Saturday, February 24, 2018

Book Review: You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis

Book: You May Already Be A Winner by Ann Dee Ellis
Genre: MG Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I've been reading a bunch of middle grade books for an award for which they are all nominated. This was my favorite of the bunch. I was totally charmed be everything about it! It probably doesn't hurt that I've loved everything I've read by Ann Dee Ellis. I think it's safe to say she is favorite.

This is the story about Olivia who lives with her little sister and her mom in a trailer park. Her dad has left them and so her mom is struggling to provide, which means Olivia and her sister are left alone to fend for themselves most of the time. When the book opens, she hasn't been to school for months because she's had to stay home with her sick sister. But, she finds a community in all the people that live around her, which is one of my favorite things about this book.

But not only that, she is very smart and resourceful and they do a sort of home-school on their own and have a great time. Olivia hopes it never ends.

But then one day her mom has to send her back to school, which is not great, but she deals. However, one day, she has to take her sister with and so she hides her in a closet. This is not really that great, yes?

Meanwhile, she's made a friend that's a boy who she loves quite a lot. Together they think up all sorts of adventures. But when she finds out he goes to her school, she is worried he will learn way too much about her. But in return, she starts to learn a lot more about him too.

It's kind of a sad "neglected" kid sort of story, but I loved the style and the quirkiness of everyone and the spunkiness of this main character. I flew through it without any slow moments. And loved it.

The setting is nearby my home and one day when I was in the neighborhood I actually tried to find the trailer park. Well, I found it, but not sure it's the one the story was based on, since the KOA is no longer there! LOL! But it was great because everything talked about in the book, I could picture. The bike path to the lake, the restaurants and stores mentioned, the rec center. Etc. Fun times.

I have a YA in the stacks by this author and I think I'm going to bump it up the list and read it soon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Book: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
Genre: MG Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


This is  cute and heartwarming story based on the true story of the authors' (they are married yes) daughter. It's about how she started having issues with her arm and leg and when they got her checked out, they discovered a brain tumor. So she has deal with that fear and ends up having a couple of operations.

But it's not just about how she was brave through that ordeal, but how she deals with a sticky little situation in her 6th grade class room. How she doesn't feel included, and how she is scared to try include others. And then when she becomes the more popular kid, how does she now not make the same mistake and go ahead and include the kid that was mean to her.

I read it for much of the book with a smile, but thinking...I don't know, that everything was too obvious and I was sort of being used and manipulated. You know that feeling, yes? But then, somewhere along the way, that feeling went away and I just enjoyed the story and the touching relationships formed here. At one point, there were tears. Probably because I could relate to something as a parent. That's usually what starts them.

I loved that they included some blurbs at the end about what really went on with Maddie, and then there was a letter from Maddie herself. Thanks for that guys! It was awesome.

I enjoyed the story. It's very simple but sweet and lovely.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Book: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆


After much campaigning, book clubber Jenni Elyse finally got this book on our line up and it was finally its turn this past month! WOOT!

At first I was having a hard time getting my hands on a copy, but finally I got the audio version from Overdrive. And I only decided to relent on this because the lovely David Tennant is the narrator. Yum. (The whole thing is on YouTube if you are interested!)

However, I found that even so, my attention would wane as I listened. Either I would try to do something else and not hear, or fall asleep and not hear, or just zone off and not hear. Maybe David Tennant was just too dang lovely with that soothing voice of his. I don't know.

But I tried and it was fun trying. Eventually, I did get a hard copy from the library and I happily finished it off, and then went back and skimmed the parts I "missed" from my audio experience.

My thoughts? What a strange little story. And nothing at all like the movie. I was like... wait, the dragon talks? Wait, he's HOW small? Wait, where are the girls? Wait, they aren't going to fly on them? WHAT???

And there were a bunch of other little things that bugged me (wow, but there's an over usage of adverbs! Some I can see were part of the charm, but... I don't think ALL!!!) But when keeping in mind the audience intended for this book, it's really quite fun and cute and I can see how a whole fandom of kids are in love.

Do you want a summary? I forgot that that's the method here. So Hiccup goes out with his friends to charm up a dragon. And they find some, but not without adventure. And Hiccup ends up with this little bitty thing he names Toothless and proceeds to try and teach it stuff. But he is quite unsuccessful until he realizes he can be bribed with jokes. On the day of the big event where they get to show off their dragons, the dragons all get in a fight instead and now Hiccup is banished by his own father. But before that can happen, a huge dragon his awakened and threatens the town and so Hiccup, who can talk to dragons, is sent to find out what the dragon is up to. Well, he wants to eat everyone, but in the end... tiny little Toothless saves the day. Together with Hiccup's accidental contribution. And now they are heroes!!

Yes. Cute. :) But nothing like the movie.



Friday, February 16, 2018

Announcing the Anne of Green Gables Read Along!



It's been awhile..a long long while, but we are finally doing another READ ALONG! This one is hosted by Jenni Elyse with Kami and I helping to co-host. And we plan to read ANNE OF GREEN GALBES in March!

I can't remember when I read this one last. Or how many times I've read it. I just remember loving it. It will be interesting to see if it holds up to the memories now that I'm crotchety and old.

Anyway, we'd love for you to join us! Here are the plans:

THE SCHEDULE:


  • Chapters 1-13: March 1-11 (Discussion post on March 11 here.)
  • Chapters 14-26: March 12-22 (Discussion post on March 22 at Kami's)
  • Chapters 27-38: March 23-31 (Discussion post on March 31 at Jenni's)

We also plan to chat on Twitter using #GreenGablesRAL as we read with official chats planned for each section. We let you know as it gets closer when those will be. We also hope to have a movie night and watch the PBS series together. Details to come on that too!

Want to join us? Post about it on your blog and then come link up here!  Spread the news. Let's do this!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Currently Feeling: Full




(as written on Saturday night)

Listening: The OST (original soundtrack) from the drama I shared about in my last post. So many awesome and beautiful songs.

Watching: The Olympics Opening Ceremonies (last night anyway.) It was fantastic and beautiful too.  I expected some kpop groups, but I think we are hearing they are saving that for the Closing Ceremonies. Yeah.
North and South Korea athletes

Reading: Still going through my pile of MG books, but this past week I read what will probably be my favorite one of the bunch. Stay tuned for a review this week!

Making: We made piles and piles of clothes today, cleaning out the closet. We took two completly full huge garbage bags to the thrift store. It feels like a little bit of the junk load in the house is lightened. Just a little.

Planning: Book club this week and making a long list for voting on our next year's schedule. Always fun!

Thinking About: how I should get off this thing and go read for awhile.

Enjoying: this guy's voice: (yeah my currently song changed and now it's this guy) Dang he kills me.

Blogging: I failed this past week. I had nothing to give on that front.

YouTubing: I joined a new little weekly meme where we make a little video on a given prompt... five songs every Friday. This past week was five songs that will be turning 10 this year. Of course, all with a kpop spin.

Feeling: Full of dinner and especially horchata. I love that stuff.

Looking forward to: next weekend. Holiday!

Asking: What should we read for book club next year? Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kdrama Review: Just Between Lovers

Drama: Just Between Lovers
Genre: Romantic drama
Starring: Lee Junho, Won Jin Ah
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Well. Wow. This was another great one that I loved and devoured. I just... yeah...

So the premise of this one is that our two main characters, when they were kids, were survivors of a mall collapse. And now, 12 years later, they are still dealing with the effects of this. And have symptoms of PTSD. Especially our dude, who was buried for about a week.

So when they meet up again 12 years later, our girl has no memories of the event really, but our dude, it doesn't take him long to figure out this is the girl from the mall.

And now they are working together as part of  project to design a memorial on the site where a new building is now, just finally, going up.

Our dude's character grows from an angry young man, to a loving guy... mostly. He has found people in his life that have taken care of him over the years and part (a lot actually) of what makes this drama so awesome is those relationships. One with an older grandma lady, one with his landlord lady and her mentally disabled but bright and beautiful son. And one with a "lady of the evening" who he saved back in the day and so she has taken him under her wing and she is now like an older sister to him. He also has his true sister who he is struggling to help and provide for as she is going to medical school.

Meanwhile, our girl has all her family issues to deal with too. Many after effects of what happened with the mall event as pulled them apart and made them live a lonely life.

Together, they help each other deal with things, and they learn and grow and love and heal.

The drunk kiss....

The lead guy is played by another one of these guys who starts out in a kpop band (it's called 2PM) and then decides they love to act too. I don't know his band very well, but they have been around a long time and still plan to do more in the future after all their guys get done with the military. Junho will probably be going in soon himself.

Anyway, he did an amazing job and I loved his acting. Killer. All the way around.

A little trailer:

 

There are a TON of songs that I loved from this drama, but the one that stood out the most is this one:
(these clips are going to show you more of the drama feeling of this storyline, and not the cute romantic ones like I usually show! Oh, well!)




I was interested in what Junho's signing was like, so I looked up his solos and liked this one.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Book: Lucky in Love by Kasie West
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


I was in the mood for a Kasie West book and this one had been waiting for me for awhile, so it was time!

In this one we have a girl who's family is struggling with money (and other) issues and one day when she is sad that her birthday party doesn't go well, she randomly buys a lottery ticket. Well, and guess what? She wins!

So then we see the progression of what happens when you suddenly have money. And she goes crazy spending it, and her friends get weird, and people who weren't her friends get weird. And her family gets weird. And she forgets everything she had planned to do in life.

Except with one guy. The guy she works with at the zoo. Zoo Seth. And she doesn't tell him about the whole lottery thing (he's been off line so he doesn't seem to be finding out either) because he keeps her grounded. And she develops this pretty huge crush on him, but she is confident that he has no interest in her, because he's one of these guys who's nice to everyone and so you can't really tell what's going on. And she really really doesn't want him to know about the whole lottery thing.

Things get worse with her regular life, but better with her Zoo Seth life.

But despite that, all the things need to be fixed.

So, while I enjoyed it a lot and read it quickly, it wasn't as, um, shall we say, as much my favorite as her other books. Probably mostly because the romance was for sure a side thing, and it's mostly about this girl's life falling apart after the lottery. So that was annoying. But still, these books are just a happy joyful thing for me to read.

But I wanted a lot more Zoo Seth. A lot more. :)

There's another book that just came out a month ago so I'm onto that one as soon as I get a hold of it! I gotta keep up!!!




LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails