Th Reading Lair

Archive for March, 2012

  • In Which We Talk About THE HUNGER GAMES Movie

    Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

    Okay, so if you’ve not seen THE HUNGER GAMES movie yet, you may want to skip reading this post as well as the comments section below since they’re likely to contain spoilers (or perhaps you’ll want to read them for the sake of seeing what you’re in for?). It’s up to you. :0) Also, for those of you who loved the books, but haven’t yet seen the movie—I hate to mention that your rabid-fan status may be slipping. Because, well, it’s been a WEEK since it hit theaters. *ahem*

    So? What did you think of THE HUNGER GAMES movie? Loved? Confused? Too gory? Exceeded your expectations? Frustrated? Did it stick to the book enough? Did the theme(s)/struggles/issues presented in the book come through? And what about the characters—were they as you imagined?

    Here are my own personal (quickly jotted) notes:


    1. Chuckled
    2. Teary-eyed
    3. Nervous
    4. Annoyed (I think the Rabid-fan Opening Night Movie Rule should be that you can scream all you want beforehand—yay for anticipation!—but once the movie starts, do NOT drown out said movie with your half-crazed screams or I may eat your face off. Just a thought.)
    5. A sense of disgust and horror at the violence–I didn’t want to think about the fact that these were children killing each other (and in my opinion, such a realization/reaction is one of the main purposes of the book series–to expose our own irony and shallowness)


    1. Katniss—perfect (really, all around SO well done, and I especially appreciated how “normal” they made her)
    2. Gale—he brought the book character to life for me
    3. Peeta—totally enjoyed, although I found myself missing some of the interactions that established his and Katniss’ relationship in the book
    4. Haymitch—liked him, but then my sister mentioned she wished he’d been more “Dr. House”-like (from the show HOUSE), and well, now I have to agree darnit *shakes fist at sister*
    5. Effie—exactly as I imagined her
    6. Cinna—okay, so there wasn’t quite enough face-time/subtle defiance/interaction for me to fall for him like I did in the books, but I still hearted him
    7. Rue—perfect actor and perfectly played (although I wanted her and Katniss to start talking about their districts!)


    I specifically liked how they used the special effects (seemingly sparingly) to allow for a raw feel, interrupted by “glossy” aspects at the appropriate times (especially anything to do with the evil Capitol). I was surprised there wasn’t more goo-gore hallucinations from the tracker-jackers though. Not that I minded. Also, I confess that the wolves in the book creeped me out WAY more. Oh, but the scenes showing the operators controlling the arena were very awesome. Totally made that aspect of the book more real for me.


    I was actually pretty impressed with the way they cut the scenes. I wondered how they’d keep a PG-13 rating with all the violence and such, but (in my humble opinion) they managed it.


    I praised the screenwriters and director the whole way through. Way to keep close to the story without boring or ignoring us. Thank you Hunger Games movie people. 


    Realizing that, as I sat watching a giant screen showing youth fight to the death in the arena, I wasn’t so different from the Capitol citizens (oh Suzanne Collins, how brilliant/convicting/subtle you are).

    And now it’s the Preciouses’ turns. What’d you guys think? We wants to know!

    Pinned Image

    (from this Pinterest page)

    Other posts you may enjoy: 8 Geek Items for the Hunger Games Fan and The Hunger Games (a book review)


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    Posted in Genre Savvy, Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

  • Which HUNGER GAMES Character Are You? (plus a crazy-good recipe)

    Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

    Tomorrow is HUNGER GAMESSSSSSSS!!! *toots horn and tosses glitter and cupcakes and baby unicorns around the room*

    Of course I’m going to stand in line for the midnight showing (tickets acquired, thank you my lovely Sarah Kathleen) with all the crazies. I was thinking of going as Haymitch since I’m old and sometimes grouchy when I’m up late, plus I like to throw things at people. Which means I’d be the awesomely fun person in line launching an arsenal of bread and meds at the Katniss look-a-likes. (Hmm…there’s possibility in this plan.)


    Alas, I cannot be Haymitch. I just took this HUNGER GAMES character quiz and, apparently, I am Cinna! (How very cool of me, I know. He was always my favorite. Even after he…you know—SPOILER CENSORED FOR THOSE WHO’VE NOT FINISHED THE SERIES—)

    So now I have to rethink my plans, because for as awesome as Cinna is, how does one “be him” in a movie line? Does one walk around fixing the braids of the Katniss look-a-likes and trying to rip off their leg hair and measure them for clothing sizes? Uh, no thanks. This…I will have to think on.

    In the meantime, I command you to rush over and take this quiz so we can see which HUNGER GAMES’ Character YOU ARE. Here’s the link:

    HUNGER GAMES CHARACTER QUIZ <—and no cheating


    As for the rest of you, Preciouses, I offer a pie recipe. An insanely good one that’s even better when you realize what’s in it. Or rather what’s NOT in it. It’s everything my kids (dairy-allergic) can eat, and what I (sugar-sensitive) prefer. The super sweet Vickie Motter introduced me to this amazing chocolaty pie (from Chocolate-Covered Katie’s healthy dessert blog), and now I have a slight addiction to it. (Read that as I have a serious addiction to it.) She also introduced me to this homemade, cane sugar-free, three-ingredient chocolate, which I used to make the pie (it gives a tasty coconut flavor). So if I need some sort of chocolate addiction intervention in the next few weeks, you’ll know who to blame. And while you’re at it, check out Vickie’s agenty blog space and book reviews. You’ll like her.

    No cane sugar. No dairy. No gluten if you prefer (which I don’t, so I made mine with crust :0)). But you’d never know it was missing any of those. I swear. Oh, and per Vickie’s suggestion—let the pie refrigerate for 12 hours for best flavor. I tried a slice around six hours and then after 12 just to see what she meant, and I completely agree. After 12, the tofu had absorbed the flavor all the way. Also, I added a bit more agave than the recipe calls for and used almond milk for the non-dairy milk. So…yeah. Have at it:



     ultimate chocolate pie photo



    pie crust photo



    ultimate chocolate pie




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    Posted in Games, Genre Savvy, Reading Recipes | 18 Comments »

  • THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (a book review)

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

    As you’ll recall from my recent post regarding Jonathan Maberry’s DUST & DECAY, I promised you a review of the most terrifying book I’ve read in years.

    Well, Preciouses…here it is. :0)

     cover image for The Strain

    THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

    Call me a wimp (remember I’m the girl hiding behind the blanket, stuffing Lucky Charms in my face while watching “The Walking Dead”), but this novel is seriously for hardcore creepfactor peeps. You know, the ones who love to sit and squirm cuz they can’t bear to watch the horror, but it’s so graphically absorbing that they can’t NOT watch. (And then they pee themselves.) It’s creepy. It’s plausible. It’s CSI and Michael Crichton challenging Stephen King to a dance-off to see who can best spin the yarns of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s pull up those granny panties you’re wearing cuz…well, it’s Guillermo del Toro.

    A Boeing 777 lands at JFK airport and comes to a dead stop on the tarmac. The lights go out. The shades are drawn. The coms are silent. When no one emerges from the aircraft and no response is elicited from inside, Dr. Eph Goodweather’s CDC team is brought in to investigate the possibility of biological warfare. What they find is a plane full of dead passengers (save four), iridescent white matter splattered all over the cockpit and cabin, and a giant box of earth (which is very Draculesque).

    Then the box disappears right in front of Dr. Goodweather’s eyes and, shortly after, the dead bodies from the plane begin rising in the morgues and heading back to their homes to feed on/infect their families with a vampiric plague. And it’s not the angsty, sparkly kind.

    Pawnbroker, Abraham Setrakian, is old enough to remember the legend told by his grandmother of the Stroigoi, a vamp. He’s also old enough to remember lying awake at night in the WWII Holocaust death camps, listening to that same Stroigoi feed off of his dying bunkmates. While the rest of New York is trying to hush-up the horrors, Setrakian is the only man who knows what’s up: the Stroigoi has arrived. And Setrakian has been preparing for it his whole life. (Seriously. He’s got a very cool arsenal of weaponry. Well…that and a vampire heart he keeps in a jar that shoots a stinger if you get too close.) In his words, ”It will take this thing less than one week to finish off all of Manhattan, and fewer than three months to overtake the country. In six months – the world.”

    Crammed with a diverse (and excellent) cast of characters, ranging from Eph and his son, to Abraham (“My sword sings of silver!”) and Vasiliy Fet (the pest exterminator / ghost buster who’s quite awesome), THE STRAIN manages to balance a fast-paced plot with many an excellent prose and a nice old-fashioned “good versus evil” theme. Oh, but toss in some swearing, intense gore, 6-foot stingers (a tad B-movie-ish IMHO), and a lot of traumatizing horror. Would I watch it as a movie? Probably not. But as a book with great writing and fabulous medical-thriller-babble, I enjoyed it. Also, I appreciated the father-son relationship between Eph and Zach, and the marriage-divorce discussion between Eph and Kelly (so well done).

    Will I read it again? Er…no. Will I ever sleep again? Not likely. But will I read the next in the trilogy? Oh yes. And I’m putting together my arsenal of awesome weapons as we speak. You know…just in case.





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    Posted in Book Reviews | 9 Comments »

  • A Lovely Little Writing Retreat

    Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

    Every year, the Word DIVA group I belong to sets aside a weekend in a big, three-story house to eat, write, laugh, write, eat, and discuss the finer aspects of “The Big Bang Theory” and (this year) “Downton Abbey.” The four of us have been critiquing and writing for publication together for three years, and we’re still going strong.

    The first thing we do once we arrive is to eat. For sustenance, you know. Writing fuel…

    photo for breakfast tacos


    And eat.

    writing retreat dessert


    And, ahem…eat.

    writing retreat sustenance


    We all take turns cooking (because a requirement to be in our group is that you have to be an awesometastic cook—okay, not really, but it should be…cuz it’s true).

    And of course I always bring my espresso machine (but don’t look at the foam because those bubbles aren’t tight at all *embarrassed face*).

    photo for latte


    Then we write. (I promise we do!)

    apple writing


    This is my “I’m wearing super swank ear muffs to tune out all distraction because I can’t listen to music while I write” look.


    And these are my writing socks Wolverine bought me because my feet are always cold.



    Then after writing we relax. And possibly eat.

    retreat relaxation


    And then we repeat.

    Before heading home.

    Er…did I get enough accomplished? I don’t know, but I’m wearing THE coolest jacket you’ve ever seen in your life in this photo so that’s like, gotta count for something. Also, meet my dog, or, well…my dog’s backside. She’s the best.

    photo of mchristineweber

    Lovely way to spend a writing weekend, no?

    How was yours, by the way???

    Oh, and this is our 2012 official Diva photo. (Thanks CarolynVPhotography!) And wow, I am seriously striking a pose. In fact, Wolverine is currently laughing at me for it, so feel free to laugh too. I actually forgot we were doing photos this day, so about fifteen minutes before the shoot, I was frantically slapping on borrowed makeup in the car mirror. Yeah, I’m a dork.

    photo for Word DIVAS


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    Posted in Book Nooks, Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

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