Blog tours, FFBC

Kingdom Above the Cloud Book Review (Part of the FFBC Book Tour)

TOUR BANNER

I’m excited to be part of the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s tour for Kingdom Above the Cloud.  You can follow along with the tour here. I’ve shared the book info, synopsis, and author’s mood boards. Below that you’ll find my review of the book. There’s also a link to enter the giveaway for the book!

BOOK INFORMATION:

Kingdom Above the Cloud (Tales from Adia, #1) book cover                       by Maggie Platt
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17th 2020                                               

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Allegory

Synopsis:

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?

Goodreads         Amazon         Barnes & Noble          Book Depository     Google Books

 

Check out the author’s mood boards for the novel:

 

My Review: 3.5 Stars

It took me a little bit to get into the book, and I think that was because there were so many characters to keep track of from the start. Once I got into the book, I enjoyed it.

The whole concept is unique. It’s not the same old thing you see in every YA book, and I liked that. I also liked the symbolic way the author used hair/eye coloring. You can see Tovi’s growth throughout the story which I think helps the reader connect with her. There’s a whole cast of unique characters, but there were so many, it sometimes was hard to keep straight who was who.

The worldbuilding for the treehouse valley was great. I could immediately picture it in my mind, and I wanted to go there.

The whole allegory aspect of the story was intriguing and not something you see much in YA. Fans of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien would enjoy the book.

 

author

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

 Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a

cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Twitter   Instagram     Facebook     Pinterest    Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway: Win a signed copy of Kingdom Above the Cloud and some swag here. (US only)

Reading Challenge

Unread Book Bingo

One of the reading challenges I always participate in, is the unread shelf project, a yearly challenge where I try to read many of my own books that I haven’t yet read. During the past two months, Whitney, the host of the unread shelf challenge, has hosted a bingo challenge (more details here.) I love bingo challenges, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate in this one. Here is my bingo card:

img_1598

And here are the books I read:

Published before 2000 – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Backlist title – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

From Favorite genre – The Jewel by Amy Ewing (YA Fantasy)

On shelf more than a year – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Blue Book – Ice Breaker: How Maribel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating by Rosa Vina

Fiction – The Stillwater Girls by Minka

YA lit – The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir

E-book – Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Published after 2000 – The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent

Any unread book – Tell Me Lies by JD Pomer

Red book – The Big Four by Agatha Christie

Nonfiction – In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore

Book from a series – The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot series)

Last book acquired – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (check out my review for this book here.)

Less than 200 pages – If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper

Audiobook – The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Chosen by friends – Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montegomery

Hardback – The Handmaid’s Tale: the graphic novel by Renee Nault

Author of color – The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

I was hoping to fill the board, but I got two bingos and had more spaces filled than not, so I guess I did pretty well. 🙂

If you want to check out all I’ve read so far this year, feel free to add as a friend on Goodreads.

How about you? Have you participated in any fun reading challenges lately? Let me know in the comments!

Book Reviews

Straight On Till Morning Book Review

img_0850

Straight on Till Morning, by Liz Braswell, is part of the Twisted Tale series, a series of Disney books that retell the classic Disney stories with some kind of twist. This one is a retelling of Peter Pan.

Wendy’s brothers have grown up enough that they are now away at school. Wendy loves to tell stories about Neverland, but no on wants to listen to them anymore. After her parents tell her that she’s to be sent away to become a governess, she decides it’s time to escape her life by going to Neverland.

The twist in this book – Peter doesn’t bring Wendy to Neverland, instead she makes a bargain with Captain Hook to get there. Once there, she finds out it’s not quite the Neverland of her dreams.

I loved this book! In fact, it might be my favorite book of the Twisted Tales series. There are many reasons I enjoyed this book.

First, I really connected with Wendy. She loves to tell stories, even though others think she’s strange to still be telling stories at her age. She’s a dreamer who isn’t afraid to think outside of the box.

I loved seeing how she grew throughout the story. I liked how she developed a great friendship with Tinker Bell. Peter, while not the villain, is accurately portrayed as the immature, selfish boy he is, and Wendy realizes that he is not worthy of the ardent admiration she held for him. She also realizes that she can make choices that do make a difference in the world, and returns home with a new mindset.

I also loved all the nuances in this book. The were metaphors for the passage of time, and the reality that everyone gets older and sometimes dreams change because of that was a prevalent and relatable theme throughout the book.

Overall, it was a good read and a great addition to the Twisted Tale series!

Have you read Straight on Till Morning or any of the other Twisted Tales? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

lunar post

I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

lunar extras

Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday

2018 Top Ten Reads

top ten 18

So, I know this was a Top Ten Tuesday post for last Tuesday, but I didn’t have time to get it up by then. I really wanted to do this one, so I decided to do it for today. Hope you enjoy!

I read a total of 160 books in 2018, and it was hard to choose my ten favorite, but I finally narrowed them down. Here they are:

  1. To All The Boys I Ever Loved by Jenny Han and From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon I put these two together, because they are both fun YA contemporary reads, and I couldn’t decided which one I liked better.
  2. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White This was a clever retelling of Frankenstein. Perfect for an October read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  3. A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle by Sarah Arthur The new Wrinkle in Time movie came out this year, and sparked several new books about the author. This was a nice look at L’Engle’s life and faith, and how it influenced her writing. It was inspiring, and the title was taken from my favorite L’Engle quote:                  light so lovely
  4. Ghost by Jason Reynolds This is a middle grade book, which I read as part of The Great American Read, and I really liked it. I’ve found I really enjoyed anything Jason Reynolds has written.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood I was inspired to read this after seeing the TV show based on it, and was surprised to find out it was written in the 1980’s. Of course, it is better than the show.
  6. Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy This book was a biography of L’Engle’s life written by her granddaughters. A really nice tribute, it was a shorter book aimed for a YA/MG audience, but was great to read even as an adult. It was inspiring and I’d recommend it to any aspiring author.
  7. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson This was the best YA mystery I read during the past year, and I can’t wait to read the next book. I already have it on hold at my public library.
  8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows This was one of the best fantasy books I read, and I was able to meet the author and get the second book in the series signed. 🙂 

  9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie I also read this book as part of The Great American Read. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before, because it is Agatha Christie at her best! Typically, I figure out the ending before I get to it, but this one had me still trying to figure out what was going on until the end. If you love mysteries, you need to read this one.
  10. Cress by Marissa Meyer And last but not least, one of Marissa Meyer’s books! I love her books and she is an auto-buy author for me. Truthfully, I could have put all of the books in the Lunar Chronicles on here, but I decided to just choose my favorite. If you love YA fantasy, this series is a must read.

What about you? What were your favorites reads of 2018? How many of these have you read? Let me know in the comments!

#authortoolboxbloghop, diyMFA book club, For Writers

The diyMFA Book

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

Today for the #authortoolboxbloghop, I wanted to share one of my favorite writing resources. It is the diyMFA (Do-it-yourself Master of Fine Arts) book by Gabriela Periera. The title says it all – this book is set up to help you complete all the things you would do in a Master of Fine Arts program without the price of a university program. Not only is it perfect for the writer who wants to work towards a master degree, it’s also filled with tips to help any writer. There is also a website with even more resources for writers, and you can check it out here.

The book is not a typical craft book. It focuses on writing with focus, reading with purpose, and building your community. It is designed to help you finish your novel, and has been an excellent motivator for me.  I’ve also met some great people through the book’s community.

One of the things I like most about the book is the way you can tailor it to fit your needs as a writer. Gabriela has created a guideline to follow, but you choose the resources and customize the exercises to fit within your realm of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction.  You can even take it a step further and make it genre-specific.

Right now Gabriela is hosting a book club, and I’m really enjoying it. She sends out prompts that help get your creative juices flowing. (I’ll have more on that in a later post.) There is also a facebook group where you can connect with other writers. If you’re interested in participating, you can sign up here. I recommend it for anyone who’s working to finish up their manuscript, or for anyone who wants to connect with other writers.

Have you read the book? If so, what did you think? Are you already participating in the book club? Let me know in the comments!

You can follow along with the #authortoolboxbloghop, or join in if you want. All the details are here.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Chivalry’s Children Review

Hi everyone! I took a bit of a break for the holidays, but I’m back and will be posting again every week. Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

One of the last books I read in 2017 was Chivalry’s Children by Alexis P. Johnson. Set in medieval times, it follows four girls and their friends.

IMG_1243

From the back of the book:

Meridian the blacksmith, Keira the minstrel, Aurielle the alchemist, and Ivy the librarian, are four spirited and very different young women of Orion’s Court in the European nation of Laudeland. Knights, inventors, and even a prince share in their daily adventures from woodland hunts to masquerade balls. 

But their peaceful existence is shattered when a ruthless villain from their past lays siege to their country in vengeance, transforming their lives forever. The ladies and their comrades are then thrown into an even greater conflict that will test the strength and endurance of each of them, yet the inner trials of their hearts may prove to be even more challenging. As iron sharpens iron, the nation of Laudeland will need to unite in honor and chivalry as they face the storms of change.

Because there were so many primary characters, it took me a few pages to get into the story, but once I did, I flew through the book. The world building was great. I felt like I could have stepped into Laudeland through the pages, and I loved how the women were able to have the jobs they wanted without the stigma of something being “a man’s job”.

I could tell Alexis has a background in screenwriting, because this book would make a great movie. I could totally envision it as one while I read. I also really loved the spirit of camaraderie among the characters. It reminded me of the relationships I have with my siblings and a couple of my closest friends.

Overall, this was a great read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, medieval reads, or adventure.

You can find out more about Chivalry’s Children and Alexis P. Johnson here.