Howabout a life update?

Today (Tuesday) has been quite a day.

Lately, I’ve been having issues with my asthma. Until now, it’s been regularly controlled by my primary care physician, but I decided that I needed to go see a specialist. Two weeks ago, I made my appointment and last week I basically had to stop taking all of my medications in preparation for allergy/asthma testing this morning. I am so out of whack.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I’m glad to be able to take my allergy medicine again!

Today started with the allergy specialist appointment. After being poked and prodded for an hour (found out what exactly I’m allergic to!), they switched my asthma medication. I have two weeks to test it out and see how I feel before making the switch permanent. I’m just hoping that it all works out, ya know?

After that, I treated my father to brunch. I called it “Happy Last Day of Your Birthday Month Brunch!” He was thrilled.

Then, he took me to visit one of the farms he does repairs and electrical maintenance on. This farm raises prize Highland cattle. For cows, they were really cool. The calf I saw was hilariously skittish, slipping and sliding on the concrete in the barn when she realized we were there.

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They’re already up there on my list of favorite animals.

Because I was up all last night, I finished another book, Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern. I’m glad I didn’t post a June Wrap-up yet! Expect that soon.

I don’t really know why I wanted to post about my day. Maybe it was an excuse to look at pictures of Highland cattle.

Now, I’m watching some Scandal on Netflix and playing Animal Crossing:  New Leaf, but I will see you tomorrow for Top 5 Wednesday!

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Book Haul #1 – June, 2015

June has been a crazy month for receiving books, which is odd for me. My bookshelf is overflowing, so I do my best to use my local library instead of purchasing books.

This will be my first “Book Haul” post. They will absolutely not be monthly. Normally, I’ll save up my new books until I get a good pile to show off.

How did I get a ton of books this month? First, let’s start with the books I purchased.

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  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I found this at 2nd and Charles for $3. Must buy.
  2. Гарри Поттер и Философкий Камень | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I’m collecting the Russian translations!
  3. Гарри Поттер и Тайная Комната | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling – Another Russian translation! Note: The books are in the wrong order in the picture above. Oops.
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – I should’ve taken a picture of my original hardcover copy of this book. My grandmother bought this for me the day it was released, but my sister read the book so many times and wasn’t exactly careful with it. It’s currently in three pieces. As she wouldn’t replace it, I was looking for another copy of the same edition I had. I found this one at 2nd and Charles for $6!

Now for the books I didn’t purchase. I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on YouTube hosted by BrynnsBookshelf! It was a BookCon themed giveaway so I am incredibly excited to be the winner because I really wanted to attend BookCon! Now it is kinda like I did! Anyway, here’s the loot:

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Five books and swag! The package included a bunch of buttons, two tote bags, two lanyards, a Sarah Dessen poster, a chapter sampler of The Young Elites, a Penguin House magnet, a We Were Liars bookmark, and the following books:

(Click on the book titles to be taken to their respective Goodreads pages)

  1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – ARC – Expected release: September 1, 2015 – This copy is signed by the author!
  2. Another Day by David Levithan – ARC – Expected release: August 25, 2015 – This book is a companion to Every Day, which I have not read. As I understand it, however, this book can be read as a standalone.
  3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  5. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – ARC – Expected release: October 20, 2015

I am so excited for each of these ARCs. You can definitely expect a full review of each in the near future.


Last but not least, my one Kindle purchase this month:

say what you willSay What You Will by Cammie McGovern – I believe it was $1.99 when I purchased it. The cover made me learn more about it. One of the main characters has cerebral palsy and the other has obsessive compulsive disorder. I immediately wanted to read it from a special education teacher’s point of view. I’m excited for it.


Whew. That was a lot.

Have you read of these books? What did you think about them?

The Nintendo Book Tag!

nintendo-characters

A combination of two of my favorite things:  reading and video games.

This tag was created by Sam over at Novels and Nonsense. Watch the original tag video by clicking HERE.

I wasn’t officially tagged, but I couldn’t resist doing this one. I’ve been playing video games since I was a little kid on our SNES and have been playing ever since. It’s always funny to me when my students find out how much I love video gaming. TEACHERS CAN HAVE FUN, TOO.

Okay, on to the tag.

Question #1 – NES – A classic that you want to read
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I’ve been wanting to read Sense and Sensibility ever since I watched the film adaptation starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. It’s a funny story, really, because the only reason I watched the movie was because my male best friend loves it. It was on a list of acceptable movies to do a project on for one of my college courses Philosophy of Love, and my best friend told me I had to pick that one so we could watch it together. He can say every line.

Anyway, I haven’t read much Jane Austen. What I have read has had zombie mayhem thrown in (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and I want some pure Jane Austen in my life.

Question #2 – SNES – A sequel you liked better than the first book
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

When I started this series, the HBO series Game of Thrones was about five episodes into the first season. As I was reading, I was able to watch the show along the way and everything lined up perfectly. The next book, A Clash of Kings was completely new material to me.

Question #3 – N64 – A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This is my favorite book of all time. My favorite quote even comes from this book! “So it goes” is a way of thinking that the alien race in this book adopts. In their alien world, time doesn’t progress chronologically, but rather all at once. So, if a loved one dies, they are still living in the past (which to them is happening at the same time), so it’s not something to fret too much about. So it goes. This is how I try to look at things.

Question #4 – GameCube – A popular book that did not go over so well with you
 The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I HATE this book. I didn’t like the main character the entire book and I especially didn’t like the way everything was portrayed over dramatically. Too much information was withheld for the sake of drama/suspense. I don’t like this book!

Question #5 – Wii – A new favorite book
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I love this book. It was a slow go for me at first, but once I got into it, I was sucked in completely.  We were on our way to my family’s house in the mountains and it was dark in the car. When we stopped along the way, I bought a flashlight so I could continue reading. I could not put it down.

Question #6 – Nintendo Power – Favorite graphic novel/A graphic novel series you want to start
Chew by John Layman

I haven’t read any graphic novels, but I’ve heard so many good things about this series.

Question #7 – Super Mario – A character you want to squish like a Goomba 

Joffrey. Baratheon.

Question #8 – Zelda – A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

This YA fantasy trilogy is one of the first book series I read when I was younger. I loved it then and I recently reread it and I still have so much love for it. There are aspects that go over kids’ heads and while they don’t detract from the meaning for kids, they add so much more for adults.

Question #9 – Samas-Aran – Favorite Sci-Fi novel or one you want to read
From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

This is really the only sci-fi novel that I’ve read. It’s more of a YA contemporary with a smidgen of alien goodness thrown in. It’s about a young girl whose boyfriend is dying of cancer. He suddenly recovers but seems like a completely different person….because his body was taken over and cured by an alien stranded on Earth.

Question #10 – Pokemon – Book editions you want to collect

I am currently collecting the Russian editions of the Harry Potter series. They are the newer, 2014 translations rather than the official translations because I’m told the new ones do a better job at keeping the humor and meaning behind the dialogue. So far, I only have the first two.

Question #11 – Donkey Kong – A book with original characters
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King 

I chose this book because there is a whole bunch of characters. It is about a group of friends who befriends a boy with Down’s Syndrome. They remain friends throughout their lives and the book goes back and forth between their childhoods and adulthood. As adults, something very strange and dangerous is happening and their unlikely best friend is the key to saving the world. It was the first “adult” book my mother let me read when I was twelve or so. It holds a special place in my heart.

Question #12 – Nintendo Fandom – Favorite Nintendo games

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA. I love this franchise. I have the most experience playing the GameBoy games because once our SNES died, we didn’t have a Nintendo console until the Wii came out. I love, love, LOVE Zelda.

I also love the Animal Crossing series. I have it for GameCube, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. They are just beautiful.

I cannot complete this tag without talking about how much I love playing Super Smash Bros. On Melee, I main as Kirby and on Brawl, I main as Lucas.

Ah, I love video games.

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Since I just started this blog, I don’t know a lot of you and I certainly don’t know who likes to play games, so I tag ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DO IT. Let me know if you do so I can check it out!

kacie

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Where you can find me:

Goodreads
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Book Review | Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlich

placid girl

Note: I was able to receive this advance copy through Netgalley for review.

I read the synopsis for Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlich and I knew I wanted to read it. The concept of the novel was new to me and I’ve been stuck in a reading rut filled with young adult formula fantasies. I needed something out of the box, and I sure got it.

This book is a young adult novel and it’s hard to put it in any other category. It’s supposed to be realistic fiction with some mystery and thriller aspects thrown in, but I wouldn’t exactly call it realistic. More about that in a bit.

Premise: 5/5

As I stated before, the premise of the novel is something I haven’t really seen before.  Hallie, a sixteen year old drummer in a punk rock band, tends to fade in the background of her life. Her best friend Sarah, the lead singer of the band, is prettier, more confident, and likes to take control.  When Hallie begins to receive messages from what appears to be her favorite reclusive musician, she can’t help but be ecstatic that he is noticing her and not her pink-haired best friend. She is willing to do anything to make it to Haze’s reunion show and find out once and for all if Haze is truly the one behind the messages. Her journey there, however, will risk not only her own life, but of the lives of those she loves.

Plot Development: 3/5

The execution of the concept of the novel threw me. For the first third of the book, it was realistic and I could relate to the characters. When things started to turn sour for Hallie and her friends, it quickly became less and less realistic to me. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers because this book hasn’t been released yet, but personally, I think there were too many twists and turns. There was so much going on that it became too hard for me to suspend my disbelief. It was hard enough for me to believe everything that was happening to the young teenagers, let alone their reactions. The suspense, however, kept me hooked and wanting to see what would happen next.

Characterization: 3/5

While going through a whole lot of crazy stuff, the characters in this novel didn’t seem to go through a lot of personal growth. At least, it didn’t come across that way to me, the reader. At the beginning of the novel, Hallie is okay with fading into the background. This definitely changes throughout the novel and the progression is smooth. Sarah, her best friend, also experiences a little bit of change in that she begins to respect Hallie’s feelings a bit more than she used to. This seemed a bit forced in my opinion. Overall, there was some character development in a couple of characters, but not a whole lot.

Writing Style: 2/5

There were really only two things that bothered me about the writing, but they bothered me greatly throughout the entire novel. First, it was hard for me to read a lot of the passages. Sentences were long and rambling, written with hyphens to separate trains of thought. I realize that Hallie thinks this way, with long pauses and little side-explanations. My issue is that it happened much too frequently, sometimes three or four times in one paragraph. I had to reread passages, which interrupted the flow of the book. Secondly, certain uncommon words were repeated throughout the entire novel and stuck out to me like a sore thumb. By the end, I started laughing every time I read the word “undulate.” Other than these two (personal) issues, I thought the book was very well written.

Readability: 2/5

This book is Young Adult, but I don’t see myself recommending teenagers to read this novel. If I were to recommend this to someone, I would have to hand select the teen based on maturity. There was a lot of foul language and some of it seemed senseless to me. There were countless f-words and even a few c-words. As an educator, this wouldn’t be on my shelf for students to read. It’s not that I don’t think teens do not talk like this; I just think the language could have been toned down and the dialogue would still have been effective.

Total Score: 15/25, avg. 3/5

I give this book three out of five stars. I enjoyed this book. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. I probably would not read this novel again, but I would definitely check out and read other novels written by this author. Thank you for giving me the chance to read this book!

3 stars

Weekend Getaway TBR #1

Hey everyone! I’m going away for the weekend. This is not an uncommon occurrence in my life because I have awesome family members that own a house in the middle of nowhere and invite us there almost every weekend. It’s a gorgeous house located in a mountainous area of Pennsylvania and we love it so much.

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This weekend is also pretty special because it contains my father’s fiftieth birthday! This weekend will be filled with lots of family and celebrating and I doubt I’m going to get a lot of time to read. However, here’s what I’m taking along with me.

1. Scarlet by Marissa Meyerscarlet

Scarlet is book two in the Lunar Chronicles series and follows the book Cinder. Cinder is a young cyborg girl in the much distant future. The first book is an interesting Cinderella retelling. The second book is not only what happens next for Cinder, but is also inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. I love retellings. There’s a reason these stories stood the test of time. I want to say I’m about fifty pages or so into this book, so I plan to finish it this weekend.

2. Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

liseys storyThis book satisfies a challenge I set for myself. I’ll post more about that at another time (probably when I finish the book and pick a new challenge. The challenge was “read a book by your favorite author that you haven’t read it.” Lisey’s Story has been on my shelf forever and I just hadn’t picked it up yet. It tells the story of a bestselling author’s wife, Lisey, and is loosely based on Stephen King’s own experiences. After Lisey’s husband dies, she must clean out his writing office, discover his unwritten works, and go down a haunting trip through memory lane and face her husband’s demons.

As part of my challenge, I require myself to read at least fifty pages a day of my challenge book. If I do not read that day, I must put $0.50 in the challenge box to later donate to my library. I currently owe $3.00. This book hasn’t sucked me into the story (yet), so it’s hard for me to pick it up. I plan on continuing my fifty pages a day this weekend.

3. Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlichplacid girl

Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlich has an expected release date of August 25, 2015. I received an e-book copy from Netgalley for review. I read two chapters last night and it seems to be interesting. It’s definitely different than other books I’ve read.

Placid Girl is a YA novel about a teenage girl in a punk band. Her band frequently covers her favorite artist, Haze, a reclusive musician who has been on hiatus for the past five years.  When she receives comments and messages on a popular photo sharing app, she thinks it might just be Haze who is flirting with her. She must find out if he is who he says he is.

I plan on finishing this one up soon and you can expect a full review soon!

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I don’t know if I’ll be able to accomplish any of these goals, but I’m sure going to try! I at least have a three hour car ride to and from the mountains to get some reading done!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you think about them!

What are you planning on reading this weekend?

kacie

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Top 5 Wednesday #1 | Characters you wish you could drown

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blogging topic created by Lainey. Each week, we have a new topic to focus a Top 5 list around. If you’d like to join us, check out the Goodreads group for a list of topics as well as blogs and YouTube channels that participate.

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Top 5 Characters I Wish I Could Drown

I’m not going to lie; this one was a difficult list to come up with. When I’m reading, I form bonds with characters and can be pretty loyal to them. That also means that there are characters that I cannot stand. Do I want to drown them? Yes, that would make things easier, but they’re usually the catalyst to some awesome plot point. I end up loving the characters I hate for that very reason. BUT. Here are my top five characters that irk the crud out of me.

#5 – Kaltain Rompier – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass cover If you’ve never read this book, I’m not going to spoil you. Just know that this is a character that readers aren’t supposed to like in this book. Her actions end up being explained towards the end of the book, so it’s hard to hate her.

But while I was reading it, before I learned more about her reasons, I couldn’t stand reading her sections. She was so annoying that I have no problems picturing her throwing a temper tantrum.

#4 – Thomas – The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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Dylan O’Brien, you may be somewhat attractive, but I cannot stand your character in The Maze Runner. Actually, I hated this book in general. For some of it, I blame Thomas, the main character. He gets thrown into this dystopian society consisting of only teenage boys and instead of freaking out, he acts like he owns the place. I cannot forgive him for withholding so much information throughout the book. He was overly dramatic in his thoughts and actions and I wanted to throw him down the lift shaft.

#3 – Mrs. Coulter – His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman

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This is one of my favorite book series. The first book, The Golden Compass, was turned into a fantastically awful movie. I have so much love for the book. Mrs. Coulter is one of the most influential supporting characters and she’s an obvious villain. What makes me want to drown her is the fact that she is so damn wishy-washy throughout the series. She claims to do a lot of things out of love for her daughter. However, she seems to switch sides constantly, unsure about what is best for her daughter. Honestly woman, what’s best for your daughter is to leave her alone and let her do her business. Good grief.

#2 – Joffrey Baratheon – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Joffrey-Baratheon-Profile-HDJoffrey sucks. Plain and simple. He’s a whiny, entitled brat and tends to have people killed just to see the reaction of their loved ones. Ew.

#1 – Cersei Lannister – A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

Cersei-Lannister-Profile_2-HDWho’d’ve thought? The mother than spawned my #2 pick. I loathe this woman throughout the series and I practically jump for joy when something doesn’t go her way.

There you have it! I wish I could at least throttle them all and yell, “Look what you’ve done!” They may be awful, but they make for a good story.

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Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to talk about it. Who would you like to drown?

-Kacie