The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 374
Acquired: Borrowed from a friend
Rating: 5/5

Overview of the Book: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The 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 is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

 Review: I know that I am a little late for the party, but it is better late than never...RIGHT. :) I was in the breakroom at work and saw a Magazine Entertainment Weekly(or something to that effect),the cover story was for the movie for Hunger Games was coming out in 2012. I wonder what the heck is the Hunger Games. I asked one my friends and work if she had the book, because her and I have similar book tastes. She in fact did and now the second book in the series is waiting in the wing.

This book is interesting to say the very least. The Capitol pitting 24 kids again one another til all that is remaining is 1, the victor. During the Hunger Games, people from the outside are watching every more and "The Arena" is controlled by the Gamekeepers, if the action is going to slow the Keepers make it so that thier is more action for the viewing audience.

I was barely able to put this book down I completely hooked. Suzanne Collins narrative here has an immediacy to it that, when combined with the very dramatic life-or-death plot, is incredibly compelling. It was entertaining, and incredibly disturbing all at once never thought that could be possible. If this was merely a good read, I would have given it 4 stars, but they say great art leaves you changed after you experience it.

I thought that it was funny at the end how Peeta(other tribute in Katniss's district) and Katniss stick it to the Capitol with a sudden rule change(if 2 tributes of the same district are remaining then there would be co-victors) and then the Capitol trying to double back. 

I have never read a book quite like this one, but I will be exploring more reads such as this one. Well after I read The Hunger Games Series of course. If you have not read this book yet, I HIGHLY recommend this one.

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Smurfs intruded
Image by vinylmeister via Flickr
My family has known since I was a little tike that I have been a fan of The Smurfs. This year for Christmas I received a DVD of The Smurfs 5 bonus cartoons. My loving wife gave The Smurfs movie. I was excited to see some of these items in my stocking this season for the Holidays.

I also recieved a GPS for the longs trips through down state Michigan or going to visit my cousin and his family on the other side of the state in Wisconsin. ROAD TRIP..:)

So what did you get for Christmas this holiday season?
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Happy Holidays

I just wanted to wish everyone a safe and Happy Holidays. If you are spending it time with your families I hope that it is enjoyable throughout this time of the year.

We are hosting the Christmas Eve party this year. I hope that it does well and my wife's dad is coming to town from lower MI for a couple  of days. I hope that everything goes well for the next couple of days:) Please wish us luck.


Scott Pilgrim's: Precious Life by Lee O'Malley

Title: Scott Pilgrim's: Precious Life
Author/Artist: Lee O'Malley
Published: August 2004
From: Local Library

Synopsis: Scott Pilgrim's life is totally sweet. He's 23 years old, he's in a rock band, he's "between jobs," and he's dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ms. Flowers isn't covered in rose petals. Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness. Can Scott beat down the bad guys without turning his precious little life upside down?

My Thoughts:

 I was looking for a graphic novel to read. So was looking on Indie Bound and I stumbled upon this one. I will be honest I have NEVER heard of it whatsoever. I was not sure what really expect from this graphic novel. I starting reading it and myself and so many other nerdlings can relate with Scott throughout this book I am certain of that one.

Scott meets this skater delivery girl at a party Romona while dating this high school girl Knives(why would you even consider dating a girl named Knives). Throughout this book it seems that he is not that sure if you wants to live in the past or accept and grow-up and starting taking steps toward the future. He starts dating Romona and finds out something odd about her.

In order to continue dating her Scott needs to defeat all 7 of Romona ex-boyfriends. Huh..interesting I see. After meeting Romona his life is not quite the same is an understatement. Scott does not have any power or anything is just a great fighter and the first boyfriend did not start a chance against Scott. Scott also gets help from his fellow sucky band members and his gay roommate that offer advice what he should do.

I thought that artwork from O'Malley was okay is this book. It is all black and white in this one. He did a great job showing the moods in each characters throughout this first volume of Scott Pilgrim. O'Malley shows that everyone has their own personality. 

My Grade: B+


Going Vintage Sci-Fi

Andrea over at Little Red Reviewer is hosting not a challenge, but more so an event during the month of January. You may ask what is considered vintage for this event.Pretty much anything that was published before 1979. I do tend to agree with this assumption. I like this event, this is no requirements of when you need to have something read or have x amount of book to be read in the month.It is just plain old love of reading to read. Isn't that what it is all about always, from every bibliophile to the next.

Here is a quick list that I am hoping to read/listening to:

 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Foundation or I,Robot by Isaac Asimov(not sure which one yet)
Journey To The Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

I hope that you can join this event in the month of January, it should be good old-fashion fun. 


New Direction

Graphic Novel
Image by frankdasilva via Flickr
It just seems these days with Aqua Girl and other responsibilities in daily life I just cannot do the amount of reading to fulfill this blog. So instead of reading just books(I will still throw in here every so often), I will be also reviewing more manga and graphic novels to have more posts for you read. I will be able to read these much quicker, especially with a 18 month old. I will also be blogging happening in my(other) life as well.
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The Season Is Over

With Wisconsin's Gun Deer coming to a close last night at about 430 or so. I was unsuccessful in shooting a deer this season. It seemed that the deer were sparse this season. It seemed that the harvest this season in my area was down from the last couple of years.

I was not ale to go out as much as I wanted to, because of work. DAMN YOU work. I guess you need to be happy to have a job in the recession or whatever you want to call it.

My dad shot 2 deer opening morning and uncle shot one as well on the same day.
I guess that the car jumping kamikazes are safe until fall for bow season in 2012.


LOTR Read-A-Long; Return of the King Section 3

 I just cannot believe that this the end of Lord of the Rings. I just cannot believe that I WAITED this long in the live the finally read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I will say this  experience was so much better reading with friends like you. I am sure that I will never see any of you face to face, but I do consider you friends. I was about to talk to you about my thoughts and everything in between.

 I just could not believe how much Middle Earth changed throughout the war. It was nothing that the hobbits remembered when they left The Shire.

As always, leave your link in the comments.
Do you twitter then use the hash tag #LOTRreadalong .If you would like the discuss more about this section.

What Other Bloggers Thought:
All Booked Up
Little Red Reviewer 
Blue Fairy Bookshelf

The Section Questions:

What do you think Gandalf was going to speak with Tom Bombadil about?
I for one am not that sure at all. Well maybe it is in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil . It maybe worth a looking into and seeing if we could find out what Gandalf is really up to with Tom. Who really knows what that Gandalf character is up to anyways..:)

What did you think of the two weddings? Do you think Eowyn will eventually find happiness with Faramir?

Ahhh...I am not that sure what to really think of two weddings. I was wondering what was Sam going to do in the end.He could not live with Mr. Frodo forever...could he. I do hope that everyone find happiness in their marriages and everything is so much more than they expect it to be for each partner.

What did you think of their meeting with Saruman on the road home?  I was half expecting someone to just kill Saruman.

I thought that it was funny that he was a peasant and such. I did not believe that this is was going to be the last that we saw of Saurman anyway. He is like the flu, he always pops up at the least opportune times. I just seemed that he needed to live to make the readers wonder what became of him. It would have been nice to have his head hewed off, but no such luck. It was a pretty tense encounter nonetheless.

Holy Cow I was not expecting the scouring of the shire.  If this is your first time reading, were you surprised? And if this isn't your first time reading, does the shock get a little easier to swallow on re-read?

I could not believe what I was seeing in The Shire. The hobbits surely did not think that this was the right place. If I were them my thoughts would have been "Am I in an alternate universe.' I was shocked to see what happened to the Shire in this chapter. Seeing the kind of destruction that took place while the Hobbits were absent would be a tough pill to swallow.
I am glad that did lead the revolt in taking and cleaning the Shire back the way that it was when they left so long ago.

What did you think of the very end, of the departure of the Havens?

To me this part is sad throughout this chapter. With the quest complete and everything is back to normal. How do you live your life now knowing that you saved Middle Earth. Sam wanted so badly wanted to come with, but he knew that he could not come along.

Characters are supposed to change and develop during a story, right?  Who changed more, Sam or Frodo?

For me it was Sam. He began the quest as an obedient follower to his Master Frodo. Throughout the journey he became so much more decisive and was the Ring bearer for a time. In the end it seemed that he much more happier and was leading more of a life than being a servant.

Come and join us in the reading of  The Children of Hurin during the month of December. Posts won’t be as formal as these, but Little Red Reviewer  and Stainless Steel Droppings and I look forward to your comments!


LOTR Read-A-Long: The Return of the King Section 2

But do you remember Gandalf's words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do? But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.

Well hello everyone on this fine day.Sorry about the posting being a bit late this week it was Opening Day for hunting this weekend in Wisconsin. I cannot believe all the action that happened throughout this section. I was in awe in some parts of this quest in this section. Here we found out Denethor has been using a palantir and was being mislead. We also find out how loyal Samwise really is to his master Frodo.Frodo and Sam were met with Gollum once a again and was not going do all that he could to get the Ring.
This weeks questions were provided by Carl V from Stainless Steel Droppings, and they are some good ones!  As always, leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me at @g33ky_daddy with #LOTRreadalong .
What Other Bloggers Thought:

Little Red Reviewer
Lynn’s Book Blog
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf

The Questions

1.  After witnessing the events of Denethor's demise, what are your thoughts on him as a father and as a ruler, especially when compared to what happened with Boromir and the Ring.
I think that him as a father and ruler was skewed throughout our experience with him. Denethor was a person that we were not that sure about since we met him throughout the book. One fellow bloggers mentions that Denethor might have been more mad about the fact that Faramir allowed Frodo to continue on his way on his journey. Thus giving Faramir a suicide mission in return. Denethor was captivated with power of the ring.
So he could not function, adequately was a ruler and as a father. As a ruler he lost all insight after he was looking into the palantír.

2.  Instead of riding into the city with pomp and circumstance, Tolkien pens the king's return as a clandestine act in which he demonstrates his rightful place through the act of healing the wounded.  Your thoughts?

I thought that it was great that he did not just walking in and assume control of the city just like that, even after the city’s Steward had just died. Especially in the circumstances that he died.I think that the town was in mixed feeling with what was happening.
Aragon does show that he cares more about the his friends to be well and safe than the power and authority that he portrays in the book. Especially with the line in which he belongs to. He does not let that go to his head.

3.  For one chapter Sam got to be rescuer and ring-bearer.  What are your thoughts about Sam's brief time as a ring-bearer in comparison to the others who have born the ring, or wished to?

I thought that it was great that Sam took the ring and did not let the power of the ring take over him like the many others that the ring did in the past. He did feels the burden of the ring weighing on him, but he did not seemed bothered by it much at all. Sam as always thought of his master first. If Frodo was not there to continue on the mission he would go and try to accomplish the feat that they set out to do in the first place. Sure am glad that Frodo had a great companion with him throughout this journey.:)
I like that Tolkien did this to try to set up a what if possibility if the mission was not conquered in the end.

4.  In a twist unexpected in many hero tales, Tolkien ends the journey into Mount Doom with Frodo ultimately failing at his task.  How did you feel about this and ultimately how does it make you feel about both Frodo and Gollum?

It was a twist alright at the end. I could not believe that Tolkien did this showing that Frodo and Sam came so close to fail. It would make a lot of sense that rings power would be so much great with the closer that it was to Mount Doom and more burden that ring was laying on Frodo.
In the end, it was different how the ring was ultimately destroyed.Sadly for Frodo lost a finger in the end with Gollum getting the ring back. Gollum finally got his precious back, but falls to his death into Crack of Doom into the lava. This freed Middle-earth from Sauron's power.

5.  Given that The Lord of the Rings is largely about an all male cast, what are your thoughts about Tolkien's portrayal of Eowyn now that we've seen the course of her journey through these culminating chapters of her story?

.I sure did like what Eowyn did throughout her journey. After being told to stay home and do not get into trouble by her father. So what does she do. She Eowyn dresses up so that she is not recognized and is in the thick of the Battle at Minas Tirith.
I sure did like like were being bold enough to go and ride for day being disguised, I know that not many people would even attempt to do such a thing. She is a person fascinates me. You just do not know what to expect from her next.  She is hands down awesome and Tolkien knows that he created a character that everyone would love.

6.  Much of this section of our reading has been filled with desperate acts with little hope of success.  How do you feel about the mood Tolkien created in the build up both to the battle and the final push into Mount Doom and what are your thoughts on how these sections ended?

I like the journey to Mount Doom. I was enthralled with the suspense that coming in step by step in this part of the book. I was being to wonder how they were going to accomplish the task that the hobbits set out to do in the first place. I know this mostly walking and find drinkable water. This part of the section had me on the edge of my seat:)

7.  The "assigned" sections for part 3 only take us to the end of the actual story. Will you be reading the appendices?

I hope been looking over many of the appendices throughout this journey in destroying the One Ring. I have been a fan of maps and family trees and such for quite some time now. I think I will be looking over and seeing what sparks my interest. I do not think that I will be read everything, but some of it. I think everyone should skim through some parts of it.


Interested in More Tolkien?

Cover of "The Children of Hurin"
Cover of The Children of Hurin
I am not that sure everyone has heard that the group was planning on reading an additional book after The Return of the King. The book is The Children of Hurin. Here is an overview of the book over at Good Reads, if you are curious what the book is about.  I say continue the fun with Tolkiens Army and explore more about Middle Earth past or future.

Here is the tentative schedule of the reading:

I figured that we start reading the book on December 3, so I hope that this gives everyone enough time to get access to a book. 

Part 1: The Children of Turin through Turin Among Outlaws     Discussion December 10

Part 2: Of Mim the Dwarf through The Return of Turin to Do-lomin  Discussion December 17

Part 3: The Coming of Turin into Brethil through The Death of Turin  Discussion December 24

I know that with the holidays coming up. These date are as usual the discussion start on Saturday, I figured that this would be a fun throw in book to continue the Tolkien Read-A-Long. I will teamed up with Little Red Reviewer or Stainless Steel Dropping for the trio-hosting of this book.Go to twitter and use hashtag #LOTRreadalong or comment on this post. We are all glad that you could join in with a great group read.


There has been a change in plans. We decided to just review the book as a whole when we finish the book. Due to the busy holiday season and other responsibilities may have at the moment.
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LOTR Read-A-Long: The Return of the King Section 1

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

Welcome back to the quest through Middle Earth everybody. I hope that everyone is enjoying the journey as much as I am in The Return of the King. This week it was my task to figure out some question for the group to answer. You can add other thoughts as well.
In this section, it filled with plenty of actions in the first 6 chapters that was for certain. In this section, there was preparing for the imminent Battle that was about to take place in Minas Tirith. The gathering of other all the other people(nations) in one place to take on the Orc and other of Saurman’s evil army.
There were plenty of surprises in the section as well. Finding out that Both Eowyn and Merry snuck in to fight for the People of Rohan. I liked this part that you cannot deny for fighting for what I believe in.
on twitter? use #LOTRreadalong
Link your post in the comments, or tweet it to me.  Once again, thank you for joining us on our journey to Middle Earth!
What Other Bloggers Thought:
 Little Red Reviewer
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf 
Lynn's Books 
Polishing Mud Balls
Book Den

1.With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths?
 I think that I would have volunteered to go with Aragon to the Path of Dead. It was a quite difficult task for the Company of Rangers to start out with.They find the lost army of the undead oathbreakers who dwell in the Paths of the Dead, a mountain hall where they have been enslaved since their treachery ages ago.
i would have like to be a part of something like that with the Company of Rangers. Aragon used the oathbreakers of ultimately defeat the Corsairs of Umbar. It makes me smile thinking of the way that the Company of Rangers and Oathbreakers came into the battle at the right moment.                   

2.What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle.  
I felt that each hobbit were mot being treated as solider, but as a child in which their physical appearance resembles. If I were either one of them I would have been ticked that the Lord or King of either people not really allowing them fight in a battle that Pippin and Merry wanted to be a part of hands down.
In the end both Pippin and Merry were involved in the way even if their services were no longer required by Rohan or Gondor. I would have fought tooth and nail to be a apart of this battle as all the other able men were as well.        
3.Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and  all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit?
I did think at times that it got a little long with the descriptions and the parts that were lulled. Tolkien did shows that a great battle does not just take place over night. Their is a strategy in the planning and attempt to take down the enemy that is trying to overtake your place. Tolkien also shows his experience from the World War I once again.
i thought that it was great that Tolkien implemented his war experiences into this epic tale of good vs evil. Like the Allied Powers vs the Central Powers. I do think that after this read along I am going to do some real life war reads.

4. I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you?I thought that it took a lot of guts from both of them. Merry did not think that he was riding into battle with Eowyn in the first place. Merry thought that he was riding to battle Dernhelm.Merry did find out there was a reason that Dernhelm did not chat to much on their 4 day horse ride to Minas Tirith.
The Witch-King was taken down by Éowyn and, with help from Merry. Both were hurt pretty bad in the combat against the Witch-King.
I am not that sure if I would have committed  insubordination against my King or father. It is pretty hard to say what i would have done. Well…it would have depended upon what my thoughts would have been on the situation.
5. What do you think of Denethor's rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly?
I think that Denethor has lost all reason after the loss of his son Boromir. For crying out loud he sent his remaining heir on a suicide mission, in which was hopeless to come out victorious. I feel that Denethor should be relieved of his duties considering that he is not think straight right now. He is morning the loss Boromir his favorite child.
This book was perfect start with the same kind of action that we left off with the Fellowship. It may be separated. This journey is enthralling and action packed throughout the first 1/3 of The Return of the King.
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Once Upon A Time

I finally started watching the series Once Upon A Time that is airing Sunday Nights on ABC. I am happy that we(my wife and I) have a DVR. Is a DVR not one of the best inventions? My wife not even seeing the show until this morning, has been saying that it looks stupid an/or dumb. She watched the show while she was on the iTouch(as always). Mrs. GD said that the show was that as bad as she originally thought.

If anyone was wondering  a quick synopsis of the series:Once Upon A Time centers on a woman(Emma) with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine by where son where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real.

I am not a movie critic or anything, but I think that this series thus far has pretty good flow from one episode to the next. It also switches throughout he show between the real world(Maine..HA) and the Enchanted Forest. This show may be based  fairy tales, but I would some youngsters to watch the show.

So far in the show the Evil Queen or Mayor whatever she is called. Is doing everything is her power to keep her(Evil Queen) happiness compromised. So yes I will continue to watch this show on Sundays or whenever I get the time to watch it.This show has an alternate history type of a feel to it as well. If this happened how different the future could have turned out. I hope that I have persuaded some of you to give this show a shot in the dark.  
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AudioFiles: Carrie by Stephen King

Author: Stephen King 
Narrator: Sissy Spacek
Genre: Horror
Year: 1974 (205 Audiobook)
Acquired: Library
Rating: 8/10

Overview of the Book:
In an exclusive introduction written specifically for this edition, King looks back at the creation of his first masterpiece 25 years ago. Carrie White is unaware of her extraordinary powers, until she is pushed over the edge by her classmates and transforms the quiet New England town into a holocaust of destruction.

To start off with I thought that it was great that they used Sissy Spacek as the narrator of this book.The original actress that portrayed "Carrie" in the 1976 movie. It was a great choice to have her to tell you the story of Carrie.

This book was another great masterpiece by Stephen King. I think part of what makes this book so amazing is that even though it is a horror book - it stems from something very basic and very real to so many people. The need to be loved. The need for acceptance. The need to be nurtured by a parent. Sadly - as is so often the case in real life as well - these things are held out of reach for Carrie. This book shows how TERRIBLE kids can be in high school and still can be. 

So really the cruelest thing you could do is to offer her a chance at this world and then snatch it away from her. Offer her hope and then throw it on the rocks. Just the concept itself is crushing - the actualization of it for Carrie was horrific. And all the more so because we KNOW how cruel kids in school are.In the end, Carrie just could not take this anymore from the school, mother town and she just snaps  under the torment throughout her teen years, because she was different. 

This book is a MUST read for anyone that wonders what goes through the mind of a someone in the position of Carrie.