Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

This is the third and final book of the Hunger Games trilogy and this review may contain spoilers.
It is full out war between The Capitol and all the Districts.  After District 12 is destroyed, the survivors all now reside in District 13.  Peeta is being held captive by The Capitol and Gale is actively working in the war effort.  Reluctantly, Katniss decides to be The Mockingjay and be the face of the resistance.  She along with other familiar faces must work together to save Peeta and gain their freedom by defeating The Capitol and President Snow. 

This was a great ending book to the trilogy!  I am impressed by how much I really enjoyed these books; it's a pretty solid series from beginning to end. I liked how cohesive all three books were and each book had a different purpose: the first one was obviously centered around The Hunger Games, Catching Fire was "the aftermath" of both of them surviving the hunger games, and Mockingjay was "the uprising" of the districts and the war truly begins.  These books were very well written and was able to hold my attention throughout.  

Sometimes it doesn't seem fair all the things that Katniss has to go through ... but isn't that indicative of life?  Life sure isn't fair.  One of my friends was upset because (I don't want to spoil it for anyone) but someone(s) dies but isn't death apart of life and in a series such as this, well especially this, shouldn't this be expected?  I am disappointed that certain characters had to die but I would probably complain if no one died.  Tragedy is necessary and helps characters to grow and become stronger, giving them the motivation to keep on fighting.

How can I not mention the whole Katniss, Peeta, Gale storyline.  This time Gale is the one who is present more throughout.  This is what I wanted from the beginning.  I have been waiting to get to know him more since Hunger Games.  Now, that I have more of a feel for him I have to say that I do like him, despite wanting not to because I am such a fan of Peeta.  There is just no way Gale can compete with what her and Peeta went through in the first and second books.  For Gale, I feel sorry for him but at the same time I have much respect for him.  His personality is definitely a little different from Peeta's and I like the edge that he has. I also like his intelligence and how he is able to use his hunting knowledge and apply it to making weaponry.  I like both guys but I did have a gripe with how the whole "love triangle," if you can call it that, was resolved.  In the end, I felt like she settled.  I never felt that she was completely smitten with either guy.  I was expecting her to actually choose but that isn't really how it goes down. 

District 13 was much different that I expected it to be.  The people there were very strict and, ironically, reminded me of The Capitol.  It just seemed like the people were still repressed though they were fighting for their freedom.  It was a definite contrast to the previous books where the settings were open wilderness.  The main focus was on the war efforts but I would liked to have seen more of the action on the front lines.  One thing I will say, the epilogue was not completely necessary.  I probably would have been fine without having read it. There are some things that I wish were different.  For instance, I wish that Katniss wasn't so drugged  throughout most of the book.  I wish that she would have been able to see her mom again.

Overall, I loved this entire series!  From start to finish, it was interesting and the characters were great.  It lacked in the romance department but that minor detail really doesn't effect the enjoyment of the books.  I can definitely see why there were so many rave reviews out there about it.  If you have not yet read The Hunger Games .... Shame on You!! 


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Zel - Donna Jo Napoli

Zel is the retelling of the classic children's story Rapunzel.  Zel lives a pretty secluded life with her mother, only venturing out to the market once or twice a year.  As she gets older she longs for more interaction with people outside her mother.  One fateful day, she and mother go shopping and she runs into a hansom guy.  The witch wants needs her to make the right choice and give up on the idea of marrying and having children to follow in her footsteps and become a witch as well.  However, because Zel can't seem to get the hansom man out of her head, the witch locks her up in a tower.  I'm sure you know pretty much how the rest of the story goes. 

This version holds true to the original but adding more depth and originality to the story.  I really liked that it is told from the three different perspectives of Zel, The Prince, and the witch (her mother).  In this version, I found myself sympathizing not only with Zel but also with the witch / mother.  It was clear that the witch loved Zel and even sacrificed her soul to have her.  I do not approve of her locking her up in the tower, but people do desperate things out of fear.  Her fear was that she'd lose the daughter that she never was supposed to have.  She is definitely my favorite character, as twisted as that may sound.  Another positive about this story was that Zel wasn't just a happy go lucky girl in the tower.  There were some dark moments in this book.  It was presented pretty realistically.  I mean who wouldn't go crazy after being locked up in a tower for as long as she was?  Then there is "the prince."  At first I didn't really like him that much but I guess as the book progressed he kind of grew on me.  I guess I liked his dedication to finding Zel and all of that but I guess his part in the book wasn't as intriguing to me as much as the witch and Zel. 

This is the first time, in a long, long time that I have read the tale of Rapunzel and I have to say that I was definitely surprised by how much I really enjoyed it.  I loved how all of the things that happened in the original story, happened in this one as well but it was still a little different.  I feel like the witch's part made the book, even though Zel has some crazy moments toward the end. This is truly a romantic story about love at first sight.  Honestly, I thought that I was going to be bored with this fairytale since I hadn't read one in ages but if you're looking for a blast from the past, the more grown-up version -- Read this.


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WWW Wednesday

W ... W ... W ... Wednesday Hosted  by Should Be Reading 

To play along just answer the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading?
I am reading Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  I just started so I'm about 70 pages in.  I've heard mixed thing about this one so we'll see. 
What did you recently finish reading?

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I actually finished this one late Monday night.  I found that I couldn't put it down even if parts of it were a little sad.  Review coming soon.

Beastly by Alex Finn.  I finished one rather quickly and I do like getting the story from the beast perspective.  I'm also planning on going to see the movie.
Mockingjay b Suzanne Collins.  I am so glad that  I finally was able to read and finish this book.  I got the first two on audiobook but this one I had a hard copy of and it's definitely for keeps. 
Zel by Donna Jo Napoli.  It is a Rapunzel tale and you get perspective from not only Zel but the witch and the prince.

What do you think you'll read next?
If I end up liking Tantalize then I will read this follow up Eternal by Cynthis Leitich Smith.   If  I don't like it, well I'm not sure, I just hope I like it. 

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday  hosted by Should Be Reading
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away)
  • Share the title and author so other participants in TT can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser!
"Spiders hatch and crawl out of my belly button, hairy little tar beads with ballerina feet. They swarm, spinning a silk veil, one hundred thousand spider thoughts woven together until they wrap me up in a cozy shroud." 
Page 43, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson 

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Almost to Die For - Tate Hallaway

Anastajia Parker is not your typical teenager, in fact she is witch and has been her whole life.  The only problem is that she has no powers like her mother and fellow witch friends.  She is worried that she won't pass her initiation and be cast out the inner circle.  Right before the initiation, her father appears at the door and urges her not to go to the initiation and that she is a vampire princess.  Her mom literally throws him out.  Witches and Vampires are mortal enemies.  Secrets that have been kept from Ana are revealed, only to make her life more complicated.  In addition, she is going out with a cute witch and an uber hot vampire.  Will one of them be able to win her heart? 

I found this book randomly at the library while I was looking for something totally different.  Since I haven't read a book similar to this one in while I was excited.  I don't know what I expected, but I was not impressed.  It was just okay for me.  It's just your typical paranormal book with a love triangle you can see from a mile away.  The main character, Ana, got a little annoying at times.  I know this sounds terrible but I hated that her eyes were two different colors.  Was that necessary just because she is a damphyr? Two things in particular made me uneasy about her.  First, her long lost father appears out of nowhere and she immediately starts calling him Dad?  What world does she live in?  Seriously, if my father was absent for my whole life, nothing in the world would make me call him Dad right off.  Second, she goes off on her own with a vampire stranger, Elias, to the underground lair of vampires?  Really? So, it's okay to go off with a stranger, albeit a nice stranger, to a lair full of vampires? That really had me questioning this girl's judgement and intelligence.  

As far as characters, Ana was by far my least favorite.  The fact that she could be crushing hard on one guy one minute and running off with another the next without a bit of remorse really rubbed me the wrong way.  She seemed so clueless. I think that part of my problem is that she doesn't live up to some the strong female characters that I have read in the past, namely Rose Hathaway from VA.  I know I shouldn't compare them but that's how a female lead is supposed to be and I guess it's hard to live up to those standards.  Oh, and I wasn't really a fan of Nikolai.  He definitely has some anger issues.  Since he is a vampire hunter, I'm not sure how a relationship between the two of them would work.  I guess the only character that I actually liked was Elias.  He was polite, kind, honest, and I love the way he spoke to Ana.  He seems to be the perfect guy.  As far as picking a team, I would pick neither.  I don't think Ana and Nik have any chemistry whatsoever and I think Elias is too good for her.

Besides Elias, this books saving grace is the ending.  I liked how she finally came into her powers but it was definitely rushed and went by too fast. I am more interested finding out about how things will turn out between the witches and the vampires than seeing what happens with the Ana love triangle.  

 Sadly, this one was terribly unoriginal.  Luckily, it wasn't that long and I would consider it a somewhat fun read, nothing too thought provoking.  .  Looking at it that way, it's possible for you to enjoy the book.  One downside is that it's very predictable.  I will consider reading the next book solely because I want to see what will happen between the witches and vampires now that Ana has tapped into her powers.  I also really like Elias and wondering if there will be a werewolf dynamic added to the story.  


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I hate being away!!

So ... without warning I had to take a leave of absence from blogging.  I just wanted to post a little something for all you wonderful people who have decided to follow me!  I have had some personal setbacks .... I'm sure you all know how that goes.  I have been reading though!  Today I do plan on posting reviews for about three books.  Tomorrow I will be participating in Teaser Tuesday!  I'm back .... hopefully I don't run into any other issues.  I look forward to visiting the sites I follow to catch up on what I missed.  Thank you for following me guys!! 

Follow Friday

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host {} and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  3. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  4. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  5. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  6. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog
Today's Question: What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done on cold medicine? 

Usually, when I get sick, it hits me pretty hard.   I wish I had some spectacular story to share with you guys but, honestly, the only effect that cold medicine has on me is to knock me out. lol.  My sister has tried talking to me in this state of "knocked-out-ness" with no success.  I just incoherently mumble and remain sleep. 

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