Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
I've loved this cover ever since I first saw it. It's so simple, yet so striking!

First Thoughts:
A dystopian society with a battle to the death set for children? This is going to be quite the ride.


My Review:
From the moment I opened the pages, I read this book voraciously, wanting to see what would happen next! Suzanne Collins weaves a world that is similar to ours, yet different enough that you feel slightly disconnected. Her characters jump off the page, and it was so easy for me to feel invested in them. There wasn't a moment in this book where I felt like putting it down!

Katniss is such a spunky protagonist. I loved every minute of her narratives and was rooting for her throughout the story. Following her through her pain, her suffering, her love, was heart wrenching and yet wonderful. This book really looks deeply into the inner self. It reminds us all what we can turn into when it comes down to survival. Her relationships with the sweet Peeta and the self-sufficient Gale were a nice addition to the overall plot. I kept wondering if the choices that Katniss was making were her own, or those of the people around her. I still am wondering who she will end up with.

As an educator, despite the brutality of this book, I would fully recommend it to any of my students!

Thank you Suzanne Collins, and I cannot wait to dive into the next installment.

Book Details
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: Hardcover; 374
Source: Borrowed from library

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] Click to see rating.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Pages: Hardcover; 509
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Source: Purchased
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers of the series, who are looking to finish it up.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter's severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages.

As a long time follower of Dan Brown and all of his books, I was extremely excited when I found out that this book was coming out! I pre-ordered it, and waited anxiously for it to arrive so that I could open it to the first page and find myself sucked into another amazing mystery. After opening the first page and actually diving in, I wasn't disappointed. A mystery ensues, stemming from a severed hand, and Robert Langdon is once off and running on a harrowing mystery.

One problem I did have with this novel was that it is very slow at points. Careening along at breakneck speed at one moment, then slogging through descriptions of scientific theory at another. It is evident that this was important to the overall story, especially as there is a lot of theory that this book is ultimately based on. Still, it kind of slows down the progression. I found myself wanting to actually close the book at some points, which did not happen with the first two. The end of the book lagged especially, trying hurridly to tie up loose ends that weren't addressed earlier in the story.

Although this definitely wasn't my favorite novel by Dan Brown, I was happy with it overall. Robert Langdon's journey was intriguing as always, with it's own special blend of mystery and history. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and of course, to those who are following Robert Langdon on his epic journey.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Review Archive

Welcome to the Review Archive! Below you'll find comprehensive lists of every review that has been posted here on Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile. As you may guess, A = Author and T = Title. Take a look, and find your next read!

Rating System

My book rating system is a little different than most. I've come to terms with the fact that all my 5 star rated books won't always have the same reasons as to why I loved them. That happens when you're an eclectic reader.

Please understand that I always recommend books, even if I personally did not finish them. My opinion is not the only one out there and I fully believe you should pick up any book that catches your eye!

5 Keys to My Heart - This book stole my heart. It may have been the depth of the characters, or it may have been the message that the book put across. What I look for in books at this level changes with the type of story that I'm reading. What causes me to give a book a 5 rating isn't set in stone. Instead these books are ones that captured my imagination, and caused to remember why reading is so important to me. These are stories that I will be sure to read again and again. Ones that I will recommend wholeheartedly to the my friends. These are the old friends that I'll happily revisit, and remember why I truly loved them in the first place.


4 Keys to My Heart - Books rated at this level are ones that captured my attention, but were probably missing that spark that will keep me coming back. I'll always explain what I was missing. These are stories that I still truly loved and will recommend, but that fell a little short of becoming my new favorite.


3 Keys to My Heart - Books rated at this level are stories that I had difficulty getting completely absorbed in. More often than not I eventually end up thoroughly enjoying these books. However in the time it takes me to become invested, I've already wandered off to start another book. As a person who is very big on character development, books at this level usually have characters that I just couldn't fall in love with. I will still always recommend these books.


2 Keys to My Heart - If you see a book rated at this level, it's probably not my style of writing. I rarely, if ever, rate books this low. It's not that I'm afraid to fairly judge a book. It's more that books I rate as a 2 are ones that I almost didn't finish. It takes a lot for me not to finish a book. If I rate a book at this level I will always explain exactly what happened to make this a difficult read. Again, always recommended.


1 Key to My Heart - It is very unlikely you will ever see books rated at this level, because this means I was unable to finish the book. Generally I will not review books I could not finish, but if the review is expected I need to have this rating available. Books rated here were books that I personally was unable to finish for whatever reason (it will always be explained) but that I still recommend as a library read if you read the synopsis first.

Review Policy

Review Request Status
(effective 12/12/13)

Due to a huge response upon opening review requests, I must regrettably now close them again. It is always humbling to me how many authors are interested in my opinion! You make what I do worth it. I promise I'll open requests again just as soon as I can!


About the reviewer: 

I devour books. If I was pressed to choose a favorite genre, I'd have to go with Science Fiction or Fantasy. I've been escaping into books like those since I was a much younger reader! Still, I'm extremely eclectic in my reading. Whether it's Children's Fiction or a Romance novel, I'll likely give it a chance.

I very rarely accept Non-Fiction books for review, with the exception of an occasional Memoir. Also I will accept Erotica, but it may not be reviewed on the blog. I have a wide age range of readers. If you are still interested in a review, I will happily post it on Goodreads, Amazon, and any other media outlets.

*Contacting me with a review request:

If you believe that I am right to review your book, you can contact me by clicking the envelope icon to the left of this page, or by navigating to the "Contact Me" section in the navigation bar. I always appreciate an easily accessible synopsis to read over, and I love to hear the story behind your book!

Note that your review request will be filed away until the end of the current month, and I will schedule you in for the next month.

Review Deadlines:

I am the only reviewer here at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile. I do currently have a ghost reader who sometimes assists me with ebook review requests. She's wonderful. However I am the sole person who actually writes reviews. This means my reading list books rather quickly.

When emailing me if you can give me an idea of what timeline you are looking at, I'll be happy to try to oblige! Blog tours take preference over just reviews, but I also make time to fit everything in as best I can.

My new 2014 blog calendar is being filled on a selective basis. If I have space for a review, I will email you back with a tentative review date. Please remember that even if I don't have space for a review at the time, I'd love to have you as a guest! Promotional posts are also part of my monthly calendar.

Formats Accepted for Review:
* ARCs
* Finished Copies
* Galleys
* eBooks (Kindle format)
* .PDF files
* Audio Books (MP3 files or MP3 CDs preferred)

Interviews, Guest Posts, Blog Tours and Giveaways:

I know that these are the meat and potatoes of the publishing world, and also the easiest way to spread the word about books. Therefore, I am always more than happy to take part in any promotions that you might like to host on my blog.

For Interviews, please let me know if you'd like me to read your book before writing questions or if you'd just like generic ones.

For Guest Posts, I always love to give you the option of writing whatever you please. However if you are in need of a topic let me know! I am quite good at coming up with them. Guest Posts should be between 300-500 words.

For Giveaways, please send the terms for the giveaway in your initial email. Where are you willing to mail the prize? How long would you like it to run? Are there any specific items you'd like entrants to complete as a means of entering?

As I mentioned above, Blog Tours take precedence in my schedule. If you would like me to join a blog tour, please provide information about what dates are available. I'll always make room in my schedule.

Thank you!

Contact Information

Twitter: @roses7184
Goodreads: Jessica Torres
LibraryThing: roses7184

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Fabulous Affiliates!

Now you might be asking yourself, well what is an affiliate?

An affiliate is someone who I choose to link my blog with! We have similar interests and goals, plus I adore the way that they handle themselves and their blogs. As a team, we host events, help one another promote contests and just network!

Here is a bit about my current affiliates and their blogs!

Linna runs 21 Pages and is just an amazing individual! She mainly reviews Young Adult books, and has a personality that shines off the page. Give her blog a visit!

Raila runs Books Out of the Bookshelves and she was one of the first book bloggers I asked to join me! She has the sweetest disposition, and you know what else? Raila blogs in TWO languages. Yup!

Heather runs A Bibliophile's Paradise and is one of my all time favorite people. She's a busy mommy and going to school at the same time, so she isn't around as much. Still when she does post, her content is great!

That brings us to Kailia who runs Reading The Best of The Best and is a sweetheart! I had the pleasure of meeting her when I first started out and she was very supportive. Her blog is extremely cute. Need I say more?

So there you have it! Fabulous affiliates! Thanks for stopping by! 

About Me

Yes, that's me. I'm not afraid to admit it!

My name is Jessica Nottingham and I am, among other things, a certified bibliophile. Chances are that anytime you see me I'll be carrying a book. There's also a strong possibility that you might see this face. I get pretty excited about things sometimes. It's a fact.

To save you a lengthy explanation, I'll stick to the facts. When I was younger I read a lot. In fact, I read every book in our local library meant for children and had to move on to adult books at the age of 12. They put me on the panel for new book purchases, simply because I kept asking for new reads. Did I mention I really like books? Now that I'm in my 20's, my bibliophilic tendencies border on hoarding. One can never have too many books!

I started this blog in April 2010 as an outlet for my obsession. It was nice to be able to stop harassing my best friends with book recommendations, and start sharing those with people who genuinely wanted them. Also I'm just a sucker for sharing my opinion. What can I say? When you blog, you have the power.

My tastes include everything from Historical Fiction to Paranormal Romance. I have just as much love for picture books as I do for comics or novels! I've tried to keep my blog as eclectic as possible, and it is my hope that you'll find something to love while you're here! Books, love, my insane personality, I think that about covers it. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you stay awhile!

Much love my friends!


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