Introducing: Book Club

By Gracie Jane

I’ve figured that there’s so many books and so little time to write reviews for all of them. However, I’ve come up with an idea that’ll suit my interests and hopefully your’s!

Book Club is a monthly newsletter from me that’ll give you 3+ quick summaries of middle-grade books, along with some other cool features! Best of all, it’s free, and all you have to do is sign up.

To sign up, simply navigate to the menu on this site and click ‘Book Club’. Then, fill out the form, and boom! You’re in.

I hope that you’ll join the LOU Book Club! And note that more Book Club only features will be coming soon, so go ahead and join Book Club today!

The Selection – Love With the Right Hints of Dystopian

Back Blurb

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Short Summary

Illéa is a newly formed country where you’re judged by a number. Your life depends on a scale of 1-8, and the Selection is a chance to marry a handsome prince through a tense competition.

America Singer, a five, just wants Aspen -Her secret boyfriend- to be happy. She registers for the Selection to make him content, but they’re rumors that it’s a bit less of a lottery to become one of the thirty-five girls competing for the crown and prince then it seems.

When America’s name is drawn, she soon learns that the prince isn’t like she ever imagined. But when it comes to make the choice, who will win? Aspen, her first love and hardworking former boyfriend, or Prince Maxon, the generous provider who can give her a dream life?

My review

I’m gonna start this out saying this was my first romance novel. I don’t read romance and I’ve always thought it’s gross, but I’ve always liked a competition and the dystopian elements made it stand out to me.

I love a little love triangle in a book, but in the Selection took the term to a whole different level. Maxon and Aspen are both good men, but America can only have one of them! It was brain melting. (If that’s even a thing.)

I also loved the dystopian story of Illéa. It definitely seemed more thought through than Panem’s. In Hunger Games, I wondered the story of Panem before the rebellion and how the country came to be. But I loved the story how China took over the US because the US was becoming lazy. It kind of teaches us a lesson: Don’t act like the world is perfect. There’s always something out there.

I would definitely recommend this, it was pretty good for a romance novel. There wasn’t much wrong, just confusing at times. I’d say 7/10 stars.

Holes – A Tale of Survival and Strength

Back blurb

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

My short summary

Stanley, an overweight, teased kid who has done absolutely nothing, has been sent to Camp Green Lake, a place for bad boys who are forced to dig a giant hole every day for eighteen months. He jokingly has placed blame on his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather for placing a curse on his family. “Well, at least there’s a refreshing lake,” you’re probably thinking. Nope! All there is is a huge hole where the lake used to be. “Oh, just run away.” There isn’t water for miles. Given up yet?

When Stanley arrives, he’s horrified. Every hole seems to be the hardest. There’s never a drop of rain. There’s no breaks, unless you find something that captures the Warden’s interest… Which is almost nothing.

But when a newly found friend tries to run away, Stanley chases after him later on. Will the boys find refuge? Will they survive? Will the nightmare ever end?

My review

This book isn’t what I usually pick up, but it was really good. The story and the glances at the backstory itself were interesting, and I loved learning Kate Barlow’s history.

The friendship and struggles in the story were extraordinary, and I loved how things came together in the end.

All in all, this book wasn’t a life-changer for me, but I definitely enjoyed it. There were a few things I didn’t like, probably how things were just… torturous. But I’d recommend it 3/5 stars for sure.

Redwall – An Enchanting Adventure

By Gracie Jane

Short summary (From Goodreads)

Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice, is threatened by Cluny the Scourge savage bilge rat warlord and his battle-hardened horde. But the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends combine their courage and strength.

My summary

Redwall Abbey is a safe place for the peaceful mice who live there. It’s the Summer of the Late Rose, and to bring in the good tidings, they’re having a wonderful feast- How exciting!

But afterwards, as young Matthias brings some visiting mice back to their home, a frightful rat and his mob pass by! They return to the Abbey and describe the rat to their Abbot, the Abbot realizes with a start that it’s Cluny the Scourge! Cluny the Scourge and his fearful horde!

The Scourge decides that he wants the Abbey to be his own. But the gates will keep them out.. Right?

Matthias will go on a quest to recover the sword of the deceased Martin the Warrior himself. Will the Abbey gates stand strong? Or will Cluny reign victorious?

My thoughts

Okay, I loved this book! The woodland creatures made this absolutely delightful, and the details were excellent! Sure, the story was slightly predictable (Other than the bell falling at the end.. Hey, I’m not gonna spoil!) but who cares? I loved all of the characters. I even found myself rooting for Cluny at some points, when the story was featuring his point of view! It was a little hard to get through, though, due to the minuscule text and my curiosity of figuring out some of the accents of different animals. I however thoroughly enjoyed this!! Total recommendation.

October Quick Reviews

It’s already October!

It’s October, and so let’s start this month out with the first ever Quick Reviews!

Fablehaven

Kendra and Seth definitely didn’t expect their grandparents’ resident to be a magical sanctuary for creatures that shouldn’t exist. Once they find out the truth, things get a bit too adventurous and out of hand.

Story Thieves

Owen lives a boring life full of boredom and fractions until he sees his classmate Bethany jump out of a book. Owen, feeling a sense of destiny, has Bethany take him into his favorite book so he can save one of the characters. But you never know what’ll happen if you interfere with the fictional…

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Sophie Foster is not your ordinary girl. At least, to humans she isn’t. When the exceedingly smart girl learns that she isn’t the only one in the world with unnatural powers, she starts life fresh. But Sophie doesn’t know that rebellion is going to take control of her life.

That’s all for this month’s Quick Reviews. These were all really good books. Fablehaven and Keeper of the Lost Cities are actually favorites of mine, and the sequel series for Fablehaven, called Dragonwatch, is releasing the fourth book in the series on the 16th this month! That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

Some of My Favorite Villains

by Gracie Jane

Making a good villain is hard. This post will be entirely about my favorite villains and what I liked so much about them. Note that this is in no specific order of liking. Let’s go!

1. The Sphinx (Fablehaven)

The Sphinx (Not gonna spoil you guys) seems to be the good guy at first, but as the story develops, nope! Turns out, he’s the villain. I really liked that part. I was like, “What?” Also, I like how the Sphinx is so mysterious. It takes a while for him to finally spill his backstory. And the backstory is amazing itself!

2. The Wicked Queen (Half Upon a Time)

I see a pattern forming.. The kids in Half Upon a Time thought the Wicked Queen was Snow White.. HAHA, no. I liked how Jack just saved her, and then it turns out that she is who they thought the enemy was. She made an appealing enemy, and I liked how she cared for her granddaughter, but you could see that after May broke the mirror, well, the Wicked Queen wasn’t happy.

3. Vanessa (Also from Fablehaven)

I know that she’s only a kind of villain, but still. The narcoblix is just so cool! I love how she’s acts as a double agent, and finally switches to the right side that isn’t releasing demons. And you’ve gotta love her attitude.

4. Luke (Percy Jackson)

In my opinion, Luke is a better villain than Kronos himself. I mean, the dude’s faced tons of challenges in life, so he just resorts to the dark side. And then he realizes the errors of his ways toward the end. I love a good villain who changes motives towards the end!

5. Evelyn (Divergent)

Evelyn is a cunning villain who’s had a bit too much of life. I love how Tobias talked about his mom as if she went from scared friend to antagonist to grateful mother. Once again, she had a change if motives.

A good villain is hard to create, and I admire all of these people who can make such diverse characters that are so fun to read about.

Divergent – A Unique Work of Art

By Gracie Jane

In a world divided by factions, the people of the city live in sectors bound to one type of good quality. Beatrice, born Abnegation, will soon realize that she’s more than an insignificant teen.

When Beatrice steps up to the Choosing Ceremony to decide her future, she chooses to be brave, and to be bold. She leaves her old life behind, and starts a new one that will be even more different than she ever imagined.

In this tale of one girl’s journey for acceptance and what’s right, Tris will fight for the smallest chance for her community to become what it once was. What she doesn’t know is that the her adventure is going to be life-changing. Literally.

Spindlefish and Stars – Book Review

by Gracie Jane

Spindlefish and Stars is an intriguing book that centers around a girl named Clo and her time on a mysterious island. Lovers of Greek myths will find themselves captivated as they delve deeper into the story. I personally enjoyed it, though it took me a day or two to get into it.

Clo and her father travel to different villages to . When Clo gets the signal to leave the village, she goes to her father’s meeting spot with the word “Always” ringing in her head. When he fails to make it, though, Clo waits and waits until she gives up, after he has not arrived yet.

The mystery deepens when Clo receives a slip of “half-paffage”. She finds herself journeying across the salty sea, and ends up on an island where the sky is forever gray. On the island, the residents speak gibberish, an apple-faced woman has Clo turn strange fish into yarn, in which the woman weaves into a bland tapestry that seems to never end.

Clo becomes frustrated by the dullness of the island and both confused plus saddened by the disappearance of her father. As she unravels the secrets of the island and the tapestry, Clo resolves that in order to make things better, she must decide how much of herself to unravel to save her lost loved ones.

This was a pretty good book in my opinion, and I felt like I was with Clo the entire time, spinning fish wool, finding secrets, and facing my fears. I would be crazy not to recommend. You can find it in stores around September 22nd, 2020. I can guarantee that no matter who you are, young or old, brave or timid, this book is fit to please.

Poll Feature!

by Gracie Jane

I’m going to start using the poll feature, maybe about once or twice in each article. I’m looking forward to writing more using your preferences, so for this article, I’ve attached a poll asking you what you would like to read about. The poll expires after a day, so be sure to vote quickly! I might have the next article coming out in a day or two, so stay tuned. Thank you for spending your time reading this update article!

Stay safe, everybody!

Which is Better? Online School Vs At School

Would you rather do school in front of a computer or a Smart board? Due to the COVID-19 virus, schools have closed and kids are now experiencing online learning. Now the question is which one is better? Online school or at the schoolhouse? Well, in my opinion I believe at school is better. Prepare yourself for my reasons!

First of all, I chose my opinion because you get to see your friends. Friendship is amazing, yet with online school, you are unable to see your friends and interact with them. There’s not much to say to this, because we all know friendship is a powerful thing.

Secondly, you also get more help at school. When learning online, you might have to wait for a scheduled talk with your teacher, or the “help” button may not be much help. You’d have to scour the Internet for answers, or desperately pull up a calculator only to find that the calculator doesn’t support that kind of problem. However, at school, you have direct access to an improved help button by simply raising your hand.

Finally, online learning just doesn’t teach as well as at school learning does. There are many online learning websites, but they’re either reviews, or lessons that seem like too much to read, or too vague. But with a real teacher teaching by the board, you can ask questions, give answers, and have spoken feedback. Would you rather have a screen icon or a human talking to you? I’ll let you choose, even though the choice is pretty obvious!!

To wrap this up, I say that you can probably conclude that being at school is better than being taught online! I’ve given you enough reasons to prove that, but you may still be on the other side. But we all have friends, we all need help sometimes, and we all want a good education, so it’s safe to assume that we’d rather be at the schoolhouse other than your own house.

Images found online, words added by me