Transatlantic Book Project: HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE

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When I heard about a project involving reading a book, making notes in it, and then passing it along to another blogger (after receiving it from several bloggers before me), I jumped at the chance to participate!

I was so happy when Alicia at A KERNEL OF NONSENSE contacted me about the project. Alicia and Rachel at CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK GEEK are hosting this grand event, and they have managed to put together an organized and fun traveling book extravaganza!

So, here’s what’s happening. There are 10 bloggers, 2 books, and one project. 5 Bloggers are in the US and 5 are in the UK, but we’ll all be reading both books. Each blogger gets to annotate the book and then send it along to the next blogger.

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So….Cristina at Girl in the Pages sent me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and she included some wonderful goodies I’ll show you below.

I was so excited to jump in and leave stickies, highlightings, and notes in the margins, but I had to get used to the idea of writing in a book!

To be honest, it didn’t take me long to get used to that, maybe because of all that writing and highlighting in books for grad school! Once I saw Harry Potter as a text that required annotating, it was easy to read actively and to share some of my thoughts as I soared through the story.

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I absolutely loved reading the notes of the bloggers before me, and I often wrote a comment in response to a note from an earlier reader. It was fun, and even sometimes it was just one word. I hadn’t read HP & the Philosopher’s Stone in awhile, and I think I enjoyed the story more this time around. Now, having read the entire series, looking back at the first book was a richer experience. I noticed more and was also looking for more details, I think.

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I can imagine that once the last person receives the book, it really will be a unique artifact, because it will reflect all these different readers’ perspectives of the text, in a way. We all might have similar or different responses to certain parts in the story, and that can be physically reflected in the book at the end of our exchange!

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Isn’t that cool?

I’m excited for the second book, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, to make the rounds, so stay tuned!

What Katie Read

ARC Review: THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY by Natalie Lloyd

ARC Review: THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY by Natalie LloydThe Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
Published by Scholastic Press on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 240
Goodreads
five-stars

Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.
For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.
But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?
With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

First of all, this amazing book is out today and if you haven’t preordered a copy, you better run down to the bookstore ASAP and purchase one! I also have a Twitter giveaway going on for an ARC of the book as well!

“IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY MOMENTS IN A PERSON’S LIFE COME DISGUISED AS ORDINARY DAYS.”

What I Loved:

It was no surprise to me that I adored THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY just as much as I loved A SNICKER OF MAGIC.

This book is everything!

HOT CHOCOLATE, TREASURES, PEACH LAVENDER MUFFINS, FAMILY, FRIENDS, BLACKBIRD HOLLOW CEMETERY, LOVE, NURTURING THE HUMAN HEART: This book has it all! And Natalie Lloyd is the perfect author to pull it all together with her whimsical prose and her stunning style.

Just like A SNICKER OF MAGIC, this book made me laugh and it made me cry. The way Emma did everything she could to save her family’s bakery made me root for her throughout the entire story. The way she longed for her “Destiny Dream” to happen filled me with hope, and the way she reached out to Earl with friendship moved me with compassion as I thought about how there are many people I encounter like Earl all the time, that perhaps, I just pass right by. And the fact that Emma lost her mother years earlier made me imagine how unbelievably painful it must be for a child to lose a parent.

Do you remember in A SNICKER OF MAGIC how certain ice cream flavors made you feel a certain emotion? Well, that very cool and almost magical concept is kind of in KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY with the hot chocolate, known as BONEYARD BREW. AND I LOVE IT! What I would give to pop into the Boneyard Café, and sit down with Emma and Cody Belle and Earl…

“AS NEAR AS I CAN DESCRIBE IT, BONEYARD BREW IS LIKE HOT CHOCOLATE WITH A HEAVENLY TWIST.”

That’s an aspect of this book I loved—the depiction of the friendships (and family relationships) among the characters. Emma and Cody Belle are best friends, and while Emma is waiting to have her Destiny Dream, Cody Belle does nothing but encourage her. This duo is super, and I’d love to read more stories with them on stage. Then there’s Earl. He’s got some issues, and he doesn’t talk, but that doesn’t mean Emma and Cody Belle won’t be there for him and reach out to him in friendship. And his friendship ends up meaning a lot to Emma, especially as she grapples with getting to the bottom of her Destiny Dream. All the women in her family have had a “Destiny Dream”—and this dream has always meant something significant for each of those women. But what does Emma’s mean, and how will it help her to keep the family bakery in the family?

Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Who Should Read This Book:

If you love delightful Middle Grade fiction with colorful and humorous characters facing real life problems and challenges, and perhaps even a dash of magic, then you will most likely love THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY. Like hot chocolate and freshly baked muffins? Treasure? New friendships?

GO AHEAD THEN!

“SOMETIMES EVEN DOING THE RIGHT THING WILL LEAVE YOU WITH SCARS. BUT BEAUTY COMES FROM ASHES, TOO. AND I KNOW THAT TO BE TRUE.”

The Final Illumination:

I was incredibly lucky to finally meet Natalie at an event hosted by New Leaf Literary at this past January’s ALA Midwinter Meeting. When my friend Helen and I stepped into this lovely room at a Boston hotel for a dessert reception, you can imagine my delight when I spied the one and only Natalie! I just had to wait for my turn to approach her and let her know she is one of my favorite Middle Grade Authors and I think her writing is just spindiddly splendid!

It was no surprise to me that Natalie turned out to be just as lovely and delightful in person as I suspected and I hope our paths cross again. I also hope to meet her dog Biscuit one day. It’s possible Biscuit might even write a book—I wouldn’t be surprised at that either!

Melanie Conklin, Author of Counting Thyme, Natalie Lloyd, Me, & Helen Swinyard (School Librarian from London!)

Yes, I remember the delicious crepe filled with white chocolate, milk chocolate, and strawberries I devoured that night as well as the divine glass of red wine I drank, but I shall never forget meeting the author of A SNICKER OF MAGIC as well and THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY in person…

I hope you have the pleasure of meeting Natalie one day as well! And I intend for my kids at the school library to meet her, even virtually!

Thank you New Leaf and also Scholastic for making it possible for Natalie’s books to become a part of our world! I’m forever grateful and would like to lift a virtual cup of BONEYARD BREW to you as well as offer you a PEACH LAVENDER MUFFIN from the BONEYARD CAFE.

YOU ARE LIVING AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE….

five-stars
What Katie Read

#loveathon Mini Challenge #4: Tea Break with Epic Reads!!

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  • It’s time for a tea break! In this post, you’ll share which fictional character, book blogger OR BookTuber OR Bookstagrammer, and author you’d want to have a tea party with and why. Feel free to go above and beyond by including more details about your dream tea party!

TEA TIME WITH EPIC READS:

MARGOT & AUBREY

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Do you remember the days when Epic Reads Tea Time [You can watch the first ever Tea Time at that link!] was live and included the fabulous duo: Margot and Aubrey?!?  Well, I do, and those times were legendary!

So I’m choosing to create my Dream Tea Break with the Tea Time Ladies: Margot & Aubrey! Because…is there any way to have a bookish tea break without them?!? I think not!

First of all, Margot and Aubrey are passionate about books, and understand the importance of getting excited about our favorite reads! They’ve got their priorities straight: Books, Donuts, & Tea!

Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent tuning into live Tea Time on my laptop (one time when I was housesitting for my parents, I used their huge TV screen to watch) and chatting with the larger bookish community as we listened to Margot and Aubrey fangirl over books and tell us about the latest releases.

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It was a dream! Every Wednesday afternoon all the bookish and teatime excitement was almost overwhelming.

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When Aubrey announced that she was moving to Chicago and the Epic Reads teatime duo was splitting up, I was devastated! But Aubrey must have had a pretty good reason to move, and Margot is carrying on the Epic Reads traditions so everything is actually OK in the end. And there’s always the possibility of Tea Time reunions and Book Shimmying.

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Another reason why I would love to have tea with Margot and Aubrey is because I think we’re not too far apart in age and I imagine they would understand my love of Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears.

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I also know Margot recently traveled to Scotland and loved it, so I am looking forward to sharing my own obsession with the Scottish highlands at the tea party!

We can also chat about Calvin in A WRINKLE IN TIME…Margot recently talked about Calvin as her first boy crush in a book in the Valentine’s Day book tag video!

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This tea will feature many different kinds of doughnuts, but I think cake must be present as well. How about a Tiger Lily cake?!

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Here’s a box of donuts from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, but I think this tea party might have to be catered by DOUGH, which I visited last year in NYC–those donuts were just too good.

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Then again, here in Boston, there’s Kane’s Donuts, which I have to admit, I also enjoy…

And of course, there will be gallons and gallons of tea of all different kinds—in English teapots! I could go on further about the details of my tea party with Epic Reads, but I’m afraid you’ll probably just see more photos of cake and links to doughnut shops! For now, we’ll adjourn, and I hope that one day my dream tea with Margot and Aubrey (and doughnuts and books!) can take place.

Until then, HAPPY TEATIME!

 

What Katie Read
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