Book Review: Taking the Cake by Lisa Papademetriou

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is book two in the Confectionately Yours series. It follows Haley, a middle schooler, as she deals with friends, ex-friends, crushes, and her family. This book follows her throughout the fall, as she deals with Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I know I’m technically to old to be reading a book at this level, but I really enjoy reading about Haley and her adventures! This was another sweet installment in the series. Just like the first book, there are a couple of recipes (including gluten free ones) included.

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New on the Stack in August 2017

Once again, I will be linking up to The Deliberate Reader for this post. Here are the books I’ve acquired since last month’s post. Next to each book I give a short explanation why I chose to pick up that particular book. (Clicking on the picture of each book will take you to the book’s Amazon page, through an affiliate link.) 

Borrowed from Friends

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Was highly recommended by my friend.

 

 

 


The Outsiders by S.E. HintonI’ve never read this and I’ve heard such great things about it.

 

 

 

Got as a Gift

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My friend got this for me for my birthday. I’m super excited to read it after hearing so many great things about it!

 

 

Purchased Physical Book

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Sheene

This one caught my eye at a book sale.

 

 

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

This one looked intruiging.

 

 

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

I love some of Francine Rivers’ other books, so I wanted to try this one out as well.

 

 


Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel

A mystery that takes place in Arizona? Count me in!

 

 

Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown

The synopsis of this one grabbed me and I can’t wait to read it.

 

 

 

Purchased eBook

The M-Word by Beverly Farr

This is the sequel to a book I read this month.

 

 

Counted with the Stars by Cossette

I’ve seen this on multiple blogs (I don’t remember which, sorry) so when I saw it was on sale I snagged it.

 

 


Song of Edmon by Adam Burch

It was cheap. 🙂

 

 


The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C. J. Archer

Another deal on Amazon.

 

 


Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen

This is the third book in the False Prince series. After reading the first two I had to buy this one!

 

 


Business as Usual by Denise Swank

This is the third book in the Off the Subject series.

 

 

Soldier by Julie Kagawa

This is the third book in the Talon saga.

 

 

 

Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

Dating on the Dork Side by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

This looked like a cute romance.

 

 

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Another cute sounding story.

 

 

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

This is the oldest book on my “to-read” list!

 

 

A is for Abstinence by Kelly Oram

This is the sequel to a book I read this month.

 

 

F**k Depression by Robert Duff

This one was recommended by my counselor, since she knows I like to read.

 

 


A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

A really well timed ad on Amazon caught me while I was buying a completely different book. 😛

 

 

Did you pick up any fun books this month?

❤️ Annette

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

Before I tell you what my least favorite literary technique is, I’m going to tell you which books I plan on discussing. That way if you don’t want spoilers, you can move away from this post now.

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

My Least Favorite Literary Technique

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My least favorite literary technique is when amnesia is used as the reason two love interests can’t be together. I don’t mind amnesia as a plot point, per say, there are plenty of great books that use it well, but I do mind when it’s the sole excuse for why two characters can’t be together. Here’s why I hate it as a technique:

  1. There needs to be a stronger reason for two characters not to be together. This can be internal conflict or external conflict, it can be with just one character or both, I don’t care. There needs to be a real reason they can’t be together, an actual problem. Characters can struggle to reconcile different lifestyles or backgrounds; or deal with personal issues that make them not fit for a relationship. But at the very least, they remember each other an can actually work on the relationship.
  2. This is such a weak excuse to further the plot. It’s very deus ex machina. The author created characters who have no problems… wouldn’t it be convenient if one forgot the other? Forget having to come up with an actual plot point or actual conversations, just give an easy excuse for them to not be together. It’s also sometimes used to get rid of one character in a love triangle and that just seems like a cop out.
  3. It hurts too much to read. If the author is even semi-decent, I’ve connected with the characters and I’m invested in their relationship. When that is suddenly ripped away for no (real) reason, it hurts. I know some people read to feel and some people enjoy reading sad books, but it’s just too much for me. I’m fine reading books where the characters are going through tough times, I just don’t want to go through them too.
  4. If the characters to manage to work past the amnesia to restore their memory partially, I feel like the resulting relationship isn’t quite the same as the one I was rooting for in the beginning. Sure, it’s technically the same characters, but it sure wasn’t with the ones I shipped.

I’ve seen this technique used in a couple variations. Usually it comes through a spell or interference from a deity. Sometimes it’s done through brainwashing/torture, and in one book I read they just performed a lobotomy to remove the character’s emotions. (So he could remember, I guess, but he couldn’t feel.)

As I mentioned before, this technique is present in many books. Sometimes I got over it because I liked the story enough to keep going, but nevertheless, it was there. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
    • This is my least favorite use of the technique ever. The author is skilled, but connects you to the characters just enough to rip your heart out when the memory thing happens. This is probably my least favorite books series of all time, because it just hurt so much to read.
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Glitch series by Heather Anastasiu
  • Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
  • Tangled Up by Robyn Neely

So that’s my least favorite literary technique. What’s yours?

❤️ Annette

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is by far the best book I have read in a long time!!

Juliet has recently lost her mother. Since her mother’s death she’s dropped out of her favorite activities, including photography, which she can’t bring herself to do any more. Declan has his own past drama, and masquerades at school as a troublemaker. While serving community service at the cemetery he finds one of Juliet’s letters to her mother – and writes back. From there the book follows their correspondance and journey as they deal with their situations.

The summary above looks sort of sad, but this book is beautiful. Anyone can tell you that I don’t like to read (or watch or talk about) sad things – the last book I read was Scooby-Doo, if that’s any indication! Bridgid Kemmerer has a great way of writing about something sad in a way that you feel for the characters, but don’t feel depressed yourself. I loved the way she wove the two stories together and how the interactions in real life versus on paper occurred. There were plenty of surprises that are discovered throughout the story. (Did I mention that I read this book entirely in one sitting? It’s that good!) I’m not sure what else to say about the book except “Go read it!” It’s a work of art. 🙂

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Great Books for Teaching Math

I have another list today whose topic comes from the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. (I’ll be linking up there too.) This week’s post is supposed to be about anything related for back-to-school. So I have for you ten books for teaching math. These are books that I remember from my own school days, ones I learned about as an education major (and math minor), or just ones I’ve discovered on my own. I’ve tried to list them in order from youngest target audience to oldest target audience, but a lot of them are flexible and can be used for many grades.

(Post contains affiliate links.)

My Very First Number Book by Wilkes

This book is for those who are just discovering the world of numbers. It introduces the concept in an awesome, colorful way.

Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson (illustrated by Nadine Wescott)

This is a cute counting book. It follows Mr. Panda as he works to seat different sized groups of animals, from ten ???? down to one small mouse.

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins

This book follows a family as they try to divide up their cookies for the guests that just keep coming!


One Grain of Rice by Demi

Even though this is a picture book, the story still fascinates me today. The main character gets one grain of rice on the first day. The next day she gets two, then after that four, and so on, doubling each day. It’s fun to see how quickly the amount of rice gets out of hand!

The M&M’s Brand Counting Book

I remember working on learning how to make bar graphs with this book. It was fun and, since it happened 15 or so years ago, memorable. The only trouble might be getting children to wait to eat their M&Ms.

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka

I learned about this one in one of my elementary education classes. It’s an awesome book about a girl who hates math and wants to be rid of it forever – only to discover that it’s everywhere!

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan

This is another book that I learned about in college. Sir Cumference actually has a bunch of pun-worthy math related books that make great introductory stories to different mathematical concepts. (Like circumference, for example. 🙂)


Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

This is a companion math book that uses the characters and settings established in Sachar’s Sidways Stories from Wayside School series. Although the target audience for his chapter books is probably late elementary school (grades 3-6 or so), a lot of the math in this book is a little more challenging and may even be fun to pick up in junior high and high school.

Spurious Correlations by Tyler Vigen

I was gifted this book as an adult. It’s full of graphs that correlate two unrelated things, like beef consumption and number of people struck by lightning. It’s a great way to show that correlation does not always equal causation. Be sure to read the book before you hand it off to any students though. I don’t remember if all topics were appropriate.


Flatland by Edwin Abbot

To be fair I haven’t yet read this entire book, but it was referred to a lot by my Calculus 3 teacher. What I have read was quite interesting – it goes over all the intricacies that go into a the two-dimensional society of Flatland.

So those are all of my math related books for you! Which ones would you add to this list?

eau de parfum

Book Review: Scooby-Doo y el Monstruo de las Nieves (Scooby-Doo and the Snow Monster)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read books in Spanish to improve my Spanish vocabulary. (I mean… it’s how I learned or reinforced a lot of my English vocabulary so….) As you can guess by the title of this book, I’m still at a child’s reading level in Spanish.

This book follows Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and the rest of the “gang” as they go on vacation at a ski resort. Unfortunately, there is a snow monster terrorizing the guests of the resort! After it bothers the crew one too many times, they decide to figure out who is behind the monster.

This book gets four stars. It was a little bit less predictable than the usual Scooby-Doo story, but still followed the basic pattern. In an effort to not make the culprit super obvious, the author introduced quite a few characters. If I was reading in my native language this might not have been a problem, but it was confusing to me as it was, and I suspect it would be confusing to a beginning reader as well.

Spanish words I learned/reinforced with this book:

Albergue – Cabin
Escalera – Ladder
Cobertizo – Shed
Furgoneta – Van

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Ten Book Recommendations for Those in a Reading Slump

Today’s post is based on Top Ten Tuesday at Broke and Bookish. I have for you ten books that will help you break your reading slump. These are books that have gotten me out of my own slumps, or that I just couldn’t put down! (Post contains affiliate links.)

Ten Books for Those in a Reading Slump

1. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This is, hands-down, the best book I’ve read this year. An actual review is coming soon, but this book will definitely take you out of a slump! I read it all in one sitting. It follows Juliet, a photographer, who has recently lost her mother. She writes letters to her mother and leaves them at her mother’s grave. Declan, a high school delinquent, finds one of the letters and responds. The following conversations and events create an amazing story.

 

2. Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

 

This book is just plain adorable. It’s a pretty easy read and every time I even go to re-read a passage, I get sucked in and read basically the whole thing. The main character, Ella, is recovering from severe burns received due to a car accident. She has to deal with her father, stepmother, and stepsisters for the first time in her life, and it’s challenging. Her only solace is in her online blog and online pen-pal, Cinder.


3. What If by Randall Munroe
This is a super fun science book that takes crazy questions (“What would happen if you drained the ocean and put the water on Mars?”) and answers them with science. The author is as the creator of the web comic XKCD, and he once worked for NASA.

4. Talon by Julie Kagawa

 

Give this book two chapters, and you’ll be hooked. The female main character is a dragon in human form, assigned to learn how to assimilate with humans. The male main character is a dragon-slayer – a soldier who has been taught to kill first, ask questions never.

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

This may only pick you out of a slump if you are a logical-mathematical type person. I loved this story about a man who is accidentally left behind on Mars and must learn to survive with minimal supplies until he can be rescued. He has to face many obstacles you would never thing of on earth, and the stakes for everything are life or death.


6. Bad Connection by Melody Carlson

This is a Christian fiction novel that follows Samantha McGregor – a teen who gets visions. When she gets one of a person who has gone missing, she knows she needs to step in and help with the investigation. This is an intriguing mystery/crime novel.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee

While I did only give this book three stars, it also kept me hooked from beginning to end. And then I did the same thing with the next book. And then the next. As a series, the books will keep you on edge, intrigued about the next action. The series follows Penryn as she navigates post-apocalyptic Earth, which has now been invaded by angels.

8. Crash by Lisa McMann

This is a super quick but intense read. It follows Jules – your average Italian high schooler, who works at her parent’s pizza shop, argues with her two siblings, and avoids her family’s rivals. Then she starts seeing a vision. There’s a crash, and then, lots of body bags. What does it mean? And what can she do about it?

9. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

 

This book is great for fans of Twilight. Jessica’s life has been pretty normal so far. And then an exchange student/vampire shows up and turns her life upside down.

10. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This is an adorable young adult romance, and it’s my favorite in the Anna and the French Kiss series. (Lola… is second in the series, but it can easily be read out of order.) Lola is an eccentric designer with a passion for costumes, and Cricket is an inventor who lives next door, and who hasn’t been in Lola’s life for years. (It’s a romance, so I’m sure you can guess the rest. 🙂)

So that’s it! What books would you recommend to someone in a reading slump? Have you read any of the books above? Let me know!

❤️ Annette