Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I have to admit I probably have the worst memory known to man. So it took me a bit of ramping up before I could finally place everyone and what role they played in the first two books. I really wish I would have reread Catching Fire before jumping into Mockingjay. My poor friend Julie had to put up with my endless questions, "Now who was Peeta?" Haha, you think I'm kidding..... Ok, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

There's quite a few mixed reviews on how this all wrapped up, and since I'm not a big believer in spoilers (at all), then I'll just say that I was completely content with the way it all ended. Ok, a teensy bit sad about one thing, but overall content.

If you haven't read this series yet, honestly now is the best time to get started because you won't have to wait a year like we all did! I just got my friend Alicia hooked on the series and she texts me regularly with updates on her progress. I hope she doesn't call me asking questions, cause I probably won't be able to help much ;-)

Five stars on the series and so glad I pushed myself to try a writing style I would have never otherwise tried if it wasn't for the fabulous blogging community out there so highly recommending it!!

"My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

Rating: **** (I said five stars on the SERIES.) :-)

Recommend: All three!

The Possibility of Everything: A Memoir by Hope Edelman

I was overall intrigued, but oftentimes annoyed by this memoir. It got way too New-Agey in many parts and there were a couple times I felt like the author's insecurity of what reviewers thought of her came through in her writing...and that annoyed me. After all, she is a New York Times bestselling author, so why is she sharing moments of insecurity like that with the reader, which not to mention has nothing to do with the actual story?

Anyway, the parts about dealing with "Dodo", her daughter's imaginary friend and how it affected their day-to-day life, their marriage and their relationships was extremely interesting. But the random tangents and pages of information on the Mayan's beliefs of the moons and stars and blah, blah, blah....Lord help me, I was like - ok, get on with it already.

So I guess my impression of this book is - meh, half and half. It was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but not interesting enough to recommend it to anyone.

Thank you to Shelf Awareness and Random House Publishing for the Advanced Review Copy!

Description: From the bestselling author of Motherless Daughters, here is the real-life story of one woman's search for a cure to her family's escalating troubles, and the leap of faith that took her on a journey to an exotic place and a new state of mind.In the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her marriage, her profession, and her place in the larger world. Feeling vulnerable and isolated, she was primed for change. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, her three-year-old daughter Maya's curiously disruptive imaginary friend. Confused and worried about how to handle Dodo's apparent hold on their daughter, Edelman and her husband made the unlikely choice to take her to Maya healers in Belize, hoping that a shaman might help them banish Dodo–and, as they came to understand, all he represented–from their lives.An account of how an otherwise mainstream mother and wife finds herself making an extremely unorthodox choice, The Possibility of Everything chronicles the magical week in Central America that transformed Edelman from a person whose past had led her to believe only in the visible and the "proven" to someone open to the idea of larger, unseen forces. This deeply affecting, beautifully written memoir of a family' s emotional journey explores what Edelman and her husband went looking for in the jungle and what they ultimately discovered–as parents, as spouses, and as ordinary people–about the things that possess and destroy, or that can heal us all.From the Hardcover edition.

Rating: ***

Recommend: nah.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010 Challenge

My word do I get nervous when it comes to signing up for challenges! I feel all this pressure and unless I'm sure I can complete the challenge, then I don't want to participate at all (thus my despise of New Years resolutions - ick.)

But I'm going to do my best and give it a shot, PLUS I need that extra push to get some of these books read!!

Callapidder Days is hosting the Fall Into Reading 2010 Challenge which will take place September 22 - December 20th, 2010. We just have to make a list of which books we want to read during that time, then post our list on to Callapidder's blog. It should be fun and I'm looking forward to it - plus my list of books are all ones I'm extemely excited to read so I shouldn't have a change of heart when it comes to picking the next one up.

Here's my list - I'm sticking to 7 so I don't get overwhelmed!

1. Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers
2. Black Rain by Graham Brown (our bookclub pick)
3. Night Road by Kristin Hannah (ARC) 4. Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (ARC) 5. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks6. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner 7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
To see what other participants are reading, just visit the Callapidder's linky page.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moonlight In Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles

Y'all this was a home run for me! I was so pleasantly surprised with Moonlight In Odessa. Whenever I pick up a debut book from a new author, I get a little nervous about what I might be getting myself into. And this was Janet Skeslien Charles' first novel. As embarrassing as this is to admit, I had received Moonlight in Odessa close to the time it was published in September of last year from Bloomsbury USA and just now got around to reading it. I know, somebody slap my hands!

But seriously, I would so recommend this to all of you! It was a very intriguing storyline and some of it I completely related to being as how I myself met my husband through an online dating service called Christian Cafe. Now I wasn't a foreigner looking for a VISA, but the long distance relationship part and inner conversations of trusting someone new was definitely familiar! I just fell in love with Daria, a woman in the Ukraine who is struggling to make her mark in an oppressive country and yet to not lose hope that love was out there waiting for her. She had so many internal struggles and I found myself empathizing with her and cheering her on through her long journey from Russia into America. And I do hope that this second novel she's writing is a sequel that picks up right where she left off with Daria in America, because I felt like it was just getting really good and so badly want to know what's happened with her since!

Overall, a great read and one I highly recommend! I will for sure be keeping Janet on my radar in the future! And thank you to Bloomsbury USA for the free copy!

Description: Odessa, Ukraine, is the humour capital of the former Soviet Union, but in an upside-down world where waiters earn more than doctors and Odessans depend on the Mafia for basics like phone service and medical supplies, no one is laughing. After months of job hunting, Daria, a young engineer, finds a plum position at a foreign firm as a secretary. But every plum has a pit. In this case, it’s Mr. Harmon, who makes it clear that sleeping with him is job one. Daria evades Harmon’s advances by recruiting her neighbour, the slippery Olga, to be his mistress. But soon Olga sets her sights on Daria’s job.

Daria begins to moonlight as an interpreter at Soviet Unions(TM), a matchmaking agency that organizes “socials” where lonely American men can meet desperate Odessan women. Her grandmother wants Daria to leave Ukraine for good and pushes her to marry one of the men she meets, but Daria already has feelings for a local. She must choose between her world and America, between Vlad, a sexy, irresponsible mobster, and Tristan, a teacher nearly twice her age. Daria chooses security and America. Only it’s not exactly what she thought it would be…

A wry, tender, and darkly funny look at marriage, the desires we don’t acknowledge, and the aftermath of communism, Moonlight in Odessa is a novel about the choices and sacrifices that people make in the pursuit of love and stability

Rating: ****

Recommend: Absolutely!