Thursday, 22 October 2009

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

US Pub. Date: 1 September 2009 (Hardback)
UK Pub. Date: 7 September 2009 (Paperback)
400 pages (US version)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

This is the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy.  Before I give my review, I'm going to warn that it assumes you've read The Hunger Games, so if you haven't read the first book and don't want to be spoiled, stop now. If you want the review, you can click below and it will show up.

After reading The Hunger Games, I could hardly wait for Catching Fire to come and was pleased when it arrived at my flat early. It did not disappoint. I literally couldn't put it down once I started reading, and my husband thought there was something wrong with me.

Click here to read the review

This book starts out several months after The Hunger Games ends, where Katniss and Peta are now housed in special part of town. There they deal with issues of guilt, not being comfortable in their new surroundings, and friendship problems. But, before they have time to dwell on their problems, the Capitol comes calling again.

Things haven't settled down after the Games, and the president wants Katniss to fix it during their tour of the districts. There's another secret up his sleeve that I won't spoil here, but let's just say, I was shocked.

Much of this book is the same as the last. There is action, some cute moments, some very horrific moments, and some other sad ones. While I didn't cry while reading The Hunger Games, I did while reading Catching Fire. Again, this book tested my limits on how I felt about humanity in general and the fairness of our lives, what we choose to do with them, and how we choose to live them.

Excellent read! Like I said before, I'll read these again!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

US Pub. Date: 14 September 2008 (Hardback)
UK Pub. Date: 5 January 2009 (Paperback)
384 pages (US version)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

This book wasn't that high on my list, but the library wasn't getting my other books in fast enough, so I resorted to reading it. I am SO glad that I did. Are you seeing a trend? It has to be one of the best books I've read recently. It's engaging and completely disgusting at the same time. The characters are very easy to identify and empathize (yes, I found myself imagining how I would feel in these situations) with.

Basically, 24 kids (ages 12-18) are chosen from the districts of a post-apocalyptic civilization to participate in The Hunger Games, a gladiator style spectator sport for the Capitol. It serves as a punishment for the rebellion of the districts in the past. As is stated early on, the Capitol is basically telling the people in the districts to be afraid, because they won't just kill them, they'll kill their children. That is exactly what happens in The Hunger Games.

There is definitely violence and blood, some parts being somewhat gory. It's these parts and those of how Katniss, the main character, tries to keep herself alive that brings the utter cruelty of the situation to fruition. Some might find this book disturbing, and indeed, I've seen some very negative reviews. However, most of the reasons for the negative reviews are the same ones that I felt made this book so good, so real. 

I will definitely be thinking about this book a lot, and have already read the second book in the trilogy (review to come). I plan to reread this series over and over again, if for no other reason than to remind myself how cruel we can be and how it is possible to keep our humanity even when it feels like we can't.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
US Pub. Date: 1 July 2008 (Hardback)
UK Pub. Date: 3 July 2008 (Paperback)
400 pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

My friend recommended I read this book, and I put it off for a while, because I was entrenched in a really great adult paranormal romance. The thought of going back to a story with a 15-year-old protagonist wasn't extremely appealing. But, then I ran out of things to read, and it just sat there staring at me. As is usually the case, I'm glad I read it!

I had a terrible time getting into at first, struggling to keep myself interested enough to get past the first 100 or so pages. I even whined to my friend, who assured me that it got better. She was right, and the action picked up quite a bit about a third of the way through.

I found myself liking the characters or hating them (which is how they were written, so that's good), but I couldn't really relate to them. I think that had to do with age (I'm not a teenager). However, the story captivated me once I got into it, and I can't wait to read the next installment (The Awakening). I have high hopes that it will be even better now that I know the characters and am right in the middle of the action.

If you read this one and have a hard time getting into it at first, keep with it. I was glad I did!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
US Pub. Date: 29 April 2008 (Paperback)
UK Pub. Date: 1 July 2008 (Paperback)
352 pages
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Romance

Honestly, I was surprised how much I liked this book. I've never read books about faeries, so I was reluctant to pick this up. But, while I was at home, I saw a copy at the local used book store, and picked it up. I'd heard a lot about it and finally read it while I was waiting for some others to come in at the library.

I'm SO glad I read it. I was pulled into Melisaa Marr's world of the fey from the prologue, and stayed interested throughout the entire book. I loved the characters, their differences and why they were the way they were. I want to know more about them. I'll say that I was more in love with the human character, Seth, than the faery one, Keenan, but I think Marr set it up this way.

Marr did a great job building her world of the fey (faery folk) situated in a real-life (well, really fictional) setting. Although I expected to not buy into the whole fey world, I found myself captivated with the differences in the groups and their purposes and the lives that they lead.

Without giving anything away, I would recommend at least picking this book up and giving it a go. If you don't like it, that's ok, but it's definitely worth the try. If you do like it, you'll be like me--about to rush off to pick up a copy of Ink Exchange from the library!

Reviewing Books for the First Time

This morning I woke up with the desire to review the books that I have been reading over the last several months. Well, maybe I decided on it last night and finally got the gumption to post something today. Whatever it was, I sat down at the table and created a new blog, Book Reviews for Reluctant Readers.

"Why reluctant readers," you might ask. Well, because I would count myself as one. Until around March, I was much happier turning on the TV and drowning myself in the fantasy worlds that were not my own, whether that was a show about someone redesigning their home or one about supernaturals. Then I moved to the UK, where I now live with my husband. We didn't have a TV, and access to my American programs were limited. On the plane ride over, I watched Twilight. Then I bought all four books and devoured them in a matter of days.

Yeah, I know, people are mixed about the series. I'll have to agree, that I'm mixed about Twilight (It's been reviewed to death, so I won't be reviewing that particular series here). But, I have to credit Stephenie Meyer for somehow creating characters and a world that, while I may have conflicting feelings about, pushed me over the reading cliff, so to speak. I was lost to TV after that, even though we now have one. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I can't get my hands on enough books.

This blog is for people like me, who might not really like reading all that much or maybe just haven't found what they like to read. I won't say that everyone will agree with my reviews of the books posted here, because we all have different likes and dislikes. This is just my take on the things I've read. I've mostly been reading Young Adult Paranormal books but have recently branched out into some Adult Paranormal Romance. The reviews won't all be for paranormal books, that's mostly what I've been reading.

Also, there won't be negative reviews on here. If I don't like a book, I just won't post about it because chances are, I didn't finish it. There are other outlets for negative reviews, but this will not be one of them.

I hope you enjoy. The posts that follow this introduction will most certainly not be this long!