Friday, July 15, 2016

Florida Vacation & Guide Books

Hello my lovely readers!  You may have wondered why I haven't been posting as much and that's because I just spent a week in Florida for vacation!  Got back home yesterday after much travelling and am already enjoying the cooler weather.  It hit 109 degrees at one point, and that is way above my comfort zone.

So for the next two weeks I'm going to give you a couple posts about my trip, this first one regarding the guide books I read leading up to the trip and how useful they were to my actual activities.  Others will be gushing over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, explaining the countries in Epcot, and comparing beaches from the Gulf of Mexico.  Excited?  Here we go!

Title:  Frommer's Easy Guide to Disney World, Universal and Orlando 2016
Company:  Frommer's
Rating:  5/5

Before Trip Thoughts:

This book made me so excited to go to Universal Studios!  For the trip I focused on Universal Studios, Epcot, Disney Springs, and International Drive.  It broke down each area and attractions, restaurants, and rides into different categories along with giving them a star-rating.

My favorite part about this book was how the author did not hold back if they didn't like a ride or restaurant.  They were honest about skipping it, or at least telling you what let them down.  Also very helpful to me was the description for the rides that were very intense because I can't handle intense rides.

After Trip Thoughts:

After three days in the Orlando area I was glad I had read this book and highlighted sections before I went to Florida.  I carried the book with me all three days in a backpack, and that was unnecessary, but the things I remembered and had highlighted had stuck with me and I was able to steer clear of rides (like all of the Harry Potter ones unfortunately), and find hidden gems that get overlooked (the gift shops in Morocco in Epcot and the best ice cream shop I've ever been to in France in Epcot).

I highly recommend reading this before going to Orlando, and the map was rather handy.

Title:  The Hidden Magic of Walk Disney World
Author:  Susan Veness
Rating:  3/5

Before Trip Thoughts:
This book is only getting a semi-high rating because of how excited it made me for Epcot before I went.  I got all excited about these hidden little gems like a water fountain that apparently made fun noises and such.  I do admit I only read the section about Epcot though (since we didn't go to any other Disney park).

After Trip Thoughts:

This book was useless.  It's outdated and everything they mentioned I either could not find or it did not exist any more.  It's kind of fun to read in general, but not practical aside from the history it gives you on the development of the parks.

Title:  Tampa & St. Petersburg
Company:  Moon
Rating: .5/5

Before Trip Thoughts:

Didn't read it before going because this was the second half of the trip and I figured I would have time during the drive from Orlando to Clearwater Beach to read it, I was wrong.

After Trip Thoughts:

Useless!  The island we were staying on didn't even exist on any of the 10 maps inside!  If you want restaurants you'll find like four per area if you're lucky.  They don't give you any useful information.  I'm actually returning this to Barnes & Nobel because I opened it once, didn't use it, and hated the two sentences I read.

Next Florida post will have awesome pictures, I promise!

Monday, July 11, 2016

June Wrap-Up & July TBR


So in June I read many small books and travel books.  I would list them here, but I honestly don't feel like it.  I will say that I was mostly disappointed in the YA books I read this month though, so hopefully next month will be better.

Moving on to July...


I want to read a classic this month!!  In addition to that, these three books are on my radar:

Up and Down (Loving Piper #1) by Charlotte Lockheart
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Any suggestions for a classic to read?  I haven't read many.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review: A Time to Dance

Title:  A Time to Dance
Author:  Padma Venkatraman
Rating:  5/5


Padma Venkatraman’s inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain her passion and find a new peace is told lyrically through verse that captures the beauty and mystery of India and the ancient bharatanatyam dance form. This is a stunning novel about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and above all, the courage and resilience of the human spirit.

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.


I LOVE novels in verse!!!  I extra love cultural YA books!  So this was a double win all around.

Veda is an amazing character who is put through a tragic accident.  Her spirit, however, is unbreakable and she comes back stronger than before.  Her journey to discover how to dance from her heart, and from Shiva again is profound and moving.

Govinda is an amazing supporting character about him trying to break free of society's and his family's expectations.

My favorite characer though was Paati, Veda's grandmother, whose unwavering spirit and faith carried Veda as well as us as readers.  I came very close to crying for her.