Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book review: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, book 3)

Synopsis from Amazon: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Wasn't too pleased with this one. Book 2 is still my fav of
the three. By the middle of the book, I felt like I was forcing myself to read just to finish it, and I was very ready for Katniss to make up her mind about who she loves and for all the shenanigans to be over! President Coin was definitely shaping up to be another Snow, so I'm glad Katniss saw that. It was disturbing in a good way that Snow got Peeta because it's pretty much the only thing that kept me pushing forward. I got fed up of Katniss and her tough girl persona, yet always clueless about her own romantic feelings. Beetee was a very strong character in this book and played a huge part in the revolution, more so than Katniss, technically.

Spoiler alert ahead - proceed with caution!

It was somewhat of a surprise how her and Gale discovered how NOT compatible they were. From the first fight, I had already figured out that Peeta would be saved somehow, and him and Katniss would live happily ever after and make babies who would never have to endure the Hunger Games thanks to their parents.

It broke my heart when Finnick got devoured by mutts just like that! After all that comraderie in book 2 and all the build up of him in the aftermath of going through the games twice, then the whole rescue of his beloved Annie, Peeta and the rest from the Capitol ... Poof! He was gone. And Prim? Prim dying put a huge damper on it for me, but I guess the dramatic effect it had was the whole point. I'm curious at what point Collins decided to knock her off. Then, I held on to the hope that Katniss, having bargained with Coin to be given the chance to kill Snow after his capture, killed Coin instead, and Snow got to die a natural death, actually laughing himself into the grave. I didn't think he deserved the satisfaction of seeing his presidential enemfoe get killed by the mockingjay he spent so long threatening and mocking! I think she should have killed him first then made a sharp turn and killed Coin after. To me, that would have made for a way better ending.

Well, I finished the trilogy, and now I can get on with my life. Many folks are asking me if I am going to jump on the 50 Shades of Grey train, and I'm leaning towards NO WAY! (That's the safe thing to say in lieu of "never," because you know what they said happens when you say "never.")

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, book 2)

Synopsis from Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Of the trilogy, this was my most enjoyed. I found book one to be quite predictable with not too many huge surprises. This one made me think. It wasn't easy to figure out whether she felt more strongly for Peeta or Gale (still don't like that name for him). Katniss seemed to grow up before my eyes, finding her inner strength to carry on the charade of being in love with Peeta (or was it a charade?) not to mention the threats from the Capitol and trying to keep her family safe. I think Peeta is my favorite character of all. He's the only one who never annoyed me.

SPOILER ALERT - Here's where I delve a little deeper, so cover your eyes if you don't want to know.

This time it wasn't too predictable. It was pleasing to see her get right back to hunting after she got back to her home after the games even though she was rich now. I don't always like the tough girl act these characters are written to play, but this was not overkill, IMHO. Although it took a while for this book to hit my preferred level of intensity, I was kind of glad for the suspense. Good things are worth waiting for, and I nearly fell over when they got called into the Hunger Games again! Oh, you thought you were just going to get away with your little stunt and go on with your life, Katniss? Ha! I think NOT. I didn't see that coming, and what a perfect way for President Snow to get back at Katniss for making the Capitol look stupid with the poison berry trick. Cinna being killed really bothered me, but I was proud of him for standing up to the Capitol in his own way, using his designs. He went down fighting, figuratively speaking. I like that Collins came up with a very creative arena this time and didn't just have them running around the wilderness. It was a clock with a different terror at each hour. The whole issue about the force field having a glitch was great! I knew that would be the big deal, but it was still surprising how it unfolded with her shooting the arrow through the hole in force field that blew up the arena. I knew something was brewing when everyone was risking their life to save Peeta, too, which is revealed in book three.

I'm impressed that Katniss manages to bust up the Hunger Games yet again and shame the Capitol. Only this time she didn't get to go home to normalcy but woke up in the mysterious District 13 being tended to sans Peeta. It was a great touch to have him snatched by the Capitol, because I was highly stressed at this point but in a good way. The way you're supposed to be all stressed out and panting behind a good book, dying to know what happens next. While I don't particularly like Collins' writing style, I do fancy the way she manages to leave you breathless at the end of every chapter and keep you wanting to go forward. Leaving an idea totally hanging at the end of every chapter is one of the best tactics a writer can use.

So by the end of the book, I thought my prediction was right about Katniss getting to be with Gale while Peeta was somehow left for dead. But I was wrong ...

Check out the book 3 review to find out how.

I still can't shake the Twilight vibe between Katniss, Gale and Peeta, but oh well ... I give this book 4 stars!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Featured Author for a 2nd time

Hey, my dearies! Check out this blog link below. I was the featured author today. And don't hesitate to join; it's a cool site!

A.D. Duling's Diddley Doodle Dandy Writings: Author Spotlight- Author Neesha Hosein of I of the...: "The lovely author Neesha Hosein has allowed me to spotlight her on my humble little blog in this vast webverse and I just enjoyed getting to know about her."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slow motion

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Well, I'm still stuck on Book 2 of the Hunger Games trilogy. It isn't hooking me for some reason, even though I'm eager to know what happens next. I'm on chapter 3. Maybe my slow progression can be blamed on my hectic work week. And, the husband is here after 11 months of overseas matrimony, so his handsome face could be to blame as well. =) But don't tell him I said that because since the day he arrived for good, he's been pushing me to write and read at my normal pace. What a sweet, self-less guy, right?

OK, I think I shall go nose dive into "Catching Fire" and see how far I can get before I clunk out for the night. On a very positive note ... when I wake up, it will be FRIDAY!!! No doubt about that, well, unless I sleep for days and wake up on Monday. That would suck. lol

My schedule is clear for book reviews, in case you know of anyone who needs one! I know most book bloggers are bombarded these days. I'm here to ease the burden.

Meet you back here very soon.

Hopefully, with a new book review.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review: Fairy Metal Thunder

I read about "Fairy Metal Thunder" by J.L. Bryan on other book blogs, and I have the author on Twitter. He's pretty cool.

Here's the synopsis from the Amazon page:

A rock & roll fairy tale.

Jason plays guitar in a teenage garage band called the Assorted Zebras, but they have no fans, no gigs, and they're going nowhere. Even worse, Jason has a crush on their lead singer, but she doesn't seem interested in him at all.

Then Jason steals instruments from the fairy world. Soon the band is enchanting crowds, and Jason is a step closer to the girl of his dreams, but the new gear is brimming with dangerous and destructive magic they can't control.

Their shortcut to success has cost a troupe of innocent fairies their livelihood and turned Jason and his band into enemies of the powerful Queen Mab, who sends hunters to track them down, including one of the most dangerous creatures in Faerie...a small unicorn named Buttercake.

So I decided to give this title a read. I'm a big supporter of my fellow indie authors, so I try to read at least 2 per month.

So here's my likes and dislikes list, followed by commentary!

  • It was an easy read with no million-dollar words or overuse of adjectives and descriptions.
  • The tale was whimsical and playful, and he very creatively and smoothly mixed the world of fairies, goblins, dragons, unicorns, among other things, with the modern human world.
  • Good writing, which made it easy to picture the scenes in my mind.
  • There were no boring parts! Score!
  • The story held my interest and kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next, especially when the magical instruments were put to use and the band got the hang of them. My favorite part was when the magical music almost destroyed Mitch's house after their homemade concert. I felt like I was there.
  •  The length of the book was comfortable and easy to get through. I read it in one day.
  • I'm a fan of series, so that earned this book some credit right there.
  • It was the perfect story for a YA audience.
  • It contained a good balance of action/adventure, humor, comedy and teen romance.
Dislikes, but barely so
  • The characters' dialogue didn't seem age-appropriate, therefore struck me as a tiny bit unrealistic at times. The band members and Jason's little sister sounded younger than they were supposed to be, I think, not that this doesn't ring true in real life sometimes! That may have been what the author was going for, so, if that's the case, color it a win. Jason's little sister was obnoxious, and I wanted to smack her every few minutes, but, again, this may have been the author's intention. In real life, I used to want to smack my little sister, too, (and I did sometimes). The dialogue of his parents didn't hit me with the 'real' vibe either, but I still got the point of every scene, and they were just as hard on him as I've known some real-life parents to be. So, in essence, it worked. 
  • Noticed a few typos and teeny inconsistencies, but I'm oversensitive about that stuff since I'm an editor. But it wasn't enough to trigger my OCD. I still  greatly enjoyed the book! 
All-in-all, this was a very fun read. I loved it, and it helps that I'm a fan of fantasy and mystical creatures (that aren't SCARY). Despite the couple minor things that bugged me, I found that Bryan put a lot of thought into this story, and it was well organized and spelled out. You know a story is really good when it leaves you with two feelings: #1 - wanting more, and #2 - thinking about the story and characters long after you've shut the book. I really enjoyed Bryan's writing style, and this compels me to read more of his work. I look forward to reading the rest in the series. I give this 4 stars! Go read it! Now!

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    My romance novel come true

    If you notice I've been kind of scarce lately, there's three very good justifications! One: my first born graduated from high school yesterday! Yay for teen pregnancy in 1994, woot! (That was a no-regrets cheer.) I'm so proud of him. Two: my second born had his last day of junior high today! Nowt he's off to high school next year. This is major anxiety for mom. I'll be getting oriented with a brand new school and their special needs program as much as him. Let's hope they are as superb as all his past teams have been. And, THIRD: I get to have my husband back for good tomorrow.

    If you're wondering what I mean by that, here's the nutshell. We're both from Trinidad, a dreamy Caribbean island, the last one in the chain, 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela, home of the steel drums, Calypso music and the world-famous Carnival. Well, he lives there, and I live here in Houston, Texas. We met almost a couple years ago, fell in love and had to make a crucial decision about our lives. Are we strong enough to last through the grueling long-distance relationship thing? We decided to give it a try. Seven months in, we got married, but he had to go back to work, work, work as well as wait, wait, wait for papers to process.

    Now, a total of 11 months later, he will be back here in beautiful Houston, Texas, for good. I am still in a bit of shock that a man would transform his whole life for me, leave his country, family and friends, and cross the ocean for ... me? That's what I call L-O-V-E. So many people have been tracking this love story and waiting eagerly for this very day. And it's finally here. I've cleared closet space, dresser drawers, rearranged my whole life to make room for the ONE who WON.

    So, please forgive me if I don't answer your friend requests or emails at the speed I normally do. There are mental tornadoes tearing through my psyche right now. Lots of worries, excitement, shock ... Life will change forever today ("today" because it's after midnight right now). I've been struggling my entire adult life being a single mom, drowning in debt and financial woes, working low-paying jobs to get us all that we needed, helping my youngest deal with autism. I lived on my parents living room floor (because they didn't have an extra room) with two kids for seven years following a divorce in 2002 just to put myself through school. We lived slumber party style for seven whole years on air mattresses. But we were with our family, so it was kind of cool. No privacy and a bit sardine can, but we were a happy family. I drove a 2000 Dodge Neon for 11 years, at times with no a/c. I wore the same clothes for years, which to most females is a fashion don't.

    Now, here I am. A degreed professional, writer/editor, journalist, self-published author, things I never thought I could achieve. The kids are teens. I have a beautiful home and drive a sexy Caribbean blue Jeep Compass. (I named it The Sexy Bitch.) I met a man I thought only existed in romance novels, and he put a ring on it. After 18 years in adulthood, struggling my royal behind off. And after what seems like a dozen broken hearts later, with duct tape all over my heart ... I finally got my happily ever after.

    Moral of this story - You never know what life has in store for you. Embrace things as they come, and hold on tight when things get rocky.

    What I have now was worth the 18-year wait. I am the last person to get mushy or sentimental, but I really want to share my newfound cheer with the world. It's so common for people to whine and complain and hurriedly share every negative thing that happens in a venting session. I am doing the opposite.

    Stay tuned for an update and maybe some reunion photos of me and my Anthony.

    And LOTS more book reviews ... and whatever else I can think of to entertain you.

    Thanks for reading!