Once Upon a Bookshelf – “Warcross”

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “The Hunger Games” and “Ready Player One,” this book is a dream come true for you. It has espionage, gaming, technology, love, relationships, teamwork, and a little bit of backstabbing.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet after her father died, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the International Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation – something she didn’t even realize she could do.

The next day, Emika is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem and he wants Emika for the job. After getting drafted to play in the game for the Phoenix Riders as an architect and finds out she’s actually pretty good at it. Her relationships with her teammates are torn when they find out about her relationship with Hideo (they know the romantic side, not the business side) and her mission is almost a disaster.

What she comes to find out about the creator and her love interest breaks her apart. Does she have the strength to follow through?

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Once Upon a Bookshelf – See You in the Cosmos

See You in the CosmosSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. His current project involves documenting his life on Earth so he can launch his voice recordings into space with the hopes that an alien life form will find it. With his story starting in Colorado and moving to New Mexico, trekking to Los Angeles and finally ending up back home, he meets new friends and learns new things about the world and himself.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

What I love about this book is that it is so much more than an adventure story. Sure, Alex travels by himself and builds a super cool rocket with hopes of it making it to space – that’s quite an adventure by itself. But it also showed that an adventure can lead you to so much more. While he doesn’t know it at first, his trip leads him to uncover the truth about his dad that he thought was dead and meeting his half-sister. It started out as an attempt to share his story with people outside of this world and ended with him learning even more about his own story.

All along, I was worried about Alex. With how his mother is described, I knew that she was battling some type of depression and whether or not Alex actually knew that was heartbreaking. With a kids with as much spunk as Alex and such big dreams, it makes it impossible not to root for him and hope that everything turns out. I was so emotionally involved in this story that I couldn’t even think about what would have happened if things didn’t work out like I wanted them to (you know, when you know what needs to happen better than the author does).

Something that drew me to this book was the title, though. As a amateur astronomer myself, there was no way that I could pass this book up. Seeing a kid that is only 11 and with such a deep interest in something so vast and unknown as the universe made me believe that there is hope for the future. If Alex can be so focused on his life on Earth and learning about people outside of it, the world has nowhere to go but up.

I rated this book 5/5

View all my reviews

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.

IMG_2192.JPG.jpeg

Once Upon a Bookshelf – The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy Review

A New Hope - The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy (Star Wars: Episode IV)A New Hope – The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Star Wars is everywhere these days. Movies, clothes, TV shows, cereal, and of course, books.

“The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy” is the original Star Wars story, but told a different way. Not only do you follow the adventures we all know and love, but you get to see it from three different perspectives. If you couldn’t guess by the title, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker tell this tale.

I obviously won’t bore you with the details of the story (we should all know if by now), but there are a few things in this book that I absolutely loved.

First of all, the reader gets to see inside the minds of the main characters. I love the way that Leia talks to herself about being more than a princess. She wants to make a difference for the lives of her people. She also speaks about her mother, father, and aunts, all of whom she is trying to live up to.

Han, surprisingly, has a soft side (mostly for his best bud, Chewy). Did you know Chewy was married? Neither did I, but apparently he’s working hard with Han to support his family. I would love to have a movie where we learn more about the beginnings of the most famous Wookie in the world!

Luke is just a kid from a farm trying to be taken seriously. Sure, he’s flown his own speeder on his home planet of Tatooine, but a rebel ship? Not so much. Something else we learn, thanks to this book, is that Luke’s ability behind the wheel was tested officially before he was just thrown into space with the rest of the crew. Actually, he aced the test thanks to his training from none other than Ben Kenobi. WE also get to see his relationship with Biggs (you know, that friend he bumps into right before takeoff).

Not only was the storytelling great, but also I loved that they used quotes directly from the movie. I seriously couldn’t help but smile at moments like that. I mean, I would have been really disappointed if they didn’t mention, “Don’t tell me the odds!”

The pictures in the book were also amazing! They look pencil drawn, almost as if the book were parts of the characters journals or something.

The biggest thing that I noticed that was missing from the book was Darth Vader. Well, he wasn’t missing, but he definitely wasn’t the center of the book. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was only seen in one chapter.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with kids (or without) that want a deeper understanding of the Star Wars world. It helped me a lot with the names I always have trouble remembering or understanding (let’s be honest, some of the names and places are confusing).

I gave this book 5/5.

View all my reviews

Chester and Gus – A book review

Chester and GusChester and Gus by Cammie McGovern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book stole my heart.

I am a firm believer that animals have more capabilities than their people give them credit for. This book shows how a dog that thought of himself as a failure worked hard to find a new purpose in life.

Chester was trained to be a service dog, but after he failed his certification because he hates out noises, he thought he’d never get another chance. When a family comes along in search of a friend for their autistic son, Gus, Chester bring it upon himself to help this boy like he knows he can.

After a lot of time spent observing the boy, Chester learns the dos and don’ts of life with Gus. Don’t make too much noise. Don’t get too close to him. Don’t lick him. Don’t ask too many questions.

That’s right. Chester finds himself bonded to this boy in such a way that he can’t even describe it at first. Gus, who doesn’t talk, seems to understand the things that Chester asks him and he answers back (some of the time). Using this new tool for communication, Chester gets Gus to trust him because he needs him now more than ever. But Chester has just been told he’s not allowed in school anymore because he’s not a certified service dog.

Strange things have been going on with Gus lately and it all comes to a head once the fire alarms go off at school. Being frightened at first, Chester loses track of Gus but forces his way to his boy. He finds Gus passed out in a closet and Gus is taken to the hospital for a few days.

Gus has epilepsy.

Now Chester has a renewed sense of responsibility for the boy and their relationship changes daily.

Can Chester be the dog that Gus needs him to be?

I love that this book is told from the perspective of a dog. He thinks about how hard it is to communicate with humans because they assume they know what’s best. He is also a firm believer that (despite popular opinion) dog cannot read, but he uses other clues to figure out what words mean.

The way that Chester slowly falls in love with Gus is absolutely perfect. As someone on the spectrum myself, when I meet new people or start new relationships, everything has to move very slow. Just ask my boyfriend 🙂

This is a book thatI felt connected to from the beginning. In fact, once I started reading it, I didn’t put it down.

View all my reviews

The Secret Keepers: A Book Review

One of my favorite authors since high school has been Trenton Lee Stewart. I fell in love with his writing when I just happened to pick “The Mysterious Benedict Society” off of the shelf one day and his latest adventure is no exception.

The Secret Keepers is about a young boy who finds solace in finding intriguing hiding places. After one attempt to find a new space for himself, he happens upon a watch. But is isn’t an ordinary watch; it see that it doesn’t tell time.

After a ton of attempts to figure out what it’s supposed to do, he Connor finds out that it can make him invisible. But like all magic, it comes with a price and he is temporarily blind when he uses it.

Connor and  his mom are in a tight spot financially so he sets out to find out the worth of the watch. After visiting several shops, he learns that it’s very valuable and the most important (yet unseen) man in the city wants it too. They call him The Smoke.

The boy does a lot of research and actually finds out who the watch belongs to so he sets out to find their family. This leads to a lot of danger and chaos (and booby traps) in an attempt to keep the power of the watch out of the wrong hands.

img_1465

Book Review: Where Am I Now?

You all know who Mara Wilson is, even if you don’t realize it. She is best know for her roles at Natty in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and Matilda in the movie based off of the book of the same name. Based on the information I’ve gathered by following her on Twitter for a while is that everyone had a crush on her at one time.

I waited all summer to read this book and I’m proud to say I was the first person to get the book from the local library.

In her memoir that just came out, she gives us a glimpse into the life of a child actor. It includes learning about new things at a young age (sex, I’m just going to say it, sex), dealing with losing a parent, and finding out that Hollywood may no longer want you.

My favorite chapter was when she writes a letter to the character Matilda and apologizes for hating her at one point. She didn’t realize that the character meant so much to so many people and she isn’t ashamed to be recognized as the little book worm anymore.

What I love about this book is that is dives deep into issues that most people don’t want to talk about. She was diagnosed with OCD at a young age after she read the book “Kissing Doorknobs” and brought it to her father’s attention. Likewise, I realized I had OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome after watching the TV show Parenthood. That’s why it’s important for people to speak up about their mental illnesses. It lets people know they aren’t alone and may make them realize that they need help.

Mara has come to terms with her time in Hollywood, but she’s staying busy by writing and being an active member in the community.

 

9780143128229.jpg