BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson sat on my TBR for much, much too long. Once I received it from my grandparents for my birthday, I was so excited to start reading. And once I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down!

My Rating: Four and a Half Imaginary Friends out of Five

About the Book

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

Find The Girl Who Could See on Goodreads ~ Buy The Girl Who Could See on Amazon

What I Loved

The whole concept of this book is brilliant. Imaginary friends, other worlds, Los Angeles, the FBI… Kara Swanson blended all of this and so much more into one fantastic story that had me daydreaming about Fern, Tristan, and their world for a long time. And speaking of Fern and Tristan…

The characters of this book are unforgettable. I’m sure that I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Characters can either make or break a book for me. Fern, Tristan, and the rest of the cast of characters MADE this book for me. They’re so real and perfect and precious. I loved them all!

“If I’m not broken, then what am I?”

Tristan’s voice softens. “You’re the only one on this planet who is truly whole.”

-The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The adventure the story takes you on is one that you won’t want to walk away from. The plot of the story, combined with the characters, suck you into another world, or shall I say, Fern’s world. It was SO HARD for me to put this book down. So hard that I didn’t. 😉

The ending of The Girl Who Could See is perfection. But to find out just how perfect it is, you have to read it. So what are you doing? Go grab a copy!

The cover of this book…. THERE ARE NO WORDS.

What I Didn’t Love

I wish that it could’ve been longer. The Girl Who Could See is perfect in its novella-sized package, but I can’t help but wish that it could’ve been a little longer. I would’ve loved to see more of the amazing characters and their stories!

Overall

The Girl Who Could See captivates both the imagination and the emotions. This book is a real treat not just for fantasy and sci-fi fans, but for all bookworms who love a good story and a good adventure.

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent her childhood in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate to characters dropped into a unique new world, she fell in love with the fantasy genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. She received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Kara loves to hang out with other book nerds and chocolate enthusiasts on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Twitter (@kara_author), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author) and on her website (karaswanson.com).

Have you read The Girl Who Could See? Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

Want To Read More?

7 Books About Military Kids

April is the month of the military child! It is during this month that we recognize the sacrifices that military children make through many moves, deployments, and uncertainties. But with all of those sacrifices comes pride, community, and adventure. I, myself, am a military child and am proud to have been one for many years.

There’s nothing quite like finding a book with characters that one can relate to. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we are not alone.” Unfortunately, there are not many books with military children, or even simply children with loved ones in the military, as the main characters. That’s why I have created a list of some of these books. It is my hope that some military children will be able to find a book with a character that they can relate to so that they may know that they are not alone.

For Children’s Book Readers

Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut

“Back and forth our star will fly, racing through the nighttime sky.”

Night Catch is a sweet story that tells how a nightly game of “catch” using the North Star brings together a deployed father and his young son. Told in catchy rhymes and beautifully illustrated by Vicki Wehrman, Night Catch is a great book for kids who have a parent who is deployed.

Click Here to Buy Night Catch on Amazon

Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden

“Be brave, Natalie.”

Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by former Second Lady Jill Biden is a tale inspired by her granddaughter’s life, Natalie. It’s a touching tale that very accurately describes what life is like when a parent is deployed. Many military children and families will be able to relate to Natalie and her family.

Click Here to Buy Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops on Amazon

For Middle Grade Readers

The Molly Series by Valerie Tripp

“Everything was different now because of the war. Dad was gone and Mom was busy.”

These American Girl books are books that I cherished and enjoyed as a young girl. Molly may have lived during WWII, but the experience of having a parent away at war has remained the same through the years. The illustrations and history tidbits that are included in these books are wonderful!

Click Here to Buy the First Book in Molly’s Series on Amazon

Army Brats by Daphne Benedis-Grab

“Maybe being brave wasn’t the most important thing anyway.”

Army Brats is part mystery and part coming-of-age story. Set on a military base, there are puppies, mysteries, and lots of fun. My sister Maya read it and loved it! Don’t worry, I plan on reading Army Brats soon too. 😉

Click Here to Buy Army Brats on Amazon

For Young Adult Readers

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

“People are the only home the Army issues.”

Once I had this book in my hands, I couldn’t put it down. I felt that I found a kindred spirit in the main character of Beneath Wandering Stars, one who understands what a life of changes and goodbyes feels like. I have never found that in any other book. You can tell that the author herself was a military child. And to add to that, there’s an exciting adventure on the Camino do Santiago that has me itching to visit Europe ASAP. A full review will come soon!

Click Here to Buy Beneath Wandering Stars on Amazon

“Dear Jamie, Love Rory” by Micaiah Saldaña

“Today is your birthday, and you’re not home.”

This is my own little story, a story that was partly inspired by my own experiences with my Dad’s deployments. The story is told as a series of letters from Rory to her older brother, who is deployed in Afghanistan. Through this story, I wanted to portray some of the pain that comes from a deployment and how letters keep loved ones connected.

Click Here to Buy “Dear Jamie, Love Rory” on One Story’s Website

“For Felicity” by Audrey Caylin

“I’ll be leaving on deployment when the leaves are almost gone.”

“For Felicity” is a story by my friend Audrey Caylin. It tells the story of a girl named Felicity and her brother Stephen, who is about to deploy. Felicity’s tale may be short, but it is packed with emotion and has the most perfect ending ever.

Click Here to Buy “For Felicity” on Amazon

Have you read any of these books? Do you know of any books featuring military kids?

BOOK REVIEW: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews is a lot like bittersweet chocolate. There is bitterness at parts that will break your heart, but there is also sweetness at every other part of this page-turning debut novel.

My Rating: Four Perfect Notes out of Five

About the Book

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Find A Thousand Perfect Notes on Goodreads ~ Buy A Thousand Perfect Notes on Amazon

What I Loved

August, Beck, and Joey are characters that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading. Characters are what make or break a story for me. In this book, the characters MADE the story. Seriously. Beck, August, and Joey could’ve sat around eating cake and I would have still loved this book.

CAKE CAKE CAKE. How could one not love a book with plenty of cake in it?

The simple moments in this story became rich and beautiful. I love when contemporary authors make real life magical. C.G. Drews did just that. Moments such as playing at an old playground and eating cake became whimsical and sad all at once.

“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.”

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

August didn’t fix Beck. Too often in fiction, and especially in romance, one character “fixes” the other. This is not the case in A Thousand Perfect Notes. August is always there for Beck, always offering hope and healing. She was there for him and she supported him no matter what.

The musical aspects of the story. If you know me, you know that I am not at all a musical person. I couldn’t sing or play an instrument to save my life. But I do love to listen to music. The music in A Thousand Perfect Notes leaps off the pages and into your ears and soul. I loved that Beck loved to compose music and how music practically flowed through his veins. And it was classical music. I for one enjoy listening to classical music (Handel and Mozart are two of my favorite composers). It was refreshing to find a teenager in fiction who does as well!

What I Didn’t Love

There was a smattering of foul language. Call me a grandma, but I’m not a fan of language in fiction. I feel like it takes more away from the story than it does add to it. The language in this book was mostly in German, but there were some other instances that were in English.

Content Warning: Beck suffers a lot of different kinds of abuse, including physical and mental abuse, at the hands of the Maestro, which is a big part of the story. The author gets into quite a bit of detail about the abuse. Some of the characters mention violence or are violent as well. And there is the bit of language that I mentioned above.

Overall

A Thousand Perfect Notes is a book that at times is hard to read because of the abuse Beck suffers, but it is also a book that is hard to put down because of the hope, healing, and love that he finds in a girl named August. For all of you who love vivid and fun characters, Beethoven, cake, and bittersweet stories–this book is most definitely for you.

About the Author

C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her piano and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novels to make you laugh or cry (or both). She never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast. She blogs at paperfury.com. Find her on Instagram @paperfury.

Have you read A Thousand Perfect Notes? What’s your favorite song?

Like This? Then You May Like These….

BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker is a book that you simply can’t put down once you pick it up. The charming characters, 1960s Georgia setting, and peach pies will have you glued to this book from beginning to end. Read on for my thoughts on Chasing Jupiter.

My Rating: Four Peach Pies out of Five

About the Book

Scarlett Blaine’s life in 1960s Georgia isn’t always easy, especially given her parents’ financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli’s hippie lifestyle. Then there’s Scarlett’s brother, Cliff. While she loves him more than anything, there’s no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be.

Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer’s son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett’s view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she’s lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother’s dream.

Find Chasing Jupiter on Goodreads ~ Buy Chasing Jupiter on Amazon

What I Loved

The characters were absolutely wonderful. I think that they could’ve all sat around eating peach pie and this book would be just as good. Grandpop Barley, Cliff, Scarlett, Frank…. All of them were sweet and eccentric in their own way.

The setting was perfect for the story. I just wanted to get lost in 1960s Georgia with Frank, Scarlett, and Cliff. Rachel Coker made the setting very real and very vivid. I could almost imagine that I was in Georgia myself!

“You can stay perched in your bird cage forever. Or you can fly.”

Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

The story made me smile multiple times. Who couldn’t smile when Cliff writes a sign in Spanish or argues with Grandpop Barley? And who couldn’t smile at such tender moments as the ones with Frank in the peach orchard?

God’s love and grace were evident on the pages. I loved that God’s love and grace changed Scarlett’s life and the lives of those around her. The author showed this beautifully in Chasing Jupiter.

Who couldn’t love all of the peach pies? You had better have a peach pie nearby as you read this book, or you will get very hungry. Trust me on this one, okay? 😉

What I Didn’t Love

I felt like everything was wrapped up a bit too quickly. One moment there was a disaster, and then in the next twenty or so pages, everything was resolved. I wish that there had been more pages dedicated to the resolution and falling action of the novel.

The story wandered into preachy territory at times. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like the author could’ve brought the themes across in a more subtle, meaningful way.

Overall

Chasing Jupiter is the perfect summer read. If you love endearing characters, historical fiction, peach pies, and rockets to Jupiter, then this book is most definitely for you.

About the Author

Rachel Coker resides in Virginia with her parents and two sisters. She has a passion for great books, and has been surrounded by them all her life. Her gift for writing became apparent at the age of eleven, at which time her parents signed her up for a year of lessons with a professional writing coach. Rachel also has a deep love for classical music and old black-and-white movies. When she is not writing or playing the piano, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends and serving her Lord and Savior.

Have you read Chasing Jupiter? If you could fly to any planet, what planet would you fly to?

My Favorite Books of 2018

I’m way late in joining the bandwagon on posting my favorite books of 2018, but all that matters is that I’m here, right? =) I’m so excited to be sharing this list with you! Here are, in no particular order, my ten favorite books of 2018.

1. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

“We were together and for that moment, it was enough.” In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

In 27 Days was a great story with a great message and memorable characters and settings that had me hooked from the first chapter. If I remember correctly, I finished this book in only two days. I wanted to hug and chat with every character and visit Mama Rosa’s and… I could go on, but since you all don’t want to sit here reading this for twenty seven days, I’ll leave it at this: In 27 Days is pure gold. GO READ IT. Click here to find it on Goodreads, and click here to read my full review.

2. Unblemished by Sara Ella

“Because you’re beginning to see with more than your eyes. You’re seeing with your heart.”Unblemished by Sara Ella

First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Second of all, the characters make this story (especially KY). Third of all, why are you still reading this post and not this book? Click here to find this book on Goodreads, and click here to read my full review.

3. The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

“In this year of contrast, stark, heartbreaking contrast–life and death–God had brought color too. He had brought me a palette full of color to last my whole life long.”The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

If you throw together 1960s Atlanta, Georgia, gorgeous pieces of art, characters you’ll want to pull from the pages and hug, and one big mystery, you’ll have The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser sitting prettily in your hands. This book was SO good that I found myself wishing that I could go to Atlanta and pondering the story late into the night. Click here to find The Swan House on Goodreads.

4. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

“The still, quiet voice beckoned tenderly. Come to me, beloved. Stand and come to me. Warmth swept over her. This was the love she’d been waiting for all her life.”Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Y’all. This book… I don’t know where to begin. There are tear-stains on the pages of this book. And there’s a reason why. This story, based on the story of Hosea and Gomer, is a story about God’s never-ending, forgiving, never stopping, redeeming, always and forever love for us, no matter what we’ve done. Click here to find it on Goodreads.

5. Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

“He barely spoke for the rest of the night, even when he flew her home. Just inhaled the gift she’d deposited, in the raw spaces she’d excavated. The gift of believing he was someone more.” Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber

Set in a dystopian universe that is at times wildly fantastical and at time eerily like today’s world, Reclaiming Shilo Snow was a book that I simply couldn’t put down. This is a book that is worth staying up until 1:00 A.M. reading. It’s got diverse characters, lots of action, and edge-of-your-seat moments that will keep you glued to the pages. Underneath it all is another story of real people who are imprisoned and trafficked as modern-day slaves. It’ll break your heart, give you hope, and inspire you to do something for our broken world. Click here to see Reclaiming Shilo Snow on Goodreads.

6. While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

“May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” -Genesis 31:49 NIV

Perhaps the thing that made me love this book so much is Penny Goodrich. I saw myself in Penny as she tried to please others and tried so hard to stay “safe.” Yet Penny discovered that “safe” isn’t always truly living, and pleasing others is only a recipe for disaster. That message spoke to me deeply. The author also did a great job of portraying the pain of having a loved one far away. And the ending… One of the best endings ever! Find While We’re Far Apart on Goodreads by clicking here.

7. Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis Majors

“I am just an ordinary person. An ordinary person serving an extraordinary God.” -Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis Majors

About four years ago, I went to Uganda with Sixty Feet. And I fell in love with Uganda and its red dirt and smiling children. Kisses From Katie is a story about a girl named Katie Davis Majors who fell in love with Uganda. It’s a the story of how her love for Jesus led her to move to Uganda to serve him, and eventually of how she became the mother of thirteen little girls and the founder of Amazima. If you read this book, you will forever be changed. Click here to view this book on Goodreads.

8. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

“I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious preparation for the work he will give us to do.”The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Touching. Heartbreaking. Convicting. This isn’t just a story about a woman who lived an amazing life for Christ. This is a story about a woman who lived an amazing life for Christ that invites you into a greater story, a story of radical love, courage. and forgiveness that can only be made possible by Jesus. Corrie ten Boom has and always will be a woman that inspires me and encourages me in my walk with Christ. Click here to find The Hiding Place on Goodreads.

9. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

“All she could do was smile. It seemed all right, for he was doing the same.” The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

How can I describe this book… This story transported me to the world of a 19th century circus, broke my heart, had me in tears, and then somehow put me back together again. Joanne Bischof’s writing is so heartfelt, and her books are so hard to put down. Ella Beckley and Charlie Lionheart’s tale will forever be one of my favorites. ❤ Find The Lady and the Lionheart on Goodreads by clicking here.

10. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…”Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

So many of the books I’ve listed are books that I couldn’t put down. This book is definitely among them. I LOVED Emma and Thomas so much. Emma is the definition of what a strong woman character should be. ❤ The magic system and fictional setting are well crafted that I felt like I was there, inside the book. And the twists, oh the twists… Find Fawkes on Goodreads here. And read it as soon as possible!

What was one of YOUR favorite books of 2018?

This Changes Everything By Jaquelle Crowe Book Review

As an avid reader of The Rebelution, I’ve heard so many good things about This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. Once I found it at a Christian bookstore, I couldn’t help but buy it straight away. Here are my thoughts on this impressive little book!

My Rating: Four Shining Stars

Back Cover Blurb…

Image result for This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

The teen years have been hijacked—by fashion, music, movies, and games; by the pressures of school, peers, and society; and by superficial expectations set by the world. But there is something more glorious than all these influences that has the power to change the life of a teenager: the gospel.

Written by a teenager for teenagers, This Changes Everything is a deeply theological yet practical and accessible book on how the gospel radically transforms every aspect of the teen years, including pursuing relationships, managing time, combating personal sin, and cultivating healthy habits. In a culture awash with low expectations for young people, this book exhorts teenagers to embrace a gospel-centered perspective on their lives and pursue wholehearted devotion to Christ now.

Buy This Changes Everything on Amazon ~ View This Changes Everything on Goodreads

What I Loved…

The challenge it presented the reader. It simply can’t be possible for one to read this book and not be challenged in some way. Each chapter led to deep questions and a hard look at one’s life. The Gospel really does change everything. The question this book asks is will you let it change you? 

The points Jaquelle touched on. Jaquelle touched on eight major areas of our lives that the Gospel changes: our lives, stories, communities, sin, disciplines, growth, time, and relationships. I’m so glad that all of these had a chapter to themselves. My favorite chapters were the ones on time and disciplines, although all of them were top notch!

The writing style. Jaquelle’s writing style made this book easy to read. The stories, examples, and lists that she provided made everything easy to understand and remember. It wasn’t like reading one big sermon–it was more like reading a letter from a friend. A letter with really good advice, that is!

What I Didn’t Love…

Where was baptism? I believe that baptism is a very important part of the Gospel. I was shocked to not find it in this book! I can’t recall a time when Jaquelle talked about baptism’s significance, or what it had to do with the Gospel message. In the Gospels themselves, we see Jesus get baptized (Mark 1:9-11) by John the Baptist. Jesus commissioned His disciples to not only make disciples, but to baptize those disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). In Acts 2:38 (emphasis mine), after Pentecost, Peter tells people to,” Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

I could go on with examples, but the point I want to make is this: All over the rest of the New Testament, all over the Gospels, there is baptism. Within the Gospel message that the Apostles delivered, there is baptism. Obviously, baptism is integral to the Gospel message and important to Jesus. Therefore, baptism should be important to us.

Overall…

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to all of my fellow teens. It’s not just a book that one can label as “read” and walk away from. It’s a book that challenges you to live all out for Jesus, because the Gospel changes everything. Now that’s a book that we all, teen or not, desperately need today.

About The Author…

Jaquelle Crowe

Jaquelle Crowe (BA, Thomas Edison State University) is a young writer from eastern Canada. She’s the lead writer and editor-in-chief of TheRebelution.com and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition, desiringGod.org, and Unlocking the Bible. Her first book is This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years.

Jaquelle’s Website ~ FaceBook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

Have you read This Changes Everything? What is one of the most challenging books you’ve read?

10 Middle Grade Books / Series To Recommend To Younger Bookworms | Guest Post By Lisa Elis

Hello there to all of you readers of Notebooks and Novels, and a big thank you to Micaiah for giving me this chance to guest post on her gorgeous blog! Because she asked me to come up with something literary related, I’m here today to recommend you books – but not just for you.

Chances are that if you’re an avid bookdragon like myself you look for every opportunity to promote your bookish tastes in your younger siblings, younger cousins, nieces and nephews. Those open minds are as ready as a sponge to soak up all the information you can offer them. So here I’m here to be helpful, by listing, by genre, books that your 8 to 13 year old charges are sure to adore. 

^^ note: since I don’t really read the modern MG fiction anymore most of these are “older” books ;D what I used to read in my day lol

ANIMAL FANTASY: Charlotte’s WebStuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Image with link to Charotte's WebA pig trying to avoid becoming ham – a mouse trying to find a missing friend in the great human world – a mute swan trying to pay off his father’s debt. These books are classics and amazing for readers of any age, in fact, and so I highly, highly recommend them for all middle graders (the target audience)! They all are really entertaining and heartwarming stories of animals trying to “make it” in a human world.

HISTORICAL FICTION: Goodbye Marianne by Irene N. Watts

The first book of the Escape from Berlin trilogy, this book tells the sad story of Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl whose life is being torn apart by WWII. Losing family, friends, and freedom, she has to escape the country all alone. Though a more serious type of story, this is a great place to introduce younger readers to historical fiction and one of the most heartbreaking eras of history.

Image result for the lion the witch and the wardrobe

CLASSIC:  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

It’s quite possible that your young friends might know this one, but I JUST COULD NOT LEAVE IT OUT. This series introduced me to fantasy and I’ve been in love with the world beyond the wardrobe ever since. Not only is there a whole new land to discover, but we have mythical creatures, exciting plots and adventures, conflicts between good and evil, the most loveable cast, and wonderful allegory. You just cannot miss recommending Narnia – it’s a classic for a good reason.

 

ADVENTURE: The Cooper Kids series by Frank Peretti

Eight Indiana Jones style adventures from the perspective of children AND Christians. Jay and Lila Cooper follow their archeologist dad on many excavations and research projects, often unearthing strange and sinister mysteries in the process. I love how Peretti weaves mystery/thriller stories for children and does not shy away from including the supernatural – even though most of the mysteries do have logical explanations. But not always. And therefore these books will not let go of any reader who dares to set foot in them.

SUPERHERO:  Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis

Twelve year old Eddie Hertz is a kid inventor and a superhero who patrols streets at night and hopes to become like Damocles – the greatest superhero in the city. But when Damocles loses power and their great arch nemesis threatens the city with earthquakes – it all falls into Eddie’s hands … and that of his sidekick sister. I highly appreciated the sibling relationships, easy to understand explanations of technology and gadgets, as well the PLOT TWIST at the end.

Image result for the boxcar children book 1

MYSTERY: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

These books, though originally created some eighty years ago, are timeless. The first one in the series gives you the origin story of four lovable orphaned children – Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. In the rest of the series they solve a variety of mysteries and cases in a variety of settings. These books are not particularly thrilling, or danger-filled, in any sense and as the filmmakers of the recent movie versions pointed out – no one goes to prison at the end. A person is merely healed, emotionally. So while these may be a bit different from the thrillers we expect books to be today – I’d say it’s worth it. It’s a different type of delightful.

^^ btw the movies are amazing too.

FANTASY: Castle Glower series by Jessica Day George

“Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie’s favorite days. That’s because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions.” 

I haven’t actually read this myself, but my sister did – and loved it. She says it features a princess trying to save her kingdom; a lot of griffin riding; sinister plots, action, excitement; and great sibling relationships. Since I trust my sister’s judgment 110%, I completely recommend!

TIME TRAVEL: Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborn

Image result for magic tree house

My sister was mildly obsessed with this series as a ten year old – and even I enjoyed them. Jack and Annie’s quests and missions into past eras span some 55 books. The first Magic Treehousebooks are for the younger readers, while the Merlin Mission books get a bit longer. I really appreciate the historic details and the plots of individual books – as well as the over arching relationship they develop with Merlin, Morgan le Fay, and other magical friends.

NONFICTION: Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge

I pretty much lived off these books in my childhood. Not only are they well written and educational, they’re sure to inspire young readers and teach life lessons from the stories of Christian heroes. From childhood to death, these approximately-20-chapter biographies highlight the most amazing moments and accomplishments of these people – showing how they grew up to fulfill their calling – and all in real story style. There’s no series I’d recommend more than this one, and that’s saying a lot.

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton

Image result for thea stilton

Geronimo and Thea books are a great hit in my family – everyone needs them. Geronimo Stilton and his gang of four are generally time traveling in the comics – always trying to thwart the plot of their archenemies the Pirate Cats . While a bit cliché at times, it’s extremely entertaining and laugh-worthy. Personally, I like Thea Stilton comics even more, even though they are about college life drama, helping the environment, and solving mini-mysteries. I’ll also take the moment to express my displeasure that Papercutz is discontinuing the graphic novel series – ABONDONING THESE LOVELY MICE FOR SOME PINK PAMPERED PONIES … err unicorns. However, read the existing editions – you’ll have a blast!

 

 

So that’s that, friends! Hope you all got some good ideas especially with Christmas rolling around. Be sure to let me know in the comments what middle grade books you want me to recommend to my siblings!

So long for now and stay awesome,

lisa

About the Author

Lisa Elis is a busy high school junior from Canada who spends her free time chasing many literary interests. She’s also into art and design, orchids and sunshine, plus all things that grow her wanderlust. Find her scrambling to post every week at www.thisinkwell.blogspot.com.

10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Bookworms

It’s finally time to blast Christmas music, chomp down on Christmas cookies, and kick back for some cheesy Christmas movies! THE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS HAS BEGUN. And that also means that the time for Christmas shopping has kicked off as well. Christmas shopping can either be loads of fun or harder than rocket science. Either way, here are 10 Christmas gift ideas for bookworms.

1. Litographs

Litographs are such unique and fun gifts. They are literally the words of poems, books, and plays  that are turned into art and put on things such as scarves, shirts, posters, and bags. A Litograph product would be a perfect gift for a bookworm!

2. A Book Box Subscription

Book boxes don’t come stuffed with books alone. They also have fun extras to go with the featured book! How cool is that? The Four Anchors Anchor Chest is a great pick for readers of YA searching for good clean reads. I’ve heard good things about the OwlCrate subscription as well. 🙂

3. A Bookish Necklace

If the bookworm you’re shopping for has a taste for fashion, a bookish necklace would be a great gift! Etsy is a great place to look for unique and gorgeous jewelry.

4. Literary Themed Tea

C.S. Lewis once said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Even he knew that nothing went as well together as a good book and a mug of tea. So why not get some literary themed tea to go with a favorite book? Both Riddle’s Tea Shoppe and RosieLeaTeaUK look like good choices for this gift idea.

5. One Story/One Teen Story Subscription

Who doesn’t love getting a good story in the mail every once in awhile?  Both One Story and One Teen Story are great gift options for the bookworm on your shopping list! It’s a gift that will keep on giving all year long. And I just so happen to be a published One Teen Story author so… 😉

6. A Framed Book Quote

I can’t think of a single bookworm who would turn her nose up at one of her favorite quotes in a pretty frame. There are many places to find a print with a bookish quote, Etsy being my favorite. You never know what you’ll find there!

7. A Bookish Mug

My siblings got me a mug covered in quotes from classic novels last Christmas, and I absolutely LOVE IT.  As I said before, what goes better with books than a delicious hot drink? It’s even better if that drink is in an adorable mug! I think that a bookish mug and some literary tea would be a great gift. If your bookworm likes hot drinks besides tea, coffee beans or cocoa mix would be another great gift to go along with one of these mugs.

8. A Custom Book Stamp

If you all can’t tell yet… I like Etsy. A LOT. Etsy is one of my weaknesses. Luckily for me, my mom loves Etsy too. For my sixteenth birthday she got me the cutest book stamp EVER. Now, I can stamp all of my books so that people know that they’re mine! Click here to see the stamp I got.

9. Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a bookworm’s best friend. And they would make a great stocking stuffer! There are lots of beautiful and unique bookmarks on… You guessed it. ETSY. Printable bookmarks, wooden bookmarks, paper bookmarks, metal bookmarks… BOOKMARKS EVERYWHERE. ❤

10. Books

I mean, what bookworm WOULDN’T want more books? If your bookworm has a Goodreads account, I would suggest browsing her Want to Read shelf to find books that she might want. Or ask her about what books she wants. But be warned. You may spend 5,000,000,000 hours on that subject with her. 😉

Which of these gifts would you wish for the most? What’s on your Christmas list?

Project Canvas Blog Tour

Project Canvas Blog Tour
Project Canvas is almost here! *cue the epic music, confetti, and mounds of cake* This exciting international project is jam-packed with writerly advice, encouragement, and lots more amazingness. And guess what? It’s going to be released to the world on November 15! So many epic people contributed to this book–61 in total (including me)! Altogether, we’re from eleven different countries and six different continents. And we have all come together to make Project Canvas. I am SO EXCITED for this book to go out into the world! ❤ Read on to learn more about Project Canvas, the amazing founders, and other fun stuff. =D 
About the Book

An international writing community. 61 authors. 11 countries. 6 continents.

Are you looking for advice on how to create the perfect villain? Do you need the courage to put your story down on paper? Find this and more in Project Canvas, a writing resource written completely by teen and young adult writers and compiled by Caroline Meek and Olivia Rogers.

Project Canvas includes:

· 71 short chapters, each written by a different author

· bonus interviews with authors such as Tessa Emily Hall and Q. Gibson

· world building and character development worksheets

· and other helpful resources!

“This is a writing teacher’s dream – not a how-to book, but more of a literary testimony and homage to the process of writing. A sweet balance between the practical and the spiritual, Project Canvas is concise enough for daily meditation, yet robust enough to move the writer’s soul beyond the temporary.” –Brian Dolezal, professional development and spoken word coach at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

About the Founders

Caroline and Olivia have been friends ever since kindergarten, when they met in a homeschooling group. Their writing journey was a slow evolution over the course of many sleepovers, games of pretend, writing stories together, and finally publishing some of them.

Caroline Meek is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Project Canvas. She’s originally from Kansas City, Kansas, where she co-authored The Drawing in of Breath and attended Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences. Caroline has a passion for bringing writers together and is currently studying English & Creative Writing on the Publishing track at the University of Iowa. She’s been published in The Kansas City Star, Ink Lit Mag, Wordsmith, and blogs at Of Stars and Ink-Stained Things.

Olivia Rogers is the co-founder of Project Canvas. She’s originally from the great state of Kansas, where she showed sheep, competitively debated, and also became involved in politics. Olivia believes that writing is the gateway to change. She’s currently studying Political Science and Philosophy at Kansas State University, with the goal of becoming a lawyer and continuing to advocate for others.

Other Fun Stuff… 

The fun doesn’t end with the release of this insanely amazing book. There’s also a giveaway!  Go to the giveaway post on the Project Canvas blog for a chance to win free copies of Project Canvas and more exciting goodies. =) Click here to visit the giveaway post.

And y’all, don’t forget to stop by the other amazing blogs on this tour! For a schedule of the blog tour, visit the Project Canvas blog (projectcanvasblog.blogspot.com). Also, there’s a super fun bookstagram challenge going on, and I think that I’m going to be joining in. Click here to see the blog tour schedule and check out the bookstagram challenge that Project Canvas is hosting! =)

Are you excited for this book’s release or what?! 
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other writers? 

3 Tips On Writing A Novel With Multiple Points of View

3 Tips On Writing A Novel With Multiple Points of View
I’m very excited to continue talking about multiple points of view in fiction with you all today! In last week’s post, I talked about three important questions to ask yourself before adding another point of view to your novel (you can read that post by clicking this link here). Today, I’m sharing three tips on writing a novel with multiple points of view. Most of the projects that I’ve worked on have had at least two points of view in each, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned from reading and writing stories with multiple points of view! =) 
#1 Let your readers know when you’re switching between points of view. 
As I mentioned in my last post on multiple points of view, having more than one point of view can be confusing. Key words: Can be. It can be confusing if you don’t warn your readers when you’re switching between points of view. This is especially important to remember in first person narratives, when there is less use of the point of view character’s name. 
For example, there are multiple points of view in the second and third books of Sara Ella’s Unblemished trilogy. To keep everything less confusing, the author dedicates a chapter to each point of view and marks each chapter with the name of the point of view character. Imagine how confusing it would be if she skipped from one character’s journey to another, with just a pretty divider in between! 
The Take-Away: Don’t skip from points of view seamlessly, especially if you’re writing in first person. Make sure that your readers know when you move on to another point of view. 
#2 Don’t use too many points of view. 
Have you ever read a book with more than four points of view? I can’t think of single one, and there’s a reason for that. It can get confusing with lots of different points of view. It would be hard to balance each character’s part in the story equally, not to mention keep the readers interested in all of the characters and their separate journeys. Lots of point of view characters can be okay, but you’d have to be really careful as to not confuse your reader or lose her interest. 
The Take-Away: Try to limit how many point of view characters you use. 
#3 Make each point of view sound unique. 
This is a biggie! It’s not just the confusion aspect that is a problem here. If all of your characters are sarcastic and gloomy or cheery and full of rainbows and unicorns, they will all sound like one person. Having all of your characters sound the same won’t let them shine as the unique and memorable characters that you have created them to be! 
Instead of adding lots of snark to each point of view, think about your characters. What makes them special? What aspects of writing could best bring out their personalities? Lots of monologue, more action? After all, would sweet and innocent Sally really roll her eyes or whine on the pages? 
The Take-Away: Let your characters shine! Allow them to be their unique selves on the pages, and their voices will stand out as unique and memorable ones. 

 Does your novel have more than one point of view? And what is your favorite book that has multiple points of view? I’m all ears! =D