Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanna Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

I had expectations for Mockingjay. I'd thought about theories, and even made up some fake, funny ones with people on Twitter. Nothing prepared me for this book. It feels different from the first two in the series. Not bad, just different. There's a war going on. Bad things happen in war. Heidi Kling (author of SEA) said, "Forget Team Peeta/Team Gale. By the end of this book you are only Team Humanity."
I can't agree more. For months fans have been speculating about who Katniss will choose. But honestly, in light of present circumstances, it doesn't matter. This book explores themes of war, the meaning of right and wrong/good and evil, and shows that every decision we make has a consequence. If you liked The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, you won't be disappointed. This book has lived up to its hype, and is now probably my favorite read this year. I believe that everyone should read the previous two books just to get the the masterpiece that is Mockingjay.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Catching Fire Reread

I'm rereading Catching Fire very quickly, so I most likely won't be doing a recap of it on here. Maybe a really super condensed quick one when I'm done, but definitely not a chapter-by-chapter recap like I did with The Hunger Games.
To (kinda) make up for it, here's Suzanne Collins reading the first chapter of Mockingjay!

Guys and Books

Let's have a little chat, ok?

I know the majority of YA readers are female. I know there are a lot of guys that don't read for whatever reasons. The argument has been made that YA books aren't marketed to boys, and I can see that. Just take a walk down the YA section at any bookstore. What do you see? Covers colored in purple and pink, covers with girls on the front, etc. Books that a lot of guys wouldn't be caught dead reading in school. Something needs to be done about that, but that's not the main reason for this post.
I was looking around the blogosphere, and I saw something that made me stop. There was a teen guy giving short review of a book. He liked said book, but advised other boys to speed read through romantic scenes to get to the "good" parts. I know girls have a different mentality toward romance and love than guys do, but in the end, aren't we all human? Don't we all fall in love, and feel warm and fuzzy feelings? If you prick us, do we not all bleed? Sorry, went one too far.
Is there a reason that boys are so anti-romance? I get it if it's a book where romance is the main issue, and it talked about constantly (I'm looking at you Twilight). The thing is, this book wasn't one of those. The romance is there, but it's not presented in an overly "lovey-dovey" way. I honestly have never had a problem reading about romance and love, so I don't get what the big deal is. Can anyone explain it to me? I'd love to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences in the comments.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 25 - 27

Chapter 25
The creatures are giant wolves that act human. They chase the three tributes to the Cornucopia, which they climb. Katniss picks a few of them off with her bow, then realizes something. The wolves look like the dead tributes. There's even one that looks like Rue. Once bites Peeta, but Katniss kills it. Cato tries to kill Peeta in the confusion, but Katniss shoots him as well, sending him into the pack of wolves. They begin to tear him apart. They torture him all night, and Katniss and Peeta are forced to listen to him scream in pain. In the morning, Katniss decides to put Cato out of his misery. The wolves go away, and Katniss and Peeta make their way back to the lake, waiting for the games to be over. Then an announcement: only one person can win the games, not two.
This is how angry I was.
Katniss decides that they should both kill themselves with the poison berries. They put them in their mouths, and the announcer comes back, saying that they both win!

Chapter 26
They both get into a hovercraft, where doctors tend to them. Katniss is put into a drug-induced coma for a while. When she finally wakes up, she is styled and costumed for the closing ceremonies. There, she will see Peeta for the first time since the games. Haymitch tells Katniss that the Capitol is furious that they "beat the system", so she should be careful.

Chapter 27
Katniss and Peeta reunite on stage, and are then forced to watch a three hour highlight of the Games. They go to a party, and the next day have an interview. While there, Katniss discovers that Peeta now has an artificial leg. =/
They go back home, but on the way, Katniss reveals to Peeta that some of her affections during the Games were just an act. Peeta is understandably upset. They arrive home.
The End

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 22 - 24

Chapter 22
It's raining outside when Katniss wakes up, and Peeta is better. He's been taking care of her. They're stuck, and since they have nothing better to do, they talk. And kiss. Katniss realizes that the more they play on the star crossed lovers angle, the happier Haymitch will be, so she does it. She finally (kind of) tells Peeta that she loves him, and Haymitch sends them a feast. Peeta is thrilled, both for the food and the declaration of love.
Chapter 23
More cave time. The tribute that saved Katniss is killed, leaving 2 tributes left (not counting Katniss and Peeta). The rain stops and they go hunting. Peeta is loud, so Katniss sends him to gather berries and roots and stuff. When she comes back with food, she sees that some of their cheese and berries have disappeared. Peeta didn't eat them, so where did they go? Suddenly, they hear a cannon, and a body is taken away not far from them. Katniss realizes that the berries Peeta gathered are poison, and the other tribute must have stolen and eaten them.

Chapter 24
Katniss saves some berries just in case they can trick the last tribute left (Cato) into eating them. They go back to the cave and sleep. When they are both rested, they decide to leave. The streams and ponds are dried up, so they make their way to the lake. When they reach the clearing, Cato runs toward them. Katniss shoots him with an arrow, but it just bounces off of him. Instead of running for them, he runs past them. Then they notice he's running from something.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 19 - 21

Chapter 19
Katniss decides to look for Peeta so that they can team up. She's walking through the forest when she spots a trail of blood. She follows it to a stream, then hears Peeta's voice. He camouflaged himself in the riverbank so he wouldn't be seen. Katniss helps him up and sees that he is badly injured from tracker jacker stings, burns, and a nasty gash in his leg. She begins taking off his clothes and tending to his wounds. His leg is in very bad shape. Katniss moves them to a cave, and Peeta is talking about dying, so Katniss kisses him to shut him up. Haymitch sends broth.

Chapter 20
They hide out in the cave, and get close. Katniss realizes Peeta has an infection. To get his mind off of things, she tells him a story. An announcement comes through saying that at dawn, there will be something each person needs at the Cornucopia. Peeta tells Katniss if she goes, he'll just follow. She says she won't. Haymitch sends Katniss sleeping syrup, and she sneakily drugs Peeta so he will not follow her.

Chapter 21
Katniss leaves just before dawn to get the backpack she needs. As she runs for the bag, a tribute grabs her and immobilizes her. Then she starts cutting Katniss' face. The other tribute from Rue's district grabs her from behind and kills her. He lets Katniss go because of the kindness she showed Rue. Katniss goes back to the cave, opens backpack and sees a syringe inside. She gives the shot to Peeta, then passes out.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 16 - 18

Chapter 16
The plan: take out the career tributes' food supply. Rue knows where they've stockpiled it. Katniss leaves for the camp while Rue creates a diversion. She reaches the camp and is about to go toward it when another tribute comes out of the forest. She hops and jumps across the ground to the food, grabs some, and navigates her way back. Then Katniss realizes that the ground around the food is booby trapped. They dug up the mines from around the starting disks and buried them around the food supply. With her arrows, she takes aim and shoots at a hanging bag of apples above the mines. It rips, and apples fall onto the ground. Then BOOM.

Chapter 17
Katniss is blown back from the explosion, and her ear is damaged. It is impossible for her to stand, so she crawls to a hiding spot. She sleeps, and begins to make her way back to Rue. She hears her scream and runs toward the noise. Rue calls for Katniss, and Katniss finally reaches the clearing where Rue is. She's tangled in a net, and a tribute standing beside her thrusts a spear into her side.

Chapter 18
The boy is killed by Katniss before he can move. Katniss cuts Rue down, and both know that Rue is dying. Katniss says that she'll win now, for the both of them. Rue asks Katniss to sing her a song, and as she's singing, Rue dies.

Katniss covers her body in flowers, and makes her way back. She moves her way through the woods and climbs into a tree to sleep. The anthem plays, then trumpets sound announcing a message.
Two tributes can win this year, as long as they're both from the same district.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 13 - 15

Chapter 13
The Gamemakers have started the fire because the games have gotten boring. Katniss starts to run. Then, FREAKING FIREBALLS begin to shoot at her. She does a pretty good job of dodging them, until one gets her in the thigh. She burns her hands trying to put it out. Ouch. She finds another pond and cools her burns until she hears people coming. It's the tributes from before. She climbs a tree to escape them, but they see her. One girl named Glimmer tries to shoot Katniss with the bow and arrow, but misses. They try to climb up after her, but none of them can reach her height. Night falls, and they all sleep, except Katniss. Then she notices that another tribute, Rue, is with her in the treetops.

Chapter 14
Rue points above Katniss' head. It's a tracker jacker nest. These babies are hybrid wasps made by the capitol. Their stings cause hallucinations, and eventually death if you get to many of them. Another thing about them? They track you down. They're a little sluggish from the smoke caused by the fire, so Katniss starts to saw the branch with her knife. It drops to the ground, breaking open around Peeta and the other tributes. They swarm them, and all of them but Glimmer and another girl run away. They can't run away, because they've gotten so many stings that they're dead. Katniss is stung a few times, and starts seeing things, but she knows she needs to get that bow and those arrows. She makes her way down and gets them away from Glimmer's body. Now she's armed and dangerous.

Peeta then appears, telling her to run. She does, then falls to the ground and blacks out.

Chapter 15
Katniss has no idea why Peeta saved her. She ponders that while she kills a rabbit and a bird. Rue finds Katniss, and they form an alliance. They talk, and Katniss shares her food, while Rue tends to Katniss' wasp stings. Katniss and Rue go into a tree to sleep, and Katniss begins to form a plan of attack.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 10 - 12

Chapter 10
Katniss is a little slow, but she finally realizes that Peeta was indeed talking about HER. They go back to their living space and she shoves him into an urn. He bleeds. They fight, but Katniss accepts that the star crossed lover thing is a good advantage for them. They go to bed, but Katniss can't sleep, so she goes to the roof. Peeta's there. They argue a little, and Katniss wonders if he's crazy. Then she reminisces about a previous competitor who ate the hearts of the people he killed in the arena.
In the morning, they get on a hovercraft and are injected with tracking devices. They go to the catacombs beneath the arena and Katniss goes with Cinna. She mentions that the previous arenas are now vacation spots for people in the Capitol, and they have tours and reenactments and everything. Totally insane. Katniss steps on a disk and is elevated to the arena. The 74th annual Hunger Games have begun.

Chapter 11
Katniss must stand on her circle for 60 seconds. If she steps off of it before then, she'll be blown to pieces. All of the tributes are around a Cornucopia, which is filled with supplies and weapons. Katniss notices that the arena is a forest with a huge lake. She notices a bow and arrow in the Cornucopia, but Haymitch has instructed them to run for the forest as soon as they can. The gong sounds, and she stumbles forward, grabbing a sheet of plastic, loaf of bread, and a backpack. Another tribute reaches it at the same time, but no worries, he's stabbed in the back with a knife. Katniss runs, and another knife is thrown at her. She catches it with her backpack and keeps running into the forest, dropping her bread. Cannon shots count the dead. Eleven. Inside her backpack: sleeping bag, crackers, beef jerky, iodine, matches, wire, sunglasses, and an empty water jug. Night falls, and Katniss makes herself a bed in a tree. She goes to sleep, but is woken up by some idiot starting a fire in the middle of the night. 

Some tributes run for the fire, and and stab the girl. She screams and goes silent. the make their way toward Katniss, but stop because they don't hear a cannon. Someone speaks up and says that they will make sure she's dead. That someone is Peeta.

Chapter 12
Katniss overhears the other tributes talking about Peeta. They only have him around to get to her. Peeta comes back and says, "She's dead now." Then a cannon fires. They leave, and Katniss climbs out of her tree. She catches a rabbit, then cooks and eats it. She needs water. Walking all day doesn't help her dehydration. She eventually trips and falls, ready to give up, when she realizes she's in mud. She finds a pond, drinks a lot of water, and goes to sleep in a tree. Then she's woken up by fire. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 7 - 9

Chapter 7
Katniss and Peeta start training and decide to train together. In public they are instructed to be always together. There are tributes from districts 1, 2, and 4 called "Career Tributes" because they are trained their whole life to be tributes in the Games. The tributes all train for 3 days, then show the Gamemakers what they can do for a score. Katniss is the last to go, and most of the Gamemakers are more interested in the roasted pig on their table than in Katniss. So, Katniss takes her bow and arrow and shoots toward the Gamemakers into the apple in the pig's mouth. Go Katniss!

Chapter 8
The scores are given from the Gamemakers. Peeta gets an 8, Katniss get an 11. Katniss misses Gale. The next morning, Haymitch tells Katniss that Peeta has asked to be coached separately.

Chapter 9
Effie teaches Katniss how to hold herself in public, walk in heels, etc. Haymitch tries to find a personality angle for Katniss to work in her interview, but fails. He calls Katniss a dead slug. Katniss is angry, so she binge eats fancy food and throws plates around everywhere. The Avox girl comes in and helps Katniss clean up. Katniss apologizes for not helping Avox girl escape. Then, Cinna comes in and makes Katniss pretty for her interview. He dresses her in shiny jewels, and gives her a personality angle to work with. During the interview, Katniss wins over the crowd, and so does Peeta. Then Peeta drops a bombshell in front of all of Panem: He's in love with Katniss.

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 4 - 6

Chapter 4
In chapter 4, we really get to see how bad life is in District 12. Katniss takes the first shower of her life, then moves on to breakfast. The meal has so many items, and Katniss comments that just the basket of rolls could have fed her family for an entire week. She also says that she's only had an orange once in her life. ONCE. How many of us drink orange juice every morning?
Anyway. Katniss and Peeta show Haymitch that they don't want to die, and will do whatever they can to win. He makes them promise to do whatever he says, starting with obeying their makover teams that they will be facing soon.

Chapter 5
Katniss gets waxed. Well, that's not the only thing that happens, but just imagine never having shaved your legs, or any other part  of your body. Then imagine someone coming up and ripping every follicle out. Ouchie. They also do her nails, scrub her body squeaky clean, and make sure she looks presentable. Her design team is very extravagantly dressed, showing some of the fashion of the Capitol. Flavius has orange hair and purple lipstick, Octavia has green skin, and Venia had aqua hair and golden tattoos above her eyebrows.
Then we meet Cinna. Probably my favorite character in both books. This is his first year as a designer, and he asked for District 12, which has never happened. Why did he ask? I have no idea.
Cinna dresses Katniss and Peeta in flaming costumes that make them the hit of the opening ceremonies. Nobody can take their eyes off of the pair. Katniss is dubbed "The Girl On Fire".

Chapter 6
The tributes go to live in the training center, and each district gets a floor. Katniss' living quarters are bigger than her entire house back home. While eating another extravagant meal, Katniss recognizes a servant girl with red hair. She is told that the girl is an Avox - someone who committed a crime and was punished by having her tongue cut out and forced to be a servant.
Later Katniss confides in Peeta about how she knew the Avox girl. One day, Katniss was hunting in the forest with Gale, and the red-haired girl ran through with a boy. Katniss could tell that they were from the capital, and the girl saw Katniss in her hiding place. Before either of them could do anything, a hovercraft came down, and the girl was caught in a net. The boy was caught with a spear through the chest, and the hovercraft disappeared into the sky.

Katniss also reminisces about her life, and it is revealed that footage of the destroyed District 13 is shown occasionally shown on tv to discourage rebellion.

Comments? Questions?

The Hunger Games Recap: Chapters 1 - 3

Chapter 1
Basically, chapter 1 is just background about Panem, showing life in District 12, and introducing the Hunger Games. Katniss' sister Primrose gets called to be the female tribute, and the chapter ends.

Chapter 2
Katniss immediately volunteers to take Prim's place, then Peeta is chosen as the male tribute. Katniss' past with Peeta is revealed; he saved her life once when they were children.

Chapter 3
They are immediately taken to say their final goodbyes. Katniss is visited by her mother and Prim, Peeta's father (who gives her cookies - yum), the mayor's daughter Madge (who gives her a mockingjay pin), and finally Gale. 
Then, they get on the train and we get to know Effie Trinket. She's shallow, but an interesting character. In my head, I picture her looking like Kristin Chenoweth:

It is also told that Haymitch is going to be their sponsor. Obviously neither Katniss or Peeta are happy about this. Then Haymitch vomits everywhere. Classy!

Anyone agree with my Chenoweth choice? Got anything to say or add? Leave a comment!

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants. 

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?

The Replacement is one of those books that feels like a dream. The atmosphere is tangible, and you can't help but be drawn into it. The town of Gentry is full of secrets. Well, not really. Everyone knows about the creatures in the shadows that take children, but they ignore it. That's just the way things work. Mackie was left in a crib to replace a stolen child, and has grown up as human. People know he's different. It's not easy to hide allergies to blood, iron, and consecrated ground. 
There aren't many changeling stories out there, but out of the ones that are, this one is leaps and bounds ahead. The descriptions are vivid, and the story is engaging and eerie. I read most of this book with a thunderstorm outside, and it set the perfect mood. 
The cover is amazingly creepy, and reflects the story well. If I saw it in the store, I'd want to buy it because of the cover alone.


Clockwork Angel Trailer!

I hate that it's out of bounds, but it doesn't matter! Here's the book trailer for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel created by my friend Vania at VLC productions. You NEED to read this book people. It's one of the best I've read this year. And I'm not just saying that.

Which District Are You?

To start off my reread of The Hunger Games, I found something fun. Here's a map someone made of Panem:
Click to make it bigger. So, according to the map, (if you live in the US) which district are you from? Or are you underwater?
I'm in district 12. Go Katniss and Peeta!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus, everyone’s favorite (wise-cracking) djinni, is back in book four of this best-selling series. As alluded to in the footnotes throughout the series, Bartimaeus has served hundreds of magicians during his 5,010 year career. Now, for the first time, fans will go back in time with the djinni, to Jerusalem and the court of King Solomon in 950s BC. Only in this adventure, it seems the great Bartimaeus has finally met his match. He’ll have to contend with an unpleasant master and his sinister servant, and runs into just a “spot” of trouble with King Solomon’s magic ring….

The Bartimaeus trilogy is one of my favorite book series EVER, and once I found out that this new book was coming out, I went crazy. I'm trying my best to get a review copy, but that's probably not going to happen. I'll definitely be buying it in November.

Mockingjay is a Week Away

In anticipation for the release, I'm rereading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. It has been almost a year since I read them both last, and I'm sure I missed some things the first time around.
So, I'll be posting my thoughts on each chapter/group of chapters, and then we'll all be caught up by the 24th!
Naturally, there will be spoilers, so if you haven't read them just skip those posts, unless you wanna be spoiled.
Since Mockingjay is coming out in SEVEN DAYS, Here's a little something I found.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm still here.

I've been a little MIA recently. Not because I haven't been reading, (I've got reviews of Beautiful Darkness and Delirium coming closer to their release dates) but just because I've been a little busy. I promise I'll do a little better to keep updating with stuff, even if it is just something random. I hope you all have an awesome day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cassie Clare Announcement!

Cassie is writing a total of THREE more Mortal Instruments series! They are called:

City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire

Let's stat our collective fangirl/fanboying!

Waiting on Wednesday: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings. But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

This sounds so unique and interesting! Look for it on August 31!


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