Thursday, August 31, 2017

[BOOK REVIEW] Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg

Title:  Two Bad Ants

Author:  Chris Van Allsburg

Genre:  Animals / Insects / Community / Obedience / Children's 

Year Published: 1988

Year Read:  2009

 Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Dangerous Situations)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“Two Bad Ants” is a unique little book by Chris Van Allsburg, author of “Jumanji” about how two ants learn the hard way about the consequences of disobeying your elders.  “Two Bad Ants” is definitely a book about danger that will excite children for a long time. 

Chris Van Allsburg has done a terrific job with both the illustrations and the story as he makes the story as dramatic as he can.  Chris Van Allsburg’s story is exciting and intense at the same time as he makes it seem that the story is being told from an ant’s point of view as everything that the two ants encounter are monstrous in size compared to them.  Also, Chris Van Allsburg does an excellent job with detailing the theme of this story about the consequences of being disobedient and how important the comforts of home are.  Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations are different from his other books as he illustrates everything with bold black linings including the ants and the man.  

Parents should know that there are many intense scenes in this book that involves the two ants being thrown into dangerous situations such as almost drowning in the coffee and almost being cooked in the toaster.  Parents might want to read this book before they show it to their children and also they should take some time to talk about the dangerous situations that the ants get into and what the consequences of being disobedient towards your elders can lead you to.  Also, parents may need to explain to children about the dangers of being in the outside world by yourself and how their children must prepare themselves for anything that might happen in the outside world. 

“Two Bad Ants” is a great cautionary tale about the importance of being obedient towards your parents or your elders and how one must prepare themselves for the dangers that awaits them in the outside world.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the intense scenes of the ants getting into danger.

* 1990 Virginia Reader's Choice for Primary
* 1991 Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

[BOOK REVIEW] Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title:  Made You Up

Author:  Francesca Zappia

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Mental Health

Year Published: 2015

Number of Pages: 428

Date Read: 

Publisher:   Greenwillow Books

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Strong Language)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository

“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.” 

For many years now, I have been hearing many good things about Francesca Zappia’s book “Made You Up” and for a long time, I had wanted to check this book out and see what all the excitement was about.  So, when I finally got around to reading “Made You Up” by Francesca Zappia, I was seriously on cloud nine after finishing this book, because this was seriously one of the most unique and awesome books I had ever read!

Alex Ridgemont is just your average girl trying to make it into college and get through the tough trials of high school, except for one thing:  she has schizophrenia and is prone to seeing things that do not really exist and usually becomes extremely panicked whenever these delusions pop up.  However, despite Alex having schizophrenia, she does not let that get in her way of trying to live a normal life such as maintaining a job and going out with her friends.  One day however, Alex meets up with a mysterious and intimidating boy named Miles Richter and she believes that he may be the boy she met when she was younger.  However, Alex thought that the mysterious boy she met when she was younger was a part of her hallucinations and she tries to figure out if Miles is real or not.

Wow…just wow… This novel was simply amazing!  I just cannot get over the romantic, mysterious and intensifying tone of this novel!  Francesca Zappia’s writing is both witty and intense at the same time as I got immersed into the mystery plot of the story that involves Principal McCoy’s secret dealings within the school and also trying to figure out what events is Alex hallucinating and what events are actually real.  I also loved the way that Francesca Zappia explored schizophrenia through Alex’s character as we get to see firsthand how schizophrenia works and how it affects the people who have it and we get to see Alex struggle with her condition as she is trying to distinguish between reality and fantasy and how she feels so conflicted because of this.  I was also shocked by the huge twist that happens in the plot towards the end of the story as I was thrown off by this revelation and it took me quite by surprise!  But probably the best part of this story were the characters themselves!  I really enjoyed the witty bantering going on between Alex and Miles as they constantly bicker with each other, but they really understand each other’s situations and they try to be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation gets.  I also liked the fact that both Miles and Alex have so much interest in world history that the scenes where they are reciting certain parts from history, especially World War II with such ease, are truly adorable to read through!   I really enjoyed Alex herself as a character because she represents the conditions of having schizophrenia and I like the fact that despite her occasional temper tantrums, Alex always tries to look on the bright side of things and tries to live a normal life, despite her condition, which is extremely uplifting!  Now, Miles is probably my most favorite character in this book since he also has a condition where he cannot distinguish emotions from other people and tends to act rude towards other people, because he does not understand about how he affects other people.  I just loved the fact that despite arguing with Alex through most of the book, Miles really does care about Alex and he is always trying to be there for Alex during her rough moments and seems to really understand Alex’s condition.

For anyone who does not like strong language, this novel has a surprising amount of strong language for a young adult novel, including words like the “s” word and the “f” word.

Overall, “Made You Up” is seriously one of the best books about mental illness that I had ever read and I cannot wait to read more of Francesca Zappia’s other works!

* 2015 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Debut Goodreads Author and for Young Adult Fiction
* 2017 Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee

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Waiting on Wednesday #54: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

Hello everyone! "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and the purpose of this event is that we spotlight upcoming releases of books that we are excited for!  This will also tie into Wishful Ending's Can't Wait Wednesday post!

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Title:  The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Author:  Leigh Bardugo
Expected Publication Date:  September 26th, 2017

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

I have always loved reading folktales and fairy tales and having a collection of tales that are based off of various myths and folklore is definitely right up my alley!

So, what upcoming books are you looking forward to?  Please respond below!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teaser Tuesday #11: What is Real?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia of The Purple Booker.  Anyone can play along! Just 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!

Title: Made You Up

Author:  Francesca Zappia

Year Published: 2015

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Reading Level:  Young Adult

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. 

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

“Our neighbors turned to stare at us, because Miles Richter laughing was one of those things that the Mayans had predicted would signal the end of the world. He wasn't particularly loud about it, but it was Miles laughing, a sound no mortal had ever heard before.” 
I'm really loving this book so far and I'm that close to finishing it for today!  I can't wait to see how this story will end!

Do you have a book that you are currently reading that you would like to show to everyone else?  Please feel free to post your Teaser Tuesday in the comments below and I'll check them out! 

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Monday Review #2: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Hello everyone! I just joined this new meme called "The Monday Review" which is hosted by The Caramel Files and basically the goal of this meme is to link up your favorite book reviews and the links include reviews that were from the past week, month, year, whichever, as long as it's your favorite review!

Another one of my highest rated reviews on Goodreads, I really enjoyed this review because I just loved all the characters in this story and this review really allowed me to express my love for the characters, especially the main male lead, Dimitri Belikov!

Bout of Books 20 Wrap Up Post!

**This is the overall list for the challenges offered during Bout of Books 20. Make sure you check the blog each day of the read-a-thon for instructions and details on how to complete the daily challenges**

Day 1 (Monday, August 21, 2017): Introduce Yourself #insixwords Challenge

Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 0
Notes:  I haven't been able to read anything today since I was too busy preparing for the eclipse (which was awesome)!!!

Day 2 (Tuesday, August 22, 2017): Synopsis Rewrite Challenge

Books Read: 1 (Made You Up by Francesca Zappia)
Pages Read: 70 pages (pages 110 -180)
Notes:  YAY! I've managed to read in a good number of pages in this book!  I'm really getting into this book and I can't wait to see what happens between Alex and Miles!

Day 3 (Wednesday, August 23, 2017): Book Spine Rainbow Challenge

Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 0
Notes:  Unfortunately, I didn't get any reading done today since we were celebrating my mom's birthday and we were watching movies all day!  Hopefully, I'll read some more pages tomorrow!

Day 4 (Thursday, August 24, 2017): If you like this, try that Challenge

Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 80 pages (pages 180 - 260)
Notes:  Yay! I've read more pages today than I did the other day! I'm really reading through this book! It's just so interesting in not only seeing the growing relationship between Miles and Alex, but also the mystery with Principal McCoy and Celia, the head cheerleader!
Challenge: If you like Lisa Kleypas's works, then try Julia Quinn's works!

Day 5 (Friday, August 25, 2017): Leave a Book Review Challenge

Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 0

Day 6 (Saturday, August 26, 2017): Love to Hate Challenge

Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 0

Day 7 (Sunday, August 27, 2017): FREE DAY!

Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 58 pages (pages 260 - 318)  
Notes:  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish this book for this challenge and that was mostly because I was at the Soda City Comic Con for most of the weekend, so I didn't have anytime to read!  

Overall, I haven't been able to get much reading done this week due to me attending a comic con convention this weekend.

If you want to learn more about my adventures at the Soda City Comic Con, check out the photos HERE.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

☀Daily Book Chat #15: ☀ My Trip to the Soda City Comic Con!

 Hello everyone! Welcome to my  ☀Daily Book Chat☀ where I do some SERIOUS discussions that fellow book fans will get a kick out of and relate their thoughts about the subject to other book fans!

Today's discussion question is "My Trip to the Soda City Comic Con!"


Wait a minute....

What does this have to do with books?

Actually, it partially has to do with books since I did bought some books from the convention, which I will proudly show off in a few minutes.  But for the most part, it mostly deals with the different places I went to during the convention....

And I just had to tell the WHOLE WORLD  about my experience at Soda City Comic Con because I just had the TIME OF MY LIFE there!!!

So, here are some pretty photos from the convention that I wanted to show off and the stories behind these photos!

1.  Going to the Soda City Comic Con!

When we first got to the comic con on Saturday morning, the place was PACKED!  It was quite difficult getting around the inside of the building since there were hoards of people blocking the hallways (as you can see in the photo above, and it was much more crowded than that).  There were even times where I had to skip a certain venue because there were too many people standing at the venue and I often had to come back later once the crowd settled down!

2.  Me and Supergirl!

Okay, okay.  So, she wasn't the REAL Supergirl, but you have to admit that it was fun standing next to a cut out figure of Supergirl!

3.  Move Over Supergirl!

So, since I've taken a picture with the (photo-realistic) Supergirl, I just had to have my picture taken with the (photo-realistic) Flash!

4.  Hey Jason!

One of the cosplayers was dressed up as Jason and I just had to take this pic (he even did a little pose for me)!

5.  The Superhero Cosplayers!

Oh my god!  I just about died when I took this photo!  All of the cosplayers had my favorite Superheroes (Spiderman, Batman, Star Lord, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn) all standing together in one photo!  I really need to cosplay next year!

6.  Doctor Who?

YAY!!! I'm inside Doctor Who's famous telephone booth!

7.  Star Wars Robot keeps following me!

Awww....they had their little Star Wars robot follow me around!

8. Escape Plan!

Me and my sister decided to play this new game called "Escape Plan," where you're in an imaginary stimulation where you are given some clues and you have to figure out the meaning of the clues for the mission before time runs out!  We had a really fun time and me and my sister managed to win the game TWO TIMES in a row!

9.  Comic Book Swag Time!

Now, is where I head to get some good old comic book goodies from this Comic Con!

10.  Good old Marvel vs. Capcom!

Even though I was tempted to play this old school Arcade game, I decided that it was better to just take a picture of this classic!

11.  Awesome art display!!!

This was an awesome display of some artwork of Superhero characters.  I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to grab one of these, but there's just too many other comic book GOODIES that I just had to choose over this display!

12.  Comics, Comics, Comics Everywhere!

Oh man!  There were so many awesome comics in here that I was tempted to buy the WHOLE thing (if possible)!  But, you can only choose one at a time!

13.  My Lovely Little Pops!

Look at all of those beautiful FUNKO POPS!  I'm a huge Funko Pop collector, but I only got one Funko Pop and that was of Colossus from the X-Men.  Speaking of Colossus from the X-Men...

14.  Colossus Statue...LOVE!!!

I'm a huge fan of Colossus from the X-Men and when I saw this statue, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to HAVE IT!  Of course, judging by the price on this thing, you can already tell that I didn't get this awesome statue.  :(

15.  More X-Men Statues?  LOVE!!!

And of course, there were other X-Men statues up there, but of course, the prices on these things prevented me from getting them!


So, apart from exploring the Comic Book Swag center, I also been to a couple of panels and they were AWESOME!!!

First up, me and my sister went to the Walking Dead panel where we met up with actors W.F. Bell and Tommy Hughes and we had a blast at that panel!  We even took some pictures and got the actors' autographs in the process!

Next panel we went to was the Manga and Anime Go to Hollywood where the author Northrop Davis talks about his book and his experience with anime and manga.  It was quite an educational and entertaining experience!

We also went to another panel on Sunday called "Anniversary" and it's supposed to be a new horror film that is being film in South Carolina and I'm really excited for this!


Of course, I had to show off all the beautiful stuff I got from the Comic Con and of course, I got a lot of GOOD and AWESOME things!

Here are some awesome bookmarks I got from the comic con and of course, I had to get Sonic the Hedgehog, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Supergirl and Kitty Pryde and Colossus because they are my favorite characters; and they would be awesome characters to look at while I get my reading on!

I had also gotten some new comic books from the comic con and I'm most excited for Afterlife with Archie and Spider Gwen!

Just look at this beautiful spread of autographs I got from a good majority of artists at the con (including an autograph from one of the actors from "The Walking Dead")!

And last, but not least for all you book lovers, I got me some nice good reads for the year that I'm hoping to dive into as soon as possible!

Well, that's my trip to the Soda City Comic Con in South Carolina (a lot of pics, huh)?  I had a REALLY fun time and I REALLY hope to go back again next year to see what other LOVELY surprises awaits me at the next outing! always everybody: