The First Year Recap

The Hedgie Press is officially a year old. A year ago I posted my first book review. It was for The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. The blog was still called Books and Quills then and I hadn’t added the hedgehogs to the top of the blog yet. Here is a picture of all the books I reviewed during my first year.

I was really nervous about starting the blog even though it had been something I had wanted to do for a long time. At first, I decided not to share the blog on my personal social media because I was  curious to see if I could gain followers that weren’t my friends. As it turns out I can (somewhat).

The blog hasn’t grown as big as I would have liked in the past year, but I haven’t put in as much work on it as I would have liked either. That being said, I do have some great followers and you guys mean so much to me. Thanks for sticking around!

I can’t wait to see what this year of blogging has in store for me.

What kind of posts would you like to see on the blog?

Also, is anyone else not able to see the hedgehogs at the top of the page? They are gone on my end but when I go in to edit my header it claims they are still there. I’m not sure if this is a my computer problem or a WordPress site problem. It would be very helpful if you could let me know in the comments if you can still see them or not.

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

Hello, welcome to a new (biweekly/weekly/once a month?) series; Middle Grade Monday. Where I will be posting mini reviews of the books I read to my class that I think anyone would like to read. I teach 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade and one of my favorite parts of the day is reading aloud to them after lunch. I love finding new books to read to them, and occasionally reading a book that I loved reading when I was their age. I get so happy when I’ve picked a good one and they get invested in to the story. Now on to the mini review.

Summary:

Gil Goodson’s future happiness depends on winning the Golly Toy & Game Company’s ultimate competition. If Gil wins, his dad has promised that the family can move away from all the gossip, false friends, and bad press that have plagued them ever since “The Incident”. Inside the toy company’s fantastic headquarters, Gil will have to master trivia, solve puzzles, and complete physical stunts—and he’ll have to do better than all of the other kids competing.

Oh, and did we mention that Gil’s every step—and every mistake—will be broadcast on national television? Hold on tight, because the ride of his life is about to begin!

-Goodreads

Review

When I first picked this book up I wasn’t sure the kids were going to like it. When I started read it I was afraid it was going to go completely over there heads. (Some of it did but it just made for good discussion.) I thought they wouldn’t get invested.

I was wrong.

My whole class loved this book. When reading time was over they would beg me to read more. The puzzles the kids had to solve during the game were great, and if I were to read this book again with a new set of kids I would take the time to let them try to figure out the solutions before reading on.  The plot was way better than expected, in fact I couldn’t predict some of what happened.

Personally, I really enjoyed this book and the fact that my class got so invested in it was amazing. It was really light but exciting. It does have a little bit of a Charlie in the Chocolate Factory vibe to it with the world building and all. The toy factory sounds incredible.

Rating:

Four out of five mini hedgehogs

 

Do you ever read middle grade novels? If you don’t, why not?

 

Photo source

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This book met all of my expectations. It was funny, cute, and fast moving. I think this book has an excellent message that everyone needs to hear. It’s a great reminder of how every choice we make has the ability to change someone else’s life. This book also deals with some very relevant topics, like racism, and immigration.

Summary:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Goodreads

Favorite things:

Dual point of views. They were amazing. Daniel and Natasha had very distinct voices, something that I feel like is often lost in YA dual POVs novels. I especially liked all of the chapters from minor/side characters povs. I loved seeing that outside perspective and how those characters decisions really affected Daniel and Natasha’s day. My favorite was Irene, we had a total of less than 10ish pages with her, but I found myself thinking about her and caring about her almost as deeply as I cared about the main characters.

The plot. The whole book takes place over the course of 12 hours so of course it moves quickly. That being said I never felt like it was rushed.

That ending. This belongs in my favorite and not so favorite things. This ending made me cry from sadness and happiness on literally the same page.

Not so Favorite things:

There’s only one thing that I didn’t like. It’s the one question that is left unanswered. What happened to her and Bev, her best friend?

Some favorite quotes:

“I didn’t know you this morning, and now I don’t remember not knowing you.”

“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.”

The quills:

Cursing?

Yep, the f word is used a fair amount.

Physical romance?

There are some intense kisses, but it’s all PG13

Gore?

Nope.

Will you cry?

I shed a couple of tears and had to resits the urge to throw the book at one point.

Overall rating?

Five out of Five hedgehogs.

The Author:

Nicola Yoon, be sure to check out her website.

Her debut novel, Everything, Everything is getting a movie! It comes out this year.

Have you read The Sun is Also a Star? If so who do you think you are most like, Daniel or Natasha?

Photo source

Hello 2017, I swear I’m still here

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to finally be back from my disappearance. I have been sick literally the whole month of January. In fact I didn’t even read a single book in the month of January, (shameful I know). I have been teaching then coming home and doing next to nothing. I have however watched the first three seasons of Parenthood on Netflix.

Thankfully, I am finally back to feeling more like myself this week. I was going to post a whole 2016 recap but I think it’s a bit late for that one, so I am just going to move on and not look in the past. I am so excited for February, I can’t believe that it has been almost a year since I started this blog. I’ve got some fun posts planned for this month, and some books that I hope to get around to reading. I’m already sort of behind on my 2017 goals but I’m gonna post them anyway and try to catch up.

Reading

  • Read 50 books. Every year I try to read 100 books and every year I fail. So I decided that this year I wouldn’t set myself up for failure again. I think I may actually reach my goal this year.
  • Finally read a classic or two.

 

Blogging

  • Hit 100 followers
  • Post at least once a week
  • Receive an ARC

 

Writing

  • Start my middle grade book
  • Finish edits for my Camp NaNo novel
  • Win one of the Camp NaNos or NaNoWriMo

 

That’s about it. I know this is super sort but hey it’s a blog post right? What are some of your goals for 2017? Anyone else already falling behind?

November Recap

November was an exciting month. I updated the blog a lot and attempted NaNoWriMo. It went by super quickly and I’m so excited that Christmas is almost here!

Books I read:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I only read one book this month and I’m glad it was this one.

Posts:

Booktoberfest Haul

Paper Towns

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Camp NaNo Editing update

Favorite book of the month:

The Sun is Also a Star. My review should be up later this week.

Things I did this month:

I had a birthday. My birthday was great, my mom made me cheesecake and my students showered me with handmade cards. It was great.

I changed my blog, a lot. It got a new shiny URL with a name to match. I’m way happier with my blog now than I was before.

I failed NaNoWriMo. Which makes me sad, but if I hadn’t failed it then I wouldn’t have started editing my Camp NaNo book from April.

I took my class to the aquarium. It was super fun, we learned a lot, and I sort of want to write a story involving an aquarium now.

I met Nicola Yoon. It was a lot of fun, I’m still working on my post for that even though.

Camp NaNo Editing Update

Last week I finally got brave enough to open my Camp NaNo document from April. I decided that even if I couldn’t finish my NaNoWriMo novel, I could at least read through my Camp NaNo novel from April.

It was terrible.

But that’s okay, it’s supposed to be. It only took me a couple of days to read through it. I didn’t let myself make any notes or worry about edits, I just read through to see where the story was. It needs a lot of work, but I feel like the bones are good. I also have a feeling I’m going to be cutting more from than story then I will be adding. Which is gonna hurt a bit. 

This week I’m going to start another read through and write down and outline and make notes of what needs to go, what needs to stay, and big things that need fixing. This should take a while.

Is anyone else editing their camp NaNo novels? 

NaNoWriMo Update, the First and the Last

Well, I failed NaNoWriMo this year. I tried but I just couldn’t get past the first 100 words even.

I hate quitting and giving up, but I think that I need to. I just don’t think I am reading mentally to write this book. I had no clue where to start, no clue where to end, and no idea what would go in the middle. This book is really important to me and when I write it I want to do it the right way and on it’s time not mine.

I think one of the biggest reasons I failed is because I’ve been spending a lot of time working on this blog, which has a higher priority than NaNo at this point.

On a happier note, I finally decided that it’s time to start editing my Camp NaNo book from April. I printed it all out and put it in this cute hot pink notebook. Now I’m working on the first read through and trying not to punch myself in the face while doing so. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything this terrible. I’m trying to stay positive and remind myself that it kind of has good bones which means I can try to fix it.


Did anyone else quit NaNo? If not congrats! How far along are you?

Also, happy Thanksgiving!

Book Outlet Black Friday Sale

I love Book Outlet, their prices are unbeatable. If you find somewhere with cheaper prices please let me know so I can check it out. I would like to note that this is not a sponsored post (although I wish it was), I just thought it would be good to share this with you guys so you can save some money too. (I think we can all agree that saving money on books is always a good thing.) I plan on ordering some books to give as gift for Christmas.

Anyway, back to the sale. I just got an email last week about their Black Friday sale. They have a great deal right now where if you sign up (using your email and name), then share it you get a $5 off $20 coupon to use during their sale from 11/24-11/29. Sign up for this deal ends on 11/22 10am EST. Here is the link to the sign up page.

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I have some mixed feelings about this book. This book wasn’t what I expected it to be. It claimed to be different than The Fault in Our Stars, and it did deliver in that area. There is little to no romance involved, and what I thought was interesting is that even though Rachel (the dying girl) is the whole reason this story is even happening, I didn’t feel like the story really included her all that much.

Summary:

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight

Goodreads

Favorite things:

The formats. If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I love books with different and fun formats. This book had some great ones. I really loved the one with the newspaper headlines summing days up. It was a brilliant way to skip time without making you feel like you just jumped a week ahead without any warning. There were times when he summed up dialog with bullet points, and there are scenes written in script format.

Greg. I liked Greg, most of the time. The rest of it I spent annoyed with him. He seemed kind of whiny. At first I liked the paragraphs when he was like this book is so terrible, and I don’t understand why you would keep reading it and on and on. When I first started reading this book I loved them, I thought they were really relateable and funny, but after a while they just got old.

The films. I loved hearing about all of their different films and film ideas. They were funny and entertaining to read.

 

Not so Favorite things:

The humor. Some of the humor was so vulgar I literally cringed. What Earl thinks is funny and what I think is funny are two very different things.

 

Some favorite quotes:

“When you convert a good book to a film. stupid things happen”

“I am the Thomas Edison of conversational stupidity.”

 

The quills:

Cursing?

Yep, I think the f word is used a fair amount, and there is a lot of profanity.

Physical romance?

No, but it is graphically talked about.

Gore?

Not really

Will you cry?

I didn’t, but I think there is a high chance that you will.

Overall rating?

3 out of 5 hedgehogs, it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t one that I would recommend to my friends. I would have given it 2.5 but the different formats bumped it up to 3.

 

The Author:

Jesse Andrews here is his website.

I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t find this book to be hilarious. Do you think that vulgar humor is funny? Have you read this book? Will you read this book?

Photo source

October Recap

October was a terrible reading month, I read literally nothing. I didn’t do much, it was just kind of bleh. Halloween was fun, but I was lazy and didn’t bother with dressing up.  I can’t believe it’s already November, Christmas is right around the corner.

Books I read:

I actually didn’t read any books in October. Unless you count the Judy Moody book I read to my class.

Posts:

I didn’t post much either, October was just a rough month.

To write or not to Write (writing update)

NaNoWriMo (which isn’t going well at all)

Favorite book of the month:

Judy Moody Saves the World was as great as I remember it being. I love Judy Moody, she’s just so funny.

Things I did this month:

Not much, obviously. But I did start working on the big changes that I put into place on the blog this month.