Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Recommendation: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins
Pages: 384
Ages: 14+

Katniss did everything she could to keep her sister's name from getting chosen for the Games. But it wasn't enough. So when despite all odds, her name is called, Katniss jumps in to take her place, knowing exactly what this means - that she'll never return home from the Games alive.
No one from District 12 ever does. 

Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games was, in a word, terrifying. I couldn't put it down. Her writing was vivid, unsettling, and heart-wrenching. I mean who can make you tear up about a character by page 20? A frighteningly good writer that's who. You are immediately caught up in Katniss' world, her repression of emotion, her desperate struggle to save her family, her cool, calculated strategizing in the horror of the arena. You ride her roller-coaster of uncertainty about Peeta and his loyalty, her confusion about their true feelings for one another, and her constant, thinly repressed fear of being caught in her tree-top hideouts or ambushed while seeking the arena's most precious resource - water. Even days after reading this book I find myself glancing surreptitiously over my shoulder in case someone's coming. After all, in the arena, who can you trust?

Things to fear are force-fed to us every day, in the headlines, in Facebook posts, on the nightly news. So there is a part of me that wonders why it would be a good idea to introduce more fear into young readers lives.  But unlike many of the other sources of fear messages, Collins forces you to think critically about fear, human nature, and to wonder what humanity, at its core, is really about.

Website of Suzanne Collins.

Want more book suggestions? See my other Book Recommendations.

Round 2 - fight fight!

Ok, not sure why Street Fighter suddenly popped into my mind. Perhaps its the the caffeine overage. Anyhow. I haven't written on here in forever because I have been working madly to finish draft two of my book. I am proud to say that it is finally finished and 46 pages shorter than draft one, which is great. It still needs to be cut by about 9,000 words, however, but that task will happen after my lovely round two readers have at it.

I'm realizing that next go-around I think I need to start editing about halfway through. I spent a lot of time reworking to first chapters, and felt really great about it, but by the time I got around to about chapter 10, I started getting a mite tired of the editing process. So I'm hoping those final chapters came out ok. Granted, I think the end of the book was better written to begin with, but still, I was perhaps a teeny tiny bit lazy. Or a lot lazy. Only time will tell.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Recommendation: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos
R.L. LaFevers

Pages: 344
Ages: 8+

Theodosia's mum has the terrible habit of bringing back all sorts of dreadfully cursed artifacts from her digs in Egypt. Mostly they're just laced with minor demons or creepy dark things that come out at night. But some are worse. Armed only with her carpetbag of scrabbled together 'curse-removing supplies,' Theo must find out who stole the Heart of Egypt before Britain finds itself swarming with a sea of locusts. But stealth is the key. Cabbagey Clive Fagenbush already suspects she's up to something, and if her father knew what she was doing, she'd get shipped off to boarding school, or worse: Grandmother's.

I gobbled this book up. I adored Theo. She's sassy, snarky, begrudingly adventurous, and a little too smart for her own good. A bit bookish and awkward for her age, but full of determination and caring,  with a strong devotion to her parents - despite their absent-mindedness and preoccupation with excavations, and deciphering tablets, and other museum matters. Plus she has a carpet-bag with 'curse-removing supplies' !!! I mean need I say more?? My only complaint was that it was over too quickly, and I'm not quite sure how the bad guys slipped through her fingers, but with almost four other books in the series, I will happily let that slide. Right up there with Terry Prachett's Hat full of Sky series in my book - and that's saying a lot!

Note: Best read with a plateful of jam sandwiches. And a napkin.

Want more book suggestions? See my other Book Recommendations.


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