Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 


-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Payback it is...

Masterminds: Payback - Gordon Korman




Yes! I finished book 3 in the Masterminds series. This one was just as good as the first two. There is a part in the middle where I was like, wait it seems over but half the book is still left, then the action started again. There were some twists that young readers may not see coming.


There are even more impossible things in this book than the last one, but kids will love it even more because of the crazy, adventurous things the characters do. 


This is an enjoyable, thrilling adventure series with something for girls and boys both. Highly recommended to 4th & 5th graders, especially.

The thrilling adventure continues...

Masterminds: Criminal Destiny - Gordon Korman


I read the first book in this series, Masterminds a few years ago when it first came out and loved it. This book (#2) has been out for a while, but I never got around to reading it. Just this past week, I received book 3 in the mail from Amazon (thanks to my advanced pre-ordering skills). Then I realized that I must read book 2 so I could read book 3 and donate it to my school library. Another book I can hopefully convince the kids to read...


I won't give details because you should read the first book without knowing certain things (in my opinion). Suffice it to say I still love the characters and it is interesting to see them trying to survive outside the small town of Serenity. Facing the real world, in all its beauty and ugliness isn't easy for these kids, but they don't give up. Some of the things that happen are quite unbelievable and completely unrealistic. But, this is a book made for 4th to 8th graders, and it is perfect for them.



Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux, Jann Matlock, Mireille Ribiere


I read this with the serial reader app. I love how accessible it makes classic books. You get a small portion of the book each day, and before you know it... you're done. I even find myself reading ahead from time to time to see what happens next.


I never read this one before and I never even saw the musical. I listened to the music and loved it, but that was all.


This was a good story and I enjoyed reading it. The Opera Ghost is always a mystery, but the other characters are interesting - though not enough to really get attached to. I was on the edge of my seat at the end, waiting to see who would survive.



Becoming Naomi Leon - review

Becoming Naomi León - Pam Muñoz Ryan

One of her favorite sayings was that the good and the bad of any situation were sometimes the same.


My thoughts dived into a jumble in the middle of my mind, wrestled around until they were wadded into a fisted knot, and attached themselves to my brain like a burr matted in a long-haired dog.


I always thought the biggest problem in my life was my name, Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, but little did I know that it was the least of my troubles, or that someday I would live up to it.



When Naomi was 4 and her brother was 1, their mother left them with their grandmother. Seven years later, the mother (Skyla) shows up on their doorstep wanting to "get to know her children". But, she has other motives. A chain of events sends Naomi, Owen, and Gram on a trip to Mexico where Naomi discovers more about her Mexican heritage and finds something unexpected.


This is a lovely story. The characters are likable. I enjoyed reading about Naomi's journey and how she reasoned things out in her head. Her devotion to her brother is admirable. She doesn't let anyone stop her when she needs something. 


The book is culturally authentic and contains many examples of Spanish words and Mexican culture. Readers, especially girls, will enjoy reading about Naomi's determination and her adventures. The ending doesn't take the easy way out and is pretty realistic, as opposed to being too perfect and happy. 



3 ways to put quotes in the spotlight on your blog

Reblogged from Yodamom Finds her Force:

I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts

one might have beautifully expressed...

Marlene Dietrich

If you're a fan of quotes too let's have a look at several ways to highlight the precious words on your book blog.


1. Write a quote post

This type of post is one among five visible on the wooden bar on the top of your Dashboard. The quote post let you publish a quotation with a source and /or a book cover, you can also mark it as a review and add tags.



2. Add a blockquote in your text

In order to highlight the the words you cherish the most, make them stand out in your review or text post. Just mark the words and click the quotation mark on the top border of the editor box and the quote will receive a central placing in your writing. You can switch on/off the blockquote option for the paragraph any time.



3. Use the Quote Widget

If you've recently published a quote you adore make it more visible by using the quote widget. You can use the widget on your BookLikes blog page as well as on any other webpage you have.


To create a widget with your most recent quote post go to Goodies/Widgets (the main menu -> Goodies -> Widgets), find the Quote Widget spot, adjust the widget if necessary and copy the code.



If you wish to add the widget to your BookLikes blog, paste the code in the Widget Area in the customization tab (follow the instruction under the widget), and if you want to add it to your other page, just copy/paste the widget code into your other website's code.




What's your favorite quote? We think that the following ones are very powerful and worth remembering:


You are your best thing

Beloved, Toni Morrison


We were the people who were not in the papers.

We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print.

It gave us more freedom. 

We lived in the gaps between the stories.

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood



Let's share book love!

February was all about love, book love. But let's face it, in book lover's world the book affection lasts 24/7 all year long. If you've missed BookLikes bloggers book love stories, here is your chance to sneek peek into the pieces once again. Read all readers' testimonies and get the insights of book bloggers' reading preferences and favorite genres.


We'd love to read your Book Love Story! Tell the world why you love reading books and we'll be more than happy to spread the word, feature and interview you on the BookLikes blog! Remember to add why I love tag to your post :) continue reading

Resistance - Book 1

Resistance - Carla Jablonski, Leland Purvis, Hilary Sycamore


This graphic novel gives us a look at the French Resistance during World War II, and how the war affected everyone, including children. The resistance was a complicated thing, but all efforts were crucial in the fight.


This story centers on kids who are naive at first, but gradually realize how dangerous the war is and how much it affects their lives and the people they love.


I enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading the sequel. I felt for the kids and was as nervous as they were around the soldiers.


Great graphic novel for middle school aged kids. My son (8th grader) liked it and brought it home so I could read it too.

Something in Between - Melissa  de la Cruz


Danny and Isko are pretty much 100 percent American. It’s as if my parents are first-generation immigrants and they’re second generation. But I’m stuck somewhere between both of them, trying to figure out how to help them understand each other.


I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong? I’m not American. I’m not a legal resident. I don’t even have a green card.

I’m nothing. Nobody.



Jasmine is a senior in high school. She is cheer captain, honor roll, volunteer and now a National Scholarship Award winner. The award includes four years of college tuition. Jasmine is so excited to tell her parents, but they don’t react as she expects. Turns out her parents’ work visas expired and they weren’t unable to get new ones. Instead of going back to the Philippines, her parents kept the family in the United States. They are all undocumented and Jasmine can’t accept the scholarship.


This was a touching story about how a young girl deals with finding out she is undocumented. Who can she tell? She is ashamed of her status, and now she can’t even go to college.


This was the third book I read for my multicultural issue paper. I enjoyed the story. Jasmine is a strong female character and she doesn’t give up.


Another good book for teens (and anyone) to read to help understand what undocumented children experience.

Creepy... and really gross

Trapped - Phil Gigante, Jack Kilborn


I listened to this book on audio, and while I didn't find it scary, it was definitely bloody and gory in a slasher film kind of way. 


Sara and Martin are guardians to six difficult, troubled, teenagers. They take them camping on an island that is supposedly deserted. But, surprise, the island is home to a doctor and his vicious creations. And they have no way to get off the island. These are city kids, and they are easily spooked, but we find out they have a good reason. The island is crawling with cannibals and worse...


The cannibals are scary, but also a bit silly - some of them carry forks and knives, and even salt shakers. So...


There are a few twists I didn't expect, and they were quite clever. But, the gross-out parts were a bit much for me.


This book was ok for me, but if you are a gore/slasher fan, then you will enjoy this one.

Secret Side of Empty - Review

The Secret Side of Empty - Maria E. Andreu


“How do you explain to someone that you are so horrible and useless that your own father despises you? I am so ashamed. I don’t want them to know because I know they’ll figure out what that means about me. The dirty, ugly outcast I really am.”


“… seventeen ways to say Illegal: Broken, Alone, Not allowed, Wrong, Trapped, Shunned, Unwanted, Not good enough, Apart, A secret, On the wrong side, Misplaced, A threat, A mistake, Voiceless, Unheard, and Still here anyway."


M.T. is a high school senior in New Jersey, brought here by her parents from Argentina as a baby, and her family is undocumented. Her father is abusive and her mother is too timid to do anything about it. M.T. is ashamed to tell even her best friend about her secrets.


This was a tough book to read. I hated to see M.T. so alone and suffering. Then again, this book tackles a lot of issues. She is bright and wants to go to college, but she can't because she is undocumented. Her father abuses her. She contemplates suicide and tries drugs and alcohol.


This is the second book I read for my multicultural issue paper. Unlike Alma in the first book (Dream Things True), M.T. doesn't have a supportive community who shares her concerns about being illegal. M.T. has been in the United States her entire life. She and her brother don't know any other life. She faces the same issues of insecurity and worries about acceptance that any other teen faces, but she is also dealing with an abusive father and being illegal.


This is another good book for teens to read. I think they will enjoy the story and along the way, they may find a tolerance they didn't know they had. It is hard when all the media and news you see is telling you to think one thing or another. This book may help teens develop their own thoughts on the situation.


"The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources -- because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples."
Something in Between - Melissa  de la Cruz



-- Lyndon B. Johnson


(Chapter 3 quote)

"It was my father who taught us that an immigrant must work twice as hard as anybody else, that he must never give up."
Something in Between - Melissa  de la Cruz



--Zinedine Zidane


(Chapter 2 Quote)

Dream Things True

Dream Things True - Marie F. Marquardt


Alma thought back to the day she learned that she wasn’t in status – that she was a person who was here but not welcome, embedded in this place, but also somehow apart from it.


None of it mattered. None of it mattered because she was, as she had always known, one of the kids stuck in between.



Alma is a junior in high school, brilliant, with a bright future, but her family is undocumented and the threat of ICE is always looming. Alma wants to tell her new boyfriend, Evan, but she is ashamed, and his uncle is pushing for a crackdown on illegal immigrants.


I read this book for my multicultural lit class. Alma is a feisty girl and I like her. Her life is difficult, but she has a large community supporting her. Alma’s parents just wanted to give her and her brother a better life, and they took a big chance by coming to the United States. This a good example of perseverance in a difficult situation. And the ending wasn't oversimplified.


This is a good book for teens to read. It may help them sympathize with the plight of illegal immigrants. Also, teens will see that the characters are just like them and experience similar feelings. I read three books on this issue for an essay I did for class. In all three books, the main characters dealt with shame and feelings of not belonging anywhere. 


A good multicultural book for anyone to read, especially now.

"The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here."
Something in Between - Melissa  de la Cruz



- Chuck Palahniuk, Choke


Found in Something in Between, along with many other immigrant-related quotes

Another annoying narrator...

The Remains - Vincent Zandri


Just meh....


The story was ok. A young girl and her twin sister experience and trauma and decide not to tell anyone. Thirty years later, the still living sister is confronted by reminders of the event. Is the monster coming back?


I found the story a bit boring and predictable. There were moments that I liked, but not enough to make the book exciting.


This is the second audiobook that I feel was hurt by the narrator. For some reason, the voice sounded almost computerized. It wasn't, but some of the words were so stilted that I had to check to be sure. She definitely portrayed emotion, but every time she said the word, "cabriolet" (as in the Volkswagen car), it sounded very strange. Maybe I'm just being picky, or (more likely) I have been spoiled after listening to Kate Mulgrew perform two Joe Hill books brilliantly. Oh well, her performances are amazing and so worth it.

American Born Chinese review

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang



I read this book for my grad school multicultural lit class.


This book includes three stories that are interconnected. I have to admit that the first time I read it, I thought the stories were separate until the end. I went back and read it a second time so I could experience it as it was meant to be read. 


It is funny and even silly at times, but the message to be true to yourself shines through. It shows how an outsider can feel compelled to change themselves to fit in with everyone else. But that the most important thing is to be who you are.


Fun graphic novel suitable for middle grade and up.

Exciting Middle Grade series!!

Catalyst - S.J. Kincaid


I love this series. World War III played out in space by teenagers with computers in their heads. Evil corporations and men that control the food, the water, and the war. The teens experience typical teen angst, in addition to the intrigue and dangers of being pawns in a war.


This final book in the series takes a bit of a turn, but I loved it!


Read this series or encourage your 5th graders and up to read it!!

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Reading is my Escape has read 6 books toward her goal of 100 books.

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