Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hunger Games Madness Part II: HG Books

So, it's one month after The Hunger Games was released in theatres and you've read The Hunger Games and maybe, just maybe (or more than likely), you decided to keep reading and have read Catching Fire and Mockingjay and are done with Suzanne Collins's trilogy. Well, now what should you read?

I have a few ideas for you which I'll break down into two posts. For this particular post, let's focus on... the spin-off, HG-related print craziness (i.e. the cookbook, tribute guide, etc.). If you haven't already done so, you have to check these books out!

The Hunger Games Tribute Guide / Emily Seife

The ultimate guide to the twenty-four Tributes participating in Panem's 74th annual Hunger Games. Follow the Tributes' journey from the Reaping to the Games, with a look at all teh highlights along the way. Get exclusive information about the Tributes' strengths and weaknesses, their weapons of choice, and their training before entering the arena.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to "Groosling" -- More Than 150 Recipes Inspired by the Hunger Games Trilogy / Emily Ansara Baines

Presents recipes inspired by the Hunger Games novel trilogy, including such dishes as lamb stew, roasted parsnips, and dark chocolate cake.

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion / Kate Egan

From the screenwriting process, casting decisions, and sets and costumes to the actors' performances and directors' vision, fans can go behind the scenes of "The Hunger Games" movie with this companion to the film.

The Hunger Games Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series / Various Authors

The book takes fans deeper into the post-apocalyptic world created by Suzanne Collins--an alternative future where boys and girls are chosen from twelve districts to compete in "The Hunger Games," a televised fight-to-the-death. When sixteen-year-old Katniss learns that her little sister has been chosen, Kat steps up to fight in her place--and the games begin. This unauthorized guide takes the reader behind the stage. The Hunger Games Companion includes fascinating background facts about the action in all three books, a revealing biography of the author, and amazing insights into the series' major themes and features--from the nature of evil, to weaponry and rebellions, to surviving the end of the world.

How about your aural senses? Try The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond movie sound recording! The big names are Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars; various other artists have songs on the disc as well.

If you're such a fan that you've already read (and possibly own) every single HG-related book, then perhaps you're reading for something new to read. Stay tuned for a list of survival, adventure, and dystopian fiction novels. Perhaps one of the books on that list (forthcoming) will help fill the gap until the next HG movie (or book?) is released.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mr. Death's Blue-Eyed Girls / Mary Downing Hahn

TITLE: Mr. Death's Blue-Eyed Girls
AUTHOR: Mary Downing Hahn
OWNED by CCLS? Not yet.

Two teen girls are shot and killed while on the way to school... it was the last day of school before summer break. Everyone in town is sure that the killer is the ex-boyfriend of one of the dead girls, but the police don't have enough evidence to hold him.

What if everyone thought you were guilty of such a horrible crime when you were innocent? And all the time the real killer was still out there...

M's Verdict:Eh. Mary Downing Hahn ghost stories tend to be really popular with local middle school students, so I thought I would see what all the fuss was about. I am going to assume that this book is a little different from her regular tales, because from reading just this one novel, I do not see what all the fuss is about. I'm thinking that since the author based this novel on a real-life murder that took place during her younger years and affected her personally, she got so caught up in the emotions surrounding the horrible tragedy that she was unable to separate and create an enjoyable fictional tale of murder, intrigue, and mystery. The result? An "eh" fiction novel that would have been better presented in a nonfiction format. Also, being based on a murder that happened in the 1950s, I feel that some of the details in regards to brand names, activities, and style/fashion would likely be lost on the intended teen reader. Overall, I'd say skip it and try one of her ghost stories like Deep and Dark and Dangerous, All the Lovely Bad Ones, Wait Til Helen Comes, or The Old Willis Place.

M's Extra Note... So I read this book and wrote this blog post awhile back. Now after having read a few books since, I must admit that MDBEG does have something special that not many books have. As a historical fiction novel, I would recommend it. As a true-life mystery or as realistic fiction, I can't say it would be my first choice. But this novel might be a great transition for readers who like Hahn's other works; ghost story to historical fiction.