Time to do some catching up.

Wow, I haven’t been on in quite a while. I apologize, dear readers. I know you were agonizing. 

Let me update you on what’s been going on, alright? Well, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law came to visit for  two weeks. I’m not joking. Then, my husband left for deployment. He is a U.S. Sailor, and he’s brave and wonderful, and I miss him like nuts. So then, I got depressed, and I read an abnormal amount of books. And then my mom came to visit me and that was really fun, and then she left, and then I got depressed again, so I read some more. And now I’m almost to my goal of 40 books by the end of the year, but it’s only September. I guess I read a lot when I get depressed rock at setting goals!

Here are all the books you missed out on while I was away eating too much chocolate and reading too many books (is that even possible?)

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
The Dragon Reborn, by Robert Jordan
The First Confessor, by Terry Goodkind
Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks
Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead, by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead, by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse, by Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone, by Charlaine Harris
Dead in the Family, by Charlaine Harris
Debt of Bones, by Terry Goodkind

As you can see, I had a streak of Charlaine Harris. I’m not quite done with The Southern Vampire Mysteries, but I needed a little break from Ms. Stackhouse. I’m currently reading a lovely book called My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares, and so far it’s been riveting. I’ll let you know what I think in a full post next time. 

Ta-ta for now! Happy reading, friends.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

Written by Suzanne Collins

Books #11, 12, 13 of 2012

Nationality: U.S.
Publisher: Scholastic Books
First Edition: 2008, 2009, 2010
My Edition: e-books (onread.com)
Original Language: English

I picked up The Hunger Games because my friend Brianne was really excited about how awesome it was. Laughable, Bree, laughable.

*WARNING: SPOILER ALERT*

The books are about a government who keeps control of its citizens by scaring them into not rebelling. But eventually, the citizens get so scared that they’re angry and a rebellion breaks out. The lead character is a girl named Katniss Everdeen who is the face of the rebellion, even though she doesn’t know why. She came from “District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety.” (Hunger Games) After asking to be put into the Hunger Games in place of her baby sister, Katniss rebels against the Capitol by forcing them to let both her and the other District 12 tribute, Peeta, to live. (There was only supposed to be one survivor.) So the Capitol got super angry. All of a sudden, because of that, Katniss became the face of the rebels.

The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the Mockingjay. The one that survived the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion. (Catching Fire)

Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ...

Cover of Book #2, Catching Fire

Let me review my thoughts.

1. I’m super mad that she killed off my favorite characters. Cinna and Finnick… for real?

2. She passed off Gale like she didn’t know what to do with him at the end of the series.

3. Katniss was an IDIOT.

  • She had no confidence. Anytime someone would try to build her up, she shot herself down.

“I didn’t do much, really,” I say.
“You have to give yourself some credit for what you’ve done in the past,” says Boggs. What I’ve done in the past? I think of the trail of destruction in my wake — my knees weaken and I slide down to a sitting position.
“That’s a mixed bag.” (Mockingjay)

  • She is easily manipulated. Katniss always went along with the rebels because she was an angry, emotional coward, even though she didn’t agree with their way of living or their war tactics.

She is childish. Peeta and Haymitch would lie to her to keep her safe from the Capitol and to keep her from overreacting, and then when she figured it out, she freaked. She was predictable and over-excitable and easily angered and untrusting: aka childish.

  • She used Peeta. And then she used Gale. Bitch.
4. The series ended very abruptly. One second Katniss is depressed and ready to kill herself, the next she’s married and has kids, with pretty much zero transition. Granted, it was the Epilogue. But you don’t just jump from Last Chapter: “I’m going to kill myself,” to Epilogue: “I’m happily married with two kids.” What the heck? I felt blindsided.
Mockingjay

Cover of Book #3, Mockingjay

Now, granted, this was written for teenagers – a target audience about 4-10 years younger than myself. 
I was really expecting this to be a lot better because according to the statistics of the book, it’s as popular as Harry Potter. After finishing, I just had to ask, “WHY?!” Do not fret! I have a theory: This trilogy is FULL of Stick-It-To-The-Man type crap, and in this generation, that’s what people are hungry for – stories that are very anti-government. And that’s exactly what Ms. Collins gave them. Which, I think, is a very good time for this:
But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self destruction. (Mockingjay)
With that thought, I will depart.
Happy reading, friends.

The Sword

Written by: Bryan M. Liftin

From the Library...again, thank you local library.

Book #10 of 2012

Nationality: U.S.
Publisher: Crossway
First Edition: 2010
My Edition: 2010
Original Language: English

This book I picked up at my local library the same time I picked up The Keeper of the Crystal Spring. Turns out it’s a Christian book – which I don’t really have a problem with.

The plot is this: there’s this big nuclear war, and civilization basically ends except a small remaining few.

Genocide became the norm, spawned as it always is by unchecked power, hatred, and greed. All the great advancements of the world fell into disuse, for who could think about such things when their bellies had been empties for days? (Page 18)

One man begins  a kingdom called Chiveis, which has returned to a chivalrous age of swords and horses. The kingdom worshipped demon-gods, and Christianity was banished. There are many people in Chiveis, however, who doubt what they were taught.

There’s a fine line between folklore and religion…Both can be used to sway the masses–and both can be full of nonsense. (Page 62)

Hundreds of years later, an unsuspecting couple come upon the Bible in an old abandoned church in a dilapidated city, and it makes them question everything they’ve ever known. The book is about the unraveling of the society because of the discovery of this book. It’s very good, if you like these kinds of stories.

Happy reading, friends.

His Dark Materials, books 2 and 3

Written by Phillip Pullman

Books 7 & 8 of 2012 (I’m falling behind, I know!)

The Subtle Knife
Nationality: U.K.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
First Edition: 1997
My Edition: 2002
Original Language: English

The Amber Spyglass
Nationality: U.K.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
First Edition: 2000
My Edition: 2002
Original Language: English

Well, folks, I’m pretty done with this trilogy. It COMPLETELY goes against my set of beliefs about my God. And for that, it gets knocked down a couple of notches.

The Golden Compass was fantastic. Great story, exciting, well-developed main character, etc. However…..

The cover of the book The Subtle Knife.

The Cover of Book #2, The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife was not nearly as exciting as its predecessor. It was basically just introducing a new character, Will, and building a plot for the next book, The Amber Spyglass, without actually having a good storyline of its own. So that sucked.

The cover of the book The Amber Spyglass.

The Cover of Book #3, The Amber Spyglass

As for The Amber Spyglass, the characters got pretty old. Boring. It took me forever to get through.

Now I know there are a bunch of die-hard fans of this trilogy out there, and I’m not trying to step on any toes here – it just wasn’t my favorite. I love fantasy fiction. My husband thinks I’m such a huge geek. But really, this just isn’t my type of fantasy fiction. I’m more of a wizards-mutilating-each-other-in-space kind of gal. And that’s okay. We will just agree to disagree, okay? Okay.

On to the next….happy reading, friends.

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Today is a beautiful day. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth, the day He came down to Heaven and humbled himself by becoming a man, which in and of itself shows how much He loves us.

Yesterday, my wonderful husband Ian was on duty (he is in the Navy), so I was home alone. I just kind of chilled out all day, because it was Christmas Eve, we are trying to save money, and I really didn’t want to go to my first Christmas service as a married woman, alone. How pathetic is that? So instead I stayed home, read my boring book (yes, I am still reading it for goodness’ sake!), and watched “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix. It was pretty enjoyable. It was also the weirdest Christmas Eve I’ve ever had. And maybe the loneliest.  My neighbors decided to have a Christmas party, apparently. They were up until about 4 in the morning (I know this because they kept me awake until 4am as well). I would have gone downstairs and told them to shut the heck up, but hey, it’s Christmas. I can’t blame them for having a party on a Saturday night. And really, it’s not their fault the walls are paper thin.

English: Grove Park on Christmas Eve Seen from...

Snow... I wish.

I desperately wanted snow this year. It’s my first Christmas away from home in Spokane, Washington. I was surrounded by some of the most elegant mountains in the entire world and I got snow every year, without fail. I definitely took it for granted. So this year I’m living in Virginia, where I could only dream of pretty mountains and cool, crisp air stinging my lungs. What they think is cold here is pretty sad. 50 degrees? 40? Sorry, boys, that counts as sweater weather – it does not call for parkas and full ski masks. So anyways, I was praying for snow all year long, but it looks like that particular wish is not coming true. It could be a blessing in disguise though, because it starts raining too hard and these people start running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I could’ve gotten killed. Pathetic.

Despite the lack of snow, however, I have had a wonderful first married Christmas. I woke up to Ian walking in the door from work. That in and of itself is really nice. He always has a big grin on his face when I first wake up. He says “the lion ate my wife!” because of how silly my hair always looks. haha. :) Anyways, then we opened gifts, which was a huge blessing because they were from my parents. Ian and I didn’t really get each other gifts this year because we bought plane tickets to California instead. So that was so nice to be able to open stuff. (Shout out: Thanks mom and dad – you’re the best!) (Yes, my mom and dad read my blog. Shush.)

Christmas gifts.

Christmas time.

We went to church this morning as well. On the way, we stopped by Starbucks. Now let me just say something: Starbucks should NOT be open on Christmas. Personal opinion. However if they are going to be open I might as well go in and make it worth their time. Also I ran into a guy who looked at first glance like Alec Baldwin. I informed him that I thought so, and he said thanks and that he gets that a lot. I think I might have made his day.

On to church. It was lovely. We go to a small Foursquare Community Church, so it was a really cute little service. Some  A Capella Christmas hymns, the reading of the Christmas story with all the little kiddies sitting around the reader, and some highlights of the Christmas story to take home with us and apply to our daily lives.

Now we’re relaxing a bit, and then we are going to the new Mission Impossible movie with a gift card we got from my parents! No time like the present. :) I’m not so sure about this movie though – Tom Cruise is getting kind of old…ever heard of kicking a dead horse? Hmph. We will see. Anyways, despite it being the warmest Christmas I have ever experienced, at 56 degrees, it is bound to be pretty up there on my favorites list.

A picture of a Snow Crystal taken by Wilson Be...

A snowflake, up-close and personal.

And I’m still going to pray for snow…
“Dear Jesus, Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow…”