Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018

MMGM--Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. 

The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. 

The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. 

Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

(I have been planning on reviewing this book for quite some time. As in, I started writing my review two months ago, and then let it sit and gather dust before I finally came back and finished it. Whoops.)

One of my favorite things about this book is the re-imagining of the use of magic. In this book, magic comes from within a person and helps them in one area of expertise, instead of coming from a book of spells or magical potions. I have always been a fan of magic that is born into a person instead of the kind that is learned over the years.

Along with the magic-system, the world that Jaleigh Johnson has created is well thought out, and over all fun to read about. I can personally say that I would love to live in the world of Solace. (Although I'm not so sure I would want to take up residence in a Scrap Town, like the main character, Piper, does.)

After Piper is left without parents, she is forced to care for herself. Thankfully, Piper is an extremely talented machinist. To make her money, she scrounges around the Meteor Fields--often times with her friend, Micah--and repairs the gadgets she finds to sell. However, for many people living in Scrap Towns, finding objects to pawn at markets is their main source of income, which means the longer people wait to search for items--the slimmer the pickings become.

One day, Micah decides to risk going to the Meteor Fields in the middle of a Meteor Storm. Piper, being the loyal friend that she is, runs the find him. No one in the right mind would leave the shelter during the middle of a Storm, (except, you know, Piper and Micah) so imagine Piper's surprise when she finds an unconscious girl in the fields, named Anna.

 Anna was found as the only survivor of her caravan heading to Scrap Town Sixteen. To make matters even more difficult--Anna has absolutely no recollection of her life before Piper finds her. But don't underestimate her--even though Anna may come across as dainty and small, she is definitely quite the fighter. Piper, however, can barely make a living for herself, let alone another human being, so she decides to get Anna aboard the 401--a train heading out of Scrap Town Sixteen. But not everything goes according to plan when the girls are caught by Gee.

Gee is the security boy for the 401. He's been a part of the train's crew for as long as he can remember, and definitely does not tolerate potential trouble makers, ie--Anna and Piper. But under his tough exterior is a big marshmallowy heart of gold (because that's totally an expression). He often comes off as abrasive--because the crew that work on the train have become his only family, and he couldn't bear to let something happen to them. Because of this--he fiercely guards everyone on the 401, including--much to his disdain--Piper and Anna.

I read this book for the first time about three years ago. This was my first reread in nearly two years, yet even before I picked up the book, I could still remember the descriptions. I could remember how the food tasted to Piper on the 401, and I could remember Piper's pain after Anna was injured.

Now, if you've read my previous book review, I know what you might be thinking. Back when I reviewed The Lord of the Flies, I complained that the descriptions were too lengthy. So if you're sitting here and thinking "SHE'S SUCH A HYPOCRITE!!!" for now saying that I like descriptions--I have an explanation. Jaleigh Johnson's descriptions aren't long or over-the-top--they're just very well-worded. Her descriptions are also paired awesomely (if I do say so myself) with lots of high-action sequences that move the plot along at a fast pace.

This book is a perfect library addition for anyone who enjoys well written descriptions and amazing world building. You can find an excerpt of The Mark of the Dragonfly HERE and you can find Jaleigh Johnson's website HERE

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt (On a Thursday)


I forgot two weeks in a row!! What is wrong with me???

In my defense, I was binge-reading a Sarah J. Maas book yesterday. (How is she so talented?)

Well, here you go. Late for the second time in a row. :(

(You'd think that after being late the first time I would have learned.) *facepalm*

Monday, July 16, 2018

MMGM--The Book Jumper

Image result for the book jumper

For a teenage book jumper, reading is never without risk.

Amy Lennox doesn't quite know what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of the Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at the Lennox House--but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: Someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with her fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts--at whatever cost.

One of the unique things about this novel is that--unlike most books I read--it's set in Europe. Germany and Scotland, to be exact. I was able to find out The Book Jumper was originally written in German, and is Mechthild Gläser's first novel to be translated into English. I will admit, I am partial to books set in Europe--one, because it is gorgeous in Europe. And two--I have family members that live in Europe. (Armstrong is actually a Scottish surname. Unfortunately having a Scottish last name does not give me a Scottish accent--no matter how much I wish it did ;P)

I will admit--even though I was super excited to read about all of this European goodness--it took me about twenty-ish pages to really start to get into this book. It was good--don't get me wrong--just a tad bit slow out of the chutes. (That's totally a saying--right?)

The Book Jumper opens up with Amy and her mother frantically packing to leave home. After a so-called-friend leaks an embarrassing picture of Amy onto the internet--Amy decides that she needs to take some time away from Germany. Despite Amy's mother, Alexis', reservations about taking Amy to the family house in Stormsay, Scotland, she relents after her boyfriend leaves her--resulting in both the Lennox girls being humiliated and ready for a change of scenery.

Coming from poor beginnings it's a shock for Amy to discover the fact that her grandmother appears to be more than wealthy. Lady Mairead even has her own butlers and swimming pool-sized bathtubs. But that's not even the best part--Amy learns that she belongs to one of two family clans who have the power to travel inside books, hence the title, The Book Jumper. She's even placed in a class with two other book jumpers, Betsy and Will, to try and hone her talents.

Betsy . . . *sigh* I do not like Betsy. While she is a talented Reader/book jumper, she is anything but humble about the fact, which makes this quality more irritating than endearing. She also has a tendency to make not-so-nice comments towards Amy, about her skills as a newbie Reader. That being said, Betsy has devoted nearly her entire life towards keeping the literary world safe, and would do whatever she had to in order to keep it safe.

While I did not particularly care for Betsy--Will managed to win me over almost immediately in the preface, when he stated that his best friend was Sherlock Holmes. (I am a huge BBC Sherlock fan.) This story is actually told in dual perspective--while Amy's POV compensates for a majority of the book, about one quarter of the story is told through Will's eyes, in third person limited. Will battles grief and guilt and a whole slew of other hard-to-manage emotions throughout the book, but he doesn't let his demons control him, (too much) which is one of the things that I admire most about Will. He always means well for Amy--even if it doesn't always seem that way--and would never intentionally try to hurt her.

Amy is intelligent, confident, and almost always clumsy (due to her long limbs and questionable coordination), which has earned her the nickname "little giraffe" from her mother, who kind of doubles as a best friend for Amy. Alexis has asked Amy to call her by her first name, instead of "mom" for as long as Amy can remember, which--I think--helps break down the "mother-daughter" barrier, turning their relationship into more of a close friendship. And just like Betsy, Amy soon grows devoted to keeping her issued corner of the Bookiverse (I doubt that's a real word . . .) safe.

This book is perfect for anyone who likes a little Real-World-Fictional-World melding, and mind-boggling/heartbreaking (in a good way. Ish) plot twists.

You can find Mechthild Gläser's website HERE and you can read a free excerpt of The Book Jumper HERE

Fröhliches Lesen!

(Blame Google translate if that doesn't say "Happy Reading" in German.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

New to the Writing Prompts

*Note--this was originally posted on March 14, but while I was looking around my blog, I realized that one of my worst fears had come true. In the writing prompt down below, I . . .*hides under pillows in shame* forgot to put punctuation and a quotation mark at the end of my sentence.

I have no clue what Past Kara was thinking.

And this was the first one I ever posted using a graphic. Way to make a good first impression. *facepalm*

I think that I'll be even more paranoid than I already was of making a spelling/punctuation error in a prompt now. Unless I've already made a mistake and I just don't know it . . . 

I'm not going to think about that.

Yes, I know this is last week's prompt, but, look at this fancy little thing I made in Google Slides (because I'm high-tech like that :P).

Now, you can find and post my writing prompts on social media like Pinterest, Instagram, i.e. Yay!

Probably not as exciting for you as it is for me, so I'll just move on to this week's Wednesday Writing Prompt:

But still, isn't it preeeeeetty? (Yes, adding that many es was necessary.) Have fun writing!

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt (On a Friday)


I finally ruined my streak of posting writing prompts on the right days--and I was doing so good too!

Well, here you go.

Even though it's a Friday.


Monday, July 9, 2018

MMGM--Aru Shah and the End of Time

There is a reason that I was absent from MMGM last week, and that is because I was finishing up this book, Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi. 

(I know that it's a common thing for me to ramble about how awesome book covers look, but look at this one!! It's GORGEOUS!)

Image result for aru shah and the end of time

Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at her private middle school. While her classmates are jetting off the exotic vacations, she'll be spending her autumn break in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture that her mom curates. Is it any wonder Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? 

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she'll never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon who is intent on awakening the God of Destruction. Her classmates and mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them. 

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the Pandava brothers and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man Pajamas supposed to do that?

I have been a fan of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series since I was twelve, so when I heard that there would be more authors telling stories about kick-butt demigods, I was thrilled! And let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. Aru Shah and the End of Time is absolutely magical in every way. The characters are well-developed, the plot is complex, and the writing is *hilarious* (I'm kind of a sucker when it comes to humorous books).

After Aru accidentally awakens the Sleeper, she is forced to team up with Boo, a talking pigeon (who doesn't want to read a book with a talking pigeon!?) and her fellow Pandava reincarnation, Mini. I absolutely adore all of these characters--Boo, because he acts as a mentor to both the girls, and at first is reluctant to find that the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of two middle-school age girls. However, as the story moves forward, Boo starts to actually care about the girls' well-being--not that he would ever admit it to anyone. When it comes to Boo, there is much more than meets the eye . . .

Mini is the kind of girl that I feel like I would end up being, should I ever end up in a book. *Looks around for a fictional character to take me into their world* No? Okay. Mini is a book-smart girl by any definition--she even taught herself to count to ten in fifteen different languages, a fact that both Aru and Boo tease her about, but ends up saving all three of them. And, you know, the world. Always armed with intelligence and a backpack equipped for any occasion (and sometimes Oreos), Mini makes an amazingly loyal friend, who is willing to do just about anything, "For science!!!" (pg.172)

Aru is the kind of girl I wish I could be like. She can stay cool and collected in just about any situation, and has the talent to trick her way out of all kinds of trouble. She had a sharp wit, and always has the perfect come-back or insult ready on the tip of her tongue. But don't let her snarky exterior fool you--Aru is a loyal and brave friend down to the bone, and wants nothing more to be accepted. Even clothed in her Spider-Man pajamas, Aru Shah is ready to take the world by storm. (Plus, she gets to live in a history museum, how cool is that?!)

I loved just about everything about this book, especially the *awesome* chapter headings. Ex: "My Home, Not Yours! No Touchie!" "#1 On Mini's Top Ten Ways I Don't Want to Die List: Death by Halitosis" "The TV Started It" "Why, Why, Why? Stupid Words" (I could go on all day.)

You can find Roshani Chokshi's website HERE and you can read a free excerpt of Aru HERE

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

I often wonder what it would be like to have a book written about me--although I would definitely not be the main character. Probably the sidekick. Or the computer nerd. Definitely the computer nerd.

Alas, that is a dream that will remain unfulfilled.

Also . . .


Yes, I'm a bit over the top when it comes to holidays, but come on--holidays are exciting. 
(Also--making a graphic was *totally* necessary. :P) 

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...