Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)

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Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

“The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.”

The actual book blurby (yes, that’s the official name) is longer than what I posted above, but, it gives quite a bit of information for anyone who hasn’t read the series yet so I only posted the last sentence.

I love reading young adult novels. First of all, they are cheaper than regular adult novels. Second, a lot of the time, they are better written and have better developed characters. This series does not disappoint. From the first pages of The Hunger Games, through Catching Fire, to the end of Mockingjay, I loved every word. I read all three books in a matter of days. The entire series was un-put-down-able!

I definitely don’t want to give any more details because I really don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I definitely recommend all three. And look out for The Hunger Games film coming March 23, 2012.

390 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Scholastic Press
ISBN13 9780439023511
Andre Norton Award Nominee (2010), Goodreads Choice Award for Favorite Book, Young Adult Fantasy, Favorite Heroine, and Favorite Hero (2010), Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of the Year for Fiction (2010)

5 stars

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #2) – Audiobook

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The Laughing Corpse (Anita Black, Vampire Hunter #2) by Laurell K Hamilton

“Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter for Animators, Inc., is offered a cool mil to raise a 283-year-old corpse. But she knows that “the older the zombie, the bigger the death needed to raise it”. Only a human sacrifice is “big” enough to raise this old soul–and Anita’s no murderer.”

The second installment in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by LKH. Just as good as the first. The series is so long now that I’ve taken to downloading them from and listening to them on my iPod when I travel for work.

Audio CD
Published October 1st 2009 by Penguin Audio (first published 1994)
ISBN13: 9780143144021

4 stars

Alice I Have Been

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Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

“Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.”

I picked this book up on a whim in Target because I liked the cover.(I do that a lot.) Then I read the story premise and I was pretty much sold. Then, I read the first page. I got about halfway through the first page, closed the book and dropped it in my cart! I knew right then that it was going to be a great read. While I was reading this, I kept forgetting that the book I was reading was fiction. It was very well written and extremely plausible. Benjamin brought the characters to life and added new dimensions to them all. I became even more interested in the Victorian era after reading Alice as well. I am very much looking forward to Benjamin’s next book, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel, which will be released later this summer. I’d also like to see Alice translated to the big screen if it could be done well.

368 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by Bantam (first published December 9th 2009)
ISBN13: 9780385344142

4 stars

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #5)

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The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

“Climactic battles rage on New York streets in the final book of Rick Riordan’s large-scale Olympian series. As Kronos’ massive offensive moves towards its ultimate goal, Percy Jackson struggles to comprehend the full meaning of a long-awaited prophecy. A momentous fantasy cycle rumbles to its ominous conclusion.”

A wonderful conclusion to one of the best young adult series I’ve ever read! In five books I came to care about the characters and I wanted to know that they were all going to be okay when their story was done.

Riordan has an amazing talent for creating characters that you like, that you want to know more about, and that you are rooting for all the way ’til the end!

It’s definitely a series that I will read over and over and I’ll certainly continue to read Riordan in the future! The whole series is highly recommended to kids and adults alike!

381 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Disney Hyperion Books for Children
ISBN13: 9781423101475
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Favorite Book & Young Adult Series (2009)

5 stars

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1) – Audiobook

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Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1) by Laurell K Hamilton

“Introducing Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Most people don’t even bat an eye at vampires since they’ve been given equal rights by the Supreme Court. But Anita knows better–she’s seen their victims. . . . A serial killer is murdering vampires, however, and now the most powerful vampire in town wants Anita to find the killer.”

One of my favorite books in one of my favorite series by one of my favorite authors!

A friend first introduced me to Anita Blake and Laurell K Hamilton in 2000. From the first chapter of Guilty Pleasures I was hooked. Not just your typical vampire story but not your typical murder mystery either. A wonderful blend of both and characters that you love and love to hate. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is the monster and who isn’t. I had the pleasure of meeting LKH and her husband, Jon, a few years ago at a book signing and I had her sign my original copy of GP. It’s now one of my most prized possessions! *swoon

Audio CD
Published August 20th 2009 by Penguin Audio (first published 1993)
ISBN13: 9780143144014

4 stars

True Grit

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True Grit by Charles Portis

“Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America’s foremost writers. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and became the basis for the movie starring John Wayne. True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father’s blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.

True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true status, this is an American classic through and through.”

I loved this book! True Grit has long been my favorite John Wayne movie, but I didn’t even know it was a book until the new version of the film was released in 2010. It was un-put-down-able! The story was told from Mattie’s point of view and I thought Portis did an amazing job of telling it in her voice. I found out after I had finished the book that this novel used to be taught in schools nationwide. I wish that it still was taught. I would have liked to have read it as a teenager. I wonder what I would have thought of it twenty years ago? I felt similar reading this as I did the first time I read To Kill A Mockingbird. I highly recommend this book whether you like to read western novels or not, though I would certainly not classify it strictly as a western. I definitely intend to read more of Portis’ work.

235 pages
Published November 5th 2010 by The Overlook Press (first published 1968)

5 stars

New Moan: The Twishite Saga (A Parody)

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New Moan: The Twishite Saga (A Parody) by Stephfordy Mayo

“Heffa Lump is just a typical pale 17-year-old who doubts that anyone will ever see her true beauty and needs to grow up and get a life. Fortunately, the Spatula Academy of Fictional Excellence specializes in helping characters from kids’ books cross over into adult fiction. Unfortunately, she’s distracted from her attempts to leave adolescence behind when she meets Teddy Kelledy, an impossibly gorgeous boy who eats rare meat, is super-strong, and never goes out in daylight. Could he just maybe be a vampire? (Hint: totally.) Soon, Heffa finds herself harassed by supernatural forces on all sides: Will she be able to narrate herself out of danger? Will Teddy learn that being with a girl doesn’t always have to be about biting? And what will happen when the New Moan rises? A tale of first love, painful longing, and even more painful pointy teeth, New Moan is a hilarious parody of the phenomenon that is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga.”

The book reminded me a teensy little bit of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be but it was kind of funny. I preferred to read the book in small doses rather than reading long sections at one time because I got bored with it if I read it for too long. It made me laugh but not as much as I was hoping it would; and not as much as the reviews I had read indicated that it would. In the end, I ended up defending Twilight in my head while reading the book, even though I roll my eyes so much whenever I read Twilight that I end up with a migraine. It’s funny but not worth buying/owning in my opinion. It’s definitely in my to-be-donated box.

272 pages
Published June 24th 2010 by Michael O’Mara Books Ltd (first published 2009)
ISBN13: 9781843174844

2 stars

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #4)

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The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

“Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to diabolical.

In this latest installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.”

Once again, seriously, read this series. A fast read, even at over three hundred pages. It’s one of those un-put-down-able books. You just want to know what happens next. Even though I’ve read it four times, I always read it like I don’t know what happens next. Riordan just makes his stories that exciting. Riordan is a great author and his characters are likeable kids (the good guys are anyway). I love the way he uses his books to teach kids about mythology, whether that was ever his intention or not, his books are educational as well as entertaining.

361 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Hyperion Book CH (first published May 6th 2008)
ISBN13: 9781423101499

5 stars

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #3)

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The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

“When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it’s up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess? They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the Titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared — a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever.”

Possibly my favorite book in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series. Though really, I would probably describe them all that way. They are well written, fun and exciting, young adult adventure novels. Plus they are all about Greek mythology which I’ve been interested in since I was seven or eight years old. Percy is a likeable character; more likeable than Harry Potter to me if you want to know the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love love love the HP books but Harry whines too much for my taste.

But back to the subject at hand… This is a great series. If you haven’t read it yet you should rectify that as soon as possible. I think I’ve said this before (and I’m sure I’ll say it again)… great for kids and adults!

312 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Hyperion (first published May 1st 2007)
ISBN13: 9781423101482
British Fantasy Award (2007), Barnes & Noble Best Children’s Book (2006), CCBC Choice Award (2007)

5 stars

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #2)

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The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan

“Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get . . . well, ugly.

And the unexpected arrival of Percy’s friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.

In this fresh, funny, and hugely anticipated follow up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family — one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.”

Each book in this series is as good as the last. After reading The Lightning Thief in less than 4 hours, I had to wait two whole days before I could get to the bookstore to pick up The Sea of Monsters. So, I read LT again. Finally I got to the store to buy SoM and once again, read it in just a few hours. Luckily I had also purchased the third book in the series so I could move straight onto it without having to wait. Riordan has quickly become one of my favorite young adult authors.

279 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Miramax (first published April 1st 2006)
ISBN13: 9781423103349
Best Book of Child Magazine (2006)

5 stars