And now…back to our regularly scheduled programming

School started last week, and my students are blogging this semester. You know what that means! Back to a regular posting schedule. So let’s do this.

1. Since I am in what I’m going to call the hazing period at my new job, my earlier class starts at 7 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday/Thursday. This is…not ideal to say the last. I am a night owl, so acclimating to this new schedule is something that’s going to take some time. For now, I’m forcing myself to go to bed early, so I can figure out what will work. This has so far included getting up early on today (my day off) as well.

I’d say it’s going pretty well considering I went to bed too early so woke up an hour before my alarm went off, and I just woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago. I am making this deep sacrifice because I was absolutely horrendous (okay, crabbier than I wanted to be) to my class on Wednesday because I was so exhausted, and I do not want to be that person. It’s a challenge.

Continue reading “And now…back to our regularly scheduled programming”

Picking Favorites: Big Little Lies & other feelings

Big Little Lies has given me a lot of feelings, so it is featured heavily in this post. Also, goddess and life goals queen Rep. Maxine Waters has breathed life back into my soul, so I may or may not have featured her, too.

 

“As a leading expert in this field, I must say that it’s ridiculous to me that heroes waltz around their story without any attention to their need (and/or realistic desires) to take a power-nap at the minimum.” — Why I’d Be A Terrible Protagonist: Reason #9: Naps Are Required

Continue reading “Picking Favorites: Big Little Lies & other feelings”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? (5/16/16)

This past week, I finished:

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was super fun. Apollo is a great narrator because his arrogance is beyond belief, yet he’s also kind of likable because he is hilarious. To wit, this is a thing he actually thinks: “If she could do it, then so could the brilliant, fabulous Apollo.” And that’s AFTER his character has exhibited some growth. So.

Lots of laugh out loud moments and two of my favorite characters in the whole series showed up (as well as Percy Jackson, naturally).

View all my reviews

Last week, I posted:

[wrap-up-posts week=”19″ year=”2016″ listtype=”ul”]

 

As of today, I’m reading:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson are both selections for my summer book club. I told myself I would give any of the book club choices 50 pages to grab me before moving on. I just started both today so have no real opinions on either yet. But I have heard good things about both of them, so I’m hoping I enjoy them.

So far Brown Girl Dreaming reminds me of Woodson’s picture book Show Way, which is amazing if you haven’t read it.

Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

 

Armchair BEA 2016: 4 Fictional Places I Want to Visit

1. I hate to be predictable, but, obviously, I would want to visit The Wizarding World from Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, The Burrow, etc.

The saddest fact of my life is that I live SO CLOSE to Orlando and yet.

ronispoor
Poor like a Weasley. (source)

(I also like to recycle jokes. SUE ME.)

2. I would also like to visit the Kingdom of Cello from The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty. But only during one of the nice color storms, please. And if I get to tour the palace, Jagged Edge, and the Farms with my girl Princess Ko and the rest of the Royal Alliance.

3. I would love to visit Camp Half-Blood and/or Camp Jupiter from the Percy Jackson series, but only during one of the down seasons when no campers are disappearing or being chased by monsters. So this may actually be one of those worlds I would want to observe from a distance since those poor demigods are never safe–at least not the Greek ones.

4. I also want to visit Crab Claw Key from the Summer series by Katherine Applegate. (Of course when I read the books, they looked like this, but that’s neither here nor there.) (I can keep up with the times is what I’m saying.) But that’s because it’s SUMMER and I am always in need of a beach day. Beach! Beeeeeeeeach. If I were in Crab Claw Key, my life would be this:

modern family straw
Legit the most memorable scene from Modern Family for me (source

 

It would be GLORIOUS.

 

As for worlds I don’t want to visit, the first one that came to mind is Panem and the districts from The Hunger Games, which…obvious reasons are obvious. In fact, most of the fictional worlds I encounter and wouldn’t mind visiting have a great big old asterisk next to them anyway–simply because there’s usually a lot of strife and conflict happening. Otherwise, why would there be a story?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? (5/9/16)

This past week, I read:

Alex + Ada, Vol. 2Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alex’s grandmother proves, once again, why grandmothers are better than almost everyone else.

Lots of good forward motion here with the plot. I’m interested to see how it all turns out.

View all my reviews

 

Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess Book 1: Captain Raven and the All-Girl Pirate CrewPrinceless: Raven the Pirate Princess Book 1: Captain Raven and the All-Girl Pirate Crew by Jeremy Whitley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, yes, this was much much better than Raven’s introduction in Princeless, Vol. 3: The Pirate Princess since Raven kind of didn’t fit the tone there.

This book/series is definitely YA whereas Princeless could be classified as children’s, middle grade, or lower YA.

Anyway, I am a fan of groups of ladies being generally badass and am an ultrafan of POC women doing the same. Lots of good jokes in here (“not all men” and men’s rights makes an appearance) and a lot of fun. Also violence. And queer girls/women. And girls/women having varied interests (chemistry! cartography! dance! RPG! beating people up!).

Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.

View all my reviews

 

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the TimeScrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this on the recommendation of a friend who said it transformed the way she thinks about running training. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I would use it in my classes. Lots to think about here but really good stuff about the ownership of learning.

View all my reviews

 

As of today, I’m reading:

I don’t know what I’m reading. Wait, that’s a lie.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I’m still making my way through Furiously Happy–very slowly. Lawson’s writing style is a bit, shall I say, relentless. So I’m finding it difficult to sit down and read large chunks at a time. However, if it were a blog I could drop in on from time to time…well. You see where I’m going with this, right? Anyway, I told my daughter I would finish it, so I shall. It may take me until the end of summer, but I’ll do it. That’s just how much I love her.

 

The Hidden Oracle by Rick RIordan

Also, I just this minute decided to start reading The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan even though I have a ton of other books in my stack ahead of it because I know it’ll make me happy. So, that’s I am: eschewing all of the should-reads and going with my want to read. Just the way the book and summer gods intended.

 

Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

It’s Monday! I finally finished Necessary Endings!

This past week, I finished:

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the KanesDemigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I didn’t finish The Kane Chronicles, I really like Carter and Sadie, so it was nice to spend some time with them without all the extra that comes with their series. It’s always fun to see characters from different stories interacting with each other, and seeing the similarities of Percy to Sadie and Annabeth to Carter was extra fun. So yeah, I really liked this.

View all my reviews

 

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move ForwardNecessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me: I have been reading this book forever. I am going to finish it today because I am sick of saying I’m still reading it.

Mom: Sounds like you need to make a necessary ending on that book.

Me: Yes, exactly.

There is a lot of really useful and helpful information in this book, and I got a lot out of it. Most of it is stuff I had already learned, but I did learn some new strategies and think about some situations differently, both in the NE group I was in that made me decide to read the book and in the book itself. For example, I learned that I didn’t actually hate my job; I was just burnt out so needed to end some of the practices around it. I also had to make a personal necessary ending, which I probably wouldn’t have cast in those terms before. So, you know. Useful.

I think it took me so long because the writing is kind of dry and I kept reading it right before bed. Also, I lost the book for about a week, which didn’t help with the whole finishing it part. But it’s done now, and that’s all that matters.

If you’re trying to figure out how to end something you know you need to but don’t know how, this book may be helpful to you and I recommend it.

View all my reviews

 

Last week, I posted:

More A to Z!

[wrap-up-posts week=”16″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]

 

As of today, I’m reading:

 

I’m still making my way through Furiously Happy which is funny so far, and I can see why it strikes a chord with my daughter. I started Alex + Ada Vol. 2 today and should also be getting to Scrum later this week. Of course this is my insane grading week (end of term! finals!) so we’ll see how far I get with any of those.

 

Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick RiordanWell, that was just delightful.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson series, and while I will miss the characters, I did enjoy this last installment.

There was much to like here! BUT. I will concede that the final battle was a smidge rushed, and I do wish we had seen a little bit more from all of the narrators. However, I know the latter would have been pretty impossible, and I do feel as though all of the characters’ journeys/narrative arcs were sufficiently wrapped up and satisfactory.

So, here is what I did like a lot:

– Reyna. I love her. She is proud and strong but also a little lonely.

– Leo. Of course. I love him. This is well-documented.

– Piper. GUYS. THIS IS HUGE. I spent most of the books in this series totally annoyed by Piper, and I actually really liked her in this book. I LIKE PIPER NOW. I am confused but also happy.

– Annabeth and Piper’s relationship. There’s a whole scene about how sometimes logic is best and other times going with your gut/feelings is best, and so the two girls learn to work together and trust one another and then they’re FRIENDS and COMRADES, and it gives me a happy.

– Oh, and also Reyna, Annabeth, and Piper get to pow wow and be amazing together as well. YAY FOR FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS! Yay for varied levels of badassery and acknowledgement of the different ways one can be a total badass.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Blood of Olympus”

End of Year Mini Reviews: Saints, Aya, and The House of Hades

I haven’t written a proper review since October?! That’s just not on. Especially considering I have read a ton of books since then. Me and this blog have a lot to hash out in the next few days/weeks. In the meantime, here are some mini reviews.

Saints by Gene Luen Yang

1. Saints by Gene Luen Yang – This is half of a two-part series about the Boxer Rebellion in China. I thought the two books would come in together, but I guess whoever had the first book wasn’t done with it. I was planning to read them as a set, though.

What I liked about this book is how small in scale it is, even though it deals with a huge conflict. Saints follows Four-Girl as she discovers Christianity and leaves her family’s home. I really liked that she is not really directly engaged with the rebellion and is instead just trying to figure out her place in the world. The rebellion does directly touch her life, but the focus of the novel is on her day-to-day struggle to fit in with her family and community. So often stories about war are, you know, about war, so that was a pleasant surprise. Another unexpected and interesting approach Yang takes is with regards to Four-Girl’s conversion to Christianity. It’s less about spirituality and more about protection and rebellion. As far as the art goes, the graphics are delightful as usual. I love Yang’s artistic style.

 

Aya in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

2. Aya: Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet (illustrated by Clément Oubrerie) – It took me a little while to get into this slice of life graphic novel set in the Ivory Coast during the late 1970s–mostly because the artwork inside the novel isn’t quite as detailed as the cover, so that was disappointing. The novel also doesn’t really have a clear plot right away; it mostly establishes the setting and relationships in the beginning. Once the relationships and setting are established, the drama starts to pick up, and I became much more interested. The main takeaway of course is that people are the same everywhere. Some of the cultural mores are different, yes, but, in general, Aya and her friends/family deal with family, work, and societal drama. There’s a “who’s the daddy?” plot, a plot about a boy who disappoints his father, several plots about infidelity, etc. I mean, you know, the usual. By the end I was engaged, but I’m not necessarily interested in picking up the next part of the collection.

 

House of Hades by Rick Riordan

3. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan – I continue to be delighted by this series and by Rick Riordan. The best part of this book is that all of the demigods get a chance to narrate so the story feels more balanced, and a lot of character development happens. I have to give Riordan props for anticipating my needs/wants as a reader as well. At one point, I found myself thinking, “Man, I really miss [specific character]” and then that character showed up within a couple of chapters. I also started getting annoyed with how heteronormative all of the characters/relationships are, and then he introduced a gay character. So I have much respect for Riordan as an author based on those two instances alone. Also: plot, characters, etc. I’m also starting to warm up a lot more to the characters I didn’t feel a proclivity towards, so that’s nice as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything shakes out.

I did read more books than the three featured here, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to discuss them. Mostly, with them, I’m concerned with certain patterns or trends I noticed, so they aren’t really fit for typical reviews, I think. We shall see.

Book Review: The Mark of Athena

Seriously, these monsters and gods were thousands of years old. Couldn’t they take a few decades off and let Percy live his life?

Mark of Athena by Rick RiordanI’m saying, though. Poor Percy. Finally reunited with Annabeth and, of course, the stupid gods and monsters are ruining everything. Typical.

So, Mark of Athena! Third book in The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan! In list form!

  1. The title is an obvious tip-off that this book would heavily feature Annabeth and feature her it did. It was so, so nice to get a glimpse inside of her head. I love Annabeth. She’s so great.
  2. LEO! Leo is one of the point of view characters. As has been well-established, I love Leo. A lot. He’s underage, but since he’s fictional, I am upgrading him from cute adorable kid whose cheeks I want to pinch to literary boyfriend. Because if I were a 15/16-year-old girl, I would be so in love with Leo. Therefore, he is now a literary boyfriend.
  3. Leo’s interactions with Annabeth are A+. First, he thinks of her as the scary blond girl, which is just fantastic. Because we all know you don’t want to mess with Annabeth. Second, they get along well with their love of gadgetry and figuring things out. So even though Annabeth is the scary blond girl, they are actually friends.
  4. I liked the focus on the gifts the kids have that aren’t superpowers. I mean, yes, Jason can fly, Percy can manipulate water, Leo, Frank, Hazel, etc. But Annabeth’s mother is the goddess of wisdom and military victory. Sooooo, no superpowers there. Same with Piper. Her mom is the goddess of love and beauty. Sure, she can charmspeak, but she can’t talk her way out of everything. So Riordan shows how Annabeth and Piper can use their gifts (wisdom and love, respectively) to their advantage in battle. A nice touch and a way to remind kids that you don’t have to have superpowers to win or be effective.
  5. Okay I had a whole bunch written up about how annoying Piper is but WordPress ATE IT, and I don’t have it in me to recreate all that awesome commentary. So suffice it to say that Piper is still annoying, and my daughter and her friend agree with me.

In conclusion, this book is a solid entry in the series. I’m interested to see what happens next.

Book Review: The Demigod Diaries

You know what Rick Riordan’s The Demigod Diaries confirmed for me? My love for Leo Valdez is not in vain. That kid is awesome.

Oh, and Percy’s alright, too, I guess.

I was going to end the review there, but the picture looks stupid with so little text, so I guess I’ll continue. I GUESS.

I also loved seeing the pictures of Thalia, Piper, Leo, and Jason. Plus, while I’m here, I should talk about Luke’s story and how I can totally see why he would fight against the gods. Dude had some bitterness deep in his soul–and with good reason.

You know what’s cool? That Riordan included a story by his son in the collection. You know what else is cool? The story fits the mythology and is well-written. Some of Alistair’s powers seemed more in line with The Kane Chronicles, but I’ll trust that they have some basis in Greek mythology. The plotting in Haley’s story is fast-paced, and the characterization is sharp.

All in all, the collection was a nice companion to the other books set in Percy Jackson’s world.

Source: my daughter’s