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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games

Hello everyone, and Happy Hunger Games! :) Soon to be in theaters (I can hardly contain myself - going to the midnight showing of Hunger Games tonight!), this trilogy is truly captivating and really caught my attention. This trilogy is an awesome read, and getting so popular carry these books around is trending (best trend ever!).

From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, that includes the capitol and 12 districts, each with a principal industry for the capitol's people. It originally had 13, but District 13 rebelled against the capitol, causing an all out war that in the end left 13 in ruins. The capitol was not only enraged, but grew worried that other districts would rebel and cause the nations downfall. As punishment, and to keep the nation in line, the capitol created the Hunger Games - a cruel show containing 24 children between the ages  of 12-18 in a fight to the death for the capitol's entertainment. The contestants? One girl and one boy randomly chosen from each district. Twelve-year-olds entered in once each, thirteen-year-olds entered twice each, fourteen-year-olds three times each and so on. But its not as random as it seems.  With the lower class starving to death, the capitol takes advantage and gives kids the option of applying for tesserae, one years worth of grain and oil for one person in exchange for entering their name an extra time to be selected for the Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, citizen of the Seam in coal-mining District 12,  has a tough life - with her father dead due to a coal mining accident, sister Primrose too young to work, and her mother too deep in depressive shock to even function like she used to, Katinss is responsible for supporting her family. Everyday she slips under the fence into the woods to hunt, and later sell, game, just like her father taught her. Katniss and Gale, her eighteen-year-old hunting partner and best friend, have been hunting together, trading at the Hob (12's black market), and helping support each other's families since Katniss was twelve.

But everything is about change. The reaping has arrived, and everyone is anxious to no end - what with people like Katniss, whose name is entered 20 times, and Gales' in 42, you can practically feel the tension. "Ladies first!" exclaims Effie Trinket, a capitol girl with ridiculous hair, a ridiculous accent, and ridiculous outlook on life, walking up to the bowl containing names of possible girl tributes. But the name she says into the microphone isn't Katniss. It's Primrose Everdeen. After unfreezing, Katniss automatically jumps in to take her place. Once you start, you won't be able to stop drinking up every word of these epic novels.

(SPOILER ALERT!) Many of my friends hated the ending of Mocking Jay, but I thought it was satisfying because Katniss finally finds purpose in her life. She's happy with having a family and kids that don't grow up in a world where they will always be afraid like she was. I was so upset when Prim died though! I mean, she was the only family member Katniss was truly sure she loved, and struggled to keep her alive through the trilogy only for her to die before the war was over. Anyway, I didn't find Mocking Jay bad. A little depressing at first, but well written and very engaging.

These three are phenomenal reads that I highly recommend for fans of futurism, books with survival themes, or adventure novels. Until next time, May the odds be ever in your favor...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kane Chronicles

Happy Birthday, Sadie Kane! This week, I wanted to do The Kane Chronicles because today is Sadie Kane's Birthday :). This series is still being written (Book 3, The Serpents Shadow, is coming out on May 1st! I am so pumped!), but the two books that are out are great.

Before I begin, I must warn you - the following blog post contains SPOILER ALERTS for The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire.

I read these books when I had strep throat a few weeks ago : /. I was sitting there all miserable and bored, thinking, What to do? Read of course! At first I was reluctant to pick up the Red Pyramid, thinking that it would be a rip off of the Percy Jackson books, another series by Rick Riordan. Boy, was I wrong! I ended up loving them. Although they incorporate egyptian mythology into the modern world, It took on a different angle than the Percy Jackson series.

Fourteen-year-old Carter Kane and twelve-year-old Sadie Kane are two siblings who never see each other. Their father, Julius, is a famous Egyptologist who travels the world with Carter and carries around a mysterious work bag Carter was told never to open.  Sadie lives in London with her Grandparents. They each have what the other wants - for Carter, a normal life. For Sadie, time with her dad. On Christmas eve, Sadie, Carter, and Julius all take a trip to the British Museum, where their dad wants to "set things right". While he tries to fix things, everything takes a turn for the worst.  Julius sneaks into another room with the Rosetta Stone, and his children watch him summon a mysterious figure. The Rosetta stone explodes, and their father is imprisoned in a coffin that sinks into the earth. They later learn that Julius had awakened 5 major egyptian gods - Horus, Isis, Osiris, Nephtys, and - worst of all- Set, god of chaos.  Set is cooking up a scheme that can't be good. Carter and Sadie take on the powers of their ancestors and learn to use ancient egyptian magic on a quest to save the world - and their father.
Riordan leaves you on the edge practically begging for more.

After the cliff hanger left behind from Red Pyramid, I couldn't put down the Throne of Fire. Although I did have a 102 degree fever... but I am rereading it so I make sure the fever didn't make me miss anything! Between the hunt to stop Apophis, Carters' search for Zia, and the conflict between Walt, Sadie, and Anubis - this novel is awesome, and my favorite so far!

Click here for more on The Kane Chronicles.

By the way, Happy St. Patty's Day! Stay tuned next week for the trilogy everyone's talking about (Soon to be a major motion picture, Hint Hint). 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of π (Happy Pi Day!)

Happy Pi Day! Today (March 14th) is Pi day, because 3.14 is the modern-day number used for pi. For those of you who dont know what pi is, the Greek Symbol (π) Pi is the ratio of the circumfrence of a circle to its diameter, and is often used in math and science classes when dealing with circles. Pi day is celebrated internationally by mathematicians and fellow geeks world wide, so don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm! :)

I was first introduced to this book in elementary school in math lab on Pi Day of 2009, and my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Swanson, made sure to well introduce us to this sacred nerd holiday. We spent the whole day walking around the school in teams measuring the circumference, radius, and diameter of spherical or circular objects to see who could complete the pi day work sheet first. The prize - first dibs at whatever slice of pie we pleased! The PTSA moms were nice enough to bring us a variety of pies :).
Anyway, this educational children's book follows Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and their son, Radius. When Sir Cumference drinks a potion that turns him into a dragon, Radius goes on a quest to find the magic number that will restore him back to his former shape - Pi! This book is awesome! :)

Below is the π/pie I baked (it works both ways). :) Click here for the recipe (I made slight modifications - just made PB chocolate chip, without the cookie. So I doubled everything else).

Happy Pi Day! (P.S. Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stargirl and Love, Stargirl

Happy March! This book (Stargirl) I initially had to read for school, but at soon as we finished the first chapter in class, there was no stopping me from practically running to the bookstore ASAP.

Leo Borlock, a tenth-grader at Mica High in Phoenix, Arizona, goes to school every day that is so conformed, its bland as…well, Mica (haha get it?). Until a freckle-nosed-home-schooler with a rather bizarre name (take a wild guess J) comes into play and swirls the school into a multi-colored granite. At first, the curious Stargirl gets the cold shoulder in Arizona, but then she dazzles the town with a spirited performance of a one-girl-half-time-show at a once drab football game.  Suddenly, the school gets back its spirit, and individuality is the newest trend. Beautifully written, Stargirl is absolutely insightful and well conveys the message of how important individuality is.

As for Love, Stargirl, it’s equally delightful. Told in letters from Stargirl to Leo, fans of Stargirl will eat up Stargirl’s optimistic, carefree attitude. Even though it’s not told in Stargirl’s perspective, I felt like I was experiencing the story like a Star-person J. Overall, this pair is quite inspiring.

Any questions, comments, compliments, criticisms, quips, quotes, or quarries? Post a comment! Keep in mind I’ll be happy to review your favorite book.