Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Review: Catching Fire & Huge Giveaway

Summary: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. -- Scholastic Press

After having received an ARC of CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins at BEA in May, I have finally gotten around to reading it. I guess today's publication date kind of forced me, but I really don't know what I was waiting for. I mean what's the benefit of having the ARC if I don't read it before the book is published?

I absolutely loved THE HUNGER GAMES (my review) and couldn't wait to read CATCHING FIRE. I had heard from many fellow bloggers that it was just as good if not better than THE HUNGER GAMES, but I still let it sit on my shelf all summer. In the back of my mind, I think I didn't want to read it because I liked having something to look forward to. Weird, I know....

So a few days ago, I hunkered down and read CATCHING FIRE! I had many of the same feelings that I had when I read THE HUNGER GAMES; and overall I have to say that I loved it! I knew it was going to be hard to live up to my expectations (and I don't think the book isn't without a few very minor flaws,) but I think it was an excellent story and did not disappoint. I definitely include both THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE on my must-read list!!!

I admit that I was a little surprised over the weekend to pick up Entertainment Weekly Magazine and discover that they gave this book a "C" (here's the review.) I usually think pretty highly of EW's opinion so I read the review closely to see if I had missed anything when I read the book. While I agree that the reviewer did make a few valid points, I definitely beg to differ! I guess that's why there are different books for different folks!

I feel like I've written a lot of words and haven't said much about this book. That's because I am having a hard time writing this review -- I don't want to give anything away. And it's very difficult for me to "talk" about this book without giving away any spoilers. Under no circumstance do I think a reader should pick up CATCHING FIRE and have any idea of what's going to happen. This book is chock full of surprises and so much fun to read!

Anyway, I'll start here: I thought CATCHING FIRE was terrific and it definitely held my attention throughout. I know not everyone is going to agree with me, but I liked how the author spent more time establishing some of the background and character development in the first half of the book. While I did enjoy the "game" aspect of both novels, I'm not sure CATCHING FIRE would have kept my interest as well if it had predominantly taken place in the arena. I think I would have felt as if this novel were too similar to THE HUNGER GAMES, so I definitely appreciated learning more about the history of Panem and Katniss' state of mind. Having said that, I did feel that the last half of the book was extremely exciting and very reminiscent of what I loved about THE HUNGER GAMES. Although, I'm not entirely sure that I didn't feel like the last third of the book was a bit rushed. Maybe it's just that the action was fast-paced and I wanted more!

As was the case when I read THE HUNGER GAMES, I still really liked the characters in CATCHING FIRE, especially Katniss and Peeta. I loved Katniss in the first book, and I appreciated that Katniss had changed a lot from her experience in The Hunger Games -- she seemed to have matured as a result. I liked that Katniss could be Katniss in this story, whereas she was forced to play a part in THE HUNGER GAMES to survive. I definitely think I gained a better understanding of her in this novel. I thought the author did a wonderful job of creating conflict in Katniss' life and showing what the overall effects of this were on her. Even though Katniss' life certainly wasn't reflective of a normal 17 year old in today's society, I still think kids will relate to her and even look up to her. Despite what she had been through, she still had many of the same fears, concerns and insecurities that all teenagers have.

I was left a bit speechless when I finished this book (and if you've met me, you know I'm not often at a loss for words.) Unlike THE HUNGER GAMES, where the book ended and I was curious about what was going to happen to Katniss, CATCHING FIRE just ended so abruptly... and with some huge cliffhangers! I am dying to know what's going to happen next, and I cannot believe that I have wait what seems like a very long time for the next book. I want/need Book 3 right now!

There is a fantastic website devoted to The Hunger Games.There are games, discussion boards, and downloads that will appeal to fans of all ages. In addition, there is even a place where you can ask Suzanne Collins a question! You can read an excerpt of Chapter 1 here.

And now for the HUGE news that I've been dying to share with all of you for days! I have three copies of CATCHING FIRE to giveaway courtesy of Scholastic Books!!! Not only will the three winners receive a hardcover copy of the newly released CATCHING FIRE, but they will also get the collector’s mocking jay pin and a limited edition T-shirt!

If you'd like a chance to win one of these awesome CATCHING FIRE prize packs, just leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me if you're Team Gale or Team Peeta. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This giveaway will be open until Tuesday, September 15th at 11:59 p.m. Good Luck!

The Fine Print: The CATCHING FIRE book promotion is open to participants with a United States mailing address only. Entrants under age 13 must have parent or guardian permission to enter. The Catching Fire book promotion runs from September 1 to September 15, 2009.


lag123 said...

Team Peeta


Virginia C said...

Team Peeta

gcwhiskas at aol dot com


Team Peeta, girl friend. Will tweet on this shortly.

Unknown said...

My boys definitely said they would go for Team Peeta. Love to win to share this with them.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've heard the place to be is on Team Peeta!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I am a subscriber and would like to win this giveaway.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Rylie said...

Team Peeta

bcanyon at hotmail dot com

Libby's Library said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
Team Peeta


Megan said...

Definitely Team Peeta.


Anonymous said...

Team Peeta

Nely said...

Teem Peeta - woot


Selestial said...

Team Peeta


Alipet813 said...

Haven't read Hunger Games yet to decide my team. Ordered it last night. Looks like the place to be is Team Peeta...makes me want to say Team Gale. LOL


K. MacFarlane said...

Team Peeta!

I'd love to win this book AND the shirt! Thank you!

Eli said...

I'm team Peeta! Fantastic contest! I also linked this on my sidebar.


Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted about this awesome contest on Win A Book. No need to enter me.

Anonymous said...

Team Peeta! I've linked it on my blog.


Cynthia said...

Peeta all the way!


Tiff said...

Team Pita Bread! Or, I mean Peeta :)


Anna said...

No need to enter me, but I'll tell you, I can't decide between Gale and Peeta right now. I'm about halfway through the book and am really enjoying it.

Diary of an Eccentric

susan259 said...

I refuse to take sides! ;)

Madeline said...

Poor Gale...Have to be Team Peeta!

Thanks so much - happyhinsons@bellsouth.net

wheresmyrain said...

teem peeta


jpetroroy said...

I'm Team Peeta

I also tweeted @jpetroroy at https://twitter.com/jpetroroy/status/3689947730

Tara said...

Yes please, I loved Hunger Games.

Posted to twitter: @TaraLSF

Meg Anastasi said...


And duly tweeted :->


drey said...

Since I haven't read this series yet, I don't know (Gale or Peeta). So I flipped a coin. Peeta it is. *grin*

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/dreys_tweets/status/3690451263

dreyshouse at gmail dot com

melissa @ 1lbr said...

So dying for my copy to arrive! But, I haven't chosen a team yet, but soon!


Unknown said...

Hands down...Team Peeta!

Vanessa said...

TEAM PEETA! I even have a banner.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me. I haven't read Hunger Games, but will shortly. All I've heard is great. I have no idea what team, but Team Peeta seems to be the favorite.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Karlie said...

Team Peeta. Thanks for the giveaway!

Pam said...

I'm Team Gale all the way!!! I adore Peeta but just not enough to put my name on his list. I am NOT reading you r review because I don't have time...bought CF this morning and am about 75 pages into it. :O) I'm going to read everyone's reviews after I finish. Happy Release day!

iwriteinbooks at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I am team Gale!!


Anonymous said...

I blogged about it:



Anonymous said...


great giveaway.

karen k

bermudaonion said...

From what I've seen most people agree with you and not EW. When Carl finished this one, he said, "Where's the next one?" He wanted to start it immediately. I'm not going to enter, since I already have the book, even though I really want one of those t-shirts!

Unknown said...

Wow! What a great contest! I say Team Peeta.


Sarah said...

Team Peeta. For sure.


MySharonAnne said...

Team gale ftw!


Mom of 5 Boys said...

I haven't read either book yet, so I don't know which team! Seems pretty obvious that Team Peeta is the better team (or at least the more popular!). I'd love to read both books!

Carol M said...

Team Peeta!

Carol M
mittens0831 AT aol.com

Holly said...

I think I'm Team Peeta...the whole bread thing from the first book really got me. :-)

isaacson.holly[at]gmail.dot com

kalynnick said...

Team Peeta

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

A Passion For Books said...

Team Peeta!

Awesome contest and I will tweet this shortly and add to my blog's sidebar.


ANovelMenagerie said...

Team Peeta.

OH.. how I wish to win!

A Novel Menagerie

Unknown said...

Team Peeta...for now! :)

bethrevis @ gmail.com

Irish said...

Team Peeta!


M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

LOL Team Peeta definitely :)

Alison (Alison's Book Marks) said...

I linked to your great giveaway from the review on my blog this morning!

While I'm here...Team Gale. LOL

APSKap (at) comcast (dot) net

Reader said...

I don't need a t-shirt, but I'm with you Alison: Team Gale!

Michelle said...

Please, oh please enter me for this one!! I am Team Gale all the way!


mmillet at gmail dot com

Park Avenue Princess said...

I say for Katniss and the "greater good" she should be TEAM GALE! But, for ME...I'm Taking PEETA! C'mon baked goods and romance? What's not to love!! :) WIN/WIN Situation!!

xoxo Amy (Park-Avenue Princess)

Julie said...

I could not take a side!

Thank you for the great contest!


Park Avenue Princess said...

Sorry I didn't add this to my last post but...


xoxo Amy (Park-Avenue Princess)





holdenj said...

Team Gale!


JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

nermalasu said...

thanks for the contest! totally Team Peeta!!!


Andrea said...

Ummm...I haven't read Hunger Games, so I don't have a team yet!


Jamie Durant said...

Team Peeta, of course.

Jessica Pages said...

I have to agree with almost everyone team peeta!

Andrea said...

My son said he is Team Gale all the way!

Unknown said...

I am Team Peeta all the way!

Blogged about it:



Shanyn said...


shanynlee at gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'm for Team Peeta. I tweeted about your contest: http://twitter.com/kimyl

Anonymous said...

forgot email

Unknown said...

I'm team Gale.


Unknown said...




Anonymous said...

I'm Team Peeta.


throuthehaze said...

Team Peeta
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Jenn M. said...

I have to go with Team Peeta even though it's a tough choice for me!

I love that so many people are hosting this contest! How lucky you are!


donnas said...

I am not 100% sure since I start The Hunger Games until Catching Fire was released. But from what I know already I am going to day probably Team Peeta.

Posted here: http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/2009/09/catching-fire.html

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Unknown said...




Amber said...

Team Peeta all the way!


Unknown said...

Team Peeta

Dottie :)


I'll add to my contest sidebar.


Ellz said...

Team Peeta

Wendy said...

I'm Team Peeta!


S. Krishna said...

No need to enter me, but I can't wait to read this one! Great review! (and I'm Team Peeta, in the interest of full disclosure)

ossmcalc said...

Oh, I am definitely Team Peeta. Please enter me into this great giveaway.

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...

I tweeted http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/3711942305

Thank you,


Leslie said...

Team Gale! Great giveaway. :)


Hot Off the Shelves said...

Team Peeta!!! I would love to win this book. The first was amazing.


Spookygirl said...

Team Gale!!

Jamie Durant said...

I forgot to include my email address! I am solidly in the Team Peeta Corner and my email address is

jldurant (at) gmail (dot) com

Gaby317 said...

Team Peeta!!

gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

Gaby317 said...

Tweeted http://twitter.com/startingfreshny


gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

Ren @ All By Myshelf said...

I'm going to have to say Team Peeta, Gale just wasn't there long enough for me to get to know his character enough to take his side.

eclecticdahlia at aol dot com

Emily said...

Team Both! I want the girl on fire to be with the boy with the bread but i want Gale happy too.


Alyce said...

Team Peeta.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

A Passion For Books said...

Team Gale!


Nonie said...

Team Peeta of course!

Nonie :)


Jena said...

I don't feel I can make a decision about which team I'm on because we don't know Gale well enough yet--which is why I'm displaying Team Katniss on my blog.

muse2323 at gmail dot com

Jena said...

tweet: http://twitter.com/muse2323/statuses/3738404025

budletsmom said...

I haven't read the first book yet but I guess I better - so I can pick a side. I would love to win this book.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

Wrighty said...

Thanks for a great giveaway! Do I really have to pick one? :) Tough choice but I guess team Peeta!


Test said...

Team Peeta.


heatherzilla said...

Team Peeta!

Dawn M. said...

I haven't decided which team I'm on yet. I like both Peeta & Gale. Maybe I'll choose by the end of Catching Fire....

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

nfmgirl said...

I haven't read Hunger Games yet, but it is on my shelf waiting for me.I see Team Peeta mentioned in relation to a rebellion, so I'm going to say Peeta!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...


nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

bermudaonion said...

Carl saw this contest and wants one of those t-shirts, so I'm entering for him. I asked him which team and he said, "Team Peeta, of course." milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Beth said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
Team Peeta.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Honey Mommy said...

That's a tough one. I think I will go for Team Peeta, especially after all they've been through!

I want to read this book SO badly!

honey2mommy (at)gmail(dot)com

Annmarie Weeks said...

I've never even heard of these books before, altho they certainly sound interesting & are now on my "must read" list. So I have no idea which Team I'm on!

Annmarie Weeks said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/amweeks/status/3771703618

kalea_kane said...

My son said, "Mom...you have GOT to enter." I said "Well duh!" So to answer...totally Team Peeta. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!!!!


kalea_kane said...

I tweeted as well!


Zombie Girrrl said...

I'm gonna have to say Team Gale. Peeta was nice and all, but Gale was her best friend and she was more herself around him. Plus I dig the whole tall, dark, and brooding thing. :}

I linked you on my sidebar

zombiegirrrl21 at aol dot com

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

and this is where I admit that I haven't read HUNGER GAMES, but my daughter has been talking about it ... guess I'll say "team Peeta", since that looks like it's the way you're going!

dawn [at] sheistoofondofbooks [dot] com

kalea_kane said...

I blogged about your giveaway:



ally said...

Team Gale


Mark said...

Definitely Team Gale!
Here's my tweet: http://twitter.com/keklar/statuses/3793092176

Carrie K. said...

I am definitely Team Peeta, but I've only read the first book so far.

I blogged about your giveaway here:


nnjmom at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Team Peeta!


Jamie said...

Team Peeta I also tweeted about this contest.

jbbird at duo-county dot com

Anonymous said...

Team Peeta.


Catch My Words said...

Team Gale.

Tweet: joycelansky

Marie said...

Team Peeta :-)


Just That One Girl said...

Team Peeta...but i want Gale to be happy too.

Angiegirl said...

Thank you for hosting this. Please enter me! Go Team Gale!

angiegirl (at) gmail (dot) com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Teem Peeta :)


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I also Tweeted!



Debs Desk said...

Team Peeta - Please include me in your giveaway.

Holland said...

Team Peeta.

antiblurb at aol dot com

Sue said...

Team Peeta! Thanks for sharing this.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

shal said...

I'm half and half. i need to learn a little know about Gale before I dedicate my post to him. As of now I'm leaning towards Peeta (50% - 40%).


shal said...

I also tweeted


Anonymous said...

Team Peeta :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Sara M said...

Team Peeta

Sara M
silentalibis AT yahoo DOT com

Jocelyn said...

Team Peeta!!
I posted to Twitter too.
Twitter: VeroJocelyn
E-mail: VeroJocelyn@hotmail.com

Ink Mage said...

Hmmm, I can't quite decide! I think Peeta has lots of admirable qualities, but Gale is like Katniss's true love, so I'd have to say Team Gale.


Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

I'm not sure who....I feel bad for Gale but Peeta seems real.

I can't pass up on this awesome swag!


Unknown said...

Team Gale! Can't wait to read Catching Fire!


Orchid said...

Team Gale.

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

Rue said...

Seems like all the cool kids are on Team Peeta. Who am I to go against the popular crowd...oh wait, that's part of what I do.
Go Team Gale!
Thanks for the chance to win!
ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com

Megan said...

Team Peeta


Alysa Stewart said...

Team Peeta! (even though his name makes me think of pita bread...)


Jessica said...

I was firmly on Team Peeta at the end of The Hunger Games. I still am, but Catching Fire made me waver over to Team Gale for a moment.

jnaomicline at yahoo

Ashley said...

I cant wait to read catching fire. I am 100 percent team peeeta. Girls rock!!!

Ashley R

Sarah Z said...

I haven't read her books so I don't know which team I would be on - love finding new series to read though!
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

Debbie F said...

Team Peeta!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net


CMash said...

Would love to win this one. The reviews on most blogs are saying that this is the book to read. Will put the series on my TBR list

Anonymous said...

I'd love the chance to win this, I've heard some amazing reviews so far and the series has been added to me TBR list, lol.


Tammy Duncan said...

I am dying to read these books! They sound fantastic! Please enter me in the giveaway. It looks like Team Peeta is the favorite.

Shawna L. said...

Shawna Lewis

Team Gale!!!!!

Thanks for this chance to win & good luck to everyone!!!

Kate at Read This Book! said...

Woots! TEAM GALE!!! =D

+1 tweeted: http://twitter.com/readingthisbook/status/3911019001

kate.readthisbook [at] gmail [dot] com

Jessy said...

Team Gale!

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Definitely team Peeta!

booksrmysoul said...

Blair W Lewis

I am on team Peeta

I Tweeted http://twitter.com/booksrmysoul/status/3926795985

Dixie said...

Team Peeta.

christine said...

Team Peeta

Please enter me!!!


I tweeted the contest

Anonymous said...

Ohh mannnn!!!
Team Peeta
it's been blogged... :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot my email :)

Unknown said...


Laura Hartness said...

Definitely Team Peeta. He's cared for her from afar for so long and has risked his life more than once for her.

Also going to tweet about the contest.



Oregon Kimm said...

Team Peeta!



Thanks for the contest!

Brookers said...

Team Peeta of course!

brookebahnsen AT gmail DOT com

Sarah O said...

I'm soooooooooo team Peeta!


Anonymous said...

at the ned of the hunger games i was lked "what?????"
would love to win this
go teem peeta

Iroquois Girl said...

Team Gale!

tweeted about contest


Kristen said...

I can't choose.. oh blarge.... ummm Peeta.. but I just have a feeling he has no chance..


Anonymous said...

I actually haven't read this series yet, but judging by what everyone's saying, it seems that Team Peeta is the way to go, haha! :D

+1 Twitter: http://twitter.com/bookbutterfly
+1 Sidebar: http://bookbutterflyangel.wordpress.com/
+1 Post: http://bookbutterflyangel.wordpress.com/
+1 Post: http://perfectgoodluck.wordpress.com/

Thanks for hosting this awesome contest! :D


Anonymous said...

Team Peeta!

martina_ck AT shaw DOT ca

TheEggzillaSnowLeopard said...

Team Gale :D

Gale Rocks

Bill Roscum said...

This series is appealing because it's an excellent story that takes readers to another level of reading above stories appealing to younger readers. Another equally compelling read is the "Resurrection of Magic" series by Kathleen Duey. Not as fast paced, but equally compelling.