Friday, January 25, 2013

The Hunger Games Trilogy By Suzanne Collins Book Review

// The Hunger Games Trilogy Book Review //

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
Book # 1

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Madi's Source: Gift
Number Of Pages: 374
ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2008
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From Good Reads):

"Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love."

Madi's Review ::
Let me just start off by saying, if you have a thing against violence, stop reading right now, and go watch an episode of "My Little Pony" or something. Now, that being said, this was one of THE best books I've ever read. Hands down. I'm now a total hunger games fanatic. The extreme kind, like you see on Pinterest. This book is hard to explain without sounding like I support murder (which I don't), so I'm just gonna start from the beginning and go from there.

I have been hearing about "The Hunger Games" for months now from all my nerdy and non-nerdy friends. I didn't get the big hullabaloo. But of course, I hadn't read the books (or even seen the movie for that matter. definitely making a trip to Hastings soon). I asked for all three of the books for Christmas, even though I had no stinkin' clue what they were about. I seriously didn't even know the plot until I started reading the back cover a few days after Christmas. And even then I was like "Whaaa? Why would everyone be so pumped about a bunch of people dying?". Okay, that sounds morbid, but it's the truth. So, to make sure that you guys have somewhat of an idea about what the big deal is, I'll explain a little bit about "The Hunger Games".

There are twelve districts where Katniss Everdeen lives, and she lives in district number twelve. There used to be Thirteen, but one was demolished seventy some odd years ago. Every year there are two tributes chosen from each district (A boy and a girl) to compete in the annual hunger games. The Hunger Games, is where the capital puts all the tributes together in an arena and make them fight to the death. The last one standing gets fame and fortune, all the others, well . . . they die. This "Game" can last weeks, sometimes even months.

Can you imagine going from hunting a caring for your family to just trying to not get killed? I mean, 23 people out to kill you, that's some serious stuff. It tells you how Katniss and her fellow district twelve tribute, Peeta, survive attacks. Not just from their fellow tributes, but from the wild, and not to mention the occasional fire storm from the capital.

I'm not sure how to do this book justice, except to tell you that if you find the time to read it, you won't regret it. I couldn't put it down. Once I started it, I was a goner, forever destined to be a Katniss wanna-be.

Just read it.

 Guest Review By Abbie ::
Okay so the Hunger Games = outstanding series! I read all three books in one weekend. Suzanne Collins did a fantastic job. The personal journey of our beloved Katniss Everdeen is thrilling, passionate, dangerous and touching. The fact that this whole thing began for Katniss because of her love for her sister makes the story all the more enjoyable. Through her journey she makes many friends and many enemies. You look at the world through her eyes, from poor district twelve all the way to the crazy capital, from her best friend Gale to the bakers son Peeta, Katniss' journey will make you laugh and cry as you go through this incredible journey with its ups and downs, danger and romance and, choices of  life and death. Welcome to the world that is the Hunger Games.  And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire
By Susanne Collins
Book # 2
Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Madi's Source: Gift
Number Of Pages: 391
ISBN: 978-0-439-02349-8
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2009
Madi's Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Description (Taken From Good Reads):

"Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn."

Madi's Review ::
I literally just finished this book less than ten minutes ago. I'm still in shock. Talk about some curve balls! Just when things start to settle down . . . BAM! No rest for the weary. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, because it is the most amazing book, so I'll try not to be too detailed in what happens. I'll just tell you this, you never saw this book coming. I actually read it in less than 24 hours, that's how good it was. Is. I couldn't put it down! Hats off to Suzanne Collins on this amazing piece of literature. There were a couple of times when one or more of the characters used a phrase that I think was better left out, but nothing extreme. I can't wait to start the next and last book of "The Hunger Games". What will I do with my life when I'm done with it? Good thing I own them so I can read them as often as I like.

 In "Catching Fire" many more characters are introduced, some lovable, some despicable, all extraordinary. My favorite of the newbies is Finnick. He's handsome, he's strong, and he's keeping Katniss and Peeta alive, risking his own life multiple times to do so. There's so much I want to tell you, but I don't want to ruin it for you! I mean, for real, I could go all nerdy on you and give you every. single. detail. But I won't. You can Thank me later. Half the fun of reading "Catching Fire" was not knowing what was gonna happen next, because there was always a surprise of some sort on every page. I sincerely hope that you will take some time out of your busy lives to read it, you will be so glad that you did.

 MockingjayMockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)
By Susanne Collins
Book # 3
Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Madi's Source: Gift
Number Of Pages: 390
ISBN: 978-0-439-02351-1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2009
Madi's Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Stars

 Description (Taken From Paper Back Swap):
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.

 Madi's Review ::
I'm not sure what to say about this book. From regular standards, it was spectacular. But after reading the first two books in this series (which were AMAZING), I must admit that I am a little disappointed. I was ready for another awesome hunger games book, and that's not exactly what I got. I'm actually not sure how to accurately describe this book without making it sound like a flop (which it's not). I'll just say that it's not my favorite in the trilogy and leave it at that.

The plot was pretty interesting. Katniss becomes the "Mockingjay" (hints the title), which means she is the face of the rebellion breaking out over the capital. She does TV interviews, she gets caught in the middle of bombings, she saves her friends and family, only to lose most of them. That's right. In the last chapter is where everything happens. Everyone dies (or at least a large number of important characters), and they win. The end. There was one character in particular who's death really tore my heart out, but I won't mention any names. Oh, and Katniss finally decides between Gale and Peeta. On. the. very. last. page. Good thing there's an epilogue, or I would have been left wondering how that turned out. Would I recommend that you read it? ABSOLUTELY. Is it my favorite books in "The Hunger Games"? No. But that's okay, because not every book can be my favorite. But it really was worth the time it took to read it, and in general I enjoyed it. It just wasn't like the first two books. In any way.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Madi And Bethany:)


Just thought that we would share with you a picture of our Literary Maidens.
This is Madi (Left) and Bethany (Right).
You know, it's kind of funny, because since we grew up together ( known each other since we were
 still in diapers), and because we know just about everything about each other, we have always been
fellow nerds. We can talk about books for HOURS. I'm sure we drive our families insane with our
constant book chatter. You thought all that is just on the blog? Ha! Every time we see each other at
least one of our conversations starts with "Have you read.....?". It's pretty comical actually.

Well, we hope you had a SUPER Christmas and an AWESOME New Year!

~The Literary Maidens

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Favorites


What a wonderful year this has been!

I'm gonna share with you my top twenty favorite books that I read in 2012.
They are in no particular order, because I honestly just couldn't chose a favorite.
Here we go! (I bet Peter Pan popped into your head just now, didn't he?).

Over the course of the last five years, Tim Tebow established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football and a top prospect in the NFL. During that time he amassed an unparalleled resume--winning two BCS national championships, becoming the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman trophy, and in the face of massive public scrutiny, being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.

Now, in Through My Eyes, Tebow brings readers everywhere an inspirational memoir about life as he chose to live it, revealing how his faith and family values, combined with his relentless will to succeed, have molded him into the person that he is today. As the son of Christian missionaries, Tebow has a unique story to tell--from the circumstances of his birth, to his home-schooled roots, to his record-setting collegiate football career with the Florida Gators and everything else that took place in between.

At every step, Tebow's life has defied convention and expectation. While aspects of his life have been well-documented, the stories have always been filtered through the opinions and words of others. Through My Eyes is his passionate, firsthand, never-before-told account of how it all really happened.


When Claire Laurent is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with that of Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities, but when they meet again she realizes he has the ability to influence her future. — All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage. But what he discovers on his quest for restitution reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by the richest woman in America at the time, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.

An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. — Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff -- a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.

 Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger.

 Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one. — Remaining means giving up all she's known and loved... and leaving means forfeiting what she's come to know...and love itself. — Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds... until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father's castle -- a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Mom touched my underdress -- a gown made six hundred years before -- and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”   — In Cascade, the second book in the River of Time Series, Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence -- while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in Torrent, the third and final book in the River of Time series.   — Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.

But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever -- even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

In Mescota County, Michigan, an angelic visitor's words inspire Judith to a future she never imagined. — After a barn raising accident, Judith Fischer's convinced she's met an angel. However, her attempts to convince others end up frustrating her Old-Order Amish community. Only Andrew Lapp believes her, but the rest, including Levi Plank, the man's she's waited to marry, demand she forget the nonsense. Meanwhile, her younger sister Martha has taken a fancy to Levi and sees her sister's controversy as a perfect distraction for turning Levi's head.

In a dream, the angel tells Judith she must choose her path. As her faith continues to grow, so do her feelings for Andrew. Will she continue to place her hope in the angel's message, even if it means losing all she knows and loves?

Jenna Callahan has a young son and rewarding work on her father's ranch. She's content. But she never expected to see Nate Langley back in town--the first guy she noticed, the one her father sent away all those years ago. And she never thought the attraction they felt would be as strong as ever. Jenna's cowboy has some healing of his own to do, though, after two tours of duty in the armed forces. With the help of good friends, strong faith, and a loving family, he hopes to put the horrors of the past behind him--and become the man Jenna deserves. With an emphasis on simple acts of love, Jenna's Cowboy gives romance readers what they want most: a love story with a Texas touch.

You've read it as a biblical tale of courage. Experience it anew as a heart-stirring love story. — She was a simple girl faced with an impossible choice. He was a magnificent king with a lonely heart. — Their love was the divine surprise that changed the course of history. — The beloved story of Esther springs to fresh life in this inspired novel that vibrates with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to death on live TV.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before- and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Fresh from their improbable victory in the annual Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta get to enjoy the spoils only briefly before they must partake in a Capitol-sponsored victory tour. But trouble is brewing— -- President Snow tells Katniss directly he won't stand for being outsmarted, and she overhears rumbles of uprisings in Panem's districts. Before long it's time for the next round of games, and because it's the 75th anniversary of the competition, something out of the ordinary is in order...

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret---and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys' powers, as well as her role in a scientist's dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny? 

In this book by author Melanie Dickenson, the story of Sleeping Beauty is retold through the life of Rose, the young daughter of a woodcutter, who has fallen in love with the perfect man for her, only to be kept away from him due to a curse.

There was a time when the world was sweeter...when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats...when something happened to a seventeen-year-old boy that would change his life forever. — Every April, when the wind blows in from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High.

It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out.

Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood

No other author today touches our emotions more deeply than Nicholas Sparks. Illuminating both the strength and the gossamer fragility of our deepest emotions, his two New York Times bestsellers, The Notebook and Message in a Bottle, have established him as the leading author of today's most cherished love stories. Now, in A WALK TO REMEMBER, he tells a truly unforgettable story, one that glimmers with all of his magic, holding us spellbound-and reminding us that in life each of us may find one great love, the kind that changes everything...

High-Stakes Drama Meets High-Tension Romance In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father. Posing during the day as a photographer's assistant, Lily can't understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father's lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he's interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that's dominated Harrison for so long.

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher -- whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child -- and man -- she's come to love.

Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and kidnapping a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expects to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from him, but ends up with a feisty copper-haired orphan thrown over his shoulder who was on her way to marry Sullivan's bitter enemy. Emily McCarthy is an orphan out of options. Forced to marry because she was too old for her orphanage, she doesn't take kindly to her "rescue." Still she trusts God can turn any situation to good especially when it seems Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Sullivan's crossed a dangerous man unused to losing and Emily may just be the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

C. S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil.

Can love truly heal the past? — Megan Smith doesn't think things can get much worse -- and then they do. Stuck on the road without shelter when a tornado appears, Megan barely escapes with her life. And when Will Callahan comes upon her on the road, her life will never be the same.  — While staying at the Callahan family ranch, she finds herself daring to love again. Can Will convince her that her past doesn't mean a thing when it comes to love?

Filled with the easy charm and warmth of Texas, Megan's Hero will have you believing in the power of love and forgiveness.

Well, there ya have it. Have a wonderful New Year, and may it be a special one filled with God, family and LOTS of Books.

~The Literary Maidens