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Summer 2017

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Honestly, I have a whole pile of half-finished articles sitting on my hard drive, but for some reason I’m having a hard time finishing anything. Motivation is hard to come by.

I figured I’d take a chapter out of someone else’s book and just write some short thoughts on various things I’ve been thinking of.
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Amelia O’Donohue is so not a Virgin

1001004010961551Author: Helen FitzGerald

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire on November 1, 2010

Summary (from amazon.com):

Amelia O’Donohue was stunning. We all knew we were in the presence of tremendous beauty, humbled by her eyes and by her expensive designer clothes. We all deferred to her, waiting for her to initiate conversation, and hanging on every word she said.

So when Amelia asked for my help, What was I to do? Did I have a choice? It’s not like I could tell everyone that she sneaks off in the middle of the night in her pink silk nightie to sleep with her boyfriend. Right?

But this one favor leads to a secret so big it just might change everything-for Amelia and for me…

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Review! A Wonderlandiful World

Book_-_A_Wonderlandiful_World_coverAuthor: Shannon Hale

336 Pages–Ages 9 to 12 (and up!)

Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on August 26, 2014

Summary (amazon.com):

At Ever After High, everyone is expected to sign the Storybook of Legends, pledging to follow in their fairytale parent’s footsteps. But when Raven Queen came along, things became fairy, fairy confusing. Now no one’s destiny is certain, not even for the most royal of them all, Apple White.

When a mysterious being from Wonderland begins to infect Ever After High with a strange magic, everything goes topsy-turvy. The students transform into animals and objects, palace mice talk, and the beautiful green grounds on campus fade to black-and-white. Lizzie Hearts, Wonderland’s future queen, Cedar Wood, daughter of Pinocchio, and Madeline Hatter, heir to the Mad Hatter’s Hat and Tea Shoppe, seem to be the only ones who haven’t completely lost their heads. It’s up to them to save their best friends forever after from a curse that threatens to give their school-and their lives-a very unhappy ending.

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Review! Spy School Series

Spy School 1 CoverAuthor: Stuart Gibbs

Ages 8 and up

Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Summary for the first Spy School (from goodreads.com):

Can a normal, average kid become a superstar secret agent? Maybe not, but it’ll be fun to watch him try!

Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate math skills, Ben isn’t surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?

Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!

Spy School Series

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Review! Love Maybe?

CoverAuthor: Heather Hepler

272 Pages–Ages 12 and up

Published by: Scholastic Inc. on January 5, 2012

Summary (from goodreads.com):

Just because Piper’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day does not mean she’s a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she’s pretty sure she doesn’t believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine’s dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy.

In this heartwarming romance, true love is more than a maybe – and it might be closer than you think.

author

The author, Heather Hepler.

Pre-Thoughts:

As you can no doubt tell from the time of this posting and the cover of the books, I chose this for Valentine’s Day. I love middle school romances, mostly because they don’t feel as heavy as adult romances. Or maybe it’s because I love seeing people in that awkward puppy love stage. Whatever the reason, Valentine themed books are my favorite genre to read about (with the possible exception of Scary Godmother).

What I expect from this book is a fluffy romance that will keep me smiling at it’s adorableness. I bet the main character, Piper, will start out by dating the most popular guy in school then realize that her best guy friend is actually the one for her. That’s usually how these types of books go and you would think I would be tired of it, but not quite yet. Sometimes a good formulaic plot is just what I need (assuming the book follows this format). Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to reading this book!

valentines-day-chocolate-600x363

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Post-Thoughts:

The main character rubbed me the wrong way. I think it was when she said that she didn’t like chocolate. I mean come on. I LOVE chocolate and I can never really relate to someone who doesn’t. Although in high school I did have a friend who was allergic to chocolate and therefore couldn’t eat it and I liked her just fine. I mean she doesn’t like chocolate!! That’s hard to forgive.

Piper’s personality was fun. She is a little too cynical (the books favorite word to describe her) for my taste, but I thought she was much better than some of the romance heroes I read in other middle grade books. She had enough sense not to get herself into unnecessary trouble (thank goodness). Sometime I just can’t stand when heroines do stupid things which I, as a human being with common sense, know will get them into hot water later.

heather_hepler_contestswagBen Donovan was absolutely flat. He was nothing but a stepping stone in Piper’s conquest of love and by the end of it all I felt sort of bad for him. I still am totally unclear why he was interested in Piper in the first place. Piper describes him basically as the reincarnation of Adonis, but describes herself and her group as average people. Then there was the love potion. When I read that I figured this book was going to pull a fast one and turn into a paranormal romance. Thankfully, it does not. Actually the love potion was never properly explained. It sort of just shows up in the beginning, fizzles out in the middle, then there is one line at the end where the girls ponder whether it worked or not. It was sort of a weird plot point that didn’t really amount to much.

Another positive point is that the novel was completely clean. No bad words, no intense romantic escapades, no inappropriate scenes. Of course, it may have been a little too clean for my taste. Piper finds her romantic soul mate in like the last 10 pages (I bet you all can guess who it is) and they don’t kiss or hug or even hold hands! It was just a tad disappointing.

An alternate cover.

An alternate cover.

As with almost all romance middle grade novels, everything just magically falls into place at the end. Everybody gets there perfect romantic matchups (even some of the characters that I didn’t think would) and everything is hunky dory. A little unnatural in the real world, but to be expected in fiction.

I chose this book because I thought it was a Valentine’s Day book (courtesy of the Valentine candy hearts on the front) and Valentine’s Day really did play a big role, but I didn’t really get that Valentine’s Day charm from it, if you know what I mean. It was a really quick read and while I was reading it I thought it was enjoyable, but it didn’t really leave my of an impression on me and I likely will never pick it up again. Nonetheless, if you like a clean romance (extremely clean) that’s a quick read then I would recommend giving this book a try.

 

My Year of Books 2016

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It’s the end of another year and I wanted to spend some time reflecting on my reading in 2016. Looking back on the year it was quite the active for me. I went on a lot of reading binges, I read many books from many of genres, and I met my set goals for the year. There was a time in the year that I was reading 3 or 4 books a week and there were weeks when I read one (if not two) books a day. Of course, there were weeks where I didn’t finish any books at all, and even some weeks where I didn’t read anything at all.

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Ten 2017 Must-Read Books

new_year_2017_dark_blue

Top 10 Books I’m excited to see come out in 2017 (with a couple of honorary mentions because there are so many good ones!)

Just as a note, I feel I should mention that not all books I want to read are on this list. There are some books that I have omitted that I probably will read that I left out for various reasons. For example, eventually I will want to read Ships of the Dead (Magnus Chase #3) by Rick Riordan, but I haven’t actually read the Hammer of Thor so I decided it probably wasn’t proper to include it on this list, even though I am still relatively excited that it’s coming out.

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Review! Poison is Not Polite

poison-is-not-polite-9781481422154_lgAuthor: Robin Stevens

336 Pages-Ages 10 and up

Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 26, 2016

Summary (from amazon.com):

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t about Daisy after all—and she is furious. But Daisy’s anger falls to the wayside when one of their guests falls seriously and mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison. It’s up to Daisy and Hazel to find out what’s really going on.

With wild storms preventing everyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy begins to act suspiciously, the Detective Society does everything they can to reveal the truth…no matter the consequences.

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Scary Godmother

17305Author and Artist: Jill Thompson

192 Pages–Ages 10 and up!

Published by: Dark Horse Books on October 26, 2010

Summary (from amazon.com):

It’s Halloween night, and it’s up to Scary Godmother to show one little girl just how much fun spooky can be! Meet Hannah Marie, who, with the help of Scary Godmother, stands up to her mean-spirited cousin Jimmy and her fear of monsters on her first Halloween adventure with the big kids. Later, Hannah joins forces with Orson, the vampire boy, to unravel a mystery near and dear to their hearts. Some of Scary Godmother’s closest (and most frightful) pals get in on the fun too, including Bug-A-Boo, the Boozle, and Skully Pettibone.

Four of Thompson’s Eisner Award-winning, fully painted children’s books are collected here, in their entirety, for the first time (Scary Godmother, The Revenge of Jimmy, The Mystery Date, and The Boo Flu). This deluxe edition also features some of the earliest concept designs for this haunting and imaginative series.

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Review! The Fine Art of Pretending

FIne-Art-cover-315x480Author: Rachel Harris

256 Pages–Ages 12 (and up)

Published by: Spencer Hill Contemporary on September 20, 2014

Summary (from rachelharriswrites.com):

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.