I have lots of books to review, because I've been devouring them.
First off, however, I'm going to review a book that my good blogging friend, Jewels, recommended to me. I had read the reviews, and they were mixed - people either loved it or hated it. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Jewels twisted my arm, telling me I had to read it. Now, I'm going to tell you the same thing.
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 regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really trying to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
This book captures you on the day that the names are drawn for the games. It's like reality TV gone horribly wrong (not that hasn't already). You follow Katniss to the Capitol where they dress her up and teach her, and 23 other teenagers, how to kill and survive. They call the kids, "Tributes", and make it seem like it's an honor to be chosen, that it's an honor to fight to the death so that the Capitol can keep it's citizens in line. I can't wait to read the second book, and I hope to catch this movie in theaters.
The next book was recommended to me by a Facebook friend. Actually the author was recommended, so I just started at the beginning. I'm talking about the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovitch - One for the Money.
Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash - fast - but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family. Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail-bonding company. She's got no experience, but that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. from the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water - wanted for murder. Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight - and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.
And it's as entertaining as it sounds. From begging to not having her car repo'd in front of her parents house to getting handcuffed to the shower butt naked, she manages to get herself into enough trouble. I'm looking forward to reading the many books about this lingerie buyer turned bounty-hunter.
The next book is another memoir by the hilarious Jen Lancaster, Pretty in Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and A Wardrobe OR the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase.
Think Jen Lancaster was always "like David Sedaris with pearls and a supercute handbag"? Think again. She was a badge-hungry Junior Girl Scout with a knack for extortion, an aspiring sorority girl who didn't know her Coach from her Louis Vuitton, and a budding executive her found bewildered by her first encounter with a fax machine. In this hilarious and touching memoir, Jen Lancaster looks back on her life - and wardrobe - before bitter was the new black, and reveals a young woman not so very different from the rest of us.
Jen's previous three memoirs had me laughing so hard I nearly peed myself. This one, while entertaining, wasn't as good as the first three. It was a bit comical how badge-hungry she was as a Girl Scout, and made me glad I wasn't a teenager in the 80's. Little kids fashions were bad enough. And she was a bit neurotic when it came to sorority life. It was a good read, but I didn't think it near as funny as her previous memoirs.
And now for the fluff book! As y'all know, I make no bones about professing my love of Pride & Prejudice. Nor the books one of my old co-worker got me hooked on - the fan fiction based sequels to Jane Austen's satirical love story. I only started reading Sharon Lathan's book shortly before I left my old job - and let me tell you, I miss my equally obsessed co-worker who introduced me to these books. The books are in order: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Loving Mr. Darcy, My Dearest Mr. Darcy, In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, The Trouble With Mr. Darcy, A Darcy Christmas, and the latest novel which I will review, Miss Darcy Falls in Love.
The choice of a lifetime . . . One young lady following her passion for music. Two strong men locked in a bitter rivalry for her heart. A journey of self-discovery, and a trap of her own making. Georgiana Darcy is going to have to carve out her own destiny, however ill-equipped she may feel . . .
I admit I was a bit disappointed that the focus was no longer on Elizabeth and Darcy, however after the first 5 or 6 novels, really, what else can we focus on? This book chronicles Darcy's little sister's year in Europe, where she meets an old friend from England at a soiree. After spending quite a bit of time with this young man, she doesn't understand her feelings for him. Then she meets another man and she doesn't understand her feelings about him either. She makes quite a mess of things, but finally figures out exactly what she wants. I also admit that I wasn't sure if I'd like this one, considering we're now focusing on other characters for more than a few chapters - but I actually didn't want to stop reading once I started! And I'm looking forward to her next book, due out next spring (unfortunately).