Review | Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Review | Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Publication: Scholastic Press on September 1st 2009
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
five-stars
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.

I’m not exactly sure where to start with this one. I can begin by saying I was dreading it. Dreading to continue The Hunger Games series and find out what happens next and where it was going. I steered clear of any reviews of  Catching Fire because I learned my lesson when I read the first book ( I accidentally read the first few lines of the synopsis of Catching Fire while in the middle of The Hunger Games so I knew how it would end!) and I didn’t know what to expect. I’m just happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. Catching Fire still left me with too much love for all the characters involved and I didn’t know what to do myself after I was done reading it.

I had no idea what to expect when I finally picked up Catching Fire, had no idea where the story was going. I began reading it shortly after the movie trailer aired for the first time and I refused to watch it because I had no idea what was going to happen. I find that’s also really difficult to write my thoughts on this without sharing every possible detail about the book, and I hate spoilers!

So let me keep this simple: Collins writing was just as good, if not better, in Catching Fire and I was captivated not only by the plot, but by the characters development, the pace and everything that was happening. The book takes off quickly and things start rolling along so fast, that I was literally shocked and glued to the book. Also, there are so many twists in this one! The romance, of course, is still there and crucial in the story’s development. We were able to see a lot more about the relationships between Katniss/Peeta/Gale, but we also learn a lot more about these characters and I really loved them so much more.

There is not much else I can really say except that I loved Catching Fire. I can’t say I loved it more than The Hunger Games (because it will always have a special place in my heart) but I do maybe love it just as much.  Definitely a great sequel in the series and I recommend it to everyone who has already read the first book in the series and is hesitant like I was to continue.

 

five-stars

Review | Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Review | Eleanor and Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin on February 26th 2013
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
five-stars
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I have to admit that I picked up Eleanor and Park because of the hype. It was being talked about so much, more than most other books in recent years.  I gave in, bought a copy and devoured it. I am not sure if I am one to be swayed by others opinions (I like to think I am not) but like pretty much everyone else, I loved it. Eleanor and Park was such a unique and very real story about young love, which was quite refreshing and just the kind of book to get me out of the slump I was in.

Eleanor is far from what we’re used to in YA, and that makes her stand out much more. She’s a poor kid, living with a creepy stepdad and a mom that doesn’t seem to be able to get it together. She’s overweight, buys her clothes from Goodwill, and hates gym class. Park is “the Asian kid” who can be considered a bit popular, but still different because of his unique personality. They start off a strangers, not particularly happy about having to sit next to each other on the bus, but eventually the strangeness fades. They slowly become friends over reading comic books together, enjoying songs, and this turns into a beautiful first love. 

Like I’m sure you’ve read in every review you’ve come across of Eleanor and Park, the best part was the romance. Not only was it sweet and real, it very much made me remember how it feels like to be so young, so innocent, and so in love. Each moment they spent together was so damn special, and it brought back many memories of when I was a teen and squealing about every little moment, as well as the rush, the feeling of so many emotions. That’s what this book gave to me.

I could go on forever about this book, but I won’t. I can say that I love the characters (even the ones I hated) and I truly enjoyed Rowell’s writing. I also loved that it was set in the mid 80′s because it reminded me of my childhood (although with some differences since I was a 90′s kid.) I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Rowell’s work, and wholeheartedly recommend Eleanor and Park to everyone.

five-stars

Why I Think I Hate Series

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I’ve had this problem for a long time, but I really think I hate series. My biggest issue with them? I can never finish them. I can only think of a handful of series that I’ve actually gotten through, which of course includes Harry Potter, The Hunger Games (which I only finished last week so it’s not much to boast about,) a few romance series, etc. But there are a ton of other firsts that I’ve started and still haven’t gotten to the second one even though it’s been years (Delirium, The Immortal Rules, Hush Hush, etc.) and even though I really want to read the rest of these series, I can’t seem to get myself to pick them up.

I think there are a few reasons to my whole hating series thing though. For one thing, I hate when I don’t know that a book is part of a series until I am a good portion into it or done with it. That drives me crazy! I don’t know how this happens, but I have a good idea that it might be because I buy so many books at once, put them on my bookshelves and then don’t touch them until several years later. During this time that these books went untouched, several others in the series came out along the way and somehow missed the memo. Then I’m stuck with yet another series that I might never finish.

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I also don’t like the idea of a story ending. This is kind of weird because every book has an ending right? But a stand alone just ends. There’s no expectation for more and you can just deal with all the feels afterwards and know that the characters lived (sometimes) happily ever after. But with a series, for me it’s like “Omg I already read book #1 and #2 and now #3 is the last one and I am not sure if I am ready for this to end.” It’s just so difficult for me to let these characters go, especially if I’ve been reading them for years and finally the last book is here and it will finally end. It crushes me.

I think one of the biggest reasons why I don’t like series is when I feel like the first book has ended and then all of a sudden it turns into a trilogy or saga or something. I try not to think of it like this because I have heard from so many authors that when they first started thinking of their stories, they always pictured it as a three book thing or something, and then they got a deal for three books and there you go. But I feel that series have become so popular these last few years, especially with so many books being made into movies, that authors now choose that route instead of sticking to stand alones. And sometimes I just feel like a book was good enough to end like that.

The reason behind this post, I think is because I just finished Mockingjay. And you know what? I was disappointed. I read The Hunger Games in 2010. The third book wasn’t out then yet, but I originally planned (like I always do) to finish the series, like, immediately. Instead, I didn’t pick up Catching Fire until late last year because the movie was about to be released and I had to be at the midnight premiere and all. But it took me three years to get to the second book. During those years I loved Katniss and I loved Peeta and I struggled with the idea that she might choose Gale and what would I do without the boy with the bread? And then finally I picked up the last book and I read it and I cried and I finally found out how it ended and it wasn’t enough. That ending wasn’t good enough for me. And when I review it I will go into more detail, but my final thoughts were, after all these years…that’s it? That’s all I get? And it wasn’t exactly that I wasn’t satisfied with it, but I had put so much love all these years into these characters and now they’re gone. Of course, I’ll one day re-read these books and I’m exaggerating a bit, but that’s what it feels like to me when I finish a series. And that’s why I sort of dread both starting new ones and continuing ones I have already started.

How about you out there? Do you love/hate series? Are you just as terrible as I am about finishing them or do you speed read through them?

Top Ten Tuesday | Favorite Book Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
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Favorite Book Quotes

I absolutely love quotes so for this rewind of Top Ten Tuesday, I decided it would be fun to share with all of you some of my favorite quotes of all time. I have to admit though, it was a bit difficult to pick only ten!

ttt1- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

ttt2Delirium by Lauren Oliver

ttt3How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie Debartolo

ttt4Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

ttt5If I Stay by Gayle Forman

ttt6The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

ttt7- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

ttt8Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

ttt9The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

ttt10My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Review + Giveaway | 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner

Review + Giveaway | 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner
Publication: Quirk Books on September 10, 2013
Genres: Humor
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
five-stars
Cut two eyeholes into a bedsheet and BOO! You’ve got yourself a classic Halloween icon. But what does that ghosts look like when he's shy? Or in love? Or a pirate, a llama, a Bona villain, or Russian nesting doll? 100 Ghosts explores every sort of spook in a series of whimsically haunting illustrations. It's a delightful collection for adults, children, and anyone in need of a friendly fright.

The best way I can describe 1oo Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts is both funny and adorable. Maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t find any of the ghosts anything but cute! I was laughing out loud through most of these but I was also spazzing out on how ridiculously adorable I found them as well.

100 Ghosts  is a book you can quickly look through in one sitting since it is all just images of ghosts plus their caption. I found it fun to try and guess what each ghost was named before looking at it’s actual name. Definitely something fun to have on your coffee table for others to enjoy.

Here are a few of the ghosts found inside this book. Can you guess which one is my favorite? :)

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g i v e a w a y

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away! US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

five-stars