200th Post (Rant #4): A To Do List for the Public School System

Every 50 posts, I take some time to focus on my personal life. I’ve talked about the absurdity of reading levels being assigned to books based on vocabulary, the stereotypes surrounding teenagers, and the assumption by some of peers that A’s are average.

Today I’m going through a list of complaints (ranging from minor to major) about hoops that students have to jump through in the current academic climate. Not all students face all these problems. There is no one person responsible for the problem; there might be no person who can solve some of the issues. But I think it is important to understand the things students face in their day-to-day lives–especially because a lot of them actually have solutions.

(By the way, I don’t hate teachers, or school counselors, or administrators, and I understand that they have hard jobs made nearly impossible by lack of funding and red tape. They are literally saints for showing up every day. I’m just frustrated, is all.)

  1. Please, for the love of God, get working Internet. This one is aimed at the district. I can’t tell you how many times the Internet crashes when a teacher wants to play a Youtube video or look at their ONLINE–district mandated–gradebook. Such a waste of time and something we really should be past by now.slow internet
  2. Please don’t mistake time management for being stupid. A lot of teachers get offended/annoyed when students admit that they put off a project/homework assignment until the last minute (be that last minute 2 am the night the homework was assigned or the night before an essay you had a month to work on is due). Procrastination is never good, but students have a lot on their plates and sometimes one assignment gets pushed into what some people call “the last minute” for the express reason of maintaining sanity. When the distinction between blatant procrastination and real time management is not made, it is super frustrating.procrastinate
  3. Chromebooks/iPads are not the answer. See the “Internet DOES NOT RUN” portion–adding more technology to this mix is doomed. Spend money on good textbooks, Elmo projectors, and better teachers–not iPads. (Look up LAUSD’s fiasco if you aren’t convinced.)
  4. I’d like a grade sheet. A lot of teachers seem to think that by not posting grades or providing grade sheets to students, they are keeping their students from stressing about school. For me (and a lot of the people I talk to) this is only more stressful. (Fear of the unknown and all.)
  5. “Will this be on the test?” is an honest question. Again, time management has to happen. Students can’t learn everything for every test, so knowing what information won’t be on the test is an honest attempt by students to prioritize. (For some–sometimes we just don’t want to study complicated material, sure, but there are honest motives as well.)
    on the test
  6. Grading is a two-way street. My mom is a teacher and I understand that grading is probably the worst and most time-consuming (and unpaid) part of a teacher’s job. But seriously–I wrote an essay, I’d like it to be graded at some point in the next month.
  7. There really is a difference between learning and getting good grades–and a lot of us will skip the former if we can keep the latter. Don’t let us. 
  8. Bonus for my peers: Stop cheating. I hate you. 

Taylor Swift Book Tag

I saw this tag on Hit or Miss Books and loved it. I’m a (mostly) unashamed Swiftie and while I can’t say I care about her personal life, her music really works for me. Her old stuff is really sentimental for me, bringing me back to elementary school, and her newer music is just fun to listen to.

Sidetrack over, back to the tag.

We Are Never Getting Back Together

A book or series that I thought I loved, but then wanted to break up with.

cover house of night

This series started out really great but it just kept going and going and going and oh my god it just spiraled out of control. By the ninth book, it was barely connected to the first book, with like half a dozen love interests and new characters and…

Red

A book with a red cover

This series holds a special place in my heart, and depending on what mood I’m in, this might be my favorite of the three books.

The Best Day

A book that makes me feel nostalgic

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Love Story

A book with forbidden love

cover VA

The romance between Rose and Dmitri is not exactly forbidden, but there are a lot of factors that end up keeping them apart over the course of the series.

I Knew You Were Trouble

A book with a bad character that you couldn’t help but love

cover the coldest girl in coldtown

I can’t remember the name of the vampire love interest, but he was amazing. The perfect good/evil conflict with a side of hotness.

Innocent

A book that someone spoiled the ending for

I can’t think of the last time someone spoiled a book for me.

Everything Has Changed

A character from a book who goes through extensive character development

Everyone in this series changes, but Todd and Viola probably the most.

You Belong With Me

My most anticipated release

cover queen of shadows

There is going to be a fourth one! In September! AHHH!

Forever and Always

My favorite book couple

This has to be Gen and Attolia. They are perfect for each other.

Begin Again

A series that deserves a second chance

I think I would like this series if I picked it back up again…maybe…

Wonderland

My favorite fictional world

Last Kiss

A series that I’m not ready to let go of, even though it ended

Clean

A series I’m glad is over

Three books of this was enough. It was good, but another book would have been waaay too much cheesy paranormal romance.

Wildest Dreams

My favorite fictional guy

Hale!

Enchanted

A book I found by accident that I ended up loving

cover going underground

I got this book as an ARC from a local bookstore and had no idea what I was getting into. It ended up being an all-time favorite.

All You Had to Do Was Stay

A book I DNFed that I wish I’d given another chance

cover stiff

I stopped on the third car/plane accident chapter because OMG car accidents are scary, but it was sooooo interesting that I think I could go back to it. Plus, Mary Roach is hilarious.

I’m not tagging anyone specific–if you like this tag, please feel free to take part!

Top Ten Books From My Childhood That I’d Like to Revisit

top ten tuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week, they post a new Top Ten topic and other bloggers respond with their own lists. I take part in this meme when I have something to say for the topic and I remember what day it is.

I like this week’s topic. I started reading YA books basically in elementary school, but there are a few middle grade series that I remember loving. I still have a lot of these books because I couldn’t get rid of them (I’m sentimental)–and I want my little sisters to read them and enjoy them. I don’t know that I’d reread these books right now, but I know I’d read them with my little sisters, or when I get older (if I want a break from the YA world).

1. Pandora Gets… series by Carolyn Hennesy

cover pandora gets jealous

These books are perfect for fans of Greek mythology. The plot is a simple retelling of the Pandora legend: a preteen Pandora releases the seven sins and has to get them back with the help of her friends. They’re cute and quirky and I remember loving them (though I never finished the series because not all of the books were out yet).

2. The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence

cover roman mysteries

These books had really interesting character and mysteries. They managed to used adult concepts, plots, and characteristics without straying from their middle grade audience.

3. The Sisters Grimm (Fairytale Detectives) series by Michael Buckley

cover sisters grimm

I LOVED these. So much fun to read–just dark enough to be interesting without giving me nightmares. I loved the concept of fairytale detectives (especially since they were descended the brothers Grimm) and a world where all the fairytales happen together.

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

cover bad beginning

Wow, I read these forever ago (first grade). I don’t remember much, besides that they were perfectly ridiculous and dramatic, and that I never found them to be that sad. I still remember that the writing style really affected me; it was probably some of my first exposure to stylistic writing with an interesting voice. (The seventh book was my favorite.)

5. Harry Potter by JK Rowling

cover HP 1

Duh. This goes without saying. I did “revisit” these books over summer–and I doubt I will ever stop rereading them.

6. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

cover dealing with dragons

These books are so adorable! Girl power meets princesses and dragons and perfectly middle grade romance. Literally perfect.


A shorter Top Ten Tuesday than usual (Top Six, I guess), but these are the books I really recommend. 🙂

Creative Blogger and Inspiring Blog Awards

Thank you so much to My Cafe au Livre for nominating me for both of these awards! I love her blog and it means so much to me to get these awards from fellow bloggers 🙂

The Inspiring Blog Award

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The rules are:
  1. Thank and link the amazing person (or people) who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.
My facts:
  1. I love playing cards, especially Gin. It’s a tradition with my grandparents to play it for hours when we go on trips together.
  2. My blog name comes from my love of cards. “52” is the number of cards in a deck, as well as my favorite number.
  3. Though I post a lot of poetry on this blog, I only started actively writing poetry recently. I wanted simple samples of my writing to post, as well as something to do when I don’t feel like sitting down and working on my WIP novel, so I picked up poetry.
  4. I have a really hard time writing short stories. I have a lot of ideas but I have trouble forming plot arcs that work in a short story format. Often, when I start a short story, I realize that I’d actually like it to be an entire novel.
  5. I’m awful at spelling. Well, I used to be awful. I’m getting better, I swear, but every time I visit my sixth grade teacher she makes a joke about how bad at spelling I was in elementary school (and sort of continue to be).
  6. On that note, when I was little, I was convinced “hamster” had a “p” in it. I’m still frustrated that it isn’t spelled “hampster.”
  7. I have two pets: a cat (named Muzgle) and a hamster (named Macaroon, Mac for short).

The Creative Blogger Award

The rules are:
  1. Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
  2. Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
  3. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
  4. Pass these rules on to them
My facts:
  1. I am currently working on the second draft of my WIP novel Devil May Care. It is currently 141 pages and about 50,700 words. I started this draft in December 2014.
  2. My favorite character to write is not my protagonist. Don’t get me wrong, I love my main character, but there is this other character who comes into the story and she is so much fun to write dialogue for.
  3. The West Wing is probably my favorite TV show right now. I watched all seven seasons a while ago but I can’t stop rewatching the show! It is amazing.
  4. Though I’m a total geek for Doctor Who and Once Upon A Time (different shows, I know, but I love both of them), I haven’t watched either of their current seasons. (AHH! No spoilers please.)
  5. I have a twin who is a super talented sewist (I’d say sewer but she said that’s awkward…) and you guys should check out her blog. I love her a ton, no matter what I usually say… 😉

I nominate:

I’m nominating you for both awards. If you’ve already gotten one of them, or only want to take part in one of them, that’s fine. Thank you guys for all being amazing and I love your blogs!

Katherine at deckle and gold

Cheri and Chebk at OK Potato

Joey at Thoughts and Afterthoughts

RJ at Heir of Ravenclaw

Overflowing Bookshelves

Flash Fiction: The Spoiled Child

I wrote this for this week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge: write a story in 100 words. My story clocks in at 97 words. Hope you enjoy!

 

The child loves to play with bubbles.

She toddles after them, lunging and stumbling, popping them with inexact claps of pudgy hands. Giggling as a faint mist bursts across her skin, then a race to the next bubble.

Her parents pamper their daughter with the game. Relatives warn that the child is being spoiled, corrupted; the exercise in destruction should not continue.

But the parents are blinded by the light of their child’s smile. They will ignore eons of wisdom to hear her laugh.

Even though each bubble is a universe.

And gods really should know better.

I Got a New Bookshelf!

Okay, so I’ve needed a new bookshelf for a while. I got a lot of new books for Christmas and my birthday and I’ve wanted to move some of my big collections of books onto their own shelf.

And then it happened!

I was walking to a friend’s house and I realized that there were two bookshelves (completely built) sitting next to a dumpster near my house. My sister and I immidiately started brainstorming ways we could fit another shelf into our room and we figured out that one would TOTALLY FIT.

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that’s my sister awkwardly in the background…sorry Sam

When we got back from the friend’s house, we brought one of the bookshelves into our room (with our mom laughing at our pain as we dragged it through our apartment).

It came set up so there wasn’t anything to do other than decide where to put the shelves. (I used Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas to figure out how far apart the shelves should be.)

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Then we got to move new books in!

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The bottom shelf is Agatha Christie novels, The Cat series by Lilian Jackson Braun, and some other mysteries. The next shelf up is books by Janet Evanovich. Then there is a blank shelf (an excuse to get more books…am I right?). Between the awesome bookends I got for Christmas is my official TBR shelf (previously just a pile of books on my floor…). On the top shelf, Harry Potter and The Series of Unfortunate Events, both of which had been in a different room, got to move back into out bedroom!

The Liebster Award #2

Thank you to londiniumgirlbooks for nominating me for the Liebster Award! It means so much to me.

Here are the rules:

  • link back and thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • answer the eleven questions they give you
  • tag up to eleven bloggers who have 200 or less followers
  • ask your nominees eleven questions and let them know you tagged them!

I’m not going to nominate anyone. Everyone that I wanted to nominate has already received the award, so I’m leaving this open to anyone who wants to participate. BreAnn’s questions are really good, so fell free to also answer them and pass this award along to people you feel deserve it. 

1. What is the most overrated book or book series?

Anything by Rick Riordan. Seriously, I liked his first Percy Jackson series, but as soon as he announced that his next series was going to have basically exactly the same premise I lost respect for him. It felt too much like a play for more money (like when movie companies make sequels instead of risking money on creating and marketing a new movie). I know a ton of people are obsessed with the books, but I feel like there are a lot better books out there to read.

2. Do you usually buy your books, borrow them from friends/family, or rent them from the library? 

Buy them. My sister and I pool all of the gift cards we get for Christmas/birthdays and use the money the rest of the year to buy books. I love owning physical books, even if it ends up taking some money out of my pocket (and if I need to get creative on how to store them in my small bedroom).

3. Physical books or eBooks-which do you prefer? Or do you like both?

Physical books, no question. I love the feeling of holding a book, and I have this habit of playing with the pages of a book as I read it–which you can’t do with ebooks. Reading on screens isn’t my thing, and from a practical standpoint, since I do most of my reading at school, ereaders would probably be stolen or not allowed by my more controlling teachers.

4. Weirdest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

Oooh, tough question. I’ve used receipts, scraps of paper, Post-It notes, tissues (unused, of course). Recently, I’ve actually started using a real bookmark that one of my (amazing) friends made me. In a kind of backwards way, I think using a real bookmark for long periods of time is weirder for me than using anything lying around.

5. Favorite book based solely on appearance?

The Knife of Never Letting Go (and the rest of the Chaos Walking trilogy) by Patrick Ness. The covers fit the books to well. They come off very plainspoken and simple, but they fit the books perfectly, and they are gorgeous, in my opinion.

book 1

6. Favorite character from any book?

That’s gotta be Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Gen is loveable, frustrating, childish, ageless, and brilliant. So much fun to read, and with the perfect amount of character development over the course of the series. You never know what is going on in his head until he slowly reveals his plots and you realize once again that he is a freaking genius. I love him.

cover queens thief covers

7. Where do you do most of your reading?

At school, when I’ve finished my classwork, especially after tests. Or in this wonderful chair in my living room that is exactly the right size to curl up in.

8. Who is the worst (as in the most badly written) character you’ve ever encountered?

I don’t think I can answer this. I tend to get rid of books I hate, so I don’t even know where to start with this.

9. What’s the oldest book you own?

Wow. I don’t know how to answer this one either. I have my mom’s copy of The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe from when she was in elementary school. A lot of the books I bought during my elementary school obsessed-with-ancient-Egypt phase are old as well. I also have a lot of Agatha Christie books that I bought second-hand, so I have no idea how old they are.

10. Name a book you love, but think its cover is despicable. Why do you hate the cover so much?

Such a hard choice! I hate a lot of book covers when they just don’t match a book–they are so obviously marketing ploys to get people to buy the books, even if the intriguing image doesn’t relate at all. Despicable is a strong word, but I’ll go with either the cover of Vampire Academy (#1) or the Throne of Glass series covers.

The VA cover just looks like a badly-taken selfie that’s trying to be sexy–which doesn’t tie into the book very much. Plus, the series lends itself to such amazing covers, and this seems like a waste of potential.

The Throne of Glass covers are pretty but don’t match the book at all–they make it look like a sci-fi-esque series, instead of a fantasy one. Plus, the girl on the cover doesn’t look anything like what Celaena is supposed to look like. Again, this series had so many options for amazing and accurate covers.

Okay, rant over.

11. What is the largest (actual size or page numbers) book you own or have ever read?

Probably The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. So freaking long. So emotionally tormenting. So amazing.