Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekly Rewind 12.20.14

Saturday, December 20, 2014 11:16 AM with 6 comments



Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.






Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and Blog

Life: I'm typing this up pretty early because my husband is flying down on Thursday to snag me and the two of us are going to be driving up to PA on Friday and Saturday. This week has been pretty easy so far. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all half days with two elongated periods each. My students are taking their mid-term exams, and because they are mostly short and long written response answers, I don't even really need to watch them too closely because it would be pretty hard to cheat. The class I'm dreading is the very last one on Thursday which is my "lively" period already, so add that to the fact that they will only be my class away from a long Christmas break...I'm dreading it. On the plus side, I will only be their class period away from driving to the airport to pick up my honey. Positive thinking, right?

I have a TON of grading I'm going to be bringing home. Thursday is the last day of the semester and I just collected the research papers they have been working on for the past couple of weeks. I'm just going to try to be smart about it though, and try to put in an hour or two a day. I'm such a procrastinator (which is probably not the best characteristic for a teacher, but nobody's perfect). I'll try to get some done during our long-ass drive, and then, like I said, I'm going to be disciplined and work for an hour or two each day to get it done. 

I'm so excited to be home for the long break. I know I was just there for Thanksgiving not even a month ago, but I just miss my husband and cats like crazy...and I know they are missing me, too. 

New Books: I have a few new books to share today. I've read one of the review books already, and plan on listening to a couple of the audio books on my drive there and back. So without further adieu, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

For Review

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I Was Here  by Gayle Forman
I actually stayed in bed on Sunday morning and read this whole book. I honestly can't even remember the last time I've done that, but I know that it has been a very long time. I Was Here follows a girl who is trying to figure out the circumstances surrounding her best friend's suicide. Review coming soon(ish), I'm not going to have time to write it until I'm back home.
Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass
This book follows a girl and her friends who've decided that they are going to date like boys do until she starts to fall in love. I've already seen a couple of pretty dismal reviews for this one, so I don't have very high hopes, unfortunately, but you never know.
Twisted Fate by Norah Olson
I'm honestly not sure what this book is about. I know it is being billed as a YA thriller...

What I bought




These Broken Stars by Amy Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I couldn't help but snag this since it recently came out in PB. Thank God they didn't change the cover!

What I snagged from the library

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Audio books for my long-ass drive home:
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
Jim is funny.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I've never read this. I know. Don't judge me.
I like NPH and hope this is entertaining. 


Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (79) Royal Wedding

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 12:01 AM with 5 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


 
Royal Wedding (Princess Diaries XI)
 

Authors: Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Link to Goodreads:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding--but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone--especially herself--that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
 

Why I'm Excited:

Meg Cabot has become a little hit or miss for me lately (I really didn't like the Underworld/Persephone series or that adult book Insatiable), but she is still one that keep track of. I love her YA stand-alones, the Heather Wells series, and the "Boy" series that are told entirely in emails. I liked the Princess Diary series, too, and am definitely happy to see what's going on with Mia and Michael as they prepare for their wedding. I'll be keeping my eye out for this one.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Christmas (movie review)

Sunday, December 14, 2014 10:21 PM with 2 comments

Happy Christmas





Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Joe Swanberg
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg and Mark Webber
Rated: R for language, drug use and some sexual content 



**********************************************************************
MY THOUGHTS:

The genre known as "mumblecore" is a hit-or-miss one for me. Way more so than any other genre. I either love it, or I turn it off after about 20 minutes. A movie that isn't really about anything can be a hard sell, but when you have a stellar cast like this one, it's easier to forgive it for its lack of action or real purpose.

Happy Christmas follows a girl named Jenny, played by the wonderful Anna Kendrick, who is moving back to her hometown of Chicago after a bad break-up. She plans on staying with her brother, Jeff, and his family until she can get on her feet and find her own place. In exchange for a roof over her head, Jenny is supposed to pitch in around the house, including doing some baby-sitting whenever Jeff's wife, Kelly, who is a stay-at-home mom, needs her.

On her first night in town, Jenny goes out with an old friend, played by Lena Dunham, and gets wasted to the point that Jeff needs to be called to come get her. Hangover, she sleeps in the next day when she was supposed to baby-sit for Kelly. This act of irresponsibility makes Kelly question whether or not she can trust Jenny and if this new arrangement is a good idea. Slowly, though, the two women form a friendship and an almost partnership on a project I won't mention here.


I really enjoyed Happy Christmas. It is an extremely slight movie--clocking in well under 90 minutes--and while I have to admit that I was a bit shocked when I realized the movie had ended rather abruptly after only an hour and twenty minutes, I did still enjoy it. This is due almost entirely to the wonderful cast.

Both of the female leads--Kendrick and Lynskey--are excellent in their roles. I adore Kendrick to pieces and truly believe she will be her generation's Meryl Streep. She is just so funny and smart and talented. In anybody else's shoes, Jenny could easily have been annoying or forgettable, but Kendrick brings an awkwardness and heart to the role that is so real and believable. I've always really liked Lynskey, too, and never understood why she doesn't work more. While Kelly is, of course, married, and Jenny starts her own rebound romance, the relationship in this film that I enjoyed the most was between these two women.

The other role that really made this movie was by the two-year old who plays Jeff and Kelly's son. I actually watched the credits to see if my assumption that he was actually Joe Swanberg's (who plays Jeff) real son. He is. Because he is with his actual father, the relationship is so natural in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. This kid is beyond adorable. I've never seen such an authentic "performance" from a baby.

 

While this film isn't ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination, everything about it was warm and realistic. Jeff and Kelly's marriage is loving and lovely, but you can feel Kelly's desperation to get back to writing. An author by trade, she is finding it hard to find the time to write in her new-ish role as a stay-at-home mom. You also can't help but feel for Jenny who is getting over a break-up in her late twenties and finding herself in this new stuck-in-limbo reality. 

Again, my only real complaint is with the way the movie ended. It almost felt like a shrug. Like, "Well, I guess that's all and stuff. Meh." For a second I was honestly confused that the movie had ended. Despite that, I would definitely recommend this film if you are looking for something short, easy, and charming. It's now streaming on Netflix. 



Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly Rewind 12.13.14

Friday, December 12, 2014 7:36 PM with 9 comments



Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.







Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and blog

Life: School/teaching is going pretty well. The past couple of days have been a bit crazy. They are SO close to their Christmas breaks and their restlessness is practically radiating from them. My one *ahem* especially lively class were like little monkeys today. I seriously had like a demon voice come out of me that cracked me up. I couldn't even keep a straight face because it sounded like I needed a freaking exorcism while yelling at them to stop acting like they were in a zoo. I can't blame them. I'm restless for break, too, and I'm an adult. I try to put myself into their 13/14 year-old shoes whenever I feel like doing things that would certainly get me fired...like strangling them. Lol. Right now we are reading A Wrinkle in Time which is one of my favorites. I think some of them are digging it, but man can it be hard to reach this age group. I know there are still readers amongst them, but I also feel like the more technology advances, and as more and more social networking sites pop up, the less kids/teens read for fun. 

Next week should be awesome. Monday is a regular day, but Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all half day for the students. On Tues, I have periods one and two; on Wed, I have periods three and four; and on Thurs, I have periods five and six. The students are done at 12:45 on those days, and while I have to be at the school until 4 like always, there are fun activities like cookie swaps, and a staff luncheon, so it won't really be work. And while I do have students, they will be taking their mid-terms, so they will all be silent classes while they just take their test. On Thursday, I took a half day to leave when the students do so I can pick up my husband from the airport (less than a week!!). The two of us are driving up to PA together. I have to get my car inspected and want to have it over the break so I can spend time with my friends, too, without having to rely on him to give me rides everywhere. It will be nice to have company on that long-ass drive at least one of the ways. 

New books: I remember the awesomeness that is the Scholastic Book Fair from when I was in elementary school, but don't remember having it in junior or high school. So it was such an amazing surprise to find out that my school hosts the fair. I bought six books--which was showing some serious restraint on my part. I also have a couple of review books to share. So without further adieu, I hope that you are all having fabulous weekends!

For Review

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We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist
Per Gr: A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.
Writer to Writer by Gail Carson Levine
I've always dreamed of being a writer--from the time I was a little, little girl. I'm hoping to actually do something about it this summer...so many authors are former teachers. Even if it doesn't work out, I love reading writing books. I'm a weirdo like that. This one is from the author of Ella Enchanted

What I bought


Scholastic Book Fair!!!

Amber House and Neverwas by a trio of authors (a mother and her two daughters, if I'm not mistaken)
I've been drawn to these pretty covers for forever, so I definitely couldn't pass picking them up for $2.50 a piece!
Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
A kind of upstairs/downstairs look at a manor in the early 1900s. Also only $2.50
Tales From My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moss
I don't know a whole lot about this one. I know it follows multiple girls and ties them together through fashion...or something. Also only $2.50
Famous Last Words by Katie Aleander
I have the arc for this, but haven't gotten to it yet. I've been meaning to read it, and couldn't resist snagging the finished copy.
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
I have the arc to this one, as well, but I really liked it and wanted it in its finished form, too. I love a good friends-to-more story.

What I snagged from the library 

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Books:
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
I snagged this in both book and audio form. My absolute favorite audio books are funny memoirs read by the author (I've seriously listened to Bossypants three times now), but the book is full of cool pictures so I had to get both. 
Who Done It? by Jon Scieszka
I've never even heard of this one, but with names like Libba Bray, John Green, and Gayle Foreman attached, how could I pass it up?
Movies
Neighbors with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron
I knew I would enjoy this movie, but I truly found it hilarious. My attention span is about the size of, well, my students these days, but I actually put my phone down and watched this whole film. I do plan on reviewing this one soon.  

Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (78) Delicate Monsters

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 8:35 PM with 3 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


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Delicate Monsters
 

Authors: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 9, 2015

Link to Goodreads:

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past. 

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

Why I'm Excited:

Lately, I've been wanting books that are a little...darker. I don't know why. I love a fun, fluffy contemporary, but sometimes I just crave something with real depth. Again, not even depth, but darkness. I've been very curious about this one since stumbling on this awesome title, and I was thrilled when I saw it finally has a cover--and a pretty cool one, at that. I'm very excited for this one. 

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (77) The Daughter of Deep Silence

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 7:06 AM with 8 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


23281652 The Daughter of Deep Silence
 
Authors: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Dutton 
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Link to Goodreads:

A delicious tale of revenge and identity from Carrie Ryan, the bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In the wake of the deadly devastation of luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace, rescued from the ocean after torturous days adrift with her dying friend Libby, knows that the Persephone wasn’t sunk by a rogue wave as survivors Senator Wells and his son are claiming—it was attacked.

To ensure her safety from the obviously dangerous and very powerful Wells family, Libby’s father helps newly orphaned Frances assume Libby’s identity. Frances has spent years in hiding, transforming herself into Libby, and she can no longer allow the people who murdered her entire family and Libby to get away with it. After years of careful plotting, she’s ready to set her revenge plans into motion—even if it means taking down the boy she’d once been in love with: the senator’s son.

The game has just begun, and Frances is not only playing dirty, she's playing to win.

Why I'm Excited:

Revenge stories are one of my favorites. As soon as I read the line, "just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying" I was completely sold. I'm not in love with this cover, but it's alright. I do like the wave picture behind her. 

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!



Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekly Rewind 11.29.14

Friday, November 28, 2014 3:42 PM with 6 comments





Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.






Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.


My Life and Blog

Life: I've been home for the past week and it has been so awesome. All of my visits so far have been quick weekend trips, so to have a whole week at home, in my bed, with my husband and fur-babies has been amazing. Thanksgiving itself was nice and relaxing. We went over to a friend's house for a wonderful holiday meal with him, his girlfriend, and his family. We brought the green bean casserole (my favorite holiday dish), and didn't have to worry about cooking or cleaning the house this year. My husband has been doing some work on the house since I'm not there, so ours really isn't company friendly right now. 

I leave tomorrow (Sat), but because my Christmas break is literally less than three weeks away I'm not nearly as sad this time as I have been knowing that it will be four or five weeks before I'll get to see my loves again. He is flying down on my last day of school before the break and the two of us are driving back up to PA. My car inspection is up in January, so I have to bring it up to get the inspection done. It will be nice to have my car anyway as my break is two weeks and I don't want to have to rely on him to get everywhere, especially since I know he won't be off the entire time I'm here. 

New Books: I'm ashamed to admit that I barely read at all over this break. I was so excited to get in some reading time, but it just didn't happen. It's just gone by so quickly! This was seriously the fastest week of my life. Oh, well. I do have some review books I'm excited to read. Also, I snagged three books from the PA library that aren't in the FL system. It's awesome that I'll be back in a few weeks, so I was able to do that. I hope you all had fabulous Thanksgivings and are having wonderful holiday weekends! To those that work retail, I hope you survive the holiday weekend! 

For Review

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No Place to Fall  by Jaye Robin Brown
I know this cover is a total rip-off of Paper Towns, but I just find it so charming regardless. I love a good contemporary and hope this one is a charming as its cover.
I love stories that take place over the course of a single day, so this one is right up my alley. It's about a group of teens who work at a grocery store trying to clear their names when they are suspected of stealing $10,000...on Christmas Eve.
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Years after the death of her parents, a teen moves back to her family's estate to claim the role of duchess. I know a lot of people are/were pretty excited for this one. I hope it lives up to the hype.
For Real by Alison Cherry
Two sisters compete on an Amazing Race type reality show. I've been waiting to dive into this one. I hope it's awesome. 
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Per GR: "Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne."
Now That You're Here by Amy Nichols
A parallel universe story whose upcoming companion novel will tell the "flipside" story. 

What I snagged from the library



All three of these were on the tippy-top of my most anticipated books of 2014. 
 
This novel about a girl who drinks from a petrified bat which allows her to see into both the infinite past and infinite future sounds beyond amazing. If I'm honest, I've been putting off reading this one--even though I have the arc--because it sounds beyond amazing and I'm worried that there is no way it will be as amazing as it sounds...
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Also, super excited for this one. I got approved for the e-arc, but it was one of those that couldn't be sent to a Kindle. I'm hoping this one lives up to the hype in my head, too, because I've been dying to read it for months.
They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Clair
Finally, I had the arc for this one, too, but I've heard the published edition had some significant changes, so I decided to hold off reading it until I could just snag the finished product. I love this cover, and have been looking forward to this one forever, as well.

Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!