The Hunger Games

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

Chilly weather = HOT 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.


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)!

Of Possible Interest

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  1. 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 :)


  2. 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!!!!


  3. 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 :)


  4. 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!


  5. 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!)


  6. 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!


  7. 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.


  8. 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!


  9. 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 😉


  10. 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.


  11. 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


  12. 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!!


  13. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


    • 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.


  16. 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:)


  17. 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!


  18. 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!


  19. 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”


  20. 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. (

    2. The Book Thief: gorgeous, powerful, and I’d recommend it to anyone. (

    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. (

    4. 13 Reasons Why: mystery and tragedy (


  21. 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.


  22. 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 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!!)


  23. 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.


  24. 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 if you’re interested. They picked them up the next day and haven’t stopped listening since!


  25. 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.


  26. says

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  27. says

    Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.


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