Graceling: If I was judging a book by its cover, this would be my favorite. I thought the cover art was really beautiful. The story itself was enjoyable, too. It is a fantasy novel, the main character is named Katsa and she is a Graceling, a person with two different colored eyes which marks them as having a Grace (which is a talent or gift for a certain skill or ability). It could be cooking or mind control or as it seems in Katsa's case, fighting. In this world, Gracelings belong to the King, who uses their skill however he sees fit. I don't want to give too much away, but it was a good read. It had a bit of mystery, battling, and a love story. It wasn't my favorite book ever, but I liked it enough to read the companion book as well.
Catching Fire and Mockingjay: I loved these. I read through one a day. I loved both Katniss and Peeta and I hated the world they were stuck in. Catching Fire took me by surprise many times, though in retrospect I guess I should have seen some of those things coming. The world in which these stories take place is not light or beautiful or smooth, but there is still such goodness in it, even in unexpected places. It seems each book gets darker, but there is always light to be found. As for Mockingjay, there were parts I didn't like, parts that made me exceedingly sad, but in the end, I was pleased with the outcome. It is tough to say much about these without giving things away, but READ THEM, if you haven't.
Fire: This is the companion book to Graceling. It takes place before Graceling in the same world, there is only one character in both novels and he is not the main character in either. Fire takes place in an adjacent kingdom, where Gracelings do not exist, but monsters do. Monsters are creatures that are equivalent to the animals (and even people) in our world, but they have vibrantly colored hair/feathers/fur and they also can influence the minds of creatures and people around them. Fire is the protagonist and she is a monster, the last human monster, in fact. The novel is largely the story of her self-discovery and how she learns to love herself and find her place in the world. There is also mystery, battling, and a love story like Graceling. I've read reviews that complain about the fact that menstruation is mentioned several times in the book, but it wasn't bothersome to me. It fit into the story because monsters crave the blood of other monsters, so Fire attracted attacks from other monsters during those times. It actually made me wonder why it wasn't addressed in the Twilight books...I mean, if Jasper freaked out over a paper cut on Bella's birthday, how did he ever survive high school with all those menstruating teenage girls in class with him? I digress. I liked Fire and I'll read the next companion book, Bitterblue, when it comes out.
All told, I read 10 books in my 2 weeks of child-free break. I think it was a lovely way to relax! I'm reading The Book Thief currently, but I imagine school will slow me down somewhat. ;)