Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Lost in Shangri-la  by Mitchell Zuckoff

(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

“A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush and impenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them “a dame with great gams,” for heaven’s sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is a true story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew–what an utterly compelling and deeply satisfying read ” –Simon Winchester, author of “Atlantic” “.

Award-winning former “Boston Globe” reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S. military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ “Ghost Soldiers,” Marcus Luttrell’s “Lone Survivor,” and David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z “will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

My Thoughts…

Lost in Shangri-laLost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you enjoy books about historical events then you will love this book. This is an amazing and TRUE story written about a plane that goes down with 24 servicemen and WAC’s in 1945 in the mountainous jungle of Dutch New Guinea. Because 1945 technology limits the ability for rescue troops to navigate the high mountain terrain to reach the three survivors. The three survivors are left, injured and hungry, to navigate the terrain, the jungle and the natives in this unexplored territory for nearly seven weeks before they are rescued.

What was so amazing to me about this book was the amount of thorough research that the author Mitchell Zuckoff did in order to write this story so accurately. I also loved how he wove each new character into the story!

I gave the book four stars because while the crash and the rescue were so expertly covered I was really interested to learn more about how life went on for the three survivors and their rescuers after the fact. While there lives were covered briefly in an epilogue I really wanted to know more. The story built very dramatically and they were rescued in a dramatic way and then it was over. I’d like to think there was more to the story than just that. This story doesn’t really end on June 28, 1945.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

Jersey Summer {Arts and Crafts}

I have long had an infatuation with Jersey cows.  Not only are they beautiful creatures they are sweet and produce amazing milk.  I have yet to take the plunge but SOMEDAY I will own a Jersey cow which I will raise for its milk.

I have been wanting to paint a Jersey for a very long time.  I have hesitated because I have not always been as confident in my ability to draw animals and people as I am now.  When I studied art in college I focused mainly on landscapes, buildings and still life and avoided drawing people and animals at all costs.

As an art teacher I find that most of my students want tips on how to draw people and animals.  The one area where I really felt I couldn’t help them as best as I should be able to.  During the 2011-2012 school year one of my goals was to become more confident in this area.

In the fall, I took an online class through Dirty Footprints Studio called BIG.  It is part of the Fearless® Painting Series.  The class was AMAZING but also very emotional for me and helped me to work through some feelings I have kept bottled up for a long time.  I took this time to focus on my painting of people in a more freeing and uncontrolled manner.  Being free helped me to tone up my skill.

In January I began an online class called Life Book through Willowing.  This year long class is an exploration of art meant to honor and celebrate YOU.  The class is comprised of weekly projects many which focus on self-portraits.  Additionally because of the nature of the class I have also had the opportunity to really practice a lot of animal drawing as well. (By the way – Willowings art classes are amazing and are very beginner friendly!  See that little icon over in the side bar? ——————————> Over there! If you happen to sign up for one of her classes please do so by clicking this button.  I am an affiliate and will get a few pennies if you sign up through my site.  PLUS, enter the code MOONBEAM77 to get 10% off of your first class! And, thanks!)

Today I decided to tackle my fear head on and paint a picture, on canvas, of that beautiful Jersey cow I have wanted to paint for so long!

 

Flying Fish – Little Rock, AR {In the Kitchen – Restaurant Review}

A few months ago Richie and I discovered a really great restaurant in Little Rock called Flying Fish.  They also have locations in Bentonville, AR, Memphis, TN and several in Texas.

On any given day the lunch line at the Little Rock location is out the door and their large seating area is typically full.  You can take your chances or take my advice and visit during their “off” time which only seems to be between 3 and 4 before the dinner crowd starts picking up.

When you enter the restaurant you will proceed to their counter where you will place your order.  Their menu is extensive and I have yet to have the same thing twice. Sometimes a huge menu is off-putting to me.  It often implies that they really can’t cook anything well so they offer a ton of stuff to make up for it.  Clearly NOT the case with Flying Fish.  Everything I have had there has been hot, fresh and made to order. (With the exception of one time we were there during an unusually slow time and the catfish my husband ordered, while tasty, was not piping hot and fresh out of the fryer like it typically is.  We assume this was a fluke.)

Once you place your order you will be given one of those buzzer things that typically tell you when your table is ready at other restaurants.  This will signal when your food is ready.  You will want to take time to get your drinks and make sure you have plenty of ketchup and tarter sauce.  You will then need to find a seat.

Once seated you will notice the big tray on your table full of everything you may need during your meal. There are napkins, salt and pepper, a variety of hot sauces, malt vinegar, saltines and fresh horseradish.  True, the saltines and horseradish are intended for the raw oysters but I love to grab a cracker, smear it with horseradish and pop it in my mouth. Yes, the whole thing!  At first you will just taste, then you will start to get the sharp burning sensation of the horseradish and then your nose and eyes will start to water from the intense but short lived heat.  It is a feeling similar to when you are swimming and water goes up your nose.  Only it is much more pleasant.  Okay YES I am a freak, but PLEASE try it at least once!  If nothing else, it is a great way to pass the time while your food is prepared.

Once your buzzer goes off you will return to the counter to pick up your meal.  Silverware will be placed with your food.  Do take note that everything you order, including any “appetizers”, will come up at the same time.  Head back to your table and enjoy the delicious fish and seafood delicacies.

Here are some shots of recent meals we have enjoyed!

The Catfish basket comes with Fries and Hushpuppies.  I’m not even a fan of catfish but this was pretty good!

Grilled Rainbow Trout with Grilled Squash and Red Beans and Rice.  I added the Veracruz sauce which is a mild tomato and pepper based sauce which is quite yummy.  Grilled fish can sometimes be a little dry and this sauce solves that problem and can be added to any grilled fish for $1.29.

Crawfish Chowder.  This was really yummy! It was quite spicy and full of crawfish, big chunks of soft potatoes and bits of golden sweet corn.  The chowder was very thick like a good chowder should be! (And I’m from New England so I know GOOD chowda!)

The above two pictures are of the Red Snapper Veracruz.  It is a WHOLE red snapper, deep fried and served with rice and grilled squash and topped with their delicious Veracruz sauce.  Don’t let the idea of a WHOLE FISH scare you! It is absolutely delicious and they cover the eye with a slice of lime so it won’t look at you!

Raw oysters are often a questionable food.  In the past I have only ordered them from restaurants right on the coast that receive fresh caught shipments daily.  Oysters should be fresh.  Fresh oysters should not cause illness so I always recommend that you take extreme precautions when consuming them.  Trust your instincts.  I have only once been in Flying Fish when it wasn’t really busy and often I see a lot of people ordering the oysters.  I assumed with that amount of business they must be fresh.  I was not disappointed. They were very good and compared well with other raw oysters I have had in the past.

What We Loved

  • The menu selection
  • The price
  • The quality of the food
  • The Red Snapper Veracruz – a big hit with both of us

What We Liked

  • The buzzer – easier than listening for a number to be called
  • The condiment bar with lemons, onions, ketchup, tarter sauce and cocktail sauce
  • The “Billy Bass Adoption Wall” (You just have to go see it for yourself!)

What We Disliked 

  • Hard to find a table during busy times
  • Appetizers and the meal all come up at the same time

What We Hated

  • NOTHING!

The Flying Fish in Little Rock has quickly become one of our favorite restaurants and a place we love to visit when we are in the “Big City.”  We have been known to drive all the way to Little Rock just to eat there!

Richie making a goofy face!

Julie enjoying the Flying Fish!

 

Herbed Goat Cheese Omelette {In the Kitchen}

Last week I met with my good friends Stephanie and Beth at the Skillet Restaurant at the Ozark Folk Center for a working lunch to plan our upcoming Arkansas Women Bloggers retreat.  The park is home to Tina Marie Wilcox who is an AMAZING herbalist. She is the head gardener and herbalist in the park and sees to it that the Skillet Restaurant is well stocked with fresh herbs to use in their menu preparations.  Tina can be seen below (wearing the hat) teaching Sophie (Beth’s daughter), Hays and Finn (Stephanie’s boys) about the Foxtail plant.  Also pictured is fellow Arkansas Women Blogger and sheep extraordinaire, Jeanette Larson.

The Skillet Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from April through November and has so many delicious offerings on their menu.  I was particularly drawn to an item called the Ranger Omelette.  It was a fresh egg omelette filled with a fresh herb cream cheese and served with your choice of two sides.  I love eggs, I love herbs and I love cheese.  Plus two of the sides available were Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Squash! Ummm…YES PLEASE!

This omelette did NOT disappoint! It was so good I could have probably eaten another one right on the spot!  The omelette was perfectly browned with parts slightly crispy and reminiscent of the coating on french toast.  The cheese was soft and warm and coated my mouth like a hot shower on a really cold day. The herbs were so bright and crisp that if the night sky had a taste it would probably taste like this!

I left that evening with that delicious omelette still calling to me.  I wanted more and was determined to replicate the joy I felt while eating it as soon as possible.  Seriously, this omelette was like a religious experience for my belly. It truly was THAT good!  So, less than 24 hours later I was frantically recreating this delicacy in my own kitchen.  Here is my Herbed Goat Cheese Omelette inspired by the Skillet Restaurant’s Ranger Omelette.

Herbed Goat Cheese Omelette

Serves 2

3 oz. fresh goat cheese (substitute cream cheese if you prefer), room temperature
1 Tbs. Fresh chopped herbs plus more for garnish
4 large eggs (Farm fresh, free range, if you can!)
1 Tbs. salted butter, divided

Chop whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I used what was in my garden which included thyme, oregano, lemon balm and rosemary.  You will need slightly over 1 Tbs. of herbs once they are finely chopped.

In a small dish combine the room temperature goat cheese with 1 tbs. of fresh herbs and mix to combine.  Set aside.

In another small dish whisk two whole eggs until they are fluid and slightly paler in color.  Melt 1/2 tbs. of salted butter in a skillet and prepare the first two eggs, omelette style.  When the eggs have cooked place just less than half of the goat cheese mixture down the omelette, roll and transfer to a plate.  Repeat with the second omelette.

Top each omelette with a dalop of the remaining goat cheese mixture and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Serve with fresh fruit or if your feeling really ambitious make Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Squash!

Enjoy!

Even our 6-month old Great Dane, Thor, wanted some!

Looking for more of what I have been up to {In the Kitchen}? Click the logo below for more!

Emerald Coast {Drink of the Week}

I debuted my {Drink of the Week} feature last week with my Coconut Watermelon Margarita that was really delicious. This week I am bringing you a coffee inspired drink I have named the Emerald Coast. I’ll explain why I have named it the Emerald Coast a little further down but here is a sneak peek at the drink!

The cool thing is that I was asked to participate in a social shopper insight study by Collective Bias and International Delight so this weeks recipe features International Delight’s new Mocha Iced Coffee. If you are a fan of social media you might want to follow International Delight on Facebook and Twitter.  They are doing all kinds of great promotions this summer as part of their #IcedDelight campaign.

I LOVE iced coffee. I think I had my first iced coffee when I was a teenager. It was at this cute little restaurant in my town called Dana’s by the Gorge. It was the It-Place in Quechee, Vermont and was popular with locals and tourists alike. Even though it has been over 10 years since I’ve been back, by the looks of their webpage, it is still a popular place. But I digress!

Now, back to iced coffee! The first time I had this cold coffee beverage swirled with sugar and fresh cream I was smitten for life. I developed an iced coffee habit that goes into hibernation from October through March but at the first sign of spring comes out growling like a hungry bear.

The closest Starbucks to where I live is well over an hour away, the closest Dunkin’ Donuts is the next state over, and until the McDonald’s moved in to town five years ago my only iced coffee option was homemade and lets face it, I’m LAZY!  Remembering to make coffee, let alone chill it, is an act that often was only accomplished in my mind and my iced coffee addiction often went without a fix.

When I learned that International Delight had recently come out with a pre-made iced coffee product my first thought was, “AWESOME, I want to try that!” Which was quickly followed by, “Why has no one done this yet?”  Sure Starbucks has it’s frappuccinos but they’re EXPENSIVE and, lets be honest, Starbucks coffee really isn’t that great!  ANYWAY, I am way off topic again!

On Tuesday, Richie and I took a trip to the Sam’s Club in Jonesboro, AR.  We love Sam’s Club and often a big “date night” for us is going to Sam’s for hot dogs and pizza and to taste the samples. We also like the cheap gas! Lame, I know, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been married almost 12 years!

Sam’s was featuring International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee in one of their sample carts on Tuesday.  Here I am taking my first taste of Mocha Iced Coffee.  The coffee was cold and refreshing. It was sweet but not too sweet and just the right strength of brew for me.  I thought the Mocha flavor was pretty good but am more of a fan on International Delight’s Original Iced Coffee flavor.  But the Mocha was good for a change!

I put together a Google + Album of my shopping experience.  I hope you check it out and that you also  think about checking out your local Sam’s Club because they have a lot to offer! To view all of my photos click here.

So let’s talk drink making!  

I have created a SUPER YUMMY drink using the International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee that I am calling the Emerald Coast.

WHY Emerald Coast?

My MOST FAVORITE place in the whole world in Panama City Beach!  Every summer my husband and I spend 6 days in Panama City Beach at the Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach!  I spend the remaining 359 days of the year dreaming about Panama City Beach.  Much like the entire kid-year revolves around Christmas, my entire year revolves around Panama City Beach.

Panama City Beach is part of Florida’s Emerald Coast which is characterized by its emerald colored water and white sandy beaches.  I figured a tasty cocktail was the perfect way to pay tribute to this wonderful place!

The minty green Creme de Menthe adds a refreshing zing to the tropical coconut flavor of the rum and the comforting flavor of the coffee with a color reminiscent of the waters of Panama City Beach.  The fluffy white of the whipped cream and toasted coconut is meant to invoke memories of the white sandy beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast!

Let’s make it!

THE EMERALD COAST {a cocktail}

Inspired by Panama City Beach

8 oz. International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee
1/2 – 1 oz. green Creme de Menthe (Depending on how minty you like it!)
3 oz. Coconut Rum
Green Food Coloring (Optional)
Land O’ Lakes Whipped Cream
Andes Candies
Toasted Coconut

Before preparing this drink you will need to toast some sweetened coconut.  Place enough coconut into a DRY saute pan to cover the bottom.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir occasionally and WATCH CLOSELY! Coconut can burn very fast.  As soon as it begins to lightly brown and produce a nutty aroma remove it from the heat immediately.

Next, I gathered all of my ingredients to make my cocktail.


Fill a cocktail shaker approximately 3/4 of the way with ice.  Add the Creme de Menthe, Coconut Rum, and International Delight Mocha Iced Coffee.  Adding green food coloring is optional if you wish to really bring out the green color in the drink. I did not use food coloring.  Shake vigorously and pour into a glass.  Top with Land O’ Lakes Whipped Light Cream and garnish with toasted coconut and an Andes Candy.

This recipe makes 1 cocktail.

Enjoy and please drink responsibly!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and International Delight #CBias #SocialFabric.  My drink recipe is original and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Peak by Roland Smith {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Peak by Roland Smith
(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father’s renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. He wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit–and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it’s also one that could cost him his life.         Roland Smith has created an action-packed adventure about friendship, sacrifice, family, and the drive to take on Everest, despite the incredible risk. Peak is a novel readers won’t be able to put down.

PeakPeak by Roland Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a great adventure story and also have a soft spot for coming-of-age type stories as well. This book was both and did both well.

The story started out really exciting and the opening monologue had a twist I wasn’t expecting that made me curious as to what this book was all about.

Peak heads off to China to discover that he will be climbing Mt. Everest with his estranged father. It is not something he is incapable of doing but it is something that will challenge him to the core and leave him questioning his entire purpose in life.

The story is meant to be told as he is writing in a journal that he is required to keep in order to pass his classes for the year after he is required to leave school. Sometimes the dialog and descriptions take away from the journal feel. Every once in a while you feel like the author suddenly remembers this is supposed to be reading like a journal but then it fades back into a typical story.

There were parts I loved and there were parts that seemed to drag on. Over all it was an interesting and enjoyable book to read. It would be perfect for adventure lovers and teenage boys alike.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art

Sometimes (actually a lot of times) I think the rest of the country underestimates how cool Arkansas can be.  Sure we have a decent population of country boys and girls and our fair share of “hill people” but we are not as backwards as the rest of the world thinks.  In fact, Arkansas boasts a few things that have literally changed the world.  Some Arkansas originals include Tyson Chicken, Walmart, Ranger Boats, TCBY, Axiom, Candy Bouquet, Dillard’s,  J.B. Hunt, Murphy Oil and USA Drug.  Have you heard of any of these? I’ll bet you have!

In addition to some cool businesses there are some really neat attractions in Arkansas. Here is a list of a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

  • Heifer Village (Heifer International)
  • Ozark Folk Center
  • Hot Springs National Park and Oaklawn Racetrack
  • Blanchard Springs Caverns
  • Buffalo National River
  • Mt. Magazine

Recently I was able to add a new location to my list of favorites, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  The museum was founded in 2005 by Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and was kept relatively secret until it’s opening on 11/11/11.  Although not without criticism, Crystal Bridges is being hailed as one of the World’s top Fine Art Museums.  And rightly so!  According to Crystal Bridges their permanent collection

“spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred SpiritsRosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton, each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution. In addition to historical works, the Museum’s collection also showcases major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, James Turrell, and Georgia O’Keeffe, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the full scope of American art.”

The collection continues to grow as the museum obtains new pieces for it’s permanent collection and obtains a variety of temporary loan exhibits.

Richie and I have already had the privilege to visit Crystal Bridges twice.  There simply aren’t words to describe how amazing the place is.  I will let the pictures do the talking.

Coconut Watermelon Margarita {Drink of the Week}

One of my favorite parts of summer and summer vacation is TROPICAL DRINKS!  I love a good frozen drink with pineapple, coconut, strawberry, lime, and all the flavors of summer.  To me no dessert is better in the summer than an icy cold flavored beverage.  I love to get out my blender and mix up all kinds of concoctions.  Some have alcohol and some don’t.  Some act more as a cocktail while others are more of a dessert and others yet are just a fancied up beverage you would drink with a meal.

I thought it would be fun, at least for the summer, to challenge myself to make a new drink each week. That means I will be doing a new {Drink of the Week} feature!  Each week (or at least most weeks) I will share a new summer drink recipe with you.

This week I made a Coconut Watermelon Margarita.  This drink was a big hit not only with me but with my husband as well.  He loved it and even had two glasses!  To me it was sweet yet refreshing and epitomized the tastes of summer. This drink was inspired by a recipe for a Watermelon Lime Frosty that I found on the gorgeous blog My Life in Food.

Coconut Watermelon Margarita

Make 4-5 8 oz. servings

5 oz. Bacardi Coconut Rum
1 – 10oz. Frozen Bacardi Mixers Non-alcoholic Margarita concentrate
Watermelon, cubed and frozen (I used about 1/4 of a medium to large watermelon)
1 Lime, cut into wegdes
Salt

Pour 5 oz. of coconut rum into a blender.   Add one 10 oz. can of Frozen Bacardi Mixers Non-alcoholic Margarita concentrate.  Fill the remainder of the blender with frozen watermelon.  Blend until smooth and combined.

Wet the rim of 4 – 8 oz. cups with lime and salt the rims.  Add the blended mixture to the glasses and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Please drink responsibly! Enjoy!

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins {52 Books in a Year}

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

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 is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol– a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before… and surprising readers at every turn.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains–except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.

My Thoughts…

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I put off reading The Hunger Games for so long because I wasn’t sure if it would be a book that I would like. I was so afraid they were going to be similar to the Twilight series of books which I liked in the beginning but quickly became seriously disturbed over the message they were sending to teenage girls about love, relationships and family. But I digress.

Back to The Hunger Games. When the trailer for the movie came out I decided it was finally time that I read the books. I have this rule about not seeing movies based on books until I read the book. So in the midst of a mild winter, I curled up with this book.

I COULD NOT put it down! It was SO good! There was action and drama. It was frightening and exciting. I laughed, I cried, I bit my nails.

Less then two days later I was done and ready to move to book 2! PHEW!

The story itself is slightly far fetched and there is the issue of kids killing other kids for “sport” but that is really the only negative things I can say about the book. It was well written and fast based. And while there are some underlying tones of romance it does not consume Katniss in the way it consumed Bella in the Twilight series.

I absolutely loved this book!

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes sequels have the tendency to disappoint. This one did not! I began reading Catching Fire immediately after I finished The Hunger Games. Once again I could not put the book down!

The story is somewhat similar to the first but with a lot of crazy and unexpected twists and turns. It is a book that will leave you shocked and amazed. You will definitely want more!

 

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed Mockingjay I certainly didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I liked the first two books in the series.

Mockingjay was lacking a lot of the excitement of the first two. There was still a lot going on in the book and a lot of action but it just didn’t hold my attention as well.

The story takes an interesting turn as Katniss begins to fully understand what it means to be the Mockingjay.

Part of what I enjoyed about the first two books was that while there was a definite conflict between Gale and Peeta there wasn’t a major focus on the whole “love life” aspect. This definitely comes into play more in this last book as the story wraps up.

While certainly a well written and exciting book it just didn’t stand up to the excitement and hype generated by the first two books.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

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