Saturday 29 October 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title:               The Hunger Games
Author:           Suzanne Collins
ISBN:              978140109084
Publisher:       Scholastic
Published:      2009
Age Group:    Young Adult


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.

My Thoughts:

This book is extremely hard to put down, it was a perfect choice for a read-a-thon book because it was so engaging and addictive. The action packed writing style kept the pages turning, with just enough description to really suck the reader in but not enough to make the violent scenes into a crazy, sadistic bloodbath.

Not only are the main characters likable and well written but also the secondary characters which is a welcome change. I have not read many books that have made me feel so connected to the feelings and reactions of the minor characters, it really made the story all the more intriguing.
The relationships of the characters were realistic and at times heartbreaking as friendships and alliances are forged only to inevitably be broken as the games progress. Trust, loyalty and friendship are major themes. 

Be warned though, this book is not for younger readers or the faint of heart, the whole concept of teenagers murdering each other (forced or not) is not going to be everyone cup of tea. It is a violent book, but it is not gory

 Suspenseful and intense, this book leaves you hungry for the next one in the series.

Sunday 23 October 2011

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 4 was the hardest for me, it was near on midnight and I had to have a sleep
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
The Hunger Games really kept me going
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Being my first read-a-thon I have nothing to compare to but the updates on the website were fantastic
5. How many books did you read?
Three and a half
6. What were the names of the books you read?
The Red Pony - John Steinbeck
Blackthorn - Elizabeth Pulford
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (halfway through)
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
The Hunger Games, lots of action!
8. Which did you enjoy least?
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Yes, as a reader again.

 I completed my goal of reading three books!
  Total number of pages read: 1040

Read-a-thon Update

It is now hour 18, I have just finished The Hunger Games and I am going to grab some lunch before diving into another book.

Books Completed: The Red Pony - John Steinbeck
                               The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Total Pages Read:  574

Mid Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
2. How many books have you read so far? Completed one, working on the second
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? No
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? A few from daughter and hubby, just answered their questions.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How fast the time goes
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not at this stage
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Get more sleep before the event
9. Are you getting tired yet? Not now, I already had a snooze!
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? No, but I am open to any suggestions from others!

Back To the Books

It is now hour 11, I must have slept longer than I thought, I am not surprised, I don't function to well without sleep. So my break lasted longer than I had actually intended it to but I am officially back and I am going to pick up where I left off.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Break Time

It is half way through hour 4. It is nearing midnight here and I am struggling to stay awake, so I am off for a break and to catch a few Z's, but I will be continuing when I wake up.

Books Completed: The Red Pony - John Steinbeck
Currently Reading: The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Total Pages Read: 194

Read-a-thon Begins

Time to start reading.
Here is my introduction meme:

1)Where are you reading from today?  Albany, Western Australia
2)Three random facts about me…  a) I like eating raw broccoli,  b) I have left my home state c) I don't have a favourite colour.
3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? Ten, but I know I won't get through all of them
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? I am aiming on finishing three books
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? This is my first read-a-thon.

Happy reading everyone!

Monday 17 October 2011

Read-A-Thon Reading List

I think I have decided on my reading list for the Read-a-thon this weekend.
My choices are.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
  • Blackthorn - Elizabeth Pulford
  • Blackthorn's Betrayal - Elizabeth Pulford
  • The Marvelous Land of OZ (Graphic Novel)
  • Wonderstruck - Brian Selznick
  • The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness
  • Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness
  • Sleight of Hand - Peter S. Beagle
  • Mirror Kingdoms - Peter S. Beagle
  • Singer of the Bush - A.B. 'Banjo' Patterson
  • Song of the Pen - A.B. 'Banjo' Patterson
That will be more than enough to last me 24 hours. I am not a very fast reader and I know there is no way I will get through this many books in 24 hours but it will give me a variety of books to choose from.

Monday 10 October 2011

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon 2011

I have cleared my 'busy' holiday schedule on October 22nd to participate in Dewey's 24-hour read-a-thon. This is my first time participating in such and event so it shall be interesting to see how I go. To join in the fun just visit Dewey's read-a-thon.  Happy Reading!

Saturday 8 October 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title:               Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author:           Laini Taylor
ISBN:              9781444722635
Publisher:       Hodder & Stoughton
Published:      2011
Age Group:    Young Adult


Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts:

This book should have come with a warning, some thing along the lines of... NOT SUITABLE FOR LUNCH BREAK READING!  I like to read on my lunch breaks and I literally had to claw my way out of the pages to return to work. It really is that good!

Laini Taylor is not just a writer, she is indeed a story teller. She weaves a world so wonderfully atmospheric that you actually do believe you are standing on a bridge in Prague with an angel. The descriptions are outstanding and the characters are very well written.

Overall it was a well paced novel which was very hard to put down, full of mystery and passion. Easily the best book I have read this year, it has left me eagerly awaiting to find out what happens next.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Alex & Me by Irene M Pepperberg

Title:               Alex & Me
Author:           Irene M Pepperberg
ISBN:              9781921372728
Publisher:       Scribe Publications
Published:      2008

Genre:             Non-Fiction


On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. His last words to his owner, Irene Pepperberg, were "You be good. I love you."
What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous—two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.

My Thoughts:

Being an animal lover and a bird owner I could not resist this book. Irene presents us with undeniable data that humans and primates are not the only intelligent creatures (which all animal lovers are already aware of.) She also gives us a fascinating insight into, what I imagine, is only a fraction of the hard work, dedication and set backs that such research involves.
Irene's commitment to her research and to Alex was truly inspiring, many people in a similar situation would have given up.
A remarkable and inspiring read that leaves you wondering what the household pet or even the birds in your garden are really thinking and what they would say if they could talk. A must read for any animal lover.