (I'm a splicer) and outside of business e-mails at work, any other writing I've done has been on this blog, or Facebook or something equally - not important. I write how I talk, even if it's not how it's read. I use strange characters that in my head make sense in what I'm trying to portray, i.e. I use "-" to show that I've paused in my through process, it means I expect you to read a slight delay in my thinking. Whether that means anything to you or not, I guess I just don't care. I know how I want to sound. Anyway, I'm off topic. What I am saying is....I'm writing a book. I've written more than I ever have before, and while I want it to be good, I'm not keeping my hopes up for anything. A million people have tried or are trying, and only a few of those get published. I can honestly say I've read a few books that really shouldn't have been published.

That being said, maybe one day when I'm ready, maybe I'll share a bit or two of my work. We'll see.


Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have very mixed feelings about this book. One one hand, Nora + Patch = SEXY! Their very first "encounter" on the kitchen counter was...heartpounding. I love it. The chemistry between the two of them is the perfect mix of passion and fear.

Nora knows something is not right with Patch, however she takes way too long attempting to figure out what is going on. She definitely lies to herself a lot, or just places things on the back burner or something. The part that bothered me was the flow of the story, and the lack of making sure all the details lined up and the story progressed smoothly. I had moments when I was thinking (about Nora), is this chick for real? I.E.: walking into a restaurant and saying "hmmm, where have I heard of this place before." This was the CORNIEST LINE I HAVE EVER READ in a book...ever. And I've read a TON of books. So one must wonder, is this female lead really dumb? Why do I like her? Why does Patch like her? Or (because there are moments I really do like her) is there something we missed in her development? So yeah, I also felt like character development was lacking. This does not exclude Nora's mom; so is she over protective and will quit her job to make sure Nora is safe, or is she a mother who is never there and doesn't really have the reigns in on her daughter? Can't be both...it just doesn't work. And Vee...well, actually Vee was very consistent, the most of all the females. She was a loud mouth girl who needed to be taught to keep it shut! For the most part, all the males of the story were well developed and consistent...no issues there. :)

The thing is, I'll be looking forward to the next book, because I loved the chemistry. I'm not a Vee fan, but maybe she can redeem herself in the next book. What I really want is Patch to get his human wish. I hate the thought of him not being able to feel....

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