Really Ravishing Review (Hurricane Mia)

literati_rain66 Thursday, September 30, 2010 ,
Review of Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean Adventure, by Donna Marie Seim.
Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean AdventureQuickie: Cute story, perfect for the age range it's aimed at.

Full: Mia has big plans for her summer- a trip to Maine with her bestie Sam, going camping, horseback riding, wakeboarding- but all her hopes and plans are shattered when her parents tell her she is being flown down to stay with her grandparents. Her little brother Jack is going too... perfect. Mia is bitter about the dramatic change in plans, and it's made worse by her grandmother's rules and rigid personality. Mia becomes envious of Jack when Gramps continuously chooses him to do things with, and not Mia.

Her outlook brightens a bit when she meets a girl her age on the island, Neisha, and they become fast friends. Together they learn of a lady on a neighboring island, Aunt Cecilia, who is considered a "wise woman" and practices bush medicine. To Mia, this is wonderful news, because her mother has leukemia and she's very, very sick. Aunt Cecilia is rumored to make a tea that can cure everything. Mia has got to get some to her mother so she can get better and everything can go back to normal.

The problem with that idea though, is that Mia has no way to get to the island Aunt Cecilia lives on. She and Neisha hatch a few plans, but none of them seem viable- until Mia lets Jack in on her plan. Suddenly they have the means to get to the island... even though it involves lying, "borrowing", and putting all of them in possible danger. That's not going to stop Mia though!

Hurricane Mia was a charming tale of love and friendship- perfect for a mid-grade reader. Mia sort of annoyed me with her attitude sometimes, but I'm an adult and she's a kid who feels like her life is ruined, so I think we both had normal reactions. ;-)  There were a few hilarious scenes, my favorite possibly being when the donkeys got into the courtyard. Of course Mia felt horrible, since it was her fault, but Jack running around trying to lasso the donkeys was just too funny.

My only complaint is that I wanted to know if the tea ended up helping her mother or not. But that's just my obnoxious mind. I always want to know everything!

4 out of 5 stars.

Wonderfully Wacky Winner!


And we have a winner! The ARC of Another Pan, by Daniel and Dina Nayeri goes to: Caitlin! Congratulations Caitlin!

Thanks to everyone who entered, tweeted, and followed. :)

Stay tuned for the next giveaway- The School for Dangerous Girls!

My Magnificent Mailbox #15

literati_rain66 Sunday, September 26, 2010
In My Mailbox is brought to you by The Story Siren.

I was a good girl this week and didn't buy anything, but I did manage to win two books during Blog Fest.

From Rayment's Readings, Rants and Ramblings:
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, by Marta Acosta
Midnight Brunch, by Marta Acosta

Thank you Jennifer!!

What did you get?

Only One Opinion (The Big Crunch)

literati_rain66 ,
Review of The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman. On sale January 2011.

The Big Crunch
Quickie: Cute love story, but where was the ending?

Full: I chose this book because I wanted to read something light, something happy. The Big Crunch delivered... I think.

June's family moves every few months due to her father's job, and she has learned not to attach to people. She's learned which social circle to hang out with because they're semi-interesting -but not so interesting as to make her miss them. She's not looking for love, but doesn't refuse when Jerry, the shy-ish awkward guy running for class president asks her out. Jerry is safe. Jerry isn't complicated and he doesn't make her heart go pitter-patter.

One day as she listens to Jerry talk about his friend Wes (who, by the way, sort of-kind of slammed him into a locker that day) and all the terrible things he's done to Jerry, she decides that Jerry just sounds wimpy and whiny.

Meanwhile, Wes and June keep bumping into one another. Sometimes literally. They collide in a convenience store and Wes accidentally gives June a black eye. Lots of awkward exchanges happen between the two of them, and some are really cute.

As you probably have guessed, Wes and June start to fall for each other. This is all well and good, until June's family has to move again. Wes and June talk on the phone, they text, they think about one another. But it's just not the same as being together. You can't dance with your man if he's in another state.

They try their best to fix that problem, and I'm semi-sure they succeed. The end didn't have much in the way of a conclusion. It was more like somebody hit the pause button and said, "The end!". I was taken completely by surprise when I realized I was on the last page.

Overall, the book was written in what I call, "Tunnel-Of-Love Vision". As in, they're in love, so nothing else is of any importance at all. The whole book was purely about the love story. Definitely an "emotion based" book, not an action-packed adventure. That was fine with me, it's what I was looking for. But I wouldn't have minded a bit more substance to the story.

It wasn't a bad book, not at all, I enjoyed it. I just wish there would have been more of an ending.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Blood Bound)

literati_rain66 Saturday, September 25, 2010 , ,
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Book 2)

Review of Blood Bound, by Patricia Briggs.

Quickie: Exactly what I was looking for- suspense, kick-butt heroine, and the perfect dose of the paranormal.

Full: Blood Bound was a lovely second book in the Mercy Thompson series. Truthfully, I sort of think that I'd be something like Mercy if I'd chosen not to get married. (And you know, if I was a shape-shifting coyote) She's gutsy and strong, and she stands up for herself and what she believes in. I love that.

In Blood Bound, we get to see a bit more of the possible and budding love interests. That was nice, because I really didn't feel like we got an adequate dose of information in the first book. At least, not enough to make any sort of choice from. I still don't know who I'm rooting for, but I can't wait to see who she chooses.

What's Mercy up to in this book? Glad you asked! A terrible evil (of course) has come to Kennewick and people are dying left and right. Tempers are flaring and the Mistress of the vampires has asked Mercy to locate and get rid of this evil. Why? This evil brings out the "wolf" in the werewolves and can control the vampires, putting them at its mercy (ha!). Only Mercy has a shot at ridding the Tri-Cities of the murderous lunatic on the loose.

Not bad, right? I certainly didn't think so. I loved every minute of Blood Bound, and I can't wait to get my hands on Iron Kissed!

4 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Alphabet Woof!)

literati_rain66 Friday, September 24, 2010 ,
Review of the children's book, Alphabet Woof!, written by Sherrie A. Madia, illustrated by Patrick Carlson.
Alphabet Woof!
Toddler's Reaction: Well, I'd say he loved it. He had me read it to him three times before bed. That's really saying something, because his attention span isn't very long, and Alphabet Woof! isn't short. He loved the illustrations, and he had lots of fun pointing out the dog Moxy on each page.

Mommy Reaction: A very cute story. Alphabet Woof! is about a dog, Moxy, and his family. One day Aunt Mable makes alphabet soup and it gets spilled all over the floor. Moxy cleans it up and suddenly is able to speak real words. He is delighted by his new ability and entertains the family with all sorts of interesting tales and things he's been thinking about. Word spreads, as it tends to do, and Moxy becomes a bit of a celebrity. He even gets his very own talk show! Everyone is excited, and they move to L.A. where they live in a mansion with wealth and fame. This is all very nice, but Moxy decides he misses home- where Moxy just talks to the people he loves, because that's what makes talking fun for him.

Aside from a few punctuation mistakes, I liked the story. It was cute and easy to follow. As much as I enjoyed the story, I loved the illustrations. They really made the book. They're bright, colorful, and happily cartoonish.

A reason to buy it- A portion of the proceeds benefits the SPCA International, advancing the safety and well-bring of animals.


Bring On Banned Books

literati_rain66 Monday, September 20, 2010
As a lot of you book-folk know, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson is being challenged. It could become a "Banned Book". This has sparked a whole uproar about censorship and banning books. I was just writing up a little something for a friend, and it got my passionate side all worked up. I'm going to continue my thoughts here. 

The concept of "banning" books baffles me. As a woman, as a knowledge seeker, a Christian, and a human. What is the purpose for banning books? Well, in my opinion, it's a small-minded way to prohibit discovery. There are books that I consider inappropriate. There are books that I've closed and never opened again due to graphic content, horrifying acts, etc. But do I have any right to ban other people from reading them? No. Do I have any right to say, "You shouldn't read this book because I was uncomfortable with it"? No. I can say what I think about a book, and I do, but it's not my right to make that choice for YOU.

I believe it is a parent's responsibility to monitor their child's reading. Boundaries and limits are perfectly good in that situation. I don't think that means that parents should forbid their child from reading a book with "controversial" topics. Rather, I believe it's the parent's duty to discuss that book with their child. A book is the perfect way to open up an honest conversation with your child about tough issues. Read what your kid reads. Talk about it with them. Help them to understand right and wrong and fact from fiction. Talk about the "gray areas".

As the great Atticus Finch says (in a banned book, no less) - "There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible."

There ARE a lot of ugly things in this world. And as a parent, I completely understand wanting to shield your child, protect them. But that's not possible. So what do you do instead? Well. My answer is to educate them. You can't hide, ban, or demolish the evil in the world. But you can prepare you child for it, teach them how to respond. And a good way to start that is by doing it yourself. Educate yourself.

On a different track, I have an issue with Christians being the ones to "ban" books. Just wait a second. Isn't forbidding some other person from reading a book you disagree with a whole lot like Christians being persecuted way back when for believing something that others didn't? Newsflash: There will always be somebody who doesn't agree with you. It seems awfully two-faced to be telling people that they can't read something or believe something because you don't like it. Also? Read the Bible. What other book has more promiscuity, blood, deceit, etc. than the Bible? Should we ban the Bible too? I mean, it does talk about prophets, witches, dream interpretation, prostitution, seeing the future, and people doing bad, bad things. But if you get right down to it, it's telling a story. It's telling a story that has a lesson. Many lessons, in the case of the Bible. Many lessons, in the case of To Kill a Mockingbird.

In my opinion, what you read, what you watch, what you believe, and what you do... they are all choices that you, yourself have to make. And because I love it so much, another quote from Mr. Finch: "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

To return to the inspiration for this post, Speak, you should read it. I am proud to say I own this book. Please take the time to read the synopsis here if you haven't read Speak yet.

I ask you, why would you want to ban this book? It seems to me that this is a book that a victim could use in their own recovery. At the very least, it can spread awareness of abuse, the victims, and how a victim might react.

Speak is being challenged because it is "soft porn". Let me clarify something for you- Rape Is Not Pornography. Speak certainly didn't glorify rape. And I will be so bold as to say I think you're stupid if you really think that a victim's tale of rape is the same thing as porn. How anybody could interpret a heart-breaking tale of sexual abuse as porn.. I will never know. Way to make victims feel even worse.To any victims out there, you are not alone, and it's not your fault. You are not a bad person, you are not "dirty" or "used goods". A woman should never be seen or treated as a sexual object. You are a victim and a survivor.

From Laurie's Twitter: @halseanderson I've spoken to more than half a million students about SPEAK. In EVERY school, there was a kid who came up to me in tears. #speakloudly

I am not the only blogger blogging about this today. (Or this week, month, etc.)  If you are one of those folks joining me in the Speak Loudly campaign, please leave the link to your post in a comment.

Comments and opinions are always welcome. Thank you for reading my thoughts.

Speak Loudly Posts by other authors and bloggers:
Mindi Scott
Andrea Cremer 
The Pirate's Bounty 
Rachel Bateman
Kate Edwards
Random Ramblings 
Mindful Musings 
Michelle Hodkin 
Jeaniene Frost
Read Between The Lines Book Club
Aine's Realm -- powerful statistics!
Novel Thoughts 
Read What You Know

My Magnificent Mailbox #14

literati_rain66 Sunday, September 19, 2010
In My Mailbox is brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
ARC of Four Seasons, by Jane Breskin Zalben
ARC of Prom & Prejudice, by Elizabeth Eurlberg
The Tale of the Scorpian and the Caterpillar, by Jinny Toucan

From Amazon:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
The Other Side of the Island, by Allegra Goodman

What did you get?

Fabulous Free Fiction #5

literati_rain66 Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Giveaway time!! In one of my boxes of ARCs I have, sits an ARC I will probably not get to for a long time. I haven't read the first book... and this ARC is the second in the series. I hate to have it sit on my shelf for who knows how long, when somebody out there could be reading it and enjoying it. Thus- giveaway!

Another PanI'm giving away an ARC of Another Pan, by Daniel & Dina Nayeri. It will be released October 26th, 2010.

Back cover: A darkness continues to haunt the Marlowe School, and this time, someone is plotting payback. Wendy Darling, a headstrong junior, and her brother, John, a thirteen year old genius with a chip on his shoulder , struggle with being from the poorest family at the posh New York academy, where their father is a professor of ancient civilizations. Wendy's new boyfriend, socialite golden-boy Connor Wirth, offers a solid step up in popularity, yet ambitious Wendy and Johns still find themselves longing for something more. When the Book of Gates, a mysterious tome of fabled origins, appears at Marlow along with Peter, a dashing new resident adviser with a murky past, the Darlings are swept into a captivating world of "Lost Boys", age-old secrets, and forbidden places. The book opens the door to a hidden labyrinthine underworld where Egyptian myths long thought impossible become frighteningly real. Suddenly, Peter, Wendy, and John find themselves captive in the lair of an age-old darkness, trying to escape the clutches of an ancient and beautiful child-thief who refuses to let go.

How to enter:
*You must leave a comment on this post telling me something you are looking forward to.
*You must leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on Twitter (@literati_rain66)
+1 for tweeting about this contest (leave link please)

Contest is open to US and Canada only. Ends at midnight EST, September 29th.

Good luck!


True Treasure Trove

literati_rain66 Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That's right people! It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I had the honor and privilege of meeting and interviewing the man behind Here is my interview with him, I hope you enjoy!

What sort of books do you like to read and review?

Mostly mysteries and crime thrillers. I've tried to read others, but keep coming back to my "core" of mysteries, for  example, Agatha Christie. If you look at the books I've read and reviewed over the last few years, you'll see most of them are mysteries and crime thrillers.

Speaking of Agatha Christie, I'm also involved in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, which this month is having a blog tour to celebrate what would have been Christie's 120th birthday this month.

How long have you been blogging?

Too damned long.

Oh, I mean, five years this October.

What made you decide to start your blog?

Well, this blog that I have now ( was started to be "a portal into one unfinished person’s life, especially through three elements of not only who he is, but who we all are: body, mind and soul."

You’re the "Unfinished Person" and “Unfinished Rambler”. What made you choose that name?

Unfinished Person was easy, because I feel I am an Unfinished Person. As for Unfinished Rambler, it was just a natural  extension, and because I like to ramble.

Describe your blog for us in 6 words. (Any 6 words, sentence not required.)

Supercalifragilistic without the extraneous expialidocious stuff.

Book Related:

What two fictional characters would you want to meet the most?

Owen Meany and Hercule Poirot.

If you had a $1,000 gift card to your favorite book store and only half an hour to spend it, which section of the store would you head to first?


Any new book or author discoveries that you’re particularly excited to share?

Within the last couple of years, I've discovered Donald E. Westlake and he is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. As for new books, I try to steer clear of them for the most part, but when I do veer toward them, it's usually toward those penned by independent authors such as Rob Kroese, author of Mercury Falls, or Ron Cooper, author of the soon-to-be-published Purple Jesus. I'm also reading the latter as part of a read-along with J.C. Montgomery of The Biblio Blogazine.


What’s your favorite activity, other than reading?

At this time of year, fantasy football.

What city would you absolutely love to live in?

The Emerald City but minus the munchkins.

At the end of a long, hard day, what do you do to de-stress?

Play Bejeweled Blitz.

Is there anything you want the readers of your blog to know about you that you have not yet revealed?


A Bit More:
Posts dealing with books mostly are penned by Unfinished Person and can be found under several categories including most prominently The Sunday Salon and  Midweek Review.

Want to read the interview Unfinished Person had with me? Check it out here!

Only One Opinion (Firelight)

literati_rain66 Sunday, September 12, 2010
FirelightReview of Firelight, by Sophie Jordan.

Quickie: Good story idea, but I had too many issues with it to be able to enjoy it fully.

Full: I loved the concept of Firelight. Jacinda is a draki (a human that can turn into a dragon) and she is an exceptional one at that- she is the only fire-breather in existence. Pretty spiffy, right? Not if you're wanted as breeding stock by your pride's alpha, and not if everyone else controls your life for you.

Feeling suffocated by the rules and expectations of her pride, Jacinda and her friend sneak out one morning to fly. This is, of course, strictly forbidden. Draki aren't allowed to fly during daylight hours for risk of exposing themselves and being hunted for their blood, skin, and the nest of gems all Draki families have. But of course, she ignores all that and flies in the daytime. And of course, hunters see her and she ends up trapped in a cave. Luckily, this particular hunter isn't full of bloodlust and rage... instead he mutters, "Beautiful" and leaves her be.

Unluckily, her pride knows what happened and they have a terrible fate planned out for her (this comes up in a dramatic exchange later... but it felt like the wrong place to me). Her mother decides that they must pack up and leave that night. I found this to be a bit dramatic, since you have absolutely no idea what this terrible fate is, and they really only mention it one time. It seemed like a huge overreaction for no reason. Anyhow, they sneak off in the darkness and Jacinda, her mother, and Jacinda's twin sister Tamra find themselves in a desert town with the name of Chaparrel. Quickly, Jacinda realizes that her mother intends to kill the draki part of her for "her own safety".

So far, so good. But here is where my issues starting coming forth.
-Jacinda's draki is dying. Okay, valid complaint. But goodness, must you complain for 1/3 of the book, without doing anything about it? You complain about the rules of the pride... but once you leave them, suddenly you are desperate to return to them. You complain about living in the desert, but you do nothing about it. Neither life is perfect, so she rejects them both. Newsflash- you can't have it all!!
-The dramatic sentences at the end of nearly every scene change and chapter. I get it. You like dramatic declarations. They didn't work for me. Less is more in this case.
- Jacinda makes a dramatic (I'm sensing a pattern...) vow about every two pages near the middle... and then breaks it. This was the hardest for me to read, I kept wanting to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. Make a vow, then keep it, you dummy. It was frustrating to try to follow along with her every-two-pages-I-change-my-mind thing. Especially when it's the same stinking vow!! "I vow to never even look at him again." "I vow to let him into my life, he sustains me." "I vow to never even think of him! He's bad for me!" "I vow to keep him close to me, he's saving my draki!" "I vow to get rid of him, he's bad for my family!!" on and on.
- As much as I felt for her- it can't be fun knowing your life is planned out for you and you are going to have to make little fire-breathing babies - I was upset with her selfish attitude. Her sister came off as totally self-absorbed as well, but she kind of had a right to be. Neither of them is very respectful to their mother, who, by the way, lost her husband and has been living a life she hated while raising her daughters by herself. A few times I felt that Jacinda really was being treated unfairly, but even so. Respect.

I'll admit, I really wanted to like this book. I loved the idea behind it, and the draki are fascinating. My friend Catie loaned me this book, and when somebody loans or recommends a book to me, I generally want to love it. But I can't honestly say that I loved it. I plan to read the sequel, because I really did love the draki and the whole story. Sadly though, it's a "meh" book for me.

3 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

From the lovely Aine over at Aine's Realm:
Ebook of Of Course I Try, by Seleste deLaney

From Nantucket Bookworks:
Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, by Stephanie Kuehnert
ARC of Prayers and Lies, by Sherri Wood Emmons
ARC of The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman

And I forgot to mention, I received two ebooks for review from Haunted Computer Books a few weeks ago.
Speed Dating with the Dead, by Scott Nicholson
Drummer Boy, by Scott Nicholson

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (Clockwork Angel)

literati_rain66 Friday, September 10, 2010 ,
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)Review of Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare.

Quickie: Fantastic. A very difficult endeavor, and it was carried out beautifully.

Full: Tessa's dear Aunt Harriet has recently died, leaving Tessa alone in New York. Tessa receives a steamer ticket and letter from her brother asking her to join him in London. Tessa is overjoyed, since she hasn't seen her brother in ages, and is truly the only family she has left.

Although, upon arrival in London, her brother isn't there. Instead he has sent two ladies to pick her up for him, and Tessa can't help but be disappointed. The woman take her into their "care" and along with housing her, they teach her to use a power she had no idea she possessed- the power to change into any person, living or dead, simply by holding a personal object of theirs and concentrating.

Then the real problem. The ladies, also known as the Dark Sisters, tell Tessa that she is ready to be sent to The Magister. What on earth could this mystery man want? To marry her of course! Eek!

Thus starts a truly amazing adventure, as Tessa is joined by a fantastically real set of characters and face seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Now, you may be thinking- How could a prequel to an already established series possibly be fresh and interesting? Well, I have no idea. But it was. :-p There was a wonderful twining of old and new. I loved seeing how things I already knew existed came to be, and seeing people I'd already met as they were back in Victorian Era London.

The whole book was purely awesome. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. The whole concept of the clockwork automatons completely freaked me out and pulled me in. It was the perfect balance of scary and fascinating.

Will, one of the possible heart-throbs, drove me bonkers. If ever there was a candidate for a Male PMS poster boy... Will would be it. Holy monkeys. Hot, cold, nice, mean, stand-offish, obviously attracted... good grief! I'm honestly wondering if it wasn't Will that Katy Perry was singing about in "Hot and Cold". As much as I was irritated at him, I loved him. Who doesn't love a man with a few terrible secrets? (Fictional men. I like my real men to be honest and open!) I can't wait to see what Will is running from, and why he is so "man on the verge".

Should you read it? I think so, yeah. Even if you haven't read The Mortal Instruments series, you can read Clockwork Angel. It is a prequel, after all. And a lovely one at that.

5 out of 5 stars.

Terrific Teaser Tuesday #11

literati_rain66 Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Teaser Tuesday is brought to you by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Okay, I admit. I keep losing track of what day it is. :-p My Sunday posts keep happening on Monday.. and I'm barely making this one on Tuesday. Oh well! Better really, really, late then never... right?

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)This week's teaser is from Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare.

""The Pandemonium Club is not for everyone. Traveling widely as I have, I heard stories of similar organizations in many cities, groups of men who know of the Shadow World and wish to share their knowledge and advantages, but one pays the heavy price of secrecy for membership."
"One pays a heavier price than that."" (page 144)

Here is how it works:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2 or 3) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Remember to show the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Magnificent Mailbox #12

literati_rain66 Monday, September 6, 2010
In My Mailbox is brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I only got two books- but that's good. I've been trying to cut back a little, since I have so many already that I need to read.

Anyhow, this week I got:

From Amazon:
Eternal Kiss of Darkness, by Jeaniene Frost
The Boys Next Door, by Jennifer Echols.

Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, Book 2)  The Boys Next Door (Simon Romantic Comedies) 

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (Mockingjay)

literati_rain66 Friday, September 3, 2010 , ,
Review of Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins.

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

Quickie: The perfect ending to the Hunger Games series. Beautiful, beyond anything I could have imagined.

Caution: Spoilers from The Hunger Games and Catching Fire!!

Full: Oh, Mockingjay. Where do I begin? This isn't going to be an easy review to write.

District 12 is gone. Decimated. Blown up. Burned. All the refugees have been relocated to District 13, the elusive District that's completely underground. 13 is the epicenter for the rebels. Katniss and Gale are there, and Katniss is in recovery from The Quarter Quell. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol and nobody knows much else.

Beyond that, I can't say much more, story-wise, without spoiling the book for you. But here are my thoughts.

It was brilliant. It was beautiful. It was a masterpiece. I will confess... I'd been counting down the days for this one, but even so, I couldn't bring myself to read it. It took me a week. I had to read it piece by piece. I just couldn't stomach it all at once.  You know how it is, your expectations are so extremely high that you're afraid the real thing will disappoint you. Plus, people's Tweets were scaring me.

- Peeta. Everything that happened to him was horrifying and scary, but it made him so interesting and dynamic. I loved him before. And I love him even more now. What an impossible obstacle to overcome. What an intense struggle.
- Gale. It was nice to see him as he deserved to be seen. We didn't get to know him very well in either of the previous books, but Mockingjay gave us that chance. I didn't love every part of him. There were times when I was frustrated with him for pushing Katniss to choose, or for forcing her to dwell on things. But really, she did need to face the issue of Gale vs. Peeta, even though it was hard and I didn't like him forcing her to.
- Katniss. Wow. She made some leaps and bounds in her self-awareness and discovery. I've always admired her for her ability to survive and do what needs done, but when she realizes that she's becoming the cold, calculated survivor, and that both Gale and Peeta know she'll choose whichever one she needs to survive... that was a big moment. I was so hurt by that discussion. I hurt for all of them. But it needed to be said, and Katniss needed that "Aha" moment, even though it was painful. She's matured, and now she can see that she can't do everything alone. Help is not something she's good at requesting or admitting she even needs. But she really grows and learns to humble herself.
- The "Wasteland" period. When Katniss has had so many terrible, painful things happen to her. I was so glad that Collins didn't shy away from the pain. Real people don't just spring back from everything, and neither should fictional characters. When Katniss says, "I am a wasteland.", it hit me hard. I've felt like a wasteland before. The wording was perfect.
- The Epilogue.

Not as Good:
- I miss Panem as it was in THG and CF. True, it was completely corrupt, but it was such a rich world, so fully developed and intriguing.
- It was depressing. Beautiful, and I don't think it honestly could have ended in a more perfect way, but it was still so dire and hopeless at times.
- Annie and Finnick. I'm actually glad that Collins didn't go into any more detail about this at the end. I wouldn't have been able to cope. 

In so many ways, I feel that things couldn't have gone any other way. Each time I think, "Well I didn't like this, I wish it could have turned out differently", I realize that no, this is what had to happen. Like it or not, this is what needed to take place.

As I'm re-reading this, it sounds like I have a negative outlook on the book. I don't. It was gorgeous. It was perfect. I'm still wallowing and digesting it. Mockingjay was beautiful and hopeful even while being ugly and hopeless. If you haven't read it, you are missing out. Big time.

5 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Nurse Vaccine)

literati_rain66 Thursday, September 2, 2010 ,
Toddler Reaction: He was interested by the bright, colorful cartoon drawings of the Body Village residents. He, being almost three, is well aware of the world of vaccines and the pain that they bring. He seemed to like the story.

Mommy Reaction: Cute. I appreciated the fact that Noble doesn't say things like, "It won't hurt a bit!", because that's a total lie and kids know it. It does hurt. But the pain doesn't last long, and it saves you a lot of trouble and pain later on.

The concept of Nurse Vaccine was an interesting one, and I liked it. It's told from the Body Village residents' perspective. (The Body Village residents are organs; Steven Stomach, Raymond Brain, Harry Hamstring, etc.) They were upset with Raymond Brain for telling them they needed to get a flu shot, but Raymond Brain reminded them of what happened last time, when they did get sick. After thinking about the pain they suffered last time, they chose to get the flu shot, and even though other "Villages" got sick, they didn't.

All in all, it was a cute story about health and the importance of immunizations. My son seemed to enjoy it, and I plan to read it with him whenever he's feeling apprehensive about getting his shots. (Every time we go to the doctor's :-p)