Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. 

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Teens...or anyone else who remembers high school
High point: Helen's journey of self-discovery
Low point:  Mean girls
Reader maturity: 15+

This is a horrible way to start a review, but bear with me:  I'm really, really surprised that I liked this book. But I did! I really liked it! Everything from the cover to the plot to the ending, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is a fun and awesome novel.

I don't like stories about revenge or high school or angst or mean girls, and before I read it, the backstabbed doll on the front creeped me out a little. However, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood gets into the emotional side of being a mean girl and how being a mean girl affects the nice girl that lives inside (assuming that a nice girl exists there at all, that is).

Eileen Cook struck a delicate balance between explaining Helen's past and a pity party, which would've ruined the whole charade. She also deliberately walked the line between Helen's indoctrination as a full on mean girl and her reluctance to let go of being the person she knew she should be. Both of these are tricky, but important, plot points, and they're spot on.

Helen's not a good role model, by any stretch, but she's an interesting narrator, and Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is a well executed tale about how hard high school is--for everybody.

Title:  Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
Author:  Eileen Cook
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from The Bookologist

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Infinite Days

Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.

Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?

 [from Goodreads]
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Tried-and-true vampire novel readers who'd like a little twist
High point:  The blend of historical and contemporary
Low point:  The drama!
Reader maturity: 15+

Infinite Days is a unique story in and of itself, even before taking into account the ex-vampire aspects of it. From a time travel perspective, Rebecca Maizel did a wonderful job of giving Lenah the wonder and confusion that would be expected of someone who leapt forward 100 years. Lenah's acceptance of 21st century life is speedy, but that's explained by her life as a centuries-old vampire who spent her years adjusting to the modes of the time, if not the morals.

I was fascinated by Lenah's adventures in our day and age, almost as if reading a diary. Infinite Days is written from Lenah's perspective, which, while not quite historical, isn't like most modern fiction. It was an interesting choice, daring even, but it works really well to showcase Lenah's story.

Like most YA vampire novels, Infinite Days is a little bit campy and dramatic, but if you were looking for serious fiction, you wouldn't be in the supernatural YA section anyway, now would you? The camp, the drama, Lenah's former wickedness and the devotion of her coven--they're all tied together so skillfully that even though I knew what happened to Lenah in the present day, my curiosity was still piqued as I read about her past exploits.

This is one of the more serious YA vampire novels I've read, which is strange for me to say, because I can't put my finger on what, exactly, was so different about it. Lenah's past was pure evil, of course, and her presently evil coven is out to get her. And Lenah engages in certain...adult pastimes before she's reborn as a mortal...But beyond that, there's something that takes Infinite Days out of the realm of fluffy paranormal fiction to something more classically literary in nature.

Along with my warning about adult vampire activities, there was also some swearing, but neither of those is too prevalent or descriptive. Infinite Days is a great start to a new vampire series that paranormal YA readers will really enjoy!

Title:  Infinite Days
Author:  Rebecca Maizel
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Reading Nook

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Books: Letting Go

I own a lot of books.

That's the understatement of the year. I'm a bit of a packrat by nature, and when combined with my love of reading, this turns into insanity. I don't even want to think about what the collected dust has done to my lungs over the years. Fortunately for my imagination (and maybe unfortunately for my health), I refuse to stop buying and keeping the books I love.

However, since becoming a book reviewer and winning books or receiving them for review, my scale for Books That Can Stay has changed. I've sold three bags of books (What? That's a lot for me!), and I'm preparing another bag or two. I've found so many new books that I love and have to get rid of some of the old ones that I thought I loved.

I have three criterion for whether or not to keep books:
  1. Did I love it? This is obviously the most important. If I didn't love it or it's not special to me somehow (got me through a rough time, gifted to me, etc.), then does it really need to be taking up space?
  2. Re-readability. Will I ever read it again? No? Probably not? Then get rid of it!
  3. Condition. This is the least important of the three, but if I'm vacillating based on criterion 1 or 2, then I consider #3.
Now that I'm entering so many book blogger giveaways, there's also a slight consideration for a criterion #1b:  Is it signed by the author? Is it personalized? How much does that signature mean to me?

What do you use to help you decide which books stay and which books go? How do you convince yourself to get rid of books that you know you don't really need?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review of Before I Fall

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

[from Goodreads]

Rating:   5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Anyone?
High point: The concept and execution
Low point:  As a rule, I dislike mean girls, so...
Reader maturity:  15+

Before I Fall is one of the most powerful--if not the most powerful--YA book I've read to date. It's poignant and sad and dramatic and inevitable, all rolled up into one completely consuming package.

Before my sprint through Before I Fall (it was sooo good!), I read some interviews with the author, Lauren Oliver, where she talked about what she was thinking while writing this novel. I don't know how she managed to craft something so intense into her first novel, but she did a brilliant job of it.

It's going to be hard to review this without spoiling anything so proceed with caution. Samantha Kingston lives Friday, February 12 as if it's just another day. But it isn't. It's her last. However, she gets the chance to try again--seven times. Each time she tries the day a little differently, trying to stumble upon the magic formula that will save her.

Before I Fall could easily have turned into a boring, repetitive, Groundhog-Day-type novel, but that comparison completely left my thoughts after I read through the second day. Each day reveals something new and important, both to the reader and to Sam. We get to see her evolution from alive Sam Kingston to post-alive Sam Kingston. The changes are so subtle and yet so thorough that it's impossible not to empathize with her, even though she was insufferable in the beginning. She grows more in those seven days than she ever had in her entire life, and the transformation is amazing.

As for the maturity rating, Before I Fall contains some drinking, innuendo and talk of a sexual nature so it's a book for mid-to-older teens, but it's nothing too mature.

In summation, Lauren Oliver is an extremely talented author, and her writing is amazing, as is the entirety of Before I Fall. But don't take my word for it--this is a book you really need to get your hands on!

Title:  Before I Fall
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from BookLove:  Teen

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Low Red Moon

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. 

Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.

Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. 
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Werewolf phenom fans
High point:  The emotional aspect
Low point:  The lightning fast romance
Reader maturity: 13+

Low Red Moon follows Avery Hood as she tries to piece together the events of the night her parents were killed. She was there, a witness, but she can't remember more than flashes of color and movement. And then there's the new boy in town...

I read Low Red Moon on a sunny Friday afternoon, but I was transported to Avery's woods, with its deep, dark rumors of shapeshifting, bloodthirsty creatures. For a supernatural novel, it's very subtle, exploring town and family politics over the myths and abilities of the superhuman, which makes it an emotional read rather than a thriller.

Since the novel is set in the wake of the death of Avery's parents, she is, obviously, consumed with grief. While the reader sympathizes with her, we're never bogged down by it. Her grandmother is, though an unlikely candidate, the rock that holds her firm and allows Avery to move forward with her life. Then there's the new student...

He was a stunning love interest, but, while I could certainly understand Avery's attraction, their romance progressed really, really fast, which made me a little uncomfortable as I turned the pages, unsure of what exactly I would find. But it's okay--the author allowed the two to remain chaste, enabling the book to appeal to a wider range of readers.

Title:  Low Red Moon
Author:  Ivy Devlin
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Sarah's Random Musings

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Amaranthine Review: Ender's Game

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Sci-fi fans, especially those new to or unsure about the genre
High point: The twist at the end
Low point:  The emotional manipulation
Reader maturity:  10+

One of my friends bought me Ender's Game and one of the companion books, Ender's Shadow, and the first thing I have to say about it--after "thank you," of course--is this:  "Why didn't anyone put this book in my hands earlier?!"

I'm not much of a sci-fi fan (well, ask the friend who bought this for me, and she'd probably tell you that my nose goes up a few inches upon a mere mention of that genre), but this was amaaaazing. My lunches last 30 minutes every day, and I finished Ender's Game in 4 days. Yeah, that's how fast I read it, all 324 pages, because it was that good!

Ender is an eerily smart little boy at the beginning of the novel, and he's shaped and manipulated into one of the greatest combat masterminds of all time. Unlike the other boys his age, he stops to think about the consequences of his future actions, but he's so young and still so naive that he's swept away in war games and battle simulations. Rather than being a far-fetched sci-fi novel full of techno-babble and pseudo-science, Ender's Game plays to the human sacrifices and reactions of those who allow themselves to be--or choose to be--pawns in someone else's game.

And the twist at the end?! Oh my goodness, I never saw it coming!! I was floored as equally as Ender. Now that your interest is [hopefully] piqued, go grab a copy of Ender's Game!

Title:  Ender's Game
Author:  Orson Scott Card
Genre:   Science Fiction
Year:   1985
Book Source:  Received as personal gift

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Box is Bookish

I got this from Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time. It's been making the blogging rounds so you may have seen it. Here's how many I've read! (And it's waaaaaay more than the 6 the BBC thinks most people have read. Does that make me an avid reader or an avid American reader? Or just smarter than the average bear?)

I'm going to copy Nicole's method of using bold for books I've read all the way through and italics for books I've read part of (either started or read excerpts).

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma -Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguri
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

My score is... ("Drumroll, please!")...38! Honestly, that's not as many as I thought it'd be. It's interesting that I've read many of the ones in bold more than once, or even twice, like Harry Potter, The Secret Garden and Brave New World, among others. That is the mark of a great book--one that can be read for edification and entertainment again and again.

What are your favorite books to re-read?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review of Jane

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   1.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Readers not yet introduced to the classics
High point: The concept
Low point:  Predictable and graphic
Reader maturity:  17+

First off, I feel it's only fair to point you to my review of the original story of Jane Eyre, of which I'm not particularly enamored. The saving graces of Charlotte Bronte's version are the classic elements of the writing and upstanding morals of the heroine, neither of which are possessed by the modern retelling, Jane.

Because Jane is an updated version of Jane Eyre, the author stuck to the general outline of the original, which, while truer to the story that way, made the novel very predictable. This in itself would not be a bad thing except that I was hoping for a stronger heroine for today's readers. The Jane in this story is as blank a canvas as the original, if a bit more boring in her lack of personality. She is, like the original, dedicated to her 6 year old charge, Maddy, and very responsible.

While I understand the difficulties in finding a decent modern-day equivalent of Mr. Rochester--brooding, moody, something of a gentleman bad-boy--I had a hard time picturing him as a rock star. Though I didn't care for Mr. Rochester, his affection for Jane was obvious; however, Mr. Rathburn (the rock star) didn't convince me of his love for Jane, possibly due solely to being the former bad-boy rock star.

Readers of Jane Eyre will be familiar with Jane's flight from Thornfield Hall. In Jane, Jane's time spent with the siblings Diana, Maria and River were lovely. Jane began to develop a personality and some good sense. The sisters were richly written, and even their occasionally inscrutable brother was believably portrayed. Actually, I prefer the new version of River to the original character. I saw the attraction and the misunderstanding between Jane and River much more clearly in the remake. If the rest of the novel had followed in a similar vein, with a determined Jane, I think I might have enjoyed it more.

Jane, presumably as part of the attempt to create something hip and edgy, has several adult scenes in it, one in detail. My cleanliness preferences aside, I found this untrue to the character of Jane, who, in the original, is intensely defined by her propriety.

If this weren't a remake, I probably wouldn't be so critical. Weak heroines aside, there isn't anything wrong with the plot or the writing. In fact, I think if the author had been writing a similar novel separate and apart from Jane Eyre, there would've been more wriggle-room for Jane's development, which could have created a great story in its own right.

Title:  Jane
Author:  April Lindner
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Stories & Sweeties

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Seers of Light

Lillian Hunt has never truly lived. Always sensing more to the world than is easily perceived, she fears that her instincts are stubborn flights of fancy, or worse, mental instability. But some things—disappearing strangers, tangible dreams, and visits from malevolent creatures—cannot be ignored. Before it's too late, Lillian is ripped from the only existence she’s ever known and thrust into a reality that she always suspected, but could scarcely believe. She must learn the truth about who she is, the powerful beings that wish to destroy her, and the two men who would die to protect her.

Jennifer DeLucy has created a unique, enchanting tale of destiny and the ageless power of love in her debut novel, Seers of Light. DeLucy's novel charms readers with quirky characters, while sketching a haunting portrait of one woman's journey on the path of the supernaturally gifted. But be prepared. Once you've entered the world of Seers, you will never be the same.

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Adult paranormal readers
High point:  The plethora of supernatural beings
Low point:  The needless mature content
Reader maturity: 17+

While I enjoyed the plot and details of Seers of Light, I feel that its prudent to warn you:  Seers of Light is not a YA novel. I mistakenly thought it was and got quite the surprise about halfway through. Due to some explicit content and repeated swearing, this is definitely not a novel for teens. Please keep in mind that, below, I am reviewing the plot of the novel and not the adult content.

Seers of Light is an interesting take on the plethora of supernatural creatures dotting the current literary landscape. The take on vampires, ghosts and clairvoyants is fresh, and I love the combination of all these creatures under one roof. Lillian's training was interesting, as were some of the cases that the Seers were called to take care of. I would've liked to see more of them in action, because that's where the meat of the story really existed for me.

Aside from being too easily swayed by others' opinions, Lillian was a decent narrator--appropriately cautious and confused, if also too quick to anger, like another Seer, Christian. At first, her mentor, Abram, seemed too all-knowing and reticent to be taken seriously, but his even keel and careful conversations keep him from coming across as too cheesy.

There were a lot of supporting characters in Seers of Light, some of whom had a bigger role than others. The main two besides Lillian--Christian and William--were well thought-out, if somewhat predictable characters. The minor characters varied between standing at the sidelines or stealing the show with random antics.

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with Seers of Light because of the adult content. Take all that away, and you're left with a solid paranormal novel that could appeal to audiences of many ages and preferences. There's action, mystery, romance and, obviously, paranormal. As it stands, if you're not the type to be bothered by anything 17+, you might enjoy the interesting themes in Seers of Light.

Title:  Seers of Light
Author:  Jennifer DeLucy
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Received for review from Omnific Publishing

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm a Little Late to the Party...

But better late than never, right?

Last week, Border's offered their first ever 50% off coupon, and since Border's is my favorite new-book store (there aren't any indies around that I know of), I bought this:

Just the first one, and I can't wait to get started! Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think? (But don't leave me any spoilers; I want to be surprised!)