Behind the Blog: A Southern Snow Day Booklist

Greetings from the southern state of Louisiana,

This makes for the 3rd day off from school thanks to winter weather. (we have never had 3 days off in a row for winter weather that I can remember!) The world is wonderful quite, still, and breathtakingly gorgeous. In an area where snow is uncommon, the world stops to take in the beauty, rejoice in the small miracles falling from the sky, and thankful for the extra holidays. While the kids are at play, we take a few pictures and start plotting what I will do with my extra days off.


1st: Catch up on teacher duties

2nd: Sketch/journal some

3rd: Watch some movies (Frozen and Pride and Prejudice will do…the 5hour one!)

4th: Make a reading list.

5th: Blog.

Yesterday, the family made a trip to 2nd and Charles. The family practically had to drag me out. I came out with one book for me and the rest for my students. sigh. Anyways, I came up with this list and the rest I will try to conquer while my class participates in the Read The Most competition on Friday – If we have school.


Aside from reading Scarlet on Skype dates with my handsome boyfriend (you can read his guest post here and here), here are the books I hope to read soon!

Snow Day TBR1) Civil War on Sunday – I’m reading and teaching a unit on this in my 3rd grade class.

2) The Seven Decisions – Pastor asked all the members of the church to read this.

3) Misquitoland – An ARC I got at TTB that comes out next month

4) A Girl Named Digit – it needs to be returned to Juju!

5) Fair Weather – I just love the cover. Brody, dear, take me on a Ferris Wheel please!

6) Masterpiece – A gift from a student when I was student teaching. It sounds adorable!

Stay safe, warm, with plenty to read. Until next time,

Science Ch. 4 Week 2 copy


Swap From the Swamp: Clean Out Your Computer!

HELLO, and welcome to Swap From the Swamp, me (Xander from ForeverBookish) and The Girls in Plaid Skirts monthly blog swap! This swap happens on the first Monday of every month (but February is special; AKA I was late) SO this month we are celebrating February 9! As well as being National Read in the Bathtub Day and National Toothache Day, the 9th is CLEAN OUT YOUR COMPUTER DAY! The Girls and I are posting some fun things we found while cleaning out our computers. Head to my blog to see their pics!


1. A pic of Rick. HAHAHA. My dad shouted “Hey Rick!” at the Rick Riordan event and he turned and my dad got a perfect picture. YAY!


2. From my trip to London! I went this summer and it blew my mind.


3. That time when I met author Ernest Cline and got to see his Delorean; yup. This is legit.


4. Me and my cat awhile back!


5. At Texas Teen Book Festival when Gayle Forman and I were chillin’.


6. Again with Gayle at TTBF! In what might just be the blurriest selfie ever, with the perk of a photobomb.


7. Harry Potter ice cream. Now THAT’S how it’s done.


8. On the topic of HP, a selfie with the publisher of Harry Potter. Arthur A. Levine! From BookCon/BEA 🙂


9. And a selfie with a Girl in a Plaid Skirt; Julianne!


10. Just for fun, a ninja squirrel who is trying to act dead and is dong very well at it. He was in my backyard a couple days ago, and not like that for the first time.


And I shall end this off with a picture of the BEST book tower that totally crushes our book towers from our videos. I don’t think this is in alphabetical order though. From HP Studio Tour

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next month’s post!


Top Ten Tuesday: Book Related Problems

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

{Yesterdays’s} topic is “Book Related Problems” which I seem to have turned into a mix of physical book related, and general reader probs… because, come on, we totally get it.
As you may have noted, clever little you, today is not Tuesday.  I ran out of time yesterday but wanted to share it anyway… So here ya go!

1.  When there is not a bookmark to be found and I resort to using anything within reach to avoid dog-earing the page, and remembering the page number is nigh impossible… that is if I don’t just plow through the book all in one sitting…Bookmark -- You mean "quitter strip"? Hahaha

2.  Finding a decent book light.

Too big. Too ugly. Too bright. Too heavy.  uhhh…  Too flimsy.  Found it!!  Oh. Too expensive….

3.  Not enough shelf.


4. Reading in bed… or trying to…


5.  When someone asks you what your favorite book is.

17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand

6.  Coping with endings that don’t play out the way I want them to. I can’t love all books, I can’t heart all the stories.  I won’t like the characters.

(I don’t have a meme for this, but you know what I mean)

7.  Lending books and then having them returned in a sad state…

17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand

8.  Accidental *spoilers*

Problems of a book nerd

9.THE FEELS!!!b007e46bcbe8ca263a6ceca9ffb85acb

I suppose the problem is more specifically when

other people don’t understand the feels.

And of course…

10. So many books, so little time.


Review: Cinder (a male perspective)

Once again, we’re welcoming Rachel’s boyfriend Brody to the blog! Thanks for your thoughts on Cinder, Brody!

Cinder English

Hello Readers!

Rachel invited me into the world of Cinder. We had the idea to read it together with Rachel reading from female characters’ perspectives (such as Cinder’s pov) and me reading from the male characters’ perspectives (such as Prince Kai’s or even the Doctor’s pov) whenever their appearances would permit us to do so! Which made it extra fun for me, not only because I wasn’t just reading it by myself, but also because I was reading it with an experienced Cinder Lunar Chronicles reader, and so she was able to point things out by saying things like “pay attention to that” or “this is important.” And then there were those loud and surprising “I never caught that before” moments that would catch me off guard where she would then refuse to spill the jar of spoiling beans on what she was talking about, because she’s a firm believer in not supporting the said action known as spoiling. Unfortunately, our schedules got too busy that we weren’t able to incorporate Cinder into our Skype dates (seeing as how we are at this present time “geographically challenged”), so I had to embark on the rest of the story by myself while still filling her in on the things that intrigued me, surprised me, made me laugh, or made me miss her when it got to the sappy stuff.

See, I wasn’t just being a loyal boyfriend. As avid book readers, you all understand how you’re not just reading about a world, but you’re in that world, immersed by the smells floating down the streets of New Beijing into the grease stained floors of the garage where Cinder’s eyes met Kai’s for the first time. You can feel the anxiousness in Cinder’s stomach regardless of her persistent denial. That’s what gets me, I get invited into this world, into Rachel’s world, so that I can better understand…

I’m not sure if it’s sad to say that I couldn’t recall ever really watching Cinderella as a 22-year-old young man. As a kid I was probably too busy watching Power Rangers, TMNT, or Bruce Lee movies. Woah. (I just noticed a weird pattern of Kung-Fu there, I think I learned something new about myself.) But any-who, by dating Rachel I’m pretty much dating Cinderella, so on our last visit, as a 22-year-old young man, she sat me down on a warm Christmas night with a few members of her family and we partook of Disney’s animated classic of Cinderella.

That’s probably how a lot of people see the story line unfold, as an elegant fairy tale. I guess partly because of my biological make-up and partly because I hadn’t seen Cinderella, I visualized the book from more of an anime perspective. Any of you who watched the real anime on Adult Swim know what I’m talking about. One in particular stands out, FMA (Full Metal Alchemist). But only as a visual of the character because of Ed’s auto-mail arm and leg, like Cinder’s hand and foot. Howbeit he may not be a cyborg, they both try to hide their true identities by covering these features.


When I think of New Beijing, I get this very busy futuristic-Chinese setting. When I picture the city of New Beijing I see it looking something like this.

city1Cinder was a thrill to read and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of The Lunar Chronicles!

Especially Cress… for obvious reasons.cress

– Brody

Once Upon A Time There Were The Girls in Plaid Skirts And These Were Their Favorite Romance Books


“Suddenly he stops. He looks up. For, lo, there she stands. The girl of his dreams. Who she is or whence she came, he knows not, nor does he care for his heart tells him that here, here is the maid predestined to be his bride.”


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen: Mr. Darcy. We will just leave it at that.


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


The Princess by Lori Wick: A cute Christian love story about… a princess of course!


Redemption by M.L. Tyndall: This one is a Christian pirate romance book, and, well, we totally picture Orlando Bloom as the Christian pirate. 🙂


On The Fence by Kasie West: Yes, again with the Kasie West books because they are so good. She writes the most adorable romances and swooniest boys.


Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: boy hates girl. Girl hates boy. Sparks fly. (Also girl has accidentally received magical powers and must now save the life of said boy she hates and there are swords and killer high heels–literally.)


The selection series: because we can’t get enough princess romances!


Book Review: Split


Author: Swati Avasthi

Genre: Contempory Fictions

Age: YA

Click for the Goodreads summary!

When I first picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought, one, it would be an interesting break from the romantic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, technologically advanced, dramas that seem to abound.  Not that I don’t enjoy my fair share, but we all need a break from not-reality every once in a while (;  Also, I thought it would be good to read some books written from a guy’s perspective (see also, Sanderson’s Steelheart).  So it came home from the library with me.  A short time into it I realized it was going to be quite bit more raw than I thought.

We meet a teenager, battered and desperate, on his estranged brother’s doorstep.  As the pages turn we discover his recent displacement from his abusive home, and bits and pieces of history that have shaped the minds and lives of the brothers.  An important and over-arching theme in the story is relationships, with those they love, those they hate, and their selves.  The bond between the brothers is just incredible, still strong after so many trials.  It’s a story that can make your heart cry and laugh and smile in the same chapter.

Note:  It is relatively clean, considering it’s about a teenager from an abusive home.  My only issue was the language (f-bombs) which made a grand appearance in a short heated moment between the brothers.  I do admit to skipping that page.  The story isn’t about love-love so sex isn’t an issue at all.

Review: The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

Author: Barry Jonsberg

Age: Middle School – High School

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: Read Here

Rachel’s Rambles:

This book made me laugh. This book made me tear up. That, my friends, is the first sign that you have found yourself a good book! When a book evokes emotions, you know its a good book. However, if the same book evokes multiple emotions…its a treasure!

Candice is a quirky, very-literal girl and the novel is written in the frame story of school assignment. Its a touching story with a colorful cast. I love how the story is told from Candice’s literal POV! The story becomes more interesting as she takes it upon herself to heal her families wounds and befriends the crazy new kid (he thinks he is from out of space.) I believe this story has lessons everyone can learn. In a way, it reminds me of Jr. John Green novel.

Bottom line: For the nerds and school teachers who enjoy realistic stories and a laugh.

Content Advisory: (Spoilers)
Language: A few (I know the h-word.)
Sexuality: She was given inflatable boobs as a birthday presents…actually very important to the story.
Violence/Sadness: Young family deaths are discussed, depression

This post does contain an affiliate link. We could earn money. (Howbeit very little money.)

so, um… stuff…

Hallo readers and gents!

At the most recent meeting of the Plaid Girls, the first in a long while, since before The Great Abyss of No Posts (aka the holidays), we decided to attempt to make thing easier for ourselves.  We divvied up the days.  We are now operating on a pattern-like schedule of postaciousnes. I have … what day is this..  oh, I have Thursdays!

As I have been up to my eyeballs in a special (and kind of hush-hush, so i can’t even share pictures yet) project at work, I was all like “Bahh!! whattamuhgunnapostabout??” and then i was remind of something that my cousin brought to light for me.  He so kindly and graciously (lol) pointed out that my entire life is a lie.   Well almost. So you know that super intense part in the story? The Climax.  And then there’s that word for when it’s not as great as it could have, should have, would have been if you had written it?  You say “That was very ______!”  Wrong.  Well I don’t actually know what you say, maybe I’m the only who has been living a lie.  But I’ve always said ‘anticlimatic’.  Apparently that is referring to the weather, or, more correctly, referring to something that has nothing to do with the weather (climate).  The proper term is ‘anticlimaCtic’ like mack-tic…    MY WHOLE LIFE PEOPLE!!!!  So there is your tidbit for the day!  Now go blow someone’s mind… (disclaimer: don’t be an idiot, i don’t mean that literally, this isn’t a post-apocalyptic lawless, every-reader-for-his-or-her-self society in which we have resorted to violence and a means of entertainment…. )

Now I”m going to go get in bed and finish Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because I made it HALFWAY through last night before i gave out, and all day at work today the first half of the book was replaying in my head and I was like “What happens next??!?!?!?!?”    And then I get home and eat food because I didn’t really eat lunch and you can read on an empty stomach because you know you can’t put down a good story just for food, and it’s a little too dangerous to maneuver the half-turn staircase in the dark while read-walking….  and I knew it was my day to post so I’m trying to be a good little blogger and then Pinterest happens and I added some pretty bookish pins to our boards (we have a Pinterest in case you didn’t know!) and then I finally reeled myself in from the bottomless scrolling abyss….

One last thing, I managed to squeeze two other books (the sequels to Pivot Point by Kasie West and to Linked by Imogene Howson) into my nights recently, so hopefully I’ll get my act together and post about those soon!  lol


going to read now….

book love!


Guest Post (Brody): Review of The Little Prince

We’re excited to welcome Brody, Rachel’s boyfriend, to our blog! Thanks for guest posting for us, Brody!

Le Petit Prince “Goodbye,” said the fox. “Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes …

I would first like to take the time to thank The Girls in Plaid Skirts for asking me to guest post. This is the first time I’ve done anything of this nature so while I’m a little nervous as to what all you folks in the book world may judge, know that I’m extra nervous (because my beloved girlfriend Rachel and her best friends are watching) but I feel honored at the same time.

The book I was asked to give my two cents on is one that Rachel has already done as a matter of fact. (If that doesn’t set the bar any higher). It’s The Little Prince!

So what genre does this fable really fall into? It’s certainly a fantasy—it’s a children’s novel, an adventure, it even has emotional of romanticism and aspects war and allegory. I can certainly see how Rachel would label it a french Peter Pan.

It’s hard to put my finger on it because it was so many things at different times, but if I could I would wrap all those into one word: Enlightening.

I would superscribe this The Little Prince as medicine to anyone who may have lost the twinkle in their eyes when they see the world around them. There’s an underlying message throughout the journey of this book that reminds a person to appreciate what they have and who they have. It will consequently bring the most important people or things that we can take for granted in everyday life to light and judo chop us right in the feel box.

It’s especially special if you have an extra special someone in your world. MUSHY ALERT! I can’t bring justice to this review if I don’t share one of the major things this book meant to me. Congrats we’ve just crossed over into the inner confines of Brody’s World.

While anyone else who starts reading this book the proper way might realize that the two main characters are an aviator whose plane was forced down in the Sahara Desert and a little prince from a small planet that winds up on our planet on the quest for the secret of life, I did not. I started at the chapter where the quote at the top of the page is from after Rachel sent it to me one morning. Immediately proceeding that I went to the library to grab a copy for myself because I had been hooked. What I had read—the secret that had been presented—had put a more-than-little-prince-sized death grip on my heart strings.

Valentine’s Day is coming up so this would actually be a great suggestion for your other nerdy half as well! This is a book of just approximately 80 pages, but the message in it is far, far greater.

– Brody


Top Ten Retellings I Want to Read

Happy top ten Tuesday everyone! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Want to Read from ____ Genre. So I chose retellings! In parentheses is what the book is a retelling of.

For Darkness Shows the Stars, Nobody's Princess, Enchanted

1) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Persuasion| This is a dystopian version of Persuasion by Jane Austen. (Which I also need to read!)

2) Nobody’s Princess (Princesses of Myth) by Esther Friesner (Helen of Troy) | I really want to read more mythology, and this fits the bill!

3) Enchanted (The Woodcutter Sisters) by Alethea Kuntis (Princess and the Frog| Unfortunately the only experience I’ve had with this story is the Disney movie, which I didn’t really like, so I’m up for a book retelling.
scarlet, tiger lily, throne of glass

4) Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen (Robin Hood) | She’s undercover as a boy in Robin Hood’s band. Yes, please.

5) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan) | I think Rachel either read or started this book. She wasn’t a big fan of the fact that it deviates from the original Peter Pan so much, but since I’ve never read Peter Pan (I need to fix that), it probably won’t bother me!

6) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Cinderella| This book has been on my to-read list for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I heard it was a Cinderella retelling. (Honestly, it doesn’t sound like it from the synopsis. Can anybody chime in here?)stitching snow, cruel beauty, wild

7) Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis (Snow White| I recently had someone tell me that this is a must-read for fans of The Lunar Chronicles, so I immediately added it to my to-read list!

8) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Beauty and the Beast| I’m honestly embarrassed by how many times this book has turned up on my want-to-read posts. I need to just go ahead and read it!

9) Wild by Alex Mallory (Tarzan| I really don’t have anything to say about this other than… Tarzan retelling. I mean, that’s totally enough for me.


10) Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron (Frankenstein| I recently read Frankenstein. I hated it. So I hope this retelling is more interesting.


Do you like retellings? Do you have any recommendations? Which ones do you want to read?

YA retellings to read (fairy tales, mythology)*this post contains affiliate links, meaning we could get a very small percentage of any purchase you make using them*