Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
This was a great book for a vacation; it was actually better than some of Picoult's other books, but pretty much the same in plotting and style. I really didn't like the main character, but I don't think he was supposed to be likeable.
Love You More by Lisa Gardner
I bought this book at a drugstore in Oregon while I was on vacation because I needed another book to read. It was the best of the possible options there, and for a paperback mystery it wasn't too bad at all.
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
I've heard Chamberlain called "The Southern Jodi Picoult" and I think this is a good description. Her books are very similar in their plot twists, psychological details, and soap-opera plots based on buried secrets. This was a good, mindless escape book that kept me interested until the end.
How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
This book managed to be both informational and entertaining at the same time. I also thought that, for a parenting book, it was surprisingly even-handed. The only flaw I found was that each country and parenting issue was presented fairly briefly, but that is the nature of a book like this. It gave me a lot of things to think about and to research more thoroughly.
Sister by Rosamund Lupton
This was the only 'literary' novel I read this month, and I could tell a difference in comparing it to the other books. It had similar plot elements, but the characterization and the writing style were very different. I enjoyed it just as much as the others.
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
After reading this book I decided I was done with Chamberlain for a while. The plots always draw me in, but the writing isn't that great and I didn't like this one as much as the other one I read. It was a little too hard to suspend my disbelief in order to mindlessly enjoy this.
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
This turned out to be a historical version of the soapy novels I've been reading all month, complete with the obvious love triangle. It was mostly fun to read, but some parts of it dragged a little.
The Hunger Games
I had low expectations for this movie, so when it exceeded them I was quite happy. In fact, it made me want to go back and read the books again. I had been worried about how the film would deal with the level of violence in the book, but I think they did a good job making it still violent without completely turning off the viewer.
I have seen a number of versions of this book on film, and while I don't think that this is the 'perfect' one that people have been looking for. But, it still does a few things well. I think the casting works because Jane actually seems young, mousy, and fearful, and Rochester is appropriately older and broody. In fact, the dynamic is a bit more creepy than romantic at times (also true to the book). The lighting and cinematography is really well-done too. I just felt like the chemistry between the characters was not as strong as it could have been, and the plot felt too compressed.
I can't believe I saw two movies in the theater this month; that's more than I usually see in a year. I think I had too high of expectations for this movie, because it was fun but it didn't blow me away (pun intended). For a movie full of stuff blowing up and dubious futuristic science, it's great. Just don't expect anything profound from it.