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!

Advertisements

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.

 

Because You’ll Never Meet Me By Leah Thomas

I got this book off of BookOutlet when they had their Booktoberfest sale. I thought the cover was pretty and the title intrigued me. I didn’t read the summary (I rarely do these days), so I was a little disappointment when this didn’t end up being a romance. However, I did love the friendship between the two guys develop and I got over my disappointment pretty quickly.

Summary:

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

Goodreads

Favorite things:

Their voices. I was so impressed by how distinctly different Ollie’s voice was from Moritzs. In fact this book is one of the few I’ve read from dual POVS, that actually sounded like dual POVS. You have Ollie who is funny, energetic and just sort of goofy and brilliant. Then we have Moritz who is down right mean at times. He’s moody and kind of rough around the edges but it’s not like he doesn’t have a reason to be.

The format. You guys know I love books written in different formats. This one was written entirely in letters and I loved that.

The medical sci-fi stuff. I really wish I could read more about all of the other experiments and more of what went on at the lab in general.*

Some favorite quotes:

“Nosebleeds = Friendship Maybe friends are drawn to bloodshed. You know. Like sharks”

“If you weren’t born screaming, then you were probably born with too much optimism.”

“Even if you are powerless, your words are not.”

The quills:

Cursing?

PG-13. This book does have the f word but instead of using the actual word it had a subsiture word, fluffing. I found this to be pretty funny in some situations .

Physical romance?

Nope.

Gore?

Not a whole lot, but there was a paragraph about a dead mouse that made me cringe.

Will you cry?

I did a little bit towards the end, but I’m extra sensitive to the situation that was happening.

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs.

The Author:

Leah Thomas, she doesn’t have a website that I could find but she does seem to be pretty active on her Goodreads page.

 

* I found out after writing this review that there is a sequel that just came out in February called Nowhere Near You and I think it will go into more of this exact thing. I’m pretty excited to read it and see if it does or not.

 

How do you feel when authors mash genres together? Like in this case I feel like this book was mostly contemporary but with a big dash of sci-fi. Do you know of any other books that do this?

 

Photo source

Twenty One Pilots Book Tag

I have been slightly obsessed with Twenty One Pilots for about a year now. In fact I’m so obsessed that I went to see them in concert a couple of weeks ago. The concert was amazing. I hope they come back to Texas next year so I can see them again.

When I saw this book tag on Youtube I just had to do it.  Please go check out the original video here on Booktube Girl’s channel.
Questions:

Stressed Out: What is a popular book that you have wanted to read for a long time that everyone has been talking about?

Throne of Glass. Everyone is always talking about these books, I just hope they live up to my expectations when I finally get around to reading them.

Car Radio: Name a book that contained issues you felt connected to on a personal level.

For this one I have to go with Since You’ve been Gone. I could really connect with all of the friendship problems.

Ride: Name a book that you wanted to never end.

The Mocking Jay. I loved the Hunger Games trilogy, finishing that last book made me so sad. I wasn’t ready for it to all end.

Holding on to You: What is a book/series that you have loved since your childhood

I’ve got two answers for this one The Lily Series by Nancy Rue, or Junie B. Jones by Barbra Park. I have fond memories of hunting for the next books and being so excited about getting to read them.

Tear in my Heart: Name a book that made you feel all the emotions.

A Court of Mist and Fury, hands down. This book was amazing, which is partially why I can never finish the review for it.

Fairly Local – What is your personal favorite underground book/series?

I loved Partials by Dan Wells, but I can’t find anyone else who has read them. I hope to reread them one day because the world building was amazing (from what I remember anyway).

Ode to Sleep – Name a book that was full of twists and turns and kept you on the edge of your seat.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, mainly because I didn’t want to use ACOMAF again. I liked this book a lot too, and I had no clue how everything would go down.

Goner – What is a book character that you fell in love with from the beginning?

This one is a hard one, but I’m gonna go with Cassie from The 5th Wave.

Migraine – What is one book that gave you a headache to read?

Paper Towns by John Green. I will spare you from a rant and instead link you to my review of it here.

We Don’t Believe What’s On TV – What is a book that you love that most people seem to hate?

The Hobbit. To be fair when I read it, it was because I had to read it for school so that may have had something to do with it. I really should go back and give them a second chance.

I had such a great time at the concert, I couldn’t stop myself from adding in a couple of the pictures I took even thought they aren’t high quality.

I don’t know of anyone else who likes Twenty-One Pilots but if you do feel free to do this tag and then comment with a link to it because I would love to check it out.

If you listen to Twenty-One Pilots, what is your favorite song? Guns for Hands, Holding on to You, Forests, Kitchen Sink, and Migraine, are some of my favorites.

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.