Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Thoughts on Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus

After some urging from my friend, I decided to try (finally) reading the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I ended up finishing the books in both of the series mentioned in the title within a month and a half, and now I have a lot to say!

First off, overall, I thought all of the books were great. They had snark, humor, and action that left me craving more after every book. The character development is awesome, and you can see the difference in Percy from The Lightning Thief to The Blood of Olympus. I've decided to split up the rest of my thoughts based on both series, just to keep ideas organized.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:

  • So the first book felt a little "meh" to me. I still wanted to read the rest of the books, and it certainly wasn't bad, but I didn't understand why everyone loved the series so much.
  • After reading the second book, the fandom started to make sense to me. It drew me in better, and kept me interested. I also remember feeling slightly annoyed at Grover for creating an empathy link with Percy. It seems cruel. If Grover went down, Percy would go down, too, and this doesn't seem like a situation a friend would put another in.
  • The last book was probably my favorite. I really loved the fighting, which surprised me. Even in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the fighting bored me. This time, I was wide awake, and rooting for the heroes! I will comment that I don't think Kronos used his powers enough, though. It's hard to believe that even someone manipulating time couldn't win a battle against Percy. I guess it just goes to show that being ultra powerful does not guarantee success.
  • As a whole series, it earns 4.5 stars!
Heroes of Olympus:
  • I was warned by many that The Lost Hero would be boring because Percy wouldn't be there, and I braced myself, but I found the book to be fine. In fact, I enjoyed it! Leo made every conversation hilarious, and it was nice to learn about new heroes. Although I really didn't like Jason (and still don't, #sorrynotsorry). He's pretty boring. Okay, so he lost his memory, but he never seemed to stand out to me. Everyone said he was a leader, he said he was under so much pressure, and he wanted to abandon Camp Jupiter for Camp Half-Blood. He never seemed to have any interesting thoughts, to be honest.
  • Son of Neptune: Ugh, why did Percy lose his memory. I was mad at this, because I feel like it's not a proper way to add suspense. At least with Jason, I wondered where he was from. With Percy, I already knew his whole past, and was more annoyed than excited to see what he'd remember.
  • Mark of Athena: Finally, everything is normal again. At least the two camps can meet up, even if "Leo" ruins that. I didn't really get Annabeth's quest, though. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but I don't recall any change in Athena mentioned when the statue was brought out. Oh, and the ending: I was stunned.
  • The House of Hades: I was afraid I'd only want to read Percy and Annabeth's chapters, but luckily, the rest of the POVs were interesting enough to keep me reading. This story captivated me at least as much as Mark of Athena did.
  • Finally, with the Blood of Olympus, I was not disappointed. There was a solid lead up to a great, though short, battle, and a satisfying conclusion!
  • I do have to wonder though: what did the heroes do in all of the books? Sure, they brought back a statue, battled some monsters, etc., but after each book, Gaea seemed closer to waking up, not farther. Maybe it's because heroes can't do that much damage to a sleeping Titan, but I feel like most of their work didn't make a huge difference in the end (besides closing the Doors of Death).
  • Also I'm surprised that Piper's charmspeak was pretty much her weapon. I'd expect more monsters to be able to do it or resist it, but many seemed to fall under Piper's spell. Might convenient for Piper :).
  • Overall, I may have liked this series better than the first, though both are close!
I tried reading The Hidden Oracle, but was honestly bored. The voice seemed too MG compared to the Heroes of Olympus, which I could qualify as lower YA. Plus, I'd grown too attached to the 8 demigods (and Nico and Reyna) from the last series to care about anyone else :P.

Anyways, what are your thoughts on the Percy Jackson books? Who's your favorite character (mine's Percy!)? Is reading Trials of Apollo worth it? Tell me below!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Song to Book Match

Hello everyone! I've had this idea in mind for a long time now, which is namely to do a post matching up some awesome songs with their bookish counterparts. Let's begin...

(Covers courtesy of Goodreads!)

1. "Scars To Your Beautiful" (Alessia Cara) with Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
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Both are about embracing your inner beauty and building your own confidence! Also, I can't resist mentioning any book about chocolate cookies. Yum...

2. "Wolves" (Selena Gomez, Marshmello) with Allegiant (Veronica Roth)

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Tris isn't racing to find a person, but to find the truth. She's been running through jungles and much more to finally understand why her world is the way it is.

3. "Solo" (Clean Bandit, Demi Lovato) with Roller Girl (Victoria Jamieson)
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Astrid is really on her own now, without her best friend. Now, she's got to go solo as she navigates her way through summer. (Bonus: this one's a graphic novel!)

4. "Try Everything" (Shakira) with Jacky Ha-Ha (James Patterson (author), Chris Grabenstein and Kerasco√ęt for illustrations)
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If at first you don't succeed (which happens a lot to Jacky in this book!), try, try again! I love Jacky's growth as a person and a speaker in this book! It's super fun and sweet, and you'll like it as much as Zootopia for sure!

5. "Cheap Thrills" (Sia) with Smart Girls Get What They Want (Sarah Strohmeyer)
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The three main protagonists in this novel don't need to go to lavish parties, etc. and are content as long as they're with one another. I love how they're willing to compromise on the fun for now and stick to their goal, because they'll be able to enjoy later in college!

So I hope you enjoyed this song-book match! Any suggestions for songs/books to match up? Tell me below!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bookish Schools I Neeeeed To Go To (Now!)

The Host: That Artsy Reader Girl
Have you wanted to explore fantasy worlds? Eat lunch with your favorite characters? Here are some bookish schools I'm dying to go to, and bet you are, too! All covers courtesy of Goodreads.
1. Hogwarts
Obviously. I think I'd be foolish denying this one.
PLEASE HAND ME MY WAND!
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2. The Gallagher Academy
The courses in this school fascinate me. I mean, if there is Culture and Assimilation and Covert Operations involved, count me in!
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3. Spy School
Pretty much for the same reasons above: anything spy related sounds super cool.
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4. The Magisterium
I'm not sure if I want to attend the school or just read the last book in this series. Maybe I'll read it, then decide, just to be safe ;).
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5. The Academy of Scholastic Distinction
The school sounds pretty fun, especially with kids of different gifts.
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6. Mr.Lemoncello's Library
Okay, so this isn't a school, but the library could probably teach me everything I need to know (and everything I DON'T need to know). From holograms of famous people to dinosaurs, this library has everything!
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7. The School for Good and Evil
What an interesting take on good and evil. Using two characteristics to define heroes and villains is pretty cool.
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So where do you want to secretly head off to in the fall? Which bookish schools are your favorite? Tell me below!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Getting My Bird Out of Its Cage (1st time!)

The most amazing evening ever just happened.

It was more amazing than a concert. It was more amazing than meeting...well, someone famous.

And I was freaked. Out.

So here's the full story to what happened when I decided to take Pringle (the yellow bird from my Bird FAQ post) out of its cage for the first time! If you own a bird, I hope you enjoy and learn from my experience!

5:30 PM- I started prepping the room for my bird, taking out metal items (in case of zinc poisoning), shoes, plants (again, poisoning), a vase, and other dangerous items. I spread a bed sheet on the ground (in case he needed to use the bathroom), and moved corner objects to the very corner so he couldn't get stuck. I also pushed the sofas back, and covered the window part of the door with paper.
6:00 PM- Yum, linner! I recommend not skipping this step, no matter how silly it seems, because for the next hour, you won't be eating soon and you will need your energy.
7:00 PM- I called my family into the room for backup, and covered up most of the door with a bed sheet. That was pretty much our only source of light besides the window, which was covered up. (This is really important!) I tried to get Pringle to step up on my hand, but he looked really tired in the dark room. All of our lamps were too dangerous to put around him, so I decided to open up the curtain for the time being, like I always did when I tamed him. This woke him up, and he started eating millet (a treat) from my hand. He stepped up a few times, and we closed the curtains one by one.
7:40 PM- I brought him out of its cage. It was a magical moment! He stared up at me as he came out into the world!
Then he flew up in the air, and I panicked slightly. So did Lola, my bird still in the cage. I prayed that he wouldn't crash into the wall, because I've heard it happens!
Remember how I said the door was mostly covered? Well, he noticed the tiny sliver of light peeking out, and decided to go sit on the bed sheet covering it. We all breathed a sigh of relief that he had stopped flying and was completely okay! He stared out for quite a bit.
Then he got ready to fly again! He flew around for about 10 seconds (this feels like a minute!), and I covered my eyes. I prayed he'd land somewhere!
He ended up in the corner the farthest away from us. I was totally okay with that, as long as he was fine. I pushed some treats toward him, but he didn't try them. He walked around slowly, not really doing much.
His next move was to fly up, up, up! I expected him to land on the curtain rod, but he ended up on the curtain itself! He was holding on to that tiny sliver of fabric, and started pecking it.
That's when I realized I should have completely covered the windows, not just by closing them with curtains. He stayed upside down, and I tried to distract him by calling his name, but it was to no avail.
He was getting restless. I bet the curtain wasn't very comfortable. He got ready to fly, and I really closed my eyes this time, worried he'd fly into the window!
I heard his wings flap and a thump.
"What happened?"
"I think he bumped into something. Did he get hurt?" said my mom. My heart was beating fast. If anything had happened to him...
"Where is he?" asked my dad, crawling toward the curtain. He lifted it up, and I saw the shadow of wings flapping.
He was sitting on the windowsill! This would have been really, really cute if I wasn't so scared. I approached him slowly, over a span of time, trying to give him treats. He stared outside at the whole world (this window let him see our front yard and neighborhood), but it was getting late. I had to get him back in his cage.
The problem was, the cage was in the middle of the room, with Lola inside. I was worried that if I moved it, he'd get panicked, and Pringle would get panicked, too. Unfortunately, moving the cage closer seemed to be the only option, since Pringle was barely eating and did not step up onto my hand. So I moved the cage on the floor. Later, by my sister's suggestion, I moved it onto a stool so it would be on the same level as my bird. Luckily, Lola didn't panic at all. He's super awesome!
The birds talked for about three seconds. Pringle just stared out the window in fascination at the cars and lights. This whole time, I brought the millet closer, and pushed up on his belly to get him to step up. Nothing I did worked! He didn't want to get on my finger. He even started flying, but landed on the same spot again. I pushed higher and higher and higher, but he didn't want to get up!
He yawned. He was definitely sleepy. Hey, he was relaxing before I even took him out! I didn't know what to do. We had to get him in, but how? We were already calm, and trying our best.
"Let's get the net. It's the only option."
"Ten more minutes," I promised. I kept putting it off.
"Five more minutes."
"Okay." Pause. "You can go get the net."
My mom quickly left and came back. I begged for them not to use the net, trying to get Pringle up more and more.
"Come on. I believe in you. You're such a strong bird." I coaxed.
Whatever it was, he wasn't moving. He just looked straight at me (or out the window, I get confused since birds have eyes on opposite sides of their faces). Maybe he did want to get home, but he didn't know how.
"Two more minutes, please! I'll get him in now!" I moved the cage closer, but didn't want to scare Pringle. I even tried to feed Lola so Pringle might want to, but Lola didn't bite! Finally, my mom suggested the most brilliant thing.
"Move your hand around in the cage and make noises like he does. He probably can't even see his cage properly. Remind him of his home."
I ran my finger through his food, and then tapped on his bell toy.
That's finally what did it. Pringle remembered his home! He paused for a moment, then jumped a little lower. I opened the cage door, and he bent forward, ready to fly in...
So I offered my finger, he stepped up, I brought him in, and closed the door!
Finally!!!!
My birds flew around, panicked a little, but after a few seconds settled in. Phew! I felt so, so, so relieved that Pringle was safe. A huge weight had been lifted off my chest!
I thought it had been three hours, but it was only 8:34 PM!
Wow.

TL;DR...getting Pringle out was easy, but getting him back in was very difficult. I ended up accomplishing it without catching him with the net, which I'm super happy about.

Here's what I learned:

  • Take your bird out at the right time. Pringle usually gets tamed in the morning or around 4:00 PM. I let him out at 7:00, when that maybe wasn't the best idea. His behavior might have been different. As a pro, he did get tired, but try to stick to the right time of day when taking out your birds. Try not to force him (like I had to wake him up).
  • Get everything you need. We were lucky Pringle didn't fly out when my mom opened the door to get the net. Be sure not to forget anything!
  • Add many perches to the walls and around the room. Again, we were lucky the bedsheets and curtains were enough for Pringle, but I'm definitely adding more perches all around the walls so he has no difficulty landing. If you have a bigger bird, make sure to do this. I'm not sure how much control they have when landing on such thin surfaces.
  • Make sure your bird is 3000% comfortable with you. Pet them. Stroke them. Push them. Touch them. They have to be able to interact with you easily. They cannot be scared of you at all.
  • Try your best not to panic. When Pringle flew, I was always scared. It was fine when he sat down, but I was always worried he'd fly somewhere and wouldn't be able to land. Don't freak out. It won't help. You'll scare your bird if they realize you're scared.
  • No yelling. Talk softly at all costs so your bird isn't scared.
  • Be patient, and don't give up. We could have caught Pringle and forced him in, but we took our time. This is really important. You want to keep your bird's trust, so give him time if he needs it. This isn't something you can do in a minute, so dedicate some time for your bird.
  • Thank your supporters. Thanks, family, for helping me stay on track and not getting too frightened ;).
Thanks for reading this very long post! If you have birds, tell me about your experiences. How was it? What tips do you have? For owners of other pets, do you have some landmark events you'd like to tell us about? Spill in the comments!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson


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Cover courtesy of Goodreads

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
What's better than cool powers, the gold rush, and historical fantasy?!


Goodreads Synopsis:
Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.


My Review: This is a book I meant to read for a while. I mean, being able to sense gold during the Gold Rush?! Lee must have an awesome time...right?
Well, not exactly. She faces lots of problems along the way...maybe a little too many? I feel like the author tried to fit in too much, causing the story to get a little boring in the middle. It got more interesting at the end as the story wrapped up, at least, but I didn't realize that the book was only about the journey there. They never do any actual gold rushing in this story (it's probably a focus of the next book).
The characters were interesting and very unique. They seemed like real people you'd find travelling to California together. I like the development some go through, especially one of the adult mothers. She becomes more trusting, and really changes her negative attitude.
One last thing I will say about the plot is that running away from Uncle Hiram is a big part of the story, but *spoiler* he doesn't really make an appearance until the end. This didn't make much sense to me. If you're going to spend the whole book bracing for someone to find you, at least don't make that scene over in a few pages *end of spoiler*.
Overall, the plot and characters were interesting, so I give this book 3.5 stars. I do want to see what happens with Lee next!


Monday, August 13, 2018

FAQ: Getting Flying Friends

The question has long been debated: what's the best pet to have? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I think one of the best kinds of pets to have are birds. I have two of them and am here to answer all of your questions about what taking care of them is like.

Enjoy!

Why did you choose birds?
I went a little bird-crazy when I was 10. I used to draw peacocks and tons of others from a drawing guide, and loved how beautiful and majestic they were. Plus, birds are really low-maintenance. They only make a mess in their cage, which itself is small. Their food, toys, and supplies aren't as expensive as other pets' items can be.

How did you get your birds?
We walked into the pet store one day and came back with... a fish.
Seriously.

The next day, we went back and brought a beautiful, light-blue bellied budgie (otherwise known as a parakeet). A few months later, my dad brought another one home as a surprise to keep it company.

Our first budgie passed away a few months ago, so we bought a yellow and gray budgie so my second budgie wouldn't feel alone. I'm in the process of hand-taming it (wish me luck!).
Also, we ended up loving the fish :).

What do you have to do to take care of them?
Once or twice a week, you should clean out their cage (which takes around 20 minutes max.). You should also spend some time with them (at least 15-20 minutes per day) just unwinding and having fun. Feed them and change their water out daily as well (5-6 minutes). I also like to play them some music when no one else is around. They seem to love classical music (looking at you, Mozart!).
So as you can see, it only takes around half an hour to take care of birds everyday!

But birds just sit there!
This is an actual complaint I've received, which is very not true! If you tame your birds, they can come out of their cage to play. Even if you don't, you'll notice that they have their own cute personalities and won't seem boring at all! If you keep an open mind, you'll both develop a great relationship.

Are they really that soft?
They're little fluff balls covered in feathers. So of course they're that soft!

I'm really bird crazy, and hope to infect you, too. If you're looking for a low-maintenance, cuddly friend to stay by your side, maybe birds are the right fit! If not, buy one for me and mail it. I'll take it!
Do you have any pets? Are you as crazy about them as I am? Tell me all about them!
My two birds. From left to right: Pringle (the baby) and Lola.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What is Summer?

 If your blogger friend had to describe her summer in terms of food, books, and movies, what would she do? Maybe stop referring to herself in third person, but also post her choices!

So here you have the answer to your question (which I'm sure you were deeply wondering about): what is summer?

Books:
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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads
How could I forget such a fresh, sweet book? Well I couldn't, okay :).

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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads

This is also a fun summer novel to read (but check out the first book first).
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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads




Food and Drinks:
I'm sure the standard response is ice cream, but I'm not really a fan, myself. During the summer, I like to enjoy fruit salad (my sister and I had fun making some last week), mangos, and blueberries. Summer also means strawberry shakes, berry smoothies, and plenty of water! Obviously, I am a fruity person :).

Movies:
Honestly, I detest watching movies at the theater, and most movies in general. However, at home, sometimes even I can't resist settling in for a nice film. I watched Mulan with my family, and something like Moana can give you that summery feel. Overall, I think Disney is a great choice! Also, summer is the time for comedies and short films; something without much stress and tension. After all, you don't want to clean up that bowl of popcorn that fell when you screamed during a horror movie...
So what is summer to you? What do you typically read, eat, drink, and watch? Tell me below!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Guide to Polymer Clay Fun!

Summer has just begun, and with hours and days of free time, why not try something new? After all, summer is about having fun while accomplishing what you can’t during the school year. An exciting art form you can learn this summer is sculpting with polymer clay.

Three years ago, I began using this type of clay to make many charms, from cupcakes to pigs to ice cream. Now you can do so, too!

The first thing to do before you start is to invest in a solid brand of clay. I use Sculpey 3 because of its convenience. It has the perfect texture, doesn’t dry out, and bakes relatively quickly. I have also tried Sculpey Premo, but this brand isn’t as easy to mold, and it crumbles quickly. However, for experienced users who want the greater variety of colors, this may be perfect. There are many other brands available, so you can experiment and have fun with them!

For tools, I’d suggest not to get anything too fancy. A simple plastic knife and clay roller are likely good enough. These may actually come with the clay that you purchase (I know they do with some of the Sculpey 3 sets), which makes life a lot easier! If not, just purchase a few of your favorites.

As you decide what to make, watch tutorials to learn different techniques of molding clay, cutting it, mixing colors, etc. It’s great to learn a few tips and tricks to make your designs look professional. Another person’s perspective can really change your perception of a design, too! For example, I’d seen many photos of complicated clay dragons and was wary of making my own. However, after watching tutorials, I realized I needed to take things step by step and had the courage to create one.

I also like to take inspiration off of photos from the internet and change them up a little. In fact, it’s very fun to do so-as long as you don’t get carried away at looking at the pretty pictures for hours (what, no, I didn’t do that before... ;) ).

You can start off with something simple, like these skates.

One tip I’d like to share is to pay attention to detail. If you’re sculpting with polymer clay, you’re likely working on a small scale. Try to work through each portion of your design carefully, and take your time. Polymer clay requires much patience, but is very rewarding! Also, a lot of the time my creations change as I sculpt, so don't worry about sticking to one perfect idea you have in mind. It's cool to see what you come up with as you go!

Finally, don’t feel bad if your designs don’t turn out perfect. Mine never turn out exactly how I want, and that’s just part of the process! Pay attention to what you can improve on, practice new techniques to get better. Over time, you will (I promise).

Have fun trying out polymer clay, and tell me how it goes in the comments below! For more of my creations, you can look in the arts and crafts section.

Congratulations, you’re all ready to get working with polymer clay! What will you create this summer?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book Review: Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm


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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads

Book Review: Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Goodreads Synopsis: Summer's over and it's time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she's doing, she always tells him she's fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time. Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who's been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he's changed. Luckily Sunny's got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she's going to remain Sunny-side up!


My Review: I read Sunny Side Up, the first book in the duology, years ago and have been re-reading it from time to time. It was pretty powerful and heartbreaking, especially for a middle grade novel. I wish I could say the same about the sequel.
Swing It, Sunny lacks a story line. Throughout the whole book, Sunny just worries about Dale. Her middle school life is not emphasized at all, and she doesn't go through any major character development. Even Dale himself does not seem to change until the very end. Many issues are also left unresolved, such as why Dale doesn't come home for Easter Break (I believe this wasn't mentioned, at least. My bad if it is). Basically, Sunny learns that Dale needs help (which she learned by the end of the first book), and she pines for him and deals with sad memories in this story. That's it.
I did love the cute illustrations and simple phrases, but overall, this book fell short of my expectations. I give it three stars. It just wasn't exceptional. I hope there will be another book to join this one, though, and will definitely try to check it out!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: To Read or Not to Read?

From That Artsy Reader Girl
Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme in which I talk about 10-ish books related to a central topic. This week's topic is supposed to be about books I read but didn't finish, but that doesn't really happen frequently. So instead, I'll be discussing books that I judged too early ;). All covers courtesy of Goodreads.

1. One Crazy Summer
I didn't recognize how powerful this book was! I came back to it a year later, and thank goodness for that! This sweet, summery book will definitely leave you wishing for more...

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2. Walk Two Moons
I also underestimated this one! I came back to it and loved it very much (it also made me cry).

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3. Old Yeller
I took one look at this book and shoved it in my closet. It looked by a boring classic, but boy, was I wrong! After I watched the movie at a camp, I just had to read it, and it was awesome (and, like the one above, was very sad)!

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4. Full Cicada Moon
This was a cover I was intrigued by, but didn't really try out until I had to. This is a super sweet and cool book as well, and I highly recommend it!

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5. Ungifted
I actually planned to read this book, but never got the chance.
Okay, that's a lie. This may even have been one of the books that I brought home from the library and "ran out of time" to read. The next time I checked it out, I read it :).

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6. Finally
I'd seen this in the library many times but never bothered checking it out. I think it's good that I finally read it, but it also wasn't one of my favorites.

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7. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
I'd seen all seven of the Gallagher Girls books before but never really felt like reading them. Fast forward years later and I can't imagine not having read them :). They're cute, funny, and sweet. How can I resist spy adventures?

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So these are seven books that I could have read earlier and enjoyed instead of judging them early on. You'll notice that these are mostly middle grade to lower YA, because after discovering so many great books, I tried to be more open and finish the books I started. Now, when I read YA, I usually stick to a book until it's done (unless it's totally horrible or boring).
So what are some books that you judged too quickly? Tell me below!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Photoshoot!

I used to think that I was a really good photographer. I could take pictures of anybody and make them look great.
Then I realized that it was all in my head, and my photos all turned out worse than I imagined. I had no sense of lighting, no good pose ideas, etc. This was heartbreaking, because I really enjoyed photography! So I've decided to try to get better and use books to practice. I'm using what I know to give y'all some tips.

May the camera be with you. (I recently watched Star Wars.)

  • Tip one: Think creatively, and take inspiration off what you like! Try out new ways to place your books and arrange them. Look online and on Instagram for ideas from other great photographers. I saw how people use many of their books as backgrounds each shot while focusing on one. This inspired me to take the photo below:
  • Tip two: Experiment with brightness, shadows, highlights, the works! Even the picture above was played with. Adding cool effects can make an average-looking photo awesome! I simply use basic effects from my phone. If you'd like to be more advanced, Photoshop is supposed to be great, but even I don't need it right now.
I used a transfer effect to modify the photo from above. Though both images are nice, this one looks a bit "vintage" in a way.

I love the polaroid look I got to capture with one effect! This is definitely one of my proudest photos...

Again, changing up the pose changes the scene a bit for variety.


  • Tip three: use props from everywhere you can get! Dissecting the photos below, I simply used a copy of American Panda, my pea pod stuffies, a few polymer clay items, some ribbon, and for the background, a napkin (seriously!). Work with what you've got, and you can create great pictures!

                                             
I know I've sure learned a bit in the past few months about photography, and I hope you learned a bit from today's post! Work on finding your own style. I like to use a photo in the center and display some items around it (even though most of the items do not really relate to the story and are simply aesthetically pleasing). What do you like to do? Any photography tips? Tell me in the comments below!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Magisterium Cover Reveal+Predictions

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Cover Courtesy of Goodreads

Somewhat of a short post today. The Magisterium book 5's cover has been released! It's so gorgeous!
I cannot wait for the rest of the books! In honor of this event, here are my predictions for the final book:

SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT. VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK.

1. Call will not die. I think that Call will come very close to dying but survive at the end.
2. Aaron will be Call's guiding force. It was already revealed that *spoiler* Aaron was left as a voice in Call's head. Slightly strange, but I digress. *end spoiler*
3. Havoc and Alastair will die. I think both of Call's family members will perish because he himself will live. What's the point of being an author if you can't kill off characters?
4. Tamara will come close to dying.
5. Master Rufus will die. The mentor figure usually dies in fantasy novels (refer to Albus Dumbledore).
6. Good will triumph. I would not be satisfied otherwise.
What do you think will happen in the story? What do you think of the cover? Tell me in the comments below!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Happiness in Terms of...Trigonometry?

Yes, you read that title right! I've been doing various happiness molecules post (if you're new, here is one of my first posts about the topic), tying in emotions with science. With this post, I'll be paying homage to mathematics by introducing angles of depression. You don't really need to know much trigonometry, but it might be helpful if you do, not going to lie.

Okay, so angle of depression is shown in the picture below, of the man looking down at the object that is not mysteriously floating (the real question should be, why is he ignoring the floating box?)
Image result for angle of depression
Credit
I'm not sure why the clipart still holds its background and doesn't blend in...but oh well.
You can learn all types of trig online, but I bet you didn't know that the angle of depression can also measure how happy you are! It's true! Basically, the greater the angle of depression, the more depressed you are. The "object" is really the world. A large angle of depression means you see the world as a place to be depressed. When you get happier and happier, the world in your eyes seems to move higher and higher, until your angle of depression turns into an angle of elevation.

Typically, the angle of depression is measured in a 90 degree interval in the 4th quadrant of a graph (picture the man as the origin, or the center of the graph, and his line of view as the x-axis). To follow a trig and avoid confusion, the angle ranges from 0 degrees (right at the x-axis, where you're indifferent and only feel that way once a day, right when you wake up) to -90 degrees (when x=0, right on the y-axis, which most do not feel unless they are clinically depressed).

Why is this useful, you ask? Well, it has many uses:
  • It can help diagnose patients with depression. Anyone who has an angle of depression below -75 degrees is moving towards being clinically depressed. The average human only has an angle of depression until -45 degrees to their angle of elevations.
  • It is a fun topic to blog about. That one's a bit self-explanatory.
Okay, now before I head off, let's do one example!

Rebecca has had a rough Monday. She woke up feeling excited to present her project that day in her science class, with her angle of elevation being 45 degrees. Then, she realized that she had run out of toothpaste and cereal, and was late to school while searching for replacements. She became sad by 30 degrees. Then, she realized she forgot to bring her flash drive to class, and was even sadder by 45 degrees when she couldn't present the project that took her 6 hours to work on! Her friends did give her milk tea to cheer her up, which caused her to be happy by 6.5 degrees. What is her angle of depression by the end of the day?
We can calculate the angle to be 45-30-45+6.5= -23.5 degrees. She is pretty sad. Perhaps more boba tea would cheer her up. And toothpaste.

Anyways, I hope you're not depressed after reading this post! In fact, your angle of elevation should have gone up, right? ;)

Thanks for reading! I'll be back with more posts soon!

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