Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blog Ahead (mini) Sign Up


I participated in the month long Blog Ahead last November. I was so ahead with my posts and it was wonderful. I don't really have vacation in June. More like the end of June and beginning of July so this is perfect for the days I have summer class. Also, since Bout of Books is coming up I'll have more to review. The only thing is that I need to review for this month too. I have about twenty one posts planned for May. I was thinking I review/write a discussion post in May and just write another post afterwards for June. It'll be a lot of writing, but I have about a week and a half until my summer class so I'm ready to do this. This event is hosted by Herding Cats Burning Soup. The info below is from their blog post on Blog Ahead:

The Goal:

To create a 2 week blogging buffer by increasing your total number of scheduled blog posts by 14.

What Counts?:

Any posts that are completely finished and ready to go live.

This can be weekly memes like Waiting on Wednesday, Cat Thursday, book/product reviews, author guest posts, discussion topics, etc. 

They don't have to be book related. 

Who Can Join?:

Anyone! Really. New to blogging or seasoned bloggers.

It's fine if books aren't your main theme.

It's even okay if you don't think you can hit 14 extra scheduled posts in 2 weeks. 
Even if you only get 1-2 extra posts scheduled that's still a great thing, right?

Are you planning on participating in Blog Ahead?
Are you usually ahead with your reviews or posts?

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Standalone. Knopf (Jan. 2015) Own
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.


It's been a while since I've read All the Bright Places so I'll try my best to communicate how incredible this book is.

I always know I'm in trouble when a book's main theme has to do with suicide. I mean looking back at what happened to me with 13 Reasons Why... it wasn't a pretty sight. I was devastated. But, I just couldn't help myself. All the Bright Places was enticing me with expectations of quirky characters who save each other from killing themselves. I had to read this. I wanted to know where their relationship would go and how that day at the bell tower would change their lives forever.

So I'm already tearing up and dying inside writing this review and it's been over four months since I've read it. This is a problem and it isn't. It's a problem because I can't focus on what I want to write. It isn't a problem because it shows really how much this book impacted me. It's one of those books that, I wouldn't say all the way but, comes close to completely devasting you. And it's all because of Finch and Violet.

Violet lost her sister and that's why she's up in the bell tower. She can't handle the loss of her sister and no one really understands how to deal with her. Violet learns so much from Finch. Finch has been bullied for his antics. He's the "weird" kid who is still very charismatic about everything. His charisma and humor are just what make it so that books are worth spending hours reading. He also crushes hard easily. A guy who cares easily? Thank you. I'm sure you can guess who he starts crushing on.

I feel like most of the story focuses on Finch, but that may be his big personality and the scary you-know-something-is-wrong-with-him-so-you-are-watching-him-closely. There's something amiss with Finch and you don't really know what until the last chapters of the story. Other than that Finch has brought it upon himself to take a classroom project and go big with it with school partner Violet. Violet is not too receptive to Finch's attention. She wants to just blend in and leave after graduation as soon as she can. Leave the place that killed her sister. However, Finch's influence starts rubbing off on her. She starts enjoying her adventure with Finch and caring about him. The project had to with discovering the wonders of Indiana. I have never explored my state like these two have. I feel like I know more about Indiana than my home state now. Their adventures were fun to read about and the added bonus of them getting closer was a plus.

This was a really wonderful read. The emotion that stirred up within me while reading it was just what I want out of every book I read. I want to feel something genuine when I read a book. A feeling that will always last when I think about that particular book. All the Bright Places really got to me. It's heart provokingly sad and hopeful at the same time. I didn't know what to do with myself afterward. I do know that if you are considering reading it in the slightest then go for it. Trust me. Just read it already. It's fantastic.

What do you think of All the Bright Places becoming a movie? Are you going to watch it?

Bout of Books #13 Sign Up + Goals


Bout of Books is happening soon so I'm declaring that I'm signing up. I plan on doing as amazing as ever! 

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Goals:

- Read everyday
- Review all books I read
- Participate in challenges

Want to sign up? Click here.


Have you signed up for Bout of Books?

Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Judy Moody #4. Candlewick Press (Feb. 2005) Own
Judy Moody ate one, two, three bowls of cereal. No prize. She poured four, five, six bowls of cereal. Nothing. Seven. Out fell the Mystery Prize. . . .
Judy definitely has a mood for every occasion. And now she has a mood ring to prove it! The mood ring’s Extra Special Powers have put Judy in a predicting mood, and her outrageous predictions have everyone wondering if Judy really is psychic. According to "Madame M" (for Moody), the Toad Pee Club’s long-lost mascot will reappear, Judy will earn the coveted Thomas Jefferson tricorn-hat sticker for Great Job, Good Thinking—and love may be the real reason behind her teacher’s new eyeglasses. Will Judy’s latest adventures put kids in a very Judy Moody mood? (Signs point to yes!)


Judy Moody in general is one of the more popular series for kids. I've only read one book featuring Judy Moody and I remember enjoying it. I can't say I fully enjoyed this one, however I believe that mainly has to do with the age group this is aimed at. Also, I felt like I was out of the loop with a lot of things mentioned including Judy's little brother! Even so the flow of this book was a little too disjointed for me.

I zoomed through Judy Moody Predicts the Future which I wasn't surprised with since it's such a small book with larger type than I'm used to. It's also a relatively easy read, but not out of this world entertaining. Judy lives up to her name in Judy Moody Predicts the Future. She's not the nicest person ever to her little brother, but that's what you expect from an older sibling. Still, her personality just wasn't for me. I know she's supposed to be moody yet I read the first book introducing her and I never felt this way then. I felt like I was missing so much too. There is a whole story about a frog I'm missing and I don't remember Stink being introduced at all. I'm really interested in Stink's love of dictionaries. Readers are always characters I hone in on in books so Stink was nice to read about. I'm so curious how he got his name and what his real name is. That would just be sad if he was really named Stink as well as highly unlikely his parents would do their own son.

So maybe I should have just read this series in order right? I think so too. I think the many questions I had while I was reading this book distracted me. But, I still think the chapter flow felt very disjointed although again I'm sure kids wouldn't think any of it. It's tailored to kids so I understand. But, I enjoy kids books too so I will still argue that this needed better flow. One big plus I have to mention is Peter. H. Reynolds' illustrations throughout the book. If you don't know him, he's a wonderful illustrator that writes his own books about art and accepting yourself.

I do expect to try again with this book after I've read the others in the series and see how I feel about it then. Judy Moody is popular for a reason. It's sassy main character I'm sure will delight many girls and boys. I don't know if they would start acting moody themselves or if that's just my thinking after reading a review of a similar situation. Judy Moody is worth a shot since she's such a classic series character and when I give her a second shot I hope I feel she deserved it. For now Judy Moody Predicts the Future was just alright for me.

Have you read the Judy Moody series? What do you think of Judy Moody?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How (Not) to Fall in Love by Lisa Brown Roberts

Standalone. Entangled Teen (Feb. 2015) YA Bound Tours
A girl who’s lost everything meets a guy who can fix anything. Just one problem: Falling in love isn't an option. Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn't just skip town, he bailed on his family. Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone. But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself...if she has the courage to follow it.



How (Not) to Fall in Love is a difficult book to review because there were parts I enjoyed but really most of what this book had to offer wasn't very good. Darcy is a rich girl who's father bails so she has to become the adult in her family. She just can't believe this is happening to her... Her solution is to go from whining about money to whining about the crush who could never like her because she's not as beautiful as this other girl who looks like a model *roles eyes*. 

So Darcy was hard to like. It took me a very long time for me to warm up to her situation. But, in the end I never fully cared for her. I did like her with Lucas after a while. Lucas mainly was always very sweet. However, it really frustrated me that he clearly liked Darcy and Darcy was too insecure about herself. I understand being insecure however, she got in her own way unnecessarily. This was also a very slow paced book so that didn't help her out at all.

Darcy's family faced their own demons which was an interesting part of the story. It's always nice reading about a family that has a few flaws and tries to pull through. I still didn't really care as much as I should have and was frustrated with her mom especially. I just couldn't believe how she acted. I could understand but then I couldn't. I feel like the writing in general didn't make me feel for these characters or believe in them. There were good parts in this story though. There were moments that I looked forward to concerning Darcy and Lucas. I wanted to see them together. Lucas really saved the day for me with this book because he wasn't a bad boy. Sure it was mentioned that girls fawned over him but he wasn't the type of person who thought they were a gift to the world. He was actually a nice guy. Shocker!

How (Not) to Fall in Love wasn't the greatest but it did have a couple of good moments. There are many other readers who enjoyed this book so if you really want to read this go for it. But for me this could have been way better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Standalone. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (May 2014) Library
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

                                                  

So I read Peter Pan and I hated it. Peter is a selfish little boy and Wendy just felt like she was being used. But, I still have always enjoyed the story whenever I've seen retellings or sequels of it in a movie version. Second Star is what I wish the story of Peter Pan was like. I wish there was more depth to the characters and there was in Second Star. I wish there was an actual connection between the characters and there was with Second Star. And I wish that Wendy not only learned from her experience, but also got something out of her experience which she did in Second Star. I never liked that Peter Pan would take away Wendy's daughter to visit Neverland at the end of the story. I understood the message of how children can be selfish when they are young. However, there's nothing to learn or care about with the story of Peter Pan. Second Star completely changed the way I saw the main characters from Peter Pan.

I actually like Wendy. I've never liked her before. Wendy is driven to find her brothers. She can't accept their deaths because she isn't provided any real proof of their deaths. She is just meant to move on and accept people's sympathies. Wendy is an intelligent student who is going on to Standford in the fall. She has never felt passion for surfing like her brothers did. Her brothers always used to skip school. They always left in the morning to find the perfect waves to ride. They were always carefree and magical when they surfed. That's why Wendy can't accept that they died because they were too good to have died that way. I really saw the maternal Wendy in this story but in a way that Wendy was more than a maternal figure. She cared deeply about her brothers but also she had so much depth to her.


Wendy finds Pete in a hidden cove where the waves are practically perfect. She knows her brothers would have gone there so she goes to do some investigating. Pete is a lot more likable than he was in his original story. Although, he still has the same major flaw he had in Peter Pan which is his selfishness.


It was so crazy finding all the characters from Peter Pan in Second Star. I was so excited to see Tinkerbell as Belle even though she's such a pain to Wendy. I really love the version of Tinkerbell in the kids movie versions. Not so much when she is her jealous self but, I still enjoyed her character. I really liked seeing Captain Hook as Jas. He's a drug dealer so he fits the whole villain role. So since I don't like Peter Pan, I liked the relationship between Wendy and Jas although their relationship seemed to be very fast. Pete's relationship with her also didn't make that much sense to me just because I didn't understand why she felt so much for him right away too. So the romance wasn't the greatest but, it wasn't like it was horrible. Also, the ending was like what? I didn't understand what was going on. I don't know why it went the way it did. It was a weird ending to say the least. I really wish there was a sequel. I really want to know some reactions to things and how everybody's life turns out. Everything has a sequel. Why can't you!?


There was one thing that Second Star did that I love above else. It made me want to learn to surf. If you can make me want to do something if in a million years I would never want to do then that author really knows how to write a descriptive, compelling story.


Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle #1. Putnam Juvenile (April 2014) Library
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

                                         

Harper Price is what you would call the Queen Bee of her high school. What's different about her popularity in her school is that she isn't the typical mean girl. She doesn't make fun of people or think the world revolves around her which is really a breath of fresh air. I do like seeing the mean girls perspective in other books, but it's nice to show teenage girls that they can be "popular" and not mean at the same time. Harper cares about her school and about becoming Homecoming Queen. She's a perfectionist and someone who really strives to be her best. And then.... she gets kissed by her janitor and obtains all this crazy martial arts knowledge. She becomes a Paladin. A paladin is a protector and the person she is supposed to protect is the one boy who she can't stand. 

You can imagine what happens romance wise in this story. It actually is very complicated what with Harper having a boyfriend and needing to protect David Stark. Now, why David? Well, there is a prophecy that is linked with him. Rebel Belle explores the choices that Harper must make for her future and what she is going to do about this prophecy. The main reason I enjoyed this story was Harper. Her personality and how she used her popularity was what made me like this story so much. I loved seeing her explore her new fighting abilities too. I would love to wake up one day and be as strong as she was. She kind of already was. She was a confident person who was given this new path in life that she must decide whether to accept or not. Seeing her struggle through a dramatic change in her life was always compelling to me to read more. 

There were a couple flaws with this book for me. This was "supposed" to be really funny, but I didn't see that at all. Also, the main problem was that it could be so slow. Towards the end too, I felt like the pace was getting slower. I wasn't as excited as I was in the beginning of the story as I was at the end. I do have to say that there is a major cliffhanger and there's a lot that's going to be happening in the next story. There's so much potential for Miss Mayhem and I really hope that the pace doesn't slow down too much. I really enjoyed this story and the continuation could be so good. I'm still a little on the fence about reading the next one though so I'll see if anyone has read it that I trust their opinion. 

Has anyone read Rebel Belle and Miss Mayhem? Is Miss Mayhem worth the read?

It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

Standalone. Chronicle Books (Aug. 2012) Library
Kids and parents alike will rejoice in this lively read-aloud picture book, as the main character runs into (and away from) a tiger over and over again as the plot gets sillier and sillier. Perfect for acting out while reading, It's a Tiger offers just the right amount of excitement without being too scary, and a sweet ending with a bit of a twist.

                      


It's a Tiger! is a really vibrant picture book that follows a boy who wherever he goes there's a tiger there waiting for him. This is a really colorful book which has illustrations that jump out from the page. 



It's a Tiger! would be such a great read-aloud for younger kids especially since they can "read-along" when the boy discovers that the tiger is near. I think kids will get a kick out of this book. It’s a picture book that can really get them excited to read or be read to because they can follow along with the story easily.



Enjoy the trailer for the book below:



Friday, April 24, 2015

#FitReaders: April 24th, 2015 Check-In


#FitReaders: It's been three weeks since my last check-in. I've realized some things which have been interesting to explore. First of all, I need to eat more. I've lost weight which isn't good for me unless it includes me eating more healthily. I know that doesn't quite make sense but, I've been exploring veganism. I know my parents would never want me to stop eating meat and I'm quite a meat eater so I don't know if I would ever fully be able to. But, I'm planning to add more grains, fruits, and vegetables to my lifestyle and maybe one day I'll try to be vegan. I've been looking at it more and more and it's just something that I think would be best for me. I don't know if my body would respond well to being vegan so I always have to think of that. It's not like I'm going to be vegan right away anyways, I've just been thinking a lot about this. So what does this have to do with eating more? Well I've found out that vegans eat way more calories than is recommended and as long as they exercise a regular amount they can maintain their weight after some adjustment to their new diet. I eat way less than I'm recommended which is a problem. I don't like eating a lot of food at all. I've always been like this. I've always eaten three meals a day so nothing to worry about but, I just don't eat enough. I could see me gaining weight eating more fruit or drinking smoothies easily. That's where being vegan has come from. I also, want to loosely track my calories so I know I'm eating enough until I get into a routine. I'm planning on changing my breakfast routine first and then my lunch and dinner routine. If anyone is vegan or has any healthy breakfast/smoothie recipes I would love to know what you think. 

Walk/Run:
1.87 miles in 30 minutes
1.89 miles in 30 minutes

Walking:
2 hours 20 minutes

Workout Videos:

Workouts:
Wall push-ups - 40
Tricep dips - 30
Squats - 30

Water Intake:
608 oz of water


How did you do this week?

Friday, April 3, 2015

#FitReaders: April 3rd Check-In


#FitReaders: This post will be for my last two weeks of exercise. Sadly I didn't do any running or workout videos but I was able to get a great amount of walking done which before FitReaders I never would have. I just need to work a little harder and get running and strength training in again. I also need to focus on eating more to gain weight. 

Walk/Run:
None!

Walk:

7 hours and 50 minutes 

Workout Videos:

None!

Water Intake:
352 oz of water
How did you do this week?

April 2015 Plans


March was one of my worst reading months ever! I read two books. Only two! Well, April is a new month and I've been finally catching up with everyone on their blogs so I'll be back in the swing of things in no time.  

March Stats

Total Books Read: 2
YA Books: 1
MG/Children's Books: 0
Adult Books: 1
Graphic Novel/Manga: 0
Picture Books: 0

Books that fit into my yearly challenges:

Reading Road Trip Challenge: 0
Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: 0
2015 Monthly Motif Challenge: 0
The Color Coded Reading Challenge: 0
2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge: 0
Prequel and Sequel Challenge: 0
Fairytale Challenge: 0
2015 Audiobook Challenge: 0
Snagged @ the Library Challenge: 0
Graphic Novels and Manga Challenge: 0
The Re-Read Challenge: 0
NetGalley Reading Challenge: 0
I Love Picture Books Challenge: 0

Pages Read: 368

Books Read:
The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser
The Bewitching of Alison Allbright by Alan Davidson

Favorite Read:
The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser


April Plans

My April plans are simply to read books that meet my challenge goals and get caught up with my reviews. My first April book will be:


What have been your favorite books so far this year?

April Reading Road Trip Link-Up


It's already April and many of you are blasting through your challenge! Great job getting those challenge reads in Bev @ My Reader's Block, Reading Chronicles, Sue, and Lady Bren. I've been slowing down on my challenge so this month I plan on 5 books towards my Adventurer goal. 

So how did you do this past month? What books are you planning to read in April? Are there any real good books that explore the states setting? Make sure to let me know in the comments and link up your review updates below using this format:

State (Book) @ blog/twitter/goodreads. 
For example: Florida (Because of Winn-Dixie) @BooksOnHerMind

If you want to check out what this challenge is all about you can go here. Thanks to all who are participating! Remember if you need help ask and I will answer.

Link Up!