Monday, May 28, 2018

MMGM--Keeper of the Lost Cities

I should probably start off by saying that Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger is one of my favorite books ever. (I actually got to meet Shannon Messenger after the release of Nightfall--book six in the Keeper series. It was pretty much the best day ever.)

Behold--Keeper of the Lost Cities!

Just look at the cover art!

It's done by Jason Chan--who is my favorite cover illustrator *ever.*

Anyway--onto the review.

Here's the book blurb (I'm breaking out the technical terms here.):

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She is a Telepath, and has the unique ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around her--something that she's never known how to explain, and has made her an outcast, even in her own family.

But everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers that there's somewhere she does belong, and staying where she is will put her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from her own.

Sophie has new rules and skills to learn, and not everyone is thrilled with her "homecoming." There are secrets buried deep in Sophie's memory, secrets that other people desperately want.

Would even kill for . . .

Alright, so if that wasn't enough to show you the awesomeness of Keeper of the Lost Cites (and Shannon Messenger in general)--here's my review:

The entire novel moves fast--which is something that I personally like, because it means that there isn't a dull moment in the book. Every scene contributes to moving the plot along--which is extremely well planned out--might I add, not to mention the plot twists that only get better as the series goes on.

Shannon Messenger's descriptions give readers an accurate look into the world that Sophie and Fitz call home, while still allowing readers to imagine some things the way they like to. Shannon Messenger is also a GENIUS when it comes to creating dialogue--everything flows in a natural way that makes the dialogue enjoyable (and sometimes hilarious) to read. Messenger's characters are also very believable--especially the main character, Sophie Foster. Sophie is twelve years old at the start of the series, and even though she is exceedingly mature for her age, she still tries to make time for being a kid. She even sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant, dubbed Ella--a detail that I personally adore. All of the other characters are just as well developed, and intriguing to read about.

You can read the first three chapters of Keeper of the Lost Cities HERE and you can find Shannon Messenger's gorgeous new website HERE

Trust me--this book will make even the worst Mondays bearable.

Also--Keefe is mine. ;)

Monday, May 21, 2018

MMGM--School for Good and Evil

Related image
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani

Alright, so if this *awesome* book cover wasn't enough to make you want to read this book--here's the publisher's description:

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed--Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. 

But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?

The School for Good and Evil first starts off in the town of Gavaldon, where readers are introduced to Agatha, the girl who lives in a cemetery with her mother, a supposed witch; and Sophie, a hard like character with an affinity for face masks.

From that point on, the fast-paced plot shoots forward to where both girls are being taken away to the School for Good and Evil. Except the girls end up in the schools opposite of where they were expecting to, with Agatha at the School for Good, and Sophie at the School for Evil. Both girls seem like fish out of water at their new schools--and their lives only get more complicated when a love interest in introduced.

From there on, Sophie and Agatha embark on journeys where they discover that perhaps they were placed into the right schools after all.

If you are in to books with a wide vocabulary usage, in-depth world building, and beautifully re-imagined fairy tales, then The School for Good and Evil is definitely a book that you need to read.

You can find Soman Chainani's website HERE, the official School for Good and Evil website HERE, and you can read a free excerpt of the first book HERE.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Astonishing Color of After

The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X.R. Pan

Let me start off by saying--holy moly, this book killed it!

I have never been one to lean towards books that deal with death or tragedy in the exposition, and I was a little wary when the first few chapters were the main character finding how to deal with her mother's suicide. But--the feeling of loss was written so well that I couldn't put it down. I could actually feel what Leigh (the main character) was feeling.

And the book only got better from there.

As revealed in the publisher's description, Leigh thinks that her mother has turned into a bird, which incorporates a bit of fantastical beliefs into a contemporary novel--something that I loved.

The journey that Emily X.R. Pan takes readers on is one non-stop adventure, that gives readers a view into what Taiwan's culture looks like, right from the comfort of their homes. (Or wherever else you might be reading this book.)

This book is a a very eye-opening piece of contemporary literature that gives readers a look into the world of death, self-realization, and depression.

If you like strong, believable characters, sweet romances, and/or beautifully and emotionally worded YA novels, this book is definitely the one for you!

Here's the publisher's description:

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

You can find Emily X.R. Pan's website HERE, and you can read a free excerpt HERE

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

This happened today.

My neighbor stopped by with her boyfriend to drop something off, and I was wearing my extremely frumpy froggy tank-top. (I change into pjs the minute I get home from school, because I normally have zero plans and I like to be comfortable.)

Happy Writing!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Aladdin on Broadway

Okay, so yesterday I got to visit New York City for the first time, and got to see a show on Broadway for the first time. (Which was SUPER exciting!) Let me just say, if you ever have the chance to see a Broadway show--DO IT! You will not regret it, I promise.

I do not have pictures, because we weren't supposed to use any kind of recording devices during the performance, and I figured that I should respect that. But--that will not stop me from raving about this show. Their scene changes were out of this world, and when Aladdin went into the Cave of Wonders, my jaw nearly dropped at the amount of effort that went into making that scene. Oh--and the magic carpet ride! The actors actually flew in the air, and sang--without falling off--which was something I could not even attempt to do.

The writing was hilarious as well, specifically the lines for Genie (Major Attaway) and Iago (Don Darryl Rivera).

One of my favorite parts in when Jafar and Iago are finding out about the Genie in the lamp, and Iago says, "I thought genies were make believe, like dragons or fairies or happy marriages." Made the whole theater crack up. (Pretty sure I might have paraphrased a little with that line though--because my brain is way to tired to remember word for word.)

Also--why a girl brought a hamburger into a Broadway theater, I'm not really sure. Unless that's a New York thing that I don't know about. Pretty sure it's not.

And while Times Square and Broadway were fun experiences, I think I'll chalk NYC up as "been there, done that" on my Places That I Want to Go list.

Not because it wasn't exciting--it definitely was. But because I found out that I was extremely clueless about how to act in the city. I am both a country girl, and an introvert, so I think I will leave the big city life to other people, and stay shut up in my room writing, or exploring fictional worlds.

Have an amazing week!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Science Behind Fictional Crushes

What I mean by that is that apparently there's an actual scientific reason for why people like fictional characters. Whenever one of my friends teases me about having a crush on a fictional character again--it's inevitable--I will be showing them this video. (Side note--how am I only just now discovering Charlie McDonnell?)

Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, by Jenn Bennett

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's...