Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins‏


The Hunger Games #1

            Wow!  Let me say that again in case you missed it. Wow! This is a great book. If you haven't read it, do so NOW. I was absolutely blown away. I'm not usually a big fan of post apocalyptic fiction. It's just too depressing. (And as you probably know by now, I read to be entertained.)  And young adult lit can often be a bit boring for this old lady. But this is a strong, fast-paced narrative with amazing characters.  If I ever run into Katniss or Peeta or any number of other characters on the street, I'll recognize them immediately. 

            By now most everyone knows the story line. After a major war, the continental US is divided into a few very large districts. Katniss is from district 12, the coal mining area of the country. The Capital, somewhere out West keeps the other areas in line through draconian measures, and they display their power over the other districts by staging the Hunger Games.  One teenaged girl and boy from each district is chosen by lottery every year. They are thrown into an immense arena and the twenty four children are forced to fight each other to the death. The last child standing wins. The populace is required to watch the event on television.

            After I got past my initial disgust over the basic concept of the Games, I got caught up in the story of a smart, strong, creative and conscientious young woman who manages to survive a difficult childhood of loss and poverty. When her little sister is chosen in the lottery to compete in the Games, Katniss immediately comes forward demanding to take her place. Before leaving the District, Katniss makes every effort to ensure her mother and sister will be taken care of after her death.

            Katniss does everything she can think of to avoid being killed in the Games, while also avoiding killing others. She also manages to do something no other player has ever done. She wins the Games, and keeps the second contestant from her district alive as well. Her brains and fearlessness are inspiring.

            Read this book.  It's amazing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson


Alex Cross #19

            This was a two-fer! Alex is called out on two different cases in this book. One on Christmas Eve and the second on Christmas Day.

            After doing his Christmas good dead by catching a guy who has been robbing the poor box at the local church, Alex is all prepared to celebrate the holiday with his family.  The Christmas Eve traditions just get rolling when the inevitable phone call comes. A family is being held hostage. Someone's ex-husband has had a Christmas melt down and is holding his ex-wife, his two kids and her new husband at gun point. Alex saves the day at the risk of his own life as Christmas Eve moves into Christmas Day.

            By the time he finally makes it home, his family is asleep in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. Alex is only too happy to join them. But before he can even get into REM sleep, much less visualize any sugar plums, the phone rings yet again.

            This time he is called in to help corral a known terrorist who has been seen in Grand Central Station. This woman leads them a merry chase, but they nab her eventually.  In a rather disturbing scene, they break her down and she tells them that she is only the point person for the rest of the cell who are stealing chemicals needed to create a massive explosion. Alex uses his special skills to suss out the fact that she has not given them the whole truth of the matter. He and his partner then go out into the winter wonderland that the city has become and track down the rest of the group and the chemicals.

Read my reviews of other Alex Cross stories, Cross Fire, and other books by James Patterson, Zoo , I, Michael Bennet ,  11th Hour , Guilty Wives , Private #1 Suspect , Private Games , The Christmas Wedding , Kill Me If You Can , Now You See Her.