I Read “The Hunger Games,” Now What?


So, you read “The Hunger Games.”

As did we all.

Or say we all.

Or somethin’.

What next? Is there anything else like it? Are there other books that are similar?



Let’s talk.

I loved “The Hunger Games.” Before The Hunger Games, I had previously read the author Suzanne Collin’s earlier work, The Underland Chronicles. Unfortunately, I barely remember it. I know she killed a lot of the characters and I remember not liking the ending. It was about a world of people who are minature. And they live among giant (to them) rats and cockroaches. I love anything miniature. Um, see the title of my blog. But I did not love this series. I want to discuss books like “The Hunger Games” that I really did enjoy.

But first, I am going to tell ya something embarrassing.

I was at Comic Con last year.

That’s not the embarrassing part.

The very best part about Comic Con are the free books. Every year we come home with about fifty free books. It is fabulous.

Ahem. Jenni. Yous gots to get to the point.

So, I went up to a publisher’s booth and it was being run by a sole girl in her early twenties. It was a booth dedicated to teenage novels. Most of the book booths at Comic Con are manned by the editors for the publishers. Which is cool. And intimidating.

I asked her, “Do you have any free books today?” As one does.

She smiled at me like a cat seeing a canary or a cockroach seeing a human, depending upon which book you are in. In my mind she uncurled from the chair she was sitting in and stretched her arms above her head.

“Su-rrrrrrrre,” she purred. “But first I’m going to ask you a few questions to find you the perfect book.”

“Great!” I said with genuine enthusiasm.

“What type of books do you like?”

My mind went blank. I seriously could not think of a single book. Not one. Not even a genre. I stood there rapidly blinking. My eyes finally landed on a poster for “The Hunger Games” behind the girl’s head. Aha!

“I like the Hunger Games,” I triumphantly declared as I drooled.

I could see her visibly trying not to roll her eyes.

“So you like Dystopian?”

“Um, I’ve never read that book?” I ignorantly replied.

She looked at me and started laughing. “No! It’s not a book! It’s a genre. Like “The Hunger Games.” You know, future apocalyptic science fiction.”

I blushed furiously. In the back of my head… the very, very back… I had somehow known this. But it did not make me feel less dumb or make my husband laugh any less at my answer when I told him the story later that day.

She handed me a dystopian book. Quite honestly, I am not even sure which one. I ran faster from that booth than Katniss from a fireball.

And I quite forgot about that moment… until each time my husband brings it up. It is always when I am reading.

“Whatcha reading?” He’ll innocently ask. But then before I can answer he will insert, “Is it ‘Dystopian’? I’ve heard that is a great book!” Then he will cackle with laughter.

But the truth is, the book I am reading at the time of his question probably is a dystopian novel. I have read many of them. Here are some short reviews of some other enjoyable series similar to “The Hunger Games,” in case you, too, like “Dystopian.”:


The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This series is perhaps closest to “The Hunger Games” in the bleakness of the world and grownups trying to use children for their own purposes. This is my fifteen year old daughter’s second favorite series. I liked it. However, I did not enjoy the ending of this series. It was not awful, but I felt the series quickly changed in terms of plot from book one to book four. In fact, the theme changes so much it almost feels like a completely different series throughout all four books. And definitely a different world.

The books begin with a boy waking up in a world similar to “Lord Of The Flies.” The kids have to survive on a small patch of land while terrors outside of the walls where they live keep them from exploring. The first book is pretty much based upon why the kids are in this isolated spot and how they are going to get out of it. The first book is the best book of the series.

My daughter appreciated that there was not a lot of romance in these books. I missed it. These books were interesting. The first book earns an 8/10 from me. I would give the series as a whole a 6.5/10. I do recommend them, but they just were not my favorite. It was not a smooth ride.


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy. This series is currently on book two. I am anxiously awaiting book three. This series is about an alien invasion and attack on humans. We start with the main character, a sixteen year old girl, being completely isolated and alone and not knowing if she is the last human being alive. We follow her around in this post-apocalyptic world as she remembers how she got to the place she is in. All of the while, though, she is unknowingly being hunted.

This series has a lot of romance. It has a lot of violence. Again, we are looking at a group of teenagers trying to save the world. I thought it was very brilliantly written. I would give it an 8/10. Many times I could guess what was going to happen, so that earned the series a less than perfect score from me. And book two had some parts that I felt dragged on. However, I highly recommend these books. There are occurrences of sex, but it is more vague, such as they went to bed kissing and it starts with them waking up the next morning together. Nothing, in my opinion, too graphic for teenagers or even the more mature preteen. Of course, this is coming from the girl who read all of the V.C. Andrews books by the age of fourteen, so take that for what you will.


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. This was the latest series I read. This series of three books had so much potential. When I think about it my hands immediately go in front of me and I shake a poor sad invisible soul due to my frustration. It makes me sad to reflect upon some of the plot choices that were made or unused talents that went to waste. The premise of the series is a virus sweeps across America and kills almost all of the children twelve and older. Eighteen year olds are safe, but the younger kids could still get the virus as they age. The children who survive the virus are sent to concentration camps because they develop different powers. The powers are condemned by the adults. There are kids who can start fires. Kids who can affect electronics. And children who can read minds. All in all, the powers are concentrated into five groups. Our main character, Ruby, has one of the powers.

I hastily blew through these books. And I liked them, I did. But, there was a great deal of wasted plot opportunities and too many pages of teenage yearnings that I felt could have been curtailed to take it from a good series into a great one. I would give the series a 7/10. I really liked the ending and that seems to be a hard thing to get right in dystopian fiction.


Inhuman by Kat Falls. A biological apocalypse has happened and it is illegal to travel outside of the city limits. So, you can guess what is about to happen. A teenage girl travels outside of the city limits. Outside of the city zone is called the feral zone, because some humans have turned into different versions of animals due to the biological disaster. The main character gets to witness this biological development first hand as she goes on her journey.

This is my daughter’s favorite book. She begged me to read it. I admit that I thought the premise sounded a bit far-fetched and it did not interest me. However, I read it for my daughter. It is a very easy read. I loved it. Another high mark from me. 8.5/10. I do hope that this series continues. It is only on book one with no release date for book two yet. And with the ending being a cliffhanger, I hope I am not disappointed when the series does continue. I can recommend this book to kids in junior high school and high school. I think it will appeal to most kids (and the kids at heart).


Uglies by Scott Westerfield. This was a good series. If. And I mean IF. IF you pretend it only had three books and not four. Reading the fourth book ruined it for me. It is completely out of context. It does absolutely nothing for the series. This is a book about children who once they reach the age of sixteen must have an operation that will make them “pretty.” Then the pretties all have mindless parties and life is great. Except, what if it wasn’t? Young Tally is fifteen and is on track to having the operation that will take her from an “Ugly” to a “Pretty.” But before her operation, she is suddenly required to track down her friend Shay, who has escaped Utopia and is living with the rebels. It sounds silly and it is. But it is also surprisingly smart. I give the series with books one through three only, a 6.5/10.


The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. This a singular book and not a series. It is in the adult dystopian section, however, I feel it could easily be read by a teenager. I don’t want to write exactly what the book is about because it would ruin the suspense of the first few pages for you. Needless to say it is a very scary and graphic dystopian book. It is told from the point of view of a little girl named Melanie. My husband read this one, too. He liked this book as much as I did. 9/10 from me. It is an enjoyable, smart and easy read. This is an equal parts horror and dystopian book, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Also, due to it being in the adult section, there is a sex scene, so I would not recommend this for preteens.


“The Reckoners” series by Brandon Sanderson. The series starts with the book Steelheart. This author is one of my very favorites. He typically writes adult fantasy, which is the genre that is number one in my heart. In fact, for one of my birthdays, my husband purchased all of his books signed to me directly from the author. That is the epitome of romance to me.

This series is young adult and about the apocalypse and super heroes. Or what I would define as super heroes in a small description of someone with supernatural abilities. It is a fun series. The world is ruled by evil superheroes. Which I guess are more supervillain than superhero. I hate superheroes. I do not know why, but I do not enjoy any of the “Spiderman,” “Batman” or “Superman” themed books or movies. However, I liked this. It is such a different viewpoint to think of. I have not read a series like it. Brandon Sanderson is the best at surprise twists. Even knowing that this is what he is the master of, he still manages to trick me with each book he writes. Every single one, he blows my mind with a plot twist. And it is genius and it is brilliant. Another 9/10 from me. I think it is recommendable for all ages. I was thrilled, when writing this review, to discover the second book in this series, Firefight just came out this month. It looks like it is getting great reviews. I just ordered mine and will be receiving it on Friday. I cannot wait!

Have you read any of these books? Are there any other dystopian books I should read (not “Divergent”)?

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from the links in this post will provide a small commission for the search for “Dystopian” this site.

It’s The Little Things: Tights


One of my favorite aspects of the wintertime are the tights. Dresses that might normally be too short can be transformed with the addition of another layer. I love to play with different colors, but sometimes the very best tights are simply black and grey.

Cable knit tights are fabulous, however, I am often guilty of rushing when I put them on. The pattern will creep up my legs in a different angle than its twin and can feel discombobulated and look sloppy.


My go-to tights this year have been Nordstrom Rack’s Free Press Plush Tights. They are thick. They are cozy. They have a fuzzy lining that feels like tight sweatpants but in the very best possible way. They come in a tights version and leggings. My daughter prefers the leggings, while I prefer the tights.

More information on the above outfit can be found in this post.

I even walked down to my mailbox the other night in these tights. I knew I was getting a package. A sequel to this book and I was so very excited that I ran out of the house minus shoes. The tights kept my feet warm and did not snag at all on the pavement. I would not recommend testing your tights in this manner, but it is nice to know they can stand up to a delivery excitement.


The tights claim to be handwash only. I am not a rule follower. And I have to be able to machine wash tights and leggings, otherwise I would never wash them. I have estimated that I have machine washed and dried each of my pairs approximately six times. My daughter and I each have four pairs of these, so it is impossible to tell which ones are which when washing, but they have all held up well. I do not expect them to last forever, but for their low cost, I have been impressed with their wear.


More information on this outfit can be found in this post.

The tights are around $8. I took a M/L. They do have some minuses. I wish they were labeled somehow on the inside, because with four XS/S in the house and four M/L sizes, I have to guess as to whose tights are whose when I finally get around to folding clothes, which I should be doing this exact moment, but instead I am writing this post.


More information on the above outfit can be found this post.

Do you have a go-to pair of tights? Do you have a secret to putting on cable knit tights so the pattern isn’t a weird mark on your legs? Do you ever run to the mailbox barefoot or in stockings in great anticipation of the package that could be inside?


It’s the little things: leg coverings that are both durable, comfortable and affordable. It doesn’t get much better than that.

*I am wearing the Free Press Plush Tights in the above pictures. I have stated my experience with the tights, but please wash and handle at your own risk. I was not compensated for writing this post. I simply adore these tights and wanted to share about a product I have enjoyed these last few months. However, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, clicking on or purchasing from certain links on this page will result in a small commission for warmer legs this blog.

The Winner Of The 21st Giveaway and Cravings

Congratulations to Jennifer Leite for winning the recent blog giveaway! I hope you enjoy your gift card! I loved reading everyone’s answers. It was wonderful to get ideas for my own random acts of kindness and it just gave me the bestest of warm fuzzies inside. Spellcheck is trying to dissuade me from using both the words “bestest” and “fuzzies.” This just reinforces my conclusion that Spellcheck is a reincarnated grumpy spinster with a yardstick to be doled out as punishment. Thankfully she can no longer physically whack people and instead resides in our computers, taunting us with our inadequate spelling. She is grumpilcious (I swear I just felt the air whiz by my ear and the faint sound of a “thwack”).

Is it wrong to crave things in the midst of gift giving? In the midst of thinking of others? Well, probably. But that does not stop me from looking ahead. I will not be doing a gift guide. There are so many out there. Here are a few things I have purchased recently and some of the items I like right now:


To be perfectly honest, there is nothing in particular that I want right now, except for books. Lots and lots of books. And then top that off with some whipped books with a book on top. I have so many book reviews I need to get done, but that would get in the way of my reading of the books. It is a tumbling slope to a creative dungeon. I will say I have loved The 5th Wave this month and its sequel. And I just finished a surprisingly delightful book entitled Throne of Glass. Both are easy reads aimed at teens or folks who want to read something light for a change.

For Christmas, I have asked my husband for a large saucepan. My old saucepan had to be discarded as the nonstick coating had begun to shed into our food. Which probably is not the safest thing. Nor is it the most exciting gift. However, all of the saucepans I have been eyeing sold out this month. Did you all ask for a saucepan, too? I cannot believe that they are all gone.

I have to keep it real and say that not one of my favorite large companies have come out with anything this month that I really, really want right now. I am waiting for this dress from a few months ago to hit a good sale. But it is the only item in my wishlist besides jeans that I am waiting on (oh, and maybe The Tasseled Maxi Dress). So I am going to discuss some random items. Some purchases, some gifts and some recommendations.


I previously showed the afghan cardigans I purchased at The Rose Bowl Flea Market in this post. Some sweet people wanted to know more about them. Here are all of the details that I can recall: I do know the seller had approximately forty more of these in sizes small and medium. Each one was very different. I took a medium. My daughter took a small. Most of the hoods are a different pattern than the rest of the sweater and the sweaters come to my knees. The brand says, “American Vintage.” I am unsure if the vintage shop puts its labels on their sweaters or if this is an actual brand. The flea market I went to was in Pasadena and a few things popup for that name in that city. The woman selling them gave me a discount because I purchased three. They were priced at $35 each but I paid $30 a piece. She told me they sell for $65 in her shop, most retail sellers offer a large discount if an item is purchased at the flea market versus their retail shop, so they must be available somewhere, but I am sorry, that is all of the information I gathered. Good luck if you are trying to track them down! I hope you find them! I love mine!


I will be giving these small See’s chocolate boxes filled with milk and dark chocolate molasses chips to a few people on my list with gift cards attached. If I can manage not to eat them all. We buy gift cards to See’s at a discount from Costco and then drive directly to the See’s store and redeem them for large amounts of chocolate during the holidays. We bought nine pounds on Monday and I think we have eight pounds left in the bag and ten pounds more on my thighs. Isn’t that just lovely how the calorie math is so generous with its gifting?


If you are looking for art, I can highly recommend the artist Aja from Sagittarius Gallery on Etsy for the art lover. I adore her abstract impasto nudes. I own two and definitely want more in the future. I like the small sizes because they are not in your face, but just add a touch of female beauty to a gallery wall.

And Ginette Callaway is another artist currently selling on Etsy whom offers originals and prints of beautiful subjects. I own a multitude of her paintings and they always make me smile.

Are you craving anything right now? Did you ask for anything exciting this holiday season (it has to be more exciting than a saucepan)? I am hyperalyzed with this holiday season (thwack!)!

Free People’s Annual 4 Hour Sale

UPDATE: Sorry. This sale is now over. Enjoy your day! : )

It has begun! The once a year sale from Free People! They are offering 20% off orders of $200-499 and 25% off orders over $500. It is only from 7-11 p.m. EST. You get early access through their app at 6:30 p.m. EST. Update on 11/21/2014: This sale is now over. Last year I sat out of this one. This year, I might ask my husband for a few things. Meaning I may or may not get something for me for Christmas. I hardly ever do these types of posts, but I do not feel as though Free People advertises this sale very well. So here are the things I love right now at Free People:


The Eyelet Duster. I actually purchased this at the beginning of the year and was bummed because the buttons fell off. I returned it, but I do think it is worth it for the sale price. This is one I will probably be getting.


I do not wear my White Romance Embroidered Maxi Dress often, but when I do, I feel completely magical. I would get married in this in a heartbeat.


Red Boots (so rad. So rad. So rad). There is nothin’ more to say about these. I mean, come on. They are the epitome of cool.


My Mix Print Tunic is one of my favorite things in my closet.


I adore this Carolina K Dress. It is so amazing. Hand crocheted. Enough said.


I own three of these Miles of Henley Dress. I love a vest thrown over them. Perfectly bohemian casual.


This jacket. On sale. Gorgeous. Mommy wants.


I have recently realized I never posted the post for The Shadow Hacci Top. That is because I took pictures of this outfit as part of a recipe post. Trouble is, I did not like the recipe. And I only post recipes I truly love here. I will have to post the pictures minus the recipe soon. The top is fabulous over a slip (use any lingerie. It will look pretty) and jeans or a long maxi. This top was sold out for a very long time and they just restocked it. I don’t expect it will stay in stock long. I ordered a medium and I like the slouchy fit. The small was fine, too, but I liked the ability to wear one side off the shoulder in the larger size. I actually scored this top last week for $10 on a popback and wore it on Tuesday with this sweater. I did not get a picture of it, because I had antibiotics and ibuprofin for breakfast and tylenol and sudafed for lunch that day. But I swear it happened. It wasn’t a fever dream.


And I also love these trapeze slips. I own only one (shown worn in different ways above), but I see girls wearing them everywhere. When I was in Maui, I saw three girls wearing them as swimsuit coverups.

Are you going to splurge on anything? And would you do red boots? I might also pick up this dress in indigo, if I can figure out what size to get. Oh! This sale is too open-ended good! My wee little heart can’t take it.