Friday, September 22, 2017

What Makes Me Smile

I have been told I am somewhat of an optimist.

My friend says I'm always happy all the time, which is sort of true. Well, no one's really happy all the time, but I try to always stay positive and see the bright side of things. It's way better to be an optimist than a pessimist, something I'm trying to convince my other friend of, but she isn't having it. We're kind of in the middle of a challenge; I'm trying to turn her into an optimist (not working. HELP.) and she's trying to turn me into a pessimist (If she's reading this, tell her my mind will not be contaminated). So far, I have no idea whatsoever who's winning but it's probably not me.

My friend is very insistent. It's one of the best qualities about her, though :).

Anyways, today I'm making a list of what makes me smile. Simple things, complicated things, but mostly simple things. I've never really thought too much about this before, so this list is on a whim. Get ready to discover slightly strange things that make me happy.

Put on your smiley face. Not that squiggle, the other one.

1. First off, I have to say I like clear things. I'm not sure why, but I love anything translucent, like clear tape (It's so pretty!) and clear glue in the bottle. I especially love double-sided tape, because it's honestly so cool. I know you all totally agree with me, so here's something else I know you'll like:

Raindrop cakes.
Cue the spotlight. Play the dramatic music. These are real! Now go Google them if you value YOUR LOVE OF ALL CLEAR THINGS!!!!
I'm serious by the way. I will wait here while you quickly look them up.

Is your mind blown yet? Aren't they amazing? I was just like you when I heard of them. I need agar agar now. And a five star chef to cook the cake for me because I will probably end up burning it in the refrigerator. Seriously, though, if you ever get the chance to eat these beautiful desserts then tell me all about them.

2. Besides clear things, I like squishy things. Not really stress balls, but slime and eraser putty and polymer clay. Although that last one takes a toll on my fingers because polymer clay may take a while to soften.

3. I also like pretty writing and fonts. My goal over the summer was actually to learn calligraphy, but that didn't really work out. (Another summer goal was to schedule five bazillion blog posts, but we all know how that turned out).

4. Cartoons are another one of my favorites. Cute, simple people lead cute, simple lives and manage to go to bed at 8:00 PM. Then there's real life with no bedtime and work.

5. Boba. Squishy, yummy boba. I crave these tapioca pearls.

Those are some things that make me happy, simply stated. What makes you happy? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Oh, and what do you think of the new look of this blog? I think it suits my style better. Tell me below!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How I Keep Track of Books

This post covers how I keep track of all of my bookish data.
You know, to-reads, what I read this year, Goodreads challenges, etc. etc. How am I so awesome that I can keep track of all of these books by myself?
Well, what I can say is that I don't really use Goodreads for this. Goodreads is really nice and everything, but I always feel too lazy to keep uploading the books I've read. Plus, I can never remember to do so, and it gets hard to remember books I've read last week, let alone ones from last month. I really mainly use Goodreads to look for to-reads, which I then transfer over to the place where I actually track everything.

The secret is literally inside here.

Yes, I trust Mickey Mouse to keep all my secrets. Don't judge me.

I know you're probably like, "You're too lazy to click a button on Goodreads, but you have time to track every single title of books you read and want to read in your journal????"
To which I say, "Duh."
It makes complete sense to me, because I like to write down stuff. I know Goodreads works for most people, and I really like it, but it's just not convenient for me right now. If you like it, go ahead and keep using it! I'm just posting about what I like to do.
This journal is basically a bullet journal for reading. If you don't know what that is, I suggest you Google it, because they're pretty cool.

So here's what I have in my reading journal:

I also have some stuff for writing in there, but it's mainly for reading. I try to update my journal as often as possible so that I don't have to sit down for an hour to do so.

How do you keep track of books you've read? Books you want to read? Do you use Goodreads? Tell me all about it below!

Oh yes, and disclaimers: I'm going to be really, really busy this week, so I apologize in advance for not posting consistently! I hope to be back in schedule by next week, but there might be a gap of posts after this one! It just depends on how much I have to do.
Also, I am experimenting with my fonts right now to try to find the best one. You've probably noticed this irregularity, and I'm hoping to narrow the best one down soon.
Lastly, I have a surprise for the next book review! It will make them look a bit prettier, I hope :).

Monday, September 11, 2017

What Classifies a Classic?

So we've all heard of the classics.
Either you think you'll be like this if you read one...
 science favorite child childhood medicine GIF
Yes, this is Anne from Anne of Green Gables.
...Or you're willing to give them a try. No matter what you think, I think most classics have some requirements for them to qualify in that category. What's similar between Little Women and Matilda? Let me tell you...

Alright, so the first common characteristic most classics share is that they're...well... a bit old. Some are over a hundred years old (think Anne of Green Gables) and some are relatively newer (I consider Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a classic, and it was published in the 1960s). I know that the "age" of the book really doesn't matter content-wise, but to be considered a classic, a book should be read by more than just one generation. That's what a classic is! It's still read by people of the modern world, so it can't really be written in the modern times and be declared a classic right away.

The second things I think most classics share is that the characters lead a simplistic-ish life (let's not get into some of Roald Dahl's books right now). Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy from Little Women have lots of problems, yes, but they aren't global troubles. Their largest concern is mainly of their father in the army, but the rest of the time, Amy goes to school, Meg governs children for a while, etc. etc., all while going on picnics with Laurie.

What a nice life.

I don't mean to say that their lives were easy, because I'm sure they weren't. Everyone has their own struggles. My point is just that they didn't worry about their followers on social media or about global warming, because those problems didn't really exist back then.

Another major thing I've noticed about the classics is that sometimes they have a lot of animal involvement (like in Charlotte's Web, which I haven't read yet, but I've heard about it a lot). Old Yeller is also almost completely based around Yeller, the family's dog. Who knows, maybe A Dog's Purpose will become somewhat of a classic later on.

What do you think defines/are qualities of a classic? Do you like reading them? Which one is your favorite? Tell me below!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review: Lemons by Melissa Savage

Lemons by Melissa Savage
Cover Courtesy of Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis:What do you do when you lose everything that means anything?
Nine-year old Lemonade Liberty Witt doesn’t know the answer to that question, except what her mom taught her. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if those lemons are so big that you forget how?
How do you make lemonade out of having to leave everything you know in San Francisco to move to the small town of Willow Creek, California and live with a grandfather you’ve never even met? In a town that smells like grass and mud and bugs. With tall pines instead of skyscrapers and dirt instead of sidewalks. Not to mention one woolly beast lurking in the woods.
That’s right, Bigfoot.
A ginormous wooden statue of the ugly thing stands right at the center of town like he’s someone real important, like the mayor or something. And the people here actually believe he’s real and hiding somewhere out in the pine filled forests.
How can anyone possibly be expected to make lemonade out those rotten lemons?
Everything is different and Lem just wants to go back home. And then she meets Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. and sole investigator for the town. He invites her to be his Assistant for the summer and she reluctantly agrees. At least until she can figure out her escape plan.
Together, Lem and Tobin try to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film and end up finding more than they ever could have even imagined.

My Review: Lemons is such a sweet book! Just look at the pretty cover!
Basically, Lem has just lost her mother (a fact that was mentioned early on in the novel, so don't worry, I haven't spoiled the book for you) and has to go live with her grandfather now. It's a very sad beginning for someone so young, and Lem's sadness is very realistically portrayed. She constantly feels reminders that her mother is gone, even when she tries to be happy and adjust to a new life.
For the characters, Toby is the awkward one that gets picked on for years. I love how much his friendship with Lem helps him, although it was a bit fast for me. It's as if he changes half of his personality in two scenes. Anyways, their friendship isn't perfect, but I like that. Toby really goes through a lot of character development because of it, and so does Lem.
The Bigfoot mysteries are also explained in a lot of detail, but I won't spoil the ending. The author really takes her time to write these parts out and make them believable. I loved reading about Bigfoot Detectives, Inc., and the perfect amount of evidence of the target is given to lure in the reader but also make it believable.
I love watching Lem actually make the most of her life, and this book is really about just that. Through making new friends, trying something new, and adjusting to a new home, she works at turning lemons into lemonade. I give it 4.5 stars and really recommend it! I haven't read a middle grade like this in a long time!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Goodreads 100-ish Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime

I like participating in reading challenges and get a bit out of my comfort zone when reading, so there are two challenges I'm primarily doing. One is Goodread's annual reading challenge, where you set a goal of reading a certain number of books for the year. I set my goal to fifty books, but I'm already at 67, so I'll try to get to 100 by the end of the year. Another is not an official challenge, but I'm treating it as one. I'm trying to read as many books from the Goodreads 100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime list (once I'm done, I'll do the YA one, etc.). I'm keeping track in a notebook, but I did omit 23 titles at the end if they were just picture books that I read already. I think there were only a few picture books I omitted because I wasn't interested, if any. So here are the books I've read for that challenge:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Where the Wild Things Are
The Cat in the Hat
The Secret Garden
The Giver
The Giving Tree
To Kill a Mockingbird*
Anne of Green Gables
Little House in the Big Woods
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The House at Pooh Corner
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Amelia Bedilia
Number the Stars
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
*I'm not sure if this one should be on the Children's List, perhaps the Young Adult list would be better for it.

So basically, I've completed 21/67 books, or 31.3% of my goal.
Image result for shoulder brush gif

By the end of the year, I hope to have read:
Charlotte's Web
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A Wrinkle in Time
The Lightning Thief
Ella Enchanted
The Bad Beginning

I know, I know. I can't believe I haven't read Charlotte's Web either! Or about a bunch of others I really should have read...
Image result for embarrassed gif
Hopefully, I'll make some progress by the end of the year on this list. Do you do any reading challenges? Would you like to do a reading challenge? Tell me below!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Book Review: Mr.Lemoncello's Library Olympics

Make sure to read the first book in the series before reading this one! Also, there are minor spoilers in this review, but nothing major in my opinion. You can probably still read it before reading the book.

Mr.Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
Cover Courtesy of Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis: Welcome, boys and girls, readers of all ages, to the first-ever Library Olympiad! Kyle and his teammates are back, and the world-famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is at it again!
This time Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever LIBRARY OLYMPICS. Will it be fun? Like the commercials say. . . HELLO? It’s a Lemoncello! But something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to CENSOR what the kids are reading?! In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Now it’s not just a game—can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries?

My Review: It was pretty nice to get back to Kyle and his friends, because I read the first book three years ago and have been meaning to get back to the series since then.
Anyways, the library where everything was held was awesome as usual, but lots of the amazing-ness was gone because nearly everything cool about it was revealed in the first book. That's not really a bad thing, because I could focus more on the story instead of getting distracted by it.
The puzzles were pretty clever for Olympics, again, but were not really what I'd expect in Library Olympics. Airplanes? Dinosaurs? I shall not reveal more.
The story felt a bit rushed as well. I'd have liked to go through each round carefully, instead of cramming in ten events. In my opinion, the ending was a bit bizarre, too. It just really wasn't believable (it revolved around really strong hatreds of something), dragged on for a bit, and I'm not really a fan of "let's all work together now to defeat the enemy, even though we were sworn enemies in the first place" thing. It was a bit cliché, and if I remember, also somewhat present in the first book.
Now, speaking of characters, what was up with Haley? Why did she leave in the first place? And why was there no sadness for her? I mean, she just left! Also, Mr.Lemoncello was over-exaggerated to me in this book. His run-ons were too frequent to be funny.
However, the story wasn't bad, not at all! It was still fun to read, and it was one of those books where you don't realize how much you've read until you look at the page number because you forgot your bookmark. Again.
I give this story 3.5 stars. I loved the first book, and this second one was almost there, too. It just had some issues (I've noticed I'm a lot better at pointing out the issues instead of the good parts, but trust me, this story was nice). Check out the first book before reading this one, like I said above, of course!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...