Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review: All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall

All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall
Cover Courtesy of Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis:WHEN 13-YEAR-OLD JOSH finds out he has to stay with his dad in Chicago for a few months, he’s not too thrilled. But when he arrives at the airport, he’s simply devastated. His father—who used to be a scatterbrained, but pretty normal, shoe salesman—has become a sideburn-wearing, hip-twisting, utterly embarrassing Elvis impersonator. Josh is determined to keep his dad’s identity a secret, but on his very first day at his new school, a note appears on his locker. It’s signed Elvisly Yours, and instead of a name, a sneering purple smiley face. The secret is out, and when his dad is invited to perform at a special 50s concert at his school, Josh is forced to take drastic action. From award-winning author Shelley Pearsall comes a hilarious novel about a father and son discovering something about being who you are—and who you’re not.

My Review: I picked up this book because the synopsis seemed unusual, but intriguing. How many books do you read about someone's dad trying to impersonate Elvis? It's the reason why I enjoyed this book a lot.
On the character side, Josh is just a normal boy, who worries a lot about fitting in. He's funny and sarcastic, which makes his point of view very interesting. His dad is also really nice, but their relationship starts off rocky. Josh, understandably, isn't very cool with his dad's new job doing gigs, but the tension is resolved after the book's peak. (However, I don't really agree with the "drastic action" Josh takes in the middle of the book, because it's pretty selfish of him to not look out for his dad's feelings.) The other characters like Ivory and Viv were nice, too, and I like how Ivory doesn't care what anyone thinks of her and holds her friends in high respect. She doesn't let Josh boss her around.
The story is fun and interesting, and progresses at a nice pace. It's really about letting others find themselves, and not worrying so much about what someone thinks of you. I give it 4 stars. The author has a nice way with words!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Cover courtesy of Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis: When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.

    My Review: When I first bought this book, I thought it was the first in the series, and I didn't really know what to expect. All I can say now is that I wish I'd bought the next book, Out of Sight, Out of Time.
Ally Carter is amazing. Pure amazing. To create a world like Gallagher Academy itself takes a lot of imagination, but it's so. much. fun to read about. I love all of the characters, especially Cammie's awesome friends Bex, Lizzie, and Macey.
    The plot was really intriguing, but slightly complicated (which I guess had to be expected). There were some points where I was confused to the point where I had to reread some things, probably because I didn't read the first three books. The only complaint I have is that the plot is connected to the sixth book, and not everything is resolved in this selection. I usually like the main focus of the plot done in one book, not over the span of the series.
    However, I cannot recommend this book more to anyone (at least anyone 12-13 up). The academy will leave you wishing you could be a part of the Gallagher world, living in the sisterhood. I give this book 4.5 stars. The books get even better going forward, with lots more suspense! I can't wait to read books 1-3 in the series.
****To answer a question about if you should read the other books before this one, I'd say yes, just because this book has a lot of spoilers and you'll see the characters in whole new light now. Oops. :)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Homemade Newton's Cradle

Newton's cradles are very addicting. I'm sure anyone who's ever touched one can agree. Basically, when you lift up the first marble, it hits the second, but instead of moving very much, the last marble pops up!
If you'd like to know the reason behind it, it's basically just conservation of momentum. The marbles pass on their momentum once hit, and the last marble has nothing to hit so it swings up. You can use this link if you want to know more.
Anyways, I had a chance to make my own Newton's cradle at a camp, and this is totally the best project so far (though it's only been my second week). Thank you to my teachers to helping me out!
Gif courtesy of giphy. This is basically a Newton's Cradle in action.

And here is the cradle I made, under poor photo quality (sorry). It looks a lot better on my desk, but it works everywhere :).
So that's a Newton's cradle! It took me at least an hour (and a half? I don't really remember), and I had to be very precise when lining everything up (that's where my teacher's help came in). The hot glue also came off after a bit on one of the marbles and on two of the popsicle sticks, but luckily I had tape. I might post a tutorial about this, but probably not, because everything needs to be done super carefully and I don't have any pictures to show of the process. It would probably be a bit confusing without them.
Anyways, that's my handmade Newton's cradle. It works pretty well, but needs to be aligned each time (since the precision needs to be almost perfect for the momentum to be transferred between the marbles). Have you ever made a Newton's Cradle before? Do you want to make one? Tell me below!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Little Prince Stationary

Many have heard of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's most famous work, Le Petit Prince, and in English, The Little Prince. I recently read it, and it was such a good story (very sad, too). If any of you haven't checked it out, I recommend for you to read it. For those who have read it, I bet you want to get a hold on some of the stationary they sell, especially because school's about to start in a month-ish or sooner. (I can't believe it either! It feels like summer just started.)

First off, there are these really nice gel pens from The Magic Notebook that are perfect for school. In addition to the nice colors, they have cute pictures of the prince on the caps, too.
Image result for the little prince stationary

There are many pencils you can get too, and you can't forget an eraser! This one from petitjour looks good.


Next, there's this really nice pencil case from 7321Story to hold all of those pieces. It looks really cool, doesn't it?
Image result for 7321 story pencil case le petit prince purple enamel

There are so many notebooks and planners to choose from in this theme. You can go vintage, get Moleskines. etc. Ultimately, I do like the type below from MochiThings because of how they resemble the actual book's cover (There's a notebook and planner featured).
Image result for the little prince notebooks

Some other things are these amazing cards from 7321 Design.
Related image

In addition, I also love these stamps, but I'm not really sure what I'd do with them...
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) Stamp Set
Image courtesy of Children's Bookshop

What are your favorite Little Prince stationary items? Tell me below!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I walked into my room and sat at my desk, wondering what to do. I've been crafting a lot recently. I did some pebble art, painted a painting, and did some origami/kirigami (the last two haven't been shown here on my blog). I plan to feature the origami here soon.
So I decided to show y'all my drawing instead of an herd of elephants. I started off wanting to draw one, then the idea evolved into a lot elephants playing in a garden.
So here's a challenge for you: Next time you're bored, try to draw an animal in a really simple way. These elephants only have the necessary features. Most don't even have tusks because they look more like warthogs with them :D. See how you can make something complicated into something simple! It's very relaxing!
The legs of the elephant on the bottom got cut off a bit in the photo, but they're there in the drawing :).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine

I bought this book from a Scholastic Warehouse Sale, and I'm so glad I did. You may have noticed me talking about this book a lot on my blog, and I think it's time I finally write a review for it. So here it is! Enjoy!
Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine
Cover Courtesy of Amazon
Goodreads Synopsis: Nine-year-old Ling is very comfortable in her life; her parents are both dedicated surgeons in the best hospital in Wuhan. But when Comrade Li, one of Mao s political officers, moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors and, soon, for herself and family. Over the course of four years, Ling manages to grow and blossom, even as she suffers more horrors than many people face in a lifetime.

My Review: I was, at first, pretty unsure if I should check this book out or not. Luckily, the synopsis and cover drew me in, or else I would have missed out. This book on the Cultural Revolution is awesome. Imagine experiencing this type of war as a nine-year old! Ling is incredibly brave.
Other characters are admirable, too, like her kind father and Mrs.Wong. Ling's father manages to keep his family in control for quite a while. The tale of Mrs.Wong and her family are just tragic, but I don't want to give everything away here. The characters that are not so admirable are basically everyone else (besides Ling's mother, who doesn't have much rapport with her daughter at first, but still loves her). This story was mainly about betrayal, war, and enemies as seen from a child's view, so I suppose it has to be as sad as it is.
The setting, events, and plot were all captivating and detailed. One event after another happens to Ling that really shapes her character. This book was also quite funny at moments, which shows one that they can find happy times no matter how much darkness.
Overall, this book is a must-read, and I give it 4 stars. I hope to read more by Ying Chang Compestine in the future!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pebble Art

Pebble art, also known as stone/rock art, is an easy way to have some fun with one of nature's most common items: rocks. There are so many ways that you can use rocks in art. You can add them to a painting, paint right on them, or create a scene with them. Today I'll be featuring the last idea. Here's how I turned this:

Into this:

Here's a mother and daughter hugging on a bridge that leads to the ocean. In addition to the people themselves, the moon is also made from a pebble.
Items needed:
  • rocks, stones, and/or pebbles
  • paper
  • paint and paintbrushes (optional)

    Step one: Gather your stones/rocks/pebbles.
    Get many sizes, and the flatter the better! Paper and bumpy rocks do not stick well together.
    Step two: Plan out your scene and the rocks' layout.
    Trust me, the scene above would seem like an easy scene to plan out, except I toyed with the pebbles for nearly an hour before coming up with it. Then I spent more time thinking if I should use an arm for the daughter and if I should paint the moon, both VERY important details to me.
    Step three: Paint the stones and background if needed.
    I've seen so many pictures of stone art without any background colors, making them more powerful. I decided to go with color because I wanted to paint the moon white, and a white moon on white paper wouldn't look so nice.
    Step four: Glue down your pebbles.
    I needed to make sure the glue stayed on the rocks, because I didn't have hot glue. I just brushed a lot of it on the flat backsides of the rocks, and they stayed put (miraculously).

That's all you need to do! In four steps, you can create simple, yet beautiful, pieces of art! What types of pebble art have you done? Do you want to try out pebble art soon?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Krispy Kreme Donuts Review

Who doesn't like a light, fluffy donut to munch on? Krispy Kreme Donuts are my favorite! Today I'll be reviewing a few different kinds of donuts from there that have been sold in the past/are being sold now, just for fun :).
Image result for brownie batter donut krispy kreme
Product Detail

Image result for sea salt caramel donut krispy kreme
(It obviously didn't come with the chocolate and toffee, that's just in the picture)
(From top to bottom)

5 stars: The brownie batter donut (which isn’t being sold now) was up there with the glazed donut. I think it had actual brownie batter in it (which makes me wonder a bit if it was actually safe to eat, because you shouldn’t even eat raw flour, but I ate it anyways :). Which doesn't necessarily mean it's okay...). Just imagine taking a bite into a donut and delicious, chocolate-y batter flowing out. Yum!
3 stars: The cake batter donut disappointed me. Unlike the brownie batter one, it didn't even taste like there was batter inside. There was only cream that didn't even stand out taste-wise from the regular donuts. :(

4 stars: The sea salt caramel donut (now not being sold) was pretty good. It tasted sweet and salty, and the cream inside is flavored pretty well. I used to actually not like this donut, because it was so heavy and I didn’t usually take donuts with cream, but now I feel I enjoyed it.

4.5 stars:The original glazed donut is the awesome! It's so light and fluffy, and tastes super good when warm. It's also not overly sweet, and I can usually eat two of them (opposed to the other donuts that are pretty heavy).

Do you like donuts from Krispy Kreme? Which one is/was your favorite?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Good Author Does...

We all have our favorite book, the one that we can always read no matter when the occasion, the one that's written to match our styles. A good author writes these type of books and makes the reader attached to a work by doing many things. A good author...
1. Makes you feel.
Related image
A reader doesn't want to just read a story, they want to live it. Emotional attachment to books leave readers wishing for more.
2. Makes things interesting
Image result for gif about interesting

A story needs to have an actual plot, but the good stories have a plot that the readers care about, and a strong climax at that.
3. Doesn't overload information.
Image result for bored gif

No matter what genre, no one wants to read a novel with too many facts. There's a reason why fiction is called fiction- there should be some balance between story content and actuality. Even nonfiction has to have some creative balance.
4. Knows how to form a connection between the characters and readers.
The connection of a stories characters and readers is one of the most important parts of a good stories. If the reader doesn't feel such a strong pull to the ones in the story, they are less likely going to want to read it.
5. Expresses their passion.
Good authors want to write and don't drag scenes out and skimp out on details. You can usually tell which authors have a flair for writing from the heart.
6. Doesn't make you want to count how many pages are left in the story.
Image result for skipping to the end gif

If a reader is tempted to see how many pages they need to read to finish the story, then they probably aren't too interested in the content overall. The best authors don't even make you think about skipping to the end.
7. Doesn't necessarily need you to plan out how many pages you'll read per day.
Again, needing to plan ahead to read a book might mean the reader just doesn't want to finish and is forcing themself to.
8. Draws you in-and keeps you there.
It's not too hard to create a good prologue or opening line, but a good author keeps readers interested all the way.
9. Differentiates between characters.
A good author can help you tell the difference between one character and another and develops each individual's character, instead of all of the character's personalities blending in.
10. Makes the reader want more.
Image result for i want more gif
This is the easiest concept to judge a book by. If you want to read more from the author, they must be a like, right?

These ten things are usually always present in the best stories. What do you look for in a story? What do you think good authors do to make their stories the best? Also, what are some of your favorite books?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover...

People always say "don't judge a book by its cover". However, let's admit it, covers are a really important part of a customer's consideration when buying books. Skimming the shelves means that you won't read every single synopsis, but you will look at the title from the spine, and if interested, peek at the cover. Let me give an example of how a cover impacts a buyer's decisions. The following are Goodreads covers of the same book, Revolution Is Not A Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine. It's an AWESOME book about the Cultural Revoultion about China, and I definitely recommend it to any historical fiction fan. 

791602   6759451

Both of these covers are actually very beautiful. Each is attractive in its own way. Here are four categories that I've split basic cover factors into (color, etc.) that would persuade me into checking out the story. Let's see how this cover love plays out.

1. Color
Color is one of the most important things that draws me to a book. The bright red and black shine compared to the dullish cover of the paperback edition is far more attractive. However, the dull color does portray that the story is actually a sad, not joyous, one. In the end, I think I'd go with the hardback cover because I like bright covers.

2. Title and Text
Yes, they both have the same title, but in this category also comes the way the title is shown. The large, red, bold font in the paperback edition of the book stands out against the background, just like the white title stands out against the black for the hardcover one. However, I'll have to go with the paperback edition on this one, because the title and author are a bit crammed in the hardcover edition, and the green just doesn't really match the rest of the cover to me. 

3. The Central Image
Both of the girls are photographed to match the tone of the covers (a slight smile on the author for bright colors vs. a serious face on the cover's girl for diminished colors). I actually think the central image is not such a dominating factor in this case, just because each matches with the cover they're on. 

4. Layout
The layout of the hardback edition seems actually a bit unusual to me. Usually the title is on the top or in the middle, not the bottom of the book. The paperback layout is what I see more commonly, with a title on the side in front of the background. I like the layout of both books, but the hardback edition feels a bit empty at the top because there's no text near the image. I can say that the layout would not affect my decision in reading the synopsis though, because it's not super awkward on any of the covers.

So that's how I judge a book cover. Now, if the cover even interests me a little bit, let alone so much like this book, I usually look into it. I understand that even good covers have bad stories, and vice versa. That's why, don't judge a book by its cover, judge a book's cover by it's cover (if that makes sense)!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...