Michelle Rowen

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I love books

Today’s the day I start working on NIGHTSHADE! Let the procrastination begin! At least when I’m procrastinating writing I do something constructive, so the condo should be very clean and organized for the next couple of weeks. And I’ve been meaning to paint my bedroom walls. Hmm… I’m thinking mango.

I’ll probably also procrastinate by reading. I don’t read half as much as I’d like to. I’m one of those people who will not keep reading a book if it doesn’t capture my interest right away. I’m very hot or cold that way. If I love a book, I really really really love it. But if I don’t love it, well…why waste my time?

catchingfireI got a chance to read an ARC of CATCHING FIRE recently. I didn’t get to THE HUNGER GAMES for quite a while because I didn’t think I’d like it. If everybody seems to be raving about a book, I’ll typically avoid it because my expectations will be too high for it to ever live up to. For example, it took me over a year to get to Twilight after I’d already bought the book. The first chapter didn’t hook me.

When I finally started THE HUNGER GAMES, though, it grabbed me in the very first chapter, sucked me in, beat me up, threw me around, made me cry and laugh and hope and wish for everything to turn out okay in the end. I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t say how much I loved this book. LOVED IT.

It’s basically about a teenaged girl named Katniss who lives in a rather dystopic future where the oppressive government chooses “tributes” in the form of one girl and one boy from each of 12 poverty-stricken districts who will fight to the death in an arena leaving only one winner who, along with their family, will then be given a life of leisure.

But it’s SO MUCH MORE than that with some romance and amazingly layered characters, a twisty plot with heaps of surprises, and it’s so, so, SO GOOD!!! (FYI, I’m totally Team Peeta.) Katniss, while frustratingly realistic in some of her decisions, is vividly alive on the page, super smart, self-sacrificing, and a real survivor. Love her.

Madonna is rumored to have a painting by Frida Khalo on her wall. New visitors to her house are asked if they like it. If they say they don’t, she knows that she can never be friends with them.

I feel the same way about THE HUNGER GAMES. If you hated this book, we probably won’t get along very well. I feel THAT STRONGLY ABOUT IT!!! It ranks in the top three favorite books of all time for me. Close to the top.hunger In fact, I can’t think of another book that I liked better. Wait…let me take a look at my keeper shelf… nope, even ILL WIND by Rachel Caine – the last book that really blew me away – has to step aside a little bit.

So, it was with much trepidation that I picked up the second book, CATCHING FIRE (it’s a trilogy). After how THG ended, I couldn’t fathom how the author, Suzanne Collins, could fill another book…let alone two! The back cover copy only hints at what will happen.

I bow before Ms. Collins. She is the master. I will follow her everywhere and plan to read her backlist asap. She totally succeeded, making CATCHING FIRE arguably more compelling than the first book, mostly because the reader is already invested in these characters. I won’t spoil it by giving anything away, but, while the first third is a little bit action-free compared to THG, this is more than made up for in the rest of the book. IN SPADES.

So there you go. An author whom I now adore that I’m not friends with, have never met, and have no reason to promote. And you must read her immediately!!! But start with THE HUNGER GAMES.

So I’m curious… what’s the book that blew your mind? Your top keeper shelf pick? The one you’d recommend the most?

5 comments to “I love books”

  1. Vivi Anna
     · August 16th, 2009 at 12:43 pm · Link

    The Hunger Games also blew my mind Michelle. It is on my top 10 books of all time.

    I can’t wait to read Catching Fire.

    Graceling by Kristin Cashore also blew me away. Great read.

  2. RKCharron
     · August 16th, 2009 at 2:53 pm · Link

    Hi :)
    I am looking forward to reading the trilogy!
    That was an amazing review and recommendation.
    Thanks for sharing.
    George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is my OhMyGod book so far. I’ve bought & given away four copies of it already. (I shamelessly promote it).
    Love and best wishes,
    twitter: @RKCharron

  3. Tony Palemro
     · August 17th, 2009 at 12:39 am · Link

    Tolkien and Dan Brown are faves for me, so let’s say The Hobbit and Angels & Demons.

    I’m going to definitely check out The Hunger Games!

  4. Nelsa
     · August 17th, 2009 at 9:59 am · Link

    Okay, we’re officially friends for life, Michelle. And my daughters too. My second girl was a total Twilight nut and now she can’t understand why she thought that book series was so good. It’s all Hunger Games all the way. We are all DYING in our house – DYING I tell you – to read Catching Fire when it’s out in September. You’re so lucky to have gotten an ARC!

    As for other books I totally recommend it depends on the genre. For mystery it’s Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Beautifully written, heart-wrenching, wonderful characters. Gah. I re-read it every couple of years.

    For classics – Pride and Predjudice all the way baby.

    And for character driven, quiet YA, Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever.

  5. Michelle Rowen
     · August 17th, 2009 at 10:35 am · Link

    Thanks for the recs everyone. :)

    And Nelsa… the only problem with reading it early is now I have to wait even longer for the next book!! I assume it’ll be out in a year. With how Catching Fire ended, that’s a REALLY LONG TIME! LOL

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