Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Isaac the Alchemist

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 27, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Isaac the Alchemist


Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure, February 1, 2017. 176 pages. Published by Candlewick Press (MA). Source: ARC from publisher.
A surprising true story of Isaac Newton's boyhood suggests an intellectual development owing as much to magic as science.
Before Isaac Newton became the father of physics, an accomplished mathematician, or a leader of the scientific revolution, he was a boy living in an apothecary's house, observing and experimenting, recording his observations of the world in a tiny notebook. As a young genius living in a time before science as we know it existed, Isaac studied the few books he could get his hands on, built handmade machines, and experimented with alchemy--a process of chemical reactions that seemed, at the time, to be magical. Mary Losure's riveting narrative nonfiction account of Isaac's early life traces his development as a thinker from his childhood, in friendly prose that will capture the attention of today's budding scientists--as if by magic. Back matter includes an afterword, an author's note, source notes, a bibliography, and an index. 

First Sentence
In a museum in New York City, locked away where the public never goes, there's a notebook small enough to hold in the palm of your hand.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Spinning Pages (4) All Fall Down/Masayume Chasing


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




I am really excited about this week's Spinning Pages as I was struck by inspiration at eleven pm last night. I won't keep y'all in the dark for long, today's book is by one of my favorite authors and the song is from one of my favorite shows.

Until late last night, I had no idea what book or song would be featured this week. *enter lack of sleep inspiration* If you've watched some of the latter seasons of Fairy Tail, or maybe listened to some of BoA's music, then you may be familiar with the song Masayume Chasing. The moment the song popped into my head, I immediately thought of Grace from Ally Carter's All Fall Down. So many of the lyrics spoke to me of Grace's troubled past and her struggles to find the truth.

Masayume Chasing by BoA
As I chase my dream, I got lost deep in the forest of my heart.
Clearer than a mirror,the spring reflected a warped smile.

These tears that I have shed (Don't Cry), were neither gold nor silver.
Those commonly seen tears (Fall From My Eyes), but the goddess won't even notice.
When I close your eyes, and cleared up my ears, I can hear a faint voice.
At a forest where there should be nobody around, I look up towards the blue sky.

I shall never return (Good Bye) to the poison named loneliness.
The sweetly scented flowers (Fill up the sky) shall bloom in this world.
(translated lyrics taken from Anime Lyrics dot Com)

If you have been reading Embassy Row, then you are familiar with Grace's story. Especially if you have finished it; I'm reading the third one right now, which might explain why this series is running through my brain right now. I really don't want to spoil the books for y'all, but these lyrics really, at least to me, speak so much to Grace's story and all that she is dealing with. So much so that I need to find some extra time to finish Take the Key and Lock Her Up to see how it all plays out! 

Need further convincing on why you should read Embassy Row, then check out my review of All Fall Down.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Want to Read It (45): When Dimple Met Rishi



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.




When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, May 30, 2017. Published by Simon Pulse. Source: Wishlist.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 
Why

Even though my last "contemporary" read was, well, a dud, I'm contemplating giving When Dimple Met Rishi a chance! 

I may not read contemporary books all that often, but between the cover, which is darling, and the synopsis I admit that my curiosity is indeed piqued. It looks and sounds like a lighthearted, yet not vapid, read...besides, I'm really curious as to how things will play out between the two since they both have different goals, in regards to arranged marriages. It just sounds like a fun read!!

I'll definitely be stalking my library's newly acquired list to see, and if need be suggest, if they purchase a copy.

Are you planning on reading When Dimple Met Rishi?


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Ronit and Jamil

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 20, 2017

YA Review: Ronit and Jamil



Ronit and Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin, February 21, 2017. 192 pages. Published by Katherine Tegen Books. Source: Publisher.
This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both. 

First Sentence

I go with him to work, my Abba
it's summer
heat
a leech
an ulcer.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Spinning Pages (3): The Hound of the Baskervilles/Growl


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 






After reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I just knew that it would have to be paired with a song. The only question that remained was which song fit the book. A question that was answered quicker than I imagined possible. 

If you have read the book, then you might see the connection between the lyrics from EXO's Growl and my reasoning for pairing them with the fifth Sherlock Holmes novel.

Growl by EXO
I’m warning you just in case (listen carefully)
It’s dangerous now (so dangerous)
Stop provoking me (there’s going to be trouble)
I don’t even know myself

My breath keeps on stopping
You walk towards me
You smile at me
Maybe you’re attracted to me too

My sights become dark
When you stare at me
The sound of your breathing
You’re the one that makes me crazy
(translated lyrics from Kpop Lyrics)

To me, it fits the atmosphere of the The Hound of the Baskervilles as well as some of the hints that were laid out as to who or what was behind the deaths of the Baskervilles. It also makes me think of the final showdown that will either save Henry Baskerville or lead to the final heirs death. 

If you need another reason to read The Hound of the Baskervilles, then look no further as I reviewed it earlier this week. Trust me, between the witty banter between Sherlock and Watson, the atmospheric setting, and the mystery, you do NOT want to miss out on reading this one. 

            

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: The Catholic Catalogue


The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts That Make Up a Catholic Life  by  Melissa Musick, Anna Keating, February 23, 2016. 432 pages. Published by Image. Source: Publisher.
The popular mother-daughter team behind the hit website TheCatholicCatalogue.com helps readers to discover, rediscover, and embrace some of the smells and tastes, sounds and sensations, holidays and seasons of the Catholic life. This collection of prayers, crafts, devotionals and recipes will help readers make room in their busy lives for mystery and meaning, awe and joy.

This beautifully designed book will help readers celebrate Catholicism throughout the years, across daily practice and milestones. Like the most useful field guides, it is divided into user-friendly sections and covers such topics as the veneration of relics, blessing your house, discovering a vocation, raising teenagers, getting a Catholic tattoo, planting a Mary garden, finding a spiritual director, and exploring your own way in the tradition.

With more than 75 inspiring chapters, this book promises to be a resource that individuals and families will turn to again and again.



I had every intention of reviewing this book last year...like early last year. Unfortunately, I never got around to it as I could never find the right words to convey my thoughts on it.

  • This was such a wonderful resource! While there were many things I was familiar with, hello Catholic here, yet there were also things that were entirely new to me. Which is what made this a fascinating read; and one that would be beneficial to those new to the faith or to young families hoping to create traditions centered around our faith.
  • It may not sound like it, but this was a really fun read. One that I enjoyed reading *gasp* out of order. There were just so many sections that piqued my interest, that I would find myself browsing the list of content and randomly reading everything from "Getting a Catholic Tattoo" all the way to topics about "celebrating saint feast days". I liked that it covered things for the various walks of life, single and family, that the book spoke to. It had something for everyone no matter where they are in their spiritual journey.
  •  It was well laid out. If you read it in order, it takes you through the whole, well highlights, the liturgical year. The chapters are relatively short, and the author's do not waste any time in talking about things that are obviously near and dear to them; and answering some of the bigger, or should I say odd, questions that are bound to pop up.

Final Verdict: The Catholic Catalogue-  A thoughtfully and well put together book on the Catholic faith and how to live it. Definitely a resource I would recommend for those wanting to live their faith more fully (and not keeping it closed off to just your Sunday obligation). 

The Catholic Catalogue earns

A copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Want to Read It (44): A Study in Scarlet



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, 1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, June 10, 2003 (originally published 1887). Published by Modern Library. Source:
In 1887, a young Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, creating an international icon in the quick-witted sleuth Sherlock Holmes. In this very first Holmes mystery, the detective introduces himself to Dr. John H. Watson with the puzzling line “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive,” and so begins Watson’s, and the world’s, fascination with this enigmatic character. In A Study in Scarlet, Doyle presents two equally perplexing mysteries for Holmes to solve: one a murder that takes place in the shadowy outskirts of London, in a locked room where the haunting word Rache is written upon the wall, the other a kidnapping set in the American West. Picking up the “scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life,” Holmes demonstrates his uncanny knack for finding the truth, tapping into powers of deduction that still captivate readers today.
WHY

I may already own a copy and have, most likely, already read it (pre-Goodreads probably), and yet I still want another edition of it. Simply because the one I have is a big, awkward hardback. 

Even though I have most likely already read it, I still am hoping to read it at some point this year. Simply because The Hound of the Baskervilles totally has me clamoring for more Sherlock Holmes. I'll tell you this, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with each read of his books, is very quickly climbing my list of favorite authors. His ability to weave thrilling mysteries and eccentric, yet not annoying, characters is proving to be quite fascinating.

If you have not read his books, I seriously recommend giving them a chance. 

Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes books? If so, which is your favorite one?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Classic Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles




The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, 5) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, October 8, 2002 (originally published April 1, 1902). 208 pages. Published by Modern Library. Source: Bought/own.
The most famous of the Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles features the phantom dog of Dartmoor, which, according to an ancient legend, has haunted the Baskervilles for generations. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly of a heart attack on the grounds of the family’s estate, the locals are convinced that the spectral hound is responsible, and Holmes is called in. “Conan Doyle triumphed and triumphed deservedly,” G. K. Chesterton wrote, “because he took his art seriously, because he lavished a hundred little touches of real knowledge and genuine picturesqueness on the police novelette.”

First Sentence
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Spinning Pages (2): Ms. Bixby's Last Day/Should I Stay or Should I Go


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





All week I have been trying to decide which song to use for Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson. I had a few songs in mind that would have worked...yet it took, again, some random lyrics running through my head to send me in the song direction that felt right. While it may seem like an odd song to pick for a middle grade book, I do think some of the lyrics perfectly capture the struggle the boys  went through on deciding whether or not to visit Ms. Bixby (and cut school and all that stuff).


This week, I'm pairing Ms. Bixby's Last Day with the Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go. If you've read the book, then you know that Topher, Brand and Steve break so many rules to visit Ms. Bixby before she goes. So many things go wrong; and the hardships/struggles they faced getting there and finding the strength to carry on their plan, well it all makes me think of the following lyrics.

Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash-
Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
This indecision's bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
(lyrics from Google Play Music)

If I'm being honest here, this lyrics specifically made me think of Brand...especially near the end of the book.

Need more convincing on why you should read John David Anderson's beautifully written Ms. Bixby's Last Day, then check out my review.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I Want to Read It (43): Calling on Dragons



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, 3) by Patricia C. Wrede, illustrated by Peter de Sève, March 1, 2003 (originally published in 1993). 244 pages. Published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Source: Wishlist.
"We need to see King Mendanbar and Queen Cimorene right away. . . ."
They're back! Except Princess Cimorene is now Queen Cimorene of the Enchanted Forest, and she is on a very important mission with Kazul the dragon king, Morwen the witch, Telemain the magician, two cats, and a blue, flying donkey-rabbit named Killer. It's not going to be easy. 
The wizards have become very smart (sort of) and have found a way to capture the most powerful source of magic in the Enchanted Forest --- King Mendanbar's sword. If the sword is not returned to the forest in due time, the forest will begin to die. And you can bet your last dragon scale that Cimorene won't stand for that!
Why

Because after the way Searching for Dragons ended...seriously, I am in desperate need of more Cimorene and Mendanbar and their adventures. I can honestly say this, the ending kind of took me by surprise, so, I really cannot wait to read the further adventures that befall them.

Have you read The Enchanted Forest Chronicles? What did you think of them?


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Searching for Dragons

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 6, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Searching for Dragons


Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, 2) by Patricia C. Wrede; Illustrated by Peter de Sève, November 1, 2002 (originally published 1991). 242 pages. Published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Source: Gift/Own
Kidnap a dragon? How daring!How stupid
Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper, is back--but where is Kazul the dragon? That's what Cimorene is determined to find out.

Luckily--or perhaps not-so-luckily--she's got help: Mendenbar, the not-very-kingly King of the Enchanted Forest, has joined her in her quest. So with the aid of a broken-down magic carpet, a leaky magical sword, and a few buckets of soapy lemon water, they set off across the Enchanted Forest to tackle the dragon-napping and save the King of the Dragons.

First Sentence:
The king of the Enchanted Forest was twenty years old and lived in a rambling, scrambling, mixed-up castle somewhere near the center of his domain.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: Love, Henri


Love, Henri: Letters on Love, Hope, Faith, and Vocation by Henri J.M. Nouwen, October 4, 2016. 351 pages. Published by Convergent Books. Source: Blogging for Books.
Seven million copies of his books in print! This collection of over 100 unpublished letters from the bestselling author of such spiritual classics as The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer offers deep spiritual insight into human experience, intimacy, brokeness, and mercy.

Over the course of his life, Henri Nouwen wrote thousands of letters to friends, acquaintances, parishioners, students, and readers of his work all around the world. He corresponded in English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish, and took great care to store and archive the letters decade after decade. He believed that a thoughtful letter written in love could truly change someone's life. Many people looked to Nouwen as a long distance spiritual advisor.

Love, Henri consists of over a hundred letters that stretch from the earliest years of Henri's career up through his last 10 years at L'Arche Daybreak. Rich in spiritual insights the letters highlight a number themes that emerged in both Henri's work over the years, including vocation, solitude, prayer, suffering, and perseverance in difficult times. These deeply spiritual letters, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, ulimately demonstrate the rich value of communicating with God through others.
First Sentence:
The letters begin in late 1973, just weeks before Henri's forty-second birthday.


Love, Henri proved to be an interesting read. It was definitely interesting, albeit somewhat weird, to read Henri J.M. Nouwen's letters that he wrote, on a broad scope of topics, to friends, parishioners, and the many people he came into contact.

  • A couple years ago, I was first introduced to Henri J.M. Nouwen's writing through his book The Return of the Prodigal Son. Which was such a powerful and incredible read; so when upon seeing another book of his I jumped at the opportunity to feature it here. While it was different, going from a book that talked about art and a parable to one on personal letters, it was refreshing to see his writing from a personal standpoint.
  • While I'm still reading Love, Henri, I really just wanted to talk about it now. As much as I am enjoying it, my thoughts are unlikely to change while reading it since it is a compilation of letters written from the 1970s till just before his death. even though it was weird at first to read such personal letters, it was also nice to see how much he cared for those he wrote to and the direction that he gave them in both spiritual and private matters. 
  • His writing was just so easy to read; kind of like reading a letter from a friend or diving into a book that you've read a million times. It's not forced, as it just comes across so naturally. At times, one could almost forget that the letter was not addressed to you. Especially the one's that dealt more with faith and spirituality. I for one am looking forward to learning more about him, Henri Nouwen, through his writing; as well as what was going on during the years covered.

Final Veridct: Love, Henri- Beautiful book that needs to read slowly so that one can apply his words of wisdom, and kindness, to one's own life. I'll be savoring this book for the next few weeks as I only want to read a couple pages each day of it.


A copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Spinning Pages (1) Heartless = Heartless


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have read. Spinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. 




The other day, whilst I was listening to some music at the gym one of the songs that started playing made me think of Marissa Meyer's Heartless...and not just because they shared the same title



U-Kiss' song Heartless came on and all I could think about was Marissa Meyer's book Heartless. While it was at first funny, because they shared the same title, it was the lyrics that really made it work. Especially these lines:
oh heartless heartless
baby you’re heartless
You are the one person who can rebuild my ripped up heart
baby you’re heartless

(translated by KpopRival)
As they made me think of Catherine and her decent into madness! As well as how a certain, not to be named character, attempted to steal her heart for his kingdom...I'm sure we can all guess who and how that played out, right!

Again, the song is by U-Kiss and from their mini album Stalker! Because the song is well worth listening to, you can check out the audio below. 



What did you think of the pairing of Heartless with, well, Heartless? Hope you are just as excited as I am for this new blog feature!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I Want to Read It (42): No Such Person



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.




No Such Person by Caroline B. Cooney, July 14, 2015. Published by Delacorte Press. Source: gifted/need to read.
Miranda and Lander Allerdon are sisters. Miranda is younger, a dreamer, and floating her way through life. Lander is older, focused, and determined to succeed. As the girls and their parents begin another summer at their cottage on the Connecticut River, Miranda and Lander’s sibling rivalry is in high gear. Lander plans to start medical school in the fall, and Miranda feels cast in her shadow.
When the Allerdons become entangled in an unimaginable tragedy, the playing field is suddenly leveled. As facts are revealed, the significance of what has happened weighs heavily on all. How can the family prepare for what the future may hold?

Why

I am terrible! I was gifted an early copy of No Such Person by the lovely Anya and never had an opportunity to read it! The worst part being that Caroline B. Cooney is one of my all-time favorite authors! 

I have been a huge fan of Caroline B. Cooney's work for years and years. I don't think there has been a single book of hers that I have read and not loved to pieces. So, I of course am excited to dive back into her wonderful writing. The mysteries she writes are some of my favorites; if you take away the detectives, they remind me of Agatha Christie (another of my favorite authors)

Does not this sounds like an intriguing read! Sibling rivalry and tragedy. I'm getting excited just writing this post! *peeks at all the "currently" reading books...'sighs'...*
  

Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.

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