Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Summaries can be found at goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

The Hunger Games was first brought to my attention by the lovely ladies in my online book club. What started as a repeat suggestion from our YA enthusiasts soon turned into a board-wide phenomenon. EVERYONE was reading this book, and they were all raving about it. It wasn't long before it seemed like it was the only book ever being discussed. The Hunger Games has been reviewed on goodreads over 40,000 times with an average rating of 4.56 out of 5. It has received a number of honors and awards including being a USA Today and New York Times Best Seller, and being named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of the Year" in 2008 and The New York Times "Notable Children's Book of 2008".

So why haven't I picked up this book until now? Well, in my defense, I've been on my library's wait list since August. That said, I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to read it. I'm always reluctant to jump on the bandwagon because I'm afraid the book/movie/music/whatever won't live up to the hype and I'll just be underwhelmed. This was not the case with The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins created a story that sucked me in from page one and left me not wanting, but needing, more. There are many things that define a great book. The ability to keep me up half the night when I'm sick and have to be at work the next morning definitely spells greatness to me. This was the most engrossing story I've read in a while, and it's one that will stay with me for a long time. Now I'm impatiently waiting for the sequel, Catching Fire, from the library. That hold list just won't go down fast enough!

If you haven't picked up The Hunger Games yet, I'd hold out just a little bit longer if I were you. The third and final book of the series, Mockingjay, is scheduled to come out August 24, 2010. If Catching Fire ends anything like the way The Hunger Games did, you'll be better off waiting until you can read all three!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In My Bag (5)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

This week I just got two books that were on hold for me at the library:

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

What'd you guys get?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Former child prodigy Colin Singleton is looking for a way to make his mark on the world. After graduating high school, Colin realizes he is good at anagramming, learning foreign languages, and getting dumped by girls named Katherine. Nineteen of them to be exact. An Abundance of Katherines begins with a broken hearted Colin who has just been dumped by KXIX. Colin's best friend Hassan decides it is the perfect time for a road trip and convinces Colin to spend his summer driving across the country instead of moping around his bedroom. The trip stops short in Gutshot, TN where Colin and Hassan meet Lindsey Lee Wells and start working for her mom Hollis. Friends are made, lessons are learned, and Colin finally gets to the bottom of his Theorem, which may or may not prove that Colin is destined to chase after and be dumped by Katherines forever.

I've already told you I've heard great things about John Green. And I've already told you how much I loved Looking for Alaska. But now that I'm no longer a John Green virgin, I have to tell you how amazing I think he is... JOHN GREEN IS AMAZING!! He is funny and nerdy and witty and oh-so-clever. I just love his characters and their dialogue. The banter and sarcasm between Colin and Hassan and Lindsey and her mom had me cracking up. I received the side eye from Josh several times when my laughing interrupted his TV time. Oops ;) It's really no wonder that both of Green's books I've read received the Printz Honor Award. (Katherines was an honor book in 2007, and Alaska won the award in 2006.) So please, the next time you're in your local library or bookstore, look up John Green. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In My Bag (4)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

Readers, this was such a great book week for me! I can hardly contain my excitement!! LSU has an annual book sale that is seriously the highlight of my year. They have over 65,000 (yes, you read that right!) used books in great condition at ridiculous prices. It lasts three days, and it truly doesn't matter what time on which day you go because there are boxes and boxes of books waiting to be put on the shelves. It's all about luck, and I love searching the piles for great finds. I spent a few hours Thursday browsing through hundreds and hundreds of books with my mom, sister, and Josh. Here's what I got:

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
March by Geraldine Brooks
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Oxygen by Carol Cassella
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

and my mommy bought me

Rescuing Sprite by Mark R. Levin
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Do you want to know what's even better than greating great books? Getting great books at great prices! Excluding the surprise buys from my mom, the books I purchased would have cost me $216.89 plus tax at retail. What did I pay? $34.50 :)

In addition to all the great books I was able to add to my personal library, I had a few on hold and a few more I found on the shelf at my local library.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim
My Parents Are Sex Maniacs by Robyn Harding
Paper Towns by John Green

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blog Award

Morgan over at Smitten With Books gave me this fabulous award today! I love her blog and want to thank her so so much for following mine. Please check her out if you haven't already.

So here are the rules:

List ten things about yourself that not a lot of people know and then pass it along to seven other bloggers.

1. I'm a mommy to three doggies and a kitty, and I foster other pets in need of their forever homes.
2. I'm engaged to be married to a wonderful guy named Josh.
3. Josh and I live in a mess of a house that we've been slowly remodeling into our home.
4. I was a religious studies major in college even though I wanted to go to vet school.
5. I have a sister with cerebral palsy.
6. My dad's mother lived to be 101.
7. My mom, who is from San Francisco, and my dad, who is from South Louisiana, met on a flight to Africa.
8. My family is huge. My grandmother had 12 children, 41 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great grandchildren.
9. I get grossed out by "unnatural" foods like fish sticks, boxed mashed potatoes, and Wendy's hamburgers.
10. One of my most prized possessions is a painting Josh gave to me for our first Christmas.

Here are some of my favorite book bloggers I'd like to pass on the award to:

1. Mari, Janet, Deanna, Julie, Melody, Lanna at [Bloggers[[heart]]Books]
2. Sara at Along for the Ride
3. Jessica at Forever Young: A YA Lit Blog
4. Cheryl and Amber at Just Your Typical Book Blog
5. Kate at The Neverending Shelf
6. Kristi at The Story Siren
7. ZoeAlea at Zoe's Book Reviews

Again, thank you Morgan for the wonderful blog award! Please check out Morgan's blog Smitten With Books!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Looking for Alaska by John Green

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles's inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers. (More can be found on Goodreads, but I decided to cut it short after realizing the rest of the description contained spoilers. Thankfully, I went into this book unspoiled and was shocked when I realized I almost ruined it for some of you!)

I usually spend a ridiculous amount of time writing my own original description. As a blogger, I feel like I'm cheating if I just copy and paste something from Goodreads or Amazon. (I AM NOT saying there is anything wrong with using someone else's description! I am only saying that I am anal retentive, and this is, for some reason, a big deal to me.) That said, I decided to borrow one this time because I simply could not put into words what this book was about. To describe how I felt about it is probably going to be even more difficult.

Looking for Alaska is probably one of the most mature young adult novels I've ever read. I was a little surprised by some of the content; however, I think it's important to address the uncomfortable issues like alcohol, sex, and drugs because these are real issues that are dealt with by real teens. I have heard such great things about John Green, and I was not disappointed. Green has an amazing way of creating characters you can almost touch. Miles. Chip. Alaska. These are three characters who will stay with me for a long time. Miles's voice is so real, so unique. His friendship with Chip and love for Alaska are portrayed beautifully on every page. I feel like there is nothing I can say to do this book justice, so I guess you'll just have to go out and read it yourself :)

I'll end my review with a quote from the book. I think it describes Miles and Alaska perfectly without giving too much away. Plus, I'm a sucker for great lines, and this one ranks way up there.
"I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep . . . just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane."
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