October 29th. I love it.

What a week, friends.

First up this week, getting in the holiday spirit. I love it. On Friday, I went to Boo at the Zoo with my friends and had so much fun! I got to dress up as a Quidditch player (go Team Hufflepuff). Last year I didn’t do much Halloween celebrating (even though it’s my favorite holiday) because I was driving home from North Carolina. This year, I’ve been making sure I watch all of the movies and shows that I love!

I love it.

Next up, pajama days. I love it. I haven’t been feeling well lately and yesterday wasn’t good either so I bit the bullet and did all of my chores yesterday so I wouldn’t have to do anything today. It worked out perfectly. I slept in super late, caught up on all of my weekly shows, and I am still in my pajamas. I’m going to take a shower and get into new pajamas in time for the World Series. Perfect Sunday if you ask me.

I love it.

Finally, my cats. I love them. Today is National Cat Day! To celebrate, here’s a picture of Yogi and Maisy!

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

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October 15th. I love it.

Halfway through the month to my favorite holiday of the year!

First thing up this week, reading parties. I love it. On Friday, I hosted the best kind of party there is – a Reading Party! That’s literally what it is. People come over and you read. There’s not a lot of conversation unless it has to do with the book you’re reading and you can go 45 minutes without even acknowledging each other. Isn’t that great? We weren’t even reading the same books so you can’t even call it a book club. We did make alcoholic peach smoothies and play with my cats. I’ll be hosting one again soon, I’m sure!

I love it.

Next up, passing my first grad school class. I love it. I got my final grade back for my first class, Curriculum Design, and I aced it. 100%. Even with a final paper that could have been way better. I just hope that the rest of my classes are this easy.

I love it.

Finally, Halloween movie marathons. I love it. I’ve ben on a cleaning spree all day and I think it’s been fueled by Halloween movies. After I caught up on all of my shows for the week, I took to Netflix. I’ve watched “Coraline” and “Sleepy Hollow.” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is next, probably followed by another movie or reading. Halloween is my favorite time of year! I’ve been waiting 11 months for this!

I love it. It’s great. Everything’s great.

I love it.

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Once Upon a Bookshelf – “You’re Welcome, Universe”

You're Welcome, UniverseYou’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Julia thought her best friend had her back, just like she did when she took revenge on the slob that embarrassed her with graffiti on a wall at her school. Julia’s work, though, was art. Julia’s best friend can’t stand the heat and snitches on her which sends Julia to a mainstream school, leaving behind her Deaf and Hard of Hearing School and all of the comfort it provided.

SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD!

Julia didn’t want new friends, especially after what he former friend did but try as she might, she couldn’t get away from Yoga Pants (YP). Their friendship is obvious and YP learns to sign throughout the book. Julia can’t get over how fast she’s learning. I love this development with the characters. As much as Julia doesn’t want to be involved with YP, they get closer everyday. I think this is the way most friendships form, right? Slowly and then all at once?

I also loved that the artwork was not just talked about, but it was shown in the book. Like Julia, I didn’t think of it as graffiti, but artwork. Just like they argue about in the book, graffiti has a connotation of being bad and unimportant. I like how they refer to her work as street art because that’s what it is. Artistic. She wasn’t being a vandal and doing it to be mean spirited, but instead showcase her talent while also beautifying places that needed it.

This book gives a lot of insight into Deaf culture that I didn’t even realize was a thing (like capitalizing Deaf). As a teacher, I deal with students with lots of different abilities and reading this book makes me want to learn to sign so I can be prepared for my future students that may need that from me. It made me want to be a better teacher.

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Once Upon a Bookshelf – “Book Scavenger”

Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Emily’s family moves. A lot. But the one constant in her life has been Book Scavenger; a game where books are the treasure. When she moves to San Fransisco, the home of Book Scavenger creator Garrison Griswold, she finds that her favorite past time is now a rescue mission.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD

Emily isn’t used to making friends so when she finds out that her neighbor, James, is also a puzzle nerd, they band together to form the best book scavenging team in San Francisco. After Garrison Griswold is mysteriously injured in a BART station, Emily, James, and her brother, Matthew, can’t help but investigate. This leads them to a hidden book that Emily is sure is part of Griswold’s new game. In a mystery sending her around the city visiting famous landmarks and getting chased by scary old men, nothing can stop her and her mission to win – even if it means losing her friendship with James.

What I love about this book is all of the puzzles. They are not only incorporated in the Book Scavenger hunts, but it’s part of their classes as well. Their teacher decides to use code breaking in his class which causes some real chaos amongst those that participate. These codes not only bring the main characters together, but it also breaks them apart. Friendships at that age are so easily made but just as easily lost that Emily really have to put everything in perspective.

This author reminds me of Trenton Lee Stewart. He is responsible for “The Mysterious Benedict Society” books and his latest, “The Secret Keepers.” It’s mystery, and code breaking, and just so fun to read. The entire time I was reading this I kept thinking about what this author’s next mystery would be. I can’t wait to see where she goes in the future!

While we’re at it, can Book Scavenger be a real thing? I went to the website that the author mentioned at the end of the book (Bookcrossing.com) that inspired part of this story and I want it to be as cool and involved as this story. I can’t imagine the kids that would get more out of reading if they had to work to get the book. It’s a reward system in itself!

I am so excited to read the next installment! I have to wait though because I turned a few of my students on to this book and they got checked out the newest one from the library before I did!

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