Catching Fire

Catching Fire

If you haven’t read THE HUNGER GAMES or CATCHING FIRE, do not read this review… insead go and read the book!

Very rarely do we see books where the sequel is as good as the first book… the same is true with movies. However, CATCHING FIRE was just as good as the HUNGER GAMES. The series was amazing. I can’t review it without spoilers, so I won’t even try.

I will just start by saying that I am Team Peeta… some of the time I don’t even like Gale. Now, I understand that Gale is more of the type that some people go for, but I am a diehard romantic, and Petta’s sacrificial love fore Katniss is so amazing, that I can’t helping loving them. My personal theory is that Katniss wants to love Gale, because he represents freedom and he was there when she was going through a hard time, but in reality she actually loves Peeta. She just can’t admit it because everything about her love for Petta started out from the Games, and that was/is a horrible memory. However, her reaction when she finds out that Petta was taken by the capital just shows me that she loves him, as well as when they both argued about who would live. I felt my heart squeeze when she said that she realized that she would she would be damaged forever if Petta were to die.

But more about Petta later… Let’s start with the games. I have to say that I was not expecting them to have to go back into the arena to have to fight other victors again. The Quarter Quells seem so harsh. I mean, obviously, anything surrounding the hunger games is harsh… I think one of the sad moments for me was when I found out about the death of Cecelia. It wouldn’t have been bad if Suzanne Collins hadn’t described the three children being pealed off of her when her name was called. I can’t imagine being the president when all of the people of the Capital became distressed over the games.

Speaking of the Quarter Quells, I bet the president didn’t really think that one through all of the way (I believe that he made this reaping in an attempt to have Petta and Katniss killed). It might seem like a good idea for the immediate, but when you think about the fact that you are putting the people who started the rebelion (however unknowingly) in front of cameras again. What I don’t understand is why Katniss never thought of keeping both her and Petta alive the whole game. She was so focussed on keeping Petta alive, but how long would the Capital have allowed her and Petta to stay alive by themselves. They would have sent in things to try to kill one of them..

I loved the arena in this book. I thought that the idea of the clock was so ingenious! I wish that we had been told what all of the times had in store. Seeing Katniss and Finnick’s anguish with the jatterjays was painful. I can’t even imagine how insane I would go if I thought that someone was hurting my sisters. I couldn’t bare to hear there screams of anguish and then think that someone was torturing them to get those sounds. It would all be too painful to be bourn. If I thought that someone was hurting my sisters in that way, I would probably want to die… or kill the person hurting them, which again makes me think that the Capital doesn’t realize how counterproductive these games are.

Well, I might update this post a little bit later, once I process it some more. It is hard to believe that there is still like another year until the next book comes out! I want to read it so badly!!! This book gets a five out of five stars from me! Rarely have I ever seen a sequel that is just as good as the first book, but that is certainly the case here!

Rating: 5

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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

This review is going to be a bit different then my other book reviews. I can’t review this without spoilers (because here at Kathryn’s Book Nook, we believe in honesty and sharing our try feelings – no I don’t have multiple personality disorder). Anyway, a short preview before I spoiler (don’t worry, there will be a warning).

To start off with, I felt intense apprehension about reading this book. Everyone I talked to who read it said that they loved it. People who didn’t love Young Adult or Science Fiction loved this book. Now, I don’t really know why this worried me – if anything it should have reassured me that I would love this book – but I just couldn’t force myself to read it. I would pick it up in the book store to go to read it and I couldn’t. It isn’t that I am one of those people who can’t read popular books, when I found out that Twilight was popular, I read it. The problem was that I just didn’t think I could like this particular book. So two days ago, I picked up the book and started reading it (like a chore). I couldn’t get into it… the first 12 pages were so boring. I had gotten that far before and then abandoned it. But I pushed through this time, and I am glad I did. All I can say is that if you haven’t read this book, read it.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Okay, now lets get down to the nitty gritty feelings left because of the book… The first thing I want to address is Rue. I was devastated by her death. I cried (just a little bit) and I mourned her death. I know that it was inevitable, given the nature of the games, but I didn’t think it would come so soon. I loved Rue. She reminds me of my younger sisters(when they were younger). I wanted to protect her from everything, including death. I love how her death was written, but I wanted more of her. I wanted there to be some way for her to be able to come out of it. Hearing that she was the oldest of six children only made her death more tragic.

Next to talked about is the proverbial elephant in the room… Peeta. I love Peeta. I wasn’t so sure of him at the beginning, but through Katniss’ distrust, i actually came to trust him. I could see what she could not see from the very beginning, he meant it when he said he liked her. When she explained his looks at her through their school years, I knew that he liked her. My real frustration is with Katniss at the end of the novel. How could she do that? I thought that she had really grown to love him. Some of the things that she did and said only seemed to indicate how much she loved him. The fact that she said that if she was the one who lived she would never really leave the arena… the fact she risked her life to get the medicine at the feast… everything seemed to indicate that she loved him. And Gale, please, she had chance with him and she didn’t take it. He has been in the friend zone too long. She shouldn’t even be thinking about him in any way except “I can’t wait to see my best friend again” way. My heart broke for Peeta as he was walking away from her on the platform of the train station. I hope that she gets her act together (and quickly) and realizes that he is the one for her~

Perhaps that thing I can identify with the most is the love Katniss has for her younger sister, Primrose. I am the oldest of four girls and I know that I would do anything for my sisters. I would die for them, if that is what was called for. I try to picture myself in Katniss’ shoes, when she hears her sisters name be called, and all I can think is that I would have done the exact same thing. In my case, it would have meant certain death (I have no outdoor skills at all) but I would have rather died then spend the rest of my life knowing that I could have saved my sister and I didn’t. The protective love that an older sibling feels for a younger one is expertly portrayed here.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be the parents of any of these characters. To be forced to watch on television while your child gets hunted down and killed. I can’t imagine what it must be like to want your child to win, even then realizing that means that they must murder someone else’s child. You want your child home safely, but when you are celebrating their continued life, some other mother is crying over the death of their child.

Another question I have is why did the guy from District 11 (I can’t remember his name) take the bag belonging to District 2 and why didn’t he kill the C guy (gosh I am forgetting names) while he had the change? It seems to me, and I could be totally wrong about this, that he wanted to draw the guy from District 2 to fight him. He must have known that he would be the target for him after that. My theory, which is probably totally off-base, is that he didn’t favor killing and that he had some feeling in his heart for Katniss. I am not saying that he had a crush or anything like that. But he seems to not really favor killing people. He didn’t go for the goods in the beginning (obvious because he had no weapon except for the huge rock) and he hid out in the area that no one went into. He did kill Clover, but that seemed to be more because he was getting revenge for the death of little Rue, and even before he let Katniss go, he seemed to be hesitating about killing her. Others probably have far more accurate theories, but that is what I think.

Now another thing I observed about these books is the food colors. Off the top of my head there is the purple melon and the blue grapes. that just seems odd to me. I don’t really understand the point of changing the color of common things. Maybe that will come up in the next book.

All in all, I give this book a 5/5 stars. I am now off to go buy Catching Fire. I can’t wait to see where that leads! So, are you a Petta/Katniss fan or a Gale/Katniss fan? Tell me what you think!!!

5

The Poison Apples

The Poison Apples

Who doesn’t love a good story about teenagers overcoming the wicked evil stepmothers of the world? I mean, fairytales tell us that it is our favorite story plot ever! Why not set it in modern times and have the heroines all meet up at a fabulous boarding school?!? That is just what Lily Archer did in her fabulous book The Poison Apples.

Now I have to confess from the start that I have an unhealthy obsession with boarding schools. I love the very idea of boarding schools. I want to send my future kids to boarding schools. I wanted to attend a boarding school, even after my brief unsuccessful stint in boarding school, I wanted to go to another one. I was convinced that my disappointment was entirely due to the fact that I was at a Christian Boarding School.

On to the actual book… Three girls suffer the misfortune of having their fathers marry truly evil women. Alice’s stepmom is a famous Broadway actress who is a total bitch to her. Reena’s stepmom (Reena is an Indian-American) is a white chick who is more Indian then anyone in Reena’s family. Molly’s stepmom has twin girls that she want Molly to stay home and take care of, instead of attending the boarding school where she has a full scholarship and a stipend. Here are the thoughts on each of the cases…

Alice – R. (her stepmom) goes on crazy psycho mood when Alice voices some hesitations she has concerning the fact that her dad got engaged after only three months of dating. The dad just expects her to accept it, like nothing is wrong. And then, to make matters worse, when R is acting her most immature (not talking to Alice), she gets the father to send her to sell their house that she grew up in and move into R’s apartment that doesn’t have a bedroom for Alice.

Reena – Her father proceeds to leave her mom (via email) and immediately marries this psychoatic yoga instructor who thinks she is Indian. The father proceeds to inform his children that the divorce will get messy and they should go to boarding school on the opposite side of the country rather then be around for this. He then proceeds to give in to his new wifes every whim ignoring the needs and wants of his children. He also cuts off his ex-wife even though she put him through medical school. She is forced to sell many of her possession and to live with her sister, meanwhile the father spends millions on the new decorations for the house and building a habitat for the penguin that she just had to have. And the worst part is that every time the older brother starts to complain to the father, he gets angry and threatens them.

Molly – Molly’s father divorces her mother and marries his other lady almost immediately. The mother, shortly after the divorce, realizes that she can’t deal with all of it and so she selfishly decides to check herself into a mental hospital and not have contact with her children. This is shocking considering the fact that Molly tells the readers that her parents fight all the time, almost without ceasing. Then Molly’s stepmom really lays on the guilt about Molly attending the boarding school when she should be at home taking care of the children and helping around the house. The stepmom is so bad that Alice runs away from the house and has no contact with her family for a month. In addition, no one even tells her when her mother moves away.

All together, I was left wondering how parents could honestly be that selfish. It is like, in all of these cases, when the father found someone else, the child ceased to exist. I know if my parents ever got a divorce, my sisters and I would still be top priority, not relegated to the side. I feel like all of the main characters (Molly, Reena, and Alice) all blame everything on the stepmothers when just as much, if not more, blame could be placed on the father’s shoulders. I mean, they are the biological parent and they should be watching out for their kids. They should never allow every whim of the stepmom to take precedence over the happiness of the children. I am not saying that the children should get the run of the house, but to not even let them express their opinion (Reena), or force them to be the unpaid help (Molly), or sit by and watch them get humiliated and verbally abused time and time again by the stepmom (Alice) is just wrong of the father.

And then there is the issue of the end of the book… if the ending had not happened the way it had, I probably would have given this book a 4.5/5 stars, but unfortunately, it is down to 3-3.5 (leaning towards the 3). In the last thirty pages, all of the evil stepmothers have an abrupt 180 (except Reena’s stepmom) and they are totally nice and their for their stepdaughter despite the fact that they had been hideous monsters the whole rest of the book. It was just too unbelievably nauseating. By the time it got to the end story for the third girl I was like “Gosh, I don’t even want to know what cheesefest is about to take place.” Now I like happy endings. I like everything to end perfectly and stuff, but this was not that. It might have been an acceptable ending if it had stretched out longer and slower over another 100-200 pages. It just came out of the blue and I was not willing to accept it. Plus the revelation that the enemy of the group was going through a hard time at home (shocker) and that they should becomes friends with her was too much. I couldn’t handle it. It might make me a bad person, but if the person who had been making my life a living hell the past semester at school admitted to me that she was going through a rough time, I would feel sad for her but I would not let it be my problem.

All in all, this book up to last 50 pages gets a 4.5/5 stars… but with the last 50 pages, it is dragged down to a awful 3.25/5 stars. In the future, when I re-read this book, I will skip the last 50 pages and make up a new ending in my head. Maybe I will write it down, print it out and paste it into the book…

Down a Dark Hall

Down A Dark Hall

This will be just a short review considering I am tired and I have an exam to study for. I finally finish Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan. This was one of my favorites from Middle School and I was eager to re-read it. However, I have to say that it read with some disappointment. I found a lot of small but significant contradictions. A lot of things seemed to happen too quickly. In addition, I was left wondering how it all happened.

For some of the things, I just had to remind myself the fact that this was set in the seventies for some of the things. Like, maybe it was more common in the seventies to take off for four months on a honeymoon. And that it would be fine to leave ones child in a boarding school and not hear from them and only worry enough to call them once. Although, admittedly, maybe the school mistress blocked any other calls from the mother. Still, it seems strange that you would spend all of that money on a trip to Europe and never call your only daughter.

Luckily it was a short book. Sometimes I get so nostalgic that I just have to read my books from my younger years and then I realize that I don’t like them at all. I think that I should leave the past in the past and try to read things that I think that I would enjoy in the current times. Anyway, so all of that aside, I give this book a 3/5 stars. The mystery was still good (though I wondered at how dense Kit was at times) and I still do have this unusual obsession with boarding schools.

I am currently reading (or listening to) Anne of Green Gables. She is such a funny little thing. Anyway, I am off to study for my lit exam… that means reading some more!

Twilight

Twilight

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer is an addictive novel. This is my third time through it and even though I know how it ends and everything that happens, I still stayed up till six in the morning to finish it!

I love pretty much everything about this novel. I love Bella and I love Edward… When I say that, I mean I love the characters that were created by the author. I think that the actors portrayal of them in the film is too atrocious for words, and I can not believe that I forced myself to watch that movie three times.  Anyway, as I was saying, I love this novel. The writing wasn’t always the best, but often times, that isn’t what draws you in to the novel. You have to be able to identify with the characters, and I could certainly identify with Bella.

I find myself sitting here wondering, where is my Edward? Now I know the common complaints… Edward is too controlling, he is creepy, he is freakishly possessive… and I have to admit that all of those things that many people find unattractive, I like. Yeah, he always got his way, but everyone always want to get their way… I know I always want my own way. But enough with my desire to be with someone who wears the pants in the relationship.

There are so many moments I go back to in Twilight, even when I am not rereading it, and I feel my heart flutter. There is nothing I want more, in those moments, then to be actually experiencing what is going on. The time Bella see Edward in the sunlight, when she hears him play the piano, the first kiss… I wanted it all.

And then there are the amazing minor characters… I have to say that Emmett and Alice are two of my favorite characters (though maybe that is more in the later books). I love Alice, just for being Alice. She is totally herself. A little crazy, a little hyper… a little amazing. And Emmett, now who wouldn’t want a teddy bear like Emmett? He is like the big brother I never had but always wanted. I love how protective he gets of Bella. I love his desire to hurt James (I don’t approve of murder though…) And I love him! I cannot understand him and Rosalie at all… The Ice Queen and the Teddy Bear… what an odd pairing!

Anyway, all of that said, I love this novel. It gripped me from the start… and then the sequels started coming. I have to be honest and admit that I haven’t finished the series. I read the first half of the third book and the first 400 pages of the last one and then I couldn’t force myself to do it anymore. I hated it! It wasn’t the Twilight that I loved! I HATE, HATE, HATE Jacob Black. I mean, I don’t think I can describe in words how much I hate him. If I could go into book history and erase a character, I would erase Jacob Black…

So, yeah, okay that was too much rambling about things that don’t matter. This is probably my worst review yet (in terms of being written). I am now at a cross roads. Do I try to reread the series now that I have spent a year coming to terms with how this series ends, or do I look it as a one shot? Do I read New Moon next or do I just skip it and read whatever book is next on my TBR pile???  Any thoughts and impute from the maybe non-existent audience?

Rating: 5 (because I love this one too much to take its minor faults -aka Jacob Black – into account!

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech, was a truly moving story, and my only regret is that I did not force myself to read this story when I was younger. I always loved Sharon Creech. Bloomability was my absolutely favorite novel when I was in Middle School. It made me want to go to Boarding School! I remember looking at this book and thinking that I did not want to read it, even if it had won an award. I was quiet bitter against Walk Two Moons because it got an award and Bloomability didn’t. Now I understand.

This is a moving story about a young girls journey to acceptance and discovery. What would you do if your mother left and never came back? How would you accept it? Sharon Creech answers these questions by weaving together the story of two girls who’s mothers left for the various reasons that parents abandon their children. You watch as Phoebe goes through all of the steps, the denial, the anger, the hurt… everything. And then Sal relates this to how she felt when her mother left for Idaho without out her. And then, in the end, when everything comes together and Sal faces the truth of the situation, your heart breaks.

I saw the signs coming… I knew how it was going to end before I got there, but that didn’t make the journey any less beautiful. And then you go and look at the cover and you realize that it was all there the whole time. This story doesn’t disguise anything. It is like the symbolism that was spoken about… “…I hate it when people say the woods symbolize death or beauty or sex or any old thing you want. I hate that. Maybe the woods are just woods.” I have always felt that. I have always hated symbolism. But then again, maybe sometimes we have to look past the exterior and discover what was intended, especially when it comes to helping people. How many more people could have helped Sal and Phoebe if they had looked past the front that they put on and discovered the true feelings they were feeling.

Anyway, over all, this was a great book! I will definitely be returning to this one day in the near future… and when I have children, I will be pushing this into their hands. I give this a 4.5/5 stars.

Suspicion Review

Suspicion

Suspicion, by Kate Brian, was a wonderful addition to the Private Series. Don’t get me wrong, there were disappointments, but you have to live with it. I feel like ever since she began to write the Privilege series (not my favorites) the Private series have taken a back burner. I wish that she would put more into them. It was in the world of Private that many readers first fell in love with this world.

And then there was the destruction of Billings… Can I just say devastating? I love Billings! It is probably my favorite thing about this whole series, and now it is gone! I really do not know how the series is going to continue without Billings. Where will all of the girls live? How will they still be able to function? Will Reed and Noelle room together? There are still so many questions left to be answered, and yet there is still so much more time till the next book. I wish that Kate Brian would put out the first chapter of the next book… she normally does that and that normally answers a question or two that I still have lingering around.

There is still a lot to happen in the world of Private before Kate Brian can cut the strings and send us all lose into the world… I hope the series will go on forever. Maybe it can be this generations Nancy Drew or Sweet Valley Girls… I know, they should have known when to stop, but this series is seriously too good to stop.

All of that said and done, I give Suspicion a sold 4.8/5 stars (.2 off for the destruction of Billings/my dreams)!

Have you read the Private series? If so, let me know what you think! If not, well ignore my spoilers about Billings and get cracking!