Thursday, November 26, 2015

Being Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving! To all those who celebrate Thanksgiving and all those who don't I wish you all have a great time with your family, friends, or just on your own (preferably reading a book).

I am thankful to be born in the U.S. in a place where I luckily live in a peaceful neighborhood. I am thankful to my parents who work hard, my brothers who I love with all my heart, and to all the bloggers I've become friends with. I hope you all have a great day and long weekend.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Miami Book Fair


For the second time, I've been able to go to the Miami Book Fair. This time around I got all rained on and so did my mom. She mentioned later that she's been meaning to take me since I was a little kid so we finally got to go together. Even with all the rain it was still nice hanging out with her. There were no author events that appealed to me this time around which was a bummer. 

I ended up buying Soundless by Richelle Read and it's an autographed book. It has this cover over the main one that supposed to make it like a first edition type of deal. All I know it looks very elegant. The second book I bought was Beastkeeper which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast - one of my favorite fairy tales. The last thing I got for free and it's a sample of Richelle Mead's upcoming book, The Glittering Court, which will have three books in its series. Each book is supposed to be set with a different main character and their stories will intertwine with each other. 

I'm pretty happy with all the books I got and to have that experience with mom although next time I plan on going on a day where authors I love will talk about their books... and it's not raining.

Do you have any local book fair's near you? What new books have you gotten lately?

Friday, November 20, 2015

FitReaders: November 20, 2015 Check-In

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#FitReaders: I didn't go to the gym this week. I'm going to start working out at home again when my gym partners aren't able to go. I've also known for a while that I need to gain weight and I did slightly for a while, however I'm still basically the same weight as before. I need to start focusing on eating more calories and I'm planning on figuring that out this week. 

Friday, November 13th ~ 1,436 steps
Saturday, November 14th ~ 10,198 steps
Sunday, November 15th ~ 10,020 steps
Monday, November 16th ~ 4,822 steps
Tuesday, November 17th ~ 10,048 steps
Wednesday, November 18th ~ 10,111 steps
Thursday, November 19th ~ 11,371 steps

Total Steps: 58,006

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Hereville #1. Amulet Books (Nov. 2010) Library
Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!


Mirka lives in the town of Hereville where everyone is Orthodox Jewish. The Orthodox Jewish community has certain traditions that don't involve Mirka's dream to slay dragons, but when Mirka finds her chance to obtain a sword perfect for slaying dragons she can't help take it even with the warnings from her kid brother. Will Mirka be able to get past the troll or will her dream become a nightmare?

I don't know much about the Orthodox Jewish community so it was nice to learn about their traditions and some Yiddish words along the way. Mirka enjoys her religion, but she's not concerned about being good for a future husband or learning to knit with her stepmom. No, Mirka is more concerned with monsters and being a rebel. Being a rebel is what got her into the mess of having to fight off a revenge seeking pig, her brother's bullies, and a troll that wants to eat her for breakfast. She has to use her guts and her stepmom's wisdom in order to survive.

Mirka is what I would describe best as a smart-aleck just like her step mom. They are constantly getting into arguments and you can really see the similarities between them. Mirka also doesn't like to conform to what people think of her. When her brother said she couldn't fight a troll because she's a girl well I was laughing in his face as she threatened him. Needless to say, I love the girl's spirit. Her story was hilarious, heartwarming, and had me supporting Mirka through her whole journey.

Do you enjoy learning about new religions and cultures in books?

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Zita the Spacegirl #1. First Second (Feb. 2011) Library
Zita's life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don't even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita's quest.


An adventure into the unknown begins with a chance encounter with an alien. Believing it's her fault that her friend Joseph is abducted, Zita, follows after him to a planet that's going to explode in a few days time. Zita is lost and alone just trying to look for her friend when she finds new and unexpected friends on her journey. Zita reinvents herself as Zita the Spacegirl with a cape and everything and goes on a rescue mission that will have her battling robots, aliens, and a grifty salesman to save her friend before it's too late.

Comics that are written for a younger audience are usually a hit or miss for me. I believe that all books should have some appeal to everyone, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. Lucky for me I found Zita the Spacegirl to be a wonderful little story about friendship, loyalty, and perseverance.

Zita's story centers around friendship. She is going on a rescue mission to save her friend. Then she meets so many friends along the way like Piper and Mouse. Piper can sway people by playing some music. He's been trying to get enough fuel to leave the doomed planet with Mouse. Mouse is, you guessed it, a giant mouse who follows along Zita on her quest. One is a robot that's loyal and gun happy. Strong-Strong is a sweet, mushy character who just wants to help. And finally, Randy the nervous robot who tags along reluctantly.

Zita's story was really sweet. Zita became the hero she needed to be. I really liked how Zita shows all kids that to be a hero you need to have courage and perseverance even if things look tough. Zita also showed how when you need help you can always count on your friends to have your back. I feel really lucky to have finally read Zita's story after wanting to for so long. It's going to be fun exploring her other adventures in the series.


What is one of your favorite friendship stories?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1. Marvel (Sept. 2015) Own
Wolverine, Deadpool, Doctor Doom, Thanos: There's one hero that's beaten them all-and now she's got her own ongoing series! (Not that she's bragging.) That's right, you asked for it, you got it, it's SQUIRREL GIRL! (She's also starting college this semester.) It's the start of a brand-new set of adventures starring the nuttiest and most upbeat super hero in the world!


Who would have thought that Marvel would come up with a superhero with squirrel powers? Honestly, I think every type of superhero is taken so I guess why not have a superhero with squirrel powers? Doreen Green, a.k.a. Squirrel Girl, is starting college and is trying to keep a low profile although talking to her pet squirrel Tip-Toe, kind of gives her away easily to anyone who is paying attention. She has a cute spunk to her and an immaturity that can be endearing. 


Doreen is kind of a brag when she's Squirrel Girl saying she's fought alongside Iron Man and claiming she is unbeatable. She's pretty lovable because of her sweet immaturity and her eagerness to help others. At times, she can be a little too overbearing with her personality, but that might have been because the story kind of went all over the place with the last issues. Iron Man suits, an evil villain heading straight towards Earth, and just the flow of the comics when everything went down left something to be desired. 


I am hopeful that now the introduction of Squirrel Girl is out of the way I'm going to be able to see a more realistic? (I don't know how realistic you can be in a comic, but it gets a little unrealistic) plot line. I really do like Doreen's personality as well as Nancy's, her roommate, no-nonsense attitude. Nancy is going to be a fun character on her own. She's just so... weird which I always appreciate.

So I really love the characters, but the plot got a little unbelievable later on especially since it felt like that it could only happen in Squirrel Girl's mind. I still have high hopes for the rest of the issues and I'm glad for the reboot since she originally looks like a psycho mime - look her up. I really want to know her origin story too so there are a lot of things to look forward to in coming issues.


What animal would you want to have powers/a name after?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gotham Academy Vol.1

Gotham Academy #1. DC Comics (June 2015) Own
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits...

Okay, so Gotham Academy isn't like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn't like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she's back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude...and an unexplained fear of bats.

Olive's supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is the kid sister of Kyle, Olive's ex. Then there's the ghost haunting the campus...and the secret society conducting bizarre rituals.
 

Can Olive and Maps ace the biggest challenge of their lives? Or are they about to get schooled?

I don't know what it's about Batman, his city, the villains, and his sidekicks that make me so freaking happy. It's probably all the movies based on his character that make me a fool for anything Batman. Then comes in Gotham Academy. I never knew what it was about - it just had the title Gotham Academy and I wanted it immediately. Now, I kind of assumed or more liked hoped that this was an academy of superhero kids or superheroes in training but that was a no go. But, Batman doesn't have any powers so maybe we get some cool origin stories out of some of these kids, mainly Olive.


Olive has lost all of her memories from last summer. She's distanced herself from her friends and former boyfriend. She feels like a completely different person now. There is something mysterious about her other than her summer. Her mother is another mystery and her story is sure to be important to Olive's future. For now there is a ghost around that the whole school is obsessed with. Once Olive gets involved she starts getting close with those she cared about and with new friends to figure out if the ghost is real. Olive also tries to figure out why she can't remember her summer and what it has to do with the destruction of the North Hall.


Her friends are all pretty cool. Maps is energetic and like an over excited puppy. Maps is the sister of Kyle, Olive's ex-boyfriend who you don't see much of in this volume. He's into tennis and Olive and it looks like he's the moral compass/good guy in the group. Pomeline is the mean, goth girl who for one reason or another doesn't seem to like Olive. Colton is the troublemaker who accidentally gets into their group. There are other characters and a more than exciting new one coming next issue that are all interesting, but I don't know how important they will be yet.


Gotham Academy didn't go the route I thought it would. I didn't think there would be any supernatural nuances or anything like that. I'm really happy that Olive is such a cool protagonist that has more layers to her that have yet to be discovered - some she doesn't even know about. Maps was an awesome sidekick and I see much potential for the other group members. Oh, and have I mentioned how beautiful the artwork is yet? I absolutely loved it. However, there were two things that I felt were either unrealistic or could have been done better. One, the suspension of believability or I guess I didn't expect magical realism to be okay with the characters. Two, an explanation of something was very sudden and again with the characters just being okay with weird things going on. Overall, I'm beyond excited for the next volume. Gotham Academy couldn't have come to a more willing person. I need more comics like this in my life!

Who are some of your favorite superheroes?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Princess in Black by Shannon + Dean Hale Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

The Princess in Black #1. Candlewick Press (Oct. 2014) Library
Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

Princess Magnolia is also really the Princess in Black, a crime fighter who stops monsters from attacking her citizens. The Princess in Black is everything a princess isn't because everyone knows that princesses don't wear black, slide down secret chutes, and fight monsters. So as the Princess in Black, Princess Magnolia is able to do all the things princesses don't do, but she must keep her secret from the nosy Duchess Wigtower. Duchess Wigtower likes to uncover royal secrets and while she is staying over for some tea at Princess Magnolia's castle she will try to discover her biggest secret of all. Will Princess Magnolia be able to keep her secret? 


The Princess in Black has such rich, colorful pictures that I've seen with LeUyen Pham's work before. Her illustrations make Princess Magnolia's story come to life while the Hale's successfully create a character that boys and girls will love. 


In this story there is the idea that princesses can't act a certain way which seems ridiculous. It's like the story wants to get you talking about what princesses and girls are capable of which is a pretty clever thing to do. 

This is really a straight forward tale when it comes to the writing and it's very cute too. Young readers are sure to enjoy Princess Magnolia and her alter ego. The Princess in Black shows how princesses and girls not only can enjoy pink dresses and tea parties, but fight for others. 


What books have you found that have bridged gender stereotypes? 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

FitReaders: November Check-In

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FitReaders: It's been a while since I updated how many steps I was doing every week. I've done really well as far as steps, drinking water, and going to the gym.

Friday, October 23, 2015 ~ 2,378 steps
Saturday, October 24, 2015 ~ 15,507 steps
Sunday, October 25, 2015 ~ 10,247 steps
Monday, October 26, 2015 ~ 6,084 steps
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 ~ 5,788 steps
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 ~ 10,410 steps
Thursday, October 29, 2015 ~ 10,170 steps

Friday, October 30, 2015 ~ 9,136 steps
Saturday, October 31, 2015 ~ 7,943 steps
Sunday, November 1, 2015 ~ 9,221 steps
Monday, November 2, 2015 ~ 10,651 steps
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 ~ 10,069 steps
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 ~ 10,110 steps
Thursday, November 5, 2015 ~ 10,179 steps

Friday, November 6, 2015 ~ 10,063 steps
Saturday, November 7, 2015 ~ 10,037 steps
Sunday, November 8, 2015 ~ 10,561 steps
Monday, November 9, 2015 ~ 11,221 steps
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 ~ 5,457 steps
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 ~ (My dad took my phone)
Thursday, November 12, 2015 ~ 3,990 steps

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 2015 Book Plans

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Today I turned 22 which is pretty crazy and tomorrow I have a very important exam that will affect my fate for the next school semester so yeah... I ended up only reading one book last month which was so sad. The semester is almost over and there are some big things coming up I have to do. I do plan on reading more this semester, but a lot of it will be comics. I'll be reading when I can mostly and hopefully it'll be more than one book.

Below are some books I plan to read this November:



How has your November been going?

November 2015 Reading Road Trip Link-Up


Only two more months to finish your challenge goals. I need to figure out myself how many books I've been able to read. I hope everyone is doing well on this challenge!

 Make sure to 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 hereThanks to all who are participating! Remember if you need help ask and I will answer.

Link Up!