Our giveaway has ended. The winner is Diana. Thank you for entering!
Our giveaway has ended. The winner is Diana. Thank you for entering!
Everything with a beginning has an ending. Any magic that can be done, can be undone. Anything you make, can be unmade.
The Rise of the Evening Star is the second book in the Fablehaven series. It follows Kendra and Seth, siblings that are set to inherit a secret magical preserve that their grandparents run. The problem is another secret society is set on demolishing them to get ancient artifacts.
I gave the first book an average of three stars, and left it with the doubt that I would ever come back to the rest of the books. Over the passed year I’ve gotten more into middle grade books. When I’m in a book slump or life slump, there’s something about them that brings me a certain comfort. As I figured this out, I found my mind drifting back to Fablehaven and its characters. I wondered how they were doing, if the books got better as many others claim. So I picked it up, and I’m glad I did.
At the end of the first book, everything seemed pretty tied up. I thought the reader and Seth and Kendra finally knew everything the grandparents did. I was wrong. Things that appeared tied up were not, or they were more than it was appeared in the first book. This really brought the book into an interesting place. Also last book a lot of it had them not knowing anything about magic. This time they knew about the magic, but also the grandparents told them more secrets in the beginning. Which also helped the book a lot. I hate plot hooked on secrets. It’s mostly frustrating, and simply makes me uninterested in reading it.
Kendra and Seth continued to grow in this book. I like how they are growing while still being kept their age. Seth acts just like my boyfriend’s nephew which yeah can be annoying, but also lovable. There are also new characters introduced in this book which only serves to flesh everyone out better.
The stakes are getting higher and more intense, and so did my enjoyment of the story. The ending caught me completely by surprise, and I find myself eagerly waiting for my next trip to the library so I can pick up the third book.
Princess Kindness Khumalo is a children’s book surrounding African history. Kindness is a young girl who is very curious, and throughout the book asks her Mother Khumalo many questions. All the while, Mother Khumalo teaches Kindness about her African culture. There are four stories, and each one has a different message.
The book is full of images of dolls to represent all of the characters, as well as the dolls that belong to the characters. There’s an explanation of the words in different languages. I really liked how much African culture was interwoven into a story of a smart little girl who wants to learn about the world. Kindness wants to be kind, and she wants to be well educated in her culture and the moon and the universe. I thought it was a very sweet book that deserves to be read. It has a strong message of love and acceptance that I think is very important.
Buy it on Amazon.
If you’re interested in reading this, we’re having a giveaway starting today. If you want to be entered, all you have to do is comment on this post saying you’d like to be entered into the giveaway. We will pick one winner on 3/20/2018 at 10pm CT. So you have until then to enter. Good luck, everyone!
I’ve heard people say, “This book/movie/show got me through a rough time.” I’ve never understood that saying. I am currently going through a lot of depression myself. A lot. I mean, I sleep all afternoon, I refuse to see my friends or leave my house. I don’t have any energy. I don’t even know how I’m writing this down because writing is the last thing I want to do. I’ve tried reading books, but I can’t get into them. Not even Restore Me, and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, which were two of my most anticipated releases of this year. I can’t read anything. I just can’t.
Same for TV shows. I’ve stopped watching all of my shows. All I do is play The Office (which I’ve seen at least twenty times) in the background as I fall asleep. I don’t want to see any movies. I’m in that state where nothing, absolutely nothing, makes me happy. And thinking back on it, I don’t think I’ve ever had something I can look back to and say “This thing got me through a rough time.” Nothing at all. When I’m down like this, nothing helps. It’s something I have to deal with until it eventually diminishes, or I die.
I just find it interesting to see so many people getting through rough times when they find something they love. I don’t think I’ve loved anything in a long time. So long, in fact, I can’t remember the feeling. I can’t remember what it felt when I was obsessed with Supernatural and all I wanted to do was live within the fandom. I can’t remember the love I felt for Misha Collins, all those times I met him. I can’t remember how it felt to have a crush — on anyone. I feel completely numb.
Recently, I finished Queer Eye on Netflix. The show was beautiful, and it was something I was clinging to for dear life. I spread out the episodes over a week, so I would have something to come back to. I felt myself getting worse, so I needed that lifeline. But as soon as I finished the season, I was gone. There was no bringing me back to the world of the living. I was a zombie, basically. That’s where I am right now. I don’t count Queer Eye as one of the things that got me through a rough time, because it felt more like it threw me into the rough time. I made myself dependent on some show, and when it ended, I felt lost.
I keep wondering, where are these incredible, magical things that can get me through the rough times? Do they even exist? Or are they just another lie?
Best picture: Favorite book series
Isis: The Penryn & The End of Days series was amazing. I loved the first book, Angelfall, and I loved the conclusion to the trilogy. Angels and badass characters. What’s not to love?
Nicole: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke is a new favorite. It has pirates and magic, and is simply perfect.
Best foreign film: Favorite diverse book
Isis: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Gay Mexican boys. Read it.
Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria. A bunch of diversity set in a magic world.
Best documentary: Favorite nonfiction book
Isis: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Nicole: The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee.
Best actress: Favorite female protagonist
Isis: Penryn from Angelfall. Again, she kicked butt.
Nicole: Skybright from Serpentine by Cindy Pon. Smart and kickass and loyal.
Best actor: Favorite male protagonist
Isis: Warner from the Shatter Me series. I cannot wait for Restore Me.
Nicole: Memphis from the Diviners series. I’ve only read the first book so that could change, but I love how he is in that.
Best supporting actress: Favorite female supporting character
Isis: Lua from At the Edge of the Universe. Although Lua sometimes uses female pronouns, Lua is gender-fluid, but that’s not an option in this tag unfortunately.
Nicole: Samirah Al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan. She’s always smart and kickass and loyal. I might have a type.
Best supporting actor: Favorite male supporting character
Isis: Prince Robot IV from Saga. Is he a supporting character? I guess he is since he’s a “villain.”
Nicole: Wendell from the Dragonbreath series. He’s so cute and I have a soft spot for anyone with anxiety.
Best screenplay: Favorite standalone book
Isis: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Nicole: I have to say Iron Cast by Destiny Soria.
Best director: Favorite author
Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Nicole: I feel like I don’t have one to be honest, but I’ll go with Victoria Schwab.
Best cinematography: Best worldbuilding
Isis: I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I guess I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter world.
Nicole: The world in Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is amazing.
Best costuming: Best cast of characters
Isis: The Shatter Me characters give me so many feelings. I adore them.
Nicole: The Magnus Chase series. I love all of them
Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz. Anyone who knows me knows he’s my favorite.
Nicole: Ursula Vernon. I’ve read nine of her books.
Isis: Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat for sure.
Nicole: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Isis: A Boy Worth Knowing Jennifer Cosgrove
Nicole: The Belgrave Legacy by Zara Hoffman and Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
Isis: Tea. Usually chai or milk tea are my favorites.
Nicole: I love Dr. Pepper.
Isis: I love physical books but I prefer ebooks for night reading. So, both.
Nicole: Physical book. I tend to get too distracted with ebooks.
Isis: Dante Quintana. No one will ever steal his spot.
Nicole: Harry Potter. I loved him for so long it’s hard not to say his name.
Isis: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don’t usually read romance so I’m glad I read that one.
Nicole: Serpentine by Cindy Pon. I was unsure of going so fantasy with the main character being a half monster, but I’m glad I did.
Isis: High fantasy. Although at times I’ll make exceptions.
Nicole: Erotic, Romance. There are others but there is always exceptions.
Isis: Maybe Order of the Phoenix, but I’m not sure.
Nicole: Order of the Phoenix.
Isis: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel gave me a big book hangover. I love that book.
Nicole: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight. All I wanted was the sequel.
Isis: Just one that was custom made.
Nicole: Three. Two medium ones, and one short one.
O: One book read multiple times
Isis: Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Woods.
Nicole: Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.
Isis: My bed.
Isis: “So it goes.” -Kurt Vonnegut
Nicole: “To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Isis: Edge of Darkness by Travis McBee. It was the worst.
Nicole: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I don’t know why I finished it.
Isis: I want to finish the duology of This Savage Song, which is Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab.
Nicole: The original Percy Jackson series. I think I have the last two to go through.
Isis: Meeting Benjamin Alire Saenz, David Levithan, and Adam Silvera all on the same day. It was the best.
Nicole: When I meet authors I usually can’t talk. Does that count?
Isis: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi. Give me all the Warner!
Nicole: A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney
Isis: Wanting to read too many books at once, getting overwhelmed, and not reading anything.
Nicole: Starting and stopping a million books because I get distracted. It results in nothing being done.
Isis: A beautiful B&N edition of Jane Eyre.
Nicole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Isis: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. So worth the lack of sleep.
Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety by Michelle Balge was published yesterday. A Way Out, as the title suggests, is a memoir detailing Balge’s experience with depression and social anxiety. Since her teenage years Balge has dealt with these issues while growing up to become a sociology graduate, web design student, mental health advocate, and animal welfare activist. We were lucky enough to ask her a couple of questions.
What made you decide to write this memoir?
I wrote this memoir in the hopes that it can help those experiencing or who have experienced mental illness, as well as those who have loved ones with their own challenges. I truly want to be able to make a difference and have others understand that they’re not alone.
Who do you hope to reach with this book?
I hope to reach not only those that I mentioned in the previous question, but also those who are just interested in learning more about mental health and illness. There is such a stigma to this topic, that reading from the point of view of someone who experienced it firsthand can perhaps give better insight into what it’s like. I’ve made it as honest as I possibly can, to the point of sharing my most embarrassing stories and darkest thoughts. Although there is dark content, I’ve mixed humour into the book to provide some relief for those who worry it may be too intense.
Do you think this book will be helpful to those in middle of their own depression? Or would it be very triggering?
I think that everyone will be different, which is why at the beginning of the book there’s a content warning stating that there are parts that could be triggering for some people. I think it’s up to the individual person to tell if it’s something they’re in the right place for, or if it may be a bit too much to handle. It could very well be triggering for a person one day, but be the hope they were looking for the next.
What was your writing process like?
I wrote whenever I had the urge to, which meant my writing ranged from thousands of words a day, to only a couple hundred a week. When trying to force myself to write, the words didn’t come out the way I wanted them to. While writing the darkest parts of my memoir, I had to listen to certain songs on repeat that I would listen to while I was depressed. It would bring my mind back as close as I could to how it used to feel while depressed, but once the music stopped, I could return to the present time. For the hopeful parts of the book, I listened to upbeat music to put the inspiration I felt into the book.
Can you tell us more about being a Mental Health Advocate? What does that entail?
As a mental health advocate, I was the president of a mental health club at my previous university and co-organized many mental health events. For the last few years I’ve been giving talks to students, the community, and professionals, sharing my personal story. In the last few months I’ve had 3 talks, each one a different experience because of the audience. Also, just with everyday conversations, I do my best to talk openly about mental health and illness. I share what I know with friends, family, people online, and now with my book I can reach people around the world.
What do you have to say about the stigma surrounding therapy and medications?
I believe that therapy and medication can be so important for your mental health. If you have a mild or moderate illness it may be better to try therapy and other methods of help before medication, but everyone’s different. Therapy can range from one-on-one talks about your life, to group therapy learning about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I personally found that group therapy with a focus on CBT for social anxiety was a huge help. Medication has also been a huge help for me. There’s nothing wrong with needing medication, therapy, or both. People need to know that it’s often a combination of things that will help their health improve.
Do you think you will write more books in the future?
I’m not sure if I’ll ever write another memoir, but I would love to write children’s books with a focus on mental health. One of my other big passions is animals, so all the characters would be animals to show people that they have feelings and can actually experience mental illnesses too.
So there you have it! If you want to learn more about what people dealing with these issues are dealing with, or if you want a little hope for yourself, I think this book will be very helpful for you. You can find it here on Goodreads or on Barnes and Noble. Michelle’s website is here.