Cars 3

Cars_3_posterRelease Date: June 16, 2017

Summary:

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen pushes himself beyond his limits and suffers a huge crash. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez. Proving that 95 isn’t through yet, he will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage against his new rival, Jackson Storm.

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Review! Shaggy Showdown

HBR_DH620438DScooby Doo Shaggy’s Showdown

Runtime: 1h20m

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Summary (from amazon.com):

When the Scooby gang visits a dude ranch, they discover that it and the nearby town have been haunted by a ghostly cowboy, Dapper Dan, who fires real fire from his fire irons. The mystery only deepens when it’s discovered that the ghost is also the long lost relative of Shaggy Rogers!

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

Review! Monster High

BookcoverAuthor: Lisi Harrison

272 Pages–Ages 12-15 years

Published by: Poppy on September 1, 2010

Summary (from amazon.com):

From Lisi Harrison, the New York Times bestselling author of The Clique and Alphas, comes a new series with a fresh twist on high school, romance, and the “horrors” of trying to fit in.

The monster community has kept a low profile at the local high school, but when two new girls enroll, the town will never be the same. Created just fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is psyched to trade her father’s formaldehyde-smelling basement lab for parties and prom.

But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters stalking the halls, Frankie learns that high school can be rough for a chic freak like her. She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver-but can a “normie” be trusted with her big secret?

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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

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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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NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month)

This last November (and October…and September…and maybe August) I have been really slacking on this website. I really don’t have much of an excuse for August and September except for the all to common “I was busy.” However, in October and November I had (somewhat) of a legitimate excuse. This year I decided to participate in the National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so for the second half of October I spent it deciding what story I wanted to pursue and planning it out. Then in November I started writing.

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NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with 21 participants. Since then the event has been steadily growing until this year which had more than 430,000 participants! It’s a pretty simple concept: for the month of November you need to write at least 50,000 words that cumulates into some sort of story. Basically, you speed write a short novel. It’s quite a challenging task and I’ve never done it before so I figured why not try it.

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At first, I figured it wouldn’t be that bad. I mean 1667 words a day doesn’t sound that hard. On the first few days the words just flowed. I did my 1667 words and then some. Of course, after about 4 days of that it all came to a screeching halt. After the opening scenes the story just sort of stopped. In all my planning I only really got the skeleton of the story together. I had all the big scenes planned, but I realized I never finalized the bridges that linked the scenes together. I slugged through the first 10,000 words. I kept hoping that once I reached a certain point in the story it would start flowing again. Well, I kept holding out hope and it never came. At the end of 30 days I ended up with the slim 13,530 words. Quite an impressive amount for me, but a colossal failure for the challenge. Even though I wasn’t able to successfully complete NaNoWriMo I did learn a lot.

nanowrimoFor starters, writing a book is hard! I mean, I always knew that it was hard but now I have a tiny glimpse of how authors actually work. I know it’s a bit presumptuous, but on a slight level I can sort of understand the troubles authors can go through writing their stories. The worst book I’ve ever read was still better than the drivel I wrote.

Which brings me to my second point, I thought about sharing what my story is about but, in the end, I’ve decided against it. I’ve had this story idea for quite some time, but it was always just sort of a fleeting idea. The basic summary has always been the same, only the filling has changed. My story ideas and the way I write reveals my inner most thoughts and the way I think. I let my readers see the world as I see it. It’s somewhat of an intimate experience. That’s what happens when I read other people’s work (for the most part). I would imagine it’s not like this for all writers, but for me that’s how it is. I’m a bit wary of people reading my story and judging it, especially in it’s unfinished state. Having someone reading my story is basically sharing a part of myself.

nano_2015_bannerBottom line, participating in NaNoWriMo was a wonderful experience. I didn’t finish but I certainly don’t intend to give up now! It may take a few months (or probably more), but I will continue until I hopefully finish. I hope that one day, maybe when the story is finished, I will be confidant enough to at least share what the story is about and maybe the whole story in and of itself. It may not be any good, and it probably won’t be publishing worthy, but that won’t change the fact that it’s mine. And next November maybe I try again with a different story and hopefully be able to complete the challenge!

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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Disney Descendants 2

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Information released so far (from ohmy.disney.com):

Release: Summer of 2017

Written by: Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott

Director, Executive Producer, Choreographer: Kenny Ortega

The summary to date:

The story deepens in the music-driven sequel to the global smash hit “Descendants,” as the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains — Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay (also known as Villain Kids or VKs) — try to find their place in idyllic Auradon. When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal, she returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula, has taken her spot as self-proclaimed queen of the run-down town.  Uma, still resentful over not being selected by Ben to go to Auradon Prep with the other Villain Kids, stirs her pirate gang including Captain Hook’s son Harry and Gaston’s son Gil, to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon, and unleash all the villains imprisoned on the Isle, once and for all.

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