The Hedgeathon 2017

Last year I started the  Hedgeathon summer reading challenge. This year instead of having it in the middle of summer I decided to have it for only two weeks and to do it at the very end of summer/start of school.  I think it will be good motivation to fit reading into my daily schedule while getting back into the swing of school.

 

Details you need to know.

  1. The challenge will start on August 8th  and end on August 22nd
  2. Reading will be involved, you will need some books to read, (big surprise there I’m sure).
  3. Below is a reading list, not of books but of guidelines to follow.  You must read five books that meet the guidelines in order to officially win the challenge.
  4. Each book can only be applied to one of the guidelines. So you can’t read one book that covers four different guidelines and mark off all four guidelines, you can only mark off one.
  5. There is no set order that you have to follow
  6. In order for the books to count you must have started and finished them during the reading challenge.
  7. Have fun and don’t put much pressure on yourself.

Now you don’t have to do this next step but I would really appreciate it if you did, I think it will make the challenge a whole lot more fun.

8. Join the Facebook group for the challenge here, and the Goodreads group here. You don’t have to join these groups but I think that it could be a lot of fun. You can post pictures of the books you are reading for the challenge and links to blog posts about the challenge. And who knows you might just make a new friend. It can happen. I think this is where most of the interaction will happen. In addition to that if you make blog posts, vlogs, take pictures, etc. That have to do with this challenge please post a link to it in the comments so I can see it, and use the hashtag #hedgeathon I can’t wait to see what everyone does.

The challenge part:

Pick a book that is/has…

  1. A summer romance: A book involving a summer fling of some sort.

Examples: Boys of Summer, The Summer I Turned pretty, That Summer, The Geography of You and Me

2. A blue cover:  Inspired by this photo. Your book doesn’t have to be from that photo it just has to have blue on the cover.

Examples: The Fault in our Stars, A Court of Mist and Fury, Wonder, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, We Were liars

3. A new release: A book that came out in 2017.

Examples: Check out this Goodreads list, it has plenty for you to choose from.

4. About a road trip- This was on the list last year and it is one of my favorites.

Examples: Here is a post I made with a list of road trip books.

5. That takes place in a school setting: This can be college or high school.

Examples: This is Where it Ends, Never Always Sometimes,

6. Historical fiction:  Or historical nonfiction if you prefer.

Examples: Salt to the Sea, The Midwife (a memoir),  Between Shades of Gray

7. Takes place somewhere other than Earth: Space, a space ship, mars, anywhere other than here.

Examples: Across the Universe, The Martian, Dove Arising

8. A random book on your shelf: Close your eyes, spin around three times and pick a book.

Prizes

To be honest, I’ve done a lot of thinking on the prizes for this year and I’m still not quite sure what I’m going to do. Whatever it is I promise it will have far less delays and will get to you a lot sooner than they did last year.

 

 

Road trip, ACOWAR, and the Hedgeathon

June has just flown by! The fact that July is here makes me sort of sad.Here are some highlights from June.

I went on a road trip. I went on a ten day road trip to the Grand Canyon, up to Yellowstone, down to Mt. Rushmore and then finally Pike’s Pike. I had a blast in Yellowstone, it was way colder than expected. In fact it was snowing the first day we were there, plus there was a lot of leftover snow on the ground so we got to play in the snow and build an actual snowman. For those of you that live in Texas you might understand why it was so exciting for my family to get to build a snowman. It rarely snows here and when it does it’s more like an ice slush and never enough for a real snowman.

I finally read A Court of Wings and Ruin. ACOWAR was so good, but I had some minor problems with it. I can’t really get into them in this post because ~spoilers~ . Nonetheless it was a really good. I also read Boys of Summer  by Jessica Brody earlier in the month.

I have decided to do The Hedgeathon again this year! However, I decided to do a mini Hedgeathon this time. It’s going to take place the last week of July and the first week of August. I’ll post details about it once it’s closer.

How is your summer going? Have you read any good books this summer?

7 YA books about Road Trips

School is out and I took an unplanned two week break from everything, but I’m back now. This summer my family is taking a road trip and I’m so excited. I have so many books I want to read while on vacation. Hopefully some of these books will inspire you to go on a road trip of your own.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way  – Goodreads

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

 

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way. – Goodreads

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

 

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past. -Goodreads

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences? -Goodreads

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.

But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.

Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over? -Goodreads

 Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

 

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.

It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other. -Goodreads


Paper towns by John Green

To be honest I didn’t love this book, but I feel like no YA road trip book lists is complete without it.

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… -Goodreads

 

I have added all of these books onto a Goodreads shelf here so you can go add them all in one place without having to click on each individual link.

Do you have any road trip books you  think should have been on this list? What is your favorite book about a road trip?

 

 

Yet another post about me failing another NaNoWriMo event

Well, I did it. I’ve failed three NaNoWriMo events in a row (hold the applause). I don’t even have a good excuse this month. Yeah April was busy but so was last April and I finished that time. I don’t know what happened I couldn’t even get to the 5,000 mark this month.

However, I did start writing my book. Which is huge for me. I’ve been thinking about writing this book for months and I finally started it because of Camp NaNo. I plan on finishing this book at some point during 2017 but we will see if that happens.

This month was a good learning month for me though.

I learned that writing a Middle Grade book is not as easy as I thought it would be. For anyone else who has read a short middle grade book and thought “I bet I could write a book like that in less than month.” Spoiler alert, you’re wrong. Just because Middle Grade books tend to be shorter and more “simple” does not mean that they are easier to write. In fact I think they might be harder because of that.

I learned that third person, past tense  is hard for me to write. I’ve only ever written in first person, present tense in the past. When I started writing this new book it was like I was learning to write all over again. I kept having to go back and change words and cut out thoughts.

I also learned that if a book requires research it also needs a really good outline.

 

How did April treat you this month? Did you attempt Camp NaNoWriMo? If so how did you do?

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

I found out about this book over on The Calico Books last year (you can check out her review here) and have been meaning to read it ever since. I finally picked it up this month and I’m so glad I did. This book is super sweet and cute.

Summary:

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

-Goodreads

Favorite things:

All the POVs. There are 14 different point of views in this book and none of them are the main characters. At first I was a little iffy about this, but as soon as I started reading it I was hooked. It was such a refreshing way for a romance novel to be written. All of the characters were so different, and it was fun to watch them ship Lea and Gabe.  Also, there is some diversity in the characters in this book.

The bench and the squirrel. These two were some of my favorite povs. The bench was just so creepy. It makes me kind of second guess siting on a bench now. The squirrel was so adorable, I loved him.

It was funny. The book was so quirky and funny.

The whole thing was just sweet and light. This book isn’t heavy, it’s not one that you really have to think about. You can just enjoy it. It was a good book to get me out of reading slump and the perfect book to read on a rainy day.

A favorite quote:

“Sometimes it’s better to say something stupid than nothing at all.”

The quills:

Cursing?

Some, I’d say it was PG-13 at most

Physical romance?

No

Gore?

Nope

Will you cry?

Nope

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs

The Author:

Sandy Hall, she has a couple of other books out. I plan on reading Signs Point to Yes at some point.

Website

Twitter

Have you read this book? How do you feel about this many POVs?

Photo source

Vitro by Jessica Khoury

I didn’t realize until after I finished reading this book that this is actually a sequel in a trilogy. The first book being Origin (which I haven’t read). I’m pretty sure you can read them in any order because they each follow different characters in different situations, they just all have to do with the same organization, Corpus.

Summary:

On Skin Island, even the laws of creation can be broken.

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.

Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

-Goodreads

Favorite things:

The concept. The thing that I loved about this book so much was that it took something that happens everyday and took it 100 steps farther. Embryos are made in labs everyday and then either used, frozen for later use, or used in experiments (like stem cell research). In fact we can even test embryos to see if they will have genetic problems and some scientist are trying to figure out ways to “edit” those embryos to make them better. I don’t know that we will ever take it as far as the scientist do in Vitro, but they could try which is what makes this book so great and slightly scary.

Skin Island. The atmosphere is really well written in this book. I loved the feeling of the old deserted resort turned secret lab. I wish there had been a map or brochure type thing in the front of the book, that would have been a nice touch. The only thing that annoyed the tar out of me was how many times it was mentioned during the first 50ish pages. Everyone Sophie talked to was like nooo you don’t want to go there, no one ever goes there, no one will fly you there, etc. I got it, it’s a dangerous, mysterious place, no one talks about.

The ethics. This book dealt with some really ethically heavy topics and I feel like it did it really well. It also gave you some things to think about.

Not so Favorite things:

The romance. I feel like the romance was ok but it wasn’t what I was rooting for. It just never seemed to be that big of a deal. Even though Jim was risking his life for Sophie I felt like he was doing it out of obligation not love.

The characters kind of fell flat for me. Sophie and Jim were just kind bleh. I got tired of Jim constantly kicking himself for helping someone else, and Sophie was making bad choices the whole time.

Something felt off with this book the whole way through and I can’t figure out what it was. I can’t tell if the plot was too back and forth, or maybe it was all of the paragraphs with Jim wandering around the island. Ultimately, the whole time I was reading it I couldn’t help but think this book could be like 50 pages shorter than it is. There were times when it felt repetitive and like it just rambled.

Some favorite quotes:

“Tell me, who is the monster? The creation or the creator?”

“If people could fall apart, why couldn’t they fall back together?”

The quills:

Cursing?

I don’t remember there being any cursing, but I read it over the course of a couple weeks.

Physical romance?

Nope, in fact I’m not even sure that there was a kiss in this book.

Gore?

There was a tiny bit towards the end but you could skip over it if wanted.

Will you cry?

Probably not.

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs

Overall the book was good but I’m not singing it praises.

The Author:

Jessica Khoury, she seems to be pretty active on Goodreads.

Website Goodreads

 

Even though I wasn’t 100% in love with Vitro I plan on going ahead and reading Origin (the first book), because everyone says it’s really good and better than Vitro

Photo source

I’m in a Reading Slump.

I am in one of the worst reading slumps I have had in a long time. In the past four months I have read two books. One of which I started reading around Christmas time. This time last year I was reading so many books. March 2016 was one of my best reading months, ever.

I can’t figure out why I’m in such a slump. Every time I pick up a book I’ll get a couple of chapters in and then put it down because I’m just not feeling it. I’m hoping that when A Court of Wings and Ruins comes out next month that it will pull me out of this funk. I’m so excited about that book. I loved ACOTAR and ACOMAF so I hope I’ll love this one too.

I haven’t ever had a reading slump last this long before, what do you like to do to get out of reading slumps? Am I the only one with slumps that last multiple months?

Aside from the reading slump. April has been a pretty good month. I’ve been failing Camp NaNo, by like a lot. But I’m trying to let that go. This middle grade book has been way harder to write than expected.

I’m super excited about a blog post I hope to have up next week. I’ve been working on this post for literally weeks and I finally got all the stuff together for it this weekend. I hope you guys will like it.

Also, I’m working on cleaning out my book shelves today. I’m hoping that looking at all of them and moving them around will help me get excited about reading again.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017

You guys have no clue how excited I am for Camp NaNo tomorrow. I’m excited for several reasons.

  1. I won Camp NaNo in April last year. It’s the only one that I haven’t failed miserably at. I think April is just a good month for me,
  2. I haven’t written anything in months. And by that I mean I haven’t written a single paragraph. I’ve written some blog posts here and there but aside from that I’ve done nothing.
  3. I am going to be starting a whole new project.

I’m mostly excited about that last one. I’m actually going to be writing a middle grade novel, hopefully the first one in a whole series. I won’t go into specifics about this because I’m over possessive of my ideas and I worry about sharing anything publicly about them. Not because I really think any one would steal it but mostly because I don’t want criticism when I’m not ready for it. I’m still working out a lot of the plot for my novel but I feel like I have my characters pretty well figured out.

So far I’m not sure what my word count is going to end up being. Right now I left my goal at 50K but I keep thinking about moving it down to 25K since it’s middle grade and my first attempt.

Are you doing Camp NaNo in April? If so good luck and happy writing!

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaimam

Welcome to another mini review in my Middle Grade Monday series. This book was one of the funniest middle grade books I have read to my class. This book is the perfect book to read aloud. Even though it is geared towards middle graders I thoroughly enjoyed this book it was a quick read. I could see myself picking it up to read on my own.

Summary:

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: thummthumm. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.

-Goodreads

Review:

I don’t even know where to start with the things that I loved about this book. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be delightful. The illustrations were incredible, they were entertaining and on every page. The plot of this book was just as beautiful, it was constantly twisting and completely unpredictable. The characters that the dad runs in to are hilarious and goofy. I would give you examples but it would ruin it for you. Just trust me they are the best.

The only thing that I was slightly let down by was the reaction of my students, some of the humor went over their heads but I’m not sure if that’s because they aren’t quite mature enough yet or if it’s because they weren’t paying attention.

Rating:

Five out of five hedgehogs for sure

Photo source

North Texas Teen Book Festival 2017

This month I went to NTTBF for the third time. This year I brought some of my nieces with me and we had a lot of fun.

We knew that we would need to be in line super early in order to get a wrist band to meet Veronica Roth so we decided to spend the night in Grapevine the night before. That night we went through the panel list and picked our top three for each hour so that we would have a back up plan in case our first pick was full. The next morning we got up bright and early at 5:00. We drove thru Chick-fil-a for breakfast (their chicken minis are the best) and we got in line at 7:00.  I was afraid this was going to be too early but it wasn’t. There was already a line formed when we got there. It was a little windy and cold but in the end we got our wrist bands.

When we got in the building things were already buzzing. The publisher tables were packed so we decided to stop at them later. We went to Swag Shop and I got one of the last limited edition dated t-shirts. I couldn’t believe that they sold out of them as fast as they did.

After we got our shirts we went straight to our first panel (two whole hours early). We wanted to make sure that we got good seats and everything was so crazy it was easier to sit and wait. If I had been on my own I might have braved it, but no one else had gone before and they were a little over whelmed.

After our first panel we split up in groups. I went with one of the girls to a Swoon Reads thing that we thought was going to be a writers workshop but it wasn’t. It was still fun though they talked about how they publish books and you could vote on covers for books. They also had a candy bar and a thing were you could write a ten word story and they might tweet it. We had some time to kill so we went to the publisher tables. They were out of a lot of the things they had to give out but we did get a tote bag and because I was already a member of First In Line I got an ARC that I’m super excited to read.

After that I went to a panel about writing a middle grade series and I learned so much more than I thought I would.  After that panel we all went and got pretzels and bought some books. We took the last panel slot off and got in the signing line. 

The first line I got in was to meet John Corey Whaley (author of Highly Illogical Behavior).

I also met a bunch of middle grade authors to get books signed for my class.

After that we got in line to meet Veronica Roth. The line was long but it was worth it, she took time to talk to you even though I’m sure she was tired from signing books for two hours.

All in all, it was a great day. I can’t wait to go again next year.