Monday, April 22, 2013

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Not A Book Review

At the beginning of this semester, in January, I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a class. I was very excited to read a contemporary novel in a class and I just knew I'd be dying to review it. About 3 months later, that review hasn't happened. So what did happen?

I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. I was a good book, but that's all I have to say about it. It is outside of my normal genre, but that shouldn't mean I can't review it. I have, in the past, reviewed novels of all different types, so why not this one?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about a journalist, Blomkvist, who is called to an island by a rich, old company head. His formal reason for being on the island is to write Mr. Vanger's biography. In reality, Mr. Vanger has asked Blomkvist to use his investigative techniques to look for the person who killed his granddaughter, Harriet. In the course of thinks Ms. Salander comes to work with Blomkvist and the two find a few too many skeletons in the closets of the Vanger family.

This book really didn't make me have any lasting feelings. It sounds enthralling, and it is. The beginning is kind of miserable because of the vast amount of exposition and the lack of action, but it's survivable  When the action picks up, the action is fun. I felt satisfied with the climax and resolution and the ending is perfect for a sequel. These are the types of books I love, surprising, well-developed, and well-written. But this one just didn't do it for me. I don't know why, but I simply do not and have not felt moved to review or even write about this book.

Perhaps you've had better luck with this novel or series. Have you read this book/series? What did you think? Did it make you feel anything? Pin It Now!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blog Tour: Queen & Commander Release Day Blitz

Title: Queen and Commander
Author: Janine Southard
Summary: On a world where high school test scores determine your future career, six students rebel. A pair of star-crossed lovers plot to stay together, rather than be separated by the system's college plans. A former off-worlder instigates: there's a ship in orbit, he says. We could take it and run away. But to take the ship, the three conspirators need more friends. Enter Rhiannon, the girl who set herself up for the ultimate success on this planet. She made sure her test would give the desired result: Queen. But her best friend begs her to take control of this plan to run away. So she drafts a would-be doctor who believes in following his Queen with all his heart. She finds a genius who can't seem to make the system work for him. And then she gets them qualified for the ship in orbit. The ship to freedom. Now what will they do with it? And was freedom what they really wanted?

Check out the UK cover!
ExcerptWinning a ship means surpassing the competition. The three competing Queens swiveled their heads, hare-quick, to home in on new prey. They’d ignored her until she’d made that noise. Now they had the scent of fresh insecurity and would peck away until they laid her meager confidence bare for the massacre. “What a sweet little girl,” gushed the one in red. “Where’s your mother?” Dead, actually. Well, if this Queen planned to come after her for her age, she’d show her appreciation in the way only a younger person could. She raised her eye­brows and furrowed them down the middle, then pulled her head back onto her neck as though repulsed or doing a proper sit-up. From the way the older woman cringed back, Rhiannon knew she’d succeeded in making the derisive Did you seriously just say that to me? face that she’d seen on her more critical peers. A teenager can out bitch-face you any time, Queenie. Don’t try that tactic with me. The eldest cocked her head, more curious than cruel. Perhaps she found it as difficult to gauge Rhian­non’s age as the other way around. As far as Rhiannon knew, this woman had been one of Dyfed’s first Queens, self-made and just as untrained as herself. “Why do you think you deserve Ceridwen’s Cauldron?”

About the Author

Janine A. Southard writes speculative fiction and videogame dialogue from her home in Seattle, WA. She sings with a Celtic band and is working on the next book in the Hive Queen universe. She’s also been known to read aloud to her cat. The cat appreciates all of these things. Maybe.
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iTunes- US UK
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog Tour: How Fostino became... Fostino by Sara Celi (The Undesireable)

Author Sara Celi has stopped by today with a guest post for The Undesirable Blog Tour!

How Fostino became...Fostino
Naming a character might be one of the best parts of writing a book, but it can also be one of the hardest. You want to get the character names just right because (if readers are anything like me) impression are sometimes created by the name of character. When it came to Fostino, the male love interest for The Undesirable, I had a really hard time naming him. I kicked around about ten different names for him, and not one of them felt right. I could see him in my head, and almost hear him speaking in my mind, but I didn’t think any name I tried out for him worked. Would you believe an early name for this character was Derek? Yes, friends, it was. Fostino needed a certain name--an unusual name, a name that would immediately put him at odds with a community hellbent on conformity and “fitting in.” But after several weeks of trying on different names, I just couldn’t figure out a name that fit. In short, I was stuck. Enter my friend Jacob. He works with me at my day job as a photographer (I’m a TV anchor and reporter) and we sometimes work on stories that take up several hours of our day. It’s the kind of work environment that allows you get to pretty close to your co-workers. After almost two years of working together often, he and I are pretty tight.
By the time we got in a car one day on the way to Ft. Sill from Oklahoma City, he knew I had started writing a book. He knew about where I was in the story. And he even know how much anguish the male lead’s name had been causing me.
So, he did what he usually does. He forced me to talk about it. He asked probing questions and even teased me a little until I opened up.
And that’s when it began.
He tossed out a name. I toss out one. I pulled out my trusty Moleskine notebook and started jotting them down. He said another. I brought up two others. By about 10 miles from Ft. Sill, that notebook had a list of about 25 names.
Only one of those names had a big circle and star. It was the one that rang true.

UntitledTitle: The Undesirable
Author: Sara Celi
Publisher: Lowe Interactive Media
Pages: 225

Book Description: *This book is Mature YA/ New Adult. It is recommended for readers 14 and over. What if everything you knew turned out to be a lie? Charlotte Walker knows how to live under the rule of The Party. She has managed for 18 years. She helps out her drunken mother and keeps life going at a familiar, steady pace. She doesn’t ask questions, even though she has many of them in her heart. Fostino Sanchez knows how to live under the rule of The Party, too. For 19 years, he’s worked to be the perfect Party member. He knows what must be done to keep Maxwell Cooper in power, and how find the The Undesirables that threaten to take away everything that matters. As the months go by, what matters most to Fostino is Charlotte Walker. While their love blooms, danger comes to Charlotte and Fostino’s small hometown of Harrison Corners, OH. Threats they never knew existed could take away all that they care about. And just when these two teens think they know what will come next, Charlotte learns the truth about a secret she has long suspected. What Charlotte finds out changes everything. EVERYTHING. THE UNDESIRABLE is Charlotte Walker’s story, from her point of view. It is a thrilling, suspenseful tale of love, curiosity, adversity, and maturity against the backdrop of a futuristic war. Should Charlotte trust Fostino with what she knows? Can she trust anyone? Will she find it in herself to rise up against terrible odds? What if the ultimate Undesirable is her?

Author’s Links
Purchase on Amazon
The Undesirable's Facebook page:
Sara Celi Facebook fan page
Add The Undesirable to your Goodreads list
Sara Celi Pinterest
Sara Celi Twitter: @saragceli
The Undesirable Twitter: @undesirablebook  

About Sara Celi
Untitled New Orleans born Sara Celi has lived all over the United States. She calls the Greater Cincinnati area and the Queen City home. She's currently a TV reporter and anchor in Oklahoma City, and has spent more than a decade working in journalism. She graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004. Celi is also a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. The Undesirable is her debut novel. In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, write, travel, run long distances, volunteer with the Junior League, and fundraise for Cooperative for Education, a non-profit providing educational opportunities for Guatemalan kids.  
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Monday, February 25, 2013

How to: Survive a Cold

Friday afternoon, I started to develop a cold. Did that send me running home, like it should have? Of course not! I proceeded to go to see a film. Not the best of ideas. I spent all Saturday in bed sleeping and watching films. I survived the worst of my cold and here's how I did it!

  1. Conclude you are sick and draw massive amounts of sympathy from any parental or caregiving person in the immediate area. Nothing sucks worse than checking your own temperature and having absolutely no one to feel as sorry for you as you do yourself.
  2. Watch far too many of your guilty pleasures. I managed to catch up on Pretty Little Liars and Lost Girl. Any animated favorites are highly suggested. A few of my favorites are: Lilo & Stitch, Tarzan, The Last Unicorn, and How to Train Your Dragon.
  3. Naps. Sleep. Really anything that involves dozing in and out all day is perfect. When you're sick nothing feels better than sleeping and resting all day.
  4. While watching your guilty pleasures and between naps, colour! Yes, with crayons and a colouring book. Concentrating on something other than how pitiful you feel will help. Scouts honour. Bonus points if you keep a stuffed friend near by (they can't catch your germs!)
  5. Drink lots of water. For real, this one's really important. They say "liquids" but really water is best. I hate drinking water, but when I'm sick I drink several bottles a day. Hydration, it's good.
Those are just my suggestions.

How do you spend your days home with a cold? What really makes you feel better?
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wonderly is loverly!

I know I've mentioned BlogHer on this blog before, a lovely blogging community of women. Well, the longer I participated and took part in BlogHer the more I realized that the "target" audience weren't simply any women, but instead "grown" women with jobs and families and kids. As a college student, social media junkie, and young adult, I had trouble making my place in any of the communities on BlogHer.

The other day, a beautiful project came to my attention, Wonderly. Wonderly is a group of beautiful, wonderful female content creators (YouTube, Blogging, Drawing, etc.) coming together to create a lovely website and community of support and lovliness.

Some of the women participating are some of my favorite bloggers/vloggers!

If you're ever looking for some amazing women, check out Wonderly on any of the links below!

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Forbidden Forest Teaser

Title: The Legends of Regia: Forbidden Forest
Author: Tenaya Jayne
Pages: 236
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Book Blurb
Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.
Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.  
Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden.   

About Tenaya Jayne
Hello. My name's Tenaya and I'm an addict. I mean author. When I was growing up, writing was just something I played at from time to time. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was one of those people who could never finish anything. When my eldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I began to write seriously. Writing became a necessity for me in the midst of my heartbreak. It was either that or take up drinking. I 'm thankful I chose writing as my escape because I discovered it truly is my thing. I want to be swept away when I read. That's what I want my books to do for you.The main goal of my writing is to entertain you. I want to help you escape everyday life for a little while. I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!

I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful sons. I'm an advocate for Autism awareness, and women trapped in abusive relationships. I try to always look on the bright side and help others do so too. I've lived many places but I currently reside in Missouri. I love reading, indie and foreign films, gardening, and moody music. 
Author Links
Purchase on Amazon
Book Trailer

Forest pressed her back against the cool concrete wall, wanting to remain aloof from the entity of the crowd. She chose her position in the shadows, out of the paths of the roving, multi-colored spotlights. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the undulating human pheromones flying around on the air. At the beginning of every shift, she allowed herself a few minutes of this alien/human experience, though she didn't fully comprehend the combination of dancing, drinking, and ear-breaking sound waves. They loved it, however, and never seemed to deviate from the recipe.
 These were the people she was sworn to protect. She had developed a light affection for the human race and considered them a benign, if not slightly silly, bunch of creatures. Her religious passion for her job was rooted in hatred of that which harmed the humans, not a superhero tendency to protect the weak. 
Forest opened her eyes and focused all her senses to sniff out the illegal suckers that tried to sneak through the portal. She was in the zone tonight, and not for the first time did she feel that hers was the best job in existence. It was a shame she couldn’t legally kill suckers in her native world. 
 Over the next two hours, Forest didn’t move from the wall. She monitored the light traffic through the portal: two shifters and one elf, each of which nodded to her respectfully as they passed. Yawn. The shifters left the club to enjoy the delights of Austin’s nightlife elsewhere. 
The elf would have been breaking Regia’s law had he left the club, but he dutifully seated himself at the bar and ordered a fuzzy navel. He wore a plaid, porkpie hat, pulled down over the tops of his pointed ears. Forest didn’t know him personally, but she had seen him in here before. The bartender surveyed him with narrowed eyes as the elf nervously tugged his hat down further and ordered a few more girly cocktails. 
Intent on making sure that not one sucker was able to sneak past her, Forest was blindsided by the drunk bubba who had been trying to catch her eye for the last twenty minutes. He had finally decided to stagger over to hit on her. 
“Hey babe, you’re too beautiful to look so lonely. How’s ‘bout I buy you a drink?”
“How’s ‘bout I call you a cab instead?” Forest mimicked his drawl. 
“Only if you share it with me, Darlin.” He leaned in closer, and Forest’s throat began to sting from the noxious fume of booze mixed with his natural musk. 
“While I appreciate the offer, Jethro, It seems only right to inform you that I’m not actually attractive at all. If you leaned in a little closer, you’d see that you’ve fallen victim to the effect of beer goggles. A hag like me can’t take advantage of a stud like you.”
As he leaned in, Forest instantly enlarged her nose, pockmarked her skin, evaporated her front teeth, and added a large black mole with a long hair sprouting from it for good measure.
 “You’re no hag, baby! You’re the sexiest little thing in…I…uh… ” He stumbled backward. “Good grief! Sorry, sorry…” he stammered, retreating. “I’ve gotta quit drinking,” he mumbled as he turned away.
Forest chuckled to herself once he absorbed back into the crowd. Being a shape shifter sometimes had unusual perks.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lets Talk: The Evolution of the Mockingjay

-- This discussion post is created assuming readers have read all three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy all the way through, thus it contains spoilers below the cut --

If you remember back a few months ago, we had our first discussion about A Moveable Feast. For our second chat, I thought we'd discuss something that kind of pushes my buttons. Many people across the internet have read the Hunger Games Trilogy. I've reviewed both Catching Fire and Mockingjay. One big thing that is often critiqued in these books is the evolution of Katniss's character. I have my own thoughts, which are found below the cut, but I'd also love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BBC's Top 200 Must-Reads

In researching for Monday's post, I learned that BBC extended their list to include 200 books. So here's the other 100 in this list.
--In this one I've italicized the books I currently own but have yet to read.

101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz

151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. LawrenceLife of Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews

I've only read 6 of these! Wow! That makes 22/200 that I've read. That simply won't do!

How do you stack up against this one? Do you feel these 200 books are "necessary" to be considered to be "well read"?

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Blog Tour: The Undesirable Release Day Blitz!

Today is the release day of the new book The Undesirable by S. Celi!
Title: The Undesirable
Author: Sara Celi
Publisher: Lowe Interactive Media
Pages: 225
Book Description:
*This book is Mature YA/ New Adult. It is recommended for readers 14 and over.*
What if everything you knew turned out to be a lie? Charlotte Walker knows how to live under the rule of The Party. She has managed for 18 years. She helps out her drunken mother and keeps life going at a familiar, steady pace. She doesn’t ask questions, even though she has many of them in her heart. Fostino Sanchez knows how to live under the rule of The Party, too. For 19 years, he’s worked to be the perfect Party member. He knows what must be done to keep Maxwell Cooper in power, and how find the The Undesirables that threaten to take away everything that matters. As the months go by, what matters most to Fostino is Charlotte Walker. While their love blooms, danger comes to Charlotte and Fostino’s small hometown of Harrison Corners, OH. Threats they never knew existed could take away all that they care about. And just when these two teens think they know what will come next, Charlotte learns the truth about a secret she has long suspected. What Charlotte finds out changes everything. EVERYTHING. THE UNDESIRABLE is Charlotte Walker’s story, from her point of view. It is a thrilling, suspenseful tale of love, curiosity, adversity, and maturity against the backdrop of a futuristic war. Should Charlotte trust Fostino with what she knows? Can she trust anyone? Will she find it in herself to rise up against terrible odds? What if the ultimate Undesirable is her?
Fostino’s frown mixes with his tightened jaw. “Are you serious about this, Charlotte? Really serious? I just — I can’t believe you’re breaking up with me.” His eyebrows pull tighter than any seam I have ever sewn.“God. I’m so stupid.” His mouth sets in a hard line. My heartbeat jumps to my ears. I bite down hard on the inside of my bottom lip. Oh, God. Did I make the right choice? Will he understand? Will he always hate me? My breath quickens as the air constricts all around the two of us. I almost taste the awkwardness in the air. I pray my pain doesn’t show on my face. How do people manage to stay friends after something like this? I can’t. No, I won’t. Not this time. I stand in this apartment and know that I failed to make this breakup painless.My words cover this small dusty room. All the muscles in my back tighten and twist from the stress. We will never be just friends — ever. He gets up from the couch and pulls on his worn, muddy combat boots. He seems wounded, broken, and defeated. He radiates pain. He picks up my keys to the apartment from the coffee table. Awkward. My mind flickers to the beginning. I remember the moment in the town square when The Party transformed our lives. I want to go back and change everything since then. “I wanted to take care of you and shield you from—” He stops and gestures to the windows and the crumbling world outside this room. His soulful brown eyes glint with anger. “Everything.” Now he exhales. “I guess I’m not surprised. Not after all that happened.”His shoulders slump. Sweat beads on the back of my neck. I swallow some of my uneasiness. My plan just might work. I taste the hollow victory in the back of my throat. Good. “I—I’m sorry.” I have nothing else to say, no words to make this better. In minutes, I’ll leave the apartment and flee my life because I have no other choice. “I’ll never understand you. Or this.” Fostino shakes his head of dark waves. He fixates on the bare wall behind me. His words hurt, but Fostino can’t know how much he affects me. I push away the urge to reach out and hold him tighter than I ever hugged anyone. Instead, I shudder a little in my shapeless black dress — the one the government issued me last month. I hate this. I am not a cold person. I don’t hurt people on purpose. “Fostino, I—“ In a few steps, I reach his side. My shaky hand reaches out and the keys link our hands together. I smell him through all the dust in this studio apartment with the Murphy bed in the corner. I inhale just remember how he smells. I’m so afraid I will forget it. Each second ticks by worse than the last. This conversation is hard, so very hard. I bite down on the inside of my cheek to stop myself from saying something I can’t back up. If only I could tell him the truth, share my terrible secret, and find a way out of my bleak future. If only. “Did you ever mean anything you said? I mean, even for one second. Did you ever even like me?” He balls his hand into a fist once I raise my arm to stop him. He keeps talking anyway. “I told you I loved you right here in this room, even though you didn’t say it back. I meant it.” My stomach twists and heart pounds while I keep up the lies. “Well — I did like you.” I emphasize my next words as my toes curl in my sandals. “I thought I loved you once. I wanted to say it, but—” “But, I’ll always love you. I will.” He mutters something else I can’t understand, and his words undo me. I give in and kiss him. His lips are a gentle push against mine, and the kiss is so good it hurts. His lips taste like a nectar I want to savor forever. But I can’t. This moment must stay cold and Fostino needs to know this is goodbye for good. Before the kiss intensifies, I pull away and remember my task. The black Humvee full of people waits around the corner. We all must leave soon. They gave me fifteen minutes to make sure this break-up is a clean one. Time is up. Now. His eyes lock mine. “Why won’t you tell me what’s really going on?” Oh no. He can’t know the truth. Hurt him. They told me I must end it.Loving me will destroy him. It will destroy everything. My teeth bite my lip hard on the inside as I search for the words. “It’s — well — we just…we aren’t right for each other. I don’t want you to come after me. We need to end this. This relationship—” “Whatever. It’s fine. You shouldn’t make stuff up.”Fostino sounds very weary and haggard with each sentence. I take my keys and slide them into the black wool satchel on my left shoulder. Then I take the deception a step further. “I won’t ever love you, Fostino Ahmed.” The words taste like rusted metal. “I just won’t.” My hands open the door with purpose. A few steps will take me through an ancient hallway that links this apartment with sixteen others. I push myself through the doorframe and pull the door shut behind me. Then I take the first steps of what I know will be a lifetime of solitary strides. With each step, I sever this connection. Once outside, I round the corner and slide into the alleyway as the armored vehicle hums a signal. The Humvee’s fat tires set off its flat black paint, tinted windows, silver chrome handles, and a large armored grill on the front and the back. This car is a fortress, made for combat and intimidation. All the cars the government owns mirror this one. I slip inside and sink into black leather. Soon, we will all leave Harrison Corners, Ohio. This small band of rebels will take me some place. And I don’t care where. I just want to disappear, and need to more than ever. After I close the Humvee door, Thompson speaks first. “Did he believe you?” Thompson throws the vehicle into gear and drives it down the alley. He gets irritated when I don’t answer right away and runs a thick hand through his long dreadlocks. “Well?”

 Author’s Links
  Purchase on Amazon
  The Undesirable's Facebook page
  Sara Celi Facebook fan page
  Add The Undesirable to your Goodreads list
  Sara Celi Pinterest
  Sara Celi Twitter: @saragceli
  The Undesirable Twitter: @undesirablebook
About Sara Celi
  New Orleans born Sara Celi has lived all over the United States. She calls the Greater Cincinnati area and the Queen City home. She's currently a TV reporter and anchor in Oklahoma City, and has spent more than a decade working in journalism. She graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004. Celi is also a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. The Undesirable is her debut novel. In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, write, travel, run long distances, volunteer with the Junior League, and fundraise for Cooperative for Education, a non-profit providing educational opportunities for Guatemalan kids. Pin It Now!

Monday, January 21, 2013

BBC's Top 100 Must Reads

This list has been going around the internet for a while. It's simply the books that BBC considers to be the top 100 books of all time. Now, the trend is to take the list and bold the ones you want to read, so that's what I shall do now.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie 

Wow! I've only read 16 of the great novels! For Shame! 

How many of these book have you read? Pin It Now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In my Queue

Today, I thought I'd share a few of the television shows I have in my Netflix queue.

 I hate to admit it, but I really can't wait to have time to watch this one. I know there will be ridiculous historical inaccuracies that will bother me to no end... but I can't resist!

I've been planning to watch this one for, well, ever. But I've just never gotten around to it.

I'm always a sucker for an alien series. I'm not overly sure what this is really about, but I know that some people in it aren't human and, since it's set in Roswell, I assume they are extraterrestrial. 

BBC + Robin Hood = 'Nuff Said.

Okay, I know this is about to be blasphemous, but this show makes me think of something like Game of Thrones meets King Arthur meet The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  Three things I love and adore, how can I pass this one up?

Apparently this is another BBC show. I admit, I sometimes love these scandalous shows.

If you didn't know, there is an American show called Cold Case, which my father and I used to watch together. Needless to say when you throw in a British accent and (I assume) tidbits of British humour, I must watch it!

Is your Netflix queue full of unwatched TV series? What are some series you've been meaning to watch?
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Blog Tour: Scarlet Woods Teaser

Author Brooke Passmore has stopped by today with an excerpt from her new book Scarlet Woods!


Title: Scarlet Woods 
Author: Brooke Passmore
Publisher: Self Published
Blub: Past, future, and love all exist in the door through time. Modern and independent seventeen year old Morgan Westbrook thought she had seen all there was to her home town of Scarlet, Georgia, but one day while walking in the woods behind her house she discovers a mysterious door masked behind the trees. After admiring the door’s timeless beauty she walks through its entrance to venture into more woods, but what she doesn’t know is that the door is a gateway through time that takes her back to the year 1863 during the days of the Civil War in Scarlet. Without knowing that she had traveled back in time, she stumbles upon Danny Carson, an attractive young man who is appalled to see that Morgan is wearing skimpy modern clothes instead of a nineteenth century dress. Although they find each other completely different than anyone they’ve ever known, they cannot help but feel drawn to one another. After spending time in another century, she discovers that she's time traveled back to the year 1863 and that the door took her there. For months she and Danny journey back and forth through the door to experience the joys of traveling to both of their centuries. When dilemmas of unwanted marriage, slavery, and war are thrown at them, they must face the perils that time travel has delivered them in both the future and the past.

March 14, 1863, Danny Carson was riding his black horse underneath the budding trees of the woods. He heard the crackle of rushing water hit against the pebbles and sharp rocks in the creek as the orange sun descended from the face of Scarlet, Georgia. Winter had disappeared and Danny was thrilled. He hated winter; it was always a cold and lifeless season. Dull brown trails and naked branches weren’t a welcoming atmosphere, but now since spring had finally arrived, color had returned to the trees. Spring brought out so much greenery and life in the woods with its ivy spiraling up trunks, weeds and wild flowers blooming at tree roots, and the sun tanning the leaves while birds zipped through the branches. People in Scarlet didn’t dare enter the woods late in the evening. They feared the idea of foul killers or fictional monsters haunting the trees at night. But when it came to the woods Danny was fearless. He’d visit at any time of day to get away from things just for a little while. He found the depths of the trees, the forever running creek, and the prowling Spanish moss to be an escape from his regular routine. Plus, he being practically the only visitor at any time of day gave him the full run of the place. The woods were his. As soon as the sun winked at the ground and was about to depart from the sky, the storm had begun. The dark night clouds began to mix with purring thunder. Noticing how gloomy the day had become, Danny tensed up in his saddle. “Oh no…” He grumbled. His horse Nashville was a handful when it came to storms and was terrified of loud thunder. Then the lightning started ripping through the sky. Danny tightened his grip on the reins as the first set of thunder stung his ears. Nashville came to a halt on the dirt trail and let out a few worried neighs at the feel of raindrops plopping against his coat. Danny rolled his eyes. “Whiny baby,” He stroked Nashville’s neck to help calm him down. As more lightning nicked the gray sky, rain showered onto the forest floor. In a matter of seconds Danny and Nashville were drenched. Rapid rain pounded onto the creek and the thunder produced a drummed even beat that taunted the black horse. Skittish and now ill tempered from the storm, Nashville scooted his burly legs back in reverse and shuffled his hooves on the dirt path. Danny had a firm hold on the reins trying to control him. “Calm down Nash! It’s only a bit of loud noise. Toughen up!” The thunder became more prominent in the endless dark sky. Nashville gave out a loud neigh and began to buck in the air, unbalancing Danny’s weight on the saddle. “Steady! Stop it Nashville!” He said to his horse as he began to feel his feet start to slip out of the stirrups. One large wave of lightning slashed through the clouds with a bright bolt. Thunder roared out like a hungry lion about to attack its prey, nearly shattering Danny’s eardrums. Nashville couldn’t take it any longer. His front legs kicked off the ground, arching his back into the air. Danny lost his balance and accidentally let go of his reins while being thrown off his saddle. “No Nash!” He yelled as he fell into the wet mud below. The second he was out of the saddle Nashville took off running into the rain. Danny tasted chunky bits of mud as he sat up in a small pool of brown slush. He snarled seeing his horse run off into the distance. “Nashville! Come back you dumb horse!” Nashville didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Danny stood up cursing under his breath as he chased his horse down the trail he had taken. “Stop Nashville!” Danny yelled through the feverish raindrops. He darted through bushes and stepped on thorns with his wet boots. Every other step of his chase he spat out dirt that had crept in between his teeth. “Stupid horse, stupid horse!” He kept muttering to himself. With one last echoing neigh, Nashville took a sharp turn behind a hill and was out of sight. Danny ran a bit faster, hoping that he wouldn’t lose his horse’s tracks. After he took the same turn behind the hill, he came upon three possible paths that Nashville could have taken. He looked for hoof tracks in the mud but this area of the forest was rockier than the rest of the woods and left no footprints to be seen. There was no telling which way Nashville went. Placing the tips of his fingers to his mouth, Danny let out a high pitched whistle that screamed through the trees. Usually when he would whistle Nashville would instantly come to his side, but this time he didn’t show. Danny whistled three more times, but all that was around him were the trees and the rain. With his head hung low, he began to walk back the way he came, realizing that his horse wasn’t coming back to him. He was covered in mud and was expecting a plum colored bruise on his rear from being bucked off his saddle. Now that he lost Nashville in the woods, he had to walk back home soaked in the rain. Danny hoped that Nashville would be smart and find his way back home whenever the storm settled. He didn’t want his horse to go too far from home, but little did he know how far away his horse would run off to. Running as fast as his hooves could take him, neighs burst from Nashville’s lips at each strike of thunder. He dodged past the wooded trees with remarkable speed as the rain penetrated his sight. Feeling frightened, he wanted coverage from the rain and desired to escape the storm. He slowed down to a steady trot, but his legs were still fidgety. He needed to find shelter. Coming upon a hill he didn’t recognize, Nashville staggered up the hill in hopes of evading the thunder that seemed to loom over him. He came to find more green oaks and weeping willows with saggy limbs that suspended just inches off the ground at the top of the hill. His hooves left tracks in the mud as he jogged around to view his new surroundings. His hooves stomped on wild flowers that sprouted all over the ground. The rain seemed tamer up on higher ground. Even with the gloomy sky hanging overhead, this part of the woods felt like a more positive environment. The gallant trees that encircled him gave Nashville a strange comfort and made him feel safe for some reason. Nashville quickly stopped in his tracks to admire a massive object standing before him. It was a door, but not just an ordinary door. It was a rich chocolate brown that had two doors in one just like an entrance of a grand church. It didn’t belong to any building structure, wall, or fence and stood alone. One of its doors was partially open. Nashville inched up to it and nudged the opened door back further to create a bigger opening. What he saw inside the entrance was the exact same forest, or was it? The ground he stood on was wet and miserable with rain attacking the earth. On Nashville’s side of the door the sky was a lifeless color with drained out clouds, but looking through the door was the setting sun shining its warm rays on the dry ground. The grass wasn’t wet and the trees didn’t drip rain off their leaves. Everything through the door was light and calm. It was as if the other side of the forest was a completely different place and was free from the vicious storm. How was that possible? This other side of the door was definitely odd with its drastic weather differences, but since Nashville was a horse he didn’t think too much of it. He entered the peaceful atmosphere through the door’s opening. A warm wind blew a light breeze against his wet coat after his first step through to the other side. There was no harsh rain and no loud thunder ringing in his ears. He was positive that this was the better side of the woods. Nashville turned his soaked body back to face the door he came out of. It was ajar and he could see the unbearable rain continue to pour onto the grass on the side he just exited from. One final thunder erupted but it was contained inside the door sounding distant and far away, even though he stood only a few feet away from the entrance of the storm. Nashville shook his head from side to side, slapping his long mane against his neck trying to get every raindrop off of him. He neighed out a happy tune and trotted through the dryer parts of Scarlet Woods.
Buy Links: Amazon            
                   Barnes and Noble
Media Links: Website

About Brooke Passmore
I live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and am a 22 year old young woman who probably will never fully grow up. As a kid I played with Polly Pockets, swam in my swimming pool practically every day during the summer, and went on vacations to Disney World with my family (favorite days of my life). I loved telling stories as a kid by playing with my Polly’s and dressing up like princesses with my friends. Eventually everything that went on in my busy imagination I wrote down on paper in the late hours of the night. When I was in sixth grade I moved into a new house with woods directly behind my backyard. I’d walk about the woods and loved trampling through the creek or getting lost in the trees. These trips through the woods gave me my inspiration for my book trilogy Scarlet Woods. My main character in my book is Morgan who lives in a house where the woods are right behind her backyard. My love for trees and anything woodsy definitely shows in my book and I hope I painted a pretty picture in readers’ heads about what Scarlet Woods looks like. My favorite candies are Skittles and M&M’s. I put ketchup on practically anything with meat (even with chicken quesadillas). I’m a great fan of Florence and the Machine, The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Birdie, and recently The Civil Wars. My favorite books are The Hunger Games, Shiver, and Wither. My favorite movies are Titanic and Gone with the Wind. The Vampire Diaries is the wonderful TV show I’m obsessed with (I’m a Delena lover!!). I hate ads on youtube that I repeatedly have to skip every single time I want to listen to the newest song from Glee. I love to smile, laugh, and purposefully sing loud and off key whenever my brother is around just to pester him. I have a cat named Phoebe who we named after Phoebe from Friends, a yorkie named Coco who we named because he likes to eat Cocoa Puffs, and a shih tzu maltese we named Indy after Indiana Jones. My favorite princess is Cinderella but I think my personality is a tie between Ariel and Belle so they’re all my ultimate faves. If I could choose a century to time travel to I’d probably choose the Victorian age, the roaring 20’s, the 1950’s, or the 1940’s. I think the Victorian age and the 1940’s were probably the most romantic eras in history and the 20’s and 50’s would probably the most fun!
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Monday, January 7, 2013

This Semester in English

As an English major, I read a lot of books for classes each semester. Since I'll be taking two traditional English classes this semester and I'm attending my first in a few hours, I thought I'd share what I'll be reading.

For Intro. to Literature:

  1. The Stories of Richard Bausch
    I have no opinion on this one. 

  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    This one's been on the my reading list for a while,
    so I'm happy to have incentive to read it.
  3. Lyric poems by Keats
    Keats and I aren't friends, nor are poetry and I,
    so I am actually dreading this one.

  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
    I love studying recently published books in classes,
    so this one should be fun!

  5. The Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
    I know nothing about this, but the titles is legit.

  6. The Tempest by Shakespeare
    I love love love Shakespeare, and my professor
    is a scholar, so I cannot wait!

  7. The Importance of being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
    Loved the movie, so lets do this!

For Literary Theory and Criticism:
  1. The Stories of Richard Bausch
    Still no opinion. 
  2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
    I'm kind of excited for this one. I saw this list awhile
    ago and planned to start it on my 20th birthday,
    but I don't mind starting early.
  3. Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
    This looks like a text book. Meh.
  4. Cane by Jean Toomer
    American Southern lit, not my fave,
    but I have decently high hopes.
What are you most excited to read in class this semester? What classes are you taking? What do your next 5 months look like?
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Blog tour: Retribution Cover Reveal

  Title: Retribution (The Lost Souls #1)
  Author: Amy Thompson
  Book Description: One curse, one exception, one chance at redemption. Regan Edison has just moved from California, to enter her first year at Georgia State. Jacked up Chevy trucks and hunting were a way of life in Georgia. On the evening of her first day of school, Regan was walking back to her dorm when she was viciously attacked by three men. Regan was convinced she was going to die that night. Colter Hayes is a member of the Collectors and the first wrongfully punished soul. Colter and the rest of his team, Finn, Kaiden and Devon, work for the Requiem Council whose job it is to pass judgment onto souls and reincarnate them so that the souls may fix past indiscretions. Agro, an ex-councilman, and his soulless Exiles have other plans. Agro steals souls and hands down his own type of judgment, retribution. He punished those members of the Collectors and has now set his sights on Regan. The Requiem Council dispatches the Collectors to Georgia to work as protectors for Regan. The Collectors must fight to keep Regan safe from Agro and work to earn back their chance at redemption, but when Colter meets Regan his world changes. Everything he thought he knew about his curse is turned upside down and Regan seems to be the cause. Can the Collectors find out why Regan is being targeted in time to save her from a fate they know all too well? And is Colter’s curse as final as he thought or will Regan prove to be his exception?  
And now for the cover reveal!

  About Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson graduated from Randolph-Macon College with her B.S. in Biology. She currently works as a high school teacher and is earning her M.S. in Higher Education from Drexel University. Amy is a first time, self-published author of Retribution, a mature young adult paranormal romance novel that is the first in the Lost Souls series. She lives in southern Virginia with her family and two lazy cats. Amy Thompson is currently working on the next book in the Lost Souls series and continues to be an avid reader of young adult books. Goodreads/Website Pin It Now!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mockingjay: A Book Review

Mockingjay is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I haven't reviewed the first book because I wasn't reviewing at the time I read it, but you can find millions of reviews on Goodreads. That being said there are spoilers to the first two books in this review!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published: 2010
Format: Hardback
Source: Borrowed

If you're coming directly into this book from the last, Catching Fire, you're a little confused and completely hyped up. This book doesn't slow down too much from the ending of the last. It's nothing compared to the arena, but it remains interesting. I really enjoyed this as the finale and I was, mostly, happy with the direction Ms. Collins chose to take her trilogy.

Katniss Everdeen has survived the arena, not once, but twice. But going in, she couldn't have known how far reaching the rebellion she sparked was. Saved form the arena during her second Hunger Games, Katniss is pulled into District 13, the center for the rebellion against the Capitol. She's accompanied by a few other victors, some friends from home, her family, and Haymitch. But Peeta was left in the arena and in now being held captive in the Capitol! Katniss has a decision to make and many things to learn.

With this book, I didn't feel the initial slow, dragging feeling I did with the beginning of the second book. This one comes nicely directly out of Catching Fire. It picks up a time after Katniss is pulled from the arena, but not too long. She's still struggling with her injuries and confusion. A bit after that, action picks up a bit, but nothing to rival the action in the arena. This book is, largely, about the people in the districts and about the rebellion, not so much the war. There are a few nice "war" scenes, so that's something I liked.

The characters in this book are lovely continuations of their previous selves. I adore the development of Finnick and getting to see him and Annie. Peeta in this book, I thought, was unlikable (all be it with good reason...). I'm not a big fan of Gale, but he, eventually, turned out a bit better. Katniss, herself, is still interesting. I don't like the way her character is taken in the end, but I'll handle that issue in another post.

Despite how much I disliked the epilogue, I give this a 4 star review. The plot continued wonderfully. The characters developed interestingly. The writing was wonderful, as always. If you enjoyed the first two books, I can't see how you'd not want to finish the series! It's a wonderful end, if you ignore the painful epilogue.

How did you like the finale of this trilogy? What did you think of Peeta's character in this one? Do you think this book provided the ending the trilogy deserved? Pin It Now!