IMWAYR – September 26, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I read Once Upon a Dream, by Liz Braswell.  This is another wonderful book for my collection of flipped or twisted tales.  This takes my favorite princess movie, Sleeping Beauty, and asks the question “What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up?”

Aurora is living with Maleficent in the Thorn Castle.  She loves her adopted aunt, but life in the castle is quite boring.

One day, Aurora sees some strange dust mites.  They are colored and seem to speak to her.  Aurora decides to try to sneak out of the Thorn Castle.

Upon her escape from the castle, Aurora meets up with a prince.  They embark on a quest to beat Maleficent, awaken Aurora, and hope to escape the dream world they are all trapped in.  There are demons, returning memories, magic, action, and outwitting.

I loved this book!  It is a bit long (430+ pages).  However, there was action all the way through.  I loved how much the author stayed true to the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty (it was published by Disney presses), yet Aurora Rose discovers her true strength, intelligence, and grace to lead her kingdom.  She has compassion and bravery.  A true strong princess.  Great example of a strong woman!!


Well, this book and the huge amount of school work took my time this week!  Up next the he highly anticipated Danielle Paige book Stealing Snow that arrived on Thursday!  I’m excited to get started with it.  😀

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Reading Update

I really, really wish that I had more discipline when it came to updating the blog!  Oh well, I’m going to change it now by letting you know what I’ve read in the last three or so weeks!

I have posted reviews/stars on my Goodreads feed, so if you want to know more about these books and what I thought, visit the sidebar to the right!  —>


Novels and “Fun” Reads

I haven’t quite kept up with my Book a Day plan, but I have read some amazing books!

The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger – a deliciously indulgent read and different from the film.  If you liked the movie, read the book!

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart – a twisted and turning book about a teenage girl and her crazy family.  Read this if you liked The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, or other psychological explorations/thrillers.

 

Flora and Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo – follow young Flora, her romance writer mother, crazy neighbor, odd nephew of crazy neighbor, her odd father, and a super squirrel (!) as they embark on some adventures.  Cute and engaging.  Read this if you are ready to step up from graphic novels or illustrated novels like Wimpy Kid, or if you believe in superpowers.

Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin – I’ve never been one to read extensively about the events of that fateful September – neither fiction nor nonfiction.  However, my YA Lit social media was absolutely blowing up with reviews of this work.  I got it on release day (thanks Amazon!) and I was not disappointed.  The book follows four middle school students in the days leading up to the attack.  The book was brilliant, touching, honest, and real.  Enough said!

Order of the Wicked, by Danielle Paige – another prequel installment from the amazingly twisted Oz of Danielle Paige.  I can’t wait for the next novel – or for her new series beginning up soon with Stealing Snow.  Read this if you enjoy twisted tales, revisits of some of your favorite characters, or if you want an intense and amazing read!

 

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty – imagine waking up 10 years in the future and not remembering anything in between.  That’s what happens to Alice.  Moriarty takes us through Alice’s life in snatched memories of the last 10 years.  A perfect summer read filled with confusion, clarity, and self-discovery.


Well, that’s enough for now.  Check out my Goodreads feed to see the textbooks I read in the last few weeks too!

How is your summer reading going?  Let’s chat!

IMWAYR – May 2, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I spent a lot of time writing papers for school.  This coming week is finals week.

Coming up this week:  finish grading and getting things set at work, taking finals, and generally prepping for taking Block!


I finished up reading Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison.  This fun, flipped tale follows Rapunzel as she heads down the tower after a strange man named Jack appears.  The red fairies are hatching a plot to save their leader Glyph.  However, Glyph’s recovery means death for Witch.

Rapunzel is only looking for a way to save her Witch.  Witch is all that she has ever known and loved.  As she journeys, meets new people, and learns more about Witch, Rapunzel starts to question her experience and life.

I absolutely loved Megan Morrison’s twists and her efforts to make all the characters come alive.  Tyme is an interesting fairy tale world where the lives of many of our favorite characters come together.  Their stories weave together and create an amazingly interesting world.

I can’t wait until October when the next Tyme novel (about Cinderella) is published!


So, what are you reading?

IMWAYR – April 18, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week was a long and short week.  Could be that I didn’t do any homework on Wednesday because it was my birthday.  Could be that the weather has been weird and makes me feel wonky.  Who knows.  But I certainly got my 4 hours in with reading The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

This novel, by Sherman Alexie, follows the story of Arnold Spirit Junior.  Junior (as he is known on the reservation) is a big-headed, strong minded Spokane Indian just trying to discover who he is and what his role in life will be.  After getting suspended because he threw a book at a (white) teacher, Junior is encouraged and then demands to attend the white school in nearby Reardan.

When he goes to Reardan, Arnold (as he is known by his white friends and teachers) navigates the world of high school.  We follow him through a tumultuous freshman year.  His older sister Amy marries quickly and move to Montana.  His grandmother passes away.  His best friend Rowdy, and nearly all of the other members of his tribe, consider him to be a traitor.  He is first ignored by the white students, then slowly becomes friends with them. He gets a semi-girlfriend.  He navigates the boys basketball season – even being a freshman Varsity starter.

I loved this book.  While many of Arnold’s struggles are specific to a Native American or other outsider, I related to so much of his life.  His journey really is one that mirrors all of our journeys – discovering who we are, what our identity is, and the often confusing and hilarious struggle of our life.


Have you read this Sherman Alexie novel? What book have you read that mirrors the journey of discovering our identity?  Let’s talk below…

Snapshot Saturday: Picture This Reading Response

I finally finished reading Yellow Brick War, by Danielle Paige.  I wanted to sketch an important idea about the book and share it with you!

YellowBrickWar

I decided to sketch a view of Oz and the Other Place (Kansas) because I feel that the thin shadowy line between the two worlds is going to be essential going forward in the series.

This sketch is what I envision Amy saw when she went with Lurline during the battle with Dorothy.  Lurline shows Amy how the two worlds are flip sides of the same coin.

In this novel we learned that the Nome King can travel between the worlds.  We know that Amy and Nox were able to pull Madison into Oz.  This permeable barrier is going to be essential in the final novel.

In the final novel (not out until 2017!!), I wonder how important this barrier will be.  How will Amy use this barrier to help save both worlds?  Is the Nome King, the only being who can easily travel between worlds, someone who should be trusted or is he the mastermind behind all of the events of this series?


Have you read the Dorothy Must Die series?  What do you think will happen next?  Let’s talk below…

Reading Response: 20 Better Questions

I finished An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green this afternoon.  The following answers to Twenty Better Questions contain spoilers and illusions to spoilers.  Read at your own risk!

  1. What character(s) was your favorite? Why?

My favorite character is Hassan because he lives life with a sense of humor.  I love how Hassan can take a situation that may be painful or unhappy and see the humor in it.

2. What character(s) did you dislike? Why?

The Other Colin (TOC) for sure!  He always seemed kind of smarmy and like he wasn’t a good person.  I thought that he would be taking advantage of Lindsey all along.

3. Does anyone in this work remind you of anyone you know? Explain.

The way that Colin can remember nearly anything reminds me often of my husband.  He is so intelligent and knows so many random things (that always seem to come up in our conversations because that is how we are).  This aspect of Colin is certainly my husband.

4.  Are you like any character in this work? Explain.

I think there are ways that I am like Lindsey.  I want to be liked and accepted.  I feel like in high school I did change myself some so that I would be more likable by my peers.

5. If you could be any character in this work, who would you be? Explain.

I’d love to be Hollis.  Well, Hollis minus the pink obsession.  Hollis is such a kind and generous person – working all hours of the day and doing everything to keep the people in her town employed and take care of all of them.

6. What quality(ies) of which character strikes you as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?

I would want to develop Lindsey’s characteristic of caring and authenticity that we see when she visits with people from the factory.  As she goes to interview the “oldsters” with Hassan and Colin, we get a glimpse of the girl she truly is because they all remember her kindness and the compassion she has for the people in her town.

7. Overall, what kind of a feeling did you have after reading a few paragraphs of this work? Midway? After finishing the work?

After reading the first few pages in this work, I really felt like this was going to be an agonizing journey through Colin’s post-breakup depression.  I wasn’t really drawn into this book like I was when I read The Fault in Our Stars.

Midway through the book, I finally got a sense of who Colin and Hassan were and started to feel invested in the story of Colin and his breakups.

After finishing the book, I am pretty pleased with the interplay between math and language.  Ultimately John Green did an excellent job blending my two loves of math and language as he tells this story.

8. Do any incidents, ideas, or actions in this work remind you of your own life or something that happened to you? Explain.

The feeling of hopelessness and the sense that he will not ever be important is something I have dealt with.  I have been in the place that Colin and Hassan find themselves.  I felt like Hassan when I have been nearly paralyzed by the fear of becoming what I am to be.

9. Do you like this piece of work? Why or why not?

Overall I liked this piece of writing.  However, it is not going to be one of my top re-reads because the slow pace of action and not having an instant connection with the characters.

10. Are there any parts of this work that were confusing to you? Which parts? Why do you think you got confused?

I sometimes got confused when parts of the Katherines stories were told.  I think I got confused because that was Green’s intention – to keep us confused as to why the Katherine dumped Colin, and keep the memories of his loves shrouded in the hazy fog of recollection.

11. Do you feel there is an opinion expressed by the author through this work? What is it? How do you know this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I believe that John Green is putting forth the idea that we all matter to others.  The long-lasting thing about a person is the way that they impact the lives of other people.

12. Do you think the title of this work is appropriate? Is it significant? Explain. What do you think the title means?

An Abundance of Katherines is appropriate because Colin is attempting to explain his love life through creating a mathematical formula.  I think it is important because he is so focused on his breakup with Katherine but is not looking at the world around him.

13. Would you change the ending of this story in any way? Tell your ending. Why would you change it?

I would change the ending by just telling a bit more in the Epilogue.  I would have loved to hear Lindsey’s thoughts and her hopes for the future with or without Colin, Hassan, or Hollis.

14. What kind of person do you feel the author is? What makes you feel this way?

I think that John Green is a person who believes in love and the goodness of people.  In this book we can see that the goodness and friendship that forms between the three main characters lead to the love and resolution of the stories.

15. How did this work make you feel? Explain.

I ended the book feeling like my nerdiness has been filled – I have worked through the story of Colin and the math of his story.  Ultimately, it is a good feeling.

16. Do you share any of the feelings of the characters in this work? Explain.

I feel the fear and apprehension that all three characters feel – the desire to stay in the familiar and not take the uneasy steps into the future that is unknown.

17. Sometimes works leave you with the feeling that there is more to tell. Did this work do this? What do you think might happen?

I did feel like the story just ended and left with some more to tell.  I think that Lindsey, Colin, and Hassan continue their epic road trip for the rest of the summer.  I also think that in the fall they go off to their respective colleges just a little bit changed for the better.

18. Would you like to read something else by this author? Why or why not?

I had already read The Fault in Our Stars a couple of years ago.  I really liked it.  I think I would want to try Paper Towns because I read it was a mystery.

19. What do you feel is the most important word, phrase, passage, or paragraph in this work? Explain why it is important.

“And the other moral of the story is that you, Smartypants, just told an amazing story, proving that given enough time, and enough coaching, and enough hearing stories from current and former associates of Gutshot Textiles that anyone – anyone – can learn to tell a damned good story.”(p.  208)

This really exemplifies the author’s theme that we can all be taught something by everyone we come in contact with.

20. If you were an English teacher, would you want to share this work with your students? Why or why not?

I would share this book with my students.  I would say in a book talk that this is a story of exploring who you were, finding who you are, and being changed into who you will be in the future.