Saturday, May 29, 2010

What I'm Reading Now-Catching Fire

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins-When I reviewed The Hunger Games last June, I said I would be reading Catching Fire "soon." Does almost exactly one year later count as soon?  Oh, well, I read it, and that's what counts.  I enjoyed The Hunger Games, but I think I liked Catching Fire better. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't read all the hype leading up to it like I did with THG and, therefore, did not have any unmet expectations or if it was because I just couldn't figure out what could be as bad as Katniss and Peeta having to participate in the Hunger Games. They won, they made it back home, they are guaranteed a life of relative prosperity and peace. What could happen? Oh, lots of things, as it turns out!

The one tiny complaint that I have about these books is that Katniss strikes me as being so obtuse at times.  She can think on her feet and assess these crazy life-or-death situations, but she doesn't seem to be able to put two and two together when it comes to other things (like the fact that Gale and/or Peeta might actually have feeeelings for her).  I can't really say more than that because the particular example I'm thinking of would give a lot much in fact, that Katniss should have figured it out by the time she had all this information!  I don't know.  Maybe I'm being too hard on the girl.  Maybe if I were sixteen and fighting for my life and constantly worrying about the fate of my family, I would miss the more subtle stuff too.  What do you think?  Am I being too critical of Katniss?  Should I hold my tongue until after I've had to compete in a Hunger Games and then we'll see what I think of her critical thinking abilities?  Is this a plot device that YA authors use to make their readers feel smart because they've managed to figure out something that the main character has yet to see?  Well, it worked.  Being (at least) twice her age and having the luxury of sitting around and reading about all the horrible things going on in Katniss' life from the safety of my couch, I feel way smart having figured out what I figured out...yeah, OK, maybe  I'm being a little hard on her.

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)Now I find myself in the same dilemma I was in a year ago:  I enjoyed Catching Fire and am looking forward to the final book in the series, Mockingjay (which comes out August 24, 2010), but now I'm worried that it won't be as good as the other two.  While I left THG thinking, What could happen now? I have a pretty good idea of where things are headed now, and I'm worried I won't like reading about it because where I think it's headed is not really my thing.  So far though, Suzanne Collins has not let me down, so I'm staying optimistic.

Other reviews:
Nicole at Linus's Blanket
Sheila at Book Journey
Amy at My Friend Amy
Raych at books i done read
Lori at She Treads Softly
Anna at Diary of an Eccentric

There are a few reviews that I ran across that I didn't include here because they contain what some readers might not consider a spoiler but what I thought was a major spoiler.  I didn't know this thing was coming, so when it happened in the book, I was like, "NOOOOOOOOO!" (actually, I might have said something else, but I won't print that here) and far be it from me to ruin such a horrifying moment for anyone else!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Product Review-Organic Bouquet

I am here again to give you a post-Mother's Day review of Organic Bouquet.  I know this might be more helpful right before Mother's Day, but I never have any results until after.  So, just tuck this away in your brain until the next time you need to send flowers.

This year, I sent my mom the Deluxe Lily Bouquet.  You can click on the link to see the advertised product, and here is the picture of the actual product, taken five days after delivery.  I think they did a pretty good job!  (The vase is not included in the price-it belongs to my mom.)

Last year, I sent my mom the Spring Sunflower Bouquet, which, if I'm not mistaken, appears to have been renamed The Wilderness Society Sunflower Delight Bouquet as part of Organic Bouquet's Flowers for Good TM collection.  Anyway, I was very happy with last year's results, and I am very happy with this year's as well.  My mom sent me an email today telling me that she has one bloom still hanging in there, which isn't bad after two weeks.

I don't have any affiliation with Organic Bouquet.  I just thought I'd put the information out there.   

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-May 2010

Happy May, everybody!  It's the 15th of the month, which means Carol over at May Dreams Gardens is hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  It's the place to go to show off what's blooming in your garden today and to see what everybody else has blooming in theirs!

The last couple months have been a little slow for me, garden-wise, so I  was very happy to get out into my garden today and see lots of things blooming.

As I step out my front door, I can't overlook my night-blooming jasmine.  While the flowers aren't much to look at, they fill the night air with an amazing scent.  Mmmmmmmmm!

I haven't had much luck with geraniums in the past, but this new arrival is doing well so far.  Hopefully, it will continue to thrive.

Something odd is happening here.  My previously-purple, now-white agapanthus is preparing to bloom, but the weird part is, there are flowers appearing about half-way up the stem.  What's going on there??

The color of my lobelia continues to thrill me, and today I decided it would make a nice backdrop for my orchid (Onc. Papilio x Kalihi).

I don't know what kind of daylily this is, but it smells great!

I just repotted four strawberry plants, and I'm glad to see they are all in bloom!

This is another new acquisition, Cuphea llavea.  So far, it has all the brilliant color of a fuchsia with none of the tendency to die immediately upon coming into my care.  

For some reason, I always forget to get a picture of my canna when it's in bloom.  Not today!  I even got a few pictures of how it looks as it's preparing to bloom.

I love the little fringe of yellow peeking out, like the edge of a flamenco dancer's skirt preparing to unfurl.

As the yellow matures to orange, the canna is almost ready to open.

This is a blooming first in my yard.  My bird of paradise put on its first show, just in time for my family's visit last week!

I love seeing my bleeding heart, Clerodendrum thomsonae, bloom because it happens so rarely.  This plant has always been planted in less-than-ideal locations, so flowering has been rare.  I think this is the first time it has bloomed since it was dug up out of my front yard and replanted in a pot a year-and-a-half ago.  

You can see how the flowers start out as tiny white droplets...

And then mature into bright red and white beauties.

My miniature rose opened up today, just in time for GBBD.

As always, Den. Pam Tajima (altroviolaceum 'Pygmy' x eximium) has something going on.  Thanks to  Bybee's comment on last month's GBBD post, I now think of these as my Braille flowers! 

Also, still holding it's own from last month, is this pretty pink/lavender mystery orchid.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have lots of beautiful things going on in your garden today!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sunset and Moonrise

These pictures are from a couple weeks ago when my dad was out here visiting.  We spent the day in  Honolulu and then caught the sunset from Magic Island.  As we drove home, we were graced with a  beautiful moonrise and pulled over to get some more pictures.     

The pictures above were taken from Kualoa Beach Park.  I love that the moon is so bright that you can see not only Chinaman's Hat in the foreground but also the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in the background (the part that kind of looks like a turtle).   

This last picture was taken just a little bit past Kahana Bay Beach Park.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My teef

They are no more.  Since I was 18-years-old, dentists have been telling me that I should have my wisdom teeth pulled.  I have been steadfastly ignoring this advice.  Until today.  I finally had to have it done, and if you'll notice the nice sideways position of said teeth, I'm sure you'll see why I was nervous about this little procedure. (Please kindly ignore the eight pounds of metal in my mouth.)

Here's the thing:  All the dentists I've had over the years, and there have been many, have said that I need to have them removed because 1) the pocket that was formed between my molars and my wisdom teeth was an ideal place for food and/or bacteria to get caught, which would ultimately lead to cavities and/or infection and 2) the older you are the harder it is to recover from such a procedure.  These were all risks I was willing to try to avoid by doing things like brushing, flossing, and water-picking.  As it turns out, I finally got a cavity that couldn't be filled with my wisdom tooth in place.

The thing that NONE of my dentists ever told me was that my wisdom teeth would continue to grow as I got older, the roots getting longer and more deeply embedded in the bone and possibly entwined with a major nerve as I got older.  I assume they would stop at some point and not just grow out my neck, but I didn't find any confirmation of this in the literature in the oral surgeon's waiting room this morning.  Maybe I just didn't read far enough.  Anyway, as you can imagine, all of this stuff makes extraction more difficult.  These are facts that probably would have been more convincing to me than "you might have trouble down the road."  WTF, dentists?  All my other teeth were fully formed; I assumed my wisdom teeth were too.  I didn't know they would keep growing, thereby making future extraction more difficult.  Am I the only one who has been led down the road of complacency by this lack of information?  Am I the only one who didn't know your wisdom teeth keep growing well into adulthood? (Also, this x-ray is from 11 years ago, so presumably you can imagine roots that are a little longer and more difficult to extract.)

Anyway, I am doing OK right now, but I am a little miffed that they seem to have removed my lower lip along with my wisdom teeth.  I can, however, do an excellent rendition of Bill Cosby's "The Dentist".  Sorry I can't embed, but it's definitely worth clicking over if you've never heard it!  Please enjoy while I go ice my face.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What I'm Reading Now-The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One (Hardcover)The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking:  Book One) by Patrick Ness-Here's what I wrote on Good Reads right after I finished this book:  This is a dark book with some difficult subject matter. I'm tempted to read the next book in the series, but I don't see how things can get any better, and I don't know if I can handle it if it gets any worse. It's not looking good for our hero. Do not read this book if you are already depressed and looking for something to get you out of your funk! 

I think that mostly covers it, but I suppose that doesn't tell you much about the book.  So:  In Todd's hometown, Prentisstown, he is the only boy left in a town of only men.  His birthday is approaching, and when it arrives he will have reached the age of manhood.  He knows there is some rite of passage associated with this, but he doesn't really have any idea what it is, just that once boys become men, they more or less stop talking to the boys in town.

Prentisstown is a settlement on another planet that is very similar to Earth except for one thing, the Noise.   Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts, and the result is, well, noisy.  Imagine if all the random thoughts you have throughout the day were broadcast out into the world for anyone within hearing distance to pick up.  Animals' thoughts can also be heard, and I like the way that Ness handled this particular part of the story.  Manchee, Todd's dog, thinks about the way you'd expect a dog to think-a lot about food, poo, and squirrels, and not too deeply about any of those-but he's also got that dog sense that makes him able to pull through for Todd in tough situations.  When Todd and Manchee discover a spot of quiet in the swamp one day, Todd finds the lack of noise eerie and isn't sure what to make of it.  He returns home and tells his guardians, Ben and Cillian, about the hole in the noise, and all hell breaks loose.  They send him on the run with some cryptic information and tell him to get far away because the men of Prentisstown will have picked up on this thoughts and will soon be coming for him, and they won't be coming to congratulate him on his strange new find.

Todd and Manchee are on an adventure, but it is fraught with peril and mystery.  Todd finds out that a lot of the things he knew were not what they seemed, and he discovers a lot of dark secrets along the way.  I was thoroughly captivated by the story, but as I said, this is not a light and happy read.  I do have one tiny nit-picky thing, and that is the accents.  Ness tries to employ a...Southern?  Olde English?...?...accent for part of the book, and it was really distracting for me.  There didn't really seem to be any reason for it that I could garner, and I was just irritated with the people who were talking for using archaic clumsy language.  Not their fault, I know, but still...

I know there have been quite a few reviews of this book lately, but according to my notes, I was first convinced by Raych at books i done read and Darren at Bart's Bookshelf.

Other reviews:

Trish at Hey Lady!  Whatcha Readin'? 
Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made On... 
Nymeth at things mean a lot