Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap!

I missed out on all of the Secret Santa book swaps over the holidays so I was super excited when I saw Chiara’s post on Books For a Delicate Eternity about a Book Blogger Book Swap hosted by the Chaotic Goddess. So I hurried on over and signed up!

 

For the swap you’ll be paired up with another blogger and you’ll purchase them:

1. A book you have read and loved.

2. A book you have not read yet but looks awesome.

3. A book from your partner’s wish list.

And then you’ll get a package in return with your partner’s picks for you! A chance to get to new reads and connect with other bloggers in a new way…Count me in! Head on over to the Chaotic Goddess to get signed up.

Harry Potter Party! Library Program

I was a bit skeptical about this as Harry Potter was big in my day, so would it still create excitement now with youth? Apparently so…

IMG_0335 For this event we got sorted into our Houses, created our very own golden Snitch, Transformed into owls, went to Potion’s class, made a witchy treat, and had couple of props for photo ops. And we all had a blast.  And most surprising to me was that the boys outnumbered the girls…which NEVER happens!

For the sorting I found a great printout for (what I considered badges) at My Cotton Creations and after cutting them out just stuck them in a witch’s hat and had the kids pull out their House for the night.  They were excited they got to wear the badges and it made everyone feel involved because EVERYONE wanted to know who was in their House.

After we were sorted and settled we began our Snitch making (See example in above picture). For this project all that was needed were:

  • Small Styrofoam Balls
  • Gold Glitter
  • Gold Glitter Glue
  • Long White Feathers
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brushes

(Covering all tables to be used for the event with old newspaper is major clean-up time-saver too! And if you can get some volunteers to do it…Even better)

So first we poked holes in two opposite ends of our Styrofoam balls where our feathers would eventually go and then coated the whole thing in some Mod Podge.  Then things got a little (well more than a little..) messy and we covered our Snitches in gold glitter.  After that we put a squirt of gold glitter glue in our previously made holes, and stuck in our feathers.  And there you have it…magnificent Snitches!

We left our Snitches to dry for a bit and moved on to Transformation class!  For our transformations into owls we decorated some eye masks.  For this project the following materials are what I used, however, the possibilities are endless:

  • A few packages of Eye Masks (they are 5 for a $1 at the Dollar Store)
  • Colorful Feathers (again tons of options at the Dollar Store)
  • Sequins
  • Puff Balls
  • Glue/Glue Dots

This one’s pretty self explanatory…just let the kid’s creativity go crazy and they will come up with a great “owl” mask.

After our Transformation we headed over to Potions. The following items are needed for this interactive experiment (Also, it’s nontoxic if anyone happens to get the urge to try the potions…which WILL happen):KOOL-AID POWDERED - SOFT DRINK MIX - LEMONADE UNSWEETENED

  • Tonic Water
  • Different Colors/Flavors of Kool-Aid
  • Sugar
  • Lots of Clear Plastic Cups
  • Spoons
  • Solid Colored Plastic Cups

For this project, myself and a volunteer had prepared our magical potions beforehand.  All the “magical potion” requires is mixing a bit of the Kool Aid flavoring in with enough sugar so that the color of the Kool Aid can’t be seen in the solid colored plastic cups. (It will take quite a lot of sugar in comparison to the Kool Aid.)  Then we also filled up our clear plastic cups with the bubbly tonic water.

When the “students” arrived all they saw were cups that were apparently all white powder and then clear bubbly cups.  They each took a cup of magic potion and a cup of bubbly water and then spooned in a bit of their potion.  I didn’t know if this would go over because it was so simple, but they all seemed to enjoy it…a lot. Then they all began exchanging potions to see what would happen and of course they ended up turning different colors which was pretty cool too and not something I would have thought of.  Of course everyone started to sneak in quick tastes of their potions so luckily nothing bad was in it.

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/65/12/bf/6512bf0e748799bb436b2ce94e607de9.jpgAfter everyone was done with mixing their potions (and washing their hands) we moved on to creating our own snacks. Witch hats made out of Fudge Stripe cookies. I found this idea on Go Grow Go! They were simple for the kiddos to make and were verrry tasty!

  • Fudge Stripe Cookies
  • Orange Frosting
  • Hershey Kisses

So each kid got a napkin with a cookie on it and a Kiss to unwrap, while an adult went around with the frosting.  The frosting just got squirted on top of the bottom of the cookie and then the Kiss gets planted on top. Then they were ready to be eaten!

There were also a couple of photo props like the one below which I just handmade myself.  The kids had fun taking pictures of themselves with their phones and I had some fun some with it too!IMG_0330

Confession’s of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Confessions of Marie Antoinette ()

Confessions of Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette, #3
Juliet Gray
Rating: Did Not Finish

 

Well the New Year’s reading has not started off with a promising start…but it can only get better from here then right?

I decided to try a historical fiction novel, Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey which I received from LibraryThing’s wonderful Early Reviewer’s Program. My mind needed a break from the Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world I was immersed in for two weeks and for which my heart still misses. (I will post  a review of the Infernal Devices Series once school has started back up again : ) 

This historical fiction story just couldn’t capture my attention. I read about 80 pages before  calling it quits, which I DESPISE doing. (However, I guess I do already know how it’s going to end…) There may have been a couple exterior factors affecting why I didn’t enjoy the book like I didn’t realize it was the third book in a trilogy and I was still on a major book hangover from the Infernal Devices trilogy. Nonetheless, I did not feel any sort of connection to the characters and it felt more like I was reading nonfiction than fiction. Perhaps reading the first two books in the series would provide the reader with necessary background information and giver more depth to the characters.

Well on to finishing the Matched series by Ally Condie…let’s see how this goes!

Are there any cool Reading Challenges going on this year? I would really like to do one besides the Goodreads one I participate in every year…. Let me know!

Top Ten Reads of 2013

Top Ten Books of 2013

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

I read so many wonderful books this year it was hard to pick just 10..but here ya go:

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder/Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (YA Fantasy/Fairiytale)

I expect these are many, many lists this year. They’re amazing and Marissa Meyer is wonderful 🙂

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone/Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (YA Fantasy)

So addictive. I didn’t sleep the few nights it took to read these. I just had to Keep. Reading.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, #10)The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig (Adult Historical Fiction/Romance)

I love Lauren Willig. Every time a new bok by her comes out, it feels like Christmas and I know I’m in for a special treat. I always try to make the books last a week, but end up staying up all night and finishing them in a couple days…

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio (Junior Fiction)

Everyone must read this book! Haven’t reviewed it yet, but it’s A-Mazing!  Forces readers to look at how they treat people and will most likely make you a better person for reading it…

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare (Review to come…I’m still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster (YA Fantasy)

Started and finished this trilogy over my Holiday break…and I am still an emotional wreck because of it…In a good way. I am in love with Clare’s writing! Please write faster Ms. Clare !!!

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Junior Fiction)

Like Willig, with Riordan every book is a treat and this was no exception. I used reading a chapter of this book as a reward system for writing a page of my school papers… It was such an epic story!

The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7)The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde (Adult Fiction Fantasy)

I love this series and frankly, I don’t think I will ever get tired of Thursday Next. This one was the most hilarious out of all of them for me so far. I quote from it daily….

Delirium (Delirium, #1)The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (YA Fiction Dystopian)

I loved this trilogy…and the ending was much better for me than the Divergent trilogy.  It focused more on feelings than actions, but I love the way that Oliver writes.

FearlessFearless by Cornelia Funke (YA Fantasy/Fairytale)

Cornelia Funke is spectacular. This book (2nd in a series) is haunting and exciting, yet beautiful. I love the worlds that Funke can transport me to.

The Fire Chronicle (The Books of Beginning, #2)The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (JF Fantasy)

Great action packed series! I love the world it’s set in and the characters are awesome…wish the third book would hurry up though 🙂

There you have it. My top 10 for 2013. Any of the same? Strongly disagree with some??

Back for a Book Blitz!

Finally done with my first semester of library school and while it was super interesting it was also super time consuming. However, I did manage to read a couple books…in three months! It was quite a change from my typical two books a week consumption.

However, The House of Hades by Riordan simply could not wait. It was epic and I rewarded myself with a couple chapters a night (which may have turned into read until 4 in the morning, but who cares…it is soo good!)

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)I also read Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and while it wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be (bit of a slow start), it still got me hooked on the storyline.

WonderAnd there was Wonder R.J Palacio. Now if there was one book I could force all kids in school to read; it would be this one. It makes everyone, not just kids, stop and think about how they are treating people and why. Is it because they look different than you? Speak different? Dress different? Fantastic book…Go read it!

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)I also recently finished Allegiant by Roth…and I was disappointed. It may have had to do with my finals state of mind, but…it wasn’t my kind of series ending. Kudos to Roth though for writing what she wants no matter what others will think…I do admire her and I know many people are probably very happy with this final book.

How Mrs. Claus Saved ChristmasNow, I’ve been on break (school and work!!!) for a couple days and I finished a cute sequel How Mrs. Clause Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn and just started the Clockwork series by Cassandra Clare.  I’m hoping to get enough books read and reviews written ahead of time to last me through next semester so I can sit back and enjoy all of your lovely blogs while cramming library stuff in my brain…. 🙂

Got any reading suggestions? I have until January 21st until school starts!!

Epic Addition: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)

The House of Hades
Lost Heroes of Olympus #4
Rick Riordan
Junior Fiction
Rating 5

Yes, I am alive and no, I am not abandoning the blogosphere…I’ve just been a bit (ok, extremely) busy with school.  Gross, right? Well I have read some amazing books lately though to keep myself sane including; Wonder by R.J. Palacio, House of Hades by Rick Riordan, and Bone Season by Samantha Shannon along with having some pretty great library programs (Harry Potter Halloween Party? I think so!).  But, for this post I will stick to a review of the House of Hades by Riordan…because it was epic!

I believe I would feel empty if I had not discovered the Percy Jackson/Lost Heroes books or if Riordan had decided not to write them. They are so packed full of adventure, wit, and information about mythology that I don’t even realize I’ve retained multiple facts about different myths (until I blurt them out over dinner a month later trying to make small talk and end up looking like a huge nerd, but that’s another story…).

The book before House of Hades in the Lost Heroes series, Mark of Athena, ends with a terrible cliffhanger (and I mean so bad I told people not to read it until this book came out) and thankfully we pick up right where we left off, no waiting around involved. The action doesn’t let up in this book…at all, and I had a very hard time getting my homework done on time.  In this story Annabeth and Percy are off on their own looking for a way out of Tartarus running into old enemies and making unlikely friends. I enjoyed getting the chance to see how their relationship has grown and how differently they interact with each other now.

While Annabeth and Percy are off on their seemingly hopeless adventure, the rest of the Lost Heroes crew is working to get to the House of Hades to open the door from Tartarus so if Annabeth and Percy find the way out, they will be able to come out on friendly territory in the land of the living.  However, of course, Gaea doesn’t make it easy for the crew to reach the House of Hades.  We get a good look at every hero in this story as they are each forced to prove themselves to their godly parents.

Of course once you finish this book, you will be begging for the next in the series….

I guess The Sea of Monsters DVD will have to suffice until then. Do any of you know if it is any good?

Fantasy, Time Travel, and Romance: The Angel Stone by Juliet Dark

The Angel Stone (Fairwick Chronicles, #3)

The Angel Stone (Fairwick Chronicles #3)
Juliet Dark
Adult Fantasy/Romance
Rating: 5

So I enjoy reading books based on the seasons and since it’s October and gloomy, it’s also my favorite time to read about witches, magic, and vampires. Which is why I was so ecstatic about receiving a copy of Juliet Dark’s The Angel Stone, the final book in the Fairwick trilogy, from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer’s program. (LibraryThing is amazing btw!)

Anywho, I loved The Angel Stone! It was super hard to do homework when all I wanted to do was keep reading it. So book two, The Water Witch, left us at a pretty rough spot and we pick up right where we left off.  It was very fast paced and humorous and …this story even had time travel (I love time travel!).

Callie, the main character, must find a way to save Fairwick and destroy the Nephilim that have taken control. I thought this was going to be a fairly predictable plot to be honest with you, and I was going to be okay with that, however…l was wrong. There were soo many twist and turns I was amazed…and it all made sense too! (At one point I got really excited and started explaining what was happening to my fiancé, who then asked why I wasn’t just reading it to him because it sounded so good 🙂 And I absolutely loved how everything was wrapped up in the end.

So yes, I do recommend this series, although I will admit, I never read the first book Demon Lover.  You don’t really have to read it to understand what is going on, but now I wish I would have…

Unique Historical Fiction: The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis

The Lonely Tree

The Lonely Tree
Yael Politis
Adult Historical Fiction
Rating: 4

OMGoodness I haven’t been on here in too LONG! Again, I will lay the blame on library school : ) However, I did just finish two great books, The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis and the last book in the Fairwick trilogy by Juliet Dark, The Angel Stone (“fun” reading keeps me sane! Therefore, I do make time for it!) .  I’ll give you a quick review of Politis’ book now and the promise of a review of the wonderful ending to a trilogy, The Angel Stone by the end of the week.

I received The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis from the publisher, Holland Park Press, and am extremely grateful. This was a very moving story told from a unique point of view. It takes place in Palestine and tells of the extreme hardships faced by people there between the years of 1934 and 1967.  Going into this story, I knew absolutely nothing about this period of time in Palestine, as I’ve always read about the main focus of the time period: Hitler, concentration camps, and Nazis. While this is briefly touched upon, it is certainly not the main focus.  I found learning about kibbutz, the British Mandate in Palestine, and the history of the time fascinating, however, it was also a bit confusing for me too at times.

While the reader learns a lot about history through this story, there is also a love story going on and some believable (if hard to read at times) family dynamics adding to the richness of the novel. The main character, Tonia, was lovable at times and at others I just wanted to go shout some sense into her…

So, if you are in the mood for something deep, unique, and thought provoking…you may want to give this a try!

Now I am off to work and I will talk to you lovely readers later!

Fabulous Ending to a Fabulous Dystopian Series: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Requiem (Delirium #3)
Lauren Oliver
YA Dystopian Fiction
Rating 5

Wow, school is a bit overwhelming along with working and getting sick…however, I did manage to sneak in Requiem, the last book in the Delirium trilogy recently and…I LOVED it! I was a bit scared because of all the mixed reviews I’d seen.

Requiem was fast paced and well written just like the others, but got back a bit more of the depth Delirium had.  The love triangle continues, but the emotions are still raw and vivid for the reader. Placed in Lena’s situation, I would be a total wreck, however, her ability to cope provides a great strong female role model. This story flipped back and forth between Lena and Hana, which at first I absolutely detested…but then really really loved the added element of having the voice of a “cured” along with one of the “resistance”.

I feel like many people probably had a problem with the ending as it does provide some closure, but also a lot of room for reader interpretation and creativity. Typically I despise endings like these, but with this series I appreciated the opportunity to imagine the closure of my choosing.

Now on to homework and then book club planning so I can start reading The Lonely Tree by Yael Politis sent to me by the publisher 🙂 (maybe I’ll sneak in dinner at some point…who knows….)

And the Awesomeness Continues: Pandemonium #2 by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Lauren Oliver
YA Dystopian Fiction
Rating 4.5

There was a reason for putting this book off so long…Oliver’s writing sucks you in and doesn’t let you go.  I lost my whole weekend (time I had planned on doing homework and cleaning) to finishing this book and starting the last book in this amazing trilogy.  Not that I’m complaining.  It’s a sign of a great book if you can’t put it down, but be prepared to lose your reading self-control and ignore the real world for a while once you pick up these books.

So in this second installment, Lena continues on her journey, this time in the Wilds…and dealing with what happened at the end of the Delirium.

Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up.  There is nothing to do but let go.

Let go. Feel the weight all around you, feel the squeezing of your lungs, the slow, low pressure.  Let yourself go deeper.  There is nothing but bottom.  There is nothing but the taste of metal, and th echoes of old things, and days that look like darkness.

This story flips back and forth between a not so distance past and the “now” all in Lena’s perspective.  We get to meet a whole crew of new characters who I found to be marvelous.  New dangers and, dare I say, possible boy are thrown Lena’s way which she handles in a very believable way. 

The writing style is still amazing and the messages are still super important.                                                        

That is what hatred is. It will feed you and at the same time turn you to rot.

It is hard and deep and angular, a system of blockades. It is everything and total.

Hatred it a high tower.

A well done dystopian!….But again, beware the ending!!! Yikes, have the 3rd one on hand…

 

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