Pawn mini-review

About the book:
Harlequin Teens // January 4, 2014
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.
If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.
There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My thoughts:
Pawn is a great dystopian young adult novel. The idea of America taking on a caste like system is daring. The protagonist is brave yet real and humanly flawed- I liked her straight away. The twists and turns that abound in this novel are great... I had a hard time predicting some, which is always good as an avid reader- I like to be surprised. The ending definitely left me anxious for the next book.
I would certainly recommend this one to middle and high school kids. I think they would find this book interesting and would be salivating for the second book in the series. Pawn would encourage reluctant readers to push through a full novel and get them excited for another one!

Author information:
I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures (a fancy way of saying I was forced to watch a lot of old movies) with a sub-concentration in Screenwriting. I write. I watch a lot of new movies. Read a lot of books. Tweet too much. Love dogs and have two spoiled Papillons.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received an egalley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Cover image and book information provided by NetGalley. Author information provided by the author's website.


Journal Circle

Hello friends!! I want to introduce you to The Journal Circle - a monthly feature to discuss journaling, share ideas, and give encouragement. Tif over at TifTalksBooks is our host (and brilliant Journal Circle creator). Each month she will post the Journal Circle feature and we can discuss in the comments then link up to our own journaling posts. You can add photos, tutorials (Tif has a great DIY journal tutorial up on her post), or just share a bit of your journal journey each month.

The Journal Circle feature will go live in the middle of the month. Join in for January here. The February Journal Circle will go live Feb 20th or all you pre-planners!

So, without further ado... I'd like to share a bit about my journaling style!!

I love to doodle and journal and scribble in notebooks. I've had journals off and on for most of my life... some traditional, some not so much. Over the years, I've discovered that the best journal style for me is a combination of a few things I love:
1. Art
2. Scrapbooking
3. Zentangle
4. Gratitudes
5. One Little Word
It all mashes together to create my own version of a smash journal. My journaling now consists of words, doodles, pictures, and pieces of the day (think movie stubs, fortunes, post-it's). I do all this in a middle of the road spiral bound art journal. I purchase a black journal then decorate it with washi tape (another thing I love). At the beginning of each month I make a calendar which I fill in each night with something I am grateful for... even on the days that I don't do a full journal entry, I am at least putting pen to paper to express my gratitude for the day.
This year I picked "BE" for my One Little Word to focus on for 2014, so many of my pages in my journal reflect that as well. Sometimes it is a doodle of the word, sometimes it is a magazine cut out of the word, and other days it is an expression of what the word means to me. No matter how I put it in my journal, it at least reminds me to just be.
In all, journaling for me is relaxing and fun. I like the style I use now because it takes the pressure off. Here are a few pictures of my journaling entries....

This is my monthly gratitudes calendar for January. I can't wait to share my finished daily gratitudes during the February Journal Circle
My washi tape covered journal

A zentangle of  BE, my One Little Word for 2014
A favorite so far this year... "Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack"

Mash-up of it all - zentangle initials, washi tape, doodles, words, smashed in list

Sometimes I add in Madeline's artwork that she makes me

Another OLW entry

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

The Book of Someday

About the book:
Sourcebooks // September 2013
From the earliest moments of her California childhood Livvi Gray has been haunted by a recurring nightmare, the terrifying image of a beautiful woman in a shimmering silver dress. On an early morning walk, while she’s making the most important decision she will ever make about love, loyalty and family, Livvi comes face-to-face with the stranger from her dream. This chilling encounter alters Livvi’s future and changes almost everything she thinks she knows about her past. Livvi’s story is told in parallel with the stories of a Boston photographer named Micah and a Long Island housewife named AnnaLee. One of them is defined by a stunning act of heroism, the other by a moment of weakness regretted for a lifetime. Micah, AnnaLee and Livvi have never met, but their lives are connected through an extraordinary mystery. A web of hidden truths that exposes the unexpected ways in which we protect, and betray, the people we love.

My thoughts:
I devoured this book. Dianne Dixon wrote a book that caught my soul and held on tight. I was so invested in this story. The way that she intertwined the characters stories and told this from multiple points of view kept the novel moving. It was interesting to try and piece together what kind of connection these people had, because it seemed as if there was no reason for it- until we get to the end and it all beautifully ties together.
A story of love, loss, and the choices we make, The Book of Someday is a great novel. It caught my attention and held on until the very end. My only criticism is the ending itself- it seemed to go out with a whimper. The ends were not fully tied up, which bothered me. But the ride that Dixon took me on for the entire novel overshadows that... and you all know me and my thoughts on endings, so for a book to overpower an ending I don't like is quite the feat. Mixed reviews abound for this novel, so I think it is a hit or miss for most people. I would suggest this to fans of her previous book, The Language of Secrets and those looking for a tale of trials with a dose of mystery.

About the author:
As a television writer Dianne Dixon (winner of the Humanitas Prize for Excellence in Screenwriting and double Emmy nominee) regularly received glowing reviews: “Her characters dance off the page.” (Jane Hewland/Sky Television, UK) “An enormously gifted writer.” (LaVerne McKinnon/CBS Television)  “Her knowledge of storytelling is both clear and articulate.” (Nate Hopper/Sony Pictures). Now Dianne is receiving equally enthusiastic response to her work as a novelist: “Captivating, fascinating.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) “Absorbing and provocative.” (Huffington Post) “Convincing prose, particularly the dialogue.” (Kirkus) “An exciting new writer, capable of creating a well-paced, emotional page-turner of the best kind.” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and The Magnolia League).
Dianne is a former Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, a nominee for the Mary Routt Chair of Writing at Scripps College, and has taught screenwriting at the Dodge College of Film & Media at Chapman University in Orange, California.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received an egalley of his book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Book & author information provided by the author's website, image provided by NetGalley


Nick & Tesla - my new favorite middle grade series!

A few months ago this adorable cover popped up in my mail. Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab is a new middle grade series that mixes mystery and science to create awesome stories.

About the book:
Quirk Books // Nov 2013
Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble.
When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more.
In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!

My thoughts:
I absolutely adored this book. The first in a series, Nick and Tesla's adventures in High Voltage Danger Lab are engaging and fun. Following the scientifically inclined siblings, the books contains directions for some of the experiments contained in the story. Giving detailed instructions, diagrams, and general knowledge, the experiments are a fabulous addition to the story. Middle grade readers will love the experiments that are scattered throughout the reading. You get to create the same experiments that Nick and Tesla do during the book. As a teacher, this is a book that I could easily adapt to fit my science lessons- especially during our summer school session. The book is filled with learning and information without the reader ever even noticing that they're being taught some really cool concepts. The writing is quite good as well, and the mystery that is the undercurrent of the story is well developed and intriguing. The fact that this is a series is also great- I think that kids will love following Nick and Tesla through the rest of their adventures. I can't wait to read the next title in this series, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage! 

About the authors:
“SCIENCE BOB” PFLUGFELDER is an elementary school teacher based in Newton, Massachussetts. He has made many television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Dr. Oz Show, and other media outlets. These are his first books.
STEVE HOCKENSMITH is the author of a New York Times best seller (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls) and an Edgar Award nominee (Holmes on the Range). He lives in Alameda, California.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book and author information provided by the publisher, QuirkBooks


Bout of Books Wrap Up

Well, this was not my best readathon to date. Bout of Books 9.0 came at a busy time for me- lots going on and the first week back to teaching after a 2 week break (aka teacher hell). I did not read as much as I had hoped, but I did finish one book: Jenny Rat by Martin Simons. I also started in on Pawn by Aimee Carter and hopefully will get that done this week.
I participated in a few of the challenges- they were cute and fun this year! I enjoyed them.
I did get around to a few reviews, although I did them on my NetGalley and  on GoodReads- no official posts for the blog. I am a bit saddened by my lack of goal-meeting for that.
Also during BoB9 I somehow managed to screw up my blog format and design. I spent a decent amount of time just restoring it to a basic template and trying to put back in the widgets I lost. That ate up a chunk of time and I'm still not yet in the clear.

Bout of Books 9.0 Stats:
Total pages read: 524
Total hours read: around 12
Books read: Jenny Rat (completed) and Pawn
Challenges Participated: 4

Overall, I didn't participate as much as in the past and missed a lot of the fun with Bout of Books 9.0 due to just being busy. What I did join in on was great fun and I hope that I can commit more time next go around! Bout of Books 10 is happening May 12th-18th and I plan to have another go with one of my favorite readathons!!
Don't forget that the BoB9 linky sign-up is still up so you can browse through some of the blogs you may have missed- there were a ton this time! I know I will be going back and looking through!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow



Woe is me... while trying to update my blog design today, I accidentally deleted everything except my posts. I am so frustrated and annoyed! Of course I didn't back it up either- my last back up was in 2012. Ooops. So now I am up shit creek without a paddle. I am much to annoyed at this so I just popped on this template and will be working to get my blog back to normal later. Bear with me while I try to get all my content and widgets back and spruce the place up a bit.

Hope everyone is enjoying Bout of Books 9.0! I know I am!! Time for me to put this annoyance aside and get back to the fun of Bout of Books: READING!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Bout of Books 9.0 GOALS

Bout of Books 9.0 GOALS
Link to goal post/linky hub

Time Devoted to Reading:
I will be reading all week, some days more than others.
Monday: 1+ hours
Tuesday: 3+ hours
Wednesday: 3+ hours
Thursday: 2+ hours
Friday: 1+ hours
Saturday: 8+ hours
Sunday: 3+ hours

My Goals:
I am desperately behind on my posting.

Books to Read:

Number of pages I've read today: 43
Total number of pages read: 43
Time devoted to reading: about an hour
Books: Jenny Rat

Number of pages I've read today: 67
Total number of pages read: 110
Time devoted to reading: a bit less than 2 hours with a few interruptions - no undivided attention today!
Books: Jenny Rat

Number of pages I've read today: 32
Total number of pages read: 142
Time devoted to reading: just over half an hour
Books: Jenny Rat

Number of pages I've read today: 0
Total number of pages read: 0
Time devoted to reading: 0
Books: -

Number of pages I've read today: 0
Total number of pages read: 0
Time devoted to reading: 0
Books: -

Number of pages I've read today: 298
Total number of pages read: 440
Time devoted to reading: about 5hrs
Books: Jenny Rat (finished), Pawn

Number of pages I've read today: 84
Total number of pages read: 524
Time devoted to reading: a bit less than 2
Books: Pawn

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


2014 Reads

Books Read in 2014
Goal: 80

83. The Treatment by Suzanne Young
82. The Program by Suzanne Young
81. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
80. The Creature Vault
79. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
78. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
77. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
76. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
75. Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
74. Above by Isla Morley
73. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
72. We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
71. The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
70. The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguie
69. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
68. Star Wars Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan
67. The Fever by Megan Abbott {review}
66. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
65. Press Play by Eric Devine {review}
64. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
63. Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton
62. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson {review}
61. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix {review}
60. Walking the Amazon  by Ed Stafford
59. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King {review}
58. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis {review}
57. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins's Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan {review}
56. The Kill Order by James Dashner
55. The Death Cure by James Dashner
54. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
53. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
52. Recipes for Play by Rachel Summer {review}
51. The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn
50. Confessions of a Sociopath by ME Thomas {review}
49. Precious Thing by Colette McBeth {review}
48. Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker {review}
47. The People Inside by Ray Fawkes {review}
46. Picture Me by Lori Weber {review}
45. 101 Tips for the Smart Stepmom by Laura Petherbridge {review}
44. Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson {review}
43. Far From You by Tess Sharpe {review}
42. We Were Liars by E Lockhart {review}
41. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
40. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
39. How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker {review}
38. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
37. January First by Michael Schofield {review}
36. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
34. Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell {review}
33. Style Me Vintage: Weddings by Annabel Beeforth
32. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
31. The Red Hot Chili Cook Off by Carolyn Brown {review}
30. Anthem by Ayn Rand
29. Nick & Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfender
28. Nick & Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Bob Pflugfender
27. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
26. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
25. How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity by Patrica Carlin {review}
24. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett {review}
23. Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie {review}
22. William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher {review}
21. The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh {review}
20. Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois {review}
19. The Big Tiny by Dee Williams {review}
18. Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English {review}
17. Sheltered: Volume 1 by John Christmas {review}
16. Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm Knights by Patrick Shand {review}
15. 47 Ronin by Stan Sakai {review}
14. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs {review}
13. Pandemic by Scott Sigler {review}
12. Contagious by Scott Sigler
11. Infected by Scott Sigler
10. Brazilian Bracelets by Florence Bellot {review}
9. External Forces by Deborah Rix {review}
8. The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown
7. The Returned by Jason Mott
6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Rigs
5. Find Momo by Andrew Knapp {review}
4. The Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon {review}
3. The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood by Gerald Hausman
2. Pawn by Aimee Carter {review}
1. Jenny Rat by Martin Simons

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow