Tag Archives: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

WWW Wednesdays – August 22, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

You may have noticed I skipped this week’s WordPress photo challenge. The theme was “merge” and I was very uninspired. I’ve also been dealing with some growing health concerns for the past few weeks with no diagnostic yet. I’ve realized that worry can really put a damper on creativity. Even reading doesn’t bring as much relief as I’d like it to.  :-(

My bookshelf

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins– What I’m currently reading
Tonight I’ll be starting Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the last book of The Hunger Games series. I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up.

– What I recently finished reading
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Wow, I never saw what happened in the last 30 pages of this book coming. I’m so glad I’m finally reading this series.
 
– What I think I’ll read next
Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. Eventually I’ll get to it, right?
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Mrs Watson wants your teeth by Allison Mc GheeWhat they’re currently reading
Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth by Alison McGhee. On her first day of school a first grader becomes scared after a second grader tells her that her teacher is a 300-year-old alien with a purple tongue who steals baby teeth from her students. And our first grader has a wobbly tooth, oh no!

–  Simply Delicious! by Margaret Mahy. A father tries to take a double-dip-chocolate-chip-and-cherry ice cream cone home to his son, but a whole bunch of jungle animals chase his bike to get to the ice cream first. This is a very funny book, in which you get to say “double-dip-chocolate-chip-and-cherry ice cream cone” about a dozen times. Go ahead, try it.

Fluffy plants a jelly bean by Kate McMullanWhat they recently finished reading
I just discovered the Fluffy book series by Kate McMullan and the kids love the stories. Fluffy is the classroom guinea pig and he’s got a big imagination (and a big ego). Our favorite books so far are:
Fluffy Plants a Jelly Bean: you’d think nothing will grow when you plant a jelly bean, but leave it to Fluffy to actually manage to sprout something out of the ground.
Fluffy Meets the Dinosaurs: Fluffy sneaks in at the Natural History Museum with his class. When he finds out his cousins are rats and mice and his ancestors were skiddish wild cavies, he decides to rewrite history and make the T-Rex his legitimate ancestor. My four-year old asked me to read this book every night for several nights in a row – a big hit.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – August 15, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games– What I’m currently reading
I know I said I’d read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine next but my friend Mia was kind enough to let me borrow her Hunger Games books (I must have looked quite desperate). So I’m about to start Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to The Hunger Games and I can’t wait to see what happens!

– What I recently finished reading
 A Teeny Bit of Trouble by Michael Lee West, the sequel to Gone With A Handsomer Man. This book is darker and not as funny as the first one but I still enjoyed reading it. When dealing with such a murder mystery, humor can only take it so far. Teeny, the main character, always manages to dig up trouble wherever she goes, and that makes for an entertaining story that keeps you turning the pages.
 
– What I think I’ll read next
Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins, the last book of The Hunger Games series.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Bunnicula the vampire bunny by James HoweWhat they’re currently reading
Bunnicula: The Vampire Bunny by James Howe. This book is the shorter version of the original Bunnicula, allowing my independent reader to enjoy the story in one sitting. Chester the cat shares his suspicions about Bunnicula, the new family rabbit, with Howie the dog. He sets off to prove that Bunnicula is a vampire bunny because he sucks vegetables until they turn white. Spooky and hilarious! We read many of the Bunnicula books a while ago but they’re so good, they’re worth reading again.

Earthquack! by Margie Palatini. Similar to the Chicken Little story, this books tells of a small duck who panics when he feels the earth grumbling and rumbling under his webbed feet. He manages to scare all the barn animals until the group reaches a hungry weasel, who sees all the ingredients for a good dinner. This story has a happy ending, at least for the barn animals, and a couple of moles happen to be responsible for the earthquack. A cute story for little ones.

Hogwash by Karma WilsonWhat they recently finished reading
Hogwash by Karma Wilson. The farmer is on a mission to bathe all his farm animals, but when he gets to the pig sty, he faces a lot of resistance from the pigs who enjoyed their mud bath too much to get out and get clean.

– We enjoyed the adventures of Minerva Louise the hen, the funny books by Janet Morgan Stoeke, including Minerva Louise and the Red Truck and Minerva Louise on Halloween. Minerva Louise may not be too sharp but she sure is funny, trying to interpret things around her based on her own observations.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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