Fans of Goodreads and Instagram!

I have a bookish app recommendation for those of you who love Goodreads and Instagram! This app is called “Litsy” and I’ve only had it for a day and already I love it! It’s set up a lot like Instagram yet it has many of the same features as Goodreads does (shelves, opportunities to post quotes, reviews, and blurbs, all with some cool pictures of your favorite photogenic books). It is for a mobile device (you can’t access your account from a laptop) and only available on the Apple Appstore currently but I assume that they are working on making it available to Android users as well.

I made myself an account and a lot of the publishers that I review for are joining it so I imagine that it will get decently big very quickly and may become a lead competitor for Goodreads (which I still use). It’s super fun and effective so I wanted to pass the word on to you who love books as both something new for you and a different way to follow my reviews. You can find me by searching my username which is “rayleigh_LitAp”.

Heres a link to give you more info about the app! 

Thanks for reading and hope some of you will benefit from this:)

-Rayleigh

Popular by Sofia O’Hara

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Girls are under enormous pressure to be pretty, popular and skinny. This book is specifically designed for girls.

Jenna is a girl who wishes to be popular. She admires the pretty girls in her school who seem to have it all. A poster shows Jenna how to have it all.

Review:

Popular is a very short story that has a deep impact. Dealing with the peer pressure and bullying in today’s public schools, this book reveals some very special things about a young girl who wants so desperately to fit in.

I was surprised at how profound of a message the author was able to include so simply in this story to relate to young elementary and middle grade girls, that one cannot expect other’s to like them if they, themselves, don’t like themselves.

The story did tend to repeat itself towards the end, but it was just driving home the point so it wasn’t a real big deal. The story is clean, effective and very well written.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to girls struggling with bullying and peer pressure from ages 6 to 10.

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Rated: * * * *

One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

Books published under the Blink imprint are intended for a general readership without being overtly Christian.

Review:

One Paris Summer is a book with absolute charm and romance, much like it’s title suggests. Whisked off to one of the most romantic countries there is, during a teen’s most favorite time of year, this book does not fall short of its potential.

The storyline is excellently paced and has enough “surprises” to keep the reader still interested in the summer of Sophie’s life. The characters are all charming and well developed and the French phrases throughout the book will give the reader an element of pleasure as they know they are learning a bit of this romantic language.

As for the content of the book, the romance is very very high and has so many kissing scenes I essentially lost count. They range from very deep and detailed to short and sweet and there are 5 or more direct mentions of having sex (some characters speaking about themselves doing this) however there were no actual scenes. The language, when speaking sexually, says “screw(ing)” 2 or 3 times and there is one use of “h*ll” during a fight.

Overall, I actually really enjoyed One Paris Summer for the constant push of valuing family above work and for showing that not all families are perfect, but they are certainly worth fighting for. Despite the high romance aspect, this was a generally clean YA novel, especially when compared to other’s I’ve read, so I will still give it 4 out of 5 stars and do recommend it to my readers older than 14 or 15 years of age.

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Rated: * * * *

If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China by Carole P. Roman

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Synopsis:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series.

Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Viking Europe, and what children in the Han Dynasty children did for fun.

If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture.

So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

Review:

Another accurate, well written and very well illustrated (illustrations done by Mateya Arkova) book by Carole Roman for kids of all ages. If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China obviously goes over the history and activities in ancient China in easy to read sentences and some interactive questions.

Though this book is easy to read, it does contain many vocabulary words as well as some Chinese words and phrases to be learned. The glossary in the back of the book makes these vocabulary words and foreign words easy to define for both the teacher and the kids.

The pages do tend to get a little long, making it very possible to lose the kids’ attention, but it isn’t so long to need to be picked on. All in all, If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China is a great addition to the “…Ancient Times” series and would be great for schools. I give it 4 out 5 stars.

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Rated: * * * *

Series: If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Times series; no particular order

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

A featured School Classic.

Synopsis:

From the episodes of the whitewashed fence and the ordeal in the cave to the trial of Injun Joe, this novel is redolent of life in the Mississippi River towns in which the author spent his own youth. Beneath the innocence of childhood lie the inequities of adult reality – base emotions and superstitions, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery.

Review:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is probably the most popular work by Mark Twain because of one of the most lovable characters ever created, Tom Sawyer. This brilliant little trouble maker has captured the hearts of so many children and adults alike, with him innocently getting involved in troubling circumstances, to also intentionally pranking his friends and family, which is why there are other small novellas that were published just for his further adventures.

In this book, there are many things that young boys in this era did, such as trading and betting, lots of pranks, superstitious belief in ghosts, haunted grave yards, running away etc etc. The boys (speaking of Tom and his infamous sidekick Huckleberry Finn) get involved in many scary situations together and have to think of brilliant ways to get out of those situations so it is a very entertaining read.

Because of when this book was originally written (1876) there are many phrases in this book that can be offensive in today’s culture, however they were the “norm” during the author’s era so he did not write them in order to be offensive, he wrote them because that was the language in which they used during his time. I’m mainly speaking of the derogatory term referred to the African-American slaves, which is said in every mention of any of the slaves in this book (which is often since one of the main characters is a slave).

But other than that, the book is a relatively clean book, no cuss words and only small instances of young love that contain sweet gifts and one or two kisses. The murder that the boys witness is slightly descriptive however it is not overly graphic.

All in all, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an entertaining read and would be a great book for students 12 years old and older. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Rated: * * * *

Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm by Elle and Marci Fair

I received this book from the author(s) for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Join Ellie the Elephant and her friend, Pudgy the Penguin, on a fun visit to the farm in this delightful children’s book cowritten by author Marci Fair and her twelve-year-old daughter Elle.

Ellie and Pudgy–characters based on Elle’s two favorite stuffed animals–have had many grand adventures. Now, in the fifth installment of the Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series, the curious duo decides to take a look at the origins of the food they eat every day.

Review:

Another addition to one of the most creative children’s book series I’ve ever seen, was done even better! Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm follows the lives of the stuffed animals Ellie and Pudgy in real life photos as they visit the farm to learn about where their everyday food comes from.

Put together much like a scrapbook telling a story, the pictures of the stuffed animals and interaction activities will get the kid’s imagination rolling and have them laughing as they will probably want to read this book to their own stuffed animals. This book is the first in the series to have activities included such as connect the dots pictures, a crossword puzzle, and a “find the differences” feature and they just add to the fun.

In addition to the good qualities of the book itself, its nice to know that a portion of every book sale goes to help children in need and encourages kids to be creative in helping others.

So without a doubt, Ellie’s Fun Day at the Farm receives 5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it, as well as the entire series, to an audience of anyone under 10 or 11.

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Rated: * * * * *