August 30, 2015

Back To School Reading

Every once in a while, the inevitable comes around and kids around the world are forced to hustle and bustle back to school. For readers, school just brings a whole new problem to the situation. School=less time for reading=unhappy reader. You catching my wind? Although some of us desperately want to read after school, we're too caught up on homework, studying, and extracurriculars that will benefit our futures. So here's to the back to school season (not), and to all these BTS tips I'm about to share with you. 

1. Don't Start Series

Starting a brand new book series is probably the worst thing you could do when you're just getting back into school. Starting a new series means committing yourself to the angst, joy, and anger that a series brings and you don't have time for that with your endless amount of assignments and already preparing for midterms. Let's say at the beginning of the year you read the first book in a series and then you have a huge test so you drop the second book to study. You'll probably not have time in the next few weeks to continue on with the series and all readers know that when there is a huge gap of time when you read books in a series, that can lead to nothing but trouble. This happened during my back to school season with one of the trilogies I was supposed to finish, the Mara Dyer trilogy. 

2. Read Some Classics or Historical Fiction

When you read something that enlightens what you're learning at school, you will probably do better in that subject. Like perhaps reading a historical fiction book on a subject you're doing in social studies or global will teach you more about the subject in a fun and exciting manner. Maybe it's the case that you like to read books but not history textbooks. Well, at least that's the case for me. 

3. Do not read a book with a major cliffhanger

The thing with cliffhangers and things coming unexpectedly is that it can leave you in a series book hangover. Book hangovers are never good because you lose the ability to read some more and to think normally. You're mind is too caught up on the thought of what you just read and you can't function until you're burning desire to find out what happens next is sated. So avoid the cliffhangers and the book hangovers in general. 

4.  Cut down on the book buying

You better save up those dollar bills. Of course you can go buy tons and tons of books, no one is stopping you, but let's think straight about this a little. If you have school trips, need more supplies, or want to buy your friends a nice birthday/Christmas present, you can't be buying books all day and all night. Save up the cash and go splurge during the summer when all you can do is read read read! 

5. Be the person that recommends books to others

Be a fellow Spiderman and help out! You're only ever going to go so far with your love of reading if you don't actually do something with your passion. Go to the library and ask if you can help recommend books to kids in need of something good to read. That always works. Tell your teacher that you have a blog and it'd be way awesome if all the kids in class could check it out. Who knows? The person sitting next to you could be a major booklover and there might be other bloggers that you don't know about in the school. 

6. Suck up to the English teacher

This ones a classic! You want to show your english teacher just how well-rounded you are in the book world and how good you are at analyzing the things you read. Don't be shy and just tell your teacher that you're a book blogger. It doesn't get better than that! And besides, your teacher may be a grade-A booklover and will come to you if they need something fresh and new to read. Don't be shy! 

Those are my pro tips to surviving back to school if you're a reader or a booklover. I'd love to know what you guys think of the post! 

In Love With My Fictional Boyfriend

This same mentality is why readers love to read. I've never done a post on book boyfriends but this time I'm going to tell you guys about my top fictional boyfriends. For swooning purposes only! 

1. Will Herondale

Never in my reading career, have I encountered a male character more swoon-worthy, snarky, and as kickass as Will Herondale. If you haven't heard of Will Herondale then it means you haven't read the Infernal Devices trilogy, and if you haven't read the Infernal Devices trilogy yet; I don't know what you're going with your life. Okay Will Herondale sends chills up my spine. I wish he were real honestly they should make this trilogy into a movie so I can see who is cast as Will and fall in love with him. Cassandra Clare just knows how to create sexy men.

2. Chaol Westfall

When you read this series, it's likely you'll get tangled up in the love triangle Sarah J. Maas has got going on between Chaol Westfall and Dorian Havilliard. I personally prefer Chaol because he's so brooding and he's got that bad boy sense since he is Caption of the Guard. I don't like the princes who are kind of wimps and like to stay on their thrones. Dorian just wasn't working for me. The chemistry and spark between Celaena is real and I feel their romance could go further than wherever Dorian would take her. Chaol is my bae and even though Will Herondale ranks higher, Chaol knows he lives in the true depths of my heart. 

3. Prince Kaito

I recently read the Lunar Chronicles series, and I automatically fell in love with Prince Kaito. I know some of you guys like Thorne, or Wolf, or maybe even Jacin. Prince Kai from the beginning shows an interest in Cinder and he's so sweet to her but he also wants to change a lot of things that are bad in the world and make then good. He's a natural-born leader and among other things, SUPPERRRR cute. But, once again, it's not all about appearance. 

Sorry for the short post this week, friends. I'm on vacation and the internet is spotty so this is the least I could scrounge up. I'll definitely do a post about independent bookshops because there is a lot where I'm going. Toodles and have a nice weekend!

Who are your top three fictional boyfriends? 

August 27, 2015

Book Review + 6th Grader's Reactions: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

..and why it made my student’s summer homework a success!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Source: Paperback gifted
My rating: 3 of 5 stars :star :star :star
Publisher: Yearling
Date of Publication: June 24, 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Night in the Museum in this action-packed New York Times Bestseller from Chris Grabenstein, coauthor of I Funny, Treasure Hunters and other bestselling series with James Patterson!Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

My Review

This was a really cute story. I read this with my student during the summer and she really liked it (more about that later). It feels like a major win too because she dislikes reading. Despite it having some cheesy parts, I did like it. Kind of guilty how much I liked it, despite its cheesiness. I would actually read the other book by this author. My student wants to as well, so I would say I am so glad I put this one on the list. I can't even really see why it's geared towards boys, as I didn't get that vibe at all, even though the MC was a boy. Then again, maybe it's just that boys are reading it and liking it too? I’m not sure.

All I know is that my student, a 6th grade girl, absolutely loved it. She wrote an excellent book report on it (I am her tutor, by the way, in case you were wondering) and I just feel like it really did add to what I took from the story (her enjoyment). I have to mention a few of her points too, as far as her feedback because I feel like it’s not only valid (or at least, in my opinion) but that it’s always great to hear from middle grade readers about what THEY think of the particular middle grade book. Especially if it’s a bestseller. I always wonder, for any genre, when a book is a bestseller why the demographic who it’s marketed toward likes it / picks it up in the first place / likes it (or doesn’t).

I know some of you are reading this because you’re interested in reading the book yourself or maybe for your son/daughter or even a student! I found a whole thing online about all these different people in education and the whole discussion of : WHAT SHOULD I RECOMMEND TO THE KIDS TO READ THIS _____ (summer // winter // road trip // etc)?

I get it. It’s a thing. It’s a big deal. Very few students are actually avid readers (in summer, especially). But let me just tell you that as a book blogger it was even difficult for ME. (ok, admittedly this was due to an overwhelming amount of options even for a student as picky as the one I have). But still, lol.

What I actually ended up doing was creating an Amazon wish list just for her (and I) to decide what to read together for the summer. She had one book assigned (Rain, Reign - you won’t hear my thoughts on that, they’re too negative for me to put on the blog). Anyway— the wish list was called Summer Reading Choices and I shared it with her and her parents. The ‘rents actually didn’t even look at it, but I know some parents are not quite as chill, or they’r more participative with homework/reading /whatever. The point is, it was fun for her to look at it and then she called me and decided like which covers she liked. Based on that she skimmed the description and asked me why I added that book (only the ones that caught her eye, so I’d say easily half were ignored) ;) I was expecting that though, and was just happy she liked any of them to be honest. I think we got down to this and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which I had already read. I was up for it but ultimately this is what she decided. Here’s what she thought: again, I’m summarizing our discussion and her report.

6th Grader’s Reactions to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library:

Positives and Negatives

+ ’s 
-Adventurous and good plot 
-Cool library (lots of cool effects like hovering to the highest shelf for the book you want).
-Lots of references to other books like Tuck Everlasting, Ella Enchanted, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. 
-Puzzle and mystery was interesting not boring
-The characters were good especially the main character, Kyle

- ’s 
-Narrative style
Didn’t like how it switched to different characters. Didn’t seem to serve a point since we went back to Kyle. Would have preferred to keep it in first person or do it in third but with one narrator not use different characters like the (antagonist) Charles and then would not build sympathy for the character.
-Ending was not that great. 
I wanted something vey exciting and crazy but I kind of knew what would happen and then it was boring how it all ended (a little boring, I still really liked it though!)

There you have it. My thoughts on the book— I’d read the other book by the author. I like that it was a stand alone and seems to be equally geared toward male and female readers. It was funny, if a little too cheesy at times.6th Grader’s Opinon - Really liked it. Glad it was picked for the reading this summer. Definitely wants to read the other book by the aturho, Dr. Libris’ Island. Wants to go back and check the clues for the ”bonus question” at the end.

Did you read this book? Do you ever have a problem with summer reading lists? Or a reluctant reader? What are your tips / thoughts?

August 26, 2015

7 Films That Never Age

There are some shows that, as many times as you watch them, never seem to get old or bore you. These are the films that are passed down from year to year and either cherished with family or it's a tradition that you and your friends made up. I'm sure there are a handful of you that could agree with the choices I've chosen but for those of you that can't, what are your choices? I'd love to know!

1. Mean Girls
Even my freshman year teacher showed us this movie at the end of the year! Mean Girls is a cliche story about a girl that years to fit in and doesn't realize that she's being totally horrible to people until she's bagged down by her friends and her 'crush' or considered boyfriend. It's a great film for teenage girls but also for teenage boys because it displays just how hard a girl's life is. No matter how many times I watch this, this film never gets old. There is always something I find when I watch it again that I didn't know before. I also get to make fun of their clothes because no one dresses like that today. 

2. Legally Blonde
I was the one who always laughed at Elle when she did something stupid or wore pink in the sea of grey suits. Legally Blonde is a great film about self-discovery and people underestimating you. Reese Witherspoon is also an amazing actor which makes the film all the more enjoyable. As many times as I watch this, I am never bored with it and usually don't remember what happens. 

3. High School Musical
Who didn't grow up with this? I love how these shows are showing how old we're getting. I pity all the kids today that didn't grow up with this in their lives, just kidding, just kidding. This show was a game changer for me and although it wasn't a good representation of what high school is- I wish high school was about singing and talent competitions- it was a great foundation for the terms of jealousy and following passion. We would always remember Zac Efron as Troy and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella. This film can never get old in the eyes of the kids who've watched it so many years ago. 

4. Camp Rock
Was it just me or did anyone else feel like Camp Rock was a copycat of High School Musical? The only difference was they were at camp. Camp Rock is still one of my favorites though because I love Demi Lovato and the Jonas brothers at that time. Hey, of course I was naive and didn't know any better! Camp Rock is a musical film that's mostly about a talent competition in camp and the male singer of this awesome band trying to find this girl with the voice that he heard one day. 

5. Hairspray
I had to mention this one! Hairspray is a great musical film set back in the 1960's of Baltimore, Maryland and a girl dreaming of being on a singing TV show while the word deals with racial segregation and in some not nice ways. Along with being a great musical film, it has so much potential to be something that teachers kids about racial segregation and how everything wasn't sunshine and rainbows a long time ago. Now some problems in the world might include global warming or Donald Trump as president (hehe just kidding, oh my I'm getting laughs from this) but a few years back, it was segregation and poverty. 

6. Bridesmaids
I'm introducing a film that probably not all of you have seen, but if you've watched it, you know that the comedy and humor of this film never gets old. There are always new jokes to laugh at. It's like Bridesmaids gone wrong! Kristen Wiig is an amazing actor haha, and she's so funnaayyyy. 

7. King Kong 
I'm talking about the 2005 version with Jack Black, not the version made in the 1900's or something like that. This film is more like a prehistoric science fiction one about a filmmaker that hears about this mysterious island and convinces his crew to go with him. Yes, this film has a giant gorilla but it's not as stupid as it sounds. In the eyes of some, this film is even seen as a classic and probably some of their favorite shows. 

Those are all my favorite films that never get old. What are yours? 

August 25, 2015

Book Review: Resonance by Erica O'Rourke

Series: Dissonance #2
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars :star :star :star 1/2
Source: Hardcover via author/publisher
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Date of Publication: July 21st, 2015
Pages: 448 pages || Goodreads

As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.
Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.
She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.
In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice..
My Review

I’m gonna be honest. I lost this book during my move right before I finished. I looked up the ending.
Hence, the rating. I liked it overall.