Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyers. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2013. 454 pp.
Rating: Striking + 5 Scoops

Note: I started writing this review as soon as I finished reading the book on December 7, 2013; however, I never finished writing it. Last month I decided to reread Scarlet, my favorite book of TLC, because I needed something familiar, something I liked, something that wouldn't take up more space than the already jumbled thoughts currently swirling in my mind. I needed a good friend. Not only did this rereading bring me peace, but it also prompted me to finish the review I started seven years earlier. Although many years have passed, I'm leaving the review as I started it. 

In Scarlet, the second installment of The Lunar Chronicles Series, Cinder's story surges forward. Readers sojourn from New Beijing to Rieux, a small province in the French countryside, and there are introduced to Scarlet Benoit, the fiery, red-haired granddaughter of a former European Union pilot. Scarlet is unconvinced that her grandmother's disappearance is intentional though the police and townspeople believe otherwise. While Scarlet grapples with her grandmother's disappearance, Cinder is attempting to break out of prison to elude extradition back to Luna and Queen Levana's malicious plans.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

11 Books I Plan to Read in 2020

Happy New Year to all of my book-loving friends! My Goodreads Challenge of 36 books for the year has been set; and I've already begun my first read of 2020. Of all the books I will read this year, the following 11 will be among my reads.



Ordinary Girls
Love in the Time of Cholera
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
Dust Tracks on a Road
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Mules and Men
Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential
Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice
Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth
What books are you purposefully setting out to read this year? 

Monday, December 2, 2019

My Contest Entries in Cat Winters' Halloween Giveaway

During the month of October, I participated in a giveaway hosted by one of my favorite authors, Cat Winters. There were four ways to enter; and I chose the option of posting an original photo of the book along with my favorite quote. My entries include images of and quotes from Winters' first three young adult novels. Although I didn't win, I'm proud of my photos and  wanted to share them with you all. Enjoy! 😀


"I plodded after her in my own boots, knowing we made quite a pairtwo women, only ten years apart in age, whose femininity had become yet another casualty of war." In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Must Reads by the Close of 2019

If you're anything like me, there's either a stack of books next to your bed, on your bookshelf, living room floor, kitchen table, combination thereof, or all of the above that is demanding to be read. This year I've added more books to my TBR Goodreads Bookshelf than I've read, which of course is to be expected. However, there are a few books that I refuse to go into a new year, a new decade without having read or completed them.


Books to read or finish by the end of the year:
Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
Monday's Not Coming
There There
Let Me Hear a Rhyme
The Winter Sisters
Reading Reasons: Motivational Mini-Lessons for Middle and High School
Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

What Makes a Teacher?

An avid reader knows that reading the last line of a book or any literary piece can cause an array of emotions—satisfaction: knowledge of resolution; trepidation: fearing, but yet excited for the conclusion of the story; jubilation: for sticking it out and not abandoning it when it took a weird turn; or contemplation: reflecting on particular plot points or the piece's meaning. Whatever the emotion evoked, there is something about the last word of a written work. A few years ago, I read the editorial, "What Makes A Great Teacher?" in an EdWeek E-Newsletter. Soon after I began crafting a reply to the article. Until now, the response has been left unfinished for several reasonsmainly because I wasn't ready. I needed more time to digest the piece. I needed more time for my thoughts to percolate. I needed more time to be inspired by individuals whose paths I would cross at a later date. I needed more time to ripen emotionally to read certain books I wasn't ready to read at the time. I needed more time to experience things I had yet to experience. Also, during this time of mental processing, I read Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo detailing her years with Teach for America; in addition to her time with Patrick, a former student she taught while in Arkansas. After five years of churning in my brain, here follows my long-time-coming response.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon Fall 2019 Announcement, Updates, & Wrap-Up

Hello reader friends! I decided to participate in read-a-thon after all. Here's my reading stack for the next 24 hours:



Read-a-thon reading goals: 
  1. To complete two books
  2. To knock off one of the books for the Mount TBR Challenge
  3. To read at least three chapters of my current read, Reading Reasons  
  4. Above all else, enjoy RaT!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Update Alert

Hello reader friends! With only a little over two months before the end of the year, I wanted to pop in for a moment and share a brief update.

Five book reviews made it from unfinished draft to published since the beginning of the year. Even though the number is much lower than I'd like, it's much higher than last year's. Progress, slow and steady, but progress nonetheless.

Monday, July 1, 2019

5th Annual Fatherhood Initiative

This past Friday, June 28, Cultivating You had the pleasure of participating in the 5th Annual Fatherhood Initiative sponsored by the Carrollton Housing Authority. Each vendor  was asked to contribute a door prize. We gave away a copy of On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. 



Friday, May 17, 2019

Mini Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Jennifer Latham. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015. Ebook.
Rating: Worthy

Goodreads SummaryMeet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Scarlett Undercover was my first read featuring a Muslim American protagonist. Not knowing much, rather anything, about Islam, I thought the author did a good job writing about it. Latham neither slams nor pushes it. It is merely a part of who Scarlett is and her world. The book started off slow, but picked up around thirty-five percent. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the Solomon Knot or the myth surrounding King Solomon. I enjoyed the myth and must do more research on it. I didn't like Scarlett, but neither did I dislike her. She was a tolerable protagonist. I liked her spunk, but she crossed the line toward disrespectful often; plus the "gum shoe detective" lingo got old fast. Scarlett's and Decker's romance was sweet and cute. Closing with them was a nice way to end the novel.


**Complimentary e-galley provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.        

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: Into White by Randi Pink

Randi Pink. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016. pp. 275
Rating: Don't Bother + 5 Scoops


LaToya Williams attends a majority white high school in Montgomery, Alabama. Outside of her older brother, LaToya is without friends at school and in her affluent suburban neighborhood. After an extremely humiliating experience at school, LaToya prays to trade her black skin for that of white. Upon waking the next day, LaToya discovers that her prayer has been answered.  Now LaToya has to learn to navigate life as white, blond, and privileged. Not to mention, maintain the appearance of her pre-transformation self around her family who are unable to see the "new" LaToya.