The Society of Bookworms is now officially partnered with the Edward B. Cole Senior Academy!!!

Yesterday, three Society of Bookworms members met with the Director of Community Outreach at E.B. Cole and established a six week program to work with a hundred students who are eager to enter the bookworm community. In the rotational sessions, we will go over the steps to choosing the right book, understanding the library system, and forming communities of like-minded readers. Interspersed throughout the programs, we will begin phasing in books from our drive and our donations. At the culmination of the six weeks, we hope to have successfully motivated the students to read more books and think about the pertinent life lessons and messages that can be unearthed within them.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer: A Book Review

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Summary:

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review:

As an avid fan of the Lunar Chronicles Series so far, I am happy to say that Cress (Book 3) has only continued to improve upon Marissa Meyer’s incredible science-fiction/dystopian universe. In a world of kick-butt cyborgs, powerful Lunar warriors and royals, The Lunar Chronicles Series is a hit for anyone who loves the fantasy genre. The series as a whole focuses on the lives of four main characters: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter (in the upcoming Book 4) as well as their relationships with one another and their intertwined goals for a peaceful relationship between “Earthens” and “Lunars,” cyborgs and humans, empty “shells” and the magically powerful. This series chronicles an overlapping theme of equality between people of power and those without. The four main character, each based on original Disney stories (Cinder – Cinderella, Scarlet – The Little Red Riding Hood, Cress – Rapunzel, Winter – Snow White), bring to life our favorite stories in an entirely new and futuristic universe with all the same themes of justice, equality and peace.

Cress, continues the story of Cinder and Scarlet and their friends Iko, Captain Thorne, Wolf, Jacin, and Dr. Erland. Cress, a “shell” who has no magical ability, has been entrapped by Mistress Sybill in a satellite that has orbited Earth for seven years. Forced to spy on Earth for the Lunars, she secretly gives aid to Cinder and her friends while endangering her life in the process. She eventually escapes with Captain Thorne and joins Cinder and her crew on their journey to stop the upcoming marriage between King Kai and the evil Queen Levana as well as save plague-ridden Earth from the Lunars.

The best parts of Cress encompass the well-developed relationships between each of the many characters as well as their individual growths from people of broken pasts into powerful leaders in a quest to ultimately save the world. A huge part of this novel was watching Cress develop from an almost childish, socially-awkward bystander into a full-fledged agent of change. Overall though, the best part of the book was its riveting plot consisting of kidnap, betrayal, rescues, flying, fighting, and more fighting. Somehow, Marissa Meyer has managed to further capitalize on suspense with the release of each book. In short, Cress was an excellent addition to the series and I look forward to the final novel, Winter, which continues the story with the addition of Princess Winter of Luna in a Snow White-based story.

Thanks for Reading!

The Society of Bookworms

Book Drive Update 3

We are happy to say that our morning Book Drive was very successful. We have collected almost a hundred books from families of the generous Sage community. Added to our previous collection, we have a total of about 400 books! We are so happy to have already received this many. In our experience, it only takes one book to influence our worldview and open the door to the reading community. With these 400 books, we can change 400 lives and many many more. We will be continuing this book drive and collecting donations in the following months, so please donate! Give the gift of reading to those who don’t have the benefit. Pass along your favorite stories so that others may enjoy them.

Book Drive Update 2

Since the last update, we have collected over 150 books, surpassing our overall goal of 300!!! To top this even more, the week after next we are planning a curbside morning book drive to gather more books that parents can easily drop off in the parking lot at school. We will be at the top with boxes from 7:30 to 8 Tuesday through Friday. Let’s see if we can pass 500 by the end of next week!Image

Best Children’s Books of 2013

As the 2013 year is winding down, we have compiled a list of the ten best children’s  and middle grade books that have dominated the bestseller’s lists and captivated readers all over the world. Give some of them a try!

1. The House of Hades by Rick RiordanImage

Summary: At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy”s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea”s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape? They have no choice. If the demigods don”t succeed, Gaea”s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

2. Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Summary: “I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like Imagethis: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.” 

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.

3. Dork Diaries: Tales by a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker by Rachel Renee RussellImage

Summary: Love—and crushes—are in the air for Nikki Maxwell in this sixth book of the New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series.
It’s the biggest dance of the year and Nikki Maxwell is hoping her crush, Brandon, wants to be her date. But time is running out. What if he doesn’t want to go with her? Or worse—what if he ends up going with Mackenzie?!!
In the sixth book in the blockbuster Dork Diaries series—now with more than 8 million copies in print—join Nikki, Chloe and Zoey as they tackle the topic of love, Dork Diaries style!

4. The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

Summary: After decades of hiding, the evil EnchantImageress who cursed Sleeping Beauty is back with a vengeance.

Alex and Conner Bailey have not been back to the magical Land of Stories since their adventures in The Wishing Spell ended. But one night, they learn the famed Enchantress has kidnapped their mother! Against the will of their grandmother, the twins must find their own way into the Land of Stories to rescue their mother and save the fairy tale world from the greatest threat it’s ever faced.

 

5. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Summary: Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.Image
But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.
Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

6. Fyre by Angie SageImage

Summary: Favorite characters return in this stunning seventh and final book in Angie Sage’s New York Times bestselling magykal series: ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, Alchemist Marcellus Pye, and of course Septimus Heap, Jenna, Beetle, Simon, Lucy, and the rest of the Heap gang.

Jenna will soon be Queen and Beetle is now Chief Hermetic Scribe. Septimus, however, must rid the Castle of the Darke Domaine by destroying the Two-Faced Ring. His skills in both Magyk and Physik will be tested, as will his loyalties. 

Filled with Angie Sage’s characteristic humor and heart, Fyre is a grand finale that is fantasy adventure at its best.

7. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl ShurtliffImage

Summary: In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

A Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm.Image

8. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Summary: Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.
Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.
In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

9. Navigating Early by Clare VanderpoolImage

Summary: New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys’ incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.
At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.

10. A Tangle of Knots by Lisa GraffImage

Summary: Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.
Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we’re all connected.

 

We hope that some of these books appeal to you and that you continue to discover, enjoy, and share stories with one another.

Thanks for reading!

The Bookworms

How to choose the “WRITE” book

If you are ever stuck and you simply cannot find the right book that captivates you, try these steps:

1. Look at the cover and read the summary of the book. While you should never judge a book by its cover, looking at it will often give a good indicator as to the subject material of the book. If the summary interests you, read the first few pages to see if it still captures your interests.

2. Try to find a book that aligns with your interests. For example, if your favorite sport is baseball or you love to watch Star Wars, then a book about Jackie Robinson or a science fiction story is for you. If you enjoy a specific author, find more books by that same author and give them a shot.

3. Talk to friends who have read the book or read reviews online to see if the story is right for you.

4. After reading, share the book with you’re friends, discuss, and exchange books with each other.

Hope this helps! Thanks for reading,

Your favorite bookworms

Book Drive Update

In just three weeks, we have already collected more than 150 books! By the end of the first semester, we hope to have at least 300 books that can be distributed to under-funded school districts in California. We have also decided that any text books that we receive will be sold online and the funds accumulated will be used to purchase newer, better quality children’s and young adult books that will add to the diversity of our collection. So far, we are off to an excellent start. We may even be able to top 300 next semester!

Thanks for reading and please donate!

Society of Bookworms is starting our Book Drive!!

As of today, we have officially launched our book drive, aiming to receive at least 300 books from the Sage Hill community first semester and even more in the proceeding semester. These book will be donated to the Compton School District to hopefully provide a catalyst for greater interest in reading, writing, and storytelling. At this point in time, we already have about 50 books promised and on their way to the various “book bins” we will have spread around campus. Next Monday, we will make a town meeting announcement to raise awareness in the community and hopefully generate interest in providing a great service for the many students who miss out on their opportunity to love stories by not having the materials necessary to discover  and cherish books.

Heroes of Olympus Book 4: The House of Hades

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Summary:

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

Review: 4.8/5

Arguably the most popular, most exciting children’s book series of the past decade is the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. The House of Hades, Riordan’s most most recent installment was released worldwide on October 8th to excited fans eager to get their hands on the next battle-filled, plot-twisting, exciting demigod adventure. As an avid fan myself and someone who has literally grown up with these beloved stories and journeyed with the characters from fifth grade to the present, here is my review of the House of Hades:

The House of Hades went above and beyond my expectations. Every huge series has their good books and sometimes their bad ones. It’s understandable, no series is perfect. However, there seems to be no end to Riordan’s brilliance. His books tend to only increase in action, character-development, and plot complexity. As fans have grown with the series, so too has Riordan’s ability to recapture our interest every year without fail. Without getting into spoilers for those who have not yet read the book, I have to say my favorite part of this book in particular was the character development. With a story focusing on the separate subplots of almost 8 different characters, I expected the story to be more plot-driven and very thin-spread on character-development. Instead I received a compelling, diverse story that really delves into the various personalities, humor, relationships and fears of each character. It seemed that every character was “tested” and confronted with their own fears and obstacles that have been prophesied over the course of three books. As far as plot, the story was extremely gripping. It diverts between Percy and Annabeth in Tartarus and the other six demigods confronting their own motley of monsters and gods throughout their journey to the Doors of Death. Overall, the story was incredibly riveting for all age groups, setting the standard high for the next and final installment of the series, The Blood of Olympus, to be released in Fall 2014. I highly recommend that anyone who loves action, adventure, or mythology read the series. You will not regret it!

Thanks for reading!

-Sonya

Society of Bookworms goes to the OC Children’s Book Festival!

September 29th was the 10th Annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival bringing together hundreds of authors, publishers, readers, librarians, illustrators, writers, and bloggers from all over the Orange County and Los Angeles County Area. The entire experience was very rewarding for those of us who were able to find others of the book-loving community. Outside of just books however, is the festival’s commitment to service. Among the many authors and exhibitors there was the Hope School which is an educational program for homeless children. After meeting with their program manager, La Shawn Hye, we were able to learn more about their purpose and goals, and we hope to fuel our efforts and work together in the future to provide greater educational opportunities for the homeless, especially with greater literary resources. Overall, the festival was very worthwhile, providing us with many possible collaborative opportunities with other organizations.

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