The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
by: Suzanne Collins

Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1

Published: 2008

# of pages: 374

I expected this book to be more young adult than it really was. I don't know why I thought this, but I figured a book about teens being forced to kill each other couldn't really be about teens killing each other. I was wrong and although it sounds horrible, I'm glad I was. The story is violent, but I still recommend it. It's thought provoking and reminds me of what our society could very well have turned into or could possibly turn into in the future.

The story is about two teens forced to take part in lethal "games" as punishment for a decades old uprising and for the entertainment of the wealthy in a future society that broadcasts the violence on TV. Katniss and Peeta are chosen to participate in the games out of all the other teenagers in their region. There can only be one winner of the Hunger Games so although Katniss and Peeta get along very well, Katniss is determined to remain as distant as possible because she knows very well she may have to kill - or be killed by - Peeta.

The entire story is fast paced and full of excitement. Collins does an amazing job with character development and the descriptions of the futuristic world she created. I enjoyed the character of Katniss because she isn't your typical female protagonist. She's aloof and tough, but has a soft and compassionate side as well. Her reactions to situations and the other characters are perfect for who she is supposed to be.

The sequel to the novel is being released in September - I'll definitely be reading it! I've also heard that this is going to be made into a movie which will be released in 2011. I recommend this to all young adults 15 & up (I think it's too violent for younger young adults) and all adults, especially if you enjoy books with a sci-fi twist. I was also pleased to see that this is a book that guys can enjoy just as much as girls will.

Other reviews:
Framed and Booked
Tripping Toward Lucidity
Escape in a Book

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
by: Andrew Davidson

Challenges: TBR

Published: 2008

# of pages: 465

Quote: "You are mine, I am yours; you may be sure of this. You've been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay." -pg. 461

This is a hard book to review because I loved it so much. I want to convey the tone of the book and the feelings I had while reading it, but I know I won't be able to do that. It took a few chapters to get into the book. The main character isn't a good person, as a matter of fact, I was disgusted by him. He reminded me of Florentino in Love in the Time of Cholera, a perverted man who may have seemed successful in the eyes of the world, but was really alone and unfulfilled. Thankfully he changes in a wonderful way.

The narrator, who remains unnamed (it's fascinating, I didn't notice that he is unnamed until page 419, almost the end of the book...I normally always noticed an unnamed narrator) begins his story with his hospital stay after he's been in a horrifying car accident that leaves him burned beyond recognition. Such an accident would be bad enough for anyone, but it's devastating for him because of who he was before the accident - an incredibly handsome porn star. He's left without a career and without friends. He plans to kill himself after being discharged from the hospital, but an unexpected visit from a woman named Marianne Engel changes everything.

Marianne Engel claims that they were lovers in 14th century Germany. He brushes her off as crazy, but continues to humor her visits and slowly comes to look forward to them so that he can spend time talking to her about any and everything and to hear her stories about their "past life" and the other people she claims to have known from many different places and times throughout history. She also reads Dante's Inferno to the narrator, a piece of literature that is entwined throughout The Gargoyle.

Not only is the present day story of the narrator and Marianne fascinating, Marianne's stories of the past are also captivating. They all have a common theme - true love that requires great sacrifice and lasts beyond death. The historic details are incredible, it's obvious that Davidson did a lot of research while writing this novel and it sure pays off. The stories all come together towards the end of the book and now that I've finished they are sticking in my mind. This would be a great book to read for a book club and then discuss. For example, it's interesting that the narrator remains unnamed, but Marianne Engel is referred to by her first and last name almost every time she is mentioned. Also, how does the story of Siguror fit in at the very end of the novel, with the narrator and Marianne's story?

This is now one of my all time favorite books and I recommend it to all adults. The novel is graphic in the descriptions of the narrator's burns and his sexual past and contains some language, so I don't recommend it to young adults.

Other reviews:
Tripping Toward Lucidity
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist
by: Paulo Coelho

Published: 1988

# of pages: 177

Quote: "When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke - the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert." -Santiago & Fatima pg. 97

This novel was short, but it didn't lack for substance! I was amazed that every other page had such insightful descriptions and observations about life. I wouldn't say that it really taught me anything, but it did make me think about things more and I was amazed that Coelho obviously thought more about the "little" everyday things than I ever have!

The story follows "the boy" Santiago. He dreams a dream that changes his life. From then on he's on a quest to fulfill his destiny by following omens and listening to his heart. In the process, he travels the world and meets many friends...and enemies. I liked Santiago and was interested in his quest and the outcome. There's twists and turns on his journey that made it more interesting and made me wonder more than once what exactly he was going to find at the end.

All of the deep thoughts he has were very repetitive and sometimes seemed contradictory. That as well as his conversations with some of the other characters. I was very interested how all of the new agey sounding concepts mixed with religious concepts. I don't really get how they go together even after finishing the book. This book does mix many different religions and world views though. Christianity, Islam, and what I felt was a magical or kind of new age spiritualism.

If you decide to read this book I definitely recommend trying to read it in a short amount of time in as few readings as possible. Every time I picked up the book I would feel a moment of frustration at how repetitive and unnecessarily philosophical it was. However, after getting into it for awhile I was able to look past the parts that were full of cliches and pick out the parts that interested me and the core story of Santiago's adventures. At first I was also concerned about whether or not I was fully understanding the book or if I was missing important symbols, etc. But I think that it was fine to just read it for what it was. It did make me think more about life in general, but I didn't feel like it was truly any deeper than what was written on the page. The only thing I would be interesting in reading more about was the whole religious aspect of the book and what other people think about that.

That being said, I think this is a good book for the story and it is quite inspiring (although very unrealistic!). It's appropriate for young adults and adults alike. Let me know what you thought of it.

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The Onion Girl

The Onion Girl
by: Charles de Lint

Challenges: TBR Challenge

Published: 2001

# of pages: 508

I've heard so much about Charles de Lint, mostly about The Onion Girl. So it's been on my TBR list for the longest time. I also heard about Dreams Underfoot, which I believe is a collection of short stories. Now I realize that I should have read the stories before The Onion Girl, a novel. The stories and the novel take place in Newford, a city where magic and reality mix. I think that the stories introduce you to the characters and the world better than the book. Too late, I read some reviews that said not to start out the Newford books with The Onion Girl because it can be confusing. I wouldn't say that I was confused, but I did feel like something was missing. I felt like I didn't have a connection that the author assumed his readers had.

There are a lot of characters, but I didn't find them hard to keep track of. There are a few characters that are mentioned over and over, but never make an appearance. It's as if the reader is already supposed to know them. So I definitely recommend reading de Lint's other stories first, but The Onion Girl can definitely be read alone and still be understood and enjoyed.

The book concentrates on the character of Jilly. Jilly is in an accident that leaves her paralyzed, not a great experience for anyone, but especially not for an artist. She is also forced to confront her horrible past as she attempts to heal physically. She has the support of many, many friends who live in Newford and who are all involved in the artsy scene. I found it a little annoying that almost ALL of the characters are artsy. Can't a housewife, waitress, or business woman recognize and appreciate magic as much as poets, painters, and musicians?

Jilly's accident physically affects her in many ways, one of which she is suddenly able to visit the magic parallel world in her dreams. Many of her friends go there in her dreams or physically go there and her one comfort after the accident is that she can travel there. Although she visits there in a dream state, it's a real world that exists at the same time as "The World As It Is," the normal world. When she visits the magical world she meets many interesting creatures and characters. I enjoyed reading of her visits and thought that de Lint did a great job in creating an entire world that is original and unique.

I recommend this to adult lovers of fairytales and fantasy. There are many disturbing scenes about the abuse Jilly and other characters suffered as children. There's also several sexual scenes and bad language, so I don't recommend this to young adults or people who are sensitive about such things. However, even though there's so many disturbing things, the book is still full of hope and Jilly's strength is even more apparent. I'm giving the book three stars because although it was good, I don't think I'll ever read it again. It didn't hook me although I suspect it's because I wasn't properly introduced to the Newford characters. I'm definitely planning on reading Dreams Underfoot and maybe I'll change my mind after that. Anyone here read these books? What do you recommend I read next?

Other reviews:
things mean a lot

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Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


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2016 Reading Challenge

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