Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Kid who Ran for President by Dan Gutman

So, just in time for the election in the coming weeks I will be highlighting some of my favorite election-based novels. Whether it be for student council, or in this case, the actual president.

Oh, and just a note, I've been thinking about it, and I've decided to adopt a method other bloggers have been using and using the good reads summary. It's mostly because since my summary is unique, other people could plagiarize for their class assignments, and frankly I just don't want to get caught up in that. Most likely, I will be summarizing myself for books that I maybe receive from marketers, mainly so you can fully grasp parts of the book the "general" summary doesn't give.

Summary: Goodreads: "Just in time for election season, Dan Gutman 's hugely popular THE KID WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT is back. Humor, adventure, and excitement will draw kids into the world of elections and politics.

"Hi! My name is Judson Moon. I'm 12 years old and I'm running for President of the YOU-nited States."

So begins this fast-paced, funny, and surprising account of a boy's run for the Oval Office in the year 2000. Under the tutelage of Lane, his brainy friend and self-appointed campaign manager, the affable sixth-grader from Madison, Wisconsin, takes on the Democrats and Republicans as a Third Party candidate who can make waves. "Grown-ups have had the last one thousand years to mess up the world," Judd tells a reporter. "Now it's our turn."

What I liked: To sum up, it was funny yet informative at the same time. I mean, who has ever even thought about a twelve-year-old running for president? But Dan Gutman made it work. With the help of Lane, he truly brought the story to life, incorporating political aspects a kid like Judson wouldn't understand without Lane. The story actually taught me quite a bit about how candidates get nominated. I didn't know you had to petition to be put up on the ballot. There's a lot of political information which was woven into the plot line beautifully. I've always loved Dan Gutman's work, and this book was, as expected, exceptionally good.

What I Didn't Like: So, if you've been paying attention to the blog, you may have noticed last week's book review on the Lawn Boy series. One of the things I didn't like about that series was the tremendous amount of luck Lawn Boy had, and this is one of the reasons why I didn't like this book. I mean, to even get on the ballot, they had to convince two thousand people to sign the ballot. And then they got kids to boycott vegetables by saying they're going to abolish homework. I mean, I was willing to give the book a little slack because it would be tough to write a book based on this otherwise, but at times it got pretty insane.

Rating: 8.3 out of ten.

Why? Even at the times where it was a little crazy, it still made me laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially at time when we're so close to election day

JTWBU #7: Yes, this one isn't a video.

Hello internet,

So today this is going to be the 7th weekly update for JTWBU, and I guess I'm going to try to focus more on my blog and not the book world in general, which I've see to have been doing in recent videos.

Anyways, I still would like to shout people out. As it turns out, there's been a gracious editor named Karen, who apparently works for National Geographic because she offered  5 books collectively retailed at over 100 DOLLARS for me to review. I only graciously accepted three, but anyways, THANK you for sending the books! Reviews of them to come soon.

This week, I'll just mention the book of the week: which is Gemini by by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, which apparently is the second book of the Illuminae series. I haven't personally read the series yet, but I've heard it's a big thing, so just wanted to throw that out there.

And now, for the news.

So the number one thing I wanted to talk about is the huge fan base that this blog has. At the rate of one hundred and fifty views a day, it's growing like crazy. It took me almost a year to reach one thousand, and I went from 21000 to 22000 views in about 9 days. It's been crazy, so thank you guys so much.

I put up that statistic because the thought of Google Adsense is starting to pop around in my brain. I, of course, would get to choose the type of ads I'd like to put up, and I believe I get to also pick where the ads are located, and I would get paid per click. If I got some feedback on whether or not this should be an ad-run blog, let me know. It's cool to have some extra side-cash while doing what I love.

I feel like with the blog, I'm going to be doing more review type things (so don't expect these update posts like this in the future). My YouTube channel is the more segment, updated aspect of the blog. Meaning book talks on important subjects, maybe rants, movie v. books, and my favorite, the spy school conspiracy theory. This conspiracy project is one of my favorites, which I hope you guys will like to. I also believe that in the future, if anyone out there is a decent artist, I might pair up and work on an animated movie channel.

If we're focusing on future projects, I'd like to continue writing stories and maybe even a novel. Let me know what you guys think on the subject.

Well, that's all for me I guess, thanks so much for just visiting my blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lawn Boy and Lawn Boy 2 by Gary Paulsen

Summary of Lawn Boy: So in the first book, we see a seemingly bored kid, who only wants one thing- an inner tube for his bike. His grandma suggests one thing: mow lawns. She brings up his grandpa's riding mower, and in just a couple hours he has his first business. Now, in the neighborhood he lives in, the lawns are huge. 35 dollars a lawn huge. It's tough work, between mowing lawns, refilling it, eating lunch, and trying to survive the summer sun, he can only mow about three lawns a day. But that's over a hundred dollars. Work orders are getting backed up, until he meets a man named Arnold. He's a hippie who needs his lawn mowed but is about 35 dollars short. So they work up a deal. Arnold is actually a stock broker and he's willing to put 35 dollars into a special account and buy some penny stocks. This lawn boy seems to shrug it off as a weird agreement. Until of course the penny stock spikes in value. His 35 dollar investment? It's now eight-thousand dollars. His life has changed. Lawn Boy is now more than a one-man-band. It's a corporation.

Summary of Lawn Boy 2: In the sequel, Lawn Boy seems to make no mistakes. First off, he re invests his eight thousand dollars into a computer stock, which obviously happens to find this new technology which earns him over fifty thousand dollars. Then of course, he invests in this seemingly random penny stock, which finds oil in Minnesota and now his earnings are sky-high. Arnold calls up some of his buddies, and pretty soon, Lawn Boy has a workforce of over 20 workers. As if things couldn't get weirder, Arnold wants to hire a prizefighter as an investment. And through all this, there is a man named Rock, who will do whatever it takes to get the money Lawn Boy has earned.

What I Liked: Overall, this was just a really fun story to read. I mean, each book is only 80 pages, so combined I finished them in about 30 minutes. But it was just hilarious to me to see all these fortunes. I mean the chances of hitting three different penny stocks that rise that much in value is harder than trying to win the power ball. This book brought me back to when I was really young; it was a simple yet enjoyable and unintentionally (unless it was intentionally) comical book which I honestly enjoyed.

What I Didn't Like: What I will say is that there is basically no plot at all. There's really not a climax or a conclusion. It's just rising action all the way through both books, until an epilogue at the end of the second book which kind of counts as a conclusion. But you really shouldn't pick up this book if you're in need of an epic thriller. It's not that type of book.

Rating on 'the scale': 7.9 out of ten.

Why? These books were really fun to read, but it's not going to be something your average 14 year old will go to. If you want a quick but fun read about some crazy economics, or you have a little sibling (or maybe you're a parent), these books are not only really fun, but actually explain some fundamental economical skills (that came off serious, but trust me, these books are anything but)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adventure (or as I call it "spy fiction)
Publishing Date*: October 11th, 2016 by Simon & Schuster

*Technically the book come out October 5th but the official date is October 11th

Quote of the book: "Erica seemed slightly it concerned human emotions, but she nodded agreement anyhow. "

Summary: So, in the middle of self-preservation, Ben Ripley finds himself called to the principal's office. He's not in trouble. He's being activated. Jessica Shang is the daughter of Leo Shang, this crazy Chinese billionaire, and she wants to have ski lessons in Colorado. The CIA need Ben and his "gang" to go to Colorado and see what Leo Shang is plotting, in Operation Golden Fist. From the start, things are weird. Not normal Stuart-Gibbs weird. Crazy weird. Like Jessica and her Dad rented out every room in the most luxurious hotel in Vail, just for themselves. Or things such as Erica being bad at skiing. I mean, Erica is never bad at something, so why is she horrible at skiing. Things take a turn for the worse when Mike shows up in Colorado and plans to jeopardize the whole mission.Spy Ski School is action-packed, full of plot thickening middle-school romance and holistically tests the boundaries of middle grade fiction. Exactly why you need to pick up a copy.

What I Liked: (Brace yourself for the longest likes paragraph you've ever seen). Ok, so I'm in between a rock and a hard place. Because I'm "unofficially the official" biggest fan of Stuart Gibbs, I'm going to want to say that everything was amazing (in the book's defense, it was). But on the other hand, I'm a blogger, so I have to be realistic. So here's a partial compromise. First off, this book is completely different from the rest of the books because of the lack of SPYDER (well, sort of, can't explain more without ruining the story), which completely changed the whole plot theme. Why? Because the evil villain is way more normal. A rant on SPYDER has already been out, and a video rant may come out soon, but the change in antagonist was one I loved.  I'd also like to take the time to acknowledge how well Jessica Shang was developed. She wasn't a main-side character (don't even ask me what that means, just flow with it) that had some personality traits, but were basic, like bratty or adorable. I could tell that Stuart took enough time to develop her that he could literally write a shoot-off series all from Jessica's view. Everything about her was so put together and you could holistically feel the craftsmanship and effort into formulating an amazing character. Finally, I fell in love with Stuart's writing style because of his ability to finish strong at the end of chapter.  A lot of great writers (including this blogger) tend to write these beautiful, well thought out chapters and then throw in a crappy ending to the chapter. Stuart has the ability to gain your focus during the "meaty" part of the chapter and then throw in a curve ball at the end of the chapter that makes you drop your jaw, shake your head, and then turn the page. The best part is that it sometimes isn't even relevant to everything that happened in the chapter, which for some people is a bad thing, but I really love this way of writing.

What I Didn't Like: If I'm going to ever rant about Spy Ski School, it's now. The only thing I'd like to mention is the cringe. Oh boy you bet your life you are going to cringe at the non-action parts. In the book Erica isn't the Ice Queen anymore, she's becoming normal. And you may be like "that's AMAZING!" in my mind I'm just like "no". Why? There was no prelude to this change. It just happened. And now Erica is suddenly flirting with like five different people, and I'm just like what the heck? Even in Evil Spy School, yeah you could see Erica starting to loosen up, but the change from ESS Erica to SSS Erica is night and day. Nonetheless, the cringe was bearable and definitely didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

Rating on 'the scale': 9.99 out of ten.

Why? It was...elegance on paper. Just beautiful. I literally fell in love with the book. And the ending? The ending was just so powerful, a lot was revealed, and Stuart didn't hold back with anything. People wanted advancement, and...well I'll let you read what happens. Also, one last thing: HALF THE PREDICTION WAS RIGHT THE STREAK OF THREE BOOKS PREDICTED IN A ROW IS RIGHT LETS GOOOOOOOOO. Yeah, I'm pretty happy. It means my teenage mind is getting closer to thinking like a literary genius. Swawesome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Hello Internet People!

Decided to make this post because I think you should be able to choose when content shall come out. As we all are, school and extracurricular activities get in the way, and of course I can't as often. So, I'm going to make a strawpoll so you guys can vote on what should happen.

Reviews to resume on Saturday/Sunday.

Oh, and thank you SOO much for the views. I mean, 200 views a day is just nuts! Thank you so much!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles

Age Group: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Publishing Date: November 2, 205 by Butterhorse Publishing

Summary: Prince Aliani and his brother Nahoa are sons of a king and basically, the book starts off with a late-night adventure of sorts, which turns into them accidentally awaking this big curse or spell. After that, they travel to King Lako's kingdom, which I forget the name of, but all you need to know is that their currency is pearls, and pearls are valuable. They need supplies, so they get helped by a store vendor. Later, they join their father and King for a meeting, which is when things start to get noticed. Like the fact that the alchemist for King Lako is using whale blubber from whales to power the lamps. Or princess Momi, who is extremely beautiful and a crazy surfer. But after King Lako wants his kingdom and Aliani's father's kingdom to merge, things start to get crazy. Like 1000 year old curses shaky. It's hard to explain without giving the whole book away, but I'll I'm putting out there is you're going to want to see what happens.

What I Liked: So before I write the things I liked, I feel it is important to put this one sentence disclaimer. I'm not really sure if it's a legality if I have to, but better be safe than sorry. So. *Ahem* DISCLAIMER: This book was sent to me for a discounted or free cost in exchange for my completely honest and unbiased review *exhales* Ok, moving on, one thing I really would like to point out is that I enjoyed the book very holistically. Meaning, I enjoyed the overall sense the book gave me. It was pretty satisfying to just read the book, although explaining what that means would be hard, so just take my word, overall the book was a good read. Another thing I'd like to point out is how Mitchell Charles incorporates this brotherly rivalry between Prince Aliani and Nahoa with princess Momi. The relationship, and the rivalry, oh, it was a symphony on paper.

What I didn't like: As this is unbiased, I can't rave about the book without stating some flaws I came about. For one thing, I don't know if it was me, but the start was just confusing, which was probably why the rising action and climax made no sense. I skimmed through the first half of the book because it made zero sense. I'm not sure why I didn't understand it but I didn't. That said, I understood enough to at lease follow along and thoroughly enjoy the ending. Another thing I'd like to mention is the incorporation of Hawaiian words. I did like learning some more vocabulary than aloha but it's like if  I replaced fifty terms and words in your favorite novel with the equivalent in Dutch or something similar but not quite English, just because that's where it took place. It got a little tedious to see the word "wa'a" think about it, and then comprehend they're talking about boats instead of just seeing the word boat and moving on. Also, this didn't bother me as much but THE EPILOGUE!!! Ah, I could rant about it so much, but I'm just going to saw it was way to short (ok so maybe it did bother me)

Final Thoughts: Overall it was good, but for the nitpicky reader I tend to be, a bit tedious. Once you get to the 100 page mark, it's one of the more exciting books out there, but WARNING: getting there isn't easy.

Rating on 'the scale': 8.0 out of ten.

I'd like to take the time to thank Mitchell Charles and his publisher to reach out to me and send me a copy of your book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I can't thank you enough.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Odyssey by Homer

(Just for those of you who are die hard fans of the YouTube channel but haven't seen my new video yet: I had some tech. difficulties and I have to re-edit it, so it will be out tomorrow. Anyways, enjoy this review on a classic story)

Age Group: YA
Genre: Mythology
Publishing Date: Well it was originally written around 750-650 BC and it really wasn't ever officially "published"

Summary: So to sum up a classic myth into a paragraph, Odysseus has washed up onto the shore and is now telling the story of his amazing quest. It started when he had to leave Ithica to go to Troy, to help win the war with the Trojan Horse. Then, he angers the gods, which cause him to have to take this incredibly long journey home. They go to all these stops where they meet some crazy gods. Such as the Lotus Eaters, who have addicting flowers that almost mess up Odysseus crew. Or giant, cannibal cyclops, which trap them in a cave which for some weird reason is full of cheese. If you don't like human eating cyclops, Odysseus also has to stop by the goddess of Circe and the land of the dead, which gets pretty crazy, especially when after that he has to float by sirens who's songs will hurt their crew AND THEN go by six-headed monsters who will eat six of their crew or go by Charybdis, who three times a day vomits her meal into a whirlpool, which sucks up and kills any human that sails by. Oh, and did I mention at every single island Odysseus gets in an affair...with everyone. This may be an old Greek myth, but make no mistake, this book is one for the ages.

What I Liked: Ok, so this may be slightly biased because I did have to read this for school. But that's something that I liked about this. These are the type of books teachers want you to read. These stories will get you brownie points with your teacher, and who doesn't love brownie points? This story also opened me up to mythology. See, if you know me, you know that there are two main genres I don't like: fantasy and mythology. But after reading this, I realized that mythology isn't all boring and lame, it actually gets really interesting. I mean this can easily compare to today's thrillers, and it was written more than two thousand years ago! I really did like the whole plot concept, especially because it stems from the main character involved in the Trojan Horse- a myth everybody knows. This "epic poem" is such a page turner, and while a lot of you would easily pick Keeper of the Lost Cities: Lodestar (IT'S SO CLOSE TO COMING AND I'M SO EXCITED!!!) over The Odyssey, this is definitely a story you won't regret picking up.

What I didn't like: Ok, so greek mythology, for one thing, is definitely a different concept from a realistic fiction tale about a dog from Los Angelos. It has an interesting vibe which was, well, interesting but confusing at times. There were also a lot of high-greek influenced words, which, unless you are taking have taken greek, can get confusing to comprehend. And I'm going to be honest, there's a reason these are the types of books you see in school. Because the action comes once you read and more or less take a second to comprehend. It isn't a story that's going to say "The gun fired and Joe ran for his life" where the action is so blatant. You have to understand the situation, and then interpret it, before you get a real kick from it.

Rating on 'the scale': 8.4 out of ten

Why? Fun, and exciting read, but definitely wouldn't say this is an everyday type of story. If you like mythology and somehow haven't read this, this is your book! If you are new to mythology I would definitely suggest at least trying to read it. It's worth the trouble.

(This isn't the official cover (there are multiple variations of the story witht heir own covers) so I just picked the first one I saw.)