Today starts a new year of Reading Lately. Alison of Puppies & Pretties and I decided to take a little hiatus for November and December because our Reading Lately link up would fall on Black Friday and in the week between Christmas and New Year. The holidays are a time for lounging around with your family, and eating a lot. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and got to spend time with loved ones! I went to New York to visit my dad and brothers. Did you travel anywhere? I was able to get a lot of reading done on my flights and hanging around my brothers house, so I have a lot of reviews this month. Plus school started at the beginning of the month so I’ve done some reading for class.
Alison and I have made some changes to our Reading Lately linkup this year. We have created a new button, and we would love it if you grabbed the button and put it on your linked up blog post! Alison also created us a Reading Lately group on GoodReads and it would be awesome if you joined. We’re a little unsure what to do with the group. Should we make it kind of like a book club where we all try to read a book each month and then discuss it or review it? Or should we have reading challenges? We want your input, so comment down below or send me an email and let me know!
So link up your blog posts, grab our Reading Lately linkup button, and share with your friends! I can’t wait to see what you’ve been reading!
Reading Lately January 2017
The Hunger Games (Book 1) by Suzanne Collins
The first book of the series, Katniss Everdeen lives in a post apocalyptic North America called Panem. Every year there is an event called the Hunger Games, which the Capitol created to remind the districts about the unsuccessful rebellion attempt. Two tributes from each of the twelve districts battles to the death, leaving one victor. When Katniss’ sister is called at the reaping to be the female tribute, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The story follows Katniss as she prepares for the Hunger Games and then fights in them. With a drunk mentor to guide her through her preparations and strategy and a defiant attitude,
So I really wanted to see this movie, so I decided to read the books. I binge read the entire series in three days. I really like the idea behind these stories, and the first book was by far my favorite. It was a good read, entertaining and like I said before, I love the idea. I love the fear, the survival skills, and the violence to stay alive. But I felt like something was just missing. It was a page turner, it kept me reading, but there was nothing great about it.
Catching Fire (Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home as victors of the Hunger Games, pretending to be star crossed lovers after her defiant move at the end of the games. The only person who sees through their story is President Snow, who threatens Katniss to prove to the other districts her act of defiance wasn’t towards the Capitol, but because she couldn’t bear the thought of losing Peeta. President Snow worries about her giving the people hope to stand up against the Capitol and start another rebellion. When Katniss fails to prove this, the rebellion grows stronger in the districts which infuriates President Snow. This year, for the 75th Hunger Games (also known as a Quarter Quell), President Snow dictates that tributes will be chosen from the existing victors. Meaning that Katniss, the only female victor from her district, will automatically be going back.
This book was definitely interesting, but in my opinion, not as good as the first. The victory tour was pretty boring. Where the games took up the majority of the first book, they only take up half of this book. So we miss out on all that excitement. I love the betrayal of the Capitol to send victors into the Hunger Games again. But then these Hunger Games weren’t as exciting as the ones from the first book. It’s still interesting and exciting, but not as thrilling as the first Hunger Games.
Mockingjay (Book 3) by Suzanne Collins
The revolution is in full force. Katniss destroyed the force field of the arena and is picked up by the rebellion, becoming the image of their force. President Snow destroys her home district immediately after the games. Now Katniss lives in district 13, which was destroyed after the last rebellion in attempts to instill fear in the remaining districts. But they managed to survive and expand in the underground labs initially set up by the Capitol for nuclear experimenting. The rebellion goes to war against the Capitol.
This book was a huge disappointment. Maybe because most of the excitement and thrill in these books involve the actual Hunger Games, which is not present. Although Katniss compares battling the Capitol to being in the hunger games arena, it’s not similar. Katniss spends most of the book drugged up or moping and hiding in closets. She just doesn’t do anything really. And there are so many unnecessary deaths in the battle, which I feel was a compensation to how boring the majority of the book was. I get that characters have to die, and sometimes your favorite characters, but some of these deaths just didn’t benefit the war or the plot. And the ending was another disappointment; Katniss decides to be with Peeta because he lives next door. Peeta is just there while Gale takes a job in another district.
Also, I didn’t even bother watching these movies (split into two) because I couldn’t imagine what they could possibly do to make it entertaining.
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
I read this book for one of my classes and included it in case you like historical novels. Prince Oroonoko of Coramantien falls for the beautiful maid Imoinda, which infuriates the King and he is overcome with jealousy. He tricks them and ships them off to slavery in Surinam. The remainder of the story follows Oroonoko in his life as a slave.
This story is told from the perspective of a white female. This novel brings attention to the brutality of slavery, so it was highly unpopular in the time it was written. The narrator is compassionate towards the treatment of the slaves, yet offers no suggestions or arguments to abolish it. It is definitely an interesting read.
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
I read this book for the same class. It did take me a long time to get through, it was a little difficult to read. But it was pretty interesting. It’s a fictional narrative about a historic event. So there are some historical accuracies, but the story itself is fictional. It is written in first person, so it reads more like a journal or an autobiography. It was interesting to read about the Plague and how people responded, even if it’s not entirely true.
So naturally this book is about the Plague that wreaks havoc in London. The narrator decides to stay at his home in London rather than flee to the country with his brother. The novel is about his observations of the Plague working its way through London and how it affects people.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at Mercy-West Haven in Connecticut, where she has worked for over twenty years. During one of her shifts, she is performing a routine exam on a newborn baby when the father demands to speak to her boss. Brit and Turk Bauer, the parents of the newborn baby, are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth anywhere near their child. But the next day when Ruth is the only nurse available to look after the baby, he goes into cardiac arrest. Ruth is torn between following orders or saving his life. Ruth decides to intervene and faces criminal charges for her actions. Ruth’s white public defender, Kennedy McQuarrie, insists that race isn’t an issue in her case and isn’t worth bringing up in court. But as they fight for Ruth’s freedom, both women realize new things about themselves and each other.
I really like the story line, but I felt like this book was offensive and racist. Picoult meant to challenge racism, but every character was a stereotype. It was just too much. But it definitely makes you think about how you treat others and what African Americans have to deal with. So I can respect what she’s trying to do with this novel. There were a lot of dark and heavy parts in this novel, but it’s the ugly truth about racism. But it absolutely disgusted me reading from Turk’s point of view and getting inside his white supremacist mind. While very interesting with an unexpected twist, I found the ending far-fetched, unrealistic, and not very believable. But it was an interesting read, I definitely wanted to see how things turned out.
All that being said, the book was well written and the characters were developed. It was interesting and definitely puts things into perspective and makes you think.
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Alison @ Puppies & Pretties says
That’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy the Hunger Games. Book 2 and 3 are definitely more about the political intrigue and Katniss’s growth and mental health. I finally got around to watching the last movie a month or so ago and it was my least favorite of the series.
McKenzie Allyshia says
I loved reading your review of the Hunger Games series! I absolutely was enthralled with the first book, found the second book just okay, and was not a fan of the third book. I felt that Mockingjay lost a lot of what attracted me to The Hunger Games. It seemed rushed and I couldn’t picture the scenes like I did previously. I can tell you that I thought the movies were pretty good, but the very end of Mockingjay was a HUGE disappointment for me.