Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales #1) by Maureen McGowan

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales)
  • Title: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales) by Maureen McGowan
  • Classification: Young Adult 
  • Genre: Fairytale
  • Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2011) 
  • Format: Paperback, 320 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1607102552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607102557

Have you ever read a book and wished you could tell the Hero or Heroine what to do?  Well, your wish has been granted. In this fun rendition of the classic tale of Cinderella, Maureen McGowen let's you make the decisions at three different points within the story. This version generally follows the traditional version, but adds some twists - wizards are found throughout the kingdom and, as the title implies, Cinderella's picked up some new moves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found the fact I could choose what Cinderella would do utterly delightful. I like how Cinderella gains confidence as the story progresses and is stronger than the original Cinderella. The Disney Cheetah Girls' song Cinderella was dancing through my head while I was reading. Although not a big fan of the Disney set, this song just seems extremely appropriate.  I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Also available April 1st from Ms. McGowan is Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales). Looks like another book to add to my never ending list of books to read.  ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How To Throw a Hunger Games Party


My daughter is at a difficult age where planning a birthday bash just isn't what it used to be. The tween/teen years are the hardest to plan something. Last year after finally getting my daughter interested in the book I convinced her a Hunger Games birthday party was the way to go. So here is how we did it.

The first thing to do is make sure everyone knows what the Hunger Games is. Here is the explanation I included with the invitation.

The introduction:

The Hunger Games is the first book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, which was written by Suzanne Collins. In a future North America, the US has been all but destroyed. The rulers of Panem maintain control of those who survived through an annual televised survival competition pitting 2 young people from each of the twelve districts against one another. Sixteen-year-old Katniss' skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the competition. The games require survivor type skills, but it’s a fight to the finish. Katniss somehow manages to become the girl who reaches out to the people of all districts when she proves she does not need to loose her humanity to win the games. Her involvement in the games stirs up long hidden emotions which may start a revolution.

For this party we will attempt to recreate a gentler version of the Hunger Games with crafts and competitions that are like those in the book. It will not be a fight to the finish, but the winner will be the individual who scores the highest points after everything is completed. For example, the girls might create bracelets using knots, a skill taught in the book before the competition which could be used in the Games to snare rabbits or other animals. We will start the evening with a formal dinner, somewhat like that in the book. Please let me know if your child has any food allergies.


The Invitation:
For the invitation you can create your own or use a picture of the cover on the front(with copyright laws, however, I'm not sure if this is permissible). FYI we used script font that I can't seem to reproduce on my blog.:(

   You’ve Been Selected via the
 official Hunger Games Lottery to
   represent your district in the
       2010 Hunger Games.

(It’s Insert name/age here  Birthday Party)

When: Insert date and time here

Where: Insert location here

Please RSVP by: Insert date here
            to: Insert name and phone and /or email

Dinner will be served promptly at Insert time here

Don’t forget to pack your Pajamas, pillow, sleeping bag, and toothbrush.

Decorations:
We kept things simple and only used  a handful of things, one of which were some posters we created.
 


Games & Activities:

As you have probably guessed our birthday party was a sleepover. Our first "event" was a formal dinner. It was supposed to represent the dinner/feast that was held  before the games. We ended up getting take out from Olive Garden. They have a Parties To Go menu that is fairly reasonable. You could always serve whatever you wish. We let the girls have the dining room to themselves and the rest of the family ate in the kitchen. Using our china actually saved us a bundle (hence we got Olive Garden) that we would usually spend on paper plates. If you don't have china or don't wish to use it you could always use Chinet plates or you may be able to pick up a cheap set of china at a local thrift shop. Sometimes they have complete sets. :

If you read the introduction I provided, you have probably guessed that all games from here out are awarded a point value. No prizes were given until the end. It ensured all the girls got a prize. Hunger Games trivia started off our competition. (Side note: One of the things that made me the proudest was that all the girls read the book. *sniff* )

Next, we had a contest to see who knew which flowers were edible and which were poisonous. Again girls got points for correct answers. This game was used to represent how Katniss and others in the competition need to know what plants were edible to survive. Make sure to stress they should always second guess themselves if they ever wish to eat a plant of any kind. Also, make sure they are aware that while one portion of a plant may be edible another might not.  I used real flowers for this game, but in hindsight, I should have probably used pictures.  We ended up with a few carnations missing from one of our arrangements. lol   

Then, to recreate the beginning of the game where everyone had to grab as many supplies as they could while avoiding being injured or killed, we had a scavenger hunt. The items included flashlights (I found for under a buck), compasses (probably my most expensive item), bandanas,  camouflage bags to hold everything in (I got them for 50 cents each), glow bracelet (because they're fun), whistles, frisbees,etc. Here are some pictures from the scavenger hunt. We used Beanie Babies to decorate the trees (picture below on left side). The other picture shows the scavenger hunt in progress. The whole hunt went by in a bit of a blur so I felt this picture nicely represented that. You can barely make out one of the girls holding her bag. We awarded points to girls using the order they finished to determine their point value.











 Next, I wanted a game which required some skill. I thought about lawn darts or horseshoes, but the games were a little to pricey for me because I'd need a few sets to keep all the girls busy. I had some hula hoops left over from a previous party and the girls had frisbees which they acquired during the scavenger hunt, so I just improvised and devised my own game. You could put the hoops on the ground or hang them from a tree. The girls  needed to get the frisbees into or through a hoop. Points were assigned via the difficulty level.



We did have one casualty during the party:



I wanted a beehive to represent the Tracker Jackers in the book, but ended up settling for the monkey pinata which I believe makes an appearance in Catching Fire.

Later that evening the girls made friendship bracelets using the Klutz Hemp Bracelets book. We gave a second book away as a prize, as well as a copy of Catching Fire.

Lastly, you can't have a party without cake. My daughter designed hers to look like a book. The people at Publix did an awesome job of doing it to her specifications. 



                                                      All in all the girls had a great time.

Ms. Collins, If you ever read this post please know my daughter & I are big fans. I bet you couldn't guess. ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Most Anticipated Releases of April



April 5 - Alien in the Family by Gini Koch

April 5 - City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

April 5 - Dark Enchantment by Anya Bast

April 5 -Magic on the Hunt by Devon Monk

April 5 - Mobbed: A Regan Reilly Mystery(Regan Reilly Series #14) by Carol Higgins Clark

April 5 - Navarro's Promise by Lora Leigh

April 5 - Red Mortal by Deidre Knight

April 5 - Sweet Possession(Sweet Series #5) by Maya Banks

April 5 - Taken by the Prince by Christina Dodd

April 5 - The 39 Clues: Vespers Rising(The 39 Clues Series #11) by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman,& Jude Waston

April 5 - Vowed in Shadows by Jessa Slade

April 5 - Where She Went by Gayle Forman

April 5 - 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel

April 12 - Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

April 12 - The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

April 12 - A Kingdom Besieged (Chaoswar Saga Series #1) by Raymond E. Feist

April 12 - I'll Walk Alone: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark

April 18 - The Outlaw Bride by Kelly Boyce


April 19 - Defiance(Strange Angels Series #4) by Lilith Saintcrow

April 19 - Claimed by the Highland Warrior by Michelle Willingham
April 19 - The Emperor of Nihon-Ja(Ranger's Apprentice Series #10) by John Flanagan

April 19 - The Sixth Man (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series #5) by David Baldacci

April 19 - Eve by Iris Johansen

April 19 - Quicksilver(Arcane Society Series #11) by Amanda Quick

April 19 - Mercy Burns by Keri Arthur

April 26 - A Turn in the Road(Blossom Street Series #8) by Debbie Macomber

April 26 - Born of Shadows(League #4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

April 26 - Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter

April 26 - Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart(Love by the Numbers #3) by Sarah MacLean

April 26 - Savage Nature by Christine Feehan

April 26 - Tangled Threads(Elemental Assasin Series #4) by Jennifer Estep
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