Friday, January 29, 2016

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins [Book Review]

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 1, 2009

Sparks are igniting.Flames are spreading.And the Capitol wants revenge.

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

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled 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 and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.
I feel like the world loves this series, but as we have discussed before my love was slow to build and was only recently realized.

In this second installment I felt the characters come alive on a different level than they previously expressed in the first book. Katniss is much more aware of the responsibilities and the repercussions of her actions which gives good insight into the undercover world they live in.

The stakes are higher in this installment, and I read it not seeing a way out.

I enjoyed Collins' small hints throughout the book which lead to the final reveal. I found it fun to go back and think of the small hints and the build up with this one.

Katniss and Peeta's chemistry was every bit as wonderful for me, which brings me to one of the most important aspect of their relationship for me: I love their slowness. I love the fact that we don't have pages of make out sessions, and all kinds of perfection and happiness to sort through.

I know it sounds odd, but I love that things with them are rough. I love that Katniss battles with her emotions, and I love that Peeta is a steady rock, but not an overbearing one.

They live in a high stakes world, and I appreciate that their relationship takes a back burner, and I love how this second book doesn't over power the need for love.

Ultimately, The Hunger Games are becoming (one of) my favorite series and I'm still OBSESSED.

What about you guys, does Catching Fire hold all of the wonderful that The Hunger Games does for you? I know I have heard that the pacing throws some people off, but I appreciated it for its slow build. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine! 

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. A romantic and charming YA print debut by Jen Malone, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han.

Aubree Sadler can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop before their plan unravels, leaving her with an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t seem to help it.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Do you guys see this? This is the kind of European adventure I can get behind and I am hoping it is as wonderful as I envision it to be!  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Let's Talk! If I Won the Power Ball: Bookish Things I Would Buy

Now, we all have heard by now that despite popular belief, I did not win the biggest power ball jackpot in the history of the world. 

However, if I had won - here are some of the things I would buy. 

1.) Home Library

I do have a room sorta, kinda dedicated to books but it looks nothing like this. I have four large bookshelves filled to the brim with books of mine, and honestly I have more books than my room can handle. My dream would be something like the above. In fact, I wouldn't even need to move if you could just build that for me in my current house. 

2.) Funk Pops

This one may seem kind of weird since these really aren't horribly expensive (generally) but when it comes to spending money on things I am kind of weird. I really love the Funko Pop trend and I think they're adorable - I just can't warrant spending the money on them because I want them all. Plus, the purpose they serve is to just exist. It truly is an aspect of my life the lottery would fix. 

3.) Audio Books

I really enjoy listening to audio books throughout my daily life, but I never want to pay for them. I never, ever, ever steal or download anything illegally. My audio books normally come from Kindle Unlimited or my local library, but since I am a Kindle junkie I can add audible narration to any book I have for no more than $5. 


Never. Even if I know I want to listen to it. So, if I won the power ball I would always buy the audiobook. 


4.) Pretty Things. 

As many of you know, the above picture is of Arwen's necklace from The Lord of the Rings. They sell these, some super cheap -- others for hundreds of dollars. If I won the power ball I would buy a good one and play dress up in the best of ways. 

5.) All the Books. 

I would buy so many books I wouldn't know what to do. I would need to fill up the massive home library after all, so might as well add as many as possible. I also would share the books I love with those around me. No longer would I fear to lend out my books to acquaintances due to fears of wrinkled pages and cracked spines -- I could buy them their own without any problem. 

I would make sure my local high schools  had all the good stuff (even the banned things I would sneak in) and I would generally just make sure that access was available so options aren't so limited like they were when I was in school. 

Providing books to people essentially feels like a way to save the world. 

What would you guys do with your power ball earnings? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

February 2, 2016
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.
But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.
The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.
With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself? 

What are you waiting on this week?  

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 Releases I Meant to Get to but Didn't...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This list is going to be depressing because there are way too many I just didn't get to! I have my excuses -- I was a college senior, I was just trying to graduate, but it makes this list no less depressing. 

Oh well, here's a go. 

On the bright side, I have a long list of books that need reading. 

What about you?

Were there any 2015 releases that you just haven't gotten to yet?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins [Updated Book Review]

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 8, 2008

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature. 

** This is for the second reading of The Hunger Games which took place over five years after the first. I was shocked to see how differently my emotions were after this second reading, and because of this it warrants its own review.

I really enjoyed The Hunger Games the first time around, I finished it and I was prepared to continue the series and stick with Katniss and Peeta through the very end.

However, that never happened.

I never went onto the second book, I never wondered about the world after what I'd read and slowly but surely the world of Panem began to matter so little that I was pretty sure all of the hype was going to miss me forever.

My senior year of college as a English/Communications major obsessed with media theory, I started a research study on the popularity of YA books -- because of this subject I knew I would need to revisit The Hunger Games due to its popularity. Little did I know that I would become completely entranced in the world Collins created a second time, this time though because of the media's affect on Panem and the people themselves.

Media theory is one of my loves, but this aspect of the book would have completely missed me as a high school sophomore when this book first came into my life.

During this second reading I completely fell in love, continued, and finished the series. In the Hunger Games, Collins builds a world that is both different, but extremely similar to our own. The role the media plays on the people's reality seems extreme within the pages, but in reality it isn't all that different than our own world.

While we watch violence in the form of film, movies, sports, etc... these people's reality is a reality show where death is the only constant.

I love the growth of Katniss, and the slow development of this world's existence and its consequences for those around them.

The vivid descriptions of Capitol life compared to life in the Districts felt to me like a comparison to our own reality in a world where class standing is real.

I loved the role Katniss played towards altering her own state and using the Capitol's rules against them, because what better power is there than to use their own games against them.

The Hunger Games has become one of my favorite series (if not my favorite) and I have spent the past few weeks obsessed.

The moral of the story here is that you can't judge a book ever. Even after you've read it. Books sometimes surprise you and take on hidden and deeper meanings depending on the stage of life you're in. It only took six years, but I understand the hype!
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