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Playing Catch-Up

Whew, it’s been quite a week! I just started classwork for a Reading Endorsement through my school district so I can finally do what I was born to do– be a reading teacher. As a result, I’ve read hundreds of pages this week… of textbooks… booo!

Today, I shall play catch-up on the blog and do the memes I missed in additon to giving an update of what I’m reading. You can expect a review or two on Sunday!

So, let’s go.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This Monday I was in the middle of “The Night Circus” by Erin Morganstern. Shockingly enough, I really wasn’t thrilled with this book. But, more to come in my review on Sunday… {ooh, anticipation!}

Top Ten Tuesday!

This week’s list is the Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also a Fictional Character. Um, I don’t need to be a fictional character to crush on these “people” but let’s run with it.

1. Ronald Weasley: Ron’s always been my go-to guy… funny, goofy, not super aware of how good looking he is, and definitely kind-hearted.

2. Peeta Mellark: He’s a baker and good at decorating cakes. I mean, DUH.

3. Finnick Odair: Can I use “DUH” again as a reason? No? Okay, fine. Finnick is a typical sexy “bad boy” with a heartwrenching back story. LOVE IT. LET ME FIX YOU.

4.  Gilbert Blythe: Anne of Green Gables is one lucky girl. Gilbert is the childhood sweetheart type that I’ve had a crush on since my mom read me the first book when I was in elementary school.

5. Cas Lowood (Anna Dressed in Blood): Cas is a ghost hunter. Pretty cool. He’s funny, sarcastic, snarky, and pretty much my husband IRL.

6. Matthew de Clairmont (A Discovery of Witches): Matthew and I go back and forth. He is that high school boyfriend that you have issues with (“let me do my own thing, Matt!”) but that you can’t help but love. Plus, he’s a vampire. Whoops- spoilers!

… I can’t believe it but that’s all I’ve got, folks. I’m pretty pick about my men and these are the top 6 that made the {current} cut.

Still with me, dear reader? Okay, good. I’d do a Booking Through Thursday post but didn’t like the topic for the week so Imma skip it.

What I Finished This Week: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

What I’m Currently Reading: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

I think I’ll end it here for now. Like I said, look for a review on Sunday.

And, I’d be a terrible person if I didn’t share: the top 1,000 NOOK books are 50% right now. It’s Friday, you just got paid, right? I’m an economics teacher and I’m here to impart some wisdom — always pay yourself first. That means, pay yourself in books. GO GO GO!

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Review: Entwined

Author: Heather Dixon
Series: N/A
Publishing: March 29, 2011/ Greenwillow Books/472 pages
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Classroom shelfability: Yes
Rating: 3 Eggs!Summary (from GoodReads): Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Thoughts: Before I get started I need to make it clear that the 12 Dancing Princesses is my all-time favorite fairy tale. I love finding books that retell the story in a different light but usually find myself disappointed with the retold versions. I felt pretty underwhelmed by this book. Perhaps I hold 12 Dancing Princesses spin-offs at too high a standard or just assume I’m going to adore them and don’t… Either way, this turned out to just be an average read for me.

First: hot dayyummm, that cover is SWOON WORTHY. I love it!

To be fair, there were a few really good things I liked. I thought the characterization of the king was WONDERFUL. He really made the book for me and I loved watching the girls’ relationship with their father change.

I also really enjoyed the concept of hidden passageways, swearing on silver, and those adorable sugar tongs. In addition, Dixon is very skilled at description writing- there are some very beautiful pictures tied up in her words! Her description of the forest was downright stunning.

What I didn’t like: the girls. For some reason, Azalea really was irritating to me. She was feisty which I appreciated but just didn’t strike me as the heroine Dixon was trying for. The rest of them? Pretty boring.

I usually don’t have a hard time with suspending disbelief but I had a hard time believing everyone was a-okay with the final, VERY MAGICAL part of the book. I know that our main characters were aware of magic but for some reason the fact that all of the other characters were cool with (spoiler) girls being trapped in mirrors just felt not believable to me. I feel like Dixon needed to clear up whether or not everyone was aware that magic still existed or not. But, alas, I am not an author.

Keeper was just okay to me. He could’ve been creepier and I was sometimes unclear what was actually happening at his soirees.. were other “dancers” there? Speaking of dancing, the girls absolute adoration of dancing got a little too involved for my taste. In my mind, just because the book is based on dancing doesn’t mean the characters have to be obsessed with it. But, again, see comment: I am not an author.

Overall, I just felt a little let down. Dixon weaves a beautiful, somewhat boring story.  Many people describe her writing as relaxing but it made me more sleepy than anything. The plot was fairly predictable (I knew exactly who Lea, Bram, and Clover were going to marry when their respective partners were introduced). That said, there were some really nice, new elements that she explored.

Like I said, maybe it’s my affinity for this fairy tale that always makes me score re-tellings lower than they probably should be. I think many people would enjoy this book (that cover is gorgeous!!) and it most certainly has classroom shelfability.


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Review: Switched

Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: Trylle Series #1
Publishing: July 12, 2010/ CreateSpace/304 pages
Format Read: e-book
Source: NOOK LendME
Classroom shelfability: Yes
Rating: 5 Eggs!Summary (from GoodReads): When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

My Thoughts: First things first.. I LOVED this book. I wasn’t expecting to. I was browsing a friend’s NOOK LendMe items and thought the cover looked pretty. I borrowed it and literally could not put it down.I love Amanda Hocking’s style. She mixes in the right balance of descriptions, with accurate feelings that you can relate to, and ties it all together with quality writing that keeps you intriguedNext thing I adored: TROLLS. Guys, this book was about TROLLS. I love it. I have not stumbled across any books that portray trolls in any type of modern or fresh light. But this book delivered. I was fascinated by the concept of Changelings and Trylle society. I loved the Hocking stayed true to some of the troll stereotypes (love for money) but expanded the “culture” and took them out from underneath the bridge.Wendy was funny and spunky– all things an MC should be, in my opinion. I felt empathy for her. Finn, while seemingly wonderful, left me a little underwhelmed but no matter. Rhys, Elora, Willa, and Tove– all amazing and I cannot wait to read Trylle #s 2 and 3.

All in all, this is a refreshing YA book that plays up a common story line (awkward girl doesn’t know she’s a princess) in all the right ways. I think all YA/fantasy lovers would enjoy this book as would my students. 5 eggs all around!!