Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hunger Games Series, by Suzanne Collins

Last week I told you that I was reading the final book of The Hunger Games Series, Mockingjay. Pam commented that the third book got mixed reviews. I was intrigued, but didn't want to look up those reviews because I didn't want it to influence my opinion.

Having finished the book (literally reading just over half of it on one Sunday morning), I have to say that I have mixed reviews of my own. Please be warned that if you are one of the few deprived people that have yet to read the series, there are spoilers in the rest of this review.

First, I would like to say that the first book, The Hunger Games, was by far my favorite! I loved Katniss's character because she was strong, independent, and rough around the edges. She continued to be engaging and strong in Catching Fire, which was such a riveting sequel. I am not going to break down each book for you, but I must say that Mockingjay didn't quite live up to my expectations. Really though, with how much I fell in love with the first two books, I don't know that there was anything Suzanne Collins could have done to live up to my unreachably high expectations.

See, I felt that as the story progressed in the sequels, the strong Katniss that I loved became somewhat of a bystander through a lot of Mockingjay, even part of Catching Fire, and missed pretty much all of the major events; being broken out of the arena during the Quarter Quell, the rescuing of Peeta, the ending of the civil war that she helped start and was the voice of. I wanted Katniss to be an active part of the story, but she either was passed out or just waiting around.

I should probably take the time to mention, though, that I was so engrossed in the final book that I felt like I had rushed through it and had I taken my time, I likely would have cried a lot during the third part of the last book. Taking my time could also change the way I feel about the book overall. But I was just so anxious to find out how this saga ended: Do the rebels prevail? If so, does a new kind of Capitol emerge (because really, although District 13 doesn't have the Hunger Games, they are still oppressing their people)? Does Katniss choose Peeta or Gale? More importantly, do all the main characters even live?

Hence, came my biggest problem with Mockingjay: The death of Prim. Of all the characters that I felt Suzanne Collins could have killed off, Prim was not one of them. Katniss's entire reason for living was to protect her little sister. It was the reason that she was in The Hunger Games to begin with. With the death of Prim, Katniss failed at her mission and, for me, it marked the end of the Katniss that I had come to know and love. It wasn't bittersweet, it was just bitter.

Having said all that, though, I have to say that the very end of the book, specifically the last couple of paragraphs and the epilogue, couldn't have been written any better. In fact, I read those last few pages several times after I had finished the book! It was just that good. The character development of Katniss as a woman was perfect; her deep seated fears were still there, but through Peeta, she was able to have that little bit of hope for the future that anyone would need in order to continue on with their life after such a traumatic event. My bitter ending became bittersweet.

I can't express enough how much I enjoyed this series and I am very sad to have finished it! I had recommended the books to my boyfriend, John, and he got the audio version, which I am now listening to so I can relive Suzanne Collins's wonderful story and characters. Hopefully this will keep me occupied enough until the movie comes out!

I can honestly say that the next time I am asked what my favorite book is, it will undoubtedly be The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hunger Games Fan Made Trailer

As you know, I have been reading The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins (review of the books to come soon!). I am super attached to the books and as with all books that I love, I make my own personal dream cast for the potential movie. I haven't found everyone that I think would be great, but based on looks alone, I found my Peeta Mellark.

My daughter LOVES "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift and so I let her watch the video recently and as I was watching the video with her, I thought to myself that the boy in the video, Lucas Till, is exactly what I would imagine Peeta to look like. Yay or nay?

Today, a co-worker sent me this article and at the bottom of the page was a list of trailers made by fans. I clicked on one that had Dakota Fanning's little sister in the still shot and lo and behold... my Peeta!

I don't know why I got so excited. Maybe it's because he isn't a well known actor and someone else still shared my same opinion.

I just can't wait for the movie to come out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Home Edition: Kitchen Handles

I have mentioned before that despite the fact that I have lived in my house for nearly two years, we still have a long way to go to furnish it.

One of the purchases that we have put off was handles for the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Mainly because I was bitter that the previous owners took them as well as the blinds from every window. Between blinds/curtains and kitchen handles, we opted for the luxury of privacy and bought the blinds first. Anyway, the time came for us to finally start looking for the handles a couple of weeks ago and now I don't know why we waited so long to buy them.

We ordered them online because it was too hard to find a matching set in the store. See, the upper cupboards had holes that were drilled six inches apart and the bottom cupboards had holes three inches apart. I wanted them to match and there were some slim pickings of matching handles in different sizes in the store. The employee at Lowe's suggested that we order it online because there is a much bigger selection. We did go online but ended up buying them from Knobs 4 Less (insert immature laughter here).

After looking at the available selection, I decided that I rather liked the darker handles with the brass finish. I also had the idea of using the "cup" pulls for the drawers and handles for the cupboards. I think it turned out rather well. What do you think?

The finished product!

3" cup pulls for the drawers.

6" handles on the upper cupboards

3" handles on the lower cabinets

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Hunger Games

Image borrowed from Feli's Book Corner
My goodness, how in the world have I lived this long without reading The Hunger Games? Of course I had heard of the series by Suzanne Collins from numerous people and blogs. It was certainly on my list of books to read, but I just never got around to it.

Recently a co-worker offered to loan a copy to me, but she needed it back in a couple of weeks. I was a little weary because I am a pretty slow reader, but she said, "I really don't think you will need that long to finish it though. It is one of those books that once you start, you will likely zip through the rest of it."

That was the understatement of the year.

Once I started reading The Hunger Games, I was hooked! I neglected my house and my family to finish reading the first part of Katniss Everdeen's story (um, and how great is that name?! The prediction around the office is that "Katniss" will start rising in popularity amongst baby girl names). I loved the book so much that I decided to buy the box set - in hardcover! Gasp! Any books that I have purchased for the last two years were made on my Kindle, but these books are so good that I wanted to have a set to display on my bookshelves. So, in the last week, I have finished the The Hunger Games as well as the sequel, Catching Fire, and am currently beginning the third and last book of the series (sad!), Mockingjay.

It's funny how one persons amazing writing can inspire me. After reading these books, I started to work on my current WIP again, after a month of no writing. My WIP is absolutely not the same genre as Suzanne Collins's books, but it still got me motivated. I was even talking to my honey about collaborating on something together! He doesn't write or read much, but he listens to books on tape, his favorite being The Legend of the Seeker, by Terry Goodkind. He also loves role playing games because of the storylines and the backgrounds and has been working on his own RPG video game off and on for a couple of years. I was thinking it would be fun for us to come up with a plot together and he could give me input on magic and other fantasy type subjects and then I could get to writing them and include my own fun love story in the midst of it. Suprisingly, John didn't laugh at my suggestion and was actually very intrigued by this idea! Don't hold your breath though, we have all seen how long it has taken me to write a story on my own.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bella Journal 3/3/11

Well hello! My it has been a while. I have been super busy lately at work and in my home life, which leaves no time to read my favorite blogs, let alone write my own posts! I can't wait to get reaquainted with you guys!

Like I said, my house is an absolute mess right now, borderline unlivable. But we have some new furniture and the rooms that are "done" are looking great! I will share some pictures of my home with you shortly!

To start off this week, I have another lovely drawing done by my daughter. She is in a Pre-K class right now and they have journals that they write in about once a week. The kids draw the pictures and the teachers write what the kids are narrating to them about the the picture. This was Bella's entry from last Thursday:

I would like to clarify that my dress was so tight that I barely ate that night. Also, my daughter wasn't at the same table I was during dinner. Any other night, her statement would probably be true. Ah, gotta love kids!

One more MAJOR thing to share... I am going to The Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos in October! Time to go on that Turks and Caicos diet! Be prepared for diet and exercise posts to start up again!