Goodbye?

As you may have guessed from the title, as of today, I won’t be posting anymore on Tweens Read Too. This is something I’ve thought about for a long time, maybe the last six months, for a couple of reasons.

The first is that I realized my reading tastes are maturing. I’m slowly starting to creep into adult literature (though, admittedly, it’s a very slow creeping), and I’m betting that within the next four or five years, I will be primarily reading adult lit. With that comes a bit of moving on. I no longer read and absolutely love enough middle-grade to run a separate blog about it.

That being said, I still greatly enjoy the genre. There’s something about middle-grade that you can’t get from YA or children’s or adult or any other genre out there, and I don’t think I’ll ever fully move on from YA and MG lit. Because of that, I’ll be casually reading middle-grade when I find books I’m excited about and posting those reviews on my other book blog, The Silver Words. I also plan to hold Tweens Read August or some event like it again, but it’ll be on TSW instead of TRT.

The second reason I’ve thought about moving on is because time has gotten tight for me as of late. It used to be manageable, but I have several things going on right now, between standardized test prep and extracurriculars and projects and writing a novel and starting at community college. I still defend my reading time, but it’s not realistic for me or my schedule to be posting on two blogs all the time. It comes out to at least five posts released a week, sometimes more than that. Knowing what my schedule looks like for the next couple of months, I knew I couldn’t make it to the end of the year as I’d initially planned, so I decided to end it here.

All of those things aside, some of you have followed this blog since it began in June 2013. Some of you have followed it since a year ago, a month ago, yesterday, and to all of you, thank you so much. You can’t begin to imagine the gratitude I have towards all of my readers, and I hope that you’ll continue to follow my bookish journey on The Silver Words.  Thank you again, and happy reading.

BUT.

Someone else will be taking over the blog, and I’ll provide oversight and maybe even the occasional post. I’ve mentioned my cousin, another avid reader, on here once or twice. My cousin’ll be taking over the blog and providing most of the content, as well a bit of new style. Stay tuned for more info, and goodbye (for now)!

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Tweens Read August Recap Post

As I mentioned in the information post for Tweens Read August, one of my goals for this blog in 2016 was to run an event like 14 Debuts, Silver Words Week, and Thankful for Words. When given the opportunity, I don’t always take Tweens Read Too as seriously as my YA blog because it’s much lower maintenance, but I wanted to change that this year.

First of all, this event was so much fun! It was amazing to work with these great MG authors, and I hope that I can do this event again next year.

I vaguely remember doing a post entitled something along the lines of “What the MG World Has to Learn from the YA One” a while ago, somewhere between my two blogs. In the post, I noted how the MG community doesn’t seem like a community, mostly because it doesn’t have the kind of elements that draw would-be bloggers to the YA genre. In doing this event, I learned a lot more about the MG community and how it’s different from YA. For those of you who are curious, here’s one huge difference:

MG Writers Are Generally More Willing to Make Time for You

Not that I’m complaining. I love working with YA authors. So many of them are amazing people, but they forget blogger deadlines all the time, and I’m gotten used to sending out initial emails for these kinds of things three or four months in advance. It’s not anyone’s fault; it’s just that we all have busy lives.

What surprised me was that MG writers were completely different. The majority of them got their posts to me way ahead of schedule or on time. They gave me their media files without me having to ask. They’re willing to change their posts for a blogger.

mind blown gif

I’ve never once had a single YA author ask me if their post was “okay”, but I had several MG ones ask me over the course of planning this event. As a note, none of the posts were changed, but I wanted to say that it was super sweet of those authors to consider the content coming out on a blog.

Here’s the list of authors and posts:

I thanked you all individually in your posts, but I can’t say it enough:

thank you gif

Without you, this project wouldn’t have been possible. I still can’t believe I got to feature the 14 MG authors I was most excited for this year, and it was much more painless than I thought it would be. I’m sad that it’s coming to an end. The only piece of unfinished business left is who won the giveaway! If your name is listed below, I’ve emailed you, and I need a response as soon as possible so I can get that out to the authors for shipping.

  • Kaitlin S.
  • Audrey S.
  • Jaina
  • Theresa W. S.
  • Timothy W.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this event, and Happy Tweens Read August!

Tweens Read August

One of my goals for this year, coupled with taking TRT more seriously, was to run a blog series like 14 Debuts, Silver Words Week, and Thankful for Words. And it’s happening!

yay gif

The event will take place from August 1st to August 14th, with one author hosted every day with a guest post, excerpt, top ten list, or interview. There’s also a giveaway involved :3 I’m really excited for Tweens Read Too’s first event, and especially so because these are ten of the middle-grade books that I’m most looking forward to this year–regardless of author status as a debut author or a returning one.

Authors who are going to be involved include Jennifer Nielsen–

YES I KNOW RIGHT

–Brooks Benjamin, Monica Tesler, Mike Grosso, and Victoria Coe. Be sure to drop by in August to be a part of keep track of all the posts!

Tweens Read Too 2015 Recap

Tweens Read Too was the year when I really started to focus on Tweens Read Too, and I’m so glad that I did! I had a lot of fun with this blog this year, and I have big goals for next year. My achievements, statistics and 2016 goals are below:

Achievements

Statistics (Between 1/1/15 and 12/28/15)

  • 3,240 pageviews
  • 168 WordPress, Bloglovin’ and Email followers
  • 495 Twitter followers
  • 58 Facebook likes

2016 Goals

New Design Details

As you may or may not have noticed, Tweens Read Too got a redesign! I did this for numerous reasons mainly because I felt like it was time, and also for a few other reasons that I’ll go over below. If you’re the designer type or if you’re just invested in the site, this post for you! Thanks for dropping by Tweens Read Too, and I hope you like the new redesign!

Why I Changed The Design And What That Means

  • Like I said before, I changed the design because I’ve had my previous theme, Retro-Fitted, for a long time. While I do love Retro-Fitted a lot, I felt like it was limited for what I wanted to accomplish. I also set out a new goal for Tweens Read Too, and I felt like the new theme would bring about new beginnings.
  • Tweens Read Too was originally a part of my young-adult book blog, The Silver Words, formerly RealityLapse. I created The Silver Words first, and it was my blog baby, but I remembered how much I loved this blog on its blogoversary and I love posting to this blog as well. I created Tweens Read Too for a reason, and that reason was that I wanted middle-schoolers, parents/family of middle-schoolers and people who just love middle-grade lit to have a place where middle-grade books are reviewed and talked about. Official today, I’m probably not going to be hosting any more authors individually unless there’s an extra special book that just really needs to get featured. Tweens Read Too is review-focused.
  • It should also be mentioned that I never really realized how seriously I took Tweens Read Too until about it’s blogoversary. It was then that I saw how long I’d been blogging on here and how much I love reviewing and reading middle-grade lit. That was when I realized I needed some things to change on TRT if I’m really going to be blogging on here.

Blog Changes

The design is not the only thing that’s changed. I have more pages, including a list of MG books that I loved and would recommend. It’s still in the works, but a lot of books are up, so be sure to take a look!

Another change is that, while TRT will not be hosting individual authors on a regular basis, it will be hosting an author event, the date for which is still undetermined. How long it will be depends on how much content I can pull together and how many authors would be willing to participate. It will happen though, and it will be celebrating the year’s MG books.

I did a post on it about a week ago, but Tweens Read Too also has it’s own separate Bloglovin’ page now, so there are more ways to follow TRT.

Theme Change

Tweens Read Too

Tweens Read Too, Retro-Fitted style.

The overall theme before was called Retro-Fitted. I picked it because I loved the way that the posts, menu and widgets all popped out, almost like separate entities. I also loved the clean look of the font and the different color of the search button. The blockquote option was also really appealing.

At the time, Retro-Fitted had everything that I needed it to have.

When I started looking for a new theme to put on Tweens Read Too, I wanted to maintain a minimalistic style, and with the same pop-out posts that Retro-Fitted has.

The themes that I narrowed down were Grisaille, Big Brother and Lyretail.

Just as a quick run-down of what I liked, I love the font layout of Grisaille. I really like the styles and the way that the headers and basic fonts look together. I also really enjoyed the way that the menus look out lined so there’s zero confusion as to what is under what and I love the huge social links at the top of the page. Loved the widgets as well. Didn’t love so much the coloring of the links and the highlights. This was extremely close to becoming the theme for Tweens Read Too. I actually tried it on before I tried this theme, but it ended not really fitting the feel I was aiming for with Tweens Read Too. This theme may not be the most friendly, but it’s multi-colored and clean, whereas I felt Grisaille was more professional.

I’ll confess that the header was mainly why I wanted to use Lyretail. Ultimately, I knew it just wouldn’t work for me because, while I did want some social links, I didn’t have the focus on social links to really fully use that theme. I loved the layout of the menu even though I don’t usually love drop-down menus and the minimalistic feel of the theme. I feel like Lyretail was meant to be much more personal, but all the same I would’ve been fine using it for Tweens Read Too if I didn’t have Big Brother.

Big Brother theme Tweens Read Too

Big Brother theme on Tweens Read Too (without header)

Big Brother is the theme used for Tweens Read Too now! From the beginning, I loved the fonts, simple layout and the pop-out of the posts. I really enjoy the widget format as well. I felt like the design was just enough and not too much. I liked the minimalistic style of the footer social links, even though I do wish that there was a Goodreads social link.

I do think it might’ve been better if I’d stuck to the original header text with just an image of books or something in the background, but I really wanted to design a header and matching button for TRT.

List of Design Changes

Widgets
  • TRT now its own button in the sidebar, and the button for The Silver Words is displayed there as well.
  • There’s a ‘Follow me on Bloglovin’ button link in the sidebar.
  • Instead of a list of categories, I stuck a category cloud there as more of a visual effect.
Footer, Menu, Pages and Header
Tweens Read Too header

I never really had the chance to use TRT’s footer the way I wanted to, the way I did with The Silver Words’ homepage. I’m still not able to, but with the focus on the primary sidebar I’m actually okay with that. However, I do have my social links down there. As for the header, menu and pages:

  • Header text is off
  • New header
  • New ‘I would recommend’ page
  • New ‘About’ page

Then there’s the favicon, which is that little tiny square up on the tab in your menu. It’s a smaller version of the button displayed in the sidebar.


That’s it for TRT’s new design! What do you think of it? Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below or email me on the contact page.

Follow Me On Bloglovin!

Hi all, just wanted to let you know that not only is Tweens Read Too getting a re-design, but I’ve also reregistered it on Bloglovin. The link is below, but it will also be in the sidebar from now on! A full post on all the changes and announcements coming to the website will be up in the next few days or so. Thanks, and be sure to follow TRT on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

2014 in review

2014 was an awesome year, and I’m excited to reveal this amazing 2014 annual report for Tweens Read Too. The WordPress.com state helper monkeys prepared it, and I’m really proud to be able to share it all with you. Thanks to everyone who made my 2014 blogging year great (that includes all of you reading this! :D), and I’m looking forward to 2015!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Seventeen year-old dirt-bike daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family. ADIOS, NIRVANA author Conrad Wesselhoeft takes readers from the dusty arroyos of New Mexcio to the skies over war-torn Pakistan in this young adult novel about daring to live in the wake of unbearable loss.

Description taken from Goodreads. 

This is hands down one of my favorite middle-grade/YA books that have released this year.

I absolutely loved Arlo and the things he went through in story. All the elements to it–the stunts, the hobbies, the video games, they were all great. And the bigger themes to the story (the plot, the writing, the characters) were all well-thought out and fleshed out. This is a great story for 12-15 year olds with a sweet romance, lessons that aren’t overbearing and a heartwarming, funny and well-told plot.

asdfghjkl fan gif

It’s so hard to express how I feel about books I love.

Okay. What I loved specifically about the plot and the characters that lead the story (as well as the ones who support the story from behind everything).

I liked how strong everything was. The realistic part of it all. I liked the specific ethnicity and the struggles Arlo went through. His family and friends dynamic was great. Family plays a huge part in this book and I loved the way that Arlo’s relationships were portrayed, the way he was put on the spot when he’s just a kid trying to juggle all the things that life is throwing at him. The romance wasn’t obnoxious here or made more serious just because Arlo is set as an older character. In fact, the romance is well-done and not an instalove at all.

Then there comes the hobbies.

There are so many different games and hobbies and new experiences that Arlo goes through in this book, which was fun to read about. There’s never a dull moment in this book. The title truly does explain this book, even though it is really long. I appreciated all the things Arlo learned in this story and the way he grew in a realistic way all throughout the plot.

All in all, I loved this story and it was extremely pleasantly surprising for me. I’ll be sure to be picking up more of Wesselhoeft’s books later on. For now though, this will definitely be reread. 4 stars.

pg count for the

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

When eighth-grader San Lee moves to a new town and a new school for the umpteenth time, he doesn’t try to make new friends or be a loner or play cool. Instead he sits back and devises a plan to be totally different. When he accidentally answers too many questions in World History on Zen (only because he just had Ancient Religions two schools ago) all heads turn and San has his answer: he’s a Zen Master. And just when he thinks everyone (including the cute girl he can’t stop thinking about) is on to him, everyone believes him . . . in a major Zen way.

Description taken from Goodreads.

“People are always telling kids to be themselves, but either they didn’t mean it or they didn’t tell you how to go about doing it when everyone was trying to push and pull you into line.”

This book is just like all of Jordan Sonnenblick’s other books. Heartfelt, realistic and hilarious. Just like a lot of his other works, Sonnenblick manages a lot of different factors that would normally drag a kid’s book down–heavy topics and light topics, everything from divorce to homework to first love.

Sonnenblick really gets into the mind of a middle-schooler here, which I love and think will really late to 6th and 7th grade boys, but San is no ordinary middle-schooler. He’s quirky and corny and funny, being a perfect Sonnenblick protagonist. I could see a little Mary Sue-esque personality coming through here, but it didn’t bother me that much. I loved the way that San led us through the plot line here. I cared for him as a character and I also liked a lot of the other supporting characters here.

As for plot line, I did think that it wasn’t Sonnenblick’s best. It was a good story, and I had fun with it, and I loved the morals and lessons here, but I also think that Sonnenblick is capable of much more. There were also a few dry parts that slowed down the pacing.

Overall, I liked ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT a lot. Other than a few rough parts in the plot and a few instances where San and his friends made unfortunate or annoying choices, this book is another win read from Jordan Sonnenblick. 3.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 264

Interview with Rebecca Behrens, Author of When Audrey Met Alice

first daughters

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can’t wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey’s chances for making any new friends. What good is being “safe and secure” if you can’t have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun…and more problems than she can handle. (description taken from Goodreads).

When I first heard about WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, it immediately became one of my most anticipated middle-grade picks of 2014 and eventually ended up as my third Waiting on Wednesday. Today, I’ve got Rebecca Behrens here to talk about her writing and WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE with me!

What kind of research did you have to do for WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE? 
I did tons of research for WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE: on past and present life in the White House and the experiences of modern-day First Kids, and on Alice Roosevelt’s real life. I did much of my research the old-fashioned way: reading library books and online resources. But I also went on a White House tour, which was both extremely helpful and extremely fun.
How did you shape the voices of Audrey and Alice? What was the hardest part about writing both of them?
I wanted Audrey to be a character that middle-grade readers could really connect with, so I tried to make her voice realistic and engaging. Her voice came very naturally to me, although I did write the first draft of the book in third person–so I guess it came easily to me on the second try.
I had plenty of quotes from the real Alice Roosevelt to help me get an idea of what her voice might have been life. But the Alice in my book is definitely a fictional creation. It was a delicate balance to make her diary entries plausible for her time period and still accessible and fun for young readers today.
Did your plot or character surprise you in any way? 
Alice Roosevelt was full of surprises–both the real person, and my character. She was a very complicated, and fascinating, person. I kind of expected her to be an extremely confident person, given her antics and her upbringing. But the more research I did, the more I found that her experience of being a teenager was the same as everyone else’s: full of insecurity, angst, heartbreak, and humor. It was challenging, but also really fun, to try to take the details of her real life and turn them into a character.
What was your favorite scene to write? 
I loved writing the scene when Audrey takes the golf cart for an ill-fated spin. It was fun to write the action in it–and I think it’s interesting to compare how Alice, who was a First Daughter in a much more restrictive time period, had so much more ease with her driving shenanigans.
Will we see Audrey again in future books? 
At this point, I think Audrey’s story is at a nice stopping point. I do have an idea for a companion novel about both characters, but so far no plans to write it. Never say never, though!
Has any of your past books/jobs/experiences helped you to write WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE or other works-in-progress?
WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE involved a lot of writing what I didn’t know, at least firsthand. I do have another work-in-progress that draws on a lot of the metalwork art and jewelry-making I did as a teenager, though.
Are you a planner or a pantster?
I’m more of a planner. I have to know where a story is going before I can start it, and I like writing with a fairly detailed outline–it gives me courage to face the blank page! But my plans always change while I’m writing, and I think it’s important to stay open to the new ideas. In my opinion, outlines work best when they are revised along the way.
What’s your least favorite part of the writing/publishing process? 
The waiting! At every stage of the writing process, you have to be really patient: from drafting to revising to submission and especially during the book production phase. My next book will be coming out in Spring 2016, which feels so far away!
Do you have any advice to aspiring authors? 
Read widely! We all have our favorite categories and genres, which is great, but it can be really helpful to read outside of one’s comfort zone. Every now and then, I’ll pick up nonfiction on a random topic, or an adult horror novel or a cozy mystery because those books are new to me, and I can learn a lot from reading something unfamiliar. Also, it’s a good way to find even more books to love.
Thanks so much to Rebecca for doing this interview! It was a lot of fun to interview her. I loved WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, so be sure to look for it in your local bookstores or on the websites below! Also connect with Rebecca and tell her what you think of the book.

 Find WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE: 

Ξ Barnes & Noble Ξ Books-A-Million Ξ Indiebound Ξ Amazon Ξ

Connect with Rebecca: 

Ξ Facebook Ξ Twitter Ξ Goodreads Ξ Website Ξ Blog Ξ