Accelerated Reader Tests, or AR Tests, was the reading program used by my elementary school and middle school to get us reading. We were tested, and based on our reading comprehension in these tests told what books to read that would increase our reading level, and then every month we were expected to take tests on these books and gain points.
The Accelerated Reader Banner
Looking back on this it seems like a very convoluted way to instill a love of reading in students, a love that if it wasn’t there already this system didn’t seem to create. But that is neither here nor there. This is a mild call-out post to Accelerated Reader and the way that it was treated as some insane points based way to turn kids into readers while I was in grade school (2000-2008), and how it never really seemed to succeed in the way that any concerned party wanted them to. Things may have changed in the years since I was subjected to AR. Maybe there is a new program, maybe they’ve decided to actually do away with this way of encouraging kids to read, I mean YA-books are certainly more interesting than they were when I was looking for things to read. So hopefully things have become better? Either way, here is my story of AR Tests and how the system never seemed to work for anyone
This review is going to end up being another “this book was published in 2011 and I AM SO MAD AT MYSELF FOR NOT READING OYEyemi’s work sooner” kind of a review. So, you’ve all been warned ahead of time.
Mr. Fox is a novel that weaves in and out of itself, it tells the drama that is Mr. St John Fox, Daphne Fox, and Mary Foxe’s “love triangle,” with brief fable-like interludes that examine the ins and outs of entering relationships, failing relationships, and what draws people together. St. John Fox is an author who writes fairy tales that end with the death of the heroine. Daphne Fox is his very real wife, that, as the novel progresses, we discover isn’t secure in her relationship with St. John or in who is as an individual. Mary Foxe is St. John Fox’s muse, and she has grown tired of the heroine always dying in his stories and has taken on a physical form.
I suppose I should start this review by stating that I received a galley of this anthology from World Weaver Press on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This anthology will be published on 10/3/2017.
SonOfAWitch! is an anthology of six short stories edited by Trish Thompson. When I saw the cover and read the description of this book, I was excited. Witches doing fun things is a perfect way to set the mood for fall when you’re struggling to get into the fall spirit due to global warming. Each story in this collection focuses on a spell gone wrong and the disastrous effects that can have on the witch that cast it or the people surrounding them.
I know, I know, it’s been about a month since I posted anything. I swear I’m still reading things and having thoughts on them, it’s just been a busy month (I moved to Kentucky and started a new internship! So good busy, but kind of crazy) and I did not anticipate things getting tough with scheduling when I was scheduling posts out in August.
On a book photo shoot for my internship, we encountered this little guy working with some lavender
I’ve just gotten around to finishing some review posts and they should be going live in the next few weeks, and then I’m gathering information on the Accelerated Reader Program used in grade schools in an attempt to write something about it.
If you want to keep up with what I’m doing and seeing pictures of books I’m reading follow me on Instagram here and happy reading!
I got this guy at a flea market here in Kentucky and now they sits next to my computer at work. I call them Spiky Guy
When Dimple Met Rishi cover
When Dimple Met Rishi is YA romantic comedy at it’s finest. The story follows Dimple Shah—a recent high school grad who is excited to start the web-development program at Stanford and to move away from her family and her mother’s obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband”— and Rishi Patel— a hopeless romantic, who is attending MIT in the fall to continue his father’s business, and follows the traditions of his family–through a six week summer program for app-development. Dimple and Rishi’s parents have decided that the two teenagers would be perfect for one another, and they are each attending this camp to meet. Their story starts as many romcoms do with a few spilled drinks, or one drink spilled forcefully over a person’s head… Menon moves the pair through all the trials of young summer love in a fast paced and fun way while letting her characters hold onto who they are at their cores.
I’m not even going to wait until after the cut to say that every single one of you should go get this book and read it. I’ll, of course, tell you more specifically why you should read it at the end of this blog post but, after accidentally reading parts of a few one-star reviews on Goodreads, and hearing some of the critics that were going around about this book a few months ago, I want to encourage you to get this book, to read it, and — I hope my judgements are right and that most people would love this book if given the chance — love it.
Reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was the most fun I’ve had reading in quite a while. It reminded me what I love about YA fiction and well following Monty, Percy, and Felicity around their Grand Tour on the Continent in the eighteenth century is full of romance, mystery, and pirates—excuse me privateers–and was a blast and a half. Lee made the eighteenth century (the 1700s) accessible, and each of the characters feels like full people.
And before the cut, I need to mention that Monty is very bisexual, and this is not a spoiler because from the get he tells us how in love with Percy he is and later we see him go on jaunts with the ladies. Monty is bisexual! And while that term is not ever used Lee explains at the end of the book that that choice was because the term didn’t exist until the 1800s, and so I can respect that decision. But we’ve got a bi-character ladies and gents, and my bisexual-ass is extra excited about it.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled reviewing, under the cut of course.
Cover of Gork, the Teenage Dragon
This novel follows Gork a teenage dragon as he attempts to woo the “luscious chick” Runcita to be his Queen for the EggHarvest, a tradition for teenage dragons before they leave to colonize their own planet to continue the domination of dragon-kind over the rest of the galaxy. Moments of this book were a ton of fun, learning about dragon history from a teenage dragon who just wants to set the record straight was a blast, the tone hit the right amount of disappointment and snark to make a believable teenager: “The most offensive book out there about us dragons is the lunatic ravings of a man-creature that goes by the name of Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien” (4). The world that Hudson has built is fascinating and all encompassing, throughout Gork’s tale he gives us flashbacks to important moments in dragon history. This world creation was the strongest thing about this novel.
Spoilers under the cut
Cover of Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik’s novel Uprooted reads like a Fairy Tale. It follows Agnieszka, who loves her home despite the corruption of the Wood that surrounds it. The people of her village and within the surrounding valley give a young woman to the “Dragon” (human wizard, not a large reptile) as a tribute for their protection from the Wood. Everyone knows that her friend Kasia will be taken, that is until the day of the choosing when he instead takes Agnieszka. The story follows her and the Dragon as they work to protect the kingdom and wage war against the growing Wood. The world created by Novik is all encompassing, and I was most drawn to her depiction of natural places overtaking man-made ones with a vengeance.
SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT
Cover of the Bedlam Stacks
Bedlam Stacks is the second novel by Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I received this galley at Winter Institute 2017 in Minneapolis, and the final book will be released August 1, 2017. It follows injured, ex-East India Company smuggler, Merrick Tremayne as he looks for another adventure while trapped at his home in Cornwall, England. The India Office recruits him to fetch quinine, a treatment for malaria, from deep within Peru. He knows this is a bad idea, but accepts in a last-ditch effort to leave his home and the plotting of his brother to send him into service of the church. He heads off and ends up at a village on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line separates the village from the forest. “Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock” he must work to separate fact from fiction, while earning the trust of the village and more importantly Raphael, a young priest, and entering the woods to get the quinine for the East India Company.
My bookshelves when I started, the shelves are double stacked and each drawer is full to bursting with books
Since graduating college I’ve been living in a strange in-between, internships and part-time jobs to afford rent in cheap apartments, living in places for four months at a time hoping that something turns into a real actual full-time job or at least something that will let me move myself and all of my books out of my Dad’s house. I am currently spending a month in the in-between place that is my childhood bedroom, the walls are purple and there are books in every drawer of my armoire and double-stacked on the shelves in the armoire, and filling my bookshelf, not to mention the books that I brought back in crates from my most recent apartment.