The Reluctant Godfather // blog tour

I’m so pleased to be a part of the blog tour for The Reluctant Godfather, a newly released novella by the amazing Allison Tebo! It is my first blog tour ever, so let’s all pretend like I know what I’m doing and jump straight in.

 

About the Book

A humorous and magical re-telling of Cinderella from a unique perspective.

Burndee is a young and cantankerous fairy godfather, who would rather bake cakes than help humans. A disgrace to the fairy order, Burndee has only two wards entrusted to his care… a cinder girl and a charming prince.

A royal ball presents Burndee with the brilliant solution of how to make his wards happy with the least amount of effort. He’ll arrange a meeting and hope the two fall in love.

 

 

 

About the Author

Allison Tebo is a Christian homeschool graduate in her mid-twenties, who works part time as a sales associate for a major transportation company. A graduate of London Art College, Allison pursues avenues in cartooning and illustrating as well as singing and voice acting.

In her spare time she writes and blogs at www.allisonswell.com.

It is her goal to write fiction that appeals to many different kinds of people, by writing clean, classic fun.

Her faith in Christ directly influences all she writes about – or does not write about. Whether the story possesses a strong message or is simply fun and imaginative fiction – her desire is to bring honor to God – and to provide quality stories for everyone to enjoy.

My Review


That was such a sweet story, and not cliché at all (something I don’t like)! I love Burndee and Ella, and I love all the other characters too! Ella is very sweet, thoughtful, and content, which I appreciate. Burndee is hilarious.

One of the major cliché benders is that the fairy godmother… isn’t. There is, however, a sarcastic, hilarious fairy godfather named Burndee.


Burndee’s blunders are the funniest. Making Ella dance a jig at the ball?! I was laughing so hard at that part. There was another vey amusing twist that I won’t share here because of spoilers.

Although the entire story was great, my favorite part was a very spoiler-ish bit that I’m not going to share here but you can see on my Goodreads review.

This is a really sweet, lighthearted, clean read. I was so into it I read it in one sitting! All in all, the Reluctant Godfather was really… neat.

 

The Giveaway

Allison is currently running a giveaway on her blog, so you can go here and check it out if you don’t want to purchase a copy. 😉 She’ll be giving away a signed copy of The Reluctant Godfather along with lots of other things!

You can also buy it here on Amazon if you don’t happen to win! 🙂

Author Interview

Welcome, Allison! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Christian, homeschool graduate in my mid-twenties. I work part-time in sales and operations as an agent for a major transportation company. I am a graduate of London Art College – I studied drawing and painting for several years then spent another few years studying cartooning. Aside from writing, I also pursue singing, voice-acting, and baking.

What inspired you to write The Reluctant Godfather?

Nothing in particular! Some of my best and favorite writings are the stories that literally just drop into my head. One night, the concept for The Reluctant Godfather suddenly popped into my head. The entire end finale (Burndee and Colin’s confrontation) including basic dialogue, suddenly sprang into my mind and as I thought about it, the entire story unfurled in my head. So it all came to me in about fifteen minutes, I believe. All I had to do was write it down. I wish all my stories came to me in this way!

When and why did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be published?

I started writing when I was about ten years old, and at the time, the primary motivation was to be just like my big sister, who wrote her own stories – so a combination of hero-worship and wanting my own accolades, I think. Fortunately, my motivations have changed since then and now I write because I am a writer, and I have to capture the stories in my head. I probably wasn’t looking at publishing when I was ten – but probably since I was fifteen or so – I can’t clearly remember a time when I didn’t want to publish. It certainly has been a decade long goal. I still can’t believe that I’m published. It’s very surreal.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what’s your favorite? Are there any songs that gave you ideas for The Reluctant Godfather?

When I was a young teen, I used to listen to music when I wrote, but then I stopped because it started getting too distracting. Oddly enough, during Camp Nano this year I started listening to music again and I liked it! But as far as The Reluctant Godfather, I didn’t have any particular music or songs that I used for inspiration.

Out of all the characters you’ve ever written (not just in The Reluctant Godfather), which is your favorite? Which is your favorite in TRG?

Wow – that is a tough question! Characters are my favorite part of writing and I have a lot of favorites – but one that comes instantly to mind is a character I wrote years ago and hope to resurrect some day – an obnoxious and noble Elf named Adrien, who really has a heart of gold. He didn’t sleep much, secretly read poetry, and possessed an intolerance for stupid people. As far as The Reluctant Godfather – definitely Burndee!

Have you had any training in writing?

I am a self-taught writer – but I would say that I received vigorous training. For over fifteen years, my sisters and I have dissected every movie we have ever watched and most books that we have read. Every look, gesture, tone and action is carefully examined and explored as we ferret out motives, and every plot twist and bit of structure is gone over with a fine-tooth comb as we try to figure out what does and doesn’t make a good character or story. It’s been an incredible learning experience and we have grown so much as writers by this simple but copious rule of thumb.

Do you have anything you do to get ready to write? (drinking tea, listening to music, etc.)

Usually, I have a can of carbonated water – which is my all-time favorite beverage by the way. During NaNo months I might have a piece of chocolate before I start to write – ‘coughs loudly’, or a LOT of chocolate – before I start sprinting for the day. What I really want to do to prepare for my writing, is to pray every day before I get started and ask the Master Storyteller to bless and guide my work.

Where do you go for writing help?

My siblings. We have a writing club that has been meeting every week for ten years to critic and brainstorm for each other. Each of my siblings has a different strength. My brother is the man to go to for brainstorming action, my sister can un-snarl any difficult plot or shine light on a stubborn character, and my twin is fabulous at story structure and flow.

Are there any authors who have been particularly inspiring in your writing journey? Who are your favorite authors?

Definitely Robin McKinley – especially her book, ‘Beauty’ – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I read that when I was about thirteen and basically pored over every facet of that book. I started writing spoofs of Beauty and retellings of Beauty and the Beast over and over again, exploring every angle of the fairy tale as I sought to emulate Robin McKinley’s dreamy style. That book taught me a lot about writing – how ironic that years later I finally came back to fairy tales again!

I would say that Jeri Massi’s Peabody series was another major influence on my writing – probably for her comical and sweet style – a zaniness balances with heart – influenced my own writing voice a great deal.

I have a lot of favorite authors! But the top ten would be, Constance Savery, Rosemary Sutcliff, M.I. McAllister. Dorothy Gilman. Elizabeth Enright. Helen Macinnes. Mary Stewart. Jan Karon. Jeri Massi and Jeanne Birdsall.

Who would you recommend The Reluctant Godfather to?

I would recommend The Reluctant Godfather to ladies between the ages of 14 and 30.

What’s next for you? Will you be continuing to write?

Absolutely! I hope to be writing until the day I die! I have at least five more books planned for the Tales of Ambia and have already started working on the sequel for The Reluctant Godfather. I also hope to have an illustrated children’s book and a space opera novel completed and published within the next year or two.

Where can people connect with you online?

You can find me at allisontebo.com or my blog Allison’s Well. You can also find me on Goodreads, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook.

Any final thoughts?

Yes! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank God for bringing me safe this far and for the warmth, enthusiasm and kindness that so many of you have received me and my book – it is such a gift to share my work and a blessing to get to know so many people through the Reluctant Godfather.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Allison!

Thank you so much for having me, Zane! This was fabulous!

 

Don’t forget to stop by Allison’s blog for the giveaway! Thanks for reading and comment below if you have any questions!

My summer reading list + 6 books that should be on yours

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to share some of the books on my summer reading list (obviously not counting the endless library books) and books that should be on yours. I got this idea from a picture my friend Emma Grace sent me. (She recently started a blog! You can check it out here.)

We’ll start off with my reading list..
The Scarlet Pimpernel has been on my to-read list for a little too long, and I’ve heard really good things about it. It sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to read it.
I found Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life at our thrift store, brand new and gorgeous. I got it because I read The Candymakers by the same author and enjoyed it. However, I’m not completely sure about it because Mom said it might have some humanism in it… We shall see.
This 1920s book was also a find from the thrift store. It looks very, very cheesy, but I thought it would be a fun read since I enjoy vintage books.

I disliked A Wrinkle in Time (a LOT) the first time I read it, but one of my good friends really enjoyed it, so… I’m giving it another try.

I used to love this series, and I haven’t read it in forever. So this is one of my rereads.
Every Soul a Star (yup, another Wendy Mass book!) was another thrift store find. I’m not really sure about it, but I’m trying it. The cover is really pretty and that may or may not be one of the reasons I was so attracted to it…
Believe it or not, I have never read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even though I enjoy fantasy. I’ve read the Hobbit, and it was pretty decent, but honestly I haven’t been that impressed by J.R.R. Tolkien. *hides* Anyway, I’m going to try to read this one…

Y’all. The Viking Quest series was one of my all-time favorites a couple years ago. I haven’t reread any of them in quite some time, so I’m going to be reading Raiders from the Sea again.
Finally! The Mystery Off Glen Road was a late birthday present and the only Trixie Belden book by Julie Campbell (the original author, before other authors took over) that I haven’t read!! I am so excited for this one.

I’ve read a few things by Mark Twain, but not the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I plan to remedy that this summer…
I remember really liking The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but I hardly remember it. :O So I’m rereading.
Sorry for the blurry image. Amazon wasn’t cooperating. Anyway, this is the fourth book in the Orphan Train Adventures. I really enjoyed the first one, but the rest haven’t been quite as good…
Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan is the sequel to another book I found very amusing. I hope this one is as good as the first.
Pride and Prejudice is, so far, my very favorite Jane Austen novel. Seriously, I loved it. And it’s due for a reread!

I’ve been meaning to read Treasure Island. I just haven’t gotten around to it…
I started reading Beginnings, Middles, & Ends a while back, but stopped because it wasn’t that interesting. I’m going to try it again this summer.

A Woman’s Wartime Journal is a compilation of entries from a Southern woman’s diary during the Civil War. It’s really interesting to see the Civil War from a different perspective. Seriously, I almost cried. It’s that good.
I found The Autobiography of George Muller on one of our bookshelves and it looked really interesting. So I quickly added it to my summer reading.
This book about John Bunyan and the biography below I found on a bookshelf as well. There’s a whole series, but I decided to start with these.


I seem to be very interested in men named John.

And now, for the books I highly recommend for your summer reading list! (As if it weren’t big enough already…)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Shannon Hale, was hilarious. I really enjoyed it, and recommended it to my brother… and then my younger sister wanted to read it! I wasn’t expecting her to like it, but she did. There were a couple of annoying things in there that bothered me, but for the most part it was a funny superhero story.
This. Book. I read Cinder for the first time recently, and you can read my full review here. Although I wouldn’t recommend this for younger kids, it’s such a great Cinderella retelling with some really unique twists.
I can’t remember the first time I read The Pushcart War, but this book is hysterical. It’s about how one little incident exploded into a full-blown war between the pushcart peddlers and the trucks. One of my favorites!
Give Me Liberty is such a great look at life at the time of the American Revolution. Seriously, I loved the fatherly(ish) relationship between Basil and Nathaniel. The one problem I had with it is that occasionally it got bogged down in details, but other than that it’s a great book.

Possibly one of my all-time favorite fantasy books. K.M. Weiland is a fantastic writer, and Dreamlander might be my favorite book of hers, although her others are definitely worth checking out.
If you haven’t read The Mysterious Benedict Society already, you must do so at once! Secret(ish) societies, conundrums, and cranky people named Constance are only a few of the delightful charms of The Mysterious Benedict Society.

That’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed a peek at what I’m reading during summer break!

What are you reading this summer? Comment below!

 

beautiful people // june edition

I’m participating in the Beautiful People linkup again, and you can check it out here. In a nutshell, it’s where two bloggers (Cait from Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In) ask interview questions to help you get to know your characters better.

It was monstrous fun last time (book reference!!), so I had to do it again, of course. I’ll be answering the questions with my character Ryker Kane from my current WIP Project Supernova.

Ryker is fourteen years old, goes a high school that I haven’t named yet, and has a mostly normal life. He’s an average size, with dark brown hair, probably blue eyes, and pale skin. The features that stand out the most are the scars on his left cheek from the surgery after a car accident. He lives with his older brother Luke and has a fear of riding in cars. You can read my previous Beautiful People post with him here.

Since I’m tired of rambling and I’m dreadful at introductions, let’s get on to the questions! I’ll be doing this in more of an interview format like last time, but today I’ll be interjecting in italics.

1. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

I don’t do travel. If I can’t walk, I don’t go. My favorite place is home.

His parents died in a car accident. Cough, cough. Poor baby.

Stop pitying me. *scowls*

Sorry.

I did go to Niagara Falls once, though, when I was maybe six or seven, with my family. It was fun.

2. What’s one mistake you made that you learned from?

The biggest mistake I ever made was caring too much.

You gonna expand on that?

No. And you’d better not try.

3. What is your favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?

Ehhh, social studies are okay, I guess. I like it when we get to read whatever we want.

Comic books, right?

Stop.

You’re pretty good at drawing cartoons.

Whatever you say, Miss Almighty Creator, ma’am. I guess you get to decide, don’t you? *scowls some more*

I have a name, you know.

4. What’s your favorite flower/growing thing?

I’ve never really thought about it, honestly.

Yes, he has. He won’t ever say it, but he likes watching butterflies and insects. So basically anything butterflies are attracted to.

WILL YOU STOP?

No.

5. Have you ever made someone cry? What happened?

Not answering that! I am not answering that, and you aren’t either, Zane!

Ha ha, you do know my name! And sorry, yes I am. He made a girl he barely knew cry. And it had disastrous consequences on all sides. I’m not going into details because #spoilers.

6. Would you consider yourself a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Reliable. I’m no liar.

Unreliable. You’re biased like everyone else, Ryker.

7. What do you dream about at night?

Who comes up with these questions?

He dreams about-

DON’T. Fine. I have nightmares. A lot. About.. stuff.

About the car accident.

I said don’t!

8. You’ve gone out for a “special meal”. What would you eat?

Homemade pineapple and ham pizza. And my mom’s dark chocolate brownies.

No comment.

9. What’s at least one thing you want to do before you die?

I… I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it. Why am I doing this interview anyway? There’s something for you to think about.

You’re doing it because I say so.

You’re not my mother.

Ah ha… I kind of am. Anyway, he’d like to see his comics published and make it through college, maybe settle down with a family.

I don’t like you.

Yes, you do. You just don’t know it yet.

10. Do you have any distinguishing or unique talents?

No, not really.

You should see the comics he draws. He’s an amazing artist, but he would never tell a soul.

STOP IT. STOP.

Okay, okay! The interview’s over, anyway. You don’t have to talk any more.

Thank goodness. I don’t know why I even agreed to this. Stupid, Ryker, stupid…

C’mon, don’t beat yourself up. It was fun.

If your definition of fun is “probing into other people’s past business that doesn’t concern you”, then sure! It was “fun”. Now this is my definition of fun. *charges Zane with a pillow from the couch and begins smacking her*

Help! Hellllpppp…. *grabs pillow and starts smacking back*

*scene fades*

 

That was really fun! I love doing these interviews, even if my characters find it torture. Hope y’all enjoyed it! As usual, feel free to comment below. 🙂

May // Recap

Life

How do I even start?

Well…

I did the #walk30days challenge for the first time ever. It was really fun and here are some photos I took. Warning: major photo bomb ahead.

Summer break began! Solid Rock ended.

We went to Colonial Williamsburg for my birthday and it was amazing. We left late Saturday night (or Sunday morning? It was 12 am), got there Sunday and came home on Wednesday. I was going to put some photos in this post, but there were so many pictures and so many stories I want to tell, so it’ll have to be a separate post.

Our youth pastor and his family moved to Pennsylvania to pastor a church, so we helped them pack. I will miss them so much!

Some of my friends graduated and I realized that that will be me in just three short years. It’s weird. The older I get, the faster time goes.

It was my dad’s birthday and I made a really yummy einkorn buttercake with fresh strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

I tried to get pictures for the featured image of this post and it was so hard. A particular dog (I’m not naming names but you know who) decided she did not want to wear the hat I put on her head.

 << finally

Our baby chicks aren’t really babies anymore. They’re practically teenagers and they’re getting SO BIG, probably double almost the size they were in this picture taken earlier in May. I need to take some more pictures of them to show how giant they are now.

The summer reading program at our library started. Reading books to get free things? Count me in.

Reading

*a typical conversation with myself at the library*

Me: there are books and I really want to check some out

Also me: but you have a pile of library books and another pile of to-be-read books at home that you need to read

Me: but look at the books

Me: *grabs books*

Also me: oh well

    

    

Favorites:

  • The Reluctant Godfather, by Allison Tebo. I will actually be participating in Allison’s blog tour this month and I’m super excited about that! 4.5 stars.
  • Return to Harmony, by Janette Oke. You can see my full review here. 4.5 stars.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Shannon and Dean Hale. I was really hoping this one would be good, since I’ve been disappointed by Shannon Hale, and luckily it was! It was really cute and funny and I liked it a lot more than I expected to. There were some things I didn’t love about it, but you can’t have everything… 4 stars.

Currently reading: Give Me Liberty, The Shadow Throne

Writing

Ummm… I’ve been writing stuff. Probably. Satisfied?

No?

Okay then.

I worked a little on Project Supernova. I can’t tell you how much because honestly I don’t even know. But, here’s a snippet!

I rubbed my arms and legs, trying to soothe away the aching of my muscles and my heart.

Crack. The snap of a twig brought me to my feet in a defensive stance. “Who’s there?”

A gangly, dark-skinned girl held her hands up. She wasn’t older than fifteen. “It’s okay.”

“Who are you?” I said, staring at her. Moonlight shone on her solid face. She wasn’t beautiful, or even particularly pretty, but she had the kind of eyes, reminiscent of shards of green glass, that you wanted to look at again and again.

Also, I wrote one piece of flash fiction and started on another one. For me, flash fiction is a fun and quick way to get rid of plot bunnies. (Although Project Supernova started out as a short story/flash fiction thing… but that’s a tale for another day.)

Listening

Actually I’ve been really enjoying listening to soundtracks of thunderstorms lately. It’s kind of a neutral background music, not to mention I love storms.

Loving

I have been putting my hair up with small claw clips. It usually takes five or six to get my hair up. The ones I like best are similar in shape to these, but the brand is Revlon. We got them from Walmart.

Blogging

April // Recap

Beautiful People // Parental Edition

Miniature Book Reviews // Cinderella, Animal Ark, and Return to Harmony

school is out // summer things

I’ve got lots of things planned this month, so stay tuned! Also, I just found out about a writing contest that looks really interesting. I can’t decide whether or not to write something for it, but you can find the details here.

 

How was your month? What are your plans for summer?

school is out // summer things

^^ That picture was ridiculously hard to take and I have so many blooper photos ^^

I borrowed this idea from Katie Grace, who borrowed it from Aimee. 🙂

Summer is short, and I don’t want to waste it.

Therefore, I am compiling a list. It is by no means an exhaustive list. There is no such thing as an exhaustive list. It’s a list of things I want to do this summer, and I will start…

Now.

I would like to:

1. Teach myself to play the ukulele.

I’ve already learned a few chords, but I’m hoping to get decent at it.

2. Chocolate.

I’m hoping to chocolate and ice cream a lot this summer. Chocolate and ice cream are totally verbs.

3. Play the piano more for fun.

The fun part of this must be emphasized, because with church/recitals/regular pieces I haven’t really been able to play around with the songs I actually enjoy playing.

4. Write.

I’m not going to set any specific goals, although it would be nice to finish Project Supernova.

5. Dance.

With my friends. English Country Dancing, preferably, though 50s dancing is acceptable.

6. Keep on walking daily?

This one’s kind of tentative, but now Gracie-dog has gotten into a routine. If I don’t walk her, she might be depressed. I don’t like depressed dogs. This has nothing to do with the fact that I like walking.

7. Read all of the books.

All of them. ALL OF THEM. To be honest, I have no planned summer reading list, but I have a ginormous pile of to-be-read books and three libraries at my disposal.

8. Start reading through the Bible.

The other day I just realized, Hey. I haven’t read the entire Bible. I mean, I’ve read most of it, but not all. I’ve heard there are some plans that help you read through the Bible in a year, so maybe I should check those out? *adds to mental to-do list* *promptly forgets* *writes on hand instead* Hey, maybe I should add “Remembering Things” to this list…

9. Blog.

This will probably happen sometime this summer.

10. Try to get to bed on time and not eat too much junk.

Which contradicts no. 2… But honestly, I’ve been feeling icky these past few days and it’s probably because I’ve been staying up late, not getting up early, and eating a ton of junk food. I’d kind of like to remedy that.

11. Work on my poor neglected German.

Neglected is the only word to describe it. I got out of the habit of doing Duolingo each night before bed and I really need to get back into it again.

12. Remember things better.

‘Nuff said.

13. Not spend too much time on the computer.

I’m going to try to stick to just blogging, research, writing, stuff like that…

Thus, I will end with an “unlucky” number thirteen. Hee hee. There are probably at least five more that I forgot.

What are y’all doing this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Book Reviews // Cinderella, Animal Ark, and Return to Harmony

Hi guys! Today I’m just doing a few short reviews.

Cinderella, by Brittany Candau

 

 

I was super excited when I found this book version of the Disney movie Cinderella at the library, but I honestly expected a lot more. I was very disappointed in this one.

Things I liked:
  • The cover. Because Ella and Kit.
  • The overall quality of the book. The design was gorgeous, and it felt great.
  • “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green…”
Things I didn’t like:
  • The entire story paled in comparison to the movie. Without the movie, this book would be just another mediocre Cinderella story.
  • The author told, instead of showed, the entire book. I don’t want you to tell me that Cinderella is uncomfortable, I want you to show me she’s uncomfortable.
  • It read like an old fairy tale, with a few modern words interjected randomly (like “okay”) in a way that was somewhat jarring. Old fairy tales aren’t bad, but they were meant to be told, not read.
  • Obviously, it didn’t have any of the beautiful imagery that made me love the movie.
Favorite quote:

“You must always remember this: Have courage, and be kind.”

Overall, the movie was much better. If I hadn’t watched the movie first, the book probably would have gotten two stars, but since it did remind me of how beautiful the movie was, I’m giving it three stars.

Animal Ark, by Joel Sartore and Kwame Alexander

 

 

I won this book in a giveaway from Dogobooks. For some reason I was under the impression that Animal Ark was a longer, more scientific book, but it’s a children’s picture book. My siblings and I all read it and enjoyed the pictures.

Things I liked:
  • The photography was amazing!
  • I loved the way the book was formatted.
Things that I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the poetry didn’t do much for me.
  • The book is very environmental-ish,  listen-to-the-earth-ish, and glorifying “Nature” instead of God, which I really didn’t care for. A few quotes:

“Close your eyes tight. We are all made of light. Some of us even glow. We are secret siblings. Reflections of each other. Mysterious mirrors.”

a n d

“Nature is genius. This is our home.”

So yeah. Didn’t love that. At all. Three and a half stars, maybe?

On to the next book!

Return to Harmony, by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

 

This was a birthday gift from a close friend. Return to Harmony was my first plunge into Janette Oke, and now I definitely want to read some of her other books.

Things I liked:
  • The relationships! The characters! They were just all so precious and… *tries not to reveal spoilers*
  • One of the plot twists surprised me, which is rare.
  • I know I already said this, but… THE CHARACTERS. Bethan was so sweet. I loved how it didn’t show Bethan and Jodie’s goals in life (to get married and have a family, to go to college, not get married, and study science)  as being bad or good. They were just different, which I appreciated.
  • The Christian elements and the SPOILER happily ever after sort of ending. END OF SPOILER. Just the kind I like best!
Things I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the only one I can think of is that Ms. Oke is occasionally a little wordy, which is just a preference thing.
  • And there would be a huge spoiler here if it were up to me, but I shall spare you… Hey wait, it is up to me! So… MASSIVE SPOILER I really wanted Jodie and Dylan to get back together and they didn’t! 🙁 END OF MASSIVE SPOILER

All in all, a great read. Four and a half stars.

 

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Tell me anything and everything in the comments!

Beautiful People // Parental Edition

^This picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the post ^

This is a link-up/meme/thing hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. I rephrased the questions so it was more of an interview format (I hope that’s okay?), but you can see the original questions here.

I’ll be doing it with two of my characters from my WIP Project Supernova. The main characters are:

Ryker Kane. He’s fourteen years old, goes a high school that I haven’t named yet, and has a mostly normal life. He’s an average size, with dark brown hair, probably blue eyes, and pale skin. The features that stand out the most are the scars on his left cheek from the surgery after a car accident. He lives with his older brother Luke and has a fear of riding in cars.

Katie Bird. She’s fourteen and goes to the same school as Ryker. She’s smallish for her age, has long, golden-brown hair, brown eyes, and a prosthetic leg. Even though she’s very extroverted and loves people, she’s somewhat shunned by her classmates because of her leg and her standoffishness. She has a secret that I can’t tell you and lives with her foster parents Dirk and Chryse.

  1. Overall, how good is your relationship with your parents?

Ryker.

They were killed in a car accident when I was eight. They were the best. *looks away*

Katie.

My parents have fostered me for over two years now. They’re everything I’ve ever wanted, and they’re trying to adopt me.

2. Do you know both your biological parents? If not, how do you cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected your life?

Ryker.

Wow, nosy. I guess I have to answer it, so… after my parents… died… in the car accident, I just kept going. I buried myself in schoolwork. My brother, Luke, took me in. He was barely eighteen and I figure it was pretty hard on him, but I didn’t notice. I was eight, and he always tried to look on the bright side, for me, I guess.

Katie.

I never met my dad. My mom kept me until I was five or six years old, and then she got arrested. I was put in foster care and was shuffled around through different homes until I was about twelve years old, and that’s when I met Chryse and Dirk.

3. How did your parents meet?

Ryker.

They met in college, dated for a few years, and got married.

Katie.

Are we talking biological or foster here? If we’re talking about biological, I don’t know, and honestly don’t want to. My foster parents grew up together and fell in love when they were teenagers.

4. How did you feel if you were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Ryker.

My parents were good people. *scowls fiercely and refuses to elaborate*

Katie.

I didn’t know my biological dad, but it wouldn’t be a compliment if someone compared me to my mom.

5. What were your parents doing when they were your age?

Ryker.

Going to school?

Katie.

I don’t know and I don’t want to.

6. Is there something you adamantly disagree on?

Ryker.

We never disagreed, that I remember.

Katie.

*huffs* I haven’t seen her since I was five or six.

7. What did your parents find hardest about raising you?

Ryker.

Ummm… weird question. I was a pretty quiet kid. I never really caused any trouble.

Katie.

Ha ha! My biological mom never “raised” me. She was mostly… not there. I was kind of troublesome the first few years I was in foster care, so my foster parents probably didn’t find me easy to raise.

8. What’s your most vivid memory with your parental figure(s)?

Ryker.

Honestly the most vivid would have to be the car wreck. Everything before that is kind of a blur now. I do remember, when I was about four and Luke was fourteen, us all gathered around Dad, listening to him read The Horse and His Boy aloud.

Katie.

Something that she did a lot was leave me in a library and tell me to sit quietly and look at the books until she got back. I didn’t know how to read, so I just looked at the pictures. She always came back, until one day she didn’t. I sat and looked until it was time for the library to close. The librarians called the police and they couldn’t find my mom. I was put in a foster home after that.

9. What were you like as a baby/toddler?

Ryker.

Mom and Dad told me I was a good baby, that I was quiet and kept to myself. I was the same as a toddler, I guess.

Katie.

I don’t know, but probably trouble.

10. Why and how did your parents choose your name?

 Ryker.

My full name is Ryker Theodore Kane. Ryker was the one name my mom and dad could agree on, because it’s popular but not too popular. Theodore is because of my dad. His personal hero was Teddy Roosevelt.

Katie.

My full name is Katherine Aline Bird, but I go by Katie. Katherine was a family name, I think. My birth mom probably just thought Aline sounded romantic.

Well, that was fun! Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please comment below : )

April // Recap

 

Life…

Various things that happened this month, not in any order because I am a scatterbrained person:

softball, softball, softball! (for my brother, not me ;D although I am Team Mom)

kept our friends’ cute kittens 🙂

I turned fifteen. Yikes…

got baby chicks!!! They are the most adorable things. We got six total and their names are Sally, Hazel Rose, Priscilla, Trixie, and Attila the Hen. In case you’re wondering about the sixth, her name was Hazel (the first) and she died on us unexpectedly. 🙁

Sally (above) and Hazel Rose (below)

finished school!!!! Mostly, at least… we have a bit of catchup to do.

had a piano recital. I was terrified. But at least I did all right, I think 😉 Here are a few photos taken beforehand.

helped our grandparents move. I took this weird picture in a mirror that was propped up against my dad’s truck. It looks like a portal to Narnia or something.

Easter was lovely. Made Resurrection cookies with my family and also two rabbit cakes. They were delicious.

When my grandparents were moving, they gave us a box of jewelry. Hope put on a bunch of gold necklaces and said she was Mr. T/B.A. Baracus! 😀

probably lots of other things happened that I’m forgetting. But I can’t write them down because I forgot.

Reading…

 

Wow-ee, I managed to read 21 books this month. Most of them were: A. books that needed to be returned to the library, B. books to be read for little sister, C. both.

Favorites:

The Lunar Chronicles, of course! ALL OF THEM! They were just so good and I need the fourth one immediately. By far my favorites.

I am happy and proud to say that today I finished my very last library book. (Probably?) We won’t be going for a while, because last time we had massive overdue fees. Whoops.

Writing…

Congratulations to everyone who won Camp NaNo!!!

I had an irresistible plot bunny back at the end of March. I usually don’t have a problem taking a short break from my WIP if it’s just a short story, and that’s what this little rabbit said it was.

LIAR.

I said last month I was almost done. Well… I’m not. My so-called “short story” morphed into a monstrous beast. It’s going to be a middle grade/young adult novel. Somewhere in there. I’m hoping to be done by the end of this month (ish). Its code name is Supernova. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it.

I just love these characters so much, y’all.

Listening…

I’ve practically had these songs on repeat while writing all month.

 Hero, by Family of the Year. if I had to pick a soundtrack to my WIP, this would be it.

I See Fire, by Ed Sheeran. This has practically nothing to do with my story but it gave me this really good feeling anyway? Oh well. My brain is not to be comprehended.

Anything by Lauren Daigle. She has such a great voice…

Anything by the Piano Guys. I just love their renditions of songs! So cool.

Blogging…

This month I:

said goodbye to march

ranted about what I thought about Emma Woodhouse in Dr. Suess form

posted some opening lines of my stories through the years

told my writing story

wrote some book reviews here and here

and totally missed my deadline on Saturday, but who’s counting?

 

Elsewhere:

Olivia at Important Nothings did the Blogger Book Tag!

Go Teen Writers had a great post about when you have “no time to write”.

Jonathan at Fishing for Ideas wrote a fantastic post about merging fiction with faith.

Hannah Heath posted some thought-provoking ideas about mentor characters.

Abbiee wrote an extremely relatable post about ridiculous things we ponder as writers.

Kate at Once Upon an Ordinary had some great tips on beta-reading.

Loving…

These hairsticks. I have thick, heavy hair that comes a bit past my hips, and hairsticks are my favorite way to put it up. I have other hairsticks but these are my favorites right now. They’re smooth and comfortable, sliding easily into my hair. Not to mention the fact that they’re pretty. 😉 I’m thinking about buying another set – maybe these or these.

Eos lip balm. I didn’t think I’d like the round shape, but I love it! It’s super moisturizing and I use it all the time. I got the sweet mint scent.

This Month…

I’m planning to:

work on Project Supernova (I’m not setting a word count goal because I don’t really keep track of my word count anyway). I’m not sure I’ll finish but it sure would be nice if I did.

do #walk30days! I was inspired by Nadine Brandes to do this challenge. The rules are: take a walk every day. Take a picture every day. Post the picture every day. I walked this morning with Gracie-dog and it was pretty fun. 🙂

write more blog posts, since we’re on summer break. I have an idea for a summer bucket list and that’ll probably be coming soon.

play the piano more for fun.

lots of other things that I had thought of and now I’ve forgotten. *smacks forehead…*

 

How was your April? Did you do Camp NaNo? How was Easter? I’d love to hear about your month in the comments!

 

Book Review // Cinder

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.


Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.


But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

(Via Goodreads)

 

WOW THIS BOOK. Without a doubt, Cinder was one of my favorite books so far this year. I will attempt to stop fangirling for the majority of this review.

Y’all, in general, I do not like science fiction. (Although I enjoy dystopian, and it’s kind of a blend of both…) But this! This!!! I was totally, completely hooked. I mean – it’s a cyborg Cinderella story! Just yesssssss.

I loved Cinder. I loved the concept of her being an orphan, taken in unwillingly by Adri (the wicked stepmother), forced to work as a mechanic for a living. I loved the various themes that stretched through the book and came together SO PERFECTLY.

And Kai! He was such a good, noble character. The romance between him and Cinder seemed real, not forced, and it was so sweet. I wanted them to get together. (SPOILER I still want them to get together! END OF SPOILER)

Iko was so hilarious. I loved her personality.

The worldbuilding in general was fantastic. My disbelief was totally, delightfully suspended.

And Queen Levana. I haaaaaaaaate that woman. Ms. Meyer did a fantastic job of creating a villain that was SO FUN TO HATE.

And at the end! Oh my goodness. Why??! I was not a huge fan of the cliffhanger ending, and thought it could have been a little more resolved.

Warning to parents: there are some graphic descriptions, mostly medical-ish, in here that may disturb younger readers. For example, I would currently NOT allow my highly sensitive younger sister to read it, but I recommended it to my thirteen-year-old brother and he was totally fine with it. Also, there is (SPOILER) a long, 5-paragraph-long kiss. (END OF SPOILER.) I don’t like mushy stuff, so I skimmed over that part.

And those were my only complaints about this book. Seriously, guys. Go read it. SO GOOD. Four and a half stars.

Book Review // Hero

Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can textmessage himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Zach. What Zach never knew was that his father was no ordinary man-he was a superhero, battling the world’s evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries.

And now it’s Zach’s turn to take on the fight. It’s Zach’s turn to become a hero.

(Via Goodreads)

There were several character stereotypes in this book that got on my nerves.

  1.  The grieving teenager, investigating his father’s death, discovers he has superpowers
  2. The super-smart, super-pretty girlfriend
  3. The athletic bully
  4. The protective mom, trying to recover from the death of her husband by diving into work
  5. The uncle trying to step into the dad’s place
  6. The wise old-guy mentor
  7. The random, vague, cliché bad guys without motive or personality

None of those things are bad, they’re just overdone. It felt reminiscent of practically every superhero story ever.

Let’s dive into a few of the different characters and why they didn’t work for me.

Zach was just… ehhh. He didn’t grab me, but I didn’t hate him. He’s a typical kid, thrown into a whole new world after his dad’s death when he realizes he has superpowers and HE IS THE CHOSEN ONE AND HE MUST SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE EVIL NAMELESS BAD GUYS.

Kate is so, so, so, so cliché. She’s pretty. She’s smart. She’s determined. She teases Zach all the time and yet is incredibly supportive all the time. Yes, Kate got on my nerves.

Spence. Why must there be a mean, athletic bully every. single. time. I just don’t get it. This part really felt like Spiderman to me.

Elizabeth (Zach’s mom) is fine. She might be the best character in the book.. She’s a pretty typical mom-trying-to-recover-from-husband’s-death-and-take-care-of-her-kid-etc. She was okay.

Uncle John. This guy got on my nerves and I’m not even sure why. I didn’t completely understand what he had against Zach’s dad and Mr. Herbert, but maybe that’s just me.

And here were are at Mr. Herbert, the stereotypical old-dude mentor. (Noooooooo!!!!) He’s cryptic. He disappears and reappears when Zach isn’t expecting it. He drops little bits of wisdom here and there. He trains Zach. He quotes Spiderman. What’s not to like? Ummm… everything?

Now for my personal favorite. The “bad guys”. *FACEPALM* (I’m about to get spoiler-y here, so be warned.)

They (emphasis on THEY) are the Bads. Therefore they must be evil, even though we never. ever. get an introduction to them. Most of the encounters Zach has with “bad guys” are really just SPOILER tests by Mr. Herbert. END OF SPOILER.

The only actual bad guy Zach meets is the SPOILER assassin at Senator Kerrigan’s speech and he doesn’t even meet him properly, he just shoves him out of the way of the bullet. END OF SPOILER. So far we have nameless, faceless bad guys with NO MOTIVES that we’re supposed to believe are huge threats, or bad guys that SPOILER are really just tests by Mr. Herbert END OF SPOILER. Uhhh… no thanks.

Also, the beginning failed to get my attention. He dove straight into a fight scene without making me care about his characters, and therefore I did not care. Instead, I skimmed. Another no-no – he didn’t open his book with his protagonist. He opened with a character that’s dead the entire novel.

All in all, I didn’t like it. It had a lot of potential that, sadly, it didn’t live up to. It really felt like a first draft of a book that could have been good – but just wasn’t edited properly. One star, for the fact that it was a superhero story which I typically love, and that there was practically no violence or objectionable content.