Sunday, October 15, 2017

Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll admit that I was nervous about reading this one. I absolutely love John Green books, and I feared that this one wouldn't live up to my expectations. No need to fear! Aza is a perfectly flawed and perfectly endearing character.

Whether chronicling her witty banter with her best friend Daisy, to the moments of her budding romance with Davis, the son of a fugitive billionaire, or the downward spiral of her inner monologue as she tries to not listen to the voices in her head, Aza simply tries. She tries to be a good friend, a confidant, a loving daughter, and simply herself. It's just not as easy as it should be.

True to form, Aza's story is not one with what you'd call a happy ending. In her own words, endings are "either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die."

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Google Slides Updates!

Our friends at Google recently added some great features to the ever popular Slides application. Check out a few of the new features that might make your Slides experience even more user-friendly.
  • Google Keep integration
  • Add-Ons for Slides
  • Insert Diagrams

TECH Note of This 10/12/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review: Refugee

Refugee Refugee by Alan Gratz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three tales, decades and continents apart, chronicle the plight of refugees as they struggle to find a place to call home amidst hate, persecution, and violence.

1930s Germany - Josef, a Jewish boy, and his family flee from the horrors of the Nazi regime and the concentration camps that threaten to imprison them.

1994 Cuba - Isabel and her family live in fear of a dictatorship that rules with an iron fist. They seek to make a new home in the United States and live a life of freedom, but only if their raft can survive the journey.

2015 Syria - Mahmoud's home is being annihilated by bombings and violence. His family decides that the risks they will face in order to escape the tyranny and destruction of their homeland are worth it.

Hopes and dreams keep them moving across oceans, countries, and continents. Though they are separated by decades, the journeys of Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are shockingly similar and intertwined.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: You Should Have Left: A Novel

You Should Have Left: A Novel You Should Have Left: A Novel by Daniel Kehlmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A creepy and haunting tale of a writer's descent into madness.

What starts out as a visit to an alpine retreat turns into a mind-bending spiral into a writer's mind as he grapples with family, work, and the demons surrounding him. This short tale (translated from German) leaves much to the reader's imagination and will have you wondering what really happened even as you turn the final page.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Google Keep | my go-to note taking tool

If you haven't realized it yet, I'm a Google gal. I'm willing to test out just about any app that can streamline my life (personal or work) and integrates easily with the accounts I already have. Google Keep is one of those apps that has proven to be a tried and true friend for me both at home and at work. No more lost sticky notes or genius ideas jotted down on scrap paper then left at work (or home).

Keep, in its simplest form, is a note-taking application. Using the web or mobile versions, users can take notes, make lists, record audio notes, and even snap and save pics (with handwritten annotations) to their notes in real-time.

Great - lots of apps can do those things, but Keep takes it a step further with the simple ability to collaborate with others on notes (my family's grocery list - if you don't add it, don't expect me to buy it!). You can also set reminders by date, time, and even location (so when you show up at a specific spot, you'll be reminded about what you were supposed to do/get). Enhance your web-based Keep experience even more by adding the Save to Keep and Popup for Keep Chrome extensions, and you'll be bookmarking and annotating websites like a champ. Keep notes can also be integrated with Docs and Slides in just a few clicks. Instant sync means a note saved from my phone is available instantly on my Chromebook or desktop, and vice versa, so my ideas are always just a click away. Search your notes with the built-in Search function - remember, Google is a search engine! One of my top reasons for loving Google apps is the ease of use with multiple Google accounts; I can keep my family life and work life totally organized and totally separate by toggling between accounts. And have I mentioned that Keep is FREE?!?!

Check out these quick tutorials of some of the key features of Keep, and give it a try!

Keep for Mobile

Keep on the Web

Applications for Education
  • virtual sticky notes
  • organize research (to later integrated into a Doc or Slide)
  • real-world learning - snap photos of concepts in real life situations or record moments of inspiration as they happen
  • save websites with comments for later use
  • document learning - snap photos of whiteboards, notes, etc. to share with peers or teachers
  • ...and the list can go on and on!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An intriguing exploration of a social class that's often overlooked: the hillbilly, hill-people, white-trash...

Vance's honest chronicle of growing up in a working poor Appalachian family serves a both an endearing memoir simultaneously filled with humor and upheaval and social commentary that should be essential reading for everyone.

View all my reviews