Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review of Catching Fire and MockingJay by Suzanne Collins and WoWO Meeting

The lovely ladies of the WoWOs met at the Franklinville Inn on March 4th for our Book Club Meeting. This month we did something a little different and decided to read the last two books in the Hunger Game series and discuss them at the meeting.

left to right: Faith(me), Lori, Tricia, Peggy, Myrta, Linda, Louise, Karen and Colleen

We discussed the books individually then the series as a whole. First up, Catching Fire:

WoWO Rating: 3.67 / 5 Stars

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Continuing in the hunger game series from the last WoWO meeting, Katniss and Peeta have won the 74th annual Hunger Games and returned home to district 12. As they go on the victory tour they hear and see things that make them realize that there may be a rebellion in the works. In the meantime, President Snow continues to threaten Katniss and scare her into submission to do his bidding on tour by threatening her family. But Katniss is found to have more power and fire than either Katniss or Snow ever imagined. With the announcement of the Quarter Quell (75th hunger games) the Capitol is trying to show that no one is safe and this year they announce that the tributes will be chosen from among the victors of previous Hunger Games.

In our discussion of the book we noted that Katniss was confused by her feelings for Gale, which were never clearly defined before leaving, because she actually fell for Peeta during the Hunger Games. Peeta stirs up a lot of emotion and confusion in Katniss. She cares for him and also feels the need to protect him and she also owes him for giving her bread that day long past and all he did to save her in the Games. Peeta pretty much stirs up all her emotions, so this confuses her.

When President Snow visits her home he says "... you have provided a spark which left unattended may grow into an inferno..." this is really the first that Katniss is hearing anything about this and doesn't really understand what he means but over the course of the book we realize that the spark is the rebellion and he is trying to scare and control her. The berries in the Hunger games were the initial spark of rebellion and it did in fact grow into an inferno in the book.

During the tour Katniss and Peeta begin to see the signs of the rebellion and Katniss realizes she is stuck with Peeta and can never truly decide what she wants for her future because of Snow. We all agreed that the 75th reaping procedure was custom made to get Katniss back into the Games. When Plutarch Heavensbee shows Katniss the hidden mockingjay image on his watch it was to show several things: 1) he was a rebel 2) hint of the clock in the Games to come... but at the time Katniss didn't realize the significance of the MockingJay. Which we all agreed was the perfect sign of hope for the people. Besides Katniss having the pin with her in the first games it was also the weapon used against the Capital in past rebellion.

We all agreed that the emotional trauma of hearing the jabberjays in the Games were worse than any of the physical trauma they endured (fog and rain of fire).

All in all we felt like the book was sort of an in between for the other two books. There were important things in this one but they probably could have just been split up and put in the other two books and made them bigger.

Next up is our MockingJay discussion:

WoWO Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

After Katniss is rescued from the 75th Hunger Games, she recovers from her trauma to find that Peeta has been taken prisoner by Snow. She is determined to save him at any cost, especially her own life. She learns that District 13 does exist and is leading the rebellion. She also learns that her life in District 12 no longer exists, it was destroyed by the Capital. She tries to adjust to life underground in District 13, not very successfully. In order to save Peeta she agrees to become the face of the rebellion with several conditions, one of them is being able to kill President Snow. New characters were introduce in this book and they were all pretty well developed for being just introduced in the final book of the series.

As with the other two books we agreed on many aspects but there are a few that we differed on. For example, The question came up if Katniss ever loved Gale the way he wants her to love him? and Does he truly love her. We all agreed that Katniss never loved Gale fully the way he wanted but we differed on whether Gale truly loved Katniss. Many of us said Yes but a few said No, thinking that it was more of a childhood crush thing and not true love for him.

We all agreed that the treatment of Peeta at the end of the story was sad and almost unnecessary. The author made him a different person at the end of the story, and it was more permanent of a change than we would have liked to see. We all believed it was the rebels who killed the children with the exploding parachutes, and we also did not feel that the ends justified the means in this case. We were confused by Katniss' choice to vote for another Hunger Games, it didn't seem like she would really do it for revenge for Prim, it seemed more like she was testing Coin for worthiness of the presidential role. To see if things had really changed, that's the way we like to see it anyway.

We all agreed that she loved Gale and Peeta but she chooses Peeta because she needs to be needed. That and the fact that she could never forgive Gale for the death of Prim and Gale can't even forgive himself.

Some of us thought that Gale would end up with Katniss and Peeta would be president or that Katniss herself would be president. I don't think any of us could have called the true ending. All of us were disappointed in the way Snow died... it seemed anti-climatic and Katniss should have been able to kill him.

Now for the Entire Series as a whole, we rated it a 4/5 Stars, I personally loved the storyline and the characters and gave the series a 5/5 Stars as a whole trilogy. It was highly entertaining and I cared about all of the characters.

Some of the things that we agreed got better as the books went on was that the mother's character development was helpful to making you care for her. The first book made her an unlikeable character and as you learned of her life's journey you began to feel for her and then at the end she really steps up to be an amazing character. Prim was also a character that developed really well and we all felt the loss of her character in the end was not necessary.

The favorite book in the serious, unanimously was : THE HUNGER GAMES

Next up for the WoWO's is A Thousand Spendid Suns by Khaled Hossieni on March 23rd. So Check Back!

Also if you haven't seen our write up on Author Dianna Love's website please check it out here.

See ya next time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The WoWO's have made the big time!!!

I am so excited I am about to burst at the seems. The WoWO's are a featured Quaantum book club for Dianna Love's new Website!

As you've heard me mention on my blog many a time, Author Dianna Love has a wonderful website for book clubs (called Quaantum readers). She gives away copies of books that authors, like herself, offer up to book clubs to read and discuss. The WoWO's have had an amazing experience with the authors that we've been given books of: See the WoWO reviews for Wild Heart by Lori Brighton (click here to see the review) and The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans (click here to see the review).

Recently the Dianna Love website has been revamped and the WoWOs were asked to become a featured Quaantum Book Club for the launch of the new site. I got to deal with Cassondra, Dianna Love's assistant and she's really a great person to deal with. I'm proud to announce that the website is up and its fabulous.

See the WOWO's Quaantum Book Club feature write up here or click the Quaantum Readers image above. You can also see all the other wonderful features of Dianna Love's new website. Enjoy!

Once you get to the link you need to scroll down about halfway and you'll see the write up of the WoWO book club.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure: Philadelphia 2011

Ok.. I've done something really exciting and crazy. I've signed up to support my niece in the 3-Day for the Cure Susan G. Komen Walk: That is walking 60 miles in 3 days in October. I am so excited to be able to support my niece who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last fall at 24 years old. She's been an amazing inspiration to me and I want to do this to walk by her side and support her every step of the way. Our Team name is Race for Rach's Rack and we are excited to jump in and start training getting ready for October.

This said, I have to raise $2300 Dollars in order to walk on the team by October. So, If you feel it in your heart to support such a cause, any donation - no matter how small - would be appreciated. You can click the link below and it will take you to my donation page.

If you can't give a donation, I hope that you will support my journey to the 3-day/60 mile walk and send me love and encouragement during my training.

Thank you so much for your support!