Thank You Letter to My Favorite Authors

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Bre is a fashion and lifestyle blogger at The Queen Bre. She is a girl from the North with a heart for Lilly Pulitzer, shopping, and anything pink. She is also my twin sister.

 

To All My Favorite Authors—

Reading your books changed my life, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for all that you’ve done.

Thank you for giving me my best friends. They say that no matter how much time that you spend apart from your best friends, it will feel like nothing has changed when you get back together. That’s what I feel like when I open one of your books. Whether it’s been a few days or a few months or even a few years since I’ve your book, reading it again still makes me smile, laugh until I cry, or feel comforted.

Thank you for teaching me that I’m off to great places and that today is my day.

Thank you for giving me strong, female role models. Your books taught me that “I am smart, I am kind, I am important.” Katniss Everdeen taught me to fight for what’s right and to for what I believe in. Lola Nolan taught me to be myself, even if that means being different from everybody else. Mia Thermopolis taught me that anyone, even me, can be a princess.

Thank you for inspiring to write my own stories.

Thank you for helping me to travel our world and to enter new worlds. Whether I’m exploring Paris with Anna and St. Clair or fighting in the arena with Katniss and Peeta, your books take me to another time or place.

Thank you for challenging me to look at the world from someone else’s perspective.  

Thank you for helping me choose my future career. My love for reading your books turned into a love for encouraging other people to read your books which turned into me graduating college with a degree in English and with a Secondary Education certification. I will teach your books to my students with the hope that they will take away as much from your books as I did.

Love,

Bre

 

Teen Tuesday: Stealing Parker Review

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Unfortunately for me, Stealing Parker struck out quite a few times.

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally focuses on Parker Shelton, a former all-star softball player who now spends her time kissing as many boys as possible. Parker reluctantly agrees to be the baseball team’s manager, but her mood changes when the young new coach notices her. Soon, finds herself stepping out of the shadow of her mother’s scandal and into the spotlight of her own.

I think one of the major reasons I had trouble with this book was the focus on the student-teacher relationship. Even though I read the summary of this book before picking it up, I for some reason didn’t realize this part of the book’s plot. Even though Kenneally by no means encourages this type of relationship, it was tough for me to read. Beyond that, there were several aspects of this book that I did enjoy and several parts that I felt needed improvement.

I think Parker was a complex main characters who really grew throughout the novel. I understood her motivations for all her actions, even though her reasoning was flawed, and felt like she realistically reacted to situations for someone her age. I liked that through her small letters we got to see how she felt in past situations because it really helped me understand who she was as a person now. I also enjoyed seeing her relationships with her various family members change throughout the course of the book.

While I really liked Parker’s character, I think a few of the other characters fell flat. I wish that we could have seen more depths to Parker’s rival. She came across as very one-dimensional and I wanted more of an explanation of why she treated Parker the way that she did. I also wanted to see more dimensions to the coach, Brian. At first, he seemed more complex, but as the relationship progressed he became more flat and like a character in an after school special.

Another aspect of this book that I had mixed feelings towards was the romance aspect. I appreciated how Parker’s relationship with Will (better known as Corndog), progressed slowly throughout the book. However, sometimes his character seemed inconsistent to me and even though I tried, it was really hard to get past his nickname. This was pretty standard YA relationship to me, so it needed something to give it a little extra spark.

A couple books before I read Stealing Parker, I read an ARC of Game On by Michelle Smith that also is a YA contemporary centered around baseball (you can read my review here). I really liked how the environment influenced the characters and how baseball was a major player throughout the novel. In addition, the characters were well-developed and well suited to each other. When I read Stealing Parker, I couldn’t help but compare these two similar books. For me, the characters, the relationship, and the plot didn’t measure up to Game On, which I rate four out of five stars.

I enjoyed reading Stealing Parker, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite YA contemporary. However, I still do want to read more of Miranda Kenneally’s books that feature a different plot. Since this book was good, but not my favorite, I rate it three out of five stars.

ARC Review: Rush by Sara Bennett Wealer

rush-book

Some things are worth the wait, but you should rush to buy Rush by Sara Bennett Wealer for a realistic (but still dramatic) portrayal of the sorority recruitment process.

Rush follows three girls through the week of sorority recruitment. Maddie hopes to join the most prestigious sorority, Sigma Theta Kappa, to show up the people of her hometown. Imogen reluctantly signs up for her rush to please her mother, a former member of Sigma. Cass, a current member of Sigma, struggles with sorority life as she find herself caught between meeting Sigma’s high standards and her own values.

I think the strongest aspect of this book is the accurate portrayal of the rush process. In the author’s note, Wealer mentions that she was in a sorority (thankfully, much different than the one portrayed in the novel) and her experience on both sides of recruitment really show through. I’m in a sorority at my college and I noticed that in many movies and books, recruitment is portrayed as crazy house parties and dirty rushing. I like how Wealer shows the reality of sorority recruitment and the repercussions when rules aren’t followed.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed were the minor characters in the novel. I think the sorority president and a low-income sorority member were really interesting additions to the story. I loved how it gave the girls from the top sorority more personality than being Regina George clones. I actually wish we could have seen more of their perspectives within the novel. The only minor character I had problem with was Cass’s love interest. I felt he was too negative about her interests throughout the entire novel and his sudden change at the end was a little forced.

While there were aspects of this book that I enjoyed, there was also some room for improvement. While I enjoyed many of the minor characters, I felt it difficult to connect and sympathize with the three main characters. I found Maddie extremely annoying because she constantly stated how she looked more like “Sigma” material than the other girls and acted extremely mean when other girls were invited back to certain houses. Without giving away any spoilers, I will just say her behavior at the end made me completely dislike her as a character. As for Imogen, I know sorority life isn’t for everyone, but I thought her constant bashing of sororities was a little excessive and her frequent put-downs of “Park Avenue Princesses” were annoying. She hated sorority girls for acting better than everyone else, but she did the same thing. Out of the three main characters, I thought Cass was the most interesting and likable. I really liked how she stuck to her morals and remained loyal to her friends. However, I think the ending of her story line came across as a little too “Hollywood movie.”

While I think a book on rush is an interesting concept, it also has its drawbacks. Since the book only spans five days, you really don’t get to know the characters beyond the surface level. In addition, you get a -play-by-play of what happens everyday, which sometimes makes the book drag especially if you are already familiar with the recruitment process. I really wish that there could be another book or the book continued a little longer so I could see what happens to the characters after rush. A lot of changes happened right at the end of the book and I wish I had a little more time to see the resolution.

While I really loved the realistic quality and minor characters in this book, I was disappointed with the three main characters and the book’s ending. I give Rush three out of five stars.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should be Made into Movies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is movie freebie week. Recently, I’ve read a lot of books where I’ve said, “I could totally see this as a movie or Netflix series.” With so many children’s and young adult books being turned into movies, maybe we’ll see one of my choices on the big screen soon! Here are my choices for books that should be made into movies or Netflix series (any book with a review will be linked to the title):

1.) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane

Since this book is frequently recommended for fans of The Princess Bride, I think it would be a successful movie because it would attract a larger audience than just the fans of the book. Plus, it’s a unique and fun story that would differentiate itself from many other movies in Hollywood!

2.) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

With a large fan base, unique plot, and exciting story, The Lunar Chronicle has all the perfect elements to be the next YA movie franchise. The story would appeal to a large audience and also work for a lot of different merchandise!

3.) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Even though The Lightning Thief is already a movie, I think it would be the perfect Netflix series! I’ve never seen the movies, but I heard that they don’t do the book justice. A series on Netflix would help iron out the kinks from the movies, kind of like Netflix’s take on A Series of Unfortunate Events.

4.) The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

The Winner’s Curse has a lot of elements that would appeal to many different audiences. Romance? Check. Somewhat dystopian? Check. Battles and wits? Check.

5.) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)

I can definitely see the Rebel Belle series as a Disney Channel movie. The plot is fun, contains characters with big personalities, and intertwines a legend. It reminds me of a combination between Avalon High by Meg Cabot (which Disney turned into a movie) and Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.

6.) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

After I read We Were Liars, I thought it would definitely be a better book than movie. Movies with similar plot twists as We Were Liars are extremely popular right now, so it definitely would do well in theaters.

7.) Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

Jessica Darling’s It List was recently made into a movie, but I think it would be the perfect TV series! It reminds me of Ned’s Declassified, and more recently, 100 Things to do Before High School, so it definitely would be successful with fans of those shows.

8.) Secrets of My Hollywood Life series by Jen Calonita

Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #1)

Secrets of My Hollywood Life is a Hannah Montana-like story of a famous teen Soap Opera star who masquerades as a normal high school girl. I think this would either be a great Disney or Netflix series. There’s many books in this series which would give the writers a lot of material. Plus, it would really appeal to many Disney Channel viewers!

9.) Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys

Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys is another book that I think would make a great Disney Channel movie. Disney frequently releases shows and movies with large families and funny interactions between middle school and high school girls and boys. This book would be right up their alley!

10.) Airhead series by Meg Cabot

Airhead (Airhead, #1)

Airhead would also serve as a great Disney Channel or Netflix series. The plot has some serious elements or messages, but is fun and full of pop culture (typical Meg Cabot). I can imagine a lot of people who watch Disney Channel wanting to watch this series.

What book does you want to see turned into movies?

Thrift Store Book Haul #6

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Recently, I visited a few local thrift stores and Goodwills to find some good deals on some great books. Here’s what I found:

  • Twelve by Lauren Myracle

I remember seeing this series in stores and wanting to read them. I glad that I’m starting to find them in thrift stores so I can read them now!

  • The Cupcake Club: Peace, Love, and Cupcakes by Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk

I read the first few books in a similar series, The Cupcake Diaries, and was extremely disappointed because I love cupcakes! Hopefully, this series will leave a better taste in my mouth.

  • Dear Dumb Diary: Am I the Princess or the Frog? by Jim Benton

I also remember seeing these books in stores and always wanting to read them. I saw the Dear Dumb Diary movie and thought it was HILARIOUS, so hopefully I love the books just as much.

  • Alice: Starting with Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

I love Eric Carle books and they are perfect additions to my future classroom library.

  • Sandy Seal: A Tale of Sea Dogs by Suzanne Tate
  • Mary Manatee: A Tale of Sea Cows by Suzanne Tate
  • Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander

I remember doing a sample lesson plan on this book for my math methods class two years ago. I couldn’t pass this one up when I saw it in the thrift store!

  • Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

I loved the first Percy Jackson book, so I can’t wait to see how his next adventure plays out!

  • Amelia Bedelia First Day of School by Herman Parish
  • American Sisters: Crossing the Colorado Rockies by Laurie Lawlor
  • If you Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff

I LOVE Laura Numeroff’s books and dogs, so I’m glad I found a copy of this book in such good condition!

  • The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff

 

What deals have you gotten on books recently?

Election Day Reads

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Today, the United States elects a new President of the United States. Regardless of your political party or choice for president, we can all agree that there are some great books that celebrate our country! Here are three of my book choices for election day that either include some patriotic or political element (reviews will be linked the book title):

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

Judy Moody Declares Independence is one of my favorite Judy Moody books. Not only does Judy Moody learn some important American history, but she also matures a lot throughout this book! My favorite part of this book was learning about a female American hero seldom mentioned in history textbooks.

The Unexpected Everything

In The Unexpected Everything, Andie’s father is a politician under investigation for a scandal. Andie’s world turns upside down when her prized internship is stripped away and she must rebuild her relationship with her father over the summer.

  • All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

All-American Girl (All-American Girl, #1)

All-American Girl is a hilarious read perfect for Election Day. In All-American Girl, Samantha’s parents force her to attend art classes after trouble at school. When she skips class, she ends up saving the president’s life, becoming a national hero, and falling for the president’s son.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Added to my To-Be-Read List Lately

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books recently added to your TBR list. Here are my choices:

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless

I loved The Lunar Chronicles, so I have really high expectations for Heartless! This book is definitely towards the top of my TBR because Marissa Meyer does retellings in extremely creative ways.

  • The Fall of Candy Corn (Sweet Seasons #2) by Debbie Viguie

The Fall of Candy Corn (Sweet Seasons, #2)

I read the first book in this series, The Summer of Cotton Candy, and wasn’t that impressed. However, I would love to see how the park changes based on the season and I am curious to see if the main character grows.

  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

This book (and series) looks really promising from the description. It looks like it will have a lot of action and strategy, which I love to see in book. I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t fall into many tropes for the genre!

  • And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (The Conquerers Saga, #1)

Just from the summary, the plot of this book looks really unique, which I love! Similar to Three Dark Crowns, I hope the characters don’t fall into stereotypes for the genre.

  • Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

Shuffle, Repeat

When I saw that this book was recommended for fans of Stephanie Perkins, I was sold. The description–a boy and a girl driving to school everyday and fighting over music–reminded me of Just Listen, so I just had to add this book to my TBR.

  • Play On (Lewis Creek #1) by Michelle Smith

Play On (Lewis Creek, #1)

I actually read the second book in this series, Game On, this summer and really enjoyed it. There were a few characters referenced in the second book that played a larger role in the first book, so I would love to see what their experiences were in Lewis Creek!

  • Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

When I saw that this book was recommended for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Meg Cabot, I was sold. I love the idea of a character moving from New York City to a new country and dealing with school and family. I have a feeling this will be a really cute, fun read!

  • Interference by Kay Honeyman

Interference

This description of this book really reminds me of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, which I read this past summer and absolutely loved. In this book, a girl is forced to move because of her father’s political scandal and she must rebuild her life in a new town.

  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)

This book has a really interesting concept and I’ve heard great things about it. I love historical fiction and I think it’s really unique how this book takes a spin on history and contemplates what the world could be like if the Allies didn’t win World War II.

  • Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg

Just Another Girl

Elizabeth Eulberg’s book have been hit or miss for me. I loved The Lonely Hearts Club because it had a balance of humor and heart. However, I felt like many of her other books were more focused on the message than creating an enjoyable story. I’m curious to see if this book falls into the latter category since the description itself doesn’t tell much about the story, but the message it tries to send. This story is on my TBR list, however, because I want to see how well this book tackles the subject of girls hating on each other.

October Reading Wrap-Up

In October, I finally found the time in my busy college schedule to read some fun books! Here are all the books that I read in the month of October (if I’ve already posted a review of this book, the review will be linked to the title):

What was the best book that you read in October?

My Halloween Costumes


Tomorrow might be Halloween, but I started dressing up early this weekend at my college. Unlike many other colleges, Halloween is not that big of a deal. I made the most of my weekend, however, by dressing up in a costume at a campus-wide event and the cornmaze with my sorority.

On Friday night, I didn’t plan on attending the dance held at my college, but was dragged by some of my friends. I had to think of a quicky and easy costume to throw on at the last minute. I decided on a frat boy costume. Luckily, my sister is super preppy so I could borrow a lot of her clothes (you can check out her fashion blog, The Queen Bre, here!).


For my frat boy costume, I paired a white button down with pastel blue shorts. i completed the look with a Vineyard Vines hat, boat shoes, and gray socks.

For the corn maze, my sister and I decided to do matching costumes. After scrolling through Pinterest for HOURS, we decided to be aliens! I was really happy that it was around 70 degrees the day we went to the corn maze because I didn’t even need a jacket!

For our look, we decided to wear galaxy print leggings and black sweaters. Luckily, the day we went to the corn maze it was warm outside! We finished our looks with black combat boots, space buns, and sliver glitter hair spray.

Since this was my last Halloween as a student, I was really sad! Luckily, I really loved all of my costumes.

What will you be for Halloween this year?

Marissa Meyer Contest Update

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Recently, I entered Marissa Meyer’s latest content to design a crazy, Mad-Hatter inspired hat. To see how I created my hat, you can check out my first post about the contest. Even though I wasn’t one of the top three winners, I loved check out everyone’s crazy hat designs. Hats off, to Vanessa, Olivia, and Raegyn for your fabulous designs.

While I didn’t win one of the top three prizes, I was surprised to see an email from Marissa Meyer in my inbox one day. I figured that it would just be a thank you sent to all the people who entered her contest. Much to my surprise, it was an email telling me that I received an honorable mention for my design!


It was cool to see that one of my favorite authors really liked my design. What’s even cooler is that Marissa Meyer liked so many of the designs, that anyone who received an honorable mention will receive a swag bag in the mail.

Like any college student, I was really excited to get a notification that I had a package waiting for me in the mail room. I freaked out even more when I saw Marissa Meyer’s name on it!

Marissa Meyer sent me a ton of cute swag, most of it relating to one of my favorite series, the Lunar Chronicles! Here are some pictures of the swag thag I received:


For the complete list of winners and honorable mentions, check out Marissa Meyer’s blog post.