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review 2016-11-11 23:00
Count down to Birthdays
Only Six More Days - Marisabina Russo

In the book, Molly gets jealous of her little brother, Ben. He is planning his birthday and Molly is not enjoying all the attention being on him. She has a very negative attitude towards her brother throughout the entire book. At the end Ben gets two baseball cards, Molly's old roller skates, a gum rapper chain, and a letter. The letter is sweet from Molly and Ben feels special. In the classroom we would read this book and then talk about if my students have ever felt jealous of someone else. I would have the students talk about why they felt this way and something they could have done to change the outcome.

I would then have a birthday chart and we would fill this out together. I would write students birthdays on my chart and begin a countdown for everyone's birthday. The students would then get a sheet of paper where I could tell them how many more days until their birthday. We would start a countdown with helps students to learn to count backwards.

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review 2016-07-01 00:00
Play Me Backwards
Play Me Backwards - Adam Selzer

Leon’s a slacker taking the easy path, not caring about anything, skipping gym (can’t fault him that) and enjoying kicking it in a den of miscreants masquerading as a job.

“When you get a job you like, you should lock it down.”

He used to be different though and now there’s possibility of Anna, his dream girl placed on a pedestal and incomparable, coming back to town. His low-key dread he’s been ignoring kicks into high gear and he turns to Stan to vent.

Only Stan has other plans for Leon who’s been a good minion, even if he’s not a literal believer. It starts with listening to Moby Dick on 19 audio tapes while driving around town. Leon has no idea how this would help, and neither did I, but his journey had begun.

I was a bit worried going in, but for the opposite reason of most people. I didn’t want to hear preaching and turning towards God or whatever. Thankfully, there’s none of that here.

Raves IconYoung Adult IconContemporary IconRomance IconLight and Fun IconRefreshing IconProgressive IconSnarky Icon
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The Good
+LOVED it!
+No preaching or attempts to convert
+Hilarious & fun
+Loved Leon, his journey, and character progression
+Realistic teens and activities
+ Quotable

I loved everything about Play Me Backwards. Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about it. Some might object or reject it due to the content, but I found it refreshing and sorely needed, especially after so many slut-shaming books.

It’s an authentic portrayal of teens. There’s sex, disgusting conversations, kicking it while drinking and smoking, video games, metal music, and of course, Dungeons & Dragons. But it’s not hardcore, dark, or dreary. There is romance and sweetness, but it’s not the typical YA fare.

“You do realize your characters would be better off without you, right?”

The story isn’t about Anna. Or a dork dating out of his league. It’s a typical teen drifting through life who starts to try and experience things instead. Along the way he has great introspection, insights, and realizations.

"But I suppose you shouldn't look for symbolism in people's work uniforms."

Throughout the trials and tribulations, Leon is insightful and the writing is great. I loved the short chapters describing one phenomena like dread and love. Not only did I find them funny and spot-on but it’s great building Leon’s character and mindset.

Of course, none of this would happen without S(a)tan. It bucks the Judeo-Christian depiction while including tired tropes against Satanist and making them freshly down to Earth. This Satan is more The Satanic Temple than the Church of Satan. And yes, there’s a huge difference.

He’s the boss at the Ice Cave, a rundown ice cream parlor that’s most popular feature is the den of miscreants in the back. Stan holds court there and in his basement. The amazing thing about those places is the liberation and community among people who would otherwise be outsiders.

Leon likens it to Rudolph’s Island of Misfit Toys only with pride and debauchery. All the background cast have their own personalities and are easily identifiable without John-Green-esque quirks. And you if like Leon’s parents you totally need to check out Cracked series about taste testing old recipes here, here, and here.

I didn’t know what anyone would say or do next. It was a BLAST! Unpredictable and hilarious, Play Me Backwards is nonstop. I did not want to put it down and couldn’t wait to get back to reading.
But like I said earlier, don’t be fooled by the young mischief, there are serious issues that are handled well and are rarely included.

First, while it doesn’t try to convert or de-convert someone, it does include a Separation of Church and State matter. I won’t go into details and spoil the surprise but Stan’s plan is right out of The Satanic Temple’s playbook. If you’ve never heard of their activism you can check some out: Official Campaigns Page, Pro-Abortion 1 & 2, Separation of Church & State 1 & 2 plus a General List.

It's like going to someone else's church: Stand when they stand, sit when they sit, and hope you don't end up getting sacrificed with a big knife or something.


Sex Positivity for Boys & Girls: Rebellion Leads to Liberation

The cynic in me says if Leon was Leona, she wouldn’t have been free to narrate her exploration of sex and insecurities and I hate that. I wish I could think of a similarly freeing and non-judgmental YA book for she-teens.

The good news is none of the girls are slut shamed. No one is made to feel bad for having previous partners or enjoying sex. Dating and moving on the next one is no big deal. The relationship and emotions have weight and significance but sex isn’t a cross to bear for women.

Instead, as easily guessed, liberation is a key theme and they’re free to hang out naked, shirtless, fuck, and do everything guys do. Why the fuck not? It makes sense.

But it’s not all about women, sexism hurts men too. Leon’s previous sexual experiences and insecurities highlight an important part that is often overlooked and turned into women-hating excuses. His exes aren’t painted as evil sluts, just jerks or insensitive. It’s not about their gender, it’s how they treat people.

He doesn’t smear all women or “but not all men” when women complain about sexism. Dudebros should take note. He progresses as a person instead.

And I want a petition to replace Truth or Dare with Permissions.

"So instead of saying 'I dare you to,' you say 'I give you permission to.' And you can either do it or not. It's kind of liberating in a way."

More Quotes!

Being in Oak Meadow Mills could be like being inside one of those mirror mazes that they had at the fair.

I continued my basic routine of saying the stupidest shit possible.

There was a chance that I was playing a part in some pretty ugly stuff, in an offhand sort of way, but so is everyone else with a job, if you think about it. Just about everyone who works is earning money for CEOs who may not be the world's greatest human beings.

"I hear that if a guy takes no for an answer and doesn't text you pictures of his scrotum, he's probably ahead of the curve."

"I wasn't getting any sympathy from the devil, though. Stan was laughing his ass off at me."


Will you read Play Me Backwards? What do you think of the quotes I selected? Any thoughts on the sex positivity? 

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review 2016-04-23 03:27
Life in Reverse
Backwards - Rob Grant


So, at the end of Better Than Life we leave Lister trapped in a universe in which time goes in reverse, namely because he had become so old (due to being caught up in a temporal distortion caused by a black hole) that when they encountered the polymorph he had literally been scared to death (or something like that – I'm not quite sure even though it was about a month ago that I actually read the book). Anyway, in an effort to save his life they take his body to an alternate universe, in which time runs backwards (as I have mentioned), with the intention of picking him up again when he is much younger. I must admit that that is a pretty interesting way of saving one's life, especially when onehas aged a lot quicker to those around them, thanks to the local black hole (though this is all speculation since nobody has actually tested it out – it's based on some guy's, possibly Einstein's, mathematical modeling).


In the previous book it was suggested that life makes no sense to us because our timeline travels in the wrong direction, which means that we find ourselves travelling into the future, namely from birth to death. While hindsight is 20/20, our vision of the future is basically non-existent (though we do have a habit of making speculative assumptions, and once again resorting to mathematical models). Mind you, the fact that the future is unknown gives way for some very profitable industries, form your average circus fortune teller, to the gambling industry, to investment banks like Goldmen Sachs (and isn't all they are doing is making bets based upon statistical probabilities?). However, if we travel backwards it sort of works a little different, we know where we are going, it is just that we progressively forget where we have been.


Okay, I know, this is a Red Dwarf book, so it isn't meant to be taken seriously, but in reality we really don't know if these people in this backwards universe actually realise that their universe is travelling in the opposite direction to our own, and the funny thing is that Lister, who is living through this backwards universe with a forward looking mindset, sort of knows the future, but is mystified by the past (though of course he could always pick up a history book). It's sort of like having an accent – you notice everybody's but your own.


I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this addition to the Red Dwarf series – for some reason it didn't seem to work as well as the previous two books. I guess it had something to do with the episodes not being some of my favourite. Also it is a lot less episodic than the previous two books, so while Grant is making the story flow better, it sort of doesn't work as well. For instance Grant spent way too much time on developing Ace's character (the alternate Rimmer for those who don't know, who is much more daring, sophisticate, and loved), to the point that it started to get somewhat dry. So to were the four horsemen of the apocalypse part. While I understand that he wanted to create a but of a mystery in the lead up to the story, it didn't seem to really work all that well.


As for Rimmer, I don't know whether to feel sorry for the guy or not. I guess that is what the character is trying to do though. By blaming everybody else for his shortcomings, and also regularly fails, I sort of feel that maybe the guy should get a bit of a break. Mind you, the fact is that he does blame everybody, and refuses to admit that he is wrong. Still, there are a lot of people out there that are pretty smart that seem to be forever condemned to mediocrity, and they actually aren't like Rimmer because they don't complain about it. Okay, they might not be content, but the sad thing is that where one is born to a wealthy family, is sent to a good school, and inherits the family business (and is a thick as a brick), there is another that is basically lands up, though no fault o their own, on the wrong side of the tracks. The difference is how they learned to roll with it. It is clear that Rimmer's mother isn't a very nice person, and even when Ace succeeds she doesn't show a huge amount of emotion. It is just that Rimmer is trying too hard to impress her, and failing miserably, particularly since he is never going to get an “I'm proud of you” from her.


The funny thing that we find out in this book though is that the reason Ace succeeds, and Rimmer fails is because Ace was held back at school. However in the show it was always suggested that it was Rimmer that didn't want to be held back whereas in the book it was his mother. In the end I guess Rimmer was right all along – it was somebody else's fault.

(spoiler show)




Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1614191441
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review 2016-01-31 02:41
Backwards Christmas
Backwards Christmas - Brooke Williams

Title: Backwards Christmas
Author: Brooke Williams
Publisher: Prism Book Group [Diamond]
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"Backwards Christmas" by Brooke Williams

My Thoughts...

A 'Backwards Christmas' what did that mean? Well in the South Pole, Alaska that is what they do every single year. Yes, celebrate a 'Backwards Christmas.' This author gives the reader quite a interesting short short read that will have upside down trees and I loved how the mistletoe will come into play as you read the story. The story being of two people ...Chris Furst who had lost his parent in a tragic way and he seemed to have lost his way being a non believer of the holiday spirit. Then their is Noelle Richards who had one time been in Chris's life but due to certain reasons things had changed with Christ after his parents had died. Now, I don't want to tell too much of the story but we find Noelle is a tour guide and there will be a lots going on in this small town around this Christmas time. Will there be a turnaround for Chris during this time as he seems to be coming around? Will he seek the love that he once had with Noelle? What about his faith? Will there be a second chance for him and Noelle? Well, to find out the answers to these questions and more you will have to pick up "Backwards Christmas" to see how well this author will bring it all out to the readers.

This was a beautiful written short Christmas read of how some things are done so very different in South Pole, Alaska. If you love the cold weather and something a little different in reading for the Christmas holiday then I would definitely recommend this read especially to you.

I received a copy through NOR in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-01-29 00:42
Possibly my favorite romance of all time.
Backwards to Oregon - Jae

The characters of Luke and Nora are just damn near perfect to me. I can't help but cheer for them - individually and as a couple. Jae's ability to create not only these fantastic women but to set the scene and put the reader right there next to them is just incredible. I think this is her best work and I know I'll continue to read this book again and again. And love it just as much each time.

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