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?

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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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May 14th. I love it.

What. A. Week.

First up this week, reading marathons. I love it. I accidentally read a 500 page book yesterday, but I honestly couldn’t put it down. “As Old as Time” is a twist on Beauty and the Beast and it was wonderful. I set out to read 100 pages but then time got away from me and I realized it was 6pm and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I can’t wait to read the one about Sleeping Beauty, “Once Upon a Dream.”

I love it.

Next up, puzzles. I love it. I went to the dollar store today with the intention of getting a new scoop for the litter box, but I couldn’t find one. After browsing (so dangerous in a dollar store) I walked out of there with 3 new puzzles and a bunch of candy for my future movie theater trips. 2 of the puzzles are 3D; one of the Avengers’ plane and one of the Ninja Turtles’ Party Wagon. I even got a Guardians of the Galaxy one, but I didn’t do it today. Next weekend? Yes!

I love it.

Finally, getting a desk! I love it. I’ve applied for grad school and in preparation for hopefully being accepted and then needing a place to do homework, my friend, Celeste, was nice enough to give me a desk she had at her house. I’m using it right now, too! I’ve been working on the floor since I moved into my apartment so I’m hoping this desk will give me more motivation to write because it will be comfortable (and professional). I scored a really nice chair at Office Depot today, too.

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

I love it.

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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.

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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.

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April 9th. I love it.

So glad that’s over!

First up this week friends is Middle Grade novels. I love them. This week I read “You Throw Like a Girl” and “Chester and Gus.” I won’t tell you the details now (but read my reviews) but they both meant a lot to me. Middle Grade novels are the types of books I like to write and reading great books like these makes me want to work even harder at writing. I hope that with some time off this summer I can work on the two projects I started/finished this fall. If you’re in the mood to read the first draft of 2 middle grade novels, let me know and I’ll send copies to you for editing!

I love it.

Next up, having multiple teams to root for. I love it. Now that it’s baseball season, my TV is on a lot more. Sometimes I watch games that I wouldn’t think I’d be interested in on MLB TV and get so engrossed with the game, I don’t realize I have other things I was supposed to be doing. While the Indians will always be my team, I can’t forget about my friends that play on the Red Sox (Steven Wright), Twins (Chris Gimenez), and Blue Jays (TJ House). I’m also a huge Paul Goldschmidt fan (D-Backs) so I watch them consistently too. Oh, and I can’t forget Bud’s Dodgers. With all of these teams to root for, there is never s shortage of baseball at my house.

I love it.

Finally, lazy days. I love them. Yesterday I slept in till 10am and continued to lay in bed until I finished listening to the Focus 3 podcast (if you haven’t heard it, I’d start). Then I was motivated and went to the store but came right back home and lounged. I read an entire book (Chester and Gus), napped for a few hours while watching “Merlin”, one of my favorite shows (check it out on Netflix). Today was much of the same but I’ve been writing, watching baseball, and drinking lots of coffee. The cats even let me sleep in until 8:30am because I fed them last night. How nice of them.

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

I love it.