The Hunger Games

It’s another cold day in Florida! (Cue the eye-rolling of everyone not living in Florida. πŸ˜‰ )

Chilly weather = HOT breakfast

Breakfast

Good news for those of you who are sick of my cinnamon raisin and muenster cheese bagelwiches… I am now out of both muenster cheese and cinnamon raisin bagel thins. Boo!

This morning I used the last of my supplies to make a bagelwich with gooey cheese and warm Granny Smith apple slices. (I ate the remainder of the apple that didn’t make it into the bagelwich.)

Cheeeeez Fo' Me

So Good. Seriously.

Sadie wanted in on this hot fire after she shivered through our morning walk.

"Cheese?"

I wasn’t about to give up a bite of my breakfast, but I did give Sadie a piece of chicken jerky and played her new favorite song aloud on my phone for her.

Take it Away, Babe Mice!

Okay, so I played that song just as much for me as I did for her. It was mutually beneficial. :)

And before I forget… This morning’s workout included a BodyPump class followed by 20 minutes on the elliptical.

I spent my time on the elliptical reading Better Homes & Gardens. I naturally I skipped every single page about gardening because I kill any plant I come in contact with, but I lingered over the incredibly beautiful pictures of the homes in the magazine and daydreamed about the day when Ryan and I have a house of our own to decorate. I can’t wait!

Moving right along…

The Hunger Games

Thanks to the recommendations that I received from many of you, about a month ago, Ryan and I started reading The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

The Hunger Games

We finished the third and final book in the series, Mockingjay, over the weekend and now that we’re completely done with the series, here are my thoughts:

  • First things first, The Hunger Games series are not non-fiction books about food as I originally thought. (Note: Do not judge a book by its title.)
  • If you want to read a true page-turner, pick up any book in this series. Ryan and I both agreed that the books are captivating, exciting and fun to read.
  • The series is not a “feel good” series. I went to bed at night feeling uneasy and had many restless nights which I can only attribute to these books. The books are not scary, but they are suspenseful.
  • There is an underlying romance in the books, but they are not Twilight-esque in that the main character, Katniss, isn’t about to fall over and die for a boy (which made me like her a lot more than Bella the pansy).
  • The ending of the final book was just okay. I would’ve appreciated a more finite ending… perhaps something a little more warm and fuzzy, but the books are still absolutely worth a read.

Now that we’ve wrapped up these books, we’re ready to start something new! You guys knocked it out of the park last time, so I’m hoping you may have some good suggestions for us again. Ryan and I are looking for a book to read together, so recommendations for books by Judy Blume or Nicholas Sparks may not be up our alley (though they’re totally up mine)!

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Comments

  1. says

    Aww I love that you played Babe to Sadie again! She must really love it by now! πŸ˜€

    I got given the Hunger Games about a week ago to read, and I can’t wait to get stuck in! Glad to hear that the romance isn’t Twilight-esque!! πŸ˜›

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  2. says

    oh I need to pick up the second book- thanks for the reminder!

    The Help is a really fun book to read… but maybe not for Ryan?

    Where Men Win Glory is another pretty awesome book. It’s a non-fiction about Pat Tillman. I really enjoyed learning more about the middle east and the wars and the difference between al qaeda, the taliba, etc.
    It’s not a warm a fuzzy, but wow, very interesting!

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  3. kimmah says

    I picked up the first Hunger Games book solely because you had such good things to say about it. I read it in TWO DAYS!! Could hardly believe it! It’s been a long time since a books grabbed me like that. AND . . . I couldn’t agree more about Bella the pansey!!

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  4. says

    I just reserved the Hunger Games from my local library, can’t wait to start reading!

    I highly recommend the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. Same as Hunger Games, very suspenful, couldn’t put the books down!

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      • Naomi says

        Yes, the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Series (Millennium Series) is definitely for people of both sexes. My dad loved the books as much as I do. I highly recommend them, but they are also pretty creepy to read before bed…

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        • Lea says

          I highly recommend this series too. I know a bunch of guys who have read it and enjoyed it. But be warned, the first book takes a little warming up (at least for me), but then it gets really good.

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      • Theresa says

        I was going to suggest this!!! I actually heard the good reviews about it from a guy in his thirties and he really, really liked them. I couldn’t put them down. So good!

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        • Elizabeth says

          I have to agree with the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Series (Millennium Series). LOVED them. My mom did too. They aren’t girly books.

          Also – all of Steve Martin’s books are good for guys. My husband actually read some of them before me.

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  5. says

    Haven’t read them yet but I have also heard great things about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other books in that series – from both men and women!

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  6. says

    Babe is such a cute movie!
    I love looking at decorating magazines and photos too. I did design7 build the house I am in now and I love it, cue kitchen pics here: http://thescenefromme.com/2011/02/06/where-i-bake-cook/
    But the problem is now that I’ve designed one house, I want to move on to decorate another one too. I just have that decorating bug and every time I’m out at a store I see more cool stuff and envision more rooms to decorate!

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  7. Annie says

    Have you read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Its a great book for both genders! And its a trilogy so they’ll keep you entertained for a while.

    another great one is Pillars of the Earth, its historical fiction and sooo good! full of battles and romance :) I’ve read it at least 3 times

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  8. says

    Hey Julie!

    I have a good book recommendation for ya, and reading is one of my biggest loves! I worked in a book store all through college πŸ˜€

    The book called the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I LOVED this book. My boyfriend and I read it together a couple years ago (a la you and Ryan style ;)) and I since reread it on my own I loved it so much. It’s a memoir, and it is not suspenseful, or at ALL like the Hunger Games, but I strongly recommend. I’ve lent it to all the book lovers I know and they all rave about it!

    Here’s a link if you want to check it out: http://www.amazon.ca/Glass-Castle-Memoir-Jeannette-Walls/dp/074324754X

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  9. says

    So. . .I really dug into the first couple chapters of the Hunger Games last night! I couldn’t put it down! It gave me such an uneasy feeling. . .Collins is an excellent writer! I can’t wait to finish the book AND the series!

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  10. says

    Sorry, I don’t have a good gender friendly read (i tend to go for chick books), but I’m just leaving a comment to say that Sadie is freaking adorable. Every time you put up a pic at her I wish I had a doggie just like her…her facial expressions are priceless! I think there’s a human inside that body :)

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  11. Letitia says

    The Glass Castle was really good. The Art of Racing in the Rain is really good. The book is told from a dog’s point of view. Also Thirteen Reasons Why is really good as well.

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  12. says

    I finished the last book of that series about a week and a half ago. I was so sad that I was done because all of the books were so good! I kind of liked the ending because it seemed more realistic. And I definitely loved this book wayyy more than Twilight. Did you know that the first movie based on this series is coming out March 23, 2012?? I can’t wait!

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  13. says

    I agree with everyone recommending The Help. I *think* Ryan would like it, too, just based on what I’ve seen of him on the blog. :) I’ve heard the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo books are good, but disturbing, so I haven’t tried those yet. I just picked up Water for Elephants (I want to read it before the movie comes out!), so I’ll definitely let you know how it is!

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    • Melissa K says

      I read all of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books and they were awesome. I’m actually reading Water for Elephants now and I can’t put it down! You’ll love it!!

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  14. says

    i just bought hunger games! there were so many recommendations for it that i had to give it a try! you have GOT to read “pillars of the earth”, it is seriously amazing!!

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  15. Jyll says

    Water for Elephants was a good book. It would be great for the both of you to read together. Girl With The Dragon Tatoo from what I heard is great, but I couldn’t get past the beginning of the first book. Moves slow. The Help is great, but I think maybe too girly for Ryan.

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  16. Bianca says

    Nothing too new to add, but I loved the Girl with the dragon Tattoo series and Like Water for Elephants. Both are gender nuetral and SO much fun to read. I am finishing up the third book in the Girl With series, and I don’t want it to end.

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  17. Jessica says

    Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest).

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  18. Amy says

    You guys should read Water for Elephants! The premise doesn’t sound that interesting (at least it didn’t to me), but after a zillion people (male and female) recommended it to me I finally gave in and read it. The verdict? Could. not. put. it. down. One of my co-workers felt the same way (that a book about the circus couldn’t possible be good), but I assured her last week that was not the case. She started it on Friday and was almost done with it two days later. Plus the movie comes out in April and has a fabulous cast (unless you are anti-Robert Pattinson too due to his association with Twilight…). I saw that someone else recommended The Art of Racing in The Rain, which I loved as well. If you’re looking for an easier/faster read, that would be a good choice. It’s a tear-jerker though :(

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  19. says

    You’re so right…it is chilly in Orlando! I’m at work and my nose is cold!!

    I’m currently reading Harry Potter. I never read them as a middle-schooler, so I will do it now when I’m in my 20s. :)

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  20. says

    After seeing The Hunger Games on your blog, I decided to wander on down to the public library and pick it up! I am in the midst of another book right now (Star Island by Carl Hiaasen) but hopefully I will start it by the end of the week!

    LOL at Bella the Pansy. I truly do hate the Twilight series.
    I loved Robert Pattison wayyyy more as Cedric Diggory than ~sparkly~ Edward Cullen. I read somewhere that “Cedric Diggory did not die, he became a vampire named Edward Cullen. He was last seen with an Animagus by the name of Jacob Black”

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  21. Amanda says

    I second Water for Elephants and The Art of Racing in the Rain! And I have another to add to the list… Little Bee. So good, and different. It’s night a light, fun read, though. There are definitely some serious, dark moments, but it’s worth reading, and would appeal to both guys and girls.
    I really love your blog, by the way! You’ve inspired me to switch to morning workouts…now if only I could be as dedicated as you are. haha!

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  22. Chelsey says

    Hi Julie!

    I would completely recommend The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown for you & Ryan. If you loved the other books written by Dan Brown, you will not be disappointed, this one blows the other out of the water. I stayed up late many nights reading because I could NOT put it down!
    Also, I’m sure you have seen the movie ‘Catch Me if You Can’ with Leo starring but you should consider reading the book. Much more detail, more events that they don’t include in the movie, very riviting, and both you & Ryan would love it as my boyfriend read it first and then suggested I do the same :)

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  23. Allison says

    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a must!!!! Like everyone said, it doesn’t sound all that great just reading the dust jacket but I could not put it down!!! My best friend (who is male) recommended it to me – him and his wife had both read it – and it’s the best book I’ve read lately! Definitely gender neutral! I promise you will love it!!!

    I’m going to try Hunger Games next! :)

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  24. Shelby says

    If you liked The Hunger game you might also Like “The Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld. I loved them just as much a I loved The Hunger games. I also have to agree with you, I was not very happy with the Mockingjay ending. Another good book would be ‘Zoo Story”. It is written about Lawry Park zoo in Tampa and My aunt is the Head curator there and is mentioned throughout the book, but that is not the only reason I thought it was good.

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  25. Trish says

    I read two good non-fiction books: Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven and The Lost City of Z (the second interested me and the guy I gifted it to).

    I also just read Same Kind of Different as Me, which I enjoyed.

    And for fiction, Amazonia was a fun read, lots of adventure. or Shutter Island – if you haven’t already seen the movie.

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  26. Jen says

    I loved your analysis of The Hunger Games – I agree on all points.

    My husband and I read Born to Run together – if you’re looking for some non-fiction.

    We also read Shit my Dad Says together – hilarious! (and short)

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      • Kelly says

        It is called Decision Points….it is really good and it makes you realize how hard it would be to actually be president. You are always torn and no matter what you do it seems like someone will always be angry. Have fun!

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  27. Kelly says

    Keith and I read every night together too (we have for years) and we read a lot of biographies. We have such different interests in fiction that biographies are great for us. We are currently in the middle of George Bush’s book. No matter your polticial affliation I think it is just interesting in how he made decisicions especially on the more controversial issues such as stem cell research and 911. Plus it is extremely interesting to get a look at the behind the scenes of the Whitehouse.

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  28. says

    I just started book 2 of the Hunger Games, and love it so far. I wasn’t sure if I would since usually I read girly/romance books, like Twilight or thw Shopaholic series. I also love that you anr Ryan read together!

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  29. ashley says

    i could honestly read Food Network Humor all day!!!! i was actually laughing out loud reading the comments about the dark chocolate as a snack!!!

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  30. says

    If you like suspense definitely check out the Pretty Little Liars series. Ryan might not be down with it, but even if you just read them by yourself they are addictive!

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  31. Megan says

    I absolutely loved the book Room. I definitely think both you and Ryan would like it. I am not a huge reader but I finished it in a day!!! It inspired me to actually make a goal to read more books!

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  32. says

    Glad that I’m not alone in the plant killing! I really wish that I had more of a green thumb. Some books that may be worth trying out that you both may enjoy are:
    The Book Thief
    The Road
    The Shadow of the Wind

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  33. Tara Marie says

    If you liked the Hunger Games and want another non-adult book series- I would recommend the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The first one is Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. My man and I both read these (well I read them and he got the audiobooks) and loved them!!

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  34. Kelli says

    From your tastes, I bet you’d love any books by Connie Willis. She writes believable characters in intricate worlds with twisty plots that tie up neatly at the end. What more could you want? I’d highly recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog for your next read :)

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  35. says

    I loved Hunger Games, and I passed my copy to a friend who passed it on to a friend and so forth…

    I’m on the library waiting list for the second book in the series and I can’t wait!!!!

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  36. says

    Definitely The Help by Kathryn Stockett!

    My husband and I both were trying to read The Help (to ourselves) at the same time and were vying for time with this book. Sooo amazingly good!

    I’m STILL on hold for the 2nd book in the Hunger Games trilogy – Oy! And I’m with you on Bella being a pansy :)

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  37. Meg Joyce says

    Hi Julie,

    I love many of the books that have been recommended so far (loved The Help) but am going to piggyback off what Amanda said earlier: The Art of Racing in the rain. It’s told from a dog’s point of view, and it an AMAZING book, it’s a page turner, and it will stick with you for a long time.

    I also recommend Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson – one of my favorite YA books, about a slave living at the begining of the Revolutionary War. Not only is the book AMAZING (there’s pain, there’s love, there’s history) but it’s part of a series, so you can really get into them.

    Happy reading!

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  38. Heather says

    I felt the same way about the end if Mockingjay! I would definetly say read the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, it’s really good! And I don’t know if you like Stepen King books but I love Under the Dome, Cell, and Full Dark, No Stars (actually this book freaked the heck out of me, so maybe I wouldn’t recommend it!)

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  39. Mimi says

    I just finished the last book int he HG series too which I read at your suggestion. I felt the same way, anxious but I kept reading because i was so captivated! I REALLY loved it and hear they are making a movie. I actually like the ending though. I thought it could be pretty realistic for a war satire/coming of age story. I actually shed a tear, I was into the story!

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  40. says

    If you both liked “The Hunger Games” you should try out the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It’s more on the kid side of young adult lit, but if you both like sci-fi/fantasy, it’s worth checking out. The reads are super short, not nearly as intense as the HG, but really entertaining.

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  41. says

    I highly recommend the trilogy “Uglies”, “Pretties” and “Specials” by Scott Westerfeld. They are set in the future (where our era is known as the Rusty Era because we left a lot of steel behind us), and to stop body image issues and make everyone equal, everyone undergoes an operation when they turn 16 and becomes “Pretty”. But there is something sinister going on, and some people think that there is more to the operation than the authorities are letting on. The main character, Tally, reminds me so much of Katniss, in that she is strong and, in the end, knows her own mind.

    They are unputdownable and unforgettable. You won’t regret it!

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  42. says

    I have wanted to read the Hunger Games for so long! I definitely need to get on that.

    One book that I love love love is The Bronze Horseman. It was my ex’s favorite book and we would read it together while he was long distance for work. It’s a love story about a girl in russia during WW2 but it’s not a Nicholas Sparks kind of love story. I will say, though, some of the “love” scenes get quite graphic. I did not expect that when I was reading it, hahaha! So I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on it πŸ˜‰

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  43. sue says

    I loved The Help, but think it might be distracting to read aloud with all of the dialect. Would be good to listen to on CD together.
    I always enjoy a series of “Jack Reacher” books by Lee Childs. Reacher was in the army, military police, and now doesn’t like to be tied to one spot. So he roams around and is always taking care of other people’s problems. As a female, I like them, but they are not girly at all so think Ryan would like the.
    And I agree with other’s recommendation for The Art of Racing in the Rain (esp since you are dog lovers), but keep the tissues handy.
    I just finished Ted Kennedy’s memoir True Compass and found it a great read with a lot of background into the family life of the Kennedys.

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  44. says

    These books were really good and a little more lighthearted! Neither have much to do with pie, a mere coincidence! They are boy friendly too :-)

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

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  45. says

    Okay, I seriously think this is one of THE most amazing books I’ve ever read (and there’s a sequel, too!) I’m going to copy/paste the description from the web b.c. I don’t want to give anything away… but seriously, I could NOT put this book down (and I read it while I was taking a bustour througout New Zealand…um hello beutiful scenenary!!! Yeah.. the book was that good. I did see my fare share of sheep and beautiful mountains and landscape, though. So I got the best of both worlds, ha!)

    Anyway, the book is called Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

    “One of the best books I have ever read. It has drama, suspense, romance, and enough plot twists to keep the most savvy reader breathlessly reading until the heart-wrenching conclusion.

    William Kane and Abel Rosnovski both enter the world in 1906 on the very same day. One is born to a wealthy, socially prominent Boston family. The other is born in poverty in Poland to an unwed woman who dies during childbirth. They each have a remarkable life story that makes for spellbinding reading until the finale in 1963.

    Abel is rescued from the woods beside the body of his dead mother by a hunter and taken into a peasant family. The Russian occupation of Poland, his fearful and solitary escape to Turkey and later America, will have you cheering this tough young boy.

    Meanwhile, young William Kane is growing up in the lap of luxury, attending the finest schools, and winning every honor his father before him achieved.

    You will be fascinated by Archer’s storytelling and the vivid characters he portrays. You will root for Abel and take him to your heart. You will be fascinated with William and wish only the best for him. Unfortunately, when the two characters cross paths as young men, a fierce hatred erupts and they become life-long enemies, as Abel swears to destroy William Kane.

    The author has made each of his main characters so endearing that the reader is torn and loyalties falter. Do you root for Abel? Do you root for William? Dare you hope they will work this out? Whatever you are thinking, you will be surprised. This is not one of those novels where you will see the ending coming, but you will be stunned, sad, and uplifted as a gamut of emotions play with your mind and heart.”

    I’ve read it multiple times. It’s seriously so, SO good!!

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  46. Catherine says

    I would definitely recommend reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. It’s part of a trilogy, so.. if you like the first one… that means you still have two more to look forward to :) I literally could not put it down and have already snatched up the second in the series, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. Great books for a girl or a guy.

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  47. says

    I will never get sick of hearing about your bagelwiches! Thanks to you, I am totally addicted to the cheesey, apple, cinnamon bagel thin sandwich. It never gets old!

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy!!! SO good.

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  48. says

    Ha ha, I love your first thought about the book not being about food! :) I’ve heard this is a good series, but I haven’t read them yet. I’ve heard The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is great too.

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    • Kelli says

      I LOVE Scott Westerfeld :) Have liked everything I’ve read by him except for the Leviathan seires. For some reason they just didn’t click with me.

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  49. Dione says

    I agree with the people who have brought up the “Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld…do read them:) I also love “The Hunger Games” books and have gotten other people I work with hooked on them as well. I also someone mention “The Book Thief” and I absolutely adored that book too.
    I have to say I just discovered your blog last week and you have become my favorite healthy living blogger. For some reason your lifestyle and the food you eat just seems much more realistic than so many of the other ones. I love to eat and live heathy, but I am not vegan, vegetarian or anything of the like and I will never run a marathon or even a half. You just seem so much more REAL to me, if that makes any sense. And your blog kept me very entertained during a very slow night shift last week, thank you:)

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  50. Amanda says

    I have to recommend The Art of Racing in the Rain too. It is from a dog’s point of view and is so smartly written – makes you wonder what your dog is really thinking!! I also really enjoyed the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and books that followed. Next on my list are Water for Elephants and Room!

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  51. Heather says

    I can’t praise the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova enough! I have read it 3 times. I also just read a novel by the same author called Left Neglected and it was also incredible :) Just some more to add to the list!

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  52. says

    ahaha, your Better Homes & Garden magazine reading style is so spot on.

    I’m always like “garden? flowers? SKIP! Awesome kitchen? rad looking bench-style dining table? droooool”

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  53. says

    I love the Hunger Games with a crazy passion. (Team Peeta all the way.) So good books that are acceptable for boys? Here are my top picks (they’re all YA):

    1. The Maze Runner: fun, fast-paced, full of mystery, and the protagonist is a boy. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6186357-the-maze-runner)

    2. The Book Thief: gorgeous, powerful, and I’d recommend it to anyone. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6186357-the-maze-runner)

    3. Leviathan: A steampunk YA with alternating narrators, one girl one boy. That could be fun to read aloud, with you guys taking turns based on who’s narrating. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6050678-leviathan)

    4. 13 Reasons Why: mystery and tragedy (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6050678-leviathan)

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  54. Rachel says

    I’m a little old school at times when it comes to books. My hubby and I read together too! We’ve read all the Narnia books together (easy read and brings back memories from childhood!) and several by John Grisham. My favorites were Playing for Pizza and Skipping Christmas – both are fun and would be a nice break from intense, gripping lit if you’re looking for something a little lighter.

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  55. Emily says

    I have never commented on your blog before now but have been reading for a few months since I found someone else who loves peanut butter as passionately as I do!

    The reason I have finally been motivated to leave you a message is your link to the foodnetworkhumor.com post on Dark Chocolate as a Snack. I was CRYING laughing and read it to my family and they found it hilarious!! Thank you for introducing me to this food-humor haven and keep up the great blogging!! (I don’t know if you’ll even see this since I’m guessing this post is quite old… but I just had to leave you a comment anyway!!)

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  56. Lorin says

    I totally agree with you on everything you said. I finished the series in 5 days. It was so captivating, one of the best series I’ve read. I wanted to just read as fast as I could to figure out what would happen. It also made me a little on edge too, or maybe a bit sad. It’s weird how books can make an effect on someone. I also agree with the ending. I guess the point is that they are moving on but it’ snot some cliche. They still have to live with the past of what happened and the boy will always have some issues from getting hijacked. I want to read the mazerunner now that I saw your recommendation for it today.

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  57. says

    This is very belated, but I made myself skip this post until now because I hadn’t finished The Hunger Games and didn’t want to catch any spoilers in the review or comments! Just finished this afternoon… whew.

    I was going to recommend the Millennium series as a great read for guys and girls, but I see that a whole lot of people beat me to the punch :) My parents actually listen to audiobooks together a lot (sort of similar to your reading arrangement with Ryan) and I reviewed the Millennium series on my blog (no spoilers!) to help them decide whether to get these books next! It’s at http://juliesinnewzealand.blogspot.com/2012/02/reading-rainbow.html if you’re interested. They picked them up the next day and haven’t stopped listening since!

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  58. says

    Wow. I was barely able to put this book down for a second after the first few pages got me completely hooked. Suzanne Collins narrative here has an immediacy to it that, when combined with the very dramatic life-or-death plot, is incredibly compelling. It’s entertaining, and incredibly disturbing all at once.

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  59. says

    After I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails
    with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can
    remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

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  60. says

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